Psychology & Counselling
How to become a counsellor in UK?
Counsellors assist individuals, families, groups and communities in identifying their problems and improving their mental health. If you desire to know how to become a counsellor in the UK and build a rewarding career, this blog will serve your purpose. You will understand how to earn a university degree and the alternative ways to become a counsellor without a university degree.
In addition, you will also recognise the required qualifications, their salary and more.
Let’s get started!
How to Become a Counsellor?
A counsellor is a trained professional who helps people identify problems in their lives and help them resolve the same. They allow clients to reflect on what is happening to them and consider alternative ways. A counsellor’s primary work is listening to clients carefully and showing empathy and respect when clients talk about their problems.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) says that “Counsellors and psychotherapists play a crucial role in improving the health and wellbeing of our society. They help people talk about their feelings, think about their choices or behaviour, and make positive changes in their lives.”
The first step to becoming a counsellor is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. You are free to study any subject you like before moving on to a master’s program. After that, before applying for jobs, you can also complete an internship and do some professional training. In the final stage, become a member of a professional body, for example,
- British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
- The National Counselling Society (NCP)
- UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- National Counselling Society (NCS)
What Qualifications Do you Need to be a Counsellor?
To become a qualified counsellor in the UK, you must have a degree/diploma level foundation. Some counsellors like- registered nurses, occupational therapists, and social workers need clinical/professional qualifications in their respective domains.
Moreover, a genomic counsellor (specialised in medical genetics) must complete an accredited master’s program in genetic counselling to gain excellence as a counsellor. Also, if you are interested in working in psychology, criminology, sociology, health and social care, and social work, you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field.
Core Practitioner Training:
You will gain the necessary skills, information, and competence by doing the core practitioner training required to start working as a counsellor. Your basic practitioner training should include a degree in counselling, but it could also have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate.
Your training should also consist of a comprehensive professional practitioner training programme based on internationally recognised quality and competence criteria that teaches competent, reflective and ethical practice. These courses are usually offered by schools or universities that specialise in further or higher education.
It must include the following to meet the membership and accreditation requirements:
Psychological theories and their application to practice, common drugs, ethics and the law, philosophy, human development, group functioning and supervision.
Critical awareness of research findings, methodology, and application.
Self-awareness, reflective practice, monitoring and evaluation, connection development, communications, strategies and interventions, and supervision.
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How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Counsellor
So to start your career as a counsellor, your classroom-based course should last at least 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time. It should also involve at least 100 hours of supervised placements, allowing you to work within an organisation and practice your abilities with clients while under supervision.
The experience level required to become a counsellor in the UK depends on what degree you are willing to pursue. You have to complete one to six years to become a qualified counsellor. Following steps usually takes up –
- Bachelor’s degree: 4 years
- Master’s degree: 1-2 years
- Doctoral degree: 3-5 years
- Experience: 1-2 years
- License: 6 months
- Training: 1-2 years
How do I get to experience as a counsellor?
The first step is determining what field you want to pursue as a counsellor. Counsellors typically work with specialised patients and provide specific types of treatment and therapy. The education you choose helps your career objectives and outcomes.
Once you select, be ready to begin researching education programs. For example, if you are just starting to figure out how to become a counsellor, your courses may include some liberal arts study besides general psychology and counselling classes. Your coursework will likely focus more on subjects that pinpoint your speciality area as you progress.
If you’re interested in building a successful career in counselling, know the Different types of Counsellors:
We found a wide range of specialities in counselling. Choose a suitable one-
- Mental Health Counsellor – They take care of Mental health and provides psychological care to patients, such as sufferer of chronic mental or psychological difficulties, trauma, depression, addiction, phobias, etc.
- Educational Counsellor – An academic counsellor assists and guides students. They monitor results and encourage students in their education and career development areas.
- Child Counsellor- Child counsellors deal with children’s mental and emotional problems. They work on the difficulty of children’s families or life circumstances. Child counsellors try to resolve the issues and apply the proper method to overcome them.
- Career Counsellor- A career counsellor helps clients determine the right career path and opportunities. To provide them with a better service, a career counsellor conduct some personality tests to encourage the client.
- Rehabilitation Counsellor- Rehabilitation counsellors work with individuals to improve their physical and emotional well-being. They assist those struggling with their personal, social, or physical disabilities.
- Relationship Counsellor – Relationship counsellors help people solve their relationship problems with family and others. They use various techniques during counselling to help the clients.
- Online Counsellor- You can consult an online therapist or counsellor. Online appointments help a client seek counselling on any day, any time. Online counsellors deliver sessions by video or telephone.
On the contrary, if you are willing to become a counsellor without a degree, then you need to approach an online learning platform and get a certification in counselling. This will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of counselling at your own pace. Also, to polish your skills, you can take job experience and training in the same domain.
How To Become a Counsellor Without a Degree?
It is possible to become a counsellor in the UK, even without a degree. All you have to do is some training or certificate course. Many colleges, universities, professional institutions and e-learning platforms offer various certificates. The best part of choosing the online study is you can gain the certification that too at your own pace. You can also find certification programs on your state government’s department of health website.
Some educational institutions also provide the learners with apprenticeships to help them build a solid foundation for their careers as a counsellor. Along with this, you participate in many training programmes online. Once you gain the certification and/or complete your apprenticeship, you can join any entry-level job to give a head start to your career as a professional counsellor.
How much do Counsellors earn in the UK?
Many NGOs and MNC need experts for particular projects on a contractual or permanent basis. It is creating a window of new opportunities. Counsellor’s wages depend on the-
- Type of employer
- Private practice
Income figures are calculated as a guide only.
- The national average salary for a Counsellor is £28,881.
- Salary trajectory in the United Kingdom –
- £34,525 /yr – Counsellor
- £34,004 /yr – Senior Counsellor
- £31,856 /yr – Team Lead Counsellor
- Starting salaries of counsellors can differentiate in the region of £20,000 to £26,000.
- Experienced counsellors can earn between £30,000 and £40,000, and some specialist counsellors earn higher salaries than this.
- NHS usually follows the Agenda for Change – pay rates, Jobs are often advertised at Band 5, 6, or 7.
- There is no standard scale of fees for private practice work, and rates are changing, typically between £40 and £80 for a 50-minute session.
- Hourly rates may be £30-£60. for more experienced counsellors
But those who work voluntarily don’t receive any salary, for example, helplines.
In the UK, each local authority has a designated NHS-funded organisation that offers low-cost or free counselling for those it needs. Counsellors also can work from home. The working hours of the counsellor can differ depending upon the nature of the job. For example, working hours are typically 9 am to 5 pm; however, some posts may require evening or weekend work to match the busy schedule of clients.
Although opportunities for paid work in counselling are increasing, many jobs are part-time or voluntarily, developing several opportunities for flexible working and job sharing.
Depending on individual caseloads and the workplace, counsellors can attend to clients for 20 hours per week.
A counsellor promotes and empowers people to overcome stress by using effective strategies to become organised and efficient in their work. Many training programs are available to become a qualified counsellor. The central aspect of the blog is to help you resolve your concern about how to become a counsellor in the UK, and I hope it has served its purpose.