How to Become a Registered Clinical Counsellor in BC

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Team College Learners

To apply for membership with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), individuals must meet certain educational requirements. Specifically, applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution in a field of study prescribed by the Board. These fields include counselling, clinical or educational psychology, pastoral counselling, child and youth care, marital and family counselling, clinical social work, psychiatric nursing, and applied behavioural sciences.

In Canada, this means that the degree must be obtained from a government-approved or authorized degree-granting institution. This ensures that all members of BCACC have received a high-quality education in their chosen field of study. Meeting these educational requirements is a crucial first step in applying for membership and becoming a part of this reputable organization.

Once an individual has completed their master’s degree in one of the prescribed fields, they can begin the admission process for BCACC membership. This typically involves submitting an application form, providing proof of education and qualifications, and possibly undergoing an interview or assessment process. By following these steps and meeting the admission requirements, individuals can become part of a professional community dedicated to promoting excellence in clinical counselling in British Columbia.

So, you want to be a registered clinical counsellor in BC?

Well, before you can become one, first you need to know what it is. Registered clinical counsellors are licensed mental health professionals who provide counselling services for individuals and families. They work with clients who are experiencing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. They work with people in all stages of life—from school-aged children to adults and seniors. They also work with couples and families who are struggling with relationship issues.

Registered clinical counsellors hold a master’s level degree in counselling psychology or another related field (e.g., social work). They must complete a minimum of 500 hours of supervised practice under the supervision of an approved supervisor before applying for registration with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of British Columbia (CRPBC).

List of Requirements for BCACC Membership Application

1. Educational Qualifications

– Hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution in one of the following fields:
– Counselling
– Clinical or educational psychology
– Pastoral counselling
– Child and youth care
– Marital and family counselling
– Clinical social work
– Psychiatric nursing
– Applied behavioural sciences

2. Accreditation of Institution

– Degree must be obtained from a government approved or authorized degree-granting institution in Canada

3. Application Form

– Complete all sections of the BCACC membership application form

4. Professional References

– Provide two professional references who can attest to your qualifications and experience in the field

5. Criminal Record Check

– Submit a current criminal record check as part of the application process

6. Application Fee

– Pay the required application fee as outlined by BCACC

7. Continuing Education

– Commit to ongoing professional development and continuing education in the field of counselling

8. Code of Ethics

– Agree to abide by the BCACC Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

9. Insurance

– Provide proof of liability insurance coverage as a practicing counsellor

10. Supervision

– Agree to engage in regular supervision with a qualified clinical supervisor

Educational QualificationsHold a master’s degree in a prescribed field
Accreditation of InstitutionDegree must be from a government approved institution
Application FormComplete all sections of the BCACC form
Professional ReferencesProvide two references
Criminal Record CheckSubmit a current check
Application FeePay the required fee
Code of EthicsAgree to abide by BCACC’s code

How to Become a Registered Clinical Counsellor in BC –

Registered clinical counsellor salary BC

Registered clinical counsellor salary BC

A registered clinical counsellor (RCC) is a professional who works with individuals and groups to help them deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, and addiction. The RCC helps clients identify their needs and goals and then provides counselling services to help support them in achieving those goals. This includes individual counselling, group therapy, or a combination of both.

The RCC’s role is to provide support to clients in the areas of their lives that are causing them distress, while also helping them develop techniques for coping with those situations. They may also provide advice related to how clients can improve their overall quality of life. Some common examples of this include improving relationships with others or developing better interpersonal skills so they can be more effective at work or school.

In order to become an RCC you must complete at least six years of formal education including a master’s degree from an accredited institution that trains clinical counsellors (Masters level). In addition to this training program there is also a licensing process which requires candidates pass both written exams as well as an oral exam administered by a board member working within the field of psychology or psychiatry.


The average clinical counsellor salary in Canada is $68,125 per year or $34.94 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $58,265 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $81,775 per year.

