Most career counselors will need a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, with a focus on career development. This type of program will usually cover fundamentals in lifespan development, psychology, consulting and assessments, and counseling methods. You will also be required to complete field work and practicum courses to gain real-world experience prior to graduating.
At the graduate level, most programs require a master’s thesis or capstone research project. This will give students the opportunity to explore a specific area of interest to them. Strong communication and listening skills are essential for individuals interested in pursuing this type of occupation, since they will frequently work one on one with clients.
Jobs may be found with colleges or universities, community centers, or private companies who offer career counseling services. In some cases, counselors may even opt to work on a freelance basis or in private practice. They may be hired by companies looking to help laid-off workers transition t new jobs or may work with individual clients. In a higher education setting, they can help students decide on a major or create an action plan for their job search after graduation.
Licensure is not usually required for career counselors, unless you work in private practice. Should you opt to pursue this type of certification, a master’s degree, 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice, and a passing score on a state exam are required. After certification, continuing education credits are usually required as well.