Becoming a Counsellor

Becoming a counsellor.jpg

If you are interested in becoming a counsellor then our range of distance learning courses could be the perfect first step into this field.

You don't need a degree to become a counsellor, although a combination of theoretical study and practical experience is the best starting point to make sure counselling is the right career for you.

Our range of counselling courses are ideal for anyone interested in gaining an introduction to Counselling or for those wishing to gain a relevant certificate in this subject.

You may register at any time and have a full year to complete your studies. You also have access to a personal tutor by mail and as the courses are self-study, you can complete them in as little or as long a time as you prefer with an initial 12 month support period.All of the courses are paper-based materials and can be delivered to you within two working days.

The Introduction to Counselling - Level 2 Course is a beginner's course designed to give you an underpinning knowledge of the subject area. The Counselling - Level 3 Course includes the same 8 units from the Introduction Course, but also includes an additional 8 units designed to take you further into the subject area. The Counselling and Psychotherapy - Level 4 Course is also fine for beginners but will also cover additional areas and lead to a higher level Certificate.

As well as the above listed courses, we also have the following courses specific to different areas of Counselling and Coaching:

Insurance Requirements, Practical Experience and Professional Body Membership:

Counselling is an unregulated area, so you don't currently need formal qualifications to become a counsellor, although to practice independently as a counsellor you would need to take out relevant insurance. To obtain insurance, you would need to be a member of a relevant counselling organisation. Some insurance companies have specific qualifying requirements, so you would need to check with them or seek advice from a counselling organisation.

As our courses are theory-based courses, designed to give students a starting knowledge of the subject, we also advise trying to gain as much practical experience as you can by volunteering with suitable organisations such as Alcohol Concern, The Samaritans, Child Line, Relate or one of the many organisations who are looking for suitable volunteers.

Counselling Organisations:


The BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a large organisation, which recommends a three stage route taking three or four years. As well as studying an introductory course, they recommend spending a lot of time on independent study and supervised voluntary placements to gain relevant experience and, in some cases, personal therapy.

Once you have this experience, they recommend studying an Ofqual regulated Level 2 Certificate Qualification before progressing to Diploma Level Core practitioner training. These courses are usually classroom-based and can take one year full-time or two years' part-time study.

Once you have reached this third step, you would be eligible for BACP membership. Further information on student membership can be found here.


The ACCPH (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists) is an independent professional body and register for counsellors, coaches, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists. They offer membership options for students who have completed study by blended and home distance learning providing they are of a specific nationally recognised standard. They can also assist with Insurance for members.

You can find out more information about ACCPH on their website.

The National Counselling Society:

The National Counselling Society was first setup in 1999 and it holds an accredited register of all members, allowing them to display the AR quality mark, as a sign that they belong to an organisation which meets the Authority's rigorous standards.

They have varying levels of membership and students should contact them about becoming a member and for further information on the application process and the available membership options.

Further Education:

It is hard to advise what the best course will be for students after completing an introductory course but, as with most industries, it is advisable to gain as much experience as possible and gain Diploma or Degree level qualifications. If this is your final aim, then we advise researching the job market for Counselling roles to see what courses are available and what the prerequisites are for acceptance on the courses.