Counselling Courses in Devon
The Definitive Guide

counselling courses in devon

Are you interested in pursuing or developing a career in counselling?

Discover the range of counselling courses Devon has to offer with our informative guide.

From beginner to experienced practitioner, we’ve got you covered with all the essential details you need to choose the right course for you.

Take the next step on your counselling journey today!

1. Counselling in Devon

2. Qualifications available

3. Devon course providers

4. Classroom vs Online

5. Why choose Connect?

1. What does counselling in Devon look like?

So, you’re considering training as a counsellor in Devon? Let us give you the lowdown on what counselling looks like in this beautiful area of the country!

Devon has a reputation as a welcoming and friendly county. Across the region, there are two small cities and numerous towns and villages. As a counsellor, you have the opportunity to become an integral part of the local community whilst still benefiting from opportunities to work with a diverse range of people, as well as a strong network of other mental health professionals. And let’s not forget about the stunning natural scenery that Devon has to offer! It’s a place that lends itself to relaxation and reflection.

Let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons why we think Devon is an excellent area of the country to train and work as a counsellor.


There is a rising demand for mental health services in Devon. While Devon is becoming an increasingly desirable area to live in, there is work to be done to improve mental health in the region. There is an increasing demand for mental health services in Devon and high levels of unmet need, and while there have been lots of new initiatives to tackle these problems, the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. As such, there continues to be a need for high-calibre mental health professionals, including counsellors, in the area. This also means there is an opportunity for you, as a counsellor, to make a palpable difference through your work in the local Devon community.

There is a strong focus on mental health in the region. The need for mental health services in the Devon area is not going unacknowledged, however. There is currently a strong focus on improving community mental health care. 

For example, the NHS Community Mental Health Framework aims to tackle long waiting lists and gaps in the service, as well as to offer joined-up mental health care, making it easier for residents to navigate the mental health care system and access close-to-home support. As part of this, six major mental health organisations have partnered to create the Devon Mental Health Alliance, which aims to improve access to services and identify new opportunities to provide support. 

As a result, there is an increasing number of job opportunities for qualified counsellors in Devon, as well as a wealth of resources and a good support network for those working in mental health in Devon. 

There is a wide range of counselling opportunities across Devon. Across the county, there is a wide range of organisations and charities offering counselling services to those from all walks of life. So, whether you would prefer to live in a city, town or hamlet or work with young people, couples, individuals or a particular group of people, there are opportunities for everyone! 

Here are just a few examples of the types of organisations offering counselling in Devon: 

  • TALKWORKS is a free NHS talking therapies service for people aged 18+ in Devon. 
  • Devon Mind is a mental health charity that offers counselling services to a wide range of clients in the Devon region. 
  • Young Devon is a mental health charity that offers counselling, among other services, to young people aged 11-25 years old. 
  • Shekinah is a charity that offers counselling, among other forms of support, to those experiencing homelessness in Devon.  
  • Trevi is a women’s charity based in Devon that provides support, including counselling, for mothers who are experiencing trauma and addiction and their children.  

And besides these, there are many more local charities, NHS organisations and private practices that are doing important work to improve mental health in the Devon area. You can also find various providers of counselling courses in Devon to kickstart your career in this rewarding area. More on these below!

Devon CPCAB Level 4 Course – September 2024

Enrolment for our Ivybridge-based CPCAB Level 4 course is now open!

Become a qualified counsellor in two years with our part-time course, consisting of 60 live sessions spread across two years.

2. What qualifications are available to me?

If Devon sounds like the place to start your career in counselling, the good news is that there are a few different options available to help you get going.


But, before we get stuck in, we should quickly take some time to clear up the difference between what you need to do and should do to start working as a counsellor in Devon. 

You might be surprised to know that anyone can call themselves a counsellor and start working with clients – without any qualifications at all! This is because counselling is not yet legally regulated as a profession in the UK. Hopefully, you can see that this isn’t a great idea, though! 

As a counsellor, you will be faced with challenging and sensitive situations, and, as such, it’s strongly advised that you undertake an appropriate qualification to ensure that you have the right skills and knowledge to handle these effectively. It’s also worth noting that employers and clients are increasingly seeking out counsellors with a qualification accredited by a professional body. This is because this accreditation process provides assurance that the counsellor has undertaken rigorous training and meets certain standards. 

In the UK, there are two major professional bodies for counselling, and qualifications accredited by both of these are on offer in the Devon area. Let’s have a look at these two bodies. 

