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Before you begin training, it is worthwhile considering all of the fees you are likely to have to pay. This section of the website isn't designed to put you off but just help you to consider the costs involved in studying. Although it may seem expensive embarking on a career in counselling, it is important to remember the factors that made you think about training in the first place. If it's the right career for you, the reward and satisfaction once you have completed training will hopefully outweigh the initial costs of training.
The cost of training courses will obviously vary depending on where you decide to train and how long your training is. It may be a good idea to do a short course in counselling before signing up for a full course to ensure it is the right career for you. Short courses can range from one day to a couple of months and may provide a good basis to work from before continuing on to Diploma level.
In our experience, we have found Diploma courses ranging between £1625 per year and £2500 per year and Masters level courses up to £5200 per year.
All BACP members are required to have regular and ongoing formal supervision or consultative support. BACP recommends that you receive 1 hour of supervision for every 8 hours of client work and not less than an overall minimum of 1.5 hours supervision per month. Supervision should be delivered not less than fornightly.
Members of the student forum found rates for supervision differed dramatically depending on where you are in the country; costs varied from £15 per hour to £60 per hour. Group supervision is also an option with prices around £20 per hour and a half for a group of 4.
Although it is not a BACP requirement for members to be in personal therapy, it will be a requirement of some courses. Personal therapy can cost between £30 and £50 per session.
If you are going to be seeing clients you may decide to be covered by personal indemnity insurance. You may find that some placement providers will cover you under their insurance but it is always best to check.
The student forum has found that insurance can cost between £25 - £90 per year. However, insurers such as Howdens and Towergate Professional Risks may give special offers to BACP student members and so it is worthwhile shopping around as you would with any insurance.
Your course tutor may recommend that you join BACP or you may decide that you would like the support and information BACP can provide you with. BACP student membership costs £78 at full rate and £39 at reduced rate. This is a subsidised category and if you plan to buy books and attend conferences anyway you may be able to make a saving by being a BACP member.
You may be required to read up on topics or will use different books as reference points when writing essays. Books are not usually included in the price of a course and so you should budget for this.
The advice of the student forum would be to set your book budget in advance and try to stick to this, choosing the books you need carefully. Many books may be available in the college library..
It may seem like something small but it is worth considering how much you are going to spend on notebooks, folders, paper and printer cartridges. Small costs can add up.
Conferences and Events
As you strive to improve and widen your knowledge base you may decide to attend conferences and events. BACP events offer a discounted student rate for student members. The BACP Annual Conference is £100 for 2 days for student members opposed to £190 for full members and £300 for non-members.
Travelling to and from your course could end up costing a fair amount in either petrol money or public transport. You may also have to pay to park at college. If you attend events, you also have to consider the cost of travelling to the event. You could try and save money by car sharing with fellow students.
As counselling or psychotherapy is often a second career it may be that you have a family to look after whilst you train. Don't forget to think about the costs of childcare.
Help with fees
Access to Learning Fund
Students in financial hardship who need extra help to start a course or stay in higher education could get help from the Access to Learning Fund.
Assembly Learning Grant
Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, the Assembly Learning Grant (ALG) will provide extra money for students who otherwise experience financial difficulty when undertaking further or higher education. It can be applied for in addition to student loans and some other forms of support and does not have to be repaid.
Applicants must be normally resident in Wales and studying in the UK on a course of at least 275 hours per year. Applicants are means tested on the assessable income of the individual, or household. The student's LEA is responsible for assessing and awarding ALGs and can supply application forms.
Career Development Loans
A CDL is a deferred repayment bank loan assisting students to pay for vocational learning or education. Sums of between £300 and £10,000 are available to help fund up to two years of learning, plus (if relevant) up to one year's practical work experience where it forms part of the course. The Government pays the interest on the loan during the course and for up to one month after the last day of training. The loan is then paid to the bank over an agreed period at a fixed rate of interest.
Economic and Social Research Council
Provides post-graduate funding via its 1+3 award scheme (1 year Masters 3 years PhD). Students are funded for a one-year research training Masters (two years part-time), and then funded for three years (five years part-time) for a PhD, subject to satisfactory progress.
Educational Grants Advisory Service
Part of the Family Welfare Association. Provides confidential guidance and advice on funding to students aged 16 years and above, particularly those who are disadvantaged. It provides up to date information on loans, grants and benefits and maintains a large database of educational trusts and charities. Offers information, either by phone or via a drop in service. Interpreters can be arranged for community languages. No charge for services.
Student Awards Agency for Scotland
The Students Awards Agency for Scotland funds Scottish students taking higher education courses anywhere in the UK.
Student Loans Company Limited
Student loans are part of the government's financial support package for students embarking on a course of higher education. They are available to help students meet their living costs while studying.
Increasingly, people are obliged to consider financing themselves by using their own funds, or borrowing from friends, relatives or the bank. This can, of course, be a risky business as finding employment as a counsellor after training cannot be guaranteed. It would be safer to undertake a part time course that enables the student to continue in employment during training.
The following should be available from the reference section in local libraries:
- CRAC Graduate Studies: Contains details of postgraduate courses. Hobsons Press, Cambridge.
- The Grants Register: Macmillan Press Ltd.
- Directory of Grant-Making Trusts: Charities Aid Foundation, 48 Pembury Road, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 2JT
- Directory of Counselling: Colin Feltham & Windy Dryden. Whurr Publishers.
- Directory of Psychotherapy: Sue Walrond Skinner. Routledge, Keegan & Paul.
This list has been compiled by the BACP Information Office from a variety of sources and is offered as a service for members and the public. Inclusion does not mean that an organisation is recognised or recommended by BACP.