What is a Career Counselor?

A Career Counselor is an individual trained to aid people in 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. Working in an unregulated industry, career counselors often hold at minimum a degree in counseling, which gives them the necessary skills to assess the proficiencies of their clients as well as the underlying drive of each client.

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What does a Career Counselor do?

Career Counselors act as a guide through the process of choosing which career best suits their client. Beginning with interviews to determine the clients skills, underlying drive, and personality traits, the counselor gains an understanding of their client to better serve them in their search for the right career.

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 the 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.

What does it take to be a Career Counselor?

Career Counselors work in an unregulated field, however most will hold a master's 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 master's 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 in the counselors goal to aid clients in strengthening their skills, work ethic, and suitability for the field they are best suited to work in.

What is the workplace of a Career Counselor like?

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 clients requirements based on applicants skills.

How much does a Career Counselor earn?

Salaries vary by state and country for Career Counselors. The median annual salary of an educational, vocational, or school career counselor in the United States as of 2008 was $51,000. This amount varies according to many factors, including self-employment, group practices, and government placement.

Salaries for Career Counselors in Europe and the United Kingdom range from $30,000 to $80,000 per year depending on region and country. In Australia the average annual income for a school counselor was $65,000 AUD, with public elementary, middle, and high school counselors paid the highest in 2009.

Learn more about being a Career Counselor