PACFA 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.

The PACFA Training Standards came into effect on 8 October 2020.

The Traning Standards require education and training in counselling, psychotherapy or Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices 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 PACFA Training Standards.

Membership Pathways 

Applicants whose training is accredited by PACFA as meeting the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards may apply for PACFA membership or registration under the Accredited Training Pathway. 

Applicants whose training is equivalent to the PACFA Training Standards may apply for PACFA membership or registration via the Equivalent Training Pathway. The requirements are the same as the requirements for the Accredited Training Pathway, except that the training program is not accredited by TEQSA, ASQA or PACFA. As these training programs are not accredited by PACFA, the program must be assessed by PACFA against the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards in terms of curriculum, volume of learning and supervised practice requirements.

Where an applicant’s professional training and supervised practice do not fit the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards or equivalent, they may apply via RPL. All overseas trained applicants are required to apply to PACFA via the Recognition of Prior Learning Pathway. RPL applicants must demonstrate how the totality of their training and experience is equivalent to the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards. RPL applicants are required to provide substantial evidence in accordance with the Guidelines for Recognition of Prior Learning

For details of all membership pathways, see the Eligibility 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.

Questions about the PACFA Training Standards

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