Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies

Thinking about training to be a counsellor but not sure which route to take? Find out everything you need to know about the CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies.

There are several ways to train as a counsellor (and it’s important that you do complete certified training). Taking a course certified by the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB) is one way to do that.

My name is Charlotte and I’m about to begin my CPCAB Level 4 Diploma. I decided, what better way to round off Level 3, by writing an everything-you-need-to-know-blog whilst it’s fresh in my mind. I also wrote a blog post about my journey to starting counselling training if you’re looking for more information.

Level 3 Certificate in counselling studies

How to find a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies Course

Once I had decided that I wanted to take evening classes, I needed to find a course. It was important that I found a certified course so that future clients would know I was a credible counsellor. (Accredited courses will also have better training, making you more proficient in counselling.)

I did several Google searches into accreditation and found the Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies through the CPCAB website. If you want to find a centre near you, click here.

How long did the course last?

The course that I attended lasted 21 weeks, including a two week break for the Easter holidays and a one week break for May half term. We attended class once a week from 4:30pm until 9:30pm with a tea/coffee break and a dinner break.

How was the work assessed?

As we were completing this course during lockdown and half of our sessions were online, the exam was changed to an open-book written exam. The entire course felt like one big piece of coursework. I really enjoyed this because I felt like I could work at my own pace. Within the coursework, we were required to cover all aspects of the criteria. This was done through several different pieces of work, as well as through practical skills sessions and observations.

Every week, we were required to write a journal entry which remained confidential between myself, my tutor and an independent external examiner. This journal reflected on the theory that we had learned in class, as well as personal reflection to develop our self-awareness.

We also took part in practical skills sessions where we role played as clients and counsellors. For this, we were encouraged to bring something personal (but safe) to talk about to make our sessions more authentic.

Other types of assessments included a 2000 word assignment and a case study on our skills sessions, as well as a group presentation. The case study was a written document based on a six week skills partnership with another peer. We were given a framework to help structure our essay. The presentation was a topic of our choice.

Observations included peer and tutor observations and these occurred sometimes during skills sessions and sometimes during group activities. Example of group activity: we discussed the diversity within our group of trainee counsellors.

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Am I now qualified to work as a counsellor?

The Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies does not give you qualification to work as a counsellor. It is an important stepping stone in the training process to becoming a counsellor. Level 3 is intended to ease you into the working mind frame of a Level 4 training course. Level 3 prepares you for the level of personal reflection you will engage in. It teaches you key aspects of skills sessions, such as how to begin a counselling relationship with your client. It also introduces you to essential theory.

Essential things to consider

Counselling others is a high responsibility role. It is essential that you develop your own self-awareness of your mental health as you embark on this training. The classes require you to place a high level of trust on your peers as you are encouraged to reflect deeply on your own life experiences and share them with the class. There’s no obligation to share anything you don’t feel comfortable, or safe, sharing. However, the more you can open up on this course, the more benefits you will reap.

This course is an intense experience where you will learn more about yourself than ever before. Embrace it.

Want some Dog Therapy before you go? Check out Clover’s cute IG!


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