Graduate Certificate in


Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) program

Chat with us now: (02) 9819 8888

Graduate Certificate in Counselling

Want to branch out, change jobs or even just move faster up the career ladder? A Graduate Certificate in Counselling is the perfect starting point on your journey to becoming a counsellor. In just 6 months you will gain valuable counselling skills, a qualification, and if you choose to continue your studies, you will be halfway to a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and a quarter of the way to a Master of Counselling degree. It’s also funded by the Federal Government!

Counsellors are in high demand at the moment, with schools, community centres and workplaces all recognising a need for qualified experts in the field. According to the Australian Government, the number of jobs in counselling is expected to increase over the next five years substantially from 31,200 in 2019 to 38,000 in 2024.

In addition to being a great first step towards an in-demand career, this counselling short course is also ideal for those who have counselling components to their job and want to upskill. Teachers, nurses, ministers and police, for example, can all benefit from a greater understanding of counselling.

Qualification / Award CO40 Graduate Certificate in Counselling
Course Duration 6 months
Credit Points 24 Credit Points
Delivery On Campus / Online
Available to Domestic
IELTS 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
CRICOS Code 102445M
Financial Information This course is supported by the Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) program for Domestic Students, and students are not required to pay any upfront unit fees.
AQF Level 8
Enquire Now
First Name*
Last Name*
Intended Commencement*
Enter the code

What our students say

"In my two years of studying counselling at Excelsia I have learnt a tremendous amount of interesting things about both myself, people and the world. I have made new friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. I have felt included and embraced just the way I am."

Excelsia Student: Anastasia Miloslavskaya

Master of Counselling

What our alumni say

“The Excelsia College Master of Counselling program was a rich learning experience that grounded me in the skills that I needed to advance my counselling career. The best things about the program are its diversity and small classes, which allow for a personal touch, a better perspective and an interactive way of learning."

Excelsia Alumni: Lisa Champion

Master of Counselling

Graduate Certificate in Counselling

The Graduate Certificate of Counselling is ideal for those wanting to explore counselling as a new career or vocation direction, with completion of the course providing time to determine if their interest in counselling merits further study.

Students will develop a clear appreciation of the rewards and challenges associated with a career as a professional counsellor, acquiring core counselling skills, an understanding of counselling ethics and an appreciation for how relational dynamics function in personal and professional settings.

The course may also be of interest to those in related professions whose occupations include an incidental counselling component (eg. education, ministry, nursing, mental health, occupational therapy, pastoral work, policing, paramedics etc), providing an opportunity for them to improve or extend their current relational skill set by learning how to counsel and support others more effectively.

This counselling short course is also helpful for those without prior undergraduate studies who are interested in counselling and would like to determine if they can manage post-graduate level studies.

Students may also use the Graduate Certificate to proceed into the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and/or the Master of Counselling. Units completed in the Graduate Certificate in Counselling comprise 50% of the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and 25% of the Master of Counselling in Australia.


English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose qualifying undergraduate studies were taken in a language other than English will be required to demonstrate English proficiency as per the table below:

Examination Minimum Score
IELTS 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
TOEFL iBT (Internet-based) 79 with no score less than 20
PTE Academic 58 with no score less than 50

Applicants with Higher Education

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate in Counselling if they have previously successfully completed a relevant:

  • Bachelor degree or
  • Bachelor Honours degree

‘Relevant’ means a degree that includes subjects such as psychology, social work and education where you studied human motivation and behaviour. “Non-relevant” means degrees that are science based (not including psychology), where you have not studied human motivation and behaviour.

Applicants with non-relevant degrees will be considered on the basis of their Work and Life Experience.

Applicants with Work and Life Experience

Applicants without undergraduate qualifications can apply for admission via the Work and Life Experience pathway which may consider other forms of study completed in the higher education and vocational sectors, volunteer activities, contribution to church life, professional development relevant to counselling. For more information refer to the Student Selection and Admissions Policy and Procedure.

Suitability assessment

All applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Interview: Successfully complete an admission interview (including a Readiness for Counselling and Psychotherapy Training Questionnaire);

Recognition of Prior Learning

If the applicant is successful they will be issued an offer letter and a written agreement. Students will need to respond to the offer within 6 weeks. This is done online and a confirmation will be emailed back to the applicant. At this point, applicants are welcome to apply for Credit or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). If you are eligible for credit or RPL, you may be exempt from completing some units and you may be able to finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.

Please refer to the Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy reference.

Download the Student Selection and Admissions Policy and Procedure.

