Graduate Certificate in Counselling

Explore counselling as a new career
Excelsia College | Graduate Certificate of Counselling

Graduate Certificate in Counselling

Duration: 1 year part-time/6 months full-time
Delivery: On campus
Credit points: 24
Available to: Domestic (FEE-HELP) available
IELTS: 6.5 with no band less than 6
AQF: Level 8

Enquiry form

Enter the captcha

The Graduate Certificate in 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 per cent of the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and 25 per cent of the Master of Counselling.

Seek Career Advice (2022) predicts a 14.5 per cent growth in Australian counselling jobs over the next five 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 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 program

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 biopsychosocial-spiritual framework and associated approaches, students learn about the aetiology, diagnostic presentation, assessment and evidence-based interventions for a range of 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.

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.

Relational dynamics are at the heart of human engagement and communication; counsellors and clients are influenced and affected by significant relationships in their lives. Students learn about the importance of processing the adverse effects of relational experiences. This is informed by intrapersonal, interpersonal and relational theory, with an emphasis on interpersonal neurobiology, attachment and systemic theories. Students critically reflect 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.

Academic staff for counselling

Dr Dion Khlentzos | Counselling | Head of Counselling | Excelsia College

Head of School of Counselling

Dr Dion Khlentzos

Entry requirements

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 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, or other professional development relevant to counselling.

For more information please visit the Future Students information page.

All applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

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


Criminal History Record: Provide a National Criminal History Record Check at time of application (obtainable from:; not required for Graduate Certificate in Counselling)


Working with Children Check: Provide a Working with Children authorisation at time of application (obtainable from:; not required for Graduate Certificate in Counselling)

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 six 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 Admission Policy and Procedure.

More degrees you might be interested in:

Counselling | Excelsia College
School of Counselling
School of Business | Excelsia College
School of Business
Social Work | Excelsia College
School of Social Work
School of Education | Excelsia College
School of Education
Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) Courses | Excelsia College
CSP Courses
Creative and Performing Arts | Excelsia College
School of Creative and Performing Arts
Professional Development | Excelsia College
Professional Development