Subject Guide

Counselling Degree

Uni Compare  · Nov 30th 2021

Counselling, which is a branch of therapy allows individuals to talk about their problems, issues, feelings and anxieties with a professional within a confidential, dependable and reliable environment.


Graduates with a degree in counselling have a ready-made career route. Their vocational training prepares them to become a counsellor, though some graduates might choose to study further (see the section below, ‘What can I study after counselling?’) or follow a different path into a related career.

In this section, we think about which jobs are well-suited to someone with a psychology and counselling degree, and consider the different settings and specialisms a counsellor can work within. In the following section, ‘What can you do with a counselling degree?’ we look at some of the alternative routes into different jobs with counselling degree skills and even a counselling top up degree.

Counselling Degree

What to do with a counselling degree

During your counselling psychology degree and even in your masters degree in counselling, you might study a particular topic that sparks your interest more than most, or you might have prior experience or knowledge of this topic that makes it a good fit for you. Counselling degree UK programmes always include work training placements, so that’s another way of potentially discovering a specialism, sometimes a foundation degree in counselling will as well, although a work placement year is unlikely on a foundation degree counselling and would likely be done prior to a counselling masters degree.

Areas of expertise you might encounter during your foundation degree in counselling include group therapy, addiction, high intensity therapy, eating disorders, bereavement, mental health, homelessness, family therapy, adoption, decision counselling, trauma therapy, post-offending therapy, or even counselling associated with specific industries (such as the armed forces).

Additionally, there is a range of settings in which a counsellor might work after a counselling undergraduate degree. Face-to-face in a private practice is the archetypal scene we may imagine for counselling, but there are also roles providing counselling on the phone for charities and mental health organisations, which can make placements difficult if doing a counselling degree online.

Schools, colleges and universities all have a need for counsellors, as do children’s centres, youth agencies and services. Hospitals and clinics often have their own counsellors at hand too, for bereavement, genetic, sexual health and oncology counselling.

What can you do with a counselling degree?

Having thought about different careers in counselling, let’s turn our minds to other jobs you can pursue with a degree in counselling UK. An NHS Psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP) uses all the skills you develop on a counselling degree, making it a good choice for many graduates. Similarly a life coach or careers advisor would be a good match, as would a role at the CAB, advising on housing, debt, drugs, or legal issues.

If you’re good with children, you could become a play therapist, while those who prefer working with adults might become a mediator. Or, if you cope well under pressure, you could become a support worker in a crisis centre or similar setting, or even take a postgraduate course to qualify in social work.

Rehabilitation roles are great for those with a degree in counselling, such as in prisons, in the probation service, or with youth offenders. If, though, you’re looking for something closer to an office job, working within HR and occupational health could be just the thing.

Your degree in counselling can develop your skills of effective communication, empathy, and listening and responding, all of which can be highly desirable in advertising, marketing, PR, customer relations, journalism, and fundraising careers, you can even be doing these jobs already and doing a part time counselling degree.

A counsellor is trained to listen to individuals with problems with empathy and the ability to understand the issues of the patient. They will aid the person to deal with any negative feelings and thoughts and the processes involved to move past these negative feelings and problems. Counselling, although seen as similarly as a Psychology degree programme, it’s different and the two areas require varying paths to be taken for completing. Psychology is concerned with how our brains work, and what this means for behaviour, relationships and feelings, whereas counselling is focused on aspects on how to positively get a person through therapy.

Additionally, psychology and psychologists may use therapy as a way to treat and diagnose their patients; the branches are different, for instance, you don’t always need a counselling and psychotherapy degree to find some psychology and counselling degree jobs.

As well as becoming a counsellor, graduates may find employment within tutoring, nursing, careers adviser, probation officer, psychologist, prison officer, youth work and social work.

What A Levels do I need?

Students should check with their chosen universities and desired counselling degree courses to ensure they understand what they need to gain admission to the course and other counselling degree courses uk.

Universities can ask for varying entry requirements, from 280 UCAS tariff points, work experience or A-levels in similar fields of study such as Psychology.

What are my study options?