Please note this course is not available to International Students.


Seek Career Advice predicts nearly 25% in Australian counselling job growth in over the next 5 years. Counselling is in increasingly high demand in workplaces, schools and community centres, where counsellors are being employed to provide support in the form of mental health expertise to individuals and groups across a diverse array of situations.

Counsellors can choose to specialise in working with a particular demographic, and even become a specialist in their own therapy methods. Some counsellors will seek employment while others will prefer to work in their own private practice. The Counselling training at Excelsia provides you with all of the knowledge, skills and experience to enter into any of these diverse areas in Australia.

As the Graduate Certificate is nested within the Master of Counselling, there are options to advance to the Graduate Diploma and Masters level, subject to satisfactory academic progression. The Graduate Certificate in Counselling also provides an optional exit award from the Master of Counselling Program.


course units

As a foundational unit, the aim of the Introduction to Counselling skills unit is to develop foundational levels of counselling competence, supported by key skills required for effective clinical practice. For example, students will be introduced to core counselling concepts such as transference and counter-transference, which while originating in the psychodynamic psychotherapeutic domain, are now part of broader counselling discourse. In addition to acquiring the core counselling skills students will learn how the core skills find expression in a range of Counselling modalities.

Counselling theories and models provide frameworks for conceptualising and interpreting. clients’ histories, issues and experiences, and are used to guide approaches for different groups and inform approaches to working with clients. Students will examine both historical and contemporary theoretical frameworks, exploring the implications of different theoretical emphases on client care. They learn how to apply theory when working with specific clients with various life challenges, and to formulate case conceptualisations which underpin client care and client outcomes.

Employing a bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework and associated approaches, students learn about the aetiology, diagnostic presentation, assessment and evidence-based interventions for a range mental health issues. They reflect on personal assumptions relating to mental illness, including the relationship between spirituality and mental illness, also considering how stress and vulnerability predispose some individuals to mental health episodes. Finally, they explore the role of social and family contexts in the onset of mental-health disorders and their management.

Relational dynamics are at the heart of human engagement and communication, counsellors and clients influenced and affected by significant relationships in their lives. Students learn about the importance of processing the adverse effects of relational experiences, this informed by intrapersonal, interpersonal and relational theory, with an emphasis on interpersonal neurobiology, attachment and systemic theories. They critically reflected on their personal relationship experiences, become conversant with their own affective regulation, reflective functioning and relational capacity, and develop an understanding of how and when their own, and their clients’ relational histories and current experiences may affect therapeutic outcomes.


Applicant background
2019 Semester 2
Number of Students Percentage of all students
(A) Past higher education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
1 100%
(B) Past vocational education and training (VET) study 0 0%
(C) Work and life experience
(Admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
0 0%
(D) Recent secondary education:

  • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR (regardless of whether this includes the impact of adjustment factors such as equity or subject bonus points)
0 0%
  • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
0 0%
  • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation with no minimum ATAR)
0 0%
International students 0 0%
All students 1 100%

Frequently Asked Questions - Counselling

You may already be doing some counselling in a professional or volunteer role but with no recognised counselling degree to support that work, or you can use this course to enhance your existing communication skill set as a medical or health professional, a human resources or other business manager, teacher, charity worker or other people-related role. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and potentially the Master of Counselling, which would give you more advanced skills and the opportunity for professional association membership as a counsellor (see under 'How do I get qualified as a counsellor?') .

You can start with the Graduate Certificate and use your knowledge and skills in your current paid or volunteer role in counselling-related work to gain some more experience. Some counselling-related roles include intern psychologists or social workers, charity workers, child care worker, aged care worker, chaplaincy roles, mentoring or life coaching.

A person who has the required educational and/or work-related background (entry to the course is by interview), a minimum level of maturity, a strong sense of ethical responsibility, a desire to help others, and a commitment to personal growth.

A counselling degree can be used to deepen an existing set of people skills or, depending on the level of the degree, it can be used to work as a counsellor. Alternatively, it can be used in conjunction with other relevant qualifications to work in another similar role.

By enrolling into the Graduate Certificate in Counselling, you would be taking the first step in your career path to become a counsellor. Once you have completed the Graduate Certificate, can upgrade to the Graduate Diploma (another interview may be required), which takes you on the next step towards recognition as a counsellor. Depending on the setting in which you aim to work as a counsellor, you may then proceed to enrol into the Master of Counselling. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma allows you to join some professional counselling associations as an early-career counsellor.

Other courses you may like