What Does a Career Counselor Do?
Whether you realize it or not, the process of developing your career has been going on all your life. Your interests, skills, values, personality, upbringing, and circumstances are just a few of the many things that might affect how your career develops. In order to make decisions about your job, education, and overall well-being, career counseling is a process that will help you get to know and understand yourself as well as the working environment.
Choosing a major and determining what profession you want to acquire after graduation are only two aspects of career development. In other words, you will change during your life, circumstances will change, and you will constantly have to make decisions about your profession and your personal life. Career counseling aims to equip you with the knowledge and abilities you need to make future career and life decisions in addition to assisting you in making the decisions you must make right away.
What is Career Counseling?
The ultimate objective of a career counselor is to assist clients in obtaining relevant, fulfilling, and financially advantageous jobs. To do this, career counselors extensively collaborate with their clients to determine their skills, areas for improvement, and areas of interest while looking into potential careers and employment openings.
But career counselors do more than just distribute personality tests and go through job advertisements. These specialists assist clients in imagining themselves in various contexts. They also help customers develop practical skills such as creating resumes, writing cover letters, interviewing for jobs, and acting professionally and productively at work.
Career counselors serve as instructors, coaches, confidants, and mentors. Each client receives personalized assistance that is catered to their unique needs and objectives.
Do People Need Career Counseling?
One of the most important decisions a person will ever make is what to do with their life, and it’s not always a simple choice. As a result, there is a significant need for experienced career counselors in both private practice and schools.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for school and career counselors is expected to expand by nearly 8% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than normal and would result in the creation of around 26,800 new positions.
The rising student population in elementary, middle, and secondary schools is partly to blame for the high demand for career counselors. professional counselors play a crucial role in these settings in assisting students in determining their professional goals and capitalizing on their abilities.
Additionally, it is anticipated that schools and universities will hire more career advisers. For students who require assistance in acquiring practical job-finding, interviewing, and resume-building skills, on-campus career centers are crucial.
Finally, a high demand for career counselors is anticipated in private practice and at community resource centers. Here, career counselors frequently assist service people who have been discharged and need assistance transitioning to civilian professions. Counselors are also required to help people who have lost their jobs and those whose careers are transitioning.
Although it is safe to predict that those affected by the epidemic will benefit from career counseling, it is unknown how layoffs and firings due to the virus will effect job prospects for counselors.
What Does a Career Counselor Do?
Many career counselors work with students of all ages, while others help veterans who have left the military, persons who are changing careers, and people who have permanent disabilities and are unable to perform the duties of their prior jobs. Career counselors work with a wide spectrum of people, therefore their normal daily activities depend on the setting in which they are employed. However, in general, these experts can handle any of the following jobs:
- Administer personality and career tests to determine a client’s interests and job aptitudes
- Determine potential career paths and inform clients of these alternatives
- Give recommendations for local resources, like career training possibilities and educational opportunities
- Assist clients in discovering nearby employment and internship opportunities
- Assist clients in drafting cover letters and resumes
- Teach clients how to conduct excellent interviews, and conduct practice interviews
Professionals in career counseling adapt their services to each client’s needs. While those who work in social service settings with adult clients will concentrate more on performing job searches and offering interview assistance, those who work in schools will place a greater emphasis on the academic advancement of pupils.
When deciding what kind of demographic you would want to deal with, take into account the following positions.
Various Kind of Career Counselors
1. Elementary School Counselors
The primary focus of elementary-aged children’s counselors is on their developmental needs. To make sure that curricula and extracurricular activities support a child’s healthy development, they could collaborate with teachers and school administrators. They might also get together with parents to discuss potential remedies for a child’s problems.
2. Middle School Counselors:
The middle school years are a time of change. When working with students at this stage, counselors typically assist them in learning and putting into practice life skills like time management and decision-making. Additionally, these counselors assist students in maintaining their academic progress and in starting to consider their future vocations and academic objectives.
3. High School Counselors:
In this environment, college and career planning are given more attention. Helping students improve their chances of succeeding after high school is the main objective of career counselors in high schools. They do this through assisting students in locating possibilities for further education, researching available job paths, locating internships, and developing professional objectives.
4. College Advisors:
On college campuses and in online higher education institutions, career counselors provide a critical need. They might assist students with selecting a degree, locating an internship, honing their interviewing techniques, and creating a résumé. When former students wish to switch careers or just find a new employment, college career counselors may also work with them.
5. Career Coaches:
Some career counselors deal with persons who have already started their careers but are looking for a new position or want to change careers. These individuals can also want assistance in settling professional conflicts or locating job-training options.
As you can see, the clients that career counselors work with have a significant impact on their daily activities.
