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How to Become a Counsellor in Australia - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

How to Become a Counsellor in Australia - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

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/ How to Become a Counsellor in Australia - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

Why Study Counselling?

Becoming a Counsellor means you can help people learn to overcome problems they face in their everyday lives including giving direction about their relationships, career problems or any other personal set-backs, as well as providing valuable mental health counselling to those in emotional need.

It’s a great position to be in because as you train to be a worker in this profession, you might decide to become a Youth Worker, Life Coach, Mental Health Worker, or even specialise in Psychology. Below is everything you need to know about starting your career

Job Outlook & Careers

how and why to be an electrician - job outlook chart

The graph shows historical and projected (to 2020) employment levels (thousands) for Counsellors.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and projections to 2020.

Over the five years to November 2019, the number of job openings for this profession is expected be between 5,001 and 10,000. This change in job openings for those who work in counselling can arise as a result of employment growth and/or people leaving the occupation.

Employment for wokers in this profession, a medium-sized occupation, rose strongly in the past five years. This very strong employment growth trend for this career area is expected to continue to November 2020.

Counsellor Salary

What can you earn in this job role in Australia? The graph shows historical and projected (to 2020) employment levels (thousands) for this profession.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and projections to 2020.

Over the five years to November 2019, the number of job openings for people in this profession is expected be between 5001 and 10,000. This change in job openings for Counsellors can arise as a result of employment growth and/or people leaving the occupation.

Employment for workers in this area of heath, a medium-sized occupation, rose strongly in the past five years. This very strong employment growth trend is expected to continue to November 2020.

Counsellor Weekly Work Hours

counsellor-salary-chart

The graph shows the average weekly hours (by gender and full-time and part-time) worked for this occupation, compared with all occupations. 

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average.

A full-time role in this profession works an average of 36.7 hours per week. This is below the 40.2 average weekly hours worked by full-time employees in all occupations. Also, in comparison to all occupations, only 48.5% of workers in this profession hold a full-time position, which is relatively low.

Counsellor Age Profile

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average.

The good news is that many people in this profession continue to work well into their later years. In fact, over 9% of the current workforce is over age 65. 5.4% of workers are aged 20-24 years old and the median age of a Counsellor is 47 years.

From an overall perspective, age groups in this profession are split into two main groups: 25-34 years and 45-54 years, providing a diverse mix of youth and experience on the job depending on which area of counselling you’re interested in. This is one profession where life experience is of high value. 

Counsellor Education Levels

Counsellor-education-levels-chart

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Survey of Education and Work (SEW).

The most common level of educational attainment for a worker in this profession is Advanced Diploma/Diploma (28.5%). Followed by a Bachelor Degree and Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate.

Counsellors in short supply: Trends 

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average.

The main employing industry of people who work in counselling in Australia is health care and social assistance, which hires more than half (56.9%) of all workers. This is followed behind by Education and Training (31.7%) and Public Administration and Safety (6.4%).

The New South Wales Department of Education implemented in 2015 sponsored training programs to attract and retain teachers in areas of need, including School Counselling. Based on the NSW Government’s 2015 Teaching Workforce Supply and Demand report, School Counsellors is one teaching category which lags behind. Source: HR System, March 2015.

What Counselling Qualification Do You Need?

Diploma of Counselling

This is an ideal course to take as your first step towards becoming a Counsellor. The course has been structured to teach and equip you with a range of skills so that you can communicate effectively, work within a case management framework, and provide mental health, behavioural, or emotional assistance to anyone whether its clients or co-workers.

Certificate IV in Youth Work 

There are many young people in need of help. This Youth Worker course will teach you how to listen and understand the problems young people face. It will also equip you with skills on how to interact with families and guardians of children and teens, as well as how to respond to critical situations where a young person is at risk or is experiencing homelessness. The potential career outcomes from taking this course could include becoming a Community Development Youth Worker, Indigenous Youth Worker, and Youth Case Worker.

Certificate in Life Coaching

This specialised Life Coach course will provide training on how you can help someone manage emotions, identify and set goals, and address any issues surround their self-esteem, beliefs, and expectations. At the same time, this Life Coach course will give a glimpse into how you can establish your own life coach practice, teaching you skills on how draw up a business plan, and how to market and promote your business.

Why Study Counselling through Open Colleges?

Open Colleges’ Counselling courses are delivered online, giving you the flexibility to enrol anytime of the year and study at your own pace.

Among other things, you'll learn how to develop, facilitate and monitor all aspects of case management, and to recognise and respond to individuals at risk, much similar to how these 25 top counsellors have helped people.

You’ll also learn how to work within a structured counselling framework and to apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills. Other skills include facilitating the counselling relationship and applying personality and development theories. Have a look at Your Career in Counselling (infographic).

Your course includes comprehensive student support to help you throughout your study. Some of the diplomas and certificates allow you to graduate with a government-accredited, nationally recognised qualification that can boost your chances of employment and more opportunities to accelerate your learning even further.

Interview with a professional 

Anna Michalopoulos

Psychologist / Mental Health Team Leader @Youth Off The Streets

In two sentences, tell us a bit about your role.

My role as a health care professional is to listen and provide support to clients, and work with the client to produce strategies and techniques for change in an area or problem in their life. Another important role to play as a Counsellor in my industry is to work with the client at their pace and deal with what is going on with that client on a given day; this can change from day to day and week to week.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My role involves counselling and acting as a Youth Worker for up to 15 young people every week; this can be done over the telephone or face to face, due to the transient nature of our clientele.

I also attend many sites, including Youth Off The Streets schools, where I provide drug and alcohol education classes. I conduct counselling and group support at Youth Off The Streets Dunlea Drug and Alcohol Youth Service day program. I provide staff training, support and mental health counselling for young people at our Don Bosco drug and alcohol crisis centre.

My day-to-day role also includes supervising psychology student placements. We currently have three students completing their placement at various services within the organisation.

Additionally, I provide peer supervision to other psychology staff members and also receive clinical supervision on a regular basis to meet the Australian Psychology board requirements.

What are the best parts of trining in this profession? 

Working in this job has many great parts, but one that really stands out for me is the experience of working with homeless and disadvantaged young people and witnessing the young people that let you into their life, trusting you to tell their story.

Another rewarding part of this job is when you work with a young person in counselling for a period of time and then they go on to graduate from school. While on stage speaking about their experiences at Youth Off the Streets they often mention the people who really helped them by name and talk about how much working together has helped them and how much they appreciate and value the counselling relationship. This is a really powerful moment for me.

What skills/attributes do potential workers need to have?

Having tertiary qualifications in psychology or counselling is important when working in this field. Counselling experience, preferably drug and alcohol counselling experience, also helps. Great passion for working as a Youth Worker with disadvantaged and homeless young people and be willing to work within the Youth Off The Streets PRIDE values: Passion, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Engagement.

What are your favourite things about working in Counselling? 

Working with people and being part of the process of making changes in their lives. Earning peoples trust in a counselling relationship. Seeing clients make positive changes in their lives. Listening to young people’s stories, as each individual is amazing and their stories are inspiring.

Thanks, Anna, for sharing your story with Open Colleges.

Think you’re ready to take the next steps?

If you’ve been thinking about working in counselling and know that you can personally make a difference to people’s lives, fill in your details below to receive a course guide and a consultation with an Enrolment Consultant. Find your awesome today!

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