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How to Become a Career Counselor

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Career counselors provide assistance to people who are unemployed or want to change jobs or careers. They help the person find the right position or profession for them while ensuring they have the right training and preparation to get the job or join the career they've chosen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career counselor job opportunities are expected to grow 14 percent between 2008 and 2018 making the profession an enticing choice for anyone who wants to become a career counselor.

Find a program. Visit the website of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) to view a list of career counseling educational programs in the U.S. As of 2010, there are nine institutions that offer the training you need to become a career counselor, and this may require you to temporarily relocate to get your degree in this field. Learn about each school by visiting them before choosing the one that's right for you based on location, cost, instructors and student experience.

Earn your degree. Spend two to three years completing one of the nine educational programs that prepare you to work as a career counselor. Take a combination of lecture classes and practical experiences, the latter of which allows you to work as a career counselor with real clients under the supervision of instructors from your degree program. Graduate with your master's degree in counseling once you've completed the curriculum.

Obtain your license. Submit an application and licensing fee to the counseling board or professional licensing division in your state to get your license to work as a career counselor. Provide proof of your master's degree by sending them an official copy of your transcript. Show the number of hours you completed for practical experience during your master's degree program by having your supervising instructor submit a form detailing the hours and locations to the counseling licensing board.

Find a job. Seek out a position as a career counselor at a local school, college or employment center in your state. HigherEdJobs.com and K-12 job listing websites are great resources for career counselors who want to work at schools, colleges and universities. Career counseling positions with state employment centers can often be found on the human resources website for the state government.

Become certified. Complete the application to become a certified career counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), and submit it with two letters of reference. One letter should be from your current or a previous supervisor, while the other one should come from a colleague in the career counseling field. Show proof that you have completed at least two years of supervised counseling experience, and pass the National Counselor Exam given by the NBCC. Consider joining professional associations, such as the American Counseling Association or the National Career Development Association, to remain active in the counseling field. This also helps you stay up-to-date with the latest news and research pertaining to the career counseling field as well as network with other professionals.


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