The Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) is a standardised assessment of the skills, knowledge and abilities required to be a professional counsellor or psychotherapist. It represents the minimum level of competence that clients have a right to expect.

It takes the form of an online, multiple-choice assessment, based on case studies of practice situations written by counselling and psychotherapy professionals.

Booking a CoP assessment

Assessments are held mainly through scheduled, free online events, monitored by remote invigilators. You can take the assessment from your home or your place of work if you have suitable facilities. You'll need:

  • a pc or laptop with a webcam, microphone and speakers, and an internet connection. You can’t take the assessment on a tablet or mobile phone.
  • a private and quiet room where you can take the assessment without any interruptions

If you have difficulties taking the assessment online, we can offer the reasonable adjustments described below, or please complete our reasonable adjustments form to discuss alternative options.

To book onto an assessment, search our events calendar. Every month that we run CoPs, we usually offer eight sessions. Two of these will be specifically for candidates who require reasonable adjustments and may require more time to take the assessment. These will be clearly described as 'Additional Support' sessions.

Once you've chosen your session type, date and time, please follow the booking instructions.

Preparing for your assessment

The CoP assessment tests generic principles that apply across all ways of working, so you don't need to learn about specific theories or dates.

Before your assessment date, we'll send you:

  • full details of how to access and log into your assessment
  • a preparation guide
  • access to a tutorial and sample assessment so you can practise

You can find out more in our Guide to taking your CoP assessment

Your results

We review and moderate the results of all assessments and will write to you with our decision within five weeks. If you pass, you'll be able to join the BACP Register immediately by completing the terms and conditions.

If you fail, you can book to take the assessment again. You can take the CoP up to three times if necessary, but if you fail at the third attempt, your membership will be cancelled as you won't meet the minimum level of proficiency required for BACP membership. You can apply to rejoin us after six months, but you'll need to sit and pass the CoP first.


The CoP assessment is currently free if you book before your registration deadline. You may have to pay if:

  • you miss the registration deadline and want to reinstate your membership
  • you failed the assessment three times and wish to rejoin BACP

You will have to pay a £30 cancellation charge (applied to your next booking) if:

  • you cancel within seven days of your booked assessment date
  • you fail to confirm your time slot within 72 hours of your assessment

Reasonable adjustments

If you need any support in taking your assessment, please give us full details when making your booking. We may ask for proof of why the adjustments are required.

Every month that we run assessment events, we have at least two additional support sessions specifically for candidates who require reasonable adjustments. If you book onto one of these sessions, we can offer you the best level of support to ensure these adjustments are in place. These sessions also have specially trained invigilators who can assist you on the day and give you extra time to complete the pre-assessment checks.

Examples of adjustments we can make include:

  • giving you an extra hour to complete your assessment if you have dyslexia
  • providing extra time and breaks if you have chronic fatigue syndrome
  • allowing coloured background or readers if you have visual impairments

Please let us know in advance if you need to use a hearing aid or other assistive aids.

We also support other reasonable adjustments that are not listed above. If you have any queries about these, or alternative ways of taking the assessment, let us know by completing the reasonable adjustments form

Please also use this form if you didn't tell us about any support requirements when you booked, or if you've booked onto one of our other sessions.

We will confirm by email if we've approved your reasonable adjustment request. If you need to discuss your requirements further, please let us know by using this form or call 01455 883300. Please do not reply to the email.

Certificate of Proficiency - a how to guide

See what a sample case study looks like and how they are scored. 

Certificate of Proficiency - a how to guide video transcript (opens in a new window)

The case study name in the video may not match the transcript, but this should appear correctly in your assessment.

The main sample paper will also now be sent to you around three weeks before your assessment, rather than one week before as it says in the video.

If you have any questions, please email