How Do You Become a Career Counselor?

Now’s an excellent time to become a career counselor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the careers expects an 8 percent job growth for 22,500 new U.S. jobs before 2024. Career counselors are the adult equivalent of school counselors who help clients in college and older with picking realistic occupational goals for their professional success. Career counselors use aptitude testing to ascertain which field best suits clients’ hobbies and skills before customizing a plan to improve their job marketability. Their duties include relaying information about college degrees or job training, logging clients into job databases, practicing interviewing skills, reviewing clients’ resumes, giving advice on workplace conflicts, and setting up employer panels. Here are the three steps you should take if career counseling is your own vocational calling.

Finish a Suitable Bachelor’s Major

After your high school diploma or GED, you’ll apply for admission at regionally accredited four-year colleges that offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Aspiring career counselors can generally pick any major of interest from counseling to education and business administration. Keep in mind that counseling graduate schools may require certain social science prerequisites, especially psychology and sociology, though. Undergrads must maintain good grades since master’s degrees often require minimum GPAs of 2.5-3.3. Schedule time to join groups like Health Occupations Students of America for networking. Resume-building human services experience can be gained through internships and volunteer work too. Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in your senior year to jumpstart the application process.

Enroll in an Accredited Counseling Program

Career counseling jobs generally seek candidates with a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree from a graduate school accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Master’s degrees take 18 to 36 months full-time or longer part-time to complete 48+ advanced specialized credits. Eight colleges, such as Penn State University, North Carolina Central University, the University of Maryland, and Florida State University, offer CACREP-accredited emphases in career counseling or career development. Didactic instruction is applied with at least 350 hours of supervised field practicum. Some may even intern at their university’s Career Services Department. Another big part of career counseling degrees is the capstone, which could be a thesis, applied project, or exam.

Pursue Licensure and/or NBCC Certification

Employers seek proof of career counselors’ mastery of therapeutic models, speaking and listening skills, compassion, and assessment ability. Therefore, many will prefer candidates who have underwent credentialing as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Qualifications will vary by state, but most LPCs need a CACREP-accredited master’s degree, 1,000 hours of supervised experience, and passing exam score. The NBCC National Certified Counselor (NCC) distinction has been another voluntary option since 1983 for individuals to display their professional commitment. Hopeful applicants must answer 200 multiple-choice questions across eight content areas, including career development. After passing, you’ll need 100 clock hours of continuing education credits every five years for recertification.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Grief Counselor?

According to CNN Money, career counselors have the United States’ 46th best job that scores “A” for low stress, personal satisfaction, and low stress. Career counselors report a median annual salary of $46,900 and top pay at $66,200. Taking the above steps will unlock positions at junior colleges, university campuses, vocational rehabilitation services, government agencies, corporations, and private practices. Follow your own professional advice and become a career counselor to coach adults to their dream jobs.