Going into Practice
Counselling isn't a government regulated profession, which means the title of 'counsellor' is not protected by law. Even a person with minimal training can call themselves a counsellor. However, there are recognised professional benchmarks set by counselling professional bodies and awarding organisations to ensure counsellor competence and safe practice. Counselling professional bodies provide accredited registers which confirm counsellors who have met these benchmarks.
The current minimum qualification requirement to join one of these bodies is a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling, although some professional bodies require higher level qualifications.
How do I join an accredited register?
The professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy each have different entry requirements. We've listed some examples below but please see the Professional Standards Authority website for a full list of bodies and their entry requirements.
BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy): BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy): BACP recognises CPCAB’S Level 4 Diploma (TC-L4) as an appropriate qualification to gain BACP membership, either Student Membership whilst studying or Individual Membership once qualified. Members then have 24 months to take the BACPs free online Certificate of Proficiency to gain access to the BACP register. Once on the register individuals can progress towards BACP accreditation by fulfilling the additional requirements of accreditation set by the BACP, see BACP Accreditation. Alternatively, CPCAB’s level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling – BACP Approved Practitioner Qualification will have the BACP Certificate of Proficiency facilitated directly for them by their training provider and will be able to apply directly for Individual Registration with BACP. Candidates can also be reassured that their qualification has already been approved by BACP. In addition, students who have completed a BACP accredited course can apply directly to join the BACP register.
Counsellors who have successfully achieved CPCAB's Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling may apply to register with UKCP as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. Read our information on how to apply to UKCP for further details.
During CPCAB's Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling you can apply for student membership of NCPS. On completion, students can become full members and apply for registrant status on the NCPS Accredited Voluntary Register. Students can work towards NCPS Professional Accreditation by fulfilling the additional requirements of professional accreditation set by NCPS.
Counsellors with CPCAB's Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (TC-L4) can join the COSCA Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists as a counsellor if they are practicing within an organisation that is a member of COSCA. CPCAB candidates who go on to complete the Open University Foundation Degree in Counselling are eligible for individual membership of the COSCA register.
When can I do the BACP Certificate of Proficiency (CoP)?
If you're studying for the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, once you've completed all aspects of Internal Assessment and your exam (External Assessment) you will be awarded with your certificate. Once you've received your certificate you will be able to contact BACP and make arrangements to complete the CoP.
If you're studying for the BACP Approved Practitioner Qualification Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, you will complete the CoP as part of your qualification.