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What are the different types of counselling jobs in Australia?

by Chloe Baird
Posted: August 04, 2021

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The role of a Counsellor is incredibly important and can sometimes be misunderstood. Some people think that a Counsellor’s job is to simply listen to their clients and offer advice, but this is only part of the story. A Counsellor’s jobs involves much more than that, and they often play the part of advocate for their clients. 

There is a large variety of different jobs out there for Counsellors, but how much do you know about this industry and the different career paths you could take? 

Read on to discover what the role of a Counsellor is, and what kind of career path you could follow in counselling.


What does a Counsellor do in Australia? 

Counsellors work in a wide range of roles in Australia and help people in a variety of different ways.  

There is a variety of career paths you can follow as a Counsellor. But the end game is always the same – the Counsellor’s role is to help people who are struggling with a particular issue and help them to overcome these problems.  

While there are many different specialties to choose from a day in the life of a Counsellor will involve speaking with and listening to clients and providing them with focused and practical support to help them overcome the challenges in their lives. 

Why should I become a Counsellor? 

Becoming a qualified Counsellor could be a good career choice for you if you want a stable job where you can help others.  

Many people follow a career in counselling because they have a genuine motivation to help people. It’s the kind of career that is suited to those who are patient, compassionate, good listeners and possess analytical thinking skills. 

There are also practical benefits to following a career in counselling. This is a stable and growing industry that could provide you with reliable work. 

And according to the Australian government, the average salary for a full-time Counsellor is around $1,584 per week, which is higher than the national average. 

Different types of counselling jobs 

There’s more to counselling than you might first realise. As a Counsellor, there are many different paths your career could take you on.  

That’s one of the benefits of working in this sector – there are many different specialties, which means you can try a few different paths until you find your true calling.

7 common careers in counselling: 

1. Case Worker 

Case Workers generally work closely with disadvantaged and at-risk people in the community. They can work with both adults and young people, depending on their focus area.  

As a Case Worker, your job will include assisting your clients your clients in a number of different ways. You’ll do this by visiting clients at home to check on their living conditions, documenting and reporting health issues, neglect or abuse and liaising with community services. You’ll also help clients to create goals and build plans for safer, happier and healthier lives.  

2. Mental Health Counsellor 

A Mental Health Counsellor helps people who are living with mental health issues.  

A common misconception about Mental Health Counsellors is that they are there to simply to offer advice to their clients. This is only partly true. Using different psychotherapy techniques, they can help their clients to gain a clearer understanding of their issues, explore different options for getting help and develop coping strategies. So, while listening to the client and offering advice is important, it’s not the only thing a Mental Health Counsellor does. A big part of their role is helping their clients to better understand their issues, helping them gain insight which can in turn help them find coping strategies that can help them live healthier, happier lives. 

3. School Counsellor 

If you’re looking for a way to directly help young people, you could consider becoming a School Counsellor.  

School Counsellors help students with their personal and social development, as well as their academic goals. With the help of a trained School Counsellor, students can navigate the sometimes difficult school environment with confidence. Kids may also come to their School Counsellor if they’re having difficulties outside of school. 

School Counsellors help students of all ages, from primary school to high school. Like other counselling roles, their job is to listen and provide support and advice to the students they’re helping and act as advocates. 


4. Financial Counsellor 

The first thing to note here is that Financial Counsellors are not the same as Financial Advisers or Financial Planners. Financial Advisers or Planners help customers make informed decisions about where to invest their money or where their money is best spent. Their goal is to help their customers make more money, and they charge a fee for their services.  

Financial Counsellors, on the other hand, most often work for community services organisations and they assist people who are struggling financially. Financial Counsellors help people who may be in debt, can’t pay their bills on time or are unable to afford basic necessities. They may also help clients who are struggling with a gambling addiction. They help their clients by providing information and advice on how to get back on top, and they do not charge a fee.  

5. Relationship Counsellor 

A Relationship Counsellor will work with couples or families together and one-on-one. Your main focus as a Relationship Counsellor is to help people maintain healthy relationships. These relationships could be breaking down due to a number of reasons, including conflict, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, grief, stress, behavioural problems, or a wide range of other issues. Your job is to discover what the root cause of the issues is and help people work through these problems as a unit. 

6. Drug and Alcohol Counsellor 

A Drug and Alcohol Counsellor works specifically with people who are suffering from a substance use disorder. They seek to work with clients to gain a better understanding of their addiction and beat it.  

A Drug and Alcohol Counsellor will work to discover the root of the issue, and then work with the client to develop strategies to support them on their road to recovery. They may also liaise with community and rehabilitation services. 

7. Career Counsellor 

Counsellors help people with a huge range of different issues, including people who are at a crossroad in their careers.  

Sometimes, it’s necessary for someone to visit a Career Counsellor to discuss their career options if they’re unsure of what their next step should be professionally. They may work with people of all ages, from school-leavers to people who are semi-retired. 

A Career Counsellor will look at a person’s work history, education as well as motivations, aspirations and personality to help them discover the right career path.  

Do I need a qualification to become a Counsellor? 

If you’re looking to begin a career in counselling, one of the best places to start is with the CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling. 

Studying a Diploma of Counselling will give you the foundational knowledge and skills you need to build a strong and robust skillset. This could help set you on the counselling career path of your choice.  

If you choose to pursue further education at university, you may also be able to use your diploma to apply for course credit. If you’re interested in learning more about OC’s university partnerships, you can check out our university pathways page. 

Are you ready to take the first step towards building a rewarding, fulfilling career in counselling? Enrol today with OC and see where a career in counselling could take you! 





Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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