Career Counselor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Career counselors help people with job-related issues, such as finding work, setting career goals and dealing with stress on the job. Career counseling does not have strict education requirements compared to other counseling specialties. In some cases, a college degree may not be required for this line of counseling.

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Career Counselor Job Description

Career counselors help people decide on careers. They take a person's education level, work history, personality, interests and skills into account and suggest careers that match his or her background and abilities. They may give aptitude and achievement tests to assist in this area. Their goal is to match people with jobs that will give them the greatest balance of financial payoff and job satisfaction. Career counselors also help refine peoples' job-search skills and may help a person find potential jobs. In addition to helping people who are just entering the workforce, career counselors help people who are between jobs, unhappy with their career choices or experiencing other types of job stress or who have lost their jobs.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that jobs for career counselors were predicted to increase 12% from 2012-2022, which is about as fast as average. In May 2013, the median annual salary of educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors (including career counselors) was $53,600, per BLS reports.

Career Counselor Job Duties

Career counselors may seek out potential clients by giving presentations on their services. They examine client records, conduct interviews and administer tests to gather information that assists them in helping clients choose careers. They collect information about schools and programs, such as tuition, cost of books and schedules for clients interested in pursuing schooling. Career counselors help people develop career plans, teach people job search techniques and inform people about the labor market. They also keep records of their clients' job applications, cover letters and resumes.

Career Counselor Requirements

Although there are no strict education requirements for becoming a career counselor, most counselors have master's degrees in counseling. A master's degree is usually required to obtain licensure in most states; however, a license is not always necessary for career counselors. For instance, a career counselor working in private practice may need a license while a career counselor employed by a college may not need a license. Employers that do not require licensure may only require a bachelor's degree rather than a master's. Some employers may even hire people who do not have a college degree, but have appropriate work experience.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics