Guidance Counselling Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Guidance Counselling?

Guidance counsellors work with students, parents, and educators to help the students succeed academically and socially. They provide one-on-one emotional guidance and help students plan for their futures by guiding them in building a career.

Guidance Counsellors are mental health professionals who work in a school setting. They help students in areas such as academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning. They’re also the front line of defence in identifying the early signs of emotional distress caused by bullying and other types of harassment.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Guidance Counselling in the following subject areas:

  • MSc in Guidance Counselling – This programme offers initial education and training in the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for practice in the interrelated areas of personal, education and career guidance counselling.
  • Applied Psychology: Guidance Counselling – An introduction to Guidance Counselling for those who work in adult education pastoral care, residential care, youth and community work, sport, nursing, adult placement, development work, coaching, employee welfare or human resources.
  • Adult Guidance & Counselling – Gain an understanding of core concepts and ideas concerning sociology, marginalisation, exclusion and adult career development.

Studying Guidance Counselling 

There are many courses in Guidance Counselling that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could look for paid positions or voluntary work in places such as community care centres, charities that work with vulnerable adults or children, counselling settings or youth centres. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Guidance Counselling course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of people’s development needs and are able to work with a range of people who have varying requirements.

Guidance Counsellors help people think about their career, as well as learning and training opportunities. You’ll explain the options available to the students or young people you work with, helping them to make informed choices about their future. You’ll offer information, advice and guidance on education, training and work opportunities.

You may work as part of a team in a large organisation or as a sole operator in a voluntary group. Some aspects of the role can also overlap with those of a careers adviser.

Opportunities for employment may also arise in colleges and in community, voluntary and charity organisations.

You could also work as an Adult Guidance Counsellor where the work may focus on hard to reach or marginalised groups including unemployed or disabled people, adults with health and social needs or learning difficulties, and people with few educational qualifications. Adult guidance workers often progress from other roles, such as careers adviser, personal adviser, or adult or community education worker, into a specialist adult guidance role.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Working hours are usually 9 am to 5 pm, although occasional evening or weekend work may be required.

Related jobs include:

  • Guidance Counsellor
  • Adult guidance worker
  • Advice worker
  • Student Counsellor
  • Careers adviser
  • Education consultant
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion officer
  • Life coach
  • Teacher
  • Social worker
  • Probation officer
  • Juvenile liaison officer
  • Occupational therapist
  • Mentor
  • Manager
  • Education mental health practitioner
  • Family support worker
  • High-intensity therapist
  • Arbitrator
  • Chaplain
  • Community development worker
  • Counsellor
  • Mediator
  • Play therapist
  • Special educational needs coordinator
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Youth worker

Further study

After completing a course in Guidance Counselling you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as Community work, Counselling, Education, Human resources or Social work.


What is the importance of Guidance Counselling?

Counsellors offer guidance to individuals, couples, families and groups who are dealing with issues that affect their mental health and well-being.

What does a Guidance Counsellor do?

  • Meets and interviews students and/or parents
  • Analyses information
  • Designs programmes to help them reach their goals
  • Monitors success of programmes
  • Provides counselling and therapy where required
  • Assists students to develop skills to cope with their problems
  • Facilitates group sessions
  • Keeps in contact with teachers, lecturers etc
  • Keeps detailed records

Where can I study Guidance Counselling?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • Most counsellors don’t handle diagnoses – that’s for clinical psychologists. Counsellors can help with life transitions, such as adjusting to new surroundings; juggling responsibilities such as work, school and family; coping with test anxiety; struggling with low self-esteem or a lack of assertiveness; and relationship problems.
  • More counsellors responded to Hurricane Katrina than any other mental health professional group, and they also provided free services after the Virginia Tech shootings. Disaster environments are chaotic, and counsellors come in and make sense of that chaos
  • Did you know you can interview a counsellor before you start using them? Call and chat with a counsellor to see if they are the right one for you.

Mariza Halliday

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  1. Innocent Twahirwa 3rd May 2023 at 1:50 pm

    i need to study career guidance and counselling

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