Also Read: 10 Top IRS Approved Tax Preparation Courses
What Are the Key Qualities and Competencies of a Career Counselor?
You can start actively developing the abilities and traits required for success in this position as you progress through your academic career toward your vocation of choice. Empathy and compassion are two qualities you should possess because you will frequently be working with individuals who are going through trying times or difficult life transitions.
Other crucial qualities and abilities include:
- Interpersonal skills: Building a good rapport with each client is essential for career counselors. Since clients can be from all backgrounds, this requires ability.
- Communication abilities: For a career counselor, being a proactive listener is just as crucial as being able to express themselves properly both orally and in writing.
- Analysis: Academic records, personality tests, occupational evaluations, and data on job profiles are just a few of the raw data that career counselors must work with. Helping clients locate professions that are suitable for their skills and pertinent to their interests requires the ability to analyze and interpret data correctly.
Getting Started as a Career Counselor
You might be interested in becoming a career counselor yourself now that you are aware of what career counselors do. Always check to see whether the state where you wish to work has any particular criteria before you start working toward this job. All states require career counselors working in public schools to hold a state-mandated credential, and some states do have licensing requirements for career counselors working in private practice.
The next step is to design your academic path after assessing your state’s standards and deciding whether you want to work as a counselor in a public school. Visit your school counselor while you are still in high school to talk about your career goals and see if you can add relevant classes (like psychology courses) to your calendar.
You might also want to ask your school counselor some questions about your chosen career path as they are doing the type of work that you are interested in.
Selecting a curriculum for an undergraduate degree is the next step. There isn’t only one major that aspirant career counselors should choose. People with a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise enter this career.
However, choosing to major in psychology is generally a wise decision. Psychology majors investigate socioemotional factors, cognitive and behavioral patterns, and other related topics. When guiding clients through significant life decisions, career counselors find that having in-depth knowledge in these areas is helpful.
You will examine in-depth the development of children and adults, cultural impacts on behavior, and behavioral theories of personality during your study. Additionally, you will study cognitive neuroscience, including how the brain makes decisions. You might be able to take a professional capstone course during your senior year, which will require you to conduct a sizable research project on a subject relating to your career goals.
If you want to work as a career counselor in a public school or if your state mandates that all career counselors obtain a graduate-level degree, you will need to complete a master’s degree after graduating. Maintaining your chosen academic path will help you obtain a master’s degree in psychology.
Find a master’s degree program that specializes on school counseling and leads to initial licensure if being a school counselor is your goal. A Master of Education (MEd) in School Counseling is one illustration. Another choice is to pursue a psychology degree with a life coaching emphasis, as this is closely related to job counseling.
Depending on the curriculum you select, you might need to complete an internship or a specific amount of supervised practicum hours. These will assist you in fulfilling any criteria for job experience set forth by your state.
The following step is to finish any remaining state requirements and submit an application for certification or licensure, which can require passing an exam. Additionally, prospective school counselors are frequently required to submit to a criminal history investigation.
Advice for Getting Your First Job in Career Counseling
After earning your degree in career counseling, you should consider joining a professional organization. A professional group membership in good standing can benefit your resume. These groups also frequently provide services for finding employment, including networking events and job boards tailored to particular professions.
You can also search for local, state-wide, or regional groups. Contacting your former employer or internship supervisor to see if they have any openings is a further step to take after joining one or more professional organizations and effectively utilizing their job-finding services. Consider taking on a relevant volunteer position while you’re looking for work to strengthen your resume and make professional connections while giving back to your community.
Related Careers to Consider for Psychology Majors
Are you unsure if choosing a career as a counselor is the best choice for you? A psychology major has a wide range of further options, not all of which necessitate a master’s degree. Consider pursuing a profession as a psychiatric technician, for example. In this position, you would assist patients in reaching their rehabilitation objectives while working under the direction of a psychologist.
The following are other employment choices for psychology majors:
- College admissions counselor
- Corporate trainer
- Corporate headhunter/recruiter
- Human resources specialist
- Social services specialist
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the skills of career counseling?
However, some abilities, such active listening, empathy, rapport-building, problem-solving, critical thinking, and lifelong learning, are necessary for any career counselor. You can become a more successful and effective career counselor by honing these abilities and modifying them for various situations.
What does a career counselor look like in practice?
A career counselor may be a therapist, a life coach, or a corporate volunteer, but they are all often qualified to offer resources for career information, talk about career development, and administer and interpret aptitude and ability tests.
What elements make up career counseling?
A safe environment, a trust and confidentiality agreement, and pertinent psychometric tests. The main objective of career counseling is to establish a safe and secure environment where the student may feel at ease and speak openly about his or her life and profession.