How To Have A Career In Counselling

If you enjoy helping people out with their problems, you might want to consider counselling a career option. Counselling is a field of work that offers a diverse range of job opportunities.

A counsellor is a person whose job is to advise people who require it, especially advice on their troubles and tribulations. Children and adults who are suffering from the same problem, then they should see a counsellor. Definition of a counsellor is a person who is trained to provide advice or a person you seek for advice.

About the Counsellor

Counsellors spend time with people in a safe and confidential environment, help them share their feelings, try to solve their issues with advice and ultimately make a positive difference in their lives.

People want counselling for many reasons, including relationship difficulties, dealing with death, or improving how they deal with everyday life. It is not the counsellor’s job to strictly advise their clients, but they encourage people to choose for themselves and find ways to make positive differences.

Counsellors may work with their clients with a wide range of issues, or specialise in an area. 

Eligibility to become a Counsellor

The following are the eligibility criteria to become a Counsellor in India:

  • Study Psychology in 10+2 in any stream.
  • Study B.A/B.Sc in Psychology or Applied Psychology for three years.
  • Study M.A/M.Sc in Counselling Psychology/Clinical Psychology/Applied Psychology for two years
  • Take up a PG Diploma in Guidance and Counselling for one year (Optional Step)


Note – This is a conventional path to become a counsellor. You may choose a different way. For example, many alternatively pursue a Master’s in Social Work to enter this field by following a PG diploma in counselling.

However, at least a degree in Psychology is highly recommended since it helps understand the human mind and behaviour.

How to Become a Counsellor

Before discussing how to become a counsellor in India, we’ll talk about the most basic question-- Who can become a Counsellor and what are the key character traits of a counsellor?

Academic qualifications are highly required to become a counsellor. Still, it's equally essential for a counsellor to have the emotional intelligence to work with various emotional/ psychological/career-related problems and challenges their clients have.

A degree or diploma in guidance or counselling or psychology gives counselling professionals a background to form and enhance skills required to help, guide and mentor students and individuals with various problems.

Top Institutes in India

Some leading colleges and universities to pursue B.A /B.Sc./M.A/M.Sc in Psychology/Applied psychology/Counselling Psychology and PG Diploma in Guidance and counselling in India:

  • Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), New Delhi
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS), Mumbai
  • National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi
  • National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development, New Delhi
  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Christ University, Bengaluru
  • Delhi University, New Delhi 

Entrance Exams to become a Counsellor

There are no such entrance exams that you need to crack to become a professional counsellor. You will need your respective degrees related to psychology or a Master’s degree in Social Work followed by a Diploma in Guidance and Counselling to become a professional. The only entrance exam that you will be giving will be when applying to a respective university.

Career Opportunities as a Counsellor

The main job is to guide, help, talk and help in making positive changes in a person's mental health, career and daily life. Counsellors also specialise in various areas of studies and issues. For example, some counsellors study child psychology and work as school counsellor and some help people chose their career paths as career counsellor.

Employment Sector/Industry for a Counsellor

After completing your post-graduation, a few of the areas you can work in include:


  • Schools, colleges, and other educational institutes
  • Psychological counselling centres
  • Marriage and relationship counselling agencies
  • Organisations and workplaces

Jobs in as a Counsellor

Though school counselling and mental health counselling are vastly known, there are many other options, including marriage/family counselling, vocational counselling, and substance abuse counselling. 


  • Educational and school counsellors offer personal, educational, social, and academic counselling services. These counsellors often work in elementary school, high school, or university with students and teachers.


  • Vocational counsellors, also known as career counsellors, help people make career decisions. They carry out assessments to determine what jobs are best-suited to their needs, interests, and talents. 


  • Marriage and family counsellors offer social, emotional, and mental health treatment to couples and families. 


  • Substance abuse andbehavioural counsellors work with people with addictions to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Some specialise in working with individuals with a specific behavioural problem, such as an eating disorder. 


  • Mental health counsellors work with people experiencing emotional or psychological distress and promote mental health. They work with people experiencing mental health issues, including anxiety, phobias, depression, grief, self-esteem issues, trauma, substance abuse, and more. Mental health counsellors often work as part of a treatment team that may include physicians, psychologists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals.


  • Rehabilitation counsellors help individuals who have physical or emotional disabilities that might affect their family, social, school, or work life. They may also help people who have experienced an injury make the transition back into the workforce. 

Salary of a Counsellor

The pay scales of counsellors differ in regards to what field they are doing the counselling. For example, the average salary for a career counsellor is Rs. 252735 per year in India and the average salary for a School Counsellor in India is Rs. 293260.

Study Material to Become a Counsellor

Here’s a short suggestion of books that might help you to become a counsellor:


  1. A Beginner's Guide to Training in Counselling & Psychotherapy
  2. Jacqueline A Lawrence, Counselling Psychology Review


Pros & Cons of Becoming a Counsellor


  1. Getting to help individuals
  2. A fascinating field of work
  3. Not physically constraining


  1. Mentally constraining work
  2. Deals with a lot of sensitive information of a client

FAQs about Counsellor

  • What is clinical/counselling psychology?

    A clinical or counselling psychologist requires a Ph.D. and registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. Thus, you must have a degree in psychology first, though you can do a conversion course to obtain one. The job involves research, coordinating teams, and formulating treatment plans, as much as working directly with clients and patients.

  • What subject do we need to study in college to be a counsellor?

    Psychology is a preferable subject, but you can go from other subjects like Social Work and then do a counselling diploma to be a professional counsellor.

  • How long does it take to become a counsellor?

    The length of time it takes to become a counsellor depends on many factors. It takes a minimum of three to five years to get a license, including the time to get a master's degree, complete internship hours, and the hours of post-degree supervised experience.