According to Job Outlook occupational data published by the Australian Government, counselling is a large profession which was made up of 25,900 people in 2018. Fifty-one percent of the workforce works full time, with strong growth in occupational size over the past five years, and strong future growth projected to 2023.
The majority (77%) of counsellors are women. Only 23% are men. The entry qualification for the majority of counsellors is a Bachelor’s degree (AQF Level 7) or higher (72.8%) in the broad Field of Education (FoE) Human Welfare Studies and Services (090500) which encompasses Counselling as a narrow field (090513). Unemployment in the counselling profession is low compared to the Australian average, and weekly earnings are above average, at $1,584 before tax. The workforce is above average in terms of age (mean = 45 years), compared to the average of all workers in Australia (mean = 40 years).
Counsellors are employed in government and community sectors in health care, welfare and social assistance (47.4%), education settings (36.0%), public administration and safety (4.2%) and other services and industries (12.4%), which includes private practice.
Graduates of the proposed Graduate Diploma course will be able to utilise their knowledge and skills developed in the course in related fields relevant to their undergraduate degree. The proposed course will provide an important skillset in assessment and counselling for Human Resource professionals, registered nurses, teachers, chaplains, ministers of religion, social workers and psychologists. Graduates will be able to work in the following fields of practice: relationship counselling; grief and loss counselling; trauma counselling; mental health counselling; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer counselling; in educational settings; and employment assistance programs. Graduates will also be eligible to progress to the proposed Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Holistic Practice) course at Metavision Institute, or to study in Masters courses in related fields.
Some private health funds offer provider numbers for qualified counsellors who meet their criteria, BUPA and Medicare Private being the largest of these.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (National Disability Insurance Agency) is an emerging opportunity for counsellors to register as providers.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) offer counselling services, which may be provided by qualified counsellors (see Employee Assistance Professional Association of Australia).
New South Wales, Queensland and South Australian state governments include counselling in a broad group of unregistered health workers covered by legislation.