Generally, career counseling consists of activities performed or coordinated by individuals that have the professional competence and credentials to work with. They are considered to be the experts and specialists on this field who counsel some individuals or groups of individuals relative to occupations, careers, career decision-making, career-planning, and other career development matters. The vital role of the career counselors creates a significant contribution to the choices of the individual, as well as his determination to achieve his goals in the future. His profession has a significant impact on the individual’s success.
Indeed, a professionally or nationally certified career counselor helps people make decisions and plan their future life which can lead to proper career directions. It does not really mean that the career counselor makes the decision. Instead, he allows the individual client or counselee to make his own mind and create his own decision. One important part of his counseling jobs is to provide certain options. These options may contain certain choices with their respective pros and cons for the individual to weigh. At the final end, it is the individual client that has to make the final decision and exercise his will power to choose what really he wants in life. He has to take responsibility of any consequence from that choice, whatever it may be.
Moreover, to perform effectively within the counselor employment, one must be competent in general counseling. He must have the skills in building good relationships and the ability to use counseling techniques in assisting individuals with career choice and life career plans. Note that career counselors must have the knowledge of education, training, employment trends, labor market, and career resources that provide information about job tasks, functions, salaries, requirements, and future outlooks related to broad occupational fields. In addition, counselors must have information related to career development and decision making, and knowledge of the changing roles of men and women and the linkage of work, family, and leisure. Competencies in individual and group assessment skills are essential. Knowledge of testing techniques and measures of aptitude, achievement, interest, values and personality is required. Similarly, the ability to evaluate job performance and individual effectiveness matters most in the counselor’s job. The career counselor must also have management and administrative skills. Lastly, career counselors must have the ability to provide effective career consultation to influential individuals, such as parents, teachers, employers, community groups, and the general public.
As a whole counseling career, the minimum educational program in career/vocational counseling is an earned graduate degree in counseling or a related professional field from a regionally accredited higher education institution. Besides, a completed supervised counseling experience, which includes career counseling, is required. A growing number of institutions offer post-master’s degree training in career development and career counseling. Such programs are highly recommended for persons with a master’s degree in counseling who wishes to specialize in vocational/career counseling. Nevertheless, those who wish to become a national certified career counselor must be a nationally certified counselor. Note that an aspirant must hold an earned graduate degree in counseling or a related professional field. Additionally, candidates for certification must have supervised counseling experience, which includes career counseling and guidance counselor jobs. Such counselors must also acquire a minimum of three years of full-time career development work experience by which he must obtain written endorsements of competence in career counseling from a work supervisor or a professional colleague. Finally, he must successfully complete a knowledge-based certification examination in order to become a certified counselor who can legitimately employ effective counseling jobs to the clients’ success.
Employment opportunities for counseling jobs are expected to show an average consistent increase for the coming years. As a result of technological, social, and economic factors, many employees presently in the labor force will be displaced, especially to the negative impact of global recessions. These workers will have to be counseled and trained for other occupations, creating more demand for career counselors.
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