Why study counselling online? Because distance learning is the most convenient way to gain professional accreditation.
- You can prepare to be a counsellor by studying online and doing some face-to-face classes and training.
- Online degrees in counselling are available through a selection of Australian universities and colleges.
Distance learning courses are popular with (i) people looking to change careers and (ii) professionals already working in community welfare.
Study Counselling Online
Studying counselling online is a convenient way to launch a new career or upgrade your skills and qualifications.
If you don’t have a degree, a Bachelor of Counselling (or equivalent) is the best way to become a professional counsellor.
- Large sections of bachelor courses may be studied externally.
- Professional counsellors often hold bachelor degrees in social work or psychology.
If you have a university degree of some kind, you can become qualified by completing a graduate diploma or masters program. Professional (qualifying) courses are only available in mixed mode format (which combine online study with in-person classes and work placements).
What Counsellors Do
Counselling is a relationship-based process. A practitioner needs to build trust and understanding with clients. Counsellors help people to
- evaluate themselves
- accept responsibility for their actions
- make good choices going forward.
Counsellors need a well developed understanding of themselves, strong empathy, a desire to help people, and an interest in social justice.
A healthy dose of life experience is also important. Counsellors assist people to make changes in thinking and decision-making. Ideally, you should know first-hand about internal transformation and growth.
A successful career as a counsellor is generally underpinned by recognised qualifications and something extra beyond basic counselling skills.
- Nearly all professional roles call for a bachelor degree or postgraduate qualification, not just a basic diploma.
- A professional degree in Counselling, Social Work or Psychology is a standard requirement for counselling jobs.
Training and experience in the field where you want to do counselling, such as in teaching, nursing or social work, allows you to provide expert guidance.
For guaranteed recognition of your qualification, you can choose an online counselling course that's listed by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
Bachelor of Counselling Degrees
Studying counselling at an undergraduate level gives you the opportunity to learn about more than counselling. Australian universities offer distance education programs where you can combine counselling with other disciplines, such as community welfare and psychology.
ACAP Bachelor of Counselling
The Australian College of Applied Psychology offers a fully accredited Bachelor of Counselling degree that can studied in blended mode (combining online and on-campus study). ACAP runs the course in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. It includes 250 hours of supervised work placements. The program gives students practical skills and theoretical foundations for working as a professional counsellor.
ECU Bachelor of Counselling
Edith Cowan University in Perth offers a 3-year Bachelor of Counselling online degree. The program provides the academic foundations for being a counsellor. Students can choose to major in Social Sciences, Arts or Business. ECU also offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology and Counselling.
USQ Bachelor of Human Services
The University of Southern Queensland offers a major in Counselling as part of the Bachelor of Human Services degree. Students study another discipline as a minor, with preference given to Child and Family. Some on-campus attendance (in Toowoomba, Fraser Coast or Springfield) is required for professional accreditation.
Masters and Graduate Diplomas
Postgraduate counselling courses give students the opportunity to gain accreditation or, for practising counsellors, to further their professional development.
A graduate diploma or masters degree is the normal path for graduates of other disciplines who want professional qualifications.
- Graduate diploma and masters courses can both take up to 2 years.
- You may also need to take such a course if you have completed a bachelor degree in counselling that is not recognised by PACFA.
Fully online courses are unavailable since some important training elements call for face-to-face instruction – it's counselling after all.
ACAP postgraduate courses
The Australian College of Applied Psychology offers postgraduate study of counselling in the blended mode format, which requires some on-campus attendance. The 2-year Graduate Diploma of Counselling course is run in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. The 2-year Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy is available in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.