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A career counselor is an individual trained to aid people with their career choice. Whether the person is new to the working world, or simply desires a change of profession, the career counselor will be able to guide them in the best possible direction. Beginning with interviews to determine their client's skills, underlying drive, and personality traits, the career counselor gains an understanding to better serve them in their search for the right career.
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A thorough history of client employment, education, skills, personality, and interests is necessary to ensure the best possible result, all of which is gained through the thorough interviewing process of the clients. The information is then applied in job searches using all available technology and resources.
Career counselors are responsible for having knowledge of the skills needed in various fields, the average salary of each field, and the requirements of each field. After they have assessed a client they will then match them up with a field suitable for their skills and personality, creating the most profitable match possible in terms of job satisfaction and monetary earnings.
Career counselors will not, however, simply match up a client with a profession and send them on their way. They work with their clients, helping them to research the right job, as well as helping to locate resources for strengthening the skills needed for the job desired.
A good career counselor will often work late hours to get their job done, investing time in each client to ensure a thorough and satisfactory result. Many successful career counselors go on to further their own learning and join the fields of social work, coaching, and vocational counseling in schools. Some counselors even move on to outplacement positions and professional recruitment for corporate offices.
Most career counselors will hold a masters degree in counseling. The requirements can vary by state or country, with a degree in counseling being the common theme.
Most career counseling programs have specific courses in relationships, cultural and social diversity, human growth and development, professional identity, and research and program evaluation. Most masters degree programs will also demand supervised clinical counseling experience.
Licensed career counselors are often expected to continue their learning in order to maintain their license. Further learning can include seminars, workshops, graduate studies and personal studies; all to strengthen their own education and the service level they can provide to their clients.
As well as the above mentioned requirements, a strong interest in helping others meet their goals is suggested, as well as the ability to provide a positive viewpoint and show respect for their clients. These skills will help the counselor's goal of aiding their clients to strengthen their skills, work ethic, and suitability for the field they are best suited to work in.
Career counselors may work in a private practice or even in a college or university. The positions available vary by region, state and country. Some can be found as social workers, life coaches, therapists, corporate recruitment staff, teachers, and many other positions where a firm understanding of psychology is helpful or required.
A career counselor at a school would work with students to help them research which career is best for them, while taking into consideration their peer and familial pressures. Career counselors will work with the students to encourage them to pursue careers that match their skills and desires, with thought given to monetary earnings and the satisfaction level of the chosen field.
Career counselors who enjoy the business applications of the field often choose employment in outplacement, corporate recruitment and professional headhunting, finding employees for their clients that will suit their workforce. This is the same job they would do otherwise, simply in reverse. Instead of finding clients jobs that match their skills, they find employees to match their client's requirements based on applicants skills.
One of the things I liked about being a school counselor was that there wasn’t a “typical day” in the sense that there is such a wide variety of tasks inherent in the job description that it never felt routinized.
Perhaps the most important effect my work has is helping people achieve their aspirations and challenging them to write a new life chapter — one that has a hopeful sentence at the end...
The building block of successful career development is comprised of four components: skills, values, interests and personality traits.
For anyone thinking of embarking on a career as a counselor, there are some basic skills in addition to personal attributes required to be effective in any specialty.
Deborah, 34, is a counsellor at a college/university in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Her BA in psychology and her MA in counselling psychology are from the University of British Columbia (1990, 1995). She is currently completing a PhD in interdisciplinary studies at the University of British Columbia.
High school students, college graduates, and adults interested in a career change have to face these difficult questions, but a career counselor can help.