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 formal qualification in counselling, psychology, social work or a related field is needed to work as a Counsellor. VET (Vocational Education and Training) and university are both common study pathways for Counsellors.

    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

    All Counsellors

    • $1,584 Weekly Pay
    • Very strong Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 25,900 workers Employment Size
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • 51% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 41 hours Average full-time
    • 45 years Average age
    • 77% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Counsellors (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 25,900 in 2018 to 30,500 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 22,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 4,400 a year).

    • Size: This is a large occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
    • Location: Counsellors work in many regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Education and Training; and Public Administration and Safety.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,584 per week (similar to the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Around half work full-time (51%, less than the average of 66%), showing there are many opportunities to work part-time.
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 41 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 45 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (51%).
    • Gender: 77% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200815300
    200923700
    201026700
    201113100
    201218200
    201319800
    201419200
    201520400
    201619700
    201724200
    201825900
    202330500

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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 Earnings15841460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Health Care and Social Assistance47.4
    Education and Training36.0
    Public Administration and Safety4.2
    Other Services3.3
    Other Industries9.1

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateCounsellorsAll Jobs Average
    NSW30.431.6
    VIC28.125.6
    QLD18.920.0
    SA7.27.0
    WA10.110.8
    TAS2.02.0
    NT1.51.0
    ACT2.01.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketCounsellorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.5-5.05.0
    20-244.9-9.39.3
    25-3421.3-22.922.9
    35-4422.3-22.022.0
    45-5423.4-21.621.6
    55-5911.6-9.09.0
    60-649.1-6.06.0
    65 and Over6.9-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). 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 Certificate37.3-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree35.5-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma13.4-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV5.5-21.121.1
    Year 125.6-18.118.1
    Year 110.9-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below1.7-12.512.5

    A formal qualification in counselling, psychology, social work or a related field is needed to work as a Counsellor. VET (Vocational Education and Training) and university are both common study pathways for Counsellors.

    You will need to registered with the state or territory teaching board if you want to work in schools. Membership with The Australian Counselling Association may also be useful.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • national police check
    • working with vulnerable people and children check

    Thinking about study or training?

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

    • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
    • 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.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    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.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Therapy and counselling

      99% Skill level

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

    2. Psychology

      97% Skill level

      Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

    3. Customer and personal service

      89% Skill level

      Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

    4. Sociology and anthropology

      73% Skill level

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

    5. English language

      66% Skill level

      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 skills and 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.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Face-to-face discussions

      100% Important

      Talk with people face-to-face.

    2. Indoors, heat controlled

      99% Important

      Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

    3. Freedom to make decisions

      98% Important

      Have freedom to make decision on your own.

    4. Electronic mail

      98% Important

      Use electronic mail.

    5. Telephone

      97% Important

      Talk on the telephone.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and 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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