One of the most important aspects of having a happy life involves having a career that is fitting for you as a professional. Some people spend years working for a job that is less than satisfactory, or in trades that are not complementary to their individual skills.
This conundrum of job satisfaction has brought interest to a whole different career field that seeks to help individuals acknowledge their skills in an effort to maximize their potential in the workforce. Career counseling involves a personalized look into the lives of unhappy workers and new graduates to help with planning and coordination for the future.
Career counselors are an extremely important asset to people that want to find a job that they are proud of. If you are considering a college degree that focuses on counseling, career counseling may be a great way for you to get in touch with those in the public that are in need of professional support. These degree programs focus on the need for more knowledgeable professionals that can obtain resources and programs for people in search of meaningful careers. Our expert team of researchers has provided this guide as a tool for you to use on your path through degree achievement.
What Does a Career Counselor Do?
At the onset of a consultation, the career counselor may conduct an interview with a client to determine personal attributes that are beneficial in a working environment. The interview process can involve the use of aptitude tests, I.Q. tests, and even personality tests. The results from these tests can help the counselor determine the level of intellectual functioning of the person, so that they can be better matched in the job search process.
The information gained throughout this initial interview can give the counselor a deeper look into what the passions of the client are, as well as any personality traits that can provide leverage in different career areas. A lot of people that seek out the services of a career counselor are not fully aware of their own talents. It is up to the counselor to identify and display these talents, so that the client can move forward confidently into new positions. Since career counselors are tasked with being experts in the field of employment, these professionals can actively use information gained from interviews to help match clients with fields that are suitable for their talents. As part of the interview stage, the career counselor may also gain more insight into the client's educational level, personal life, and history as a means for tracking down proper career possibilities.
In some cases, the career counselor can even refer clients to services that can help promote career success in the future, such as employee training, adult education programs, and business writing courses. Referral to these types of services can help improve a client's chance of success for years to come. Depending on the individual, their experience with a career counselor can be very different. At the point that a potential career is identified, the career counselor can assist the client with writing a formal resume, locating references, and preparing for the interview process.
Clients that have no experience with job interviews, such as new adults or recent college graduates, may benefit from this training as they enter the workforce. In addition to the initial job search process, career counselors can also work with people that are currently employed, but may be looking for advancement or a change to an entirely different field. Through performance training, the counselor can provide advice on methods for success in a current job, which can benefit people that simply wish to move up from their current position.
How Do I Become A Career Counselor?
If you are interested in being an important part of people's personal achievement, you should consider getting on track to become a career counselor. As with most counseling careers, the first step in the process is getting a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Counseling, or other related discipline. Since a majority of the work you may be responsible for can involve investigating the personality traits and interests of clients, it is important to have a strong background in fields such as psychology. During the first 4 years of your education, you can gain standardized skills in general education courses and specialized information during major-oriented classwork.
After you have completed the undergraduate requirements, you can move forward into a master's level program that focuses specifically on counseling or career counseling. Some students find it beneficial to obtain a Master's in Counseling and then obtain a post-graduate certificate in career counseling. This method can allow you to have more options after graduation in the field of counseling. There are very specific techniques used when counseling the public, especially in a field that is as important as life careers. During your master's program, you can learn the different techniques and ethics that surround the practice of counseling.
This knowledge can prove to be valuable as you get involved with public counseling. Once you have completed the 2-3 year master's program in counseling or career counseling, most states require that you also take part in supervised work experience. This requirement is common for all counseling degree program and helps ensure your capabilities of working with the public. This experience is completed under the supervision of a licensed counselor and can last anywhere from 1-3 years, depending on how frequently you are gaining supervised hours. The completion of this requirement will set you on track to complete the state board examination for counselors, which is followed by licensure. All counselors that plan to work in the public domain must have a license to practice prior to serving the public. After you have completed all of the previous steps, you can be free to find a career working with those that want to better their professional lives. The skills that you obtain through your collegiate experience can assist you in giving helpful advice that can improve the quality of life for people struggling with job satisfaction.
Career Counselor Salary and Career Outlook
Since the job market can be a complicated place for people all across the country, the need for experienced professionals in this field may be on the rise. High school graduates, recent college graduates, and even people that have been in the workforce for years can benefit from the services of career counselors. If you are thinking about pursuing this degree path, you might be wondering what the earning potential is for professionals in this field, as well as how stable this career field can be for you after graduation. National statistics set forth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average yearly income for career counselors is $57,620 per year (BLS;2015). Depending on where you work and the amount of experience you have in counseling, the potential to earn may be different than the national average. In terms of where you can work with this type of degree, the possibilities are vast.
