I trained as a counsellor/psychotherapist (up to level 6) and yes jobs are hard to find and paid jobs can be crap pay. I love it although I do now work in a slightly different field as well (I have 2 jobs the counselling work is ok pay but I know I'm lucky) and the pay is fab.
I’ve dropped to part time in my day job so I can train as a counsellor. It’s costing £000s and I’m not paid for my counselling hours. I have to do a few hundred to complete my training. I’m just finishing level 4, then onto level 5. I’m never going to be rich. High costs working for yourself as generally you have to pay for a room, your own supervision, CPD, insurances etc. Hourly rate sounds high but with high fixed costs and the reality that it is mentally draining so I can’t imaging me doing it 8 hours a day five days per week......
As you have a core profession why not train in Family Therapy from within SW or CBP or move to NSPCC or somewhere instead which values your SW credentials
Counselling students are turned out in their tens of thousands every year. There isn't the work for them. Factually. People expect to have my difficulties sorted out by the NHS and they have very limited numbers of therapists employed and by and large they are CBT IPT DBT FT not generalised PCT counsellors anymore. Jobs mostly require level 5/6 counselling education and further accreditation.
Those who aren't serviced on the N.H.S. are loathe to pay for private counselling and often go to highly set up practises which give them to an unpaid 'volunteer' and pocket the cash GP surgeries employ part time counsellors but again go with NICE guidelines and employ those listed above as their skills match empirical treatment for anxiety depression etc. Often GP surgeries also hire volunteers looking for accreditation hours.
Most counsellors have a number of jobs. I don't know any making a good living from counselling
My friend works in a charity pt has a sketchy private practice and does some EAP work. She is masters qualified with a PG Diploma in CBT and is BACP accred. She thinks counselling courses she make this so so clear to those enrolling. I work in a similar but different field and hold a HCP profession. I think her work ethic is madness
I have been working as a counsellor for 4 years after re training. Currently working as self employed contractor for the nhs is primary care om a good hourly rate. However jobs are few and far between, out of the 18 in my graduate class only 3 are in paid work. For me it is worth it as i love my job and have always wanted to do it. So my advice would be to really figure out what it is you want, what would make you happy. If its the appeal of money, stay in social work
I'm also doing the Level 3 Certificate, half way through it now. Threads like yours have come up often on here over the years and the general advice is the same - there's relatively very few paid jobs out there so be aware of this before you start paying out so much money for the training. I also notice on here and elsewhere that to help mark you out as 'better' than the masses of people who only have the core qualification (Level 4) if you can afford it then train get the Level 5 or 6. I'm applying for Salford uni to do the Msc that starts in September.
I'm under no illusions that paid work will be plentiful and I'll be rich but to potentially have a fulfilling, if draining, job for the first time in my life is quite exciting.
Nobody's mentioned getting a teaching qualification - that will also help widen your scope in terms of employment if you want to teach it as well as or instead of practice.
Hope the OP doesn't feel I'm hijacking but I was wondering what everyone thinks about how important a BACP accredited course is for Level 4/5/6?