Entry requirements and training (counselling psychologist)
This page has information on the entry requirements and training needed for a career in counselling psychology.
You’ll need a BSc or BA honours degree in psychology to become a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society which allows you to apply for post graduate courses in counselling psychology.
Academic requirements for psychology degrees
Some universities are flexible about the A-levels or equivalent qualifications needed for entry onto psychology degrees while others may have more specific requirements. Check with individual universities for specific entry requirements.
Undergraduates will need to be able to handle scientific concepts, be numerate and have excellent writing skills. Biology, mathematics, English, history, economics or similar arts or social science subjects are all useful preparation for a psychology degree. Maths at the Scottish Standard Grade or at GCSE level, at grades A, B, C, are usually required.
Applying for psychology courses
The number of students applying for psychology courses has risen dramatically in the last few years, which has resulted in higher grades being required to get accepted. A or A/S-level psychology is not required for entry onto degree courses, but many students find that it provides them with insight into the subject and helps them decide if they want do a psychology degree.
Most universities are flexible with their entry requirements, however, you should contact the institution you wish to study at for further information. University courses, whether single, joint or combined honours degrees, tend to be general in content and cover all the main areas of psychology required to go into further post-graduate training.
After undertaking a postgraduate professional training course (at doctoral level) to become a counselling psychologist, you must then register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This allows you to practice as a counselling psychologist.
Want to learn more?
- Find universities running post-graduate counselling psychology courses on our course finder.
- Find more about studying to be a psychologist
- Find out more about registration on the Health and Care Professions Council's website.
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On a daily basis you will use a broad range of skills, including:
- thorough knowledge of psychological theory and practice
- an interest in how people think and behave
- the ability to relate to a wide range of people including patients and colleagues
- a patient, sympathetic approach
- the ability to work on your own and in consultation with others
- a responsible, professional approach
Communication and interpersonal skills are also very important, as you will need to reassure or advise patients and their relatives or carers – sometimes in situations that they may find difficult to cope with.
Values and behaviours
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If you're applying for a role or training post either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
Find out more about NHS values.