Becoming a Guidance Counsellor

Guidance services in the educational sector are based in post-primary schools, higher and further education colleges and through adult and second chance education programmes.To work in guidance in different educational settings, qualifications and other criteria vary according to the requirements of the role and the employee.

Qualifications available in Guidance

The Department of Education and Skills recognises graduates from initial education programmes in guidance counselling for working in educational institutions under the remit of the Department. This includes School and Further Education (FE) settings (such as Colleges of Further Education, PLCs and the Adult Educational Guidance Services - AEGS)

In 2016 the Department published criteria and guidelines for initial education programme providers.

Programme Recognition Framework (PRF): Guidance Counselling (DES, 2016)


Post Primary Schools

If you are considering working as a Guidance Counsellor in a Department of Education & Skills Post Primary school, you need:

  • to be a Qualified Teacher (Degree level + Teaching Qualification)
  • to be registered with the Teaching Council
  • to have a DES recognised Guidance Counselling Qualification

Colleges of Further Education (CFE) / Post Leaving Certificate Colleges (PLCs)

If you are considering working as a Guidance Counsellor in a Department of Education & Skills CFE or PLC setting you:

  • need to have a DES recognised Guidance Counselling Qualification
  • may need to be registered with the Teaching Council based on  the courses you teach (check with the ETB concerned directly)

Adult Education Guidance Services

Guidance counsellors working in AEGS settings must meet qualification requirements outlined in Circular Letter 70/04 (DES, 2004). A teaching qualification is not required.


As of February 2019 the following University programmes have DES recognition:

Programmes recognised for working in Schools and Further Education

MSc in Guidance Counselling                                                         

Dublin City University - 2 year part time 

Masters in Applied Psychology (Guidance Counselling)           

University College Cork - 18 months part time (please note - no student intake in 2019)                                                                                                             

MA Guidance Counselling & Lifespan Development                 

University of Limerick - 2 year part time


Programmes recognised for working in Schools (only)

Master of Education - School Guidance Counselling                 

Maynooth University - 1 year part time

Post Graduate Diploma in School Guidance Counselling         

Maynooth University - 1 year part time


Programmes recognised for working in Further Education (only)

Master of Education - Adult Guidance Counselling      

Maynooth University - 1 year full time

Diploma (Arts) in Adult Guidance and Counselling                    

Maynooth University - 2 year part time

Post Graduate Diploma (Arts) in Adult Guidance Counselling

Maynooth University - 1 year part time


Graduates from courses which are no longer offered by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin are also recognised by the Department of Education and Skills.


Recognition of qualifications from abroad

NARIC Ireland provides advice on the academic recognition of foreign qualifications by comparing them, where possible and appropriate, to a major award type and level on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). A comparability statement for each qualification listed is available for download on their website: www.naric.ie

Guidance Qualifications attained outside the state must meet the requirements of the DES if employment in the education and training sector is sought. It can be the case that a person is required to pursue additional modules to ensure adherence to these requirements. If you  have completed your  guidance qualifications outside of the state and are interested in accessing employment as a guidance counsellor in the education and training sector,  explore the various courses listed above and contact the relevant colleges for more information.

If you have any other queries in relation to the recognition of foreign qualifications in guidance counselling for the purposes of employment in the education and training sector in Ireland, please e-mail: ncgeinfo@ncge.ie


Private Practice

Private Guidance practitioners who work within the education and training sector are generally expected to hold a recognized qualification in guidance counselling. The Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) maintains a list of its members who work as private practitioners

http://www.igc.ie/Supports/Private-Practitioners


Ongoing continued professional development (CPD)

In addition to obtaining a recognised guidance qualification, and due to the nature of guidance delivery individuals are encouraged to engage in regular Continuing Professional Development (CPD), stay abreast of ongoing developments; such as educational and training opportunities, ICT, the world of work (professions/occupations), avail of professional networking opportunities and be familiar with links and referral systems available.

The National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) provides CPD for guidance practitioners in post primary schools and FET based guidance services. Professional bodies such as the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC), the Adult Educational Guidance Association of Ireland (AEGAI) and the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS)  also offer CPD opportunities for their members.


Supervision

Guidance counsellors in schools and FET settings are encouraged to avail of guidance counselling supervision, where available.

The Department of Education and Skills funds the Guidance Counselling Supervision programme, to support guidance counsellors working in post-primary schools. This is co-ordinated by Monaghan Education Centre and provided through the regional and local IGC Branch network. IGC members and Non –IGC members are entitled to attend.

Guidance Counselling Supervision is also supported through the budget allocation of the Adult Educational Guidance Services in the ETBs.


NCGE convenes a committee of Directors of Studies in Guidance Counselling which meets to explore the provision of initial and in-service training available for guidance counsellors in Ireland.