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Mar 2016 by PCI College

IACP Announce Honours Degree will be Future Accreditation Requirement

The Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, Ireland's largest and best-known accrediting body for therapists, has recently announced they will require all training courses to be a Level 8 Honours Degree from 2018.


In April 2015, the IACP published a Position Paper, in which they state “IACP recommends that Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) should serve as a minimum baseline academic qualification for counselling/psychotherapy.”  This is equivalent to an Honours Bachelor Degree, such as the BSc (Hons) in Counselling & Psychotherapy provided by PCI College in partnership with Middlesex University.  When we responded to this statement in July 2015 , we said that we would keep you informed of any further updates in this regard. The IACP has now issued all accredited training course providers with a clear timeline for the process involved in moving from a Diploma requirement to an Honours Degree requirement for IACP accreditation.
What course providers need to plan for is that all IACP accredited courses commencing on and from 1st September 2018 must be at Level 8 (honours Bachelors degree), and validated either by a university or by QQI. They must also continue to meet all the clinical requirements of the current IACP course criteria.

What students/prospective students/graduates need to plan for is that the minimum qualification required by applicants presenting to IACP for First Time Accreditation will be a Level 8 Degree as and from 1st September 2024. As it takes a few years from the date of graduation to accumulate the client practice hours necessary to apply for accreditation (between 2 and 5 years), anyone who is currently on the journey towards accreditation, or planning to undertake training in counselling/psychotherapy (in order to embark on that journey), will need to start planning with these prospective changes in mind, “counting backwards” from 2024.


At some point on their journey, a Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy will no longer be enough to gain IACP accreditation, and this is why PCI College have always treated the Degree qualification as the preferred / ideal option for all students. It’s also a competitive market for counsellors, and will get even more competitive once people become aware that a Degree qualification is going to be the standard. Times are changing in our field, and Statutory Regulation may follow over a very similar timescale (if we ever get a government!), so the key in planning for your counselling & psychotherapy career is to Be Prepared...


Eoin Stephens, MIACP (March 2015)

PCI College


The PCI College Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy is fully accredited by the IACP.  The Diploma is awarded on completion of Year 3 of the BSc Honours Degree course, which is a Level 8 and therefore already meets the standards set out by the IACP for all other courses in the future.

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