Career counselors can be found in many different settings. There is a high concentration of vocational counselors found in colleges and universities, junior colleges, and vocational rehabilitation services (BLS;2015). In these settings, career counselors can work with students and workers that are learning more about themselves and what they have to offer in the professional realm. At the college level, students may only have recently become aware of their interests, making the transition to the working world a confusing and time-consumer process. Not only is this a field that is needed to assist with the transition from college student to working professional, but it also is useful for students in secondary and high schools that have no intention of pursue a college degree in the future.
The skills of career counselors can be used in many different domains. Since these professionals can be found in many different settings, such as career centers, schools, and even mental health facilities, it is likely that this field can continue to flourish over time. Job search is something that people may continue to struggle with over time, making this is a career field that can continue to be popular as the years pass. If you are looking for a career field that can help enhance your knowledge of the workforce while providing a helping hand to struggling workers, this is a great place to be.
Schools/Programs to Consider
Whether you plan to find a master's level program that focuses specifically on career counseling or want to supplement your master's program with a certificate in career counseling, there are options available across the country. Our team took a look at some of the options for upcoming professionals and found a few different colleges providing relevant programs in career counseling. Take a look below at some certificate programs as well as master's level programs that you can research on your path to success.
Western Kentucky University - Online Graduate Certificate in Career Services
As a great supplemental program to a Master's in Counseling, WKU offers students the option of pursuing a 15-hour Graduate Certificate in Career Services. This program allows students to learn more about the job market and the challenges it can present to job search participants. This program can be completed in 2 semesters or less at full-time enrollment. By using proper assessment skills and connections, career counselors can assist people with finding meaningful jobs by simply identifying skills and positive attributes of clients.
Penn State - M.Ed Career Counseling Program
The M.Ed Career Counseling program at Penn State is a great choice for individuals that want to get the most out of their graduate experience. The program itself seeks to prepare learners to work with the public by assessing counseling skills, intervention abilities, and program evaluation. Through coursework and studies, students can learn how to properly identify strengths within clients and provide them with quality support during the job search process. Students that wish to take part in this degree program can complete it in about 2 years on average, making it a great option for those that can attend school at a full-time rate.
Common Coursework in Career Counseling Degree Programs
College programs that focus on career counseling can include a variety of topics that are relevant to this field. Students can expect to take courses that center on the need for proper technique, which is important in any facet of counseling. In order to determine the right path for clients, it is vital that counselors properly assess the skills and strengths of clients through specific interviews and testing. During coursework, students can learn about the different screening methods available, as well as how to conduct accurate interviews.
Later in coursework, students may also learn how to use this information to provide advisory services and recommendations to those entrusted to them. Some of the common courses for this degree program are listed below.
Developmental Career Counseling
Students that take this course may get a more investigative look into the history and development of career counseling and its techniques. Students can learn how to provide assessments, use the methods of career counseling, and locate sources of occupational information.
Internship in Career Counseling
This course allows students to take part in on the job experience that can encourage their success as professionals in the field. As part of this internship, students can work alongside current career counselors while performing assessments, planning, and review of current clientele. During the course of this internship, students may be graded on their performance, knowledge of methods, and outcomes.
Advanced Career Counseling and Services Administration
While in this course, students may take part in the review of current and trending topics in career counseling. There may be an in depth look into the different methods used for career counseling for people of all ages, as well as discussions into the ethics that are involved in this practice. Counseling techniques, planning, and resources involved in career counseling may also be of focus throughout this course.
Ready to Make A Decision?
Having an interest in helping others was likely the first indication that you would be a great fit for the field of counseling. There are many different types of counseling that are in operation, with career counseling climbing up the ranks each year. More people seek out the services of career counselors in an effort to improve their overall quality of life. Career counseling is a helpful career field that can make a difference in the lives of others, while helping them identify strengths within themselves that were not always apparent.
As you have seen throughout this guide, the first step in moving towards a lifelong career in career counseling is choosing the right college degree program. Once you have located a school that is suitable for what you require, the rest can fall into place with proper research and dedication. When you obtain your license to practice, you can dedicate your time to helping others find the same satisfaction that you have.