A note on counselling! Look for registered professionals:

People can say they are “counsellors” or “therapists,” even if they have no training in the assessment or treatment of mental health challenges. So, it’s important to find someone who is registered with a professional regulatory body (BC Psychological Association, BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, BC College of Social Workers). This means they have met specific educational and training criteria and are held accountable by professional standards

To help put your mind at ease when looking for a counsellor, be sure to look for a ‘RCC’ (Registered Clinical Counsellor) designation in BC. Or, counsellors can be registered with the Canada-wide association and have a ‘CCC’ (Canadian Certified Counsellor) designation. Social Workers can provide counselling too and have a ‘MSW’ (Master of Social Work) designation.

Some mental health professionals have more than one designation.

how to become a registered counsellor in BC

Do you have a master’s degree from an accredited institution in one of the following fields: counselling, clinical or educational psychology, pastoral counselling, child and youth care, marital and family counselling, clinical social work, psychiatric nursing? If so, you can apply for membership with the BCACC.

The BCACC is a professional association for counsellors who use a cooperative approach to help people resolve their problems. The BCACC promotes and supports the expansion of cooperative counselling services throughout British Columbia by providing professional development opportunities; a network of support; training programs; research information; public education through conferences and workshops; consultation on issues related to cooperative counselling practice; coordination of interdisciplinary activities; and advocacy on behalf of members’ interests.

To become a member of the BCACC, you must have completed your master’s degree at an accredited institution in one of these fields. If you have any questions about your eligibility for membership with the BCACC or would like more information about our organization please contact us at

Counselling Madrid ® UK Qualified Counsellors & Therapists

registered clinical counsellor bC

BC’s Registered Clinical Counsellors have a minimum of a Master’s Degree in a variety of areas such as psychology or social work. Many have additional training in their specific area of practice. They have also satisfied the BCACC’s clinical supervision requirements that are criteria of membership. There are a number of ways to become a Registered Clinical Counsellor in British Columbia. You can earn a degree from a college or university, take the “CORE” training course offered by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, or you can even become Masters Level Registered through a combination of education and experience.

Registered Clinical Counsellor means the holder of a Certificate of Qualification in Clinical Counselling. In order to become a Registered Clinical Counsellor in BC, students must have a B.A., B.Ed., B.Sc., B.F.A., or a degree equivalent to these degrees from a recognized University or College and must present adequate professional training and experience for their qualifications equal to 4 years full-time study, each year of training including 500 hours face-to-face supervised practice under the direction of an approved supervisor.

Clinical Counsellors work in schools, residential care facilities, community mental health agencies, private practice settings and university counselling centres. To become a Registered Clinical Counsellor in BC you must address various levels of training and supervision that are specific to the counselling profession.

What is a Registered Clinical Counsellor

A Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) is a professional who has completed masterslevel counselling education / training and has met the necessary standard requirements to receive the classification as a Registered Clinical Counsellor from the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).

Counsellors and therapists that are members of professional associations indicate this by a letter designation following their name, such as:

  • RCC – Registered Clinical Counsellor
  • R. Psych – Registered Psychologist
  • RSW – Registered Social Worker
  • CCC – Certified Canadian Counsellor

Members of professional associations have met the academic, clinical competence, and professional requirements for membership, and have voluntarily committed themselves to practice according to the ethical code of conduct and best practice guidelines of their association.

The greatest differences between the two are their amount of schooling and what they are qualified to do.

Some key differences:

  • Psychologists can provide your child with a diagnosis. Counsellors may have a great deal of knowledge, but the law doesn’t allow them to diagnose mental health conditions.
  • Psychologists can assess for learning difficulties by conducting a psycho-educational assessment.
  • Psychologists have advanced training at the doctoral level. BC’s Registered Clinical Counsellors have a minimum of a Master’s Degree.

Each mental health professional has their own areas of expertise. They may specialize in who they treat and use specific types of therapy.

It’s important to find someone to meet your child’s needs. And it’s ok to switch to another professional if your child doesn’t like them or isn’t making a connection.

Approved Clinical Counsellor Education Programs In BC

The following academic programs are accepted by the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
• Adler University (2 master’s degrees)-
• City University – Master’s of Counselling (3-options – mixed mode; classroom;
part time (Saturday classes) –
• York University (online program, recognized by BCACC) –
• SFU (MA and MEd) –
• UBC (MA in Community Agency Counselling) –

Consulta com psicólogo: como é o primeiro atendimento?

