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 Training Standards require education and training in counselling, psychotherapy or Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices, that 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 PACFA Training Standards came into effect on 8 October 2020.

In sum, to apply for membership, you must first have undertaken a course that meets the below minimum requirements as set by the Training Standards:

  • The course must be at an AQF Level 7 (Bachelor degree) or above;
  • You must study over 2 or more years;
  • Within the course, there must be a minimum of 400 hours of live instruction in counselling/psychotherapy specific subjects (ie. lectures, tutorials, workshops);
  • of these 400 hours, 140 hours must be face-to-face and in person
  • Additionally, within the course there must be a placement with a minimum of 40 hours of client contact, and 10 hours of supervision attached to this client contact. 

Download the PACFA Training Standards.

Membership Pathways 

1. 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. 

2. 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.

3. 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.