This qualification is intended for candidates who have already acquired a recognised qualification in counselling skills and want to:

  • take the next step in training to become a counsellor
  • learn more about counselling theory, ethics and mental health
  • Understand the use of counselling skills in allied professions
  • be prepared for work as a professional counsellor in an agency setting

This qualification leads to employment and increases employability opportunities across a range of health, care and allied sectors, such as for those whose role is to support others in sectors such as health and social care work, teaching and learning, advocacy and mediation, support and project work, and other helping roles. It provides additional skills for those already in employment and is likely to lead to increased opportunities for promotion and advancement towards practitioner-level qualifications (TC-L4).

Entry requirements

You must have undertaken counselling skills training, e.g. our Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills or equivalent units/qualifications of at least 75 Guided Learning Hours.

Read section 5 of the Specification for further information.


The qualification is eligible in England for Advanced Learner Loans (19+).

Candidates in England may also be able to access funding according to individual entitlement criteria (e.g. related to age and/or employment status and/or prior qualifications).

For more detail see funding information.

Where to study Use our centre finder to find a 'Level 3 Certificate in Applied Counselling Studies (CAST-L3)' course.
Key Information Qualification Number 610/3341/8 Guided Learning Hours 150 hours (minimum) Total Qualification Time 320 hours Credit value 32 Minimum age 19 years
Successful learners may progress onto the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.