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How to qualify to practice as a child counsellor

How to qualify to practice as a child counsellor

Become a child counsellor with Place2Be no matter how far through your counselling training you are.

You can follow this route to get qualified to practice as a children's and young people's counsellor if you:

If you haven't started training yet, please note you'll need to follow the route on our Start or continue your journey to becoming a child counsellor page before following the route below.

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1. Choose the right qualifying course for you

Choosing the right qualifying course to become a counsellor is an important decision and there are a number of factors to consider when finding the right qualification program, including:

  • the course curriculum
  • faculty expertise
  • clinical experience opportunities
  • financial considerations.

Additionally, considering the program's location, reputation, and commitment to diversity can help ensure a well-rounded and personally suitable educational experience.

Place2Be offer two qualifying programmes:

In general, your application for Place2Be's qualifying programme will be stronger if you can show evidence of your self discovery pathway, such as:

  • completing related training
  • having relevant experience in the helping professions, for example as a teacher or child carer
  • experience going through your own personal therapy.

To practice as a counsellor for children and young people with Place2Be, you'll need to complete one of the below qualifications.

Level 4 Diploma in School-Based Child Counselling

Our Level 4 Diploma will enable you to qualify as a children and young people's counsellor in 12 months. The course is full-time and includes practical experience working with primary-aged children in one of our Place2Be partner schools as a Counsellor on Placement.

We’re currently reviewing the Level 4 Diploma bursary offer and entry requirements. Please register your interest, and we’ll update you when we have more information.

Learn more about our Level 4 Diploma

Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Children in Schools

Our Postgraduate Diploma allows you to qualify as a children and young people's counsellor in two years. The course is part-time and includes a supervised placement in one of our Place2Be partner schools as a Counsellor on Placement.

If you started your counselling training elsewhere, you can apply for our Postgraduate Diploma if you have a qualifying Level 3 Certificate, Counselling Diploma or relevant degree and have completed a Place2Be Taster Day.

Learn more about our Postgraduate Diploma

2. Complete a clinical placement as part of your training

A clinical placement is a critical part of training to become a counsellor because it:

  • bridges the gap between theory and practice
  • provides essential experiences and skills needed for a successful career in counselling
  • enhances your professional competence and prepares you to serve clients effectively and ethically after you qualify.

Reputable professional bodies require you to complete a certain number of placement hours as part of your qualification in order to become a member.

Place2Be offers counselling placements in schools across England, Scotland and Wales. Our counselling placements are an excellent opportunity to work with children and young people in a safe therapeutic setting. Both of Place2Be’s qualifying courses include a placement that is organised for you by our training and placement teams.

Find out more about Place2Be’s counselling placements in schools

3. Get accredited by a professional body

As a child counsellor, it's crucial that you meet specific safety and ethical standards. Membership organisations make sure these standards are consistently met by practicing counsellors.

Gaining accreditation through a membership organisation will show that you meet the necessary standards for training and practicing as a trustworthy and ethical counsellor. You’ll also need accreditation to apply for most counselling roles, including ones in Place2Be partner schools.

In the UK, several professional bodies accredit counsellors. Options include:

Once a professional body accredits you, you can apply for various paid roles in our Place2Be partner schools.

 4. Supervision

Both trainee and qualified child counsellors are required to have regular clinical supervision sessions with an experienced and qualified supervisor. The requirements for clinical supervision can vary depending on your accrediting body or professional organisation.

We work closely with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), who specifies that counselling trainees need:

  • a minimum of 90 minutes of supervision every month
  • 8 hours of counselling to one hour of supervision
  • supervision every two weeks.

The BACP website has more information about supervision requirements and what to look for in a clinical supervisor.

Are you qualified to practice as a child counsellor and looking to further your counselling training? Find out more about how you can progress your career as a counsellor for children and young people on our Further your counselling training page.