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) 

The BACP is the larger of the two bodies and, in fact, the largest professional body for counselling in the UK. The BACP has a reputation for upholding high ethical standards amongst its members. As such, BACP membership is a distinguishing mark that will help you to find employment and clients in the Devon counselling market. 

So, how does one become a BACP member? Well, for this, you need to meet specific criteria – one of which is completing an approved core practitioner qualification. One example of a qualification pathway that can be used to gain BACP members is to undertake a series of CPCAB-accredited courses. We’ll use this pathway to illustrate the amount of study that is required to obtain BACP membership. 

So, to qualify for BACP membership via the CPCAB qualification route, you need to have completed the: 

CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills – requires 170 hours of study 

CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies – requires 196 hours of study

CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling – requires 1,204 hours of study

There are a few providers that have BACP-accredited counselling courses in Devon – we’ll get to these shortly!

The National Counselling Society (NCS) 

The NCS is the other major professional body for counselling in the UK.  Similar to the BACP, you are required to meet specific criteria in order to gain membership to the NCS body. There are several providers that offer NCS-accredited counselling courses in Devon – we’ll look at these in just a moment! 

At Astranti Connect, we believe BACP membership is the better option of the two. You can read why we think this in our definitive guide to counselling qualifications.

Other options

If you do not intend to work as a counsellor – perhaps you’re looking to pick up some counselling skills for another professional role or for your own personal development – then undertaking a qualification to gain membership to a professional body might feel like a bit too much!

If this is the case, there are a few more options for counselling courses in Devon that you may wish to consider. Various organisations and individuals offer short counselling courses in Devon, some of which provide you with a short qualification that could contribute to BACP or NCS membership in the future if you decide to study further. Others are not accredited, however, and it’s important to keep in mind that this means their quality may not have been checked by an external organisation.

3. Devon counselling course providers

There are lots of different counselling course providers throughout the Devon region, and the right option for you will depend on where exactly you want to be based, your interests and your goals and aspirations in the counselling field. 

Let’s go through the main options.


There are several different colleges that offer counselling courses in Devon. Because these colleges offer a wide variety of different courses (not just counselling!), they tend to have large campuses and student bodies. As a result, students have the opportunity to engage in lots of student events and extracurricular activities. So, if a rich and immersive student life is an important factor in your decision, these are options to consider!

The South Devon College offers Level 2 and 3 courses in counselling, as well as a Foundation Degree in Psychology and Counselling Skills through its higher education division, the University Centre South Devon, at its Paignton campus. The Exeter-based Iron Mill College offers a certificate and diploma in counselling, as well as a Foundation Degree and BA Hons in Integrative Counselling. Petroc College, based in Barnstaple, offers Level 2 and 3 courses in counselling. And finally, Exeter College (which, as the name suggests, is based in Exeter) provides Level 2 to 4 courses in counselling.

Specialist providers

There are also a variety of specialist counselling training providers dotted across Devon. These specialist providers have a narrower focus and typically only provide courses relating to counselling and therapy. 

Because of this, the classes tend to be smaller than those at a college, and you can expect to have more interaction with faculty members, including your tutors. This generally leads to a more supportive learning environment, with more one-to-one interaction. 

For many tutors, teaching will not be their full-time job, and they will continue to work with clients in a counselling practice. This means they often have good connections with the local counselling community, which could prove useful when you start looking for placements and job opportunities. 

You can find the following specialist providers of counselling courses in Devon: 

Devon Counselling College – Based in Newton Abbot, this provider offers Level 2 to 4 counselling courses and several post-diploma qualifications. 

Heartwood Counselling and Psychotherapy College – Provides Level 2 to 4 courses, as well as a number of advanced diplomas, in the Totnes area. 

Key Counselling Training – Offers Level 2 to 4 courses and a number of post-diploma courses at its Torquay hub. 

Step by Step Counselling College – Based in Newton Abbot, this provider offers Level 2 to 4 courses.  

Astranti Connect – We used to be the Devon and Cornwall Counselling Hub before we became a nationwide provider. We provide Level 2 to 6 counselling courses at our Ivybridge hub.

4. Classroom vs Online: what should you choose?

You may have noticed that some of these counselling training providers in Devon offer online courses as well as in-classroom courses. So which one should you choose? 

Well, unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. Like choosing the best qualification and training provider, it really depends on your personal circumstances and what your counselling aspirations are! 

But let us take you through some of the key considerations to help you make your decision.


