Counselling Courses in Birmingham
The Definitive Guide

counselling courses birmingham

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

Discover the range of counselling courses Birmingham offers with our informative guide.

From beginner to fully qualified, we’ve got you covered with all the essential details you need to choose the perfect course for you.

Take the next step on your counselling journey today!

1. Counselling in Birmingham

2. Qualifications available

3. Birmingham course providers

4. Course comparisons

5. Classroom vs Online

6. Why choose Connect?

1. What does counselling in Birmingham look like?

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

Birmingham is the second-largest city in England. It’s known for its youthful energy and thriving atmosphere. As a counsellor, you have the chance to become an integral part of the dynamic 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 vibrant cultural scene that Birmingham has to offer! It’s a place that lends itself to creative individuals.

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


There is a rising demand for mental health services in Birmingham. Birmingham is experiencing a growing demand for mental health services. The city’s popularity has led to an increase in the need for mental health support. While numerous initiatives are addressing these challenges, the recent pandemic has intensified the situation. Therefore, Birmingham continues to require highly skilled mental health professionals, including counsellors, to make a meaningful impact in the local community.

There is a strong focus on mental health in the region. The Birmingham region is actively working to improve community mental health care. For example, £10 million in funding has just been given to the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to increase mental health studies and services across the city.

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

There is a wide range of counselling opportunities across Birmingham. Birmingham offers a wide array of counselling career opportunities. Throughout the city and its surroundings, various organisations and charities provide counselling services to people from all walks of life. Whether you prefer to work in a city, town, or more rural setting, with young people, couples, individuals, or specific groups, Birmingham has opportunities to suit everyone’s preferences.

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

  • Birmingham Healthy Minds is a free NHS talking therapies service for people aged 16+ in Birmingham.
  • Birmingham Mind is a mental health charity that offers counselling services to a wide range of clients in the Birmingham region. 
  • ForwardThinkingBirmingham is a mental health service that offers counselling, among other services, to young people aged 0-25 years old.
  • Living well is a charity that offers free counselling, among other forms of support, to those who need it most in the Birmingham community.

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 Birmingham area. You can also find various providers of counselling courses in Birmingham to kickstart your career in this rewarding industry. More on these below!

2. What qualifications are available to me?

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

counselling qualifications Birmingham

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s take a moment to clarify the distinction between what you need to do and should do to start working as a counsellor in Birmingham. 

You might be surprised to know that anyone can call themselves a counsellor and start working with clients – without any qualifications at all! Counselling isn’t yet legally regulated as a profession in this country. However, it’s important to recognise that this approach isn’t ideal.

As a counsellor, you’ll encounter complex and delicate situations, and, as such, it’s strongly advised that you undertake an appropriate qualification to ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle these effectively. Additionally, it’s worth noting that both employers and clients are increasingly seeking counsellors with qualifications accredited by professional bodies. Accreditation serves as an assurance that a counsellor has undergone rigorous training and meets specific standards.

In the Birmingham area, you’ll find qualifications accredited by two prominent professional bodies for counselling in the UK. Let’s explore these two organisations in more detail.

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 Birmingham counselling market. 

So, how does one become a BACP member? 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 Birmingham – 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 Birmingham – 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 Birmingham that you may wish to consider. Various organisations and individuals offer short counselling courses in Birmingham, 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. Birmingham counselling course providers

In the Birmingham region, you’ll find numerous counselling course providers, and selecting the ideal one for you will hinge on your preferred location, personal interests, and your aspirations within the counselling profession.

Now, let’s delve into the primary choices available.


There are several different colleges that offer counselling courses in Birmingham. Because these colleges offer a wide variety of different courses (not just counselling!), they tend to have large campuses and vibrant student communities. As a result, students can partake in a plethora of student events and extracurricular activities. If you value a lively and engaging student life, these options should definitely be on your radar!

The Birmingham Christian College offers Level 2 and 3 courses in counselling, as well as Solihull College & University Centre. The Birmingham Metropolitan College offers counselling and applied psychology higher certificate courses, at its James Watt College. Sandwell College, based in West Bromwich, offers Level 2 to 4 courses in counselling. And finally, Birmingham City University and Newman University provide a range of BSc/BA (Hons) Psychology and Counselling degrees.

Specialist providers

In Birmingham, you’ll discover a range of specialised counselling training providers. These institutions have a narrower focus, primarily offering courses related to counselling and therapy.