Choosing a Counsellor

  1. A Personal Decision. Choosing a counselor is one of the most important and personal decisions you make. …
  2. Get Referrals.
  3. Research the Counselor’s Credentials.
  4. Consider the Counselor’s Experience.
  5. Consider Gender.
  6. Evaluate Communication Style.
  7. Read Patient Reviews.
  8. Know What Your Insurance Covers.

how to become a registered counsellor in bC

What qualifications do you need to be a Counsellor? Colleges will set their own entry requirements but most will expect you to have completed the introductory and Level 3 counselling courses to go further.


  • Level 3 Certificate in Counselling.
  • Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Skills.
  • Level 5 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.

Educational Requirements to become a registered Counsellor in BC


One of the key elements for entering this profession is a strong theoretical and practical foundation, obtained from intensive and relevant schooling. Whether you want to work with “mini-adults” or adults.

Certificate and Diploma

One option in this area is to take a counselling certificate or diploma program. Certificates can be less than a year of study, while diplomas may range from 1-2 years. The topics they can cover can be broad and general or more specialized to a specific area, like complex trauma or child and youth counselling.

Some examples of programs in the BC area where you can get registered clinical counsellor training are the Kelowna College of Professional Counselling, which offers customized certificates and diploma programs, or the Vancouver Community College course in foundational counselling skills.

Bachelors and Masters

This path is significantly longer and more expensive than a certificate, but it provides more in-depth education and a smoother pathway into the industry. Bachelors programs that specialize in counselling psychology are generally non-existent. The real specialization will take place once you enter your master’s program.

When your therapist could be doing more harm than good

But before that, you will have to do four years, or five. Any university degree will do, meaning you can take the time to study some other interests or focus on adjacent fields. For instance, a bachelor of arts or science in psychology may give you a starting look into counselling, or you might seek out a bachelor of social work. As long as the prerequisites are met.

Regardless it would be best to do well and boost your extracurricular portfolio to set you up for acceptance into the more focused masters program. One downside of going this route is that bachelor’s degrees are often focused entirely on theory, avoiding more practical counselling skills in most cases.

If you want more hands-on education before you hit your masters, it can make sense to look for a co-op program that offers real-life professional engagement. Do your research here.

Now that you’ve found yourself at the end of a fruitful four years, it’s time to go for your masters, a prevalent option when it comes to training counsellors. It’s optimal because it offers a wealth of deepened theoretical knowledge and the chance to acquire and develop field skills. Often graduate counselling students will have to decide on a specific area of intense study for their thesis.

Researching schools here is essential, as the type of courses you take on will have a significant impact on what you learn over the next two to three and a half years (which is on top of the years you’ve already dedicated to a bachelor’s degree).

The Masters in Counselling program at the University of Northern British Columbia is one such choice with courses available for working with parents and families or indigenous communities. Another option is the Counselling Psychology MA at Simon Fraser University, which offers studies in ethics and assessment procedures. The most specialized of these schools is City University of Seattle, with the location in downtown Vancouver. 

What is the difference between a counsellor and therapist? - Salon Gold


While the other two paths are the most popular, the Ph.D. route is another one you can take if you don’t mind being in school for an extended period. However, if you go this route, you may still do counselling work but will likely find yourself working in research or other fields. You wouldn’t necessarily call yourself a counsellor with this sort of educational backing, which makes sense since you’ll qualify as a doctor.

Many of the same concerns for the master’s program apply here. One example of a Ph.D. program is the Counselling Psychology degree at the University of British Columbia. It offers in-depth training using the scientist-practitioner model, building on your research skill and your ability to be a professional psychologist.

Online Courses

With the advent of COVID-19, many courses have moved online, so if you were to go to school now, you’d likely find yourself working remotely. However, once this pandemic has gone by, there will still be the question of whether you should pursue online courses vs. physical ones.

The advantages are apparent. It’s much more convenient to reach your classes when they can be accessed with the touch of a button, and with video-conferencing technology, it becomes more comfortable than ever to feel like you’re in the classroom. However, you will have trouble networking with your classmates, and some people may find online courses not to suit their temperament and learning style. It also makes it more difficult to get hands-on experience.

If you decide to go with the online route, make sure that the program is legitimate and recognized by the province. Also, check the curriculum to make sure it offers the education you need and the type of courses that best suit your interests as a counsellor.

