Australia’s Mental Health system is one of the best in the world. With a high number of mental health staff and a large amount of funding, it is no surprise that there are many careers within this sector for those who want to become therapists. But before you make your decision, you should read up on what requirements are needed to enter this field – from formal qualifications to supervision requirements!
For people who are looking to become therapists, it’s important that they have the education needed for this type of work. A degree in mental health or social work is often necessary for this. While there are certificate programs available, these will only provide foundational knowledge of the field and won’t be sufficient enough for people to get jobs in therapy.
Many people who are interested in becoming therapists will complete a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. While the requirements will vary from school to school, you should have general knowledge of different kinds of psychology and human behavior, along with how to work effectively with clients.
Another thing that is popular at the moment due to the COVID pandemic is studying online. Online Graduate Diploma of Mental Health can be acquired through many universities across Australia and is a cost-effective, flexible option as you can study from home and work as long as you want. A lot of students have switched to studying online due to COVID but also added benefits of flexible hours, minimal travel time, and having more time for themselves.
Finding out what the qualifications are before you make the decision to study will ensure that you won’t be wasting your time on something that isn’t going to lead to a career that’s satisfying and fulfilling.
Becoming a therapist will cost you a lot of money, but it is a profession with good income possibilities. The average therapist salary in Australia is $55,000, with many earning a lot more than that.
However, you must first take into account the expenses involved to get into this field. For example, you will have to attend years of education and if you want to specialize in mental health – it will require even more time and money. If a career change is not suitable for your situation right now, consider doing an online course as a way to dip your toes in the water before diving all the way in! So the education costs would include:
The average Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree in Australia is $31,000 and takes three years to complete. The average Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree for occupational therapists is also $31,000 and takes four years to complete. Other costs may include the purchase of books and resources as well as fees for examinations. If you study from home – it can be a lot cheaper than attending a university. Additionally, if you have existing qualifications that are relevant to this profession then they may be recognized by universities or RTOs which could mean a reduction in the cost of your studies.
Keep in mind that in order to be a therapist, you should have good interpersonal skills. If you want to work in a hospital setting, for example, then being able to listen and follow orders is essential. A university degree helps, but it is more than that. Therapists must listen to people’s problems and feel comfortable enough to help them get through the issue. Compassion, warmth, and love are some of the main traits you should have if you wish to join this profession.
If you want to enter the field of mental health – there are a lot of demands on your time and patience so if you need a break from work or social interactions at times, this occupation could prove difficult.
Therapy is a challenging job that requires many hours of training and learning. You should start this career path if you like working with people because clinical skills such as good observation and assessment, note-taking, and record-keeping are necessary habits to become a therapist. The occupation requires someone who can work independently because you will be spending much time alone in the session room with the client.
Computer literacy is an advantage because there is a lot of paperwork involved in this profession. Also, you should have an understanding of the Google suite of tools as many therapists are now doing online sessions with their clients.
You may also need to learn or hone some additional skills including:
- Basic counseling – helping people solve their problems with practical advice and emotional support
- Listening for keywords – understanding what the client is trying to say, not just the content of their speech
- Observing posture and body language – learning to understand how people are feeling by noticing minute changes in facial expressions or movement
- General interpersonal skills – being able to guide clients into accepting new ideas and understanding that everyone has different personalities
After you complete your studies, you will be required to complete supervised practice in order to become fully qualified. This is a requirement by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and states that you must have 2,000 hours of supervised practice under your belt.
You can do this in a number of ways including:
Working at a hospital or clinic while being supervised by an experienced therapist. This is usually done in the latter stages of your education when you are studying to become a registered therapist.
Doing unpaid work in a clinic or hospital that helps people with mental health issues while being supervised by someone who has been trained to supervise rookies.
Working for free at a non-profit organization where you will be supervised in a practice setting You can also choose to be self-supervised if you have an understanding clinician who agrees not to supervise you.
In addition, during your education when doing clinical placements, you will need to complete half the hours of work under supervision and the other half must be completed independently. As one cannot complete this work alone, you will be supervised by another qualified therapist or member of the mental health care team.
If you fail to complete the necessary hours and meet all other requirements, your registration may not be accepted.
Whether you want to make a career change or start your own private practice, there are many benefits to becoming an Australian therapist. You will be rewarded with competitive salaries and flexible hours for those who work in the public sector. If you like working independently as well as collaborating on treatment plans, then this might be the perfect job for you! However, before making any decisions about getting into this field it is important that we take some time to explore what requirements are needed to become a therapist.