Becoming a Registered Professional Counsellor with Sprott Shaw


Becoming a counsellor is a career that requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge others to become better versions of themselves.

As a Registered Professional Counsellor, you support individuals, families, and groups identify, understand, and overcome personal problems and reach their goals. In order to become a Registered Professional Counsellor, there are a few steps that you need to take before you are qualified to provide support and counselling for others.

Step 1: Take a Professional Counsellor Program

Before you can become a Registered Professional Counsellor, you first need to be educated and trained in the field at a post-secondary institution.

professional counselling -Emotional woman sharing her story during support session for addicts, close up on gesticulating hands. Close-up of therapist's hands explaining a problem to his patients

Sprott Shaw College’s 73-week Professional Counsellor program provides you with the requisite counselling skills you need to help clients engage in self-care and nurture healthy interpersonal relationships.

In a hands-on learning environment, you will be trained on how to provide safe, ethical, and socio-cultural sensitive care according to the guidelines set by the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada, the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association, and the Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in British Columbia.

Through interactive exercises and workshops, you will familiarize yourself with and learn how to apply counselling theories to group counselling, child and youth counselling, loss and grief counselling, trauma and crisis counselling, and addictions counselling. 

By the end of the program, you will be ready to practice the skills you’ve learned on real clients with a wide range of conditions under a supervised practicum experience. This practicum opportunity will serve as a stepping-stone towards independent practice for you in the future. In your practicum, you will be able to support clients coping with crisis and developmental issues, address and resolve counselling-specific problems, develop personal insights and knowledge, improve relationships with others, and work through feelings of inner conflict. Before you graduate from our Professional Counselling program, you will need to complete this practicum and write the CPCA Qualifying Exam.

Step 2: Pass the CPCA Qualifying Exam

The Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization founded in 1990. The CPCA establishes the regulatory framework for its members built on the foundations of counselling competency and compliance in both registration and discipline. In all of its work, the CPCA is dedicated to the promotion of public confidence and trust in the counselling profession in Canada.

Before you can become a Registered Professional Counsellor, your first need to take and pass the CPCA Qualifying Exam.

Rebellious youth being treated at a psychotherapy meeting professional counsellor program

Passing the CPCA Qualifying Exam demonstrates the knowledge you’ve gained through your education and your ability to apply that knowledge competently. The Core Competencies covered under the Qualifying Exam are:

  1. Foundations of Counselling
  2. Counselling Interventions
  3. Counselling Process, Skills, and Techniques
  4. Ethics and Ethical Practice
  5. Reflective Practice
  6. Professional Practice and Communication

Once you’ve passed the exam and completed our Professional Counsellor program, you will be considered as a Registered Professional Counsellor candidate at graduation.

After our program, you will still need to complete an additional 600 hours of supervised therapy outside of our program before you can become a full Registered Professional Counsellor. This can be achieved in approximately 2 years post-graduation, and once that is completed, you are officially a Registered Professional Counsellor under the CPCA and can begin to practice in the field.

To learn more about Professional Counsellors or the program, contact one of our advisors below!

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