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A counsellor helps people talk about their feelings. This could be because of relationship difficulties, grief or to help them deal with everyday life.

Training and qualifications required

You may need a recognised counselling qualification. You may also need to be on one of the voluntary registers accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. For some roles, employers may also require a clinical/professional qualification, such as being a registered nurse, occupational therapist or social worker. Each employer will indicate their individual requirements so make sure to check the person specification for the role.

Expected working hours and salary range

Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. Counsellors could be at various bands in the NHS so you should check with the employer but will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.

Desirable skills and values

Skills needed include being able to make people feel relaxed, excellent communication skills and the ability to positively challenge people. If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the values of the NHS Constitution apply in your everyday work.


Depending on the level and type of training you've undertaken, it can lead to a number of opportunities in psychology and psychotherapy. You could specialise in an area such as eating disorders or addiction or apply to be a high intensity therapist or psychological well-being practitioner.
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