Guide to Counselling Courses & Careers

Who are counsellors?

The need for counsellors is at an all time high, which is good news if you’re looking into a career in counselling, but this demand means that there are many people out there who are in desperate need of one. Life has its ups and of course its downs and it’s during these downs in life that counsellors may be a god send to anyone needing that extra help and support to get through these tough times. Life as we know it is busy, stressful and at times very scary and worrying, far more complex than previously, thankfully there are counsellors on hand to help if it’s needed.

Counsellors provide support, guidance and advice that maybe others in the person’s family cannot give. Some people have no family to turn to at all, with friends not being able to fully understand what the person is going through. Counsellors take people through rough times and hopefully into an exciting new time in their lives.

Why do people need counsellors?

There are many reasons why people may turn to counsellors, of course it would be almost impossible to think of them all because as we said earlier life is much, much more complex and complicated with people having totally different problems and are in totally different circumstances than others but these are just a few examples:

Maybe the person needing help and guidance are all alone in the world, they may have no family members remaining either through them moving locations or sadly passing away, it goes without saying that if it’s the latter their lives will never be the same again, a counsellor will help the person try and get back on their feet again and find a new purpose in life to get them through this very difficult time in their life.

The person may become disabled and can no longer get around into the community than they had previously, they may feel detached and lonely.

Counsellors can help to bring families back together again by helping to solve a couples problems that may otherwise lead to divorce and the family splitting up.

Older people also need help and guidance from counsellors, they have lived busy lives and would have seen many of their friends and family members come and go and it’s far more likely to be through passing away. They may be suffering from an illness and cannot get out and about into the community than they had previously done, this can result in depression and loneliness. Counsellors can be a great source of comfort at these times. Also their children have grown up maybe have children of their own and lead busy lives themselves and they may also have to leave to another part of the country with work, resulting in far less time with their older parents.

You really are giving them the gift of friendship during the rough times.

Children also benefit greatly with the support of counsellors, sometimes their parents are busy working and they just haven’t the spare time available to support and guide their children through life. Some of these children do turn to drugs. Others may be having difficulty in school with their education suffering greatly. Sometimes parents have great difficulty in understanding what their teenage kids want and why they are behaving in different ways. Counsellors can help bring them back together again by helping the parents understand what is going on and what their children need in their teenage years.

Counsellors offer children in these situations a great deal of hope for the future and comfort for their parents.

Some people are angry for whatever reason. Counsellors can give them tools to help them control this anger resulting in a better life for all those around them.

Counsellors also help a bereaved person come to terms with the reality of their great loss and how to get through the grieving process, counsellors will advise the bereaved person on the things they can do to help themselves during this difficult time in their lives and how to carry on with their lives without their lost loved one.

Is counselling a worthwhile career?

So as you can see counsellors really do offer so much support and guidance to people of all ages and in totally different positions to others, maybe this could be just the right career for you, it really does offer job satisfaction when you see children getting back to school with a great future ahead of them and families getting back together again and the elderly person that you gave so much hope about the future too when everything to them appeared so bleak and the bereaved person that looks at life more hopeful after the loss of their loved one.

Becoming a counsellor really is a fantastic opportunity to help improve other people’s lives and of course your own. Just think of it you could one day truly make the world are far better place. Now that really is job satisfaction!

So if you think you have the compassion and understanding that is required with counselling and are good at communicating with people and listening to them, counselling would be a fantastic career choice for you.

So if you’ve been inspired and want to start your training to becoming a counsellor let’s help to get you started on this exciting new path in your life.

How do I become a counsellor?

So you’ve decided that you want a career in counselling, well done! Now let’s explain to you in more detail the options that are open to you.

There are currently no statutory regulations in this field of work however you can greatly improve your prospects by aiming for a membership in a professional body for example The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

BACP recommends to anyone wanting to become a full time counsellor they should complete training that has been accredited by an awarding body. There are many ways to train to become a counsellor including:

  • An introductory course which is part time and lasts around 10 or 12 weeks to complete which covers the basic ideas and skills that are required for a job in counselling.
  • A certificate in counselling skills, this is a part time course and lasts for one year, here you will learn about counselling theories, ethics, self awareness and practical counselling skills. This is also a great course for anyone maybe not wanting to become a fully qualified counsellor but may want to work in a job where you have to help people.
  • A diploma or advanced  diploma in counselling, this is a much more detailed study of counselling ethics and theory, with this course there will also be a supervised work placement. The course requires a minimum 400 hours of study and is usually completed over two or three years.

You will find that accredited courses are widely available to you through training centres and of course local colleges. Universities also offer counselling courses starting at foundation degree to postgraduate level.

If you would like to study from the comfort of your home then the home study option would be great for you, this is the ideal choice for anyone who cannot commit themselves to full time studying the traditional way. Of course you can put as much time into your course as you wish and take things as quickly or as slowly as you like, that’s the great thing about home study courses, it’s entirely up to you how you arrange your study time and carry on with your other demands and commitments.

The rough estimated time for completing a course is around the five month mark, however as we said earlier you may be able to complete your course quicker than this or a far way after, it really doesn’t matter, take your own time. Always check this though as different home study courses may well have a time limit.

an image of a counsellor at work
Some home study courses will offer you to pay your fees in instalments if you wish, and some will also offer a guarantee, so that if you’re not entirely happy with your course you can have your money back, not all courses offer this though so check before you sign up.

Your tutor will mark your work and this is the person that you contact with any problems that you may have about your studies. You can send your work by fax, email and post.

Once you have successfully completed your course you would have earned your Diploma in Counselling, which will be your first step towards a successful career as a self employed counsellor, and setting up your own counselling practice, either from your own home or business premises.

How much can you earn as a counsellor?

Full time counsellors typically earn around 19,000 to 26,000 a year. If you have the extra responsibility of supervising someone else then you can expect your earnings to reach £30,000 to £40,000 a year. If you’re a counsellor in a private practice you can typically charge £30.00 to £50.00 an hour. Some counsellors are volunteers and so go unpaid.

Final Thoughts…

Well that’s about it, as you can see becoming a counsellor really is a great opportunity to help others at their time of need and you get fantastic job satisfaction just knowing that you really have given them a new lease of life and hope for the future.

We hope we have helped you on your journey to becoming a counsellor and have provided you with the information that you required. Good luck with your future studies in becoming a counsellor!