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CounsellorAlternative titles


This job is sometimes referred to as:

Careers Counsellor
Life Coach
Career Consultant
Career Adviser

Counsellors help people to deal with their feelings and responses, and decide on actions they can take to solve problems and create change in their lives.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

Entry requirements

The National Diploma in Counselling (Level 6) from Careerforce (the Social Services ITO) is considered the minimum professional qualification needed to become a counsellor. Most employers will only hire qualified counsellors who are members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

However, the profession is unregulated, which means anyone can set up their own counselling business.

Careers Counsellor

To become a careers counsellor, a diploma or Masters in guidance counselling is recommended.

However, degrees in fields such as psychology, human resource management, education, sociology or commerce are also useful.

Life Coach

There are no specific entry requirements to become a life coach. However, a diploma or other qualification in coaching from a professional coaching school is strongly recommended. Courses should involve at least 60 hours of practical and theoretical training.

Secondary education

At least four years of secondary education is preferred. A tertiary entrance qualification may be needed to enter some courses. Useful subjects include English and languages.

Personal requirements

Counsellors need to be:  

  • mature and supportive
  • caring and empathetic
  • positive, broad-minded and non-judgemental
  • able to appreciate people’s strengths and notice change
  • patient and persistent
  • able to keep information private
  • able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
Sally Latham2
"You need to be really open, sensitive and empathetic when you are counselling people."

Sally Latham Counsellor

Useful experience

Useful experience for counsellors includes social work or community work. Life experience and any work that involves helping or caring for people is an advantage, as is any research in related fields.

Related courses

View information on courses in the course database

Find out more about training

Career Development Association of NZ (CDANZ)
04 388 8040 - info@cdanz.org.nz - www.cdanz.org.nz/
Careerforce ITO
info@careerforce.org.nz - www.cssito.org.nz
International Coaching Federation (ICF) Australasia
(09) 449 1548 - www.icfaustralasia.com
NZ Association of Counsellors (NZAC)
(07) 834 0220 - www.nzac.org.nz/
Te Rau Matatini - Māori Mental Health Workforce Development
admin@matatini.co.nz - www.matatini.co.nz/

Updated 22 Sep 2014