How To Become A Counsellor


Are you a warm, open person who feels like you are good at talking people through troubling situations. Becoming a counsellor might be a great career option.

To become a counsellor, you need dedication, time and passion. Taking a degree in counselling helps you learn the skills you will need to become a counsellor. Don’t want the long read? You can start searching for counselling degrees now.

Why Study Counselling?

The spotlight has never been so heavily trained on mental health in the UK. Mental health is a huge issue. Many citizens would find it hard to cope with the rigours of everyday life were it not for counselling.

As a counsellor, you get the chance to make a real difference to people’s’ lives. Your goal is to help people who have found themselves in difficult situations. You will help them to learn coping skills to assist with dealing with their problems. This can give you enormous job satisfaction that not all professions can offer.

Counselling is a skill that can be useful in your personal life, as well as your professional life. Few people want to take their work home with them, but counselling will make you a more rounded, empathetic and tolerant person. You may find that you will be able to help your friends and family through issues, whilst feeling more secure in yourself.

Upon graduation, there will be a number of exciting career choices opened up to you. If you decide not to go into the field of counselling, other options you might want to consider include:

  • Teaching (both traditional or online)
  • Personal tutoring
  • Research (for example, you might be employed by a consultancy firm in a research capacity)
  • Phone services (for example, a mental health helpline)
  • Writing

Becoming A Counsellor

Before you start on the path to becoming a counsellor, it’s worth considering if you have any of the following qualities:

  • Warmth
  • Openness
  • Tolerance
  • Empathy
  • Ability to communicate with people from various backgrounds
  • Patience
  • Resilience
  • Understanding

These qualities can develop through learning and training. However, if you have these qualities you will find them useful for a career as a counsellor. Some people who move into counselling do so as a change in career. This means that they also bring a lot of life valuable life experience with them.

There are no laws regulating the field of counselling. This means anyone can become a counsellor if they wish. The best route to becoming one is by taking an undergraduate degree in the subject at university. After that you have the option of continuing with a Masters in Counselling, or you could move into work. Although there is no regulatory body there are a number of professional bodies that offer membership. One such body is the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Counselling degrees in the UK are usually offered as part of a combined honours degree. They last three years if studied full-time.

  • 1st year acts largely as an introduction to counselling, and gives you an overview of what the vocation involves.
  • Year 2 continues the development of your skills and delves deeper into the theories and ethics of counselling.
  • 3rd year gives you the chance to specialise on a particular area, while placements are usually a core requirement.

Studying Counselling

Counselling degrees are often offered as part of a combined honours degree. This means you would need to supplement your degree with another subject, such as English Language or Theology.

You could, though, choose to partner it with something more closely related. Usually, students pair up Counselling with an obvious subject, such as Psychology. More interesting options include Criminology and Sociology.

The course blends academic work with professional practice. You will gain a variety of transferable skills, such as problem solving and communication. Your own personal development will be a subject of focus, too, and the degree will develop your sense of self-awareness.

The degree is assessed in various ways. You will be assessed on presentations, both individual and group, how you perform in lectures, as well as skill improvement work. A program may also require written course work, while there may also be end-of-year exams. It really depends on the institution at which you choose to study.

As with many undergraduate degrees, the first year of your degree in counselling won’t contribute towards your overall mark.

Counselling Entry Requirements

112 UCAS points are the bare minimum required for an interview. If you are studying A Levels, passes at A2 are essential in at least 2 subjects,

If you are studying a BTEC, DDM is usually asked for by a university, with one of your grades coming in a related subject (though this is preferred and not necessary).

Universities usually expect students to have at least a Grade C in GCSE Maths and English.

Before you are accepted onto any course, there will first be an interview to attend.

Start on the path to becoming a counsellor and search for counselling degrees now.