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.
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Career counselors can be extremely important assets for people looking to start or change their careers. From helping students in high school or college to guiding working professionals unhappy in their current jobs, career counselors can help clients identify and pursue opportunities for a fulfilling career. 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 who need professional support.
Career counselor degrees can be great ways to get an educational foundation of the necessary skills and knowledge for the position. Read on for more information on a career counselor’s job role, educational requirements, and certification.
Schools with Career Counseling Degrees
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 supplement to a master’s in counseling, Western Kentucky University offers a 15-hour Graduate Certificate in Career Services (CCS). This program can teach students more about the job market and the challenges it can present to searching candidates. It can normally be completed in two semesters or less at full-time enrollment.
Penn State – MEd Career Counseling Program
The Master of Education (MEd) Career Counseling program at Penn State can prepare students to work with the public with counseling skills, intervention abilities, and program evaluation. The program is also accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). 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. The program is 60 credits and can normally be completed in about two years.
Common Coursework in Career Counseling Degree Programs
Career counselor degrees and coursework can span a wide range of topics. Students can expect to take courses that outline the proper interview techniques and screening methods. To determine the right path for clients, it is vital that counselors properly assess their clients’ skills and experience through specific interviews and testing.
With more advanced coursework, students may also learn how to use this information to provide advisory services and recommendations for their clients. Read on for more information on some of the common courses in career counseling programs.
Developmental Career Counseling
Students who 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 for occupational information. The coursework may be relevant to clients at all junctures of the human developmental life cycle, from early childhood to older adulthood.
Internship in Career Counseling
This course can allow students to gain on-the-job experience in preparation for professional success. As part of this internship, students can work alongside current career counselors while performing assessments, planning, and reviewing 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
During a career counselor degree program, students can take part in reviewing 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 its practice. The course may also focus on counseling techniques, planning, and resources involved in career counseling.
How Career Counselors Can Help People
Career counselors are experts in the field of employment and use information about their clients to match them with careers and fields. They often collect this information from interviews and assessments after working proactively with clients. Here are some of the ways that this process can benefit clients and bolster their career opportunities.
Promoting Career Success
In some cases, a career counselor may refer clients to services such as employee training, adult education programs, networking training through websites like LinkedIn or in-person events, and business writing courses. Referral to these services can help improve a client’s chance of success both in the immediate future and for years to come. If a potential career is identified through these services, the career counselor can then assist the client with writing a formal resume, locating references, and preparing for the interview process, providing support throughout the job search process.
Preparing for the Workforce
Career counselors can provide performance and interview training for clients who are in various stages of their careers. Clients who have little to no experience with job interviews may benefit from this type of training as they enter the workforce. Career counselors can also work with people who are currently employed but may be looking for advancement or a change to an entirely different field, giving them field-specific tips. Additionally, performance training could benefit candidates who have been out of the job market for years, giving them up-to-date knowledge on how to succeed in a specific field.
How Do I Become a Career Counselor?
Since career counseling may involve investigating the personality traits and interests of clients, it is important to have a strong background in fields such as psychology and human behavior. As such, the first step in becoming a career counselor could be getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, counseling, or other related disciplines.
After completing an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, students should consider master’s-level programs that focus specifically on counseling or career counseling. Some students find it beneficial to obtain a master’s in counseling and then obtain a postgraduate certificate in career counseling, which may provide more specialized opportunities.
After students complete a two to three year master’s program in counseling or career counseling, most states require them to have supervised work experience. This is a common requirement for counseling and career counselor degrees and can give students the opportunity to work directly with the public. This experience is completed under the supervision of a licensed counselor and can last anywhere from one to three years, depending on state requirements and the individual’s progress.
After finishing their work experience, students may be eligible to complete the state board examination for counselors, followed by licensure. All counselors who plan to work in the public domain must have a license to practice prior to serving the public. Licensing requirements may vary by state and certification type.
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 results from these tests can help the counselor determine the client’s intellect and skill set so that the client can be better matched in the job search process.
Career Counselor Salary and Career Outlook
People are consistently starting, changing, or advancing their careers, and those people may enlist the services of a career counselor to do so. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary of school and career counselors was $58,120 as of May 2020. This is projected to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the projected average for all occupations.
Career counselors can be found in many different settings. There is a high concentration of vocational counselors in colleges and universities, junior colleges, and vocational rehabilitation services (BLS; 2021). In these settings, career counselors can work with students and workers who are learning more about the workforce and job market. Career counselors may help students transition into the working world and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed.
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Counseling Specialties
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Why Should I Choose an Accredited Program?
National Career Development Association, Certified Career Counselor (CCC)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, School and Career Counselors and Advisors