Firstly, it’s important to be aware that if you want to be able to join a professional counselling body, such as the BACP or NCS, a large proportion of your training will have to be in a classroom. 

To illustrate how this works, let’s return to our earlier example – the CPCAB pathway to BACP membership. For this qualification pathway, the Level 2 and 3 courses can be taken online, but 75% of the Level 4 course (which is, by far, the largest of the three levels) has to be taught in person. 

So, if you want to become a member of the BACP or NCS at the end of your studies, you will need to choose either a blend of online and classroom or just classroom-based training – whichever you prefer! It’s important to note that some course providers offer online-only Level 4 courses, BUT you won’t be able to apply for BACP or NCS membership using these qualifications. 

It’s also important to be aware that, to qualify for BACP and NCS membership, any online courses that you need to take need to be taught live over a video conferencing platform. This is because the professional bodies do not believe that students will be able to learn the necessary practical skills to become a counsellor via self-directed learning. Instead, they want to see that you have been able to interact and practise with your tutors and fellow students.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of taking an online-only or blended online and classroom counselling course?

The benefits of online counselling courses:

  • A greater degree of flexibility
  • Access to courses outside of your local area 
  • Reduced costs

The drawbacks of online counselling courses:

  • Could experience technical difficulties
  • More distractions at home 
  • May lose some social interaction
  • You need to choose the right online course carefully!

All-in-all, there’s no right answer when it comes to a decision between classroom-only, blended or online-only counselling courses. It comes down to your own personal circumstances and preferences, and you should choose the best format for your goals and needs.

We have more information on this subject in our definitive guide to online counselling courses.

5. Why join a Connect course?

So, why do we think you should study with us? 

We have experienced tutors

Connect tutors are all qualified counsellors with experience in teaching. Many are also practising counsellors and, when they aren’t teaching our classes, they continue to work with their own clients. Our tutors have a wealth of relevant, real-life experience and strong ties with the local counselling community.

We specialise in counselling

We have over 15 years of experience in counselling training and, unlike universities and colleges which offer a broad range of courses, our expertise and knowledge are focused on a small number of subject areas.

We are a national provider with centres across the country

If you’re not set on completing your counselling courses in Devon, but you’d like to take part in one of our classroom counselling courses, we also have counselling hubs in Bristol, Wiltshire, Norwich, Sheffield and Manchester. This also means you don’t have to be tied to one area throughout the course of your studies! We also have online options for Levels 2 and 3 and our post-qualification courses, offering additional flexibility. You can check out our full range of courses here.

We have a high Trustpilot rating

We are renowned as a high-quality training provider, as you can see from our excellent Trustpilot rating and reviews!

We have limited class sizes

Both our online and in-person courses have a maximum size of 16-18 people. This offers a great balance between plenty of tutor interaction and support and working and practising with a diverse range of people.

You will get access to our online community

We have an active online community, allowing you to learn from other students and support each other in your studies.

Our students must pass pre-course assessments

This helps to ensure our courses run as smoothly as possible, and you can rest assured that you and your fellow students are well-suited to the course.

We provide courses for Levels 2 to 6

This means once you pass one course, you can move on to another! Completing our Levels 2, 3 and 4 courses sets you up to apply for BACP membership to become a qualified, professional counsellor.

Our Connect courses 

Whether you’ve decided a classroom or online course is best for you, we have lots of course options available to suit your needs!

We offer the following in-person courses at our Devon hub: 

Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills 

Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies

Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

Each of these courses is approved by the CPCAB, and completing the Level 4 Diploma provides a pathway to BACP membership. It also forms part of the CPCAB Open University Foundation Degree if you’d like to come away with a degree at the end of your studies. 


If you’re after a bit more flexibility, we also offer live daytime and evening online courses for Levels 2 and 3 (remember, these can be completed online as long as they’re live, but the majority of Level 4 must be completed in a classroom setting to qualify for BACP membership!). 

Once qualified, we also offer a Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Level 6 Certificate in Therapeutic Counselling Supervision – because why stop there? 

And, as we mentioned above, if you’re not sure you want to complete your counselling courses in Devon, we also have counselling hubs in Bristol, Norwich, Sheffield and Manchester.  You can check out our full range of courses here.

Want to talk to someone about your next course options?

If you have any questions about Astranti Connect’s counselling courses in Devon, you can have a free 1-2-1 call with one of our Connect student advisors!

Head to your relevant course page below to book yours:


Illustration by Storyset.