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Training Standards

PACFA sets standards for training and education in the counselling and psychotherapy field.

The PACFA Training Standards provide guidance to training institutes and students on the standards of counselling and psychotherapy education that are recommended by PACFA for safe, competent and ethical practice in counselling and psychotherapy. The PACFA Training Standards also set PACFA’s minimum requirements for recognition by PACFA through PACFA membership and registration in the practising membership categories.

PACFA Training Standards 

The PACFA Training Standards (2018) came into effect on 14 April 2018.

The PACFA Training Standards are based on the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) standards and levels of learning. See www.aqf.edu.au.

Education and training in counselling and psychotherapy must be undertaken in a qualification approved by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) or the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) at either the undergraduate or postgraduate levels (AQF level 7 to 9). The minimum volume of learning requirements listed below apply to any program, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

400 hours of instruction (minimum) (applicable to AQF level 7-9).  This may be made up of:

i) 200 hours direct person-to-person instruction of which 60 hours may be synchronous online (e.g., interactive webinars).

  • This equates to (140 hours) which must be solely taught face-to-face plus (60 hours) of synchronous training
  • The central focus of this person-to-person instruction is on interpersonal skills development

ii) 200 hours of instruction may be conducted via online asynchronous training for theory-based studies.

In addition, a minimum of 40 hours of face-to-face counselling or psychotherapy practice (client contact) with 10 hours of supervision (related to client contact) must be completed within training and assessed as successful by the training provider. Successful completion of supervised practice is required to be evidenced by a log signed by the responsible supervisor(s).

Download the Training Standards (2018).

Recognition of Prior Learning Pathway

Applicants for PACFA membership or registration that have undertaken training that is not accredited by PACFA, including overseas trained applicants, are required to apply to PACFA via the Recognition of Prior Learning Pathway. For details see the RPL page.

Grandfathering Arrangements

Grandfathering arrangements apply in limited circumstances for Applicants you completed training under the former PACFA Training Standards (2014). The final cut-off date for the grandfathering scheme is 31/12/2023.

Training Standards distinguished from the PACFA Register Requirements

The PACFA Training Standards are different to the requirements for PACFA membership and registration in the practising membership categories.

The PACFA National Register Requirements require applicants to meet the PACFA Training Standards and also to meet the following requirements:

  • hold professional indemnity insurance
  • meet PACFA’s standards for ethical practice
  • meet professional development and supervision requirements annually.

For information on PACFA membership and registration, see the National Register page.

Grandfathering into PACFA membership and registration is available in limited circumstances for applicants whose training took place under the previous PACFA Training Standards 2014.

Questions about the PACFA Training Standards

Please also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for Practitioners for answers to questions about Training Standards.