One notable distinction is that classes at these specialist providers tend to be smaller than most colleges. This translates to more personalised interaction with faculty members, including your tutors. This generally fosters a supportive learning environment with increased one-on-one engagement.

It’s worth mentioning that many of these tutors might not be solely dedicated to teaching; they often continue to work with clients in counselling practices. This dual role can be advantageous because it means they often have strong connections within the local counselling community. These connections could prove valuable when you begin seeking placements and job opportunities.

Below, you’ll find a list of specialist providers offering counseling courses in Birmingham:

Birmingham Adult Education Service – Based in several centres across Birmingham, offers Level 2 to 3 counselling courses and several mental health-related qualifications. 

Key Counselling Training – Provides Level 2 to 4 courses, as well as a number of post-diploma counselling courses, in the Jewellery Quarter area. 

Chrysalis Courses – Offers Level 3 to 5 diploma courses at the Aston University Conference Centre

Heartwood Counselling & Psychotherapy – Based in Edgbaston, this provider offers Level 3 to 4 courses, as well as some post-qualification courses.  

Astranti Connect – We provide Level 2 to 6 counselling courses across the UK and in Birmingham.

4. Comparing counselling courses in Birmingham 

Let’s take a deeper look at what each of these providers of counselling courses in Birmingham has to offer.


Birmingham Christian College Birmingham Adult Education Service Solihull College Key Counselling Training Sandwell College
Location Selly Oak,
Centenary Sq,
Auckland Dr,
Northwood Rd,
West Bromwich,
Specialist provider?



Online options?

Pathway to BACP?

Pathway to NCS?

Nationwide provider?

Online counselling library?



Reviews (Trustpilot & Google) 4.5/5
(8 reviews)
(10 reviews)
(190 reviews)
(11 reviews)

(284 reviews)

5+ years of experience?




Chrysalis Courses Heartwood Counselling College Birmingham Met College Astranti Connect
Location Aston St,
Aldridge Rd,
Specialist provider?


Online options?

Pathway to BACP?

Pathway to NCS?

Nationwide provider?

Online counselling library?



Reviews (Trustpilot & Google) 4.1/5
(780 reviews)
(8 reviews)
(3 reviews)
(600 reviews)
5+ years of experience?


5. Classroom vs Online: what should you choose?

You may have observed that some of these counselling training providers in Birmingham offer a choice between online courses and traditional in-classroom courses. Now, the question arises: Which one should you opt for?

Well, unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all response to this query. Just like selecting the right qualification and training provider, the decision largely hinges on your individual situation and your counseling goals.

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

Birmingham counselling qualifications

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that if your goal is to become a member of a professional counselling body like the BACP or NCS, a significant portion of your training must take place in a traditional classroom setting.

To illustrate this, let’s revisit our earlier example, the CPCAB pathway to BACP membership. In this qualification pathway, the Level 2 and 3 courses are available for online study, but it’s important to note that a substantial 75% of the Level 4 course (which happens to be the most extensive of the three levels) must be conducted in person.

So, if your aim is to attain BACP or NCS membership upon completing your studies, you’ll need to choose either a blend of online and classroom-based training or opt exclusively for classroom-based instruction, based on your preference. It’s worth mentioning that some course providers do offer Level 4 courses exclusively online. However, it’s crucial to understand that these qualifications won’t make you eligible for BACP or NCS membership.

Furthermore, it’s essential to be aware that for any online courses required to meet the membership criteria of BACP and NCS, they must be delivered live via a video conferencing platform. This stipulation is in place because these professional bodies believe that students can’t acquire the necessary practical skills to become counselors through self-directed learning alone. Instead, they value interaction and practical practice with tutors and fellow students as a vital part of your learning journey.

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 isn’t a universally correct choice when it comes to selecting between classroom-only, blended, or online-only counseling courses. Your decision should be guided by your unique circumstances and preferences, aligning with the format that best serves your goals and needs.

For additional insights on this topic, you can find comprehensive information in our definitive guide to online counselling courses.

6. 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 Birmingham 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. 


For those seeking greater flexibility, we provide live daytime and evening online courses for Levels 2 and 3. Please remember that these levels can be pursued online but must be live sessions. However, it’s also crucial to note that the majority of Level 4 coursework must be undertaken in a traditional classroom setting to meet the qualifications required 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 Birmingham, we also have counselling hubs in Devon, Bristol, 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 Birmingham, 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.