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Study & Careers

If you are considering a career in counselling or psychotherapy, it can be difficult to choose from the many counselling and psychotherapy courses on offer. The counselling and psychotherapy profession is not regulated by government which means there is no specific course needed in order to be recognised as a professional in this field.

It is important to choose a course that will not only provide sufficient preparation to practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist, but that will enable you to become a registered practitioner. Registration will be important for your professional recognition once you are qualified.

The best way to ensure your training will address both of these needs is to choose a course that has been accredited by PACFA. For a list of PACFA-Accredited courses, go to the Accredited Courses page.

As a peak body that provides self-regulation of the counselling and psychotherapy profession, PACFA sets high standards for training and ethical practice which must be met in order to be eligible for registration with PACFA.

PACFA National Register

Registration is a two-step process – joining one of the PACFA Member Associations and, once you have gained sufficient supervised practice experience, applying to PACFA for listing on the PACFA Register. There are also annual renewal requirements to maintain Member Association membership and PACFA registration.

For more information on the Register and its eligibility requirements, go to the National Register page.

When selecting a Member Association to join, look at the list of Member Associations on the Member Associations page to see which one(s) you would be interested in joining, given your location and preferred practice modality. You should contact the association and speak directly with them about your longer term goals and the course(s) you are considering. The Member Association should be able to advise you whether the course you are considering is recognised by them for full membership.

PACFA Training Standards

If you wish to come under the PACFA registration umbrella, you will need to study a course that meets the PACFA Training Standards, and is recognised by the PACFA Member Association you wish to join. For details of PACFA’s Training Standards, please see the Training Standards page.

The PACFA Training Standards require training that is equivalent to undergraduate or post-graduate qualifications in counselling or psychotherapy. So, while many people undertake their counselling or psychotherapy training at a university, there are also other options.

For further information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions.