Counsellors provide information on vocational, relationship, social and educational difficulties and issues, and work with people to help them to identify and define their emotional issues through therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy and other talking therapies.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually required. Around four in five workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

Tasks

  • working with clients on career, study and employment options by obtaining and examining information relevant to their abilities and needs
  • providing information and resources to assist clients with job-seeking skills
  • assessing client needs in relation to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse
  • conducting counselling interviews with individuals, couples and family groups
  • assisting the understanding and adjustment of attitudes, expectations and behaviour to develop more effective interpersonal and marital relationships
  • presenting alternative approaches and discussing potential for attitude and behaviour change
  • consulting with clients to develop rehabilitation plans taking account of vocational and social needs
  • contributing information, understanding and advice on the learning and behaviour of students, especially those with special needs, and assisting parents and teachers in dealing with these needs
  • May work in a call centre

Job Titles

  • Careers Counsellor or Adviser
  • Drug and Alcohol Counsellor
  • Family and Marriage Counsellor
  • Rehabilitation Counsellor
  • Student or School Counsellor
  • Other Counsellors
  • Careers Counsellor or Adviser

    Provides individuals and groups with information about career choices and assists individuals with self-development.

  • Drug and Alcohol Counsellor

    Provides support and treatment for people with drug and alcohol dependency problems, develops strategies which assist them to set goals and affect and maintain change, and provides community education. May work in a call centre.

  • Family and Marriage Counsellor

    Assists individuals, couples and families with marriage and relationship difficulties. May work in a call centre.

    Specialisations: Family Court Counsellor

  • Rehabilitation Counsellor

    Assists physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged people to reintegrate into work and the community.

  • Student or School Counsellor

    Provides information and assistance to students, parents and teachers about a wide range of matters such as students' personal problems, learning difficulties and special requirements.

  • Other Counsellors

    Includes Gambling Counsellor, Grief Counsellor, Life Coach, Sexual Assault Counsellor, Trauma Counsellor. Occupations in this group may work in a call centre.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,330 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    very strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    20700
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    21.2%
  • Female Share

    78.8%
  • Full-Time Share

    54.0%

Find Vacancies

This is a medium sized occupation employing 20,700 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Counsellors work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Health Care and Social Assistance; Education and Training; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Part-time work is fairly common, but more than half work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 37.1 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,330 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly mature. The average age is 46 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • Around 8 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200515900
200615400
200718700
200818800
200927900
201018300
201115400
201218200
201319800
201420100
201520700
202025500

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsCounsellorsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings13301230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryCounsellorsAll Jobs Average
Full-time5468.4
Part-time4631.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)37.140

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Health Care and Social Assistance44.2
Education and Training33.4
Public Administration and Safety11.1
Administrative and Support Services4
Other Industries7.3

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateCounsellorsAll Jobs Average
NSW37.831.8
VIC22.725.5
QLD2119.8
SA4.76.8
WA7.511.2
TAS22
NT2.11.1
ACT2.21.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketCounsellorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.4-5.45.4
20-244.5-9.99.9
25-3414.8-23.423.4
35-4428.1-21.721.7
45-5424.6-21.121.1
55-5913.8-8.78.7
60-648.4-5.95.9
65 and Over5.4-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryCounsellorsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males21.2Males53.6
Females78.8Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationCounsellorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate35.6-8.68.6
Bachelor degree46.3-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma8-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV6.4-18.918.9
Year 120-18.718.7
Years 11 & 103.7-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually required.
Around four in five workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Counsellors who can communicate clearly and are caring and compassionate.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Psychology

    100% Important

    Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

  2. Therapy and Counseling

    100% Important

    Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

  3. Customer and Personal Service

    87% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  4. Sociology and Anthropology

    83% Important

    Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

  5. English Language

    78% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Getting Information

    93% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  2. Assisting and Caring for Others

    93% Important

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

  3. Building Good Relationships

    91% Important

    Building and keeping constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.

  4. Documenting/Recording Information

    88% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  5. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    87% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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