Counsellors are health professionals who talk to you about issues in your life and suggest ways that can help you deal with these areas of concern.  They may specialise in areas such as health, drug and alcohol problems, relationships, employment, grief and loss, stress management, child development, or abuse issues.

Where counsellors are employed

Many counsellors are self-employed in their own counselling practices.

Counsellors may also work in community service organisations, hospitals, schools, clinics and government departments. Large corporations and organisations often employ counsellors who specialise in workplace or organisational counselling.

Competition is often strong for available work.


Full-time counsellors in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scales for counsellor

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 802 people employed full-time as counsellors in South Australia, compared with 812 in 2006.

How to become one

You can work as a counsellor without formal qualifications. However, entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in counselling. You may be able to study through distance education. You can also become a counsellor by completing a degree in counselling, psychology or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) with English. For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities, visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Licencing or registration requirements

There are currently no licensing or registration requirements for counsellors.

Most employers will require candidates to hold membership or professional recognition with relevant industry bodies. The Australian Counselling Association and the South Australian Branch of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia can provide professional guidance to meet local industry needs.

Recognition of qualifications obtained outside Australia

If you have overseas gained qualifications and or experience as a counsellor there are options for you to gain recognition to meet the industry requirements and standards.

  • You may be able to have your skills assessed to the minimum education level required by industry through a registered training provider authorised to deliver the relevant course. To find more information about the current courses available and training providers – search find a training course.
  • Apply for recognition and membership through the industry bodies – Counselling Association of South Australia or the Australian Counselling Association.

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Skilled Arrival Services on 08 8303 2420 or email

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Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information. 
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