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

  • $1,330 Weekly Pay
  • 23,500 workers Employment Size
  • Very strong Future Growth
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 54.0% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 36.3 hours Average full-time
  • 48 years Average age
  • 77.1% female Gender Share

The number of Counsellors grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
from 23,500 in 2017 to 29,300 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 22,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

  • Size: This is a large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2017.
  • Location: Counsellors work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Education and Training; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: More than half work full-time (54%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%), but there are many opportunites to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 36.3 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 48 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (59.9%).
  • Gender: 77.1% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
200718000
200815400
200923700
201026800
201113200
201218200
201319900
201419300
201520700
201619700
201723500
202229300

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Assistance52.7
Education and Training25.7
Public Administration and Safety6.9
Administrative and Support Services6.5
Other Industries8.2

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 2017, 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
NSW34.331.6
VIC22.526.2
QLD21.919.7
SA6.06.7
WA9.410.8
TAS1.62.0
NT1.81.1
ACT2.61.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.0-5.25.2
20-242.3-9.99.9
25-3416.2-23.623.6
35-4421.7-21.721.7
45-5428.6-20.820.8
55-599.5-8.88.8
60-6410.1-6.06.0
65 and Over11.7-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Community Services VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-3031.03 - Counseling Psychologists.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-3031.03 - Counseling Psychologists.

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