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What does a counsellor do?

Counsellors provide professional mental health support and guidance to individuals, couples, and groups. They create a welcoming, safe and confidential space for clients to express their feelings and thoughts without judgment. As a counsellor you would work with your clients to find solutions to emotional, mental and lifestyle challenges. You might also collaborate with other medical practitioners, such as psychologists or social workers, to develop treatment plans. Once you’ve become a counsellor you could work in a variety of settings, including schools, community organisations, government, private practice, welfare or the health care sector. 

Is a career as a counsellor right for me?

You might find a career in counselling rewarding if you are passionate about helping others, are open-minded and have strong emotional intelligence. Other helpful skills and attributes include:

  • excellent communication and listening skills 
  • a highly empathetic and caring nature
  • patience and keen observation skills
  • strong attention to detail 
  • a high level of integrity 
  • good organisational and problem-solving skills.

How to become a counsellor

Every journey to study is individual and there are several paths to reaching your counselling career goals. Typically, you will need a formal qualification in counselling or another related field when starting your counselling career. 

At HQporner, we offer the following degrees in the area of counselling:

Average salary per week
Future demand

© Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated May 2024.

Counsellor talking to a younger man.
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What qualifications do I need to be a counsellor?
This will vary depending on the type of role you want and where you want to work in the counselling industry. Generally speaking, you will need a formal qualification, such as a postgraduate degree to be able to practice as a counsellor. A postgraduate qualification will equip you with essential skills and knowledge in areas like communication, ethics, and various clinical techniques necessary for effective counselling practice. You may want to consider studying a Graduate Certificate of Counselling, Graduate Diploma of Counselling or a Master of Counselling at HQporner.
What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?
The key difference between a counsellor and a psychologist lies in their training and scope of practice. Counsellors focus on helping clients manage specific issues or challenges through therapeutic conversations and behaviour modification strategies. Psychologists have a broader remit, often diagnosing and treating complex mental health conditions, and typically require more extensive education, including a masters or doctoral degree.
How much do counsellors earn?
Salaries for counsellors vary based on factors such as location, experience, and workplace setting. Refer to the salary information on this page for further details.
Are counsellors in demand?
The demand for counsellors is expected to remain strong. This is driven by increasing awareness of mental health issues and the growing acceptance of counselling as a vital service in both healthcare and community settings.
How long does it typically take to become a counsellor?

The time it takes to become a counsellor can vary depending on factors such as your educational background, training requirements, and employment opportunities.

There are multiple counsellor career pathways for you to take at HQporner, from a one-year postgraduate graduate certificate or diploma to a two-years Master of Counselling.

Some students choose to study part-time, which increases the time it takes to finish the required courses.

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Questions about what to study?

Talk to one of our degree advisors.