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Prepare for a career or upgrade your skills in the social service field while learning to work with a spectrum of concerns including addictions and community counselling.

Start Dates
Jan, May, Sep

What you will learn


Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate empathetic approaches in working with people
  2. Explore self-awareness by acknowledging and challenging assumptions
  3. Recognize how people are treated and shaped by historic and systemic oppression, as well as inclusion and social justice
  4. Apply interpersonal skills to complex dynamics in social service agencies
  5. Develop ethical and professional practices in support positions across community settings
  6. Describe the benefits and potential limitations of a trauma-informed practice
  7. Practice effective communication skills
  8. Explain evidence-based models, tools, and interventions relevant to the field of counselling
  9. Recognize Indigenous health models and resiliency, as well as traditional and contemporary practices

What to expect


The Counselling Skills Foundational Certificate curriculum is designed to provide students with practical and experiential learning that is grounded in theory and evidence-based practice. The program has a skills-based focus and emphasis is placed on integration of knowledge and practice.

Courses are delivered through a combination of instructional activities including, but not limited to, lectures, seminars, group discussion and activities, demonstrations, guest lectures, videos, clinical simulations, and field trips.

The program concludes with a practicum in which students work or volunteer in a support position within a community setting. The practicum includes on-site support and supervision from a practicum supervisor and seminars for debriefing and integration of learning.


Admission requirements

  • CNSK 1401 (Basic Counselling Skills) with a C or equivalent
  • English 12 with a C+ or equivalent
  • English proficiency at the grade 12 level
  • VCC Counselling Skills Reference Form and rubric from a volunteer or employment supervisor verifying the following:
    • completion of 35 hours of work or volunteer experience in the helping field (must include direct client contact), and
    • personal and professional readiness for the program

Upon Acceptance:

  • Criminal Record Check (CRC): Students in this program are required to complete a CRC. The CRC must be completed according to VCC's Criminal Record Check instructions. Students whose CRC results indicate they pose a risk to vulnerable populations will not be able to complete the requirements of the program (e.g. practicums) or graduate. 

Missing prerequisites? Learn more about VCC's tuition-free in academic upgrading, university transfer or English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses.


Recommended Characteristics

  • Basic computer skills
  • Familiarity and comfort with basic research skills
  • Ability to give and receive feedback
  • Maturity, emotional stability and a suitability to work in a helping role
  • A sufficient level of self-awareness and personal and professional development to be able to attend to another person
  • An interest in helping people and willingness to work in support positions in community settings

Fees and other costs  

Fee description Fee Amount Notes
Application fee $36  
Tuition $7,414  
College initiative $51  
Campus resource $149  
Graduation $45  
Total $7,695  

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Additional Details

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Counselling Skills Foundation Certificate

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