Students and graduates living and working in the United Kingdom can now apply for Individual membership with BACP and work towards becoming a Registered Member (MBACP). The recent experiences of a graduate who has undertaken this process is detailed below:


These are her steps to achieving registration:

Apply for Student Membership whilst you are still at Student at Tobias School of Art and Therapy.

  • Understand the Criteria for Application as a Counsellor/Psychotherapist as per the BACP website and members area and note the application time limits..
  • Download the application form for this Individual membership from the BACP website ; once sure that you meet the criteria.
  • A Tobias faculty member will need to complete the relevant parts of the form to recommend you for Individual membership
  • Find one other referee.
  • Take the proficiency test which you need to pass in order to become a registered member. All Tobias graduates need to take this test.

The Proficiency Test:

The test is free at the moment and you get three attempts at it.

  • It is 2 hours long and consists of multi choice questions on six case studies.
  • The questions are presented electronically to you  and are on things related to generic counselling knowledge e.g. safe guarding, appropriate referral, general decision making etc. You can see an example on BACP web site.

My Experience:

I took the test in exam conditions in a big hall with about thirty other people from many different counselling trainings.

Questions are not  based on a specific psychological theory.

The whole process was a lot easier than I anticipated. I thought I would need to take the proficiency test at least twice because I had no idea of the standards that they were looking for.

Before I went for the test in London, they gave some helpful examples of the type of questions that I would be asked (and gave answerers). It’s possible to work out from those the kind of areas to brush up on. Evidently my brushing up was enough.

I would really encourage other graduates to do it. Nothing is lost either way because there is no charge (at the moment) to take the test, except the BACP Individual membership fee.

You are given three free attempts at the proficiency test, so even if you use the first one to get a better idea of what is needed, there is a high chance of passing it eventually. The overall pass rate of 93{5e404456c69636dc300dd4b9e59db4ced4d78c2051f1844f92b739cab19ac32e} is an indication that it’s not out of reach of  people who have the basic requirements.

Once on the national register you are entitled to use the BACP logo for advertising and that opens up a lot of opportunities.  (Even being an individual member of BACP, who intended to take the proficiency test, opened up the opportunity at a  Counselling centre for me!)

I have been very impressed with BACP so far. The joining process was fast, easy and problem free. Their research department made a speedy and helpful response to a request for articles for my dissertation and there are a lot of excellent quality CPD opportunities available.

Some things are changing in 2016 so if interested it might be worth looking into it sooner rather than later.



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