This qualification reflects the role of financial counsellors working in the following two contexts:
- Generalist financial counsellors who work in agencies that meet the requirements for exemptions from holding both an Australian Financial Services Licence and an Australian Credit Licence. Financial counsellors work across a variety of metropolitan, regional and remote settings. Generalist financial counsellors can assist both individuals and small businesses.
- Rural financial counsellors undertake specialised financial counselling work that assists primary producers and rural small businesses, and are employed in agencies funded for this purpose. These agencies meet the requirements for an exemption from holding an Australian Credit Licence.
All financial counsellors are experts in financial difficulty and provide advice and support to help clients get back on top of their financial issues. They work from a model of social justice and client empowerment.
This qualification is NOT related to the work performed by financial planners or financial advisers whose role is to provide clients with strategies to address their investment options and requires a financial services licence. This qualification is also not appropriate for financial capability workers.
This qualification does NOT refer to therapeutic counselling. Psychological issues, which affect individuals, families and groups such as gambling, substance abuse, child abuse and mental or physical health problems require referral to a professionally qualified practitioner However, a recognition of, and an ability to work within, a counselling framework and the way in which other issues may interact with financial issues is highly relevant to financial counselling practice.
To achieve this qualification, the individual must have completed a total of at least 220 hours of work in an industry workplace or simulated industry environment as detailed in the relevant assessment requirements of the units of competency. The total number of hours may be applied collectively across all units of competency that include the requirement for workplace hours.
The skills in this qualification must be applied in accordance with Commonwealth and State or Territory legislation, Australian standards and industry codes of practice.