Thinking about becoming a Registered Counsellor? Here’s what you need to know!

According to the Health Professions Council of South Africa, The role of the Registered Counsellor is to make psychological services accessible to the diverse South African population and to provide psychological and preventative interventions that focus on support and promote the enhancement of wellbeing in community contexts.

Registered Counsellors are psychological practitioners who perform psychological screening, basic assessment and technically limited psychological interventions with individuals and groups, aiming at enhancing personal functioning in a variety of contexts including education, work, sport, non-governmental organizations, Non Profit Organisations and community.

​A registered counsellor provides short-term, supportive counselling, psycho-education and psychological assessments, e.g. intellectual or scholastic abilities, aptitude, interests, career placement, personality profiling.

The scope of practice for a registered counsellor, a separate category to psychologists, as set out by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is as follows:

1. Psychological Intervention

Registered counsellors enhance personal functioning of children, adults, families and communities. They perform a range of supportive and compensatory psychological interventions with children, adults, families and communities.

They do this through:
Individual or Group counselling
Psycho-education and training workshops

2. Psychological Assessment

Registered counsellors may practice general screening assessments requiring the interpretation of psychological functions (e.g. intellectual, scholastic abilities, aptitude and interests).

3. Project Implementation and Management

Registered counsellors can implement and manage formalized, structured short-term intervention at the primary curative/preventative level across the full scope of psychology. This intervention requires the application of concrete and predetermined decision-making rules.

4. Policy & Standards Implementation

Registered counsellors are able to assist with policy formulation based on various aspects of psychological theory and research. They can also participate in the designing, management and evaluation of psychologically based programmes in diverse settings and organizations such as health, education, labour and correctional services.

5. Professional Practice & Referral

Registered counsellors can identify symptoms or reasons for referrals to professionals within the health care system.

6. Research

Registered counsellors can conduct and report on research projects and implement findings in policy and practice.

7. Consulting

Registered counsellors can act as a consultant at the primary curative/preventative level across the full scope of psychology.

Registered counsellors do not diagnose or treat pathology but in such a case will refer a client to the appropriate registered health care professional.

Registered counsellors in private practice, registered with the BHF (Board of Healthcare funders:, are issued with a practice number and their fees are guided by suggested medical aid tariffs enabling clients to then claim through their medical aids.

For more information on institutions that offer B Psych Equivalence programs that will allow you to become a Registered Counsellor, click here.

This information was written and provided by Registered Counsellor – Caitlyn Jones.

14 Replies to “Thinking about becoming a Registered Counsellor? Here’s what you need to know!”

    1. Hi Nothando.
      It can be difficult working in any psychological field with only a degree in Psychology. What you might want to look at is positions in HR or Administrative positions to help get your foot in the door of a company. If you want to continue studying, perhaps look at doing a B Psych Equivalent degree and become a registered counsellor or psychometrist.
      I will be trying to address the issue of job opportunities for BA psychology graduates soon. Please keep checking back for updates.
      Thank you for the message. I hope that it helps.
      – Dylan

    2. hie Dylan phathi i am having an hnrs in BA.counselling psychology. I saw in yo blog that yu will soon be updating people on their field of jobs.plis email me as well would like to know.

      frm phathi

      1. Hi Phathi.
        Yes, if you follow us on Facebook, you will see most of our job postings there. You can also use the hashtag #jobsforpsychologygraduates when searching Instagram or Twitter for any job listings we find that are relevant.
        Thank you for reaching out!
        Kind regards,

  1. Hi Dylan
    I am already in the service field but as a sexual health Educator, I would like to further my interest in the field and nake a career out of it. I would like to specialise in sexual health or become a sexologist, please advise what route I need to take. I an well aware that my starting point would be to study Psychology but I am not sure of the steps I need to get to where I want to be exactly.

    1. Hi there Ndileka.
      If you want to generate an income from counselling, you’ll need to be registered with the HPCSA. So yes, you’d need to start with a degree in Psychology. While this might be a little general at first, you can start specializing in sex therapy when you get to a Masters level. As far as I can tell, you would need to do a coursework Masters in Counselling Psychology, but focus your thesis or any other academic writing on sexual therapy. There is so much to learn along the road of Psychology though, I’m sure there will be a number of other areas you might enjoy too.
      I hope this helped.
      Comment back if you have any other questions.
      Kind regards,
      – Dylan

  2. Hi Dylan
    I’m Lindi, with a degree in Psychology, recently wrote all 8 Honours modules. Awaiting results, I need to write a thesis for Master’s programmers application, I do not know how to get literature review on scholarly development of students in Psychology.

  3. Hi Dylan.
    I’m a qualified educator who has recently seen the need for a counsellor/psychologist at our school. I would like to persue this field and become a psychologist in a school environment so I can offer my help to learners with behavioural problems etc.. But what do I need to start studying?
    How long will it take me? Can it be accomplished through Unisa?

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