Alternative titles for this job include Therapist

Counsellors help people discuss their problems and feelings in a confidential environment.

Average salary (a year)

£19,000 Starter


£47,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends attending events or appointments

How to become a Counsellor

Most employers will expect you to be qualified. You can get this through:

  • a university course
  • a college course


You could take an accredited degree, postgraduate diploma or masters in counselling. To get a job in this field, your course has to include practical skills training and supervised placements.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information


Courses include:

  • an Introduction to Counselling
  • a Certificate in Counselling
  • a Diploma in Counselling
You'd usually complete these courses in this order. 

More information

More information

Career tips

Counselling is often a second or third career, and life experience is highly valued.

Professional and industry bodies

Becoming a member of a body on the Professional Standards Authority's counselling register can improve your chances of getting a job.

Further information

Some organisations, like Relate and Cruse offer training or volunteering placements.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to understand people‚Äôs reactions
  • customer service skills
  • active listening skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • building a relationship of trust and respect
  • agreeing what will be covered in sessions
  • helping clients to talk about their concerns
  • listening carefully, asking questions and checking your understanding
  • empathising but challenging when necessary
  • helping clients to see things more clearly or differently
  • undergoing therapy yourself (needed for accreditation) and meeting your supervisor
  • keeping confidential records

Working environment

You could work in a therapy clinic, at a GP practice, at a school, at a college or from home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Competition for full-time paid work is strong and many counsellors do a mixture of part-time, voluntary and private work.

With experience, you could set up your own practice. 

You could choose to train as a counsellor supervisor or trainer. You could also move into a management or administration role.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Counsellor right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Introduction to Counselling Skills

  • Provider: Fareham College
  • Start date: 23 April 2019
  • Location: Hampshire


  • Provider: Petroc
  • Start date: 06 June 2019
  • Location: BARNSTAPLE

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