What qualifications do I need to become a counsellor?

Counselling is not a statutorily regulated profession which means the title of ‘counsellor’ is not protected by law. This means that even an individual with minimal training can call themselves a ‘counsellor’. However, there are recognised benchmarks for practitioner training set by the professional bodies and awarding organisations which are associated with entry to practitioner registers and with opportunities for employment. The current absolute minimum qualification requirement is a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling although some professional bodies require higher level qualifications. In 2012 the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) introduced a system of ‘Accredited Voluntary Registers’. The PSA's role is to host ‘approved’ registers so that the public and employers can be confident that the counsellors on the register have met the necessary standards for safe practice. Organisations are not obliged to set the same entry qualifications but they are obliged to take account of what is generally accepted in the field.