Counsellors provide information on vocational, relationship, social and educational difficulties and issues, and work with people to help them to identify and define their emotional issues through therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy and other talking therapies.
working with clients on career, study and employment options by obtaining and examining information relevant to their abilities and needs
providing information and resources to assist clients with job-seeking skills
assessing client needs in relation to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse
conducting counselling interviews with individuals, couples and family groups
assisting the understanding and adjustment of attitudes, expectations and behaviour to develop more effective interpersonal and marital relationships
presenting alternative approaches and discussing potential for attitude and behaviour change
consulting with clients to develop rehabilitation plans taking account of vocational and social needs
contributing information, understanding and advice on the learning and behaviour of students, especially those with special needs, and assisting parents and teachers in dealing with these needs
May work in a call centre
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 27,800 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 51% of people employed as Counsellors work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 15 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $1,652 per week, this is higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,476
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,238
Median hourly earnings are $45, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Counsellors||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Counsellors||All Jobs Average|
Around 63% of Counsellors live in capital cities, similar to the all jobs average of 62%.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Counsellors is 45 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 77% of the workforce. This is 29 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Counsellors||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||6.9||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in counselling, psychology, social work or another related field is usually needed to work as a Counsellor. Some workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification.
Registration with the state or territory teaching board is required to teach in schools.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Community Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Counsellors||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||37.3||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||1.7||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Counsellors who can communicate clearly and are caring and compassionate.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
59%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Looking for ways to help people.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
57%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
54%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
45%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
99%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
89%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
73%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
63%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
62%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
46%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
45%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
33%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
32%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
31%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
29%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
28%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
21%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
19%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
14%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
54%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
43%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
43%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
See details that are far away.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
85%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
85%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
82%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
81%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
80%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
78%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
73%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
70%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
69%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
68%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
67%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
67%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
66%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
65%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
65%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
63%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
58%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
58%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
44%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Talk with people face-to-face.
99%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
98%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Use electronic mail.
Talk on the telephone.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
94%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
92%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
86%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
84%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
76%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
75%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
Work to strict deadlines.
68%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
68%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
67%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
64%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
61%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-3031.03 - Counseling Psychologists.