Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills
1 Year Full Time / 2 Years Part Time
SACAP’s Higher Certificate is an excellent point of entry into the field of psychology, human behaviour and mental health. It’s a short, one-year, vocational qualification that has been specifically designed to equip you with introductory knowledge and basic counselling and communication skills. Not only does the Higher Certificate offer “work ready” practical training, it’s also a springboard into higher education in this exciting field.

Is this course for me?

If you say yes to any of the following points, then the Higher Certificate could just be the perfect fit for you.

Do you?

  • Want an NQF accredited qualification that is nationally benchmarked and internationally comparable.

  • Have an interest in psychology, understanding human behaviour and mental health.

  • Already work in a counselling setting but lack formal training.

  • Want to work in a counselling environment, but feel the need to develop key skills first so that you can provide basic support and guidance.

  • Work in a related field (e.g. human resources) and want to broaden your understanding of psychology, human behaviour and mental health as well as develop basic counselling and communication skills.

  • Think this is the field you’re interested in and want a short introductory qualification to get you started.

What will I learn?

Throughout the Higher Certificate, you’ll get an introductory understanding of:

  • Psychology, human behaviour and mental health.

  • Psychological challenges and models for understanding behaviour and intervention.

  • Diversity and cross-cultural dynamics in the South African context.

You will also develop:

  • Basic counselling and interpersonal communication skills including referral strategies.

  • Basic research and study skill

What can I do with this qualification?

You will be able to work as a Support Worker1. This means that, working under direct supervision, you’ll be able to provide basic support and guidance to clients as well as identify any clients who may need more specialised help and refer them to the relevant professionals. If you already work in a related field such as human resources, teaching, career counselling or correctional services, the qualification will allow you to broaden and deepen your counselling and communication skills within this environment.

1: SACAP have developed a recommended scope of practice for each of our qualifications according to SACAP’s Competency-Based Framework ©

What further study pathways are open to me?

Once you have successfully finished the Higher Certificate, you’ll be eligible for admission into:

  • SACAP’s Advanced Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills.

  • SACAP’s Bachelor of Applied Social Science (BAppSocSci) undergraduate degree with credit transfer for the same modules already completed2, provided that you meet the admission requirements for that programme.

2: subject to SACAP’s credit transfer and RPL policy



On Campus (Johannesburg, Cape Town)


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Modules and Credits

10 modules (At least 120 credits)

NQF 5, CHE accredited


  • A National Senior Certificate with a minimum of 45% in English, OR

  • A Senior Certificate with higher and/or standard grade subjects or an equivalent school leaving certificate, OR

  • For mature students (24+) not meeting the above requirements, a portfolio of evidence to support admission on the basis of SACAP’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy.

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