How to Become a Career Counselor

how to become a career counselorWhen you are researching information on how to become a career counselor, you will want to consider factors such as the needed education, interests and training to help you achieve your goal. Interestingly, career counselors do this exact thing when they help others decide what field to pursue.

How to Become a Career Counselor: Qualities

Career counselors need several important qualities in order to effectively fulfill their duties. They should be compassionate and patient as they work with those in the midst of transition. They will work with high school and college graduates at a stressful time in their lives. They need to demonstrate empathy and concern for others. The career counselor should also be able to connect with their clients as they help clients focus on goals. They need to listen and discern any underlying meaning behind a client’s words. Career counselors must be able to communicate with a wide variety of personalities. They need to know how to calm upset individuals who may just need a listening ear. Career counselors should also be comfortable speaking to groups or individuals. They need to be able to effectively express themselves.

How to Become a Career Counselor: Education, Training and Licensing

While a master’s degree is not mandatory for career counseling, most employers look for applicants with advanced degrees who have completed an internship. Candidates who are wondering how to become a career counselor should pursue a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis on career development. Often this can be done online. Licensing is usually mandatory for career counselors with their own practice. A license includes an advanced degree and between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of documented clinical experience. They must complete state boards and fulfill yearly continuing education requirements. The National Board of Certified Counselors offers membership to career counselors who meet their high professional standards.

Typical Roles and Responsibilities of a Career Counselor

Career counselors advise others regarding job opportunities. They assess the skills and abilities of clients through personality and aptitude tests. Career counselors also help others formulate short- and long-term goals by looking at the education and background of their clients. They recommend additional training or college courses for students or those contemplating career changes. Career counselors help streamline resumes and teach clients interviewing strategies. They assist clients with creative methods of looking for jobs, including the use of networking skills. Career counselors find appropriate schools and programs to further the client’s marketable skill set. They might help new college students deciding on career paths, exiting graduates looking for employment and professionals searching to upgrade their career. Others work within specific companies or at a corporate or government job placement program. A few practice privately at their own firms.

A Career Counselor’s Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, as of May 2010, a career counselor working at a junior college will earn just over $51,000 per year. A career counselor employed at an advanced learning institution receives just under $45,000 annually. For those working in the field of vocational rehabilitation services, that figure decreases to about $35,000 per year.

Career counselors impact the future of their clients by helping them make important life decisions. While you will need a master’s degree to learn how to become a career counselor, this rewarding field will offer you the opportunity to help others on a daily basis.

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