A career adviser helps students choose which career path is best for them by asking the right questions and providing information. Many work in schools, guiding students toward a career path that matches their skills and personal preferences. Others work in organizations that provide services to people seeking a career change. A career adviser is also known as a vocational counselor, employment counselor or career counselor.
What Counselors Do
Career counselors provide one-on-one counseling to individuals and present informative classes, seminars or meetings for groups. According to the Princeton Review, career counselors use various tests, including the Holland Code, the Myers-Briggs test and the Birkman Personality Assessment. Career counselors help people understand themselves better by examining their interests, abilities and styles. Counselors also provide updated knowledge on a variety of professions. Counselors have easy access to information about different careers -- for example, education requirements, training, typical hours, salary, roles and industry outlook.
How Counselors Qualify
Employers usually give hiring preference to career counselors with a master's degree in counseling or a related field, such as mental health. In addition, many employers prefer to hire licensed counselors, although licensing is not required by law for all jobs. In general, however, self-employed career counselors must have a license, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In most states, the prerequisites to licensing include a master's degree plus at least 2,000 hours of supervised work experience. Some counselors come from other fields, such as social work, human resources, law or medicine.
Environment and Hours
Career counselors work in school offices and agencies that market career counseling to the general public. Counselors sometimes give career seminars in classrooms, conference rooms or meeting rooms. According to the Princeton Review, a career counselor averages 45 hours per week. Most school and career counselors work full time.
According to the statistics bureau, the median national wage for educational, vocational, guidance and school counselors was $27.00 per hour, or $56,160 annually as of 2013. The average annual income for counselors in colleges and universities was $49,320, while counselors in junior colleges averaged $56,510 annually. Counselors in vocational rehabilitation services averaged $39,420 per year in 2013.
The BLS predicts that employment for school and career counselors will increase 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, similar to the 11 percent average of all jobs. The government expects demand for counselors to grow in private practice and vocational rehabilitation. Employment of counselors in the schools, however, will depend on the level of funding from the state and local governments.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- School and Career Counselors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013:
- Occupational Information Network: Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors
- Princeton Review: Career Counselor (Day in the Life)
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