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 vary according to the requirements of the role and the employee. 

Secondary Schools

If you are considering working as a Guidance Counsellor in a Dept. 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

Further Education and Training

Guidance Counsellors working in an ETB Adult Education Guidance service must meet the qualification as per DES Circular 70/04 :
For those working in LES, TÚS, Jobs clubs etc.there is no specific training required or provided formally for staff involved in related guidance activities.
For some LES Services - LES Mediators must have some relevant qualifications, but these are not specified.
To give you a sense of how wide the FET Guidance ‘arena’ is, here is a list of the titles of people working in this field who will be engaging with Guidance: 
•             Guidance Counsellor 
•             Career Guidance Teacher / Counsellor
•             Adult Educational Guidance Co-ordinator 
•             Adult Educational Guidance Counsellor 
•             Youthreach Advocate - Youth Advocates  
•             Guidance Information Officer  
•             Guidance Project Worker  
•             Guidance Resource Worker 
•             Resource Tutor - Project Manager 
•             LES Mediator 
•             Case Officer (Intreo office)
•             Job Coach   (EmployAbility Services) 
•             Job Club Leader (Jobs clubs) 
•             Personal Advisor (Job path) 
•             Supervisor (Community Employment Scheme) 
•             Supervisor (TÚS) 
•             Training and Education Officers  


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 schools and Further Education (FE) settings, such as PLC colleges and the Adult Educational Guidance Services (AEGS)

The Department has published criteria and guidelines for initial education programme providers - the Programme Recognition Framework (PRF): Guidance Counselling (DES, 2016).

The PRF requirements will take effect from September, 2019.  University Providers offering initial education programmes in guidance counselling who wish for their graduates to be recognised for working in schools and Further Education settings will need to meet the requirements set out in the PRF. 

At present the following programmes have DES recognition for working in schools, however prospective students will need to check with each university directly concerning recognition in relation to programmes commencing in September, 2019 as at present the Teaching Council is engaging with the current providers in relation to reviewing their programmes with respect to the PRF requirements.


MSc in Guidance and Counselling - Dublin City University - 2 year part time

Post Graduate Diploma in School Guidance CounsellingMaynooth University - 1 year part time

MA Guidance Counselling & Lifespan Development - University of Limerick - 2 year part time

Masters in Applied Psychology (Guidance Counselling) - University College Cork - 2 year part time (note - no student intake in September 2018)

Continuing Professional Development

Master of Education (School Guidance Counselling) - Maynooth University - 1 year full time


Higher Diploma in Arts: Adult Guidance & Counselling - Maynooth University - 2 year part time

MEd in Adult Guidance & Counselling - Maynooth University - 1 year

NUI Certificate in Adult Guidance, Theory and Practice - Maynooth University (Level 8 - NQF)

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.