All this being said, this first step of education is a core part of how to become a registered clinical counsellor in BC. However, there are issues with existing training due to the scarcity of expertise and the costliness of undergoing education. Keep an eye out for new training strategies and procedures coming in the future.

bCACC requirements: Professional Associations and Certifications

An excellent way to boost your career and improve networking is by joining professional associations. Similarly, it can make sense to get counselling certifications to stand out from the crowd and hone your skills in different ways.


One particular association of note is the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. Being able to join their ranks means that you can classify yourself as a Registered Clinical Counsellor. This designation guarantees to your clients that you’ve met the educational and training requirements suggested by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

This eligibility requires that you first have a master’s degree from an accredited institution and that you have completed the counselling course requirements in each of the six areas:

  • Normal development and/or abnormal Psychology
  • Ethics
    Basic research design
  • Counselling and personality theories
  • Family therapy theory and practice
  • Group therapy theory and practice

You also need to have had 100 hours of clinical supervision as verified through a legitimate reference. As long as you meet all these requirements and send in an application, you can be a member of the association, providing you with connections and qualifications that will benefit your career.

Another association that you might consider joining is the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association. This national non-profit will similarly provide a registered status as well as access to events and training. Membership with them requires a minimum of 450 training hours, 90 of which are practicum hours with an accredited education provider, and provision of various supporting documents


Certifications can refer to the certificates previously mentioned and can include any number of specialized certificate courses, like those focused on counselling women or minorities. The more qualifications you have in this area, the better you are angled to get a position in a field of counselling that interests you.

Another way to obtain a certification is through the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Rather than just membership, it requires that you fill out an application that will ask you questions about direct practice experience as well as the type of coursework you’ve completed.

With a combination of education, association status, and certifications, you’re well on your way to becoming a counsellor.

On Careers

While the nitty-gritty details may be necessary, even more critical is your broader motivation and long-term goals within the counselling field. You want to make sure before you jump in that it’s the right fit for you and that you won’t burn out or become disillusioned.

So ask yourself, what is your motivation for going into this field? Is it something genuine and authentic? Also, consider whether you’re self-aware enough to make it and, if relevant, whether past counselling experiences (as a client) have shaped your perspective and understanding of the field.

You may want to think about whether you will jump into private practice. You will still need extensive clinical supervision and counselling experience before making the jump to independent work, but it is something to contemplate as a long-term milestone.

Another crucial element is whether you’re ready for an intensive schooling regimen. Make sure you can succeed in your courses and that you’re willing to sacrifice years and thousands of dollars into pursuing this dream.

Lastly, ask yourself whether you love the profession, whether you want to help people, and walk others through the most challenging parts of their lives. Counselling, regardless of focus, is all about helping people in a variety of ways, and you have to love doing that if you want to succeed. If you can answer all these questions with confidence, then you may be cut from the right cloth to have a long and fulfilling career in the field.

Components of Success

If you’ve decided, all there’s left to do is focus on being successful. You must have good listening skills and the ability to engage and emphasize actively. Encouragement, open-mindedness, and creative problem-solving are particularly relevant as well. It would be best to develop an intuitive sense of problems and how you can best help resolve them.

You should also have a firm grasp of technology. Computers and tablets, digital audio equipment, and word and spreadsheet processing software will all be used regardless of what study area you decide to work in, making the capability to handle all these moving parts another hidden part of being a good counsellor.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this guide, and you’re now ready to become a registered clinical counsellor in BC.

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your education meets the requirements set by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of British Columbia (CRPBC). If you’re currently enrolled in school, check with your program’s registrar; if not, contact the CRPBC directly for more information about what courses qualify and how long it will take for your application to be reviewed.

Next, submit a licensing application online through the CRPBC website. This application includes your completed education transcripts and proof that you have passed one of the professional examinations administered by the Canadian Association for Professional Development (CAPD). The CRPBC requires that applicants have at least earned an undergraduate degree in their field of study before they can apply for licensure; however, if you have already earned your degree but haven’t yet passed one of these exams, there may be an opportunity for you to complete them as part of your internship experience as well.

Finally, once all documents are received and reviewed by the CRPBC board members (which can take up to six months), they will reach out directly with next steps on getting

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