Here at Connect, we want you to have all the information you need to make an informed choice when selecting a training provider or a counselling course.
That’s why we’ve prepared a series of handy documents providing you with this information. Take a look below:
So you want to become a counsellor?
Becoming a counsellor is one of the most challenging and rewarding journeys you could ever undertake! Find out more about the steps you need to take below.
The First Step
The journey begins for most people by successfully completing a Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills. (Sometimes prior training and experiences mean that you may not need to do this course) This course will teach you the basic counselling and listening skills that counsellors use. In our course we also include some personal development work, to help you to get to know yourself a little better too. We give you time to learn about the academic requirements of counsellor training, the personal development needed to become a counsellor and teach you what counselling involves. All this while getting a really useful qualification that can be a great benefit in life and in many other careers.
You move on to a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies. This course will teach you about some of the theories that counsellors use to understand people, their behaviour and feelings. In addition how counselling can promote positive mental health. You will learn more about yourself, gain another really useful qualification and have a better idea about whether counselling is for you, in which case you may choose to move on to the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.
So, you have completed the first two steps towards becoming a counsellor and feel that it is for you. This two-year course guides you through all the training required to help you use what you have already learned and a lot more besides. You will need to work with real clients in a placement setting and have some personal counselling yourself to complete this course. Successful completion of this course means that you will be a qualified counsellor. Our course teaches an integrative approach, which means that we will teach you how to integrate Person Centred, CBT, Gestalt and Transpersonal concepts into your practice.
As a small, independent and specialist counselling training organisation, we are unable to provide funding for our courses, although we do have payment plan options for them. For example, for our level 4 course, we offer an extended payment plan option which allows you to spread the fee over three years.
Are all counselling courses the same?
So, you have spent a lot of time looking at all the different counselling courses available and wonder why some are long, some are short and some are more expensive than others. It is a bit of a minefield isn’t it?
You would think that all level 2, level 3 and level 4 courses would be the same, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
The following information will help you to make a decision about the right course for you.
Certificate or Award Courses
You may have come across a Level 2 Award and a Level 2 Certificate. Generally, awards are a lower level qualification than a certificate course. Certificate courses are generally a little longer in length and of course, as a result, you will learn more. Generally the shorter the course, the lower the number of credits it will have attached to it. A level 2 award may carry as little as 5-8 credits. Our level 2 course has 17 credits attached to it.
Credits are a nationally recognised way of assessing the learning someone does from secondary school upwards. You collect credits as you complete different courses. The higher the number of credits a course carries, the more robust the academic qualification. Credits can be accumulated and used towards degrees, or, if you follow the CPCAB progression route, they can be used towards the Open University Foundation Degree, so it makes sense to invest in a course that not only has a more robust level of tuition but also earns more academic credits.
Level 4 diploma courses can be equally confusing. Some level 4 courses carry as little as 62 credits whereas courses such as ours offer 120. It is really worth checking who accredits the course you are thinking of enrolling on and how many credits it offers. It could be that you are paying for a course that offers a lower amount of tuition, a lower standard of qualification and end up paying the same amount as a course with a higher credit value. Some diploma courses are awarded by the training centre you learn with. This may therefore not be a nationally recognised qualification. Or, sometimes courses are quality checked by organisations like the National Counselling Society. This is a membership organisation for counsellors, not an awarding body and therefore your qualification will not be as robust as one awarded by CPCAB and there may not be any academic credits attached to it.
All of our courses, for example, are accredited by The Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB) there are other providers such as ABC Awards too. Other courses offer their own diplomas that are not recognised or formally accredited by an awarding body. While they might offer fantastic tuition, they might not give you the qualification at the end of it that you had hoped for.
With Connect courses, you can be assured that you are working towards nationally-recognised qualifications with robust tuition to help you achieve your goals. We have chosen to work with CPCAB in order to ensure that our learners are getting a great qualification with high standards for their investment in their course
What's the difference between BACP, CPCAB and NCS?
We are frequently asked by applicants for our level 4 diploma course if our course is accredited by BACP (The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). The following information should clarify the difference between the two training routes.
BACP or NCS
The BACP is a membership organisation. The biggest in the UK. Student and qualified counsellors can join the BACP as a member and pay an annual subscription to belong to the organisation. The BACP have an ethical framework that practitioners aspire to adhere to when working with clients. The BACP also accredit or rubber stamp some, but not all training courses. The same is true for NCS courses. NCS is a membership organisation that sometimes look at a training providers course and rubber stamp it to say that it meets certain requirements. They do not offer the qualification themselves.
The Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB) are a specialist organisation that design counselling related qualifications. They design the criteria for a range of counselling courses that various training organisations, including Astranti Connect deliver to their students. Training Centres submit plans to deliver the courses to CPCAB who then agree for them to do so. CPCAB visit each training centre annually, to ensure that high standards are being met.
The Voluntary Register
At the moment, counselling and psychotherapy are not regulated by the government. To try and protect the public, various counselling membership organisations, such as the BACP, have a voluntary register of approved practitioners. Any counsellor or therapist on the register agrees to work in a safe and ethical way and commits to regular and ongoing continual professional development, therapy and supervision.
The BACP randomly audit members on the voluntary register to ensure standards are being met. Students who do a BACP accredited course or an NCS approved course, automatically earn a place on their voluntary register upon successful completion of the course.
Students who successfully complete a CPCAB course will need to do a short test set by the BACP after qualifying to ensure that they understand safe and ethical practice. These tests are offered at various locations around the UK and at the moment they are free.
The advantage of doing a BACP accredited course, or an NCS course is that you avoid having to do the post-qualifying BACP test. However, BACP accredited courses are generally a lot more expensive than CPCAB ones and there are not as many of them to choose from. The NCS courses will not have academic credits attached to them.
Astranti Connect Suggests
Astranti Connect has been approved by CPCAB to run their courses and we are regularly checked for quality and high standards in the delivery of our courses. We suggest that there is no real advantage of doing a BACP accredited course over a CPCAB course. CPCAB is a nationally recognised awarding body that works closely with BACP and you will not be disadvantaged professionally by choosing a non-BACP accredited course other than the need to do the BACP test post-qualifying. It is worth bearing in mind that there are other counselling membership organisations, other than BACP. At Connect, we are all registered members of BACP and work closely to their ethical framework and teach this on all of our courses.
Why enrol with Astranti Connect?
There is a great variety of counselling courses out there to choose from. It can be confusing to know which provider to choose from. To help, the following information sets out what you can expect from us during your training.
- Nationally recognised qualifications with academic credits awarded by Europe’s largest specialist counselling awarding body—The Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body
- An Integrative approach to counselling from level 2-6
A range of flexible payment plans
- Discounted tickets to our Saturday CPD programme during and after training with us
- The highest standard of teaching from counselling professionals
Each course is quality checked while you are on it by an independent quality assurance officer
- Tutors committed to developing their teaching skills and ongoing monitoring each term
- Outstanding admin support during the enrolment process
- The majority of your course work marked within 7 days
- Fair and honest feedback on your skills and written work
- Teaching on our own model – The Connections Model, based on up to date research on what helps clients
- Standards and practice checked bi-annually by our awarding body CPCAB
Can I skip a level?
With us, generally no!
We believe that completing level 2 and 3 qualifications are essential as they provide the foundations of what will become your counselling practice. We use building a house as an analogy, you wouldn’t want one that didn’t have solid foundations.
In our experience skipping a level of training is not helpful to students or their clients. Counselling is very different to social work, support work, teaching and nursing etc. What a counsellor does in their work differs greatly from these professions and so you will be missing out on fundamental training and experience by missing out on a level. This will impact your participation and enjoyment of a course and more importantly your practice as a counsellor could be adversely affected, creating a problem for future clients.
Our previous experience of allowing people to skip levels is that the student often feels out of their depth and can struggle with the written work and personal development required for the course, which most students get a grasp of during the lower levels of training. Our students, who have skipped a level have reported to us that they wish they hadn’t!
Are there exceptions?
Sometimes. If you have had the experience of working in a setting where you have formally used counselling skills such as volunteering with The Samaritans, then it may be possible to start training at level 4. In situations where you have had prior experience of formally using counselling skills (not supporting patients, students or caring for others as part of a support role) and where you have had some personal counselling yourself, then we suggest that we arrange to have a chat on the phone to discuss your personal situation. Let us know and we can arrange a time.
Yeah, but I have a degree, surely I don’t need to do a level 2?
Let us be honest, a lot of training providers will take you straight onto their diploma level. There are reasons for this! However, at Connect, we are passionate about our graduates having the best possible experience in training which in turn equips them to work with their clients in a very effective way. Training to be a counsellor is not as much an academic experience, but more a personal one. Our training across the program is experiential and involves a great deal of personal development work. Missing out on this aspect of training is likely to do you and your future clients a disservice.
OK, but I think I still think I could skip level 2 or 3!
Then we suggest you get in touch so we can discuss your personal situation with you. We do of course appreciate that each situation is unique and do not want to turn you away. We do however strongly recommend for you and your future clients, that you begin with level 2 and progress upwards from there.
Anything else we can help you with?
Then give us or a call or email us, we’ll be happy to help!