Career counsellors are trained professionals who help graduates, professionals and jobseekers find their direction in life. By using counselling techniques and looking at a person’s educational level, interests and work experience, career counsellors suggest potential career paths and set career goals that are achievable for their clients.
- Conduct interviews and administer aptitude tests
- Evaluate results and offer advice and guidance to clients
- Give presentations on their services
- Offer assistance with résumé and cover letter writing
- Teach job application and interview preparation techniques
- Keep all personal records updated and confidential
- Help clients select the right education or qualifications they need
- Identify skill gaps and offer advice on how to develop them
- Plan and organise career fairs and conventions
Skills and qualities
Many career counsellors go on to obtain a PhD qualification, while some states require some form of continuing education to maintain and renew your licence.
As you progress in your career, you could move into a more senior position, supervising a team of career counsellors, or you could set up your own career advice and recruitment firm.
Overtime work occasionally
Most career counsellors work in schools, employment agencies, career centres, private offices, community centres and even prisons.
As a career counsellor, you will usually be expected to arrive early to prepare for your daily meetings with students, jobseekers and professionals, and occasionally stay after hours if you have a client meeting scheduled.
Although there are set hours, you may spend time travelling to different places of work, meeting employers and training providers, or even attending career seminars. If you’re working in a challenging environment, you may also be exposed to crime, which can be emotionally tough, and you will need strong character traits to deal with such cases.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Qualifications and training
Bachelor’s degree in counselling or related field
To become a career counsellor, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree in counselling or a similar subject (such as psychology, sociology or education) at an accredited university, which typically takes four years to complete.
Although not necessary, a master’s degree in counselling with a focus on career development can be beneficial. Some states, meanwhile, require licensure. You’ll need to complete between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience before you can sit the licensing exam.
SourcesBureau of Labor Statistics National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Oxford Martin School
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022