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By Nsim Team
Becoming a career counselor typically requires either an undergraduate degree in education, human resources or social work, combined with a certificate, diploma or work experience in career counseling. You can also become a career counselor with a graduate degree in career counseling, or a closely related field.
If you want to become a career counselor, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a school counselor:
• You have a genuine interest in helping people determine their professional direction
• You are able to listen to others without prejudice or judgment
• You have a good sense of personal integrity and ethics
• You are able to build trust and help people feel relaxed
• You have objectivity, a professional demeanor, and tact
• You enjoy compiling, analyzing and sharing information
Who is a Career Counselor ?
Career counselors (also known as employment counselors) are responsible for providing assistance, counseling and information to clients on various aspects of career planning and searching for employment. Their clients may include:
• Students or recent graduates
• People seeking vocational rehabilitation
• Members of the general public
• Employees of an organization
In order to help their clients make the appropriate career decisions, a career counselor must interview the client to gather as much information about their work history, educational background, skills, personality and interests.
Career counselors also help with job search, job applications and interview preparations, as well as offering support in cases of job loss, career transition and work-related stress. Career counselors typically also provide advice, counsel and information to employer clients regarding human resources, recruiting and employment issues.
Education Needed to Become a Career Counselor
To become a career counselor, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to career counseling, such as psychology, counseling, career counseling/development, education, social work, human resources, or a closely related field.
Increasingly, employers are looking for applicants who have a master’s degree in one of these areas, or a bachelor’s degree combined with a certificate in career development, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
Skills Needed to Become a Career Counselor
In order to become effective in a career as a career counselor, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses exceptional communication skills, interpersonal skills, as well as knowledge and skills in counseling.
Great listening skills are essential for career counselors. They need to give their full attention to their clients in order to gain a full understanding of their career related problems and ambitions. They must also have ability to listen and comprehend with objectivity, patience, empathy and understanding, without prejudice or judgment.
Career counselors also need excellent speaking abilities, as they must be able to express ideas and information in a way that their clients can understand easily.
Career counselors need to be well versed in various aspects of counseling; they must be able to challenge their clients in a positive way, and be able to advise clients on a wide variety of career related issues, including:
• Finding an appropriate career
• Looking for jobs
• Applying for jobs
• Preparing for interviews
• Dealing with dissatisfaction in a current career
• Dealing with on-the-job stress
In order to gain an understanding of a client’s needs, a career counselor must be able to effectively assess a client's work history, educational level, skills, personality and interests.
Career counselors must also be competent in helping clients with their job search, job applications and interview preparations. This involves having knowledge in these areas themselves, as well as having knowledge of resources that clients can explore in order to get more information.
Who Creates Jobs for Employment Counselors?
Career counselors have a wide variety of employment options available to them, in the public sector, the private sector, and the non-profit sector. The following types of organizations typically employ career counselors on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis:
• Municipal, regional and federal government agencies
• Public, private and non-profit job training centres
• Public, private and non-profit career information centres
• Vocational rehabilitation centres
• Colleges and universities
• Public and private schools
• Non-profit organizations
• Independent career advisory consultancies
• Human Resource departments of large organizations