Working in the Counselling profession involves guiding and empowering people to develop self-understanding and to make changes in their lives to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. Effective counsellors require high levels of empathy, patience and respect.

Mandatory Qualifications

  • You can work as a counsellor without formal qualifications, but employers and clients will prefer a counsellor who has qualifications (e.g., Diploma of Counselling or Bachelor degrees in Counselling, Psychology, Human Services etc.) and is a member of a professional organisation.
  • Membership of a professional counselling association usually requires you to have completed an accredited training program of at least two years, have ongoing professional development, and meet certain ethical and professional practice standards. For more information go to the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia (PACFA) or Australian Counselling Association.
  • Current Working with Children, Police checks, and First Aid certification are required for some jobs in this sector.
  • Core skills in the discipline of psychology.

Specific Job Titles

Career Counsellor
In this role you provide counselling and guidance to individuals with regards to their career goals, the skills required to obtain employment, and future pathways. Usually career counsellors work in a school, university or other institutional setting, as well as in private practice.
Note: Postgraduate qualification in career development or in educational, developmental or counselling psychology (e.g. Graduate Certificate Career Development) is required. For more information go to Career Development Association of Australia.
Correctional Counsellor
In this role you provide counselling and specific support programs to offenders to enable them to re-enter society and to ensure the safety of the community.
Note: you may need some experience working in a corrections setting.
Telephone Counsellor
In this role you provide crisis support, counselling and mental health education, and referral to other agencies for longer-term intervention.
Note: usually involves specific on-the-job training and supervision.
Addiction Counsellors (drugs, alcohol, gambling)
In this role, you provide person-centred counselling, assessment and treatment to clients, and family members, as individuals or in small groups relating to a range of health, social and other issues.
Note: you may need specific knowledge and expertise of the issues associated with addiction, or additional study (e.g., Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs).
Family & Relationship Counsellor
In this role you work with families and couples, providing counselling support, as well as psycho-educational therapeutic programs, or community education activities.
Note: you will need specific knowledge and expertise in relationship and couples counselling.
Domestic & Family Violence Counsellor
In this role, you provide individual counselling and group work to clients affected by domestic violence. You may also develop and deliver community development strategies aimed at increasing awareness about the effects of domestic and family violence.
Note: you will need specific knowledge and expertise of the issues associated with domestic and family violence.
Rehabilitation Counsellor
In this role, you work with individuals experiencing injury, disability and/or social disadvantage to achieve occupational, personal and social goals. To achieve this, rehabilitation counsellors work with individual strengths and facilitate change in both the person and their environment.
Note: You will need current membership (Full or Associate) with Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors.
Worker’s Compensation Advisor
In this role you work with individuals to support them in effective injury management, physical and mental rehabilitation, and returning to work. You work in a team with the employer, injured worker, health care providers and other service providers.
Note: you will also need Rehabilitation and Return to Work certification; Graduate Certificate in Case Management, and specific knowledge and expertise in worker’s compensation Legislation.
In this role you provide mediation and alternative dispute resolution services to help individuals to resolve disputes involving neighbours, families, communities, or workplaces quickly and without the use of costlier legal services.
Note: you will need to meet requirements of the Mediators Standards Board.
Student Success Advisor
In this role you work in an education institution, and provide support, information, education and advice to at-risk students to enable them to successfully engage with university life and study, access relevant services achieve academic and personal goals, complete their studies and transition to employment.
Note: you will also need relevant work experience and a good understanding of the education environment.