The National Counselling Society is a not for profit organisation whose primary role is the advancement of counselling and a part of this role is the support and encouragement of all our training providers.
We believe that achieving recognition of your courses is essential, as it gives confirmation of your professional standing to both your peers and your students and gives your organisation a voice in the future of our profession.
We accredit courses that meet our Training Standards and provide core practitioner training in counselling and/or psychotherapy, equipping graduates to work with adult clients who present with a range of commonly encountered issues. This training would be based on face to face, as opposed to online, tuition. We also recognise other courses and can offer Quality Checked recognition for individual workshops, shorter foundation courses or distance learning courses or Advanced Specialist training status for courses that are intended to support qualified counselling practitioners to develop their knowledge and training in specialised areas of work.
This version of our training standards is in effect for all courses commencing on or after 1 September 2018. For students and graduates applying for membership or registration from courses which commenced before this date, the standards under which you would be assessed for membership or registration may vary from those published on this website.
Please note, a training provider member or training provider applicant may have their membership or application declined/revoked if their general conduct and behaviour (e.g. aggressive verbal communication) when dealing with the Society, their peers, or other service providers is judged to be indicative of unsuitability for service provision in line with the Society ethos.
Training Provider Application Process
Accredited Training Courses
For those training courses that have fully demonstrated to the Society high standards of course content and delivery, and are considered to develop students who are safe, competent and ethical to practice. You must demonstrate a commitment to the NCS Code of Ethics. Accredited status is granted for a period of 5 years (and subject to annual renewal)
Routes to Course Accreditation
- You offer an in-depth course of counselling training and can demonstrate that the course meets our Training Standards
- You have completed the full application process (details below).
Applying for Course Accreditation
Successful completion of an NCS Accredited course is one of the Routes to becoming an Accredited Member and to being accepted on to the Society's Register.
As course accreditation can provide a route onto the Society's Accredited Register, applicants should be aware that this is a robust process which can take some months to complete.
Applicants for Course Accreditation will be training providers. Awarding bodies or professional organisations who wish to have their qualifications or members considered for NCS Recognition are welcome to contact the Society for an initial discussion.
The NCS approach to course accreditation is to adopt an easy to understand process for training providers which commences with an informal or initial conversation of how the course may or may not meet the Society's assessment criteria. This initial conversation enables trainers to determine which level of Society course recognition to apply for and decide whether elements of the course would need improvement to meet Society standards.
Subsequent to this initial enquiry, should the preliminary indication provide that a course may be suitable for accreditation, the formal process begins with a request for documentation and the formal assessment commences.
The NCS values the qualitative and subjective in counselling training alongside the quantified tests employed against the appropriate sets of standards. The overall determination for accreditation shall be whether or not the course under review will graduate counsellors who are safe, competent and ethical to practice.
In devising its Standards, the society has consulted:
We advise all potential applicants for Accreditation, of courses to first have an informal discussion with the Society in order to assist your application and help you through the process.
Following an informal discussion, training providers should complete and return the 4 documents below.
- Complete in full Accreditation Application Form. You should, using this document as a guide, clearly signpost with specific page number(s) and document references the places where your course meets the Society's Training Standards. Writing "see attached documents" or similar will delay your application.
- Society Terms and Conditions – please contact the Society’s Professional Standards Manager for these, either via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01903 208126. These will be sent to you and you will need to sign to confirm that you agree to them.
- Standing Order Mandate Form – complete this form which we will send to your bank to process. The initial payment of £550 is non-refundable.
Please send the above 4 documents to the Society, by post, with all requested materials and supporting evidence. Electronic submissions alone cannot be accepted. All documents submitted must be page numbered and clearly titled.
Your payment will need to have been received before we can commence the assessment process.
Please send these documents (we recommend sending all documents via signed for/recorded delivery) to:
FAO Head of Professional Standards
National Counselling Society,
19 Grafton Road,
If you are unsuccessful we will provide you with learning points so that you can re-send the necessary information
The Society will review the materials sent to support your application and if necessary, will revert to you with any issues that need clarification or further consideration. If, after the document and application review, the Society believes your course to be suitable for accreditation, a site visit will be arranged.
At the site visit the Society will go through relevant questions related to our standards in more depth and will take the opportunity to meet with staff and possibly with students.
After the Site Visit our Professional Standards Committee will hold an Accreditation Panel meeting to make a decision on course accreditation. The committee may take the following action:
- Accredit the course with no further requirements
- Impose conditions before accreditation can be accepted
- Accredit the course with Action Points (steps the course provider must take within a reasonable time)
- Accredit the course with Learning Points ( steps the course provider is advised to take )
Following the panel's decision, and the fulfilment of any conditions, your course will be accredited and you will be formally notified. Accreditation is subject to the course meeting the Terms & Conditions and is renewed on a yearly basis. The Society may make further site visits and take other reasonable measures to ensure that the standards of accreditation continue to be met.
