This article has information about how you can choose a career counseling degree. Also provided is helpful suggestions for good quality degrees in the career counseling field. We also offer information about what type of accreditation the career counseling degree program should have.
What Is a Career Counseling Degree?
A career counseling degree is usually a master’s degree in psychology, arts or education that provides you the knowledge and advanced counseling skills to do self assessments regarding job interests and abilities. This type of advanced degree also teaches you how to help others hone their job search skills and to be better at interviewing and negotiating.
Career counseling may be somewhat thought of as a career where you largely work with college students. In fact, a career counseling degree will prepare you to work with students and workers of all ages. No matter if you are working in a primary school, secondary school, in a college career center or in an adult learning facility, your expertise in career counseling will be put to good use.
A career counseling master’s degree will teach you to examine the three most important areas of job interest and student development:
- Job skills and abilities: Career counselors usually will test clients and interview them to see what their best jobs skills are
- Interests: Whether the person actually likes to do some type of job in particular is very important, as people will spend many years in their work
- Personality: Different personality types usually do well in different types of jobs
You will learn how to use advanced aptitude assessment tests, personal counseling and interviews to assist students in finding the best career path for them. Al;so, you will learn how to develop appropriate career guidance and interventions to both groups and individuals. Emphasis frequently is on research and evaluation; management and implementation; and using career information resources properly.
While the focus may be on career advice for younger people, a skilled career counselor can work with almost anyone, such as college students, military veterans, retirees, people reentering the job force after a long absence, and beginning mothers and fathers.
Other skills and aspects that you will learn in a career counseling degree include:
- Learn to work in the complex world of cultural diversity, unemployment and recession, and provide job seekers with hope and ideas for the the type of work they can do
- Learn the most advanced and modern career counseling skills that can be provided to all age groups: children, adolescents and adults
- Develop all of the skills you need to be effective as a professional career counselor; you may receive specific training in a certain type of setting, such as higher education, community, private practice and K-12 schools
- Skills in helping other children or adults to develop a life plan for their career
- Incorporate modern career counseling theory, techniques and skills
- Prepare for being national certified and licensed as a professional career counselor
Why Earn a Career Counseling Degree?
The employment outlook for career counselors who work with all age groups is quite strong. Federal jobs data suggests that employment for career counselors will rise by 8% by 2024, which is a decent growth rate.
This increase is due to increasing enrollments of students in primary and secondary schools, and also universities. Growing enrollments in the more populated areas will mandate the hiring of more career counselors to provide much needed career advice.
Colleges also are going to need more counselors to meet rising demand for career counseling. As the economy is becoming more advanced and old jobs are being eliminated, workers often need to be retrained and to learn new job skills. They need the assistance of career counselors to determine what their job related strengths and weaknesses are, and to determine what they want to do with their career path.
Demand also is rising at universities where more career centers are being opened on site. This is a new development as universities are being pressured to provide more bang for the buck in terms of job placement and definitive career results.
The median salary for career counselors is solid at $54,560, and the top 10% with at least a master’s and possibly a PhD can earn mover $90,000 per year.
Last, career counseling plays an important role in society. It is critical that workers and students understand what they are best at and enjoy the most. Career counseling helps people to determine what their true potential is, and to remove any doubts about what they want to do with their lives. Also, career counselors give vital support to students and adults when they help them learn more about their career goals and aspirations.
Online Degree Options
Most career counselors have a master’s degree in psychology or education, or specifically in school and career counseling. For students who have decided to become career counselors, you might consider the online Master of Arts in Psychology, Career Management and Counseling from the University of the Rockies.
This is a fully online program that delves into how psychological research and preferences can affect our career decisions, job seeking and changes in careers. This degree will teach you about how to provide career guidance to students and grown adults, and how to acquire occupational information.
Students learn how to expertly assess a person’s performance and development in various careers, and how to work effectively in group dynamics to better empower workers in their new careers.
Required courses include the following:
- Introduction to Applied and Professional Psychology: Gives an overview of roles, responsibilities and relationships in applied and professional psychology. Also studies the differences between experimental and applied psychology.
- Life Span Development: Studies the largest theoretical perspectives on lifespan development – from conception through the elder years.
- Psychology of Personality: Major personality theories, such as cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioral and biological. Looks at each theory up close and compares/contrasts them
- Understanding, Interpreting and Applying Statistical Concepts: Learn how to analyze, interpret and apply different statistical concepts to do research in social sciences, careers and education.
- Mental Health and Psychology in the Workplace: Learn about normal and abnormal work behaviors. Learn how to create a health workplace culture, how to choose a good career path that works for your skills and personality, and manage stress. Also learn the common mental disorders and personality problems that employers must confront.
- Lifestyle and Career Development: Studies the evolution of different ways of engaging in career development. You will review the major career development theories and learn how to apply it to individuals and groups in all age groups. You also will develop skills in the major career assessment instruments, such as MBTI, FIRO-B and Strong.
- Theories and Techniques of Career Counseling: Studies the many theories of career counseling as they affect career development theory. Provides the student with essential skills needed to use career counseling methods to help students and adults to make good career decisions.
Professionals seeking a career counseling degree may wish to check if the program has been accredited by CACREP or the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. This accreditation agency ensures that the programs have met high standards in the field of career counseling.
Being employed as a career counselor will provide you with a real feeling of satisfaction as you help others to determine what they should do with their work lives. You also will see steady, increasing demand and a solid salary in this field.
- School and Career Counselors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm
- Pennsylvania State University. Master’s in Career Counseling. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ed.psu.edu/epcse/counselor-education/masters-program-1/careercounseling
- University of the Rockies. Master of Arts in Career Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rockies.edu/degrees/macareermgmt-courses.htm