How to Become a Career Counselor

Career Counselors are professionals who help other individuals make career choices and choose a career or an educational path.

Their role is important in helping people make important life decisions that will affect them long term.

Career Counselors may work with individuals at any stage of their career including undergraduate students still deciding on a major, to experienced professionals who may be thinking of a career change.

Using their educational background and experience, Career Counselors will work individually with their clients to take assessments, discuss interests, skills and qualifications that may guide them to the perfect career path.

Education Requirements to Become a Career Counselor

Individuals who would like to make the steps to become a Career Counselor must meet a variety of requirements in order to enter this profession.

Individuals must have a combination of personal characteristics, a postsecondary degree and possibly seek a certification, license or receive an endorsement in order to become a Career Counselor.

Some important characteristics to have to become a Career Counselor include: interpersonal skills, listening and speaking skills and the ability to show compassion.

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All these skills will enable Career Counselors to help individuals who may be dealing with a stressful situation, such as unemployment or be able to communicate effectively with students or their clients for them to fully understand the scope of information being presented.

As far as educational requirements, individuals must complete a minimum of a Master’s degree in order to enter this profession.

Individuals must focus their degree in counseling with a focus in career development or a closely related field.

This educational track will prepare students with career development techniques and be able to evaluate an individual’s interests and skills.

In addition, many Counseling programs also require individuals to gain hands on experience through an internship.

Many employers prefer to hire individuals who are licensed.

However, a license is not necessary to enter this field.

To secure a license, individuals must complete a total of 2,000 to 3,000 of supervised clinical experience after attaining a Master’s degree.

Career Counselors must also take and pass a state issued exam and fulfill annual continuing education classes to remain licensed.

Visit the website for the National Board for Certified Counselors NBCC to learn more information about licensure.

Career Counselor Job Description

Career Counselors work individually with their clients to guide them to choose the best career path.

Some Career Counselors work in colleges or universities while others may own a private practice, work at an outplacement firm or in corporate career center.

Career Counselors will work with individuals in different stages of their lives from students beginning their undergraduate studies to experienced adults looking for a career change to individuals who have been out of a job or who have been laid off.

Career Counselors will typically begin with an assessment to determine an individual’s experience, skills and educational background.

They will help their clients determine the type of jobs they are qualified for and offer suggestions on how to qualify or if their degree is sufficient enough to apply for a certain position.

Career Counselors will also help individuals make a plan to make improvements in their current profession and give guidance on how to make the steps to enter a different field.

Career Counselor Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median wage for School and Career Counselors was approximately $53,610 per year.

Exact wages will depend on the industry an individual works in.

For example, the median wage for Career Counselors who work for a federal government agency is approximately $50,710 while individuals working for schools at the state or local level earn approximately $60,560 per year.

These wages come with a full time schedule with individuals who work for a school system sometimes getting breaks off during the summer.

The job outlook for School and Career Counselors is expected to grow at an average rate of 12 percent through the year 2022.

This growth is attributed to an increase in school enrollments but may be limited by a possible decline of funding from state and local governments.

Career Counselors are individuals who help their clients make decisions about their career paths.

This includes meeting with them individually, taking assessments and helping them create a path to get to their preferred career choice.

Individuals interested in this path can expect job growth in this profession, as well as the ability to help individuals make progress in their careers.

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