More and more Australians are experiencing the support and relief of seeing a qualified counsellor when in need. Counsellors assist people during difficult times and with emotional issues. A trained counsellor can provide much more than a listening ear (although this is an important part of the job). With the right counselling training (including online counselling courses) a counsellor can provide specialist therapies, give sound advice and help with goal setting and achievement. Counselling is about improving quality of life and often goes hand-in-hand with psychology, social work and medical intervention. Counselling job opportunities are often linked with other community care skills, and counselling qualifications make a major difference for career advancement to those already working in community service roles.
How to become a counsellor
If you are wondering how to become a counsellor, you need to seriously consider whether you have the personal attributes that can help with the role. If you don’t tick all the boxes below, don’t worry, you will find that many of these are attributes that will improve as you work through your counselling course online:
- A caring and compassionate nature
- Professional objectivity
- A logical approach
- The ability to deal with issues in a tactful manner
- Excellent listening skills
One of the great things about counselling is that it offers plenty of opportunity for specialisation. As a result, counselling job opportunities are varied and interesting; examples include:
- Grief counselling
- Relationship counselling
- Crisis counselling
- Alcohol and drug counselling
- Conflict resolution
- Stress management
Most people who are asking about how to be a counsellor have already had some experience in the community services sector, either as a paid employee or a volunteer. Gaining work or voluntary experience is a great place to start a career in counselling and the good news is that both of these can be easily combined with the flexibility that counselling courses online offer. You might consider taking a counselling course online alongside the following voluntary roles (there are many others available):
- Mental health service provision with Mind
- Depression and anxiety care with beyondblue
- Community volunteering with the PCYC
- Family drug support with FDS
Counselling courses online
It is worth remembering that by taking one of Upskilled’s counselling courses online, you won’t just be opening counselling job opportunities, a qualification in counselling can be a helpful step into any number of community services sector roles. Community services is currently one of Australia’s biggest growth industries and this continuing growth can only lead to more jobs. 604,167 Australians were employed within the sector in March 2017 and with a population that is continuing to age, it is clear that more community services jobs including, more specifically, counselling job opportunities are going to require filling. In other words, this is a great time to think about taking a counselling course online and kickstarting your counselling career.
Around 80% of counsellors in Australia have a Bachelor Degree but training as a counsellor can also start at Diploma level. The advantage of studying a counselling course online is the flexibility that an online course offers. For our Diploma of Counselling (CHC51015) not only do Upskilled offer the opportunity to start a course at a time that is right for you, they also offer flexibility as to when and where you study. If you have a family or if you are gaining work or voluntary experience to support your qualification, this level of flexibility can make the difference between success and failure. Our Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) (085175G) has set start dates and some study is completed on campus in either Sydney or Brisbane but it still has the option for a large element of flexible online study and most of our students find that the on campus contact and practical time at this level of study is very useful.
Counselling Courses Online with Upskilled
Method of study: online
Start dates: rolling
Example units: ‘Recognise and respond to crisis situations’, ‘apply learning theories in counselling’, ‘provide individualised support’
Job outcomes: agency or private practice counselling work
Method of study: online and on campus (or on campus)
Start dates: set
Example units: Level 100 – ‘human development across the lifespan’, Level 200 – ‘mediation and conflict management’, Level 300 – ‘working with addicted populations’
Job outcomes: graduate and future counsellor roles
Counselling course costs and duration
The costs of any training, including counselling courses online, should always be weighed up against the potential benefits to a career and increases in salary that qualification brings. Whilst counselling is, to some extent, a vocation, it is also a professional career with growing requirements across Australia. The average weekly pay for a full time counsellor in Australia is $1,330 but, according to Job Outlook, the role has strong predicted future growth with a current employment size of 20,700 and below average unemployment. It should be remembered that by taking counselling courses online you are also adding to your skillset for other jobs, some of which will offer a higher salary.
Counsellor career opportunities
Counselling forms an element of many health and social and educational roles but there are specific counselling job opportunities available for those with the required qualifications and experience who are thinking about how to become a counsellor. Some examples include,
- Drug and alcohol counsellor
Provides support for those with dependency on alcohol or drugs and assistance with goal setting and maintaining change. Often works in a community setting and may have an educational role.
- School or student counsellor
Provides a wide variety of information to students and those supporting them. Issues may include personal problems, bullying and self-esteem. Usually based within a school, college or university.
- Family and marriage counsellor
Provides assistance and advice for those experiencing relationship difficulties. Usually works in the community.
- Rehabilitation counsellor
Provides support and assistance to those seeking to move back into work and the community following a time of physical, mental or social disadvantage. Usually works in the community.
- Sexual assault counsellor
Provide support and therapy to those who have experienced a sexual assault.
If you are thinking about how to become a counsellor, whichever specialism you choose and whichever counselling course online you choose, a career in counselling can be incredibly rewarding. Upskill now and kickstart your counselling career!
To find out more about community services courses, head here or Download our FREE Community Services Industry Profile eBook.