How to Become a Professional Counsellor


Are you a spirited people person? Do you have the empathy to guide vulnerable and sensitive members of society to become better versions of themselves through supportive counselling sessions?

If you’re interested in helping other people change their lives for the better, a career opportunity as a professional counsellor could be right for you.

What Does a Professional Counsellor Do?

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

Professional counsellors are skilled and qualified workers who help everyday people work towards living resourceful, successful, and self-fulfilling lives through support sessions.

Aside from counselling, professional counsellors also help people and groups identify, understand, and overcome personal problems and achieve personal objectives.

Some of the responsibilities and tasks that professional counsellors hold include:

  • Counselling clients, providing therapy and meditation services, and running group sessions
  • Preparing assessment, progress, follow-up, and court reports
  • Developing and putting in place counselling and intervention programs to help clients set and achieve goals
  • Doing vocational testing and psychometric assessments
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of counselling programs and interventions and clients’ progress in resolving identified problems and movement toward their goals
  • Following up on the results of counselling programs and clients’ adjustments
  • Interviewing clients, preparing case histories, and assessing problems

These counsellors work with a variety of clients including adults, children, and youth and those who have experienced loss, grief, crisis, trauma, and addictions.

Professional counsellors are employed by counselling centres, social service agencies, group homes, government agencies, family therapy centres, private practices, and health care and rehabilitation facilities.

Is There A Demand For Professional Counsellors?

Today and within the next few years, there is and will be a strong demand for workers in the counselling field.

Counsellors are roles that cannot be replaced by technology and will actually increase in demand with the rise of technology – more specifically social media networks. The truth is that social media networks greatly affect our lives and can lead us to experience internal and external problems that can sometimes be resolved with the support of a professional counsellor.

Given this, the demand outlook for counsellors is strong as there will be 2,490 new jobs expected to open in the next 10 years in British Columbia alone. According to WorkBC, there will also be a 1.2% forecasted average employment growth rate from 2020 to 2024 and 1.4% from 2024 to 2029. 

Sprott Shaw’s Professional Counsellor Program

Sprott Shaw’s Professional Counsellor Diploma Program equips students with the requisite counselling theories and skills needed to help clients address and solve real-life problems, cope with life crises, address inner conflict, develop personal insights, engage in self-care, and nurture healthy interpersonal relationships, all in the context of working as part of and within an interdisciplinary healthcare service.

Throughout the program, students will be introduced to concepts, terminology, and strategies in psychopathology (mental disorders), counselling, psychopharmacology (how drugs affect humans), cognitive behavioural therapy, concurrent disorders, and more.

group of students smiling together in a group

Students will be exposed to and trained for a variety of counselling situations and interventions including individual counselling, group counselling, child and youth counselling, loss and grief counselling, trauma and crisis counselling, and addictions counselling.

To further support learning, students will be able to engage in case-based role-playing where they will learn and practice intermediate clinical assessments, crisis interventions, treatment, and conflict resolution techniques and strategies. Students will participate in supervised counselling simulation labs where they can practice, refine, and advance their counselling skills.

Students will also receive theory, support, and instruction on ethical and business practices, legal issues, and cultural ethics. This enhanced learning opportunity will serve as the basis in the development of a professional portfolio that will: include a personal statement of philosophy; indicate a primary focus of practice interest; identify and list professional goals; and have a theory to practice statement and a ‘plan to practice.’

At the end of the program, students will receive a practicum placement opportunity to apply their acquired theory and skills to practice, which students will be able to use as a stepping stone towards independent practice while working alongside their practicum instructor. During this practicum opportunity, students will be able to support clients coping with crises and developmental issues, address and resolve specific client problems, get involved in ethical decision-making, and develop personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict.   

The Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA)

The Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA) is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization registered in accordance with the National Corporate Registry of Canada. The CPCA is governed by a National Board of Directors which is elected by its members from all regions across Canada.

Students of Sprott Shaw’s Professional Counsellor Program are eligible to write the CPCA Qualifying Exam and become a Registered Professional Counsellor under the CPCA.

Interested in learning more about our Professional Counsellor program? Contact one of our advisors below!

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