For vocational and academic planning, some individuals may seek the assistance of a career coach or counselor. By applying career development theories, facilitation skills, informal and formal assessment, and case management, career counselors provide students, job seekers, and professionals with the support and guidance needed to reach their career goals.
Career development can be a lifelong process with ongoing opportunities to improve. Career counseling helps individuals understand themselves and the world of work to make solid occupational, education, and life decisions. Skills that are learned through career counseling can become long lasting tools to help clients make future career and life decisions independently.
What does a Career Counselor do?
Through the utilization of tools, assessments, and the evaluation of skill levels, career counselors help individuals make decisions about their careers paths, teach job search skills, and work on conflict resolution techniques for application in the workplace. Working with a wide array of clients in various stages of their life, counselors with a career speciality will also provide support to those already entered into the workforce on improving their current career. From the start, career counselors help college students explore their interests, strengths, and skills in relation to academic majors and degree paths. As with any other counseling occupation, career counselors must practice by their own set of professional counseling ethics as put forth by the National Career Development Association (NCDA).
Services that career counselors provide typically involve:
- Individual and group counseling sessions
- Promotion of self-advocacy and determination
- Teaching decision making, conflict resolution and job searching skills
- Providing support for job stress, conflict, loss, and career transition
- Making appropriate referrals
- Engaging in career development issues affecting social policies and legislation
How to Become a Career Counselor
Career counselors typically complete a counseling graduate program as they require the theories, skills, and techniques that a Master’s in counseling can provide. Graduate students will enroll in coursework on theories, group counseling and career development.
The NCDA offers additional training and certification for counseling or experienced professionals to provide career support to individuals in a wide array of settings.
- Career Development Facilitator
- Global Career Development Facilitator
- Other Certifications
- Career Services Provider
- Master of Career Services
- Career Counselor
- Clinical Supervisor of Career Counseling
- Career Counselor Educator
Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited programs may prepare their students for the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and may fulfill the coursework requirements for the Master Career Counselor certification from the NCDA.
What are the certification and licensure requirements?
Similar to other counseling careers, certification and licensure requirements vary from state to state. Some employers may prefer that career counselors are certified by the NCDA as the credentialing programs provide extended and specific learning on career resources, transferable facilitation skills, providing and evaluate assessments, case management, and job searching skills.
Career Outlook for Career Counselors
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that school and career counselor positions will increase eight percent from 2014-24 - bringing more than 22,000 jobs. With the increase of student populations at all educational levels, the need for these counselors is also higher. The BLS examines that growth of employment opportunities may be strained by budgets from state and local governments. Universities are increasingly offering onsite career services which paves the way for more career counselor positions.
Career counselors are incorporated with school and educational counselors as describe by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, therefore employment statistics will not be estimated for just career and vocational counselors. Counselors in the career sector are often employed by schools, universities, vocational rehabilitation services, and individual/family services. Employed most in California, Texas, and New York, career counselors may earn up to $66,000 a year.