Exploring Career Options

Your Career in Counselling and Psychotherapy

About the Counselling Profession

This webpage contains terms and definitions approved by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), and other important organizations in counselling and psychotherapy. To get you started, some important terminology and definitions are provided below.

What is psychology?

What is a psychologist?

What is counselling psychology?

What is counselling?

What is a counsellor?

What is psychotherapy?

What is a psychotherapist?

What is a counselling therapist?


What are the job prospects of a counsellor or psychotherapist?

  • With mental health needs increasing since the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the need for counsellors and psychotherapists has never been greater.
  • Counsellors/psychotherapists can work in a variety of settings including but not limited to schools, medical/health care settings, and private practice.
  • In Canada, job titles in these areas might include counselling therapist, psychotherapist, mental health therapist, clinical counsellor, career counsellor, etc.

A Career in Counselling

Key Duties

While it will depend on the job setting and role, a typical day for a counsellor/psychotherapist may involve:

  • Assessment and case conceptualization
  • Meeting with individuals, groups, families, peers, supervisors
  • Note-taking, e.g., progress notes, record-keeping
  • Treatment planning
  • Scheduling and billing
  • Connecting with insurance and referral agencies
  • Relationship-building
  • Self-care activities
  • Teaching and assisting clients, e.g., coping skills, workshops
  • Emailing clients, e.g., worksheets, exercises
  • Returning phone calls
  • Report-writing
  • Continuing education

Critical Skills

  • Self-Care 
  • Congruence/genuineness 
  • Empathy 
  • Acceptance/positive regard 
  • Compassion 
  • Listening skills 
  • Self-reflection and self-awareness 

Work Environment

Work settings may be in the public sector (e.g., a health care organization, a school, a university), in an agency (an organization specializing in delivery of counselling and psychotherapy), or the practitioner may work in a private practice (a business run by qualified counsellor(s)/psychotherapist(s)).

The working environment is an office setting with regular and moderate ongoing sensory exertion. In addition, minimal physical exertion is required as well as minimal exposure to disagreeable or hazardous working conditions.

Professional Certifications/Licenses

Credentialing requirements may vary widely from province to province. Currently some provinces fully regulate the profession, some do not regulate the profession at all, and some are in the process of regulating the profession.

Please check on the regulatory or certification body in your province for the requirements governing your locale.

Here are some example certification/regulatory processes:




Some types of counselling that professionals engage in may include one or more of the following specialities, each with their own kinds of certification for the specialty, in addition to general registration/certification as a counsellor or psychotherapist: Career counsellingRehabilitation counsellingEducational/school counsellingAddictions counselling,

Marriage/couples counselling, and Family counselling.

Depending on your credentials and the regulatory body or association that you become a member with, various job titles and designations may apply, such as, but not limited to: Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), Counselling Therapist (CT), Licensed Professional Counsellor (LPC), Registered Psychotherapist (RT), Registered Marriage and Family Therapist (RMFT), Registered Art Therapist (ATR), school counsellor (teaching certificate +), Registered Psychologist (R. Psych), and Registered Clinical Social Worker (RCSW).

For individuals with a doctoral degree in a counselling/psychotherapy program, they need to become familiar with the Health Protections Act and guidelines in their province around use of the restricted title of “Dr.” Most provinces and territories do not permit counsellors/psychotherapists to use the doctor title in clinical practice, though it may be permitted in academic settings. 

Over the period 2019-2028, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) for Family, marriage and other related counsellors is expected to be 18,800 in total, while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to be 18,300


Job Search Tips - Where to Focus Your Time

Building Professional Relationships (80%)

The average salary for family, marriage and other related counsellors (NOC 4153) is $28.92/hour with a range of $19.23 to $44.00/hour in Canada (2022). 


Sign in

Sign Up

Forgotten Password