FAQs Study & Careers

I want to do training in counselling/psychotherapy. What course should I do?

PACFA accredits counselling and psychotherapy programs. PACFA-accredited courses have been assessed as meeting PACFA’s recommended standards for quality counselling and psychotherapy education. Go to the Accredited Courses page for a list of PACFA – accredited courses. If the course you are interested in undertaking is not listed, check with the course provider to see if it meets the PACFA Training Standards.

How do I choose between the many different courses?

If you are looking for a suitable course, we suggest that you:

  • If the course you are considering is not accredited by PACFA, ask the course coordinator whether they are taking active steps to ensure their course at least meets PACFA Training Standards.
  • Request a copy of their curriculum, the hours of face-to-face teaching, philosophy, etc., and compare them with the PACFA Training Standards documents yourself.
  • The easiest way to confidently choose a course is to choose a PACFA-accredited course.

Why should I choose a PACFA-accredited course?

The easiest way to confidently choose a course is to choose a PACFA-accredited course.  PACFA-accredited courses have been assessed as meeting PACFA’s recommended standards for quality counselling and psychotherapy education.  If you wish to be listed on the PACFA National Register, choosing a PACFA-accredited course means that you would automatically be eligible to do so. For more information on the Register, go to the National Register page.

Can I fast track my course so I finish earlier?

While your training course may offer the option for you to complete your course in less than the ordinary time, you will not be eligible to list on the PACFA Register unless the course meets the PACFA’s Training Standards which requires training to be completed in a minimum of 2 years.  For more information, go to the National Register page.

I am studying/I have studied overseas. Does my course meet the PACFA Training Standards?

PACFA recognises qualifications attained overseas provided that they are equivalent to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 7-9, and meet PACFA’s Training Standards.  When applying for PACFA registration, you will need to provide evidence that your training meets the AQF equivalency requirement, through assessment by VETASSESS, and the PACFA Training Standards. If you can demonstrate that your training meets these requirements you can apply for PACFA registration. However, your qualifications will have to be assessed by PACFA and until we undertake the assessment process, we cannot advise you whether a particular overseas qualification will be recognised.

Do I need to be an Australian Citizen to practice as a Counsellor or Psychotherapist in Australia?

Australian citizenship is relevant to living and working in Australia and therefore you need to check your responsibilities with the Department of Home Affairs as well as any prospective employers. You may not be required to be an Australian citizen but you are usually required to be a Permanent Resident or to have a work permit. The Australian Government also provides information on how Australian and overseas qualifications compare to help overseas qualified people study and work in Australia. For more information, go to the VETASSESS website.

Where can I find information about available jobs for Counsellors and Psychotherapists?

Counsellors and psychotherapists work in non-profit agencies, are employed by government and schools, commercial settings or work in private practice.

The following websites advertise employment opportunities for Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Some also advertise volunteer positions for students and interns.

Will employers require me to be registered with PACFA? Am I covered by their insurance?

Many employers would require or at least recommend that you have professional membership with a recognised professional association. PACFA registration is highly regarded by employers and is therefore recommended. Employers often provide professional indemnity insurance but if they do not, or if you are concerned that their cover is not adequate, you should take out your own professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is PACFA’s role in the counselling/psychotherapy profession?

Counselling and psychotherapy is a self-regulating profession with PACFA undertaking the regulation function through the PACFA National Register and through our standards of training and professional/ethical practice.  PACFA’s regulatory functions ensure that Counsellors and Psychotherapists meet the high professional standards that are required for safe, competent and ethical practice.