SGPsychStud: Training pathways and Registration Requirements for Psychology, Counselling and Social Work

Image Credit: Singapore Psychological Society (SPS) , Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC), and Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW)

This post is focused on the training pathways to be registered psychologists, counsellors, and social workers.  The information as mentioned in this post are illustrated from websites of the above associations and societies. 
Before we move on in this post, there are a few things to clarify regarding registration:

Why should one be registered? 
To be registered would indicate that you have achieved the highest standards and gained full competence of the profession, and hence qualified to practice as a registered professional.

Can I work without being registered?
Yes.  To work in the professions, you need the minimum academic qualifications and experience; however registration is not mandatory (for now).
Image Credit:
What is the difference between Psychologists, Counsellors, Social Workers?
You may find the descriptions of the three professions here in this SG Psych Stuff post: "What's the difference?"

Training pathway and registration requirements to become a Psychologist

For more information and details, please view: Pathway for Singapore Psychology Education

  • Master’s or doctoral degrees in any area of applied psychology. 
  • The degree must include a supervised practicum component and modules in applied psychology (e.g. Counselling, psychological assessment).  The relevant accreditation bodies in the country or region in which the institution operates must accredit the degree earned. 
  • Full membership in SPS.
  • Completion of 1000 supervised practicum hours, with at least some hours must be completed during the degree.  It is not acceptable to do all supervision post-degree. 

Training pathway and registration requirements to become a Counsellor

To become a counsellor, there are several recognised postgraduate local counselling programs that you can do, after your undergraduate studies.  This list of programs below is available from Singapore Association for Counselling.

To be able to register with SAC Register of Counsellors, you need to have:
  • Graduated from an accredited institute of higher learning and has also completed recognized training courses in counselling theory and content (of a minimum of 300 contact hours altogether).
  • Counselling Practicum or Internship as part of the degree programme, which includes a minimum of 100 hours in the practice of face to face counselling under clinical supervision.
  • Completed 600 hours of face-to-face counselling within a minimum period of two years, subject to a maximum of three years.  
The counselling supervision, which must be by an SAC Registered Counsellor or SAC Registered Supervisor, or a Clinical Supervisor approved by the institute will consist of at least one hour of clinical supervision for each ten hours of counselling practice.

Training pathway and registration requirements to become a Social Worker

Image Credit: SASW (
According to Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (SWAAB), here are the requirements to qualify to be a Registered Social Worker (RSW):
  • Possess social work qualifications recognised by the Social Work Accreditation and Advisory Board (SWAAB) (as above)
  • Have one year of post-qualification full-time social work experience in Singapore
  • Have 80 hours of relevant in-employment training
  • Have 1,000 hours of supervised practice during study and/or post-study employment

Conclusion:  Regardless of the profession, it seems like a specialised undergraduate or postgraduate training is required, as well as  600 to 1000 hours of supervised practice.  There is a lot of commitment required for these professions, and hence hard work is definitely needed!