What Qualifications Do You Need to be A Counsellor in UK?


If you want to kick-start your career in counselling, it’s important to first understand the necessary qualifications. Otherwise, you’re like a boxer entering the ring without a mouthguard. Counselling isn’t regulated by law so anyone can call themselves a counsellor. But, you should know that getting higher qualifications can open up better or more specialised counselling jobs.

In this guide, you will discover the qualifications you need to become a successful counsellor in the United Kingdom.

University Pathways

Undergraduate Degrees in Psychology or Counselling

To become a counsellor, you usually start by getting a bachelor’s degree in Psychology or Counselling. These degrees teach you about why people think and behave as they do, the mental health issues they might have, and how you can help them through therapy. This knowledge is very important if you want to get more advanced training later on.

Postgraduate Courses in Counselling or Psychotherapy

After you finish your bachelor’s degree, it is advisable to take more classes in Counselling or Psychotherapy. These courses cover more about counselling theories and practices. This will equip you with the advanced skills and knowledge required to become a professional counsellor.

College Courses

For those who prefer a more vocational route, several college courses can also pave the way to a counselling career.

Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies

This qualification is for those who already have certifications in counselling skills and aim to become professional counsellors. It offers training in theory, ethics, and mental health. This can improve your chances of finding jobs in different support roles.

Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

After completing this qualification, you’ll be ready to work as a counsellor in healthcare and other settings. At first, you can provide counselling in organised agency setups. With more training and experience, you can move towards working independently.

Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling

This qualification teaches you what you need to know to work on your own as a counsellor or in a leadership role in organisations. You’ll learn how to assess clients, connect them with necessary services, and keep track of their progress.

BACP-Accredited Training

bacp-accredited-training-what-qualifications-do-you-need-to-be-a-counsellor-job-centre-near-me-uk To make sure counselling meets high standards, many employers like qualifications accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). These courses are known for their quality and professional training. Completing a BACP-accredited course can help you get hired, boost your reputation, and even raise your salary as a counsellor.

Pro Tip:

Check the BACP website for a list of accredited courses and providers. Choose a course that fits your career goals and meets the specific criteria set by BACP.

Personal Qualities of a Counsellor


Besides formal qualifications, certain personal qualities are essential for a successful counselling career.


Being approachable helps clients feel comfortable and open up about their issues. Having this quality will help you establish trust and rapport between you and your clients.


Empathy allows you to deeply understand and share the feelings of your clients. Having this quality will help you provide effective support and guidance.


Self-awareness ensures you are conscious of your own emotions, biases, and limitations. Having this quality helps maintain professionalism and deliver unbiased counselling for your clients.


An observant counsellor can pick up on non-verbal cues and subtle changes in a client’s behaviour. Having this quality will help you provide deeper insights into their issues.


Maintaining confidentiality is fundamental to the counselling profession. Having this quality will make your clients feel more secure knowing their personal details are safe.


As a counsellor, it’s important to listen to feedback and be ready to change how you work. This helps you keep getting better and more helpful. Having this trait will make your clients feel supported and appreciated during therapy sessions.


Becoming a counsellor is about both learning and growing as a person. Whether you pick a university degree or a vocational course, make sure your training meets recognised standards. Make sure to choose standards that are set by organisations like BACP. By developing the necessary skills and qualities, you can confidently take the next step in your career. Ready to start your journey? Submit your CV and search for jobs today!

Does your CV look so weak? Read our guide on how to write an effective counsellor CV to attract potential employers with a chance to download our free template.