There are Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) and Bachelors of Science (BSc) degrees available for candidates interested in this field of study, including, BA Counselling Theatre Studies, BA Counselling and Sociology, BA Counselling and Theology and BSc Psychology and Counselling degree.

Studying counselling as a joint honours degree will open up diverse areas of study to those interested in branching out their speciality.

Counselling Degree

What should I expect from studying Counselling?

Counselling degrees are typically three years unless a student chooses to enrol on to a course that includes a sandwich year. A sandwich year tends to be between second and third years of study and involves student gaining work experience as part of their course, which can aid them in seeking employment upon graduation.

For some counselling degrees or courses, the institution asks students to take part in their own counselling – to understand what it is like to seek and complete therapy as well as dealing with any issues they may have, in the context of the process.

Students will learn through attending lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as completing assessments and group project work. Candidates will also participate in role-playing activities with their peers as lecturers teach them the tools of becoming a counsellor, allowing students to understand the practical part of the process.

How will I be assessed?

Degree courses will be assessed within a variety of ways, including lectures, participating percentage, skill improvement, presentations, group talks, coursework and written examinations. The weighting factor or each method of assessment will depend on the course, as two degrees which are similar can be assessed in entirely different ways, choosing the right university and course is an important issue and will need time and patients.

Therefore students who prefer a specific method of assessment, whether they are comfortable with examinations, or prefer to hand in coursework, are advised to research the methods of assessments prior to their UCAS application.

Furthermore, there may be opportunities to take part in practical assessments with role [playing techniques and working with others in your class.

The first year of the degree, where students learn the foundations of the course by taking core modules (compulsory) tends to not count towards the final degree classification.

A counsellor is trained to listen to individuals with problems with empathy and the ability to understand the issues of the patient.

What skills will I learn from studying Counselling?

Counselling offers students practical skills and the ability to analyse and interpret information submitted to them. Individuals will learn the issues, feelings and problems of others and be able to decipher and make connections to help people overcome these.

These analytical skills will be beneficial for those wishing to pursue a career in counselling. Students who attend university will gain a number of skills which are transferable upon graduation, from time management, organisation skills, social skills; learnt from group work projects, presentations and role-playing techniques.

Why study Counselling?

Studying counselling is ideal for candidates who wish to study a medical subject, but who do not desire to become a Doctor, Nurse, or Midwife. This area is also under constant study and care and is continuously evolving making the subject exciting and never dull. Therapeutic models are being researched, improved and altered as they offer the best modes of therapy to those in need and students of this area need to be at the forefront of this.

Additionally, counselling is perfect for students who wish to study the techniques of therapy more so than how the brain works and how it affects behaviour – which psychology is concerned with.

Counselling as a course area, provides a balance between skills development, professional practice, academic work, personal development and self-awareness. Offering insight into not only how therapy works, but how it affects you.

Counselling Degree

Counselling is an adaptable degree and is available as an undergraduate degree as well as a postgraduate course.

What happens after I graduate?

Upon graduation, students may decide to continue with their studies or to start their journey into the world of work as a graduate. Graduate employment is competitive but with good grades and experience – either from work placement and work experience or through the practical techniques learnt through the course.

There are different counselling employment opportunities, from working within the government and NHS to becoming freelance and working as a self-employed counsellor. Although it is important to bear in mind that individuals who seek self-employed counsellors would more likely appreciate a counsellor with experience, recommendations and qualifications.

Will it help me get a job?

Students with a degree in counselling or a psychology with counselling degree hold transferable skills such as research and communication, presentation, personal understanding, an ability to work with people in complex situations and maintain an empathetic mindset which is not only beneficial but vital to employment within this sector.

Students will learn through attending lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as completing assessments and group project work.

What types of jobs can I get from studying Counselling?

As well as becoming a counsellor, graduates may find employment within tutoring, nursing, careers adviser, probation officer, psychologist, prison officer, youth work and social work.

What can I study after Counselling?

For those wishing to continue their education may want to complete a masters degree in counselling and psychotherapy (or any other postgraduate counselling degree courses), addiction psychology, career management, school counselling, coaching, supervision studies and dispute resolution.

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