One important condition for this process is worth mentioning to all applicants: it is important that students and potential students are not misinformed about the accreditation process or given to understand (e.g. through promotional material) that the course is likely to be accredited or will be accredited by the Society. Accreditation should only be communicated after the decision of the Professional Standards Committee.
- The annual accreditation fee is £450 payable at the time of accreditation renewal (First year payment is £550 including administration fee).
Other levels of NCS recognition for courses
For those courses which do not fully meet the requirements to become an accredited course the Society offers the opportunity to have the course quality checked or to have Advanced Specialist Training status Further details for these levels of recognition are listed below.
We advise all potential applicants for Advanced Specialist Training recognition or Quality Checking of courses to first have an informal discussion with the Society in order to assist your application and help you through the process.
This can be considered for anything from individual workshops, shorter foundation courses or distance learning courses.
Any courses submitted as 'CPD' will need to be assessed and verified. You must demonstrate a commitment to the NCS Code of Ethics.
For new Training Provider applications we require that courses submitted for Quality Checked status to have been successfully completed by at least one cohort of students. Participant feedback may be requested as part of the application process.
It must be made clear in all course materials and on course promotions (including any social media, websites etc..) that the completion of an NCS Quality Checked course alone is not a route to the Accredited Register nor does it fully equip a graduate to practice as a qualified counsellor.
Fees for this course recognition is as follows:
- Up to 1 Day Face to Face: £100 annually per course
- Between 1 Day and 50 Face to Face Hours: £150 annually per course
- More than 50 Face to Face Hours: £200 annually per course
- Online only: £120 annually per course
Please complete and return the QC Application Form or the QC ONLINE Application Form below together with the relevant QC Standing Order Mandate below and return them both along with any evidence requested, to the below address (we recommend sending all documents via signed for/recorded delivery):
FAO Head of Professional Standards
National Counselling Society,
19 Grafton Road,
Advanced Specialist Training status
Specialist courses aimed at practitioners who already have a substantial amount of training/qualification may be suitable for Advanced/Specialist training status. You must demonstrate a commitment to the NCS Code of Ethics.
The general criteria for this category is listed below:
- An Advanced Specialist course is intended for qualified and registered counsellors. Providers who choose to accept others must make it clear, in publicity and on qualifications that the course itself does not provide a route to registration for anybody. That requires a detailed individual application where applicable.
- The course will be recognized by the NCS as suitable for established practitioners with a solid grounding in clinical skills and theoretical knowledge.
- The course will offer extensive support to practitioners in developing a specialist area of work, for example working with Children and Young People or Counselling Supervision.
- It will normally contain at least 50 hours of face to face training. Blended learning courses can be considered.
- It will normally need to have been successfully completed by at least one cohort of students.
Fee for this course recognition
- £200.00 annually per course
Please complete and return the Advanced Specialist Training Application Form below together with the dvanced Specialist Training Standing Order Mandate below and return them both along with any evidence requested, to the below address (we recommend sending all documents via signed for/recorded delivery):
FAO Head of Professional Standards
National Counselling Society, 19 Grafton Road, Worthing, BN11 1QT.
Tutors and course assessment staff are expected to have qualification levels of at least equal to, or higher than, the level of course being taught and assessed and should be able to demonstrate competency to deliver and/or assess all elements of the course. The same expectation applies to any specialisms taught.
It is desirable that tutors have obtained some form of teaching, coaching and/or mentoring qualification
Tutors on any counselling course are normally expected to have some practical experience in the field of counselling. Tutors on introduction courses or courses at, or equal to, Ofqual Level 2 and Level 3, who do not have experience in the field of counselling will need to evidence how they have familiarity of the practical application of the subject matter being taught.
Tutors teaching on courses of Ofqual Level 4 and above (or courses that are equivalent to Ofqual level 4 and above), are expected to have at least three years professional counselling experience post qualification. It is also desirable that tutors on such courses have previously obtained some form of teaching, coaching and/or mentoring experience before becoming tutors on such courses.
Tutors on courses that focus on specialisms (i.e. Working with Children and Young People; Supervision etc.) are expected to have significant experience in the specialist field being taught.
The training provider needs to be able to demonstrate the suitability of every staff member employed to provide training and/or assessment services should the Society request this.
Evidence of appropriate qualifications and practical experience would need to be included on staff CVs.