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To be successful as a career counselor, you must, first of all, understand how to become a career counselor. The first thing you must understand is what counseling is about and who a counselor is.
Who is a Counselor?
A counselor is an individual who is trained to offer guidance and advice to people concerning different aspects of their personal life. Counseling can be referred to as therapy which involves talking with a trained person to help you find ways to solve a problem, find ways to handle a situation, get over an emotional issue or get advice when you need to make a decision and many other personal issues.
Individuals might visit a counselor for advice on issues that concern their education, relationships, family, health, or even their career.
There are different types of counselors and they include marriage counselors, mental health counselors rehabilitation counselors, school counselors, career counselors, etc. These various types of counselors can be found in any of the 4 types of counseling which are Gestalt counseling, Psychological counseling, Psychodynamic counseling, and Transactional Analysis counseling.
The focus of this article however is how to become a career counselor.
The career choice of an individual is a very crucial aspect of that person’s life because the career you choose at the beginning is most likely what you will be doing for a very long time so it is important to make the right choice at the beginning.
There are a lot of factors that influence your career and they include your background, interests, values, talents and abilities, beliefs and events or situations around you, and even your experiences. A lot of times people have multiple abilities and interests and this might result in them being confused about their career choice. The work of a career counselor is to guide individuals away from this confusion.
Career counseling involves guiding people through their career choice right from their level of education. A career counselor gives useful tips and advice that will help people as they choose a field of study about the future, change their profession or start a new job or business.
What does a Career Counselor Do?
This is one question you should ask yourself if you are considering how to become a career counselor. The major responsibility of a career counselor is to advise clients about a job or business, the skills needed, the salary or profit involved and the advantages and disadvantages that come with the job, etc.
A career counselor is also responsible for helping clients find a suitable job by matching them with jobs that are suitable for their personality, interests, abilities, and other factors. After matching the clients with jobs that are suitable for them, it is also the job of the career counselor to follow up on their progress and help them through challenges they might be facing in the course of their jobs.
The counselors can also help them settle work conflicts with their employers or colleague.
Career counselors help individuals to gain a better understanding of what their passions are, what matters to them the most, what they will be happy to do, and how to plan towards achieving a successful career.
Career Counselor Jobs
Career counselors may get jobs in schools (mostly higher institutions like universities or colleges). In schools, they assess the personality of students as well as their interests and skills to enable them to offer advice on the kind of careers they are most likely to be good at and enjoy.
They also work in hand with educational counselors to help students pick the right field and program of study that will provide them opportunities in their desired careers when they are done with school.
Career counselor jobs are also available in co-operate organizations as employment officers. They will be concerned with the recruitment of staff and because of their specialization, they will be able to assess the personality and ability of employees to choose those who will do better in a particular job description.
As a career counselor, you can also set up your private practice. Private career counselors usually have offices where they meet with their clients based on appointments. Most private career counselors can counsel both students and co-operate workers as well as business owners.
Types of Career Counselors
There are 4 types of career counselors, they are;
- Career educators; these types of career counselors help individuals to develop career skills by educating them about their desired fields and everything that is involved in it.
- Career therapists; our career counselors who support individuals who are going through career crises. The counselor helps them to understand the situation and walk them through the process of finding a solution.
- Career assessment experts; are career counselors who assess individuals, their characteristics, areas of strengths and weakness, etc, and then connect them to the labor market and match them to suitable career opportunities.
- Career program and service managers; ensure that organizations get quality counseling for all staff and employees at all work levels to ensure better efficiency in the delivery of their services.
When considering how to become a career counselor, it is important to look into each of these types to find your niche and preferred area of specialization.
How to Become a Career Counselor
To become a career counselor, you must first of all complete a Bachelor’s degree in social science, human services, or behavioral science field then go further to obtain a master’s degree in counseling. After obtaining your degrees you are required to complete a graduate or postgraduate internship to get your certification and licensure requirements.
You will have to write the required exams and pass very well to be certified and licensed as a career counselor. Career counselors can apply for and earn additional certificates; this however is not a compulsory requirement of how to become a career counselor.
Career Counselor Skills
Apart from the educational requirements, there are also certain skills that you should work on when you are preparing on how to become a career counselor. These skills are very important to your career as a counselor because they make you more efficient.
These skills include active listening without being judgmental to be able to understand and develop a therapeutic relationship with the client. Patience and humility are also important to a counselor because it helps the clients feel comfortable around you and develop trust which can make helping them easier.
Confidentiality as a career counselor must be strictly observed, as a counselor, it is not right to discuss your clients and their issues with a third party except with the permission of the client. This will make the client feel safer and trust you more.
Resilience and friendliness are important skills because the job of a career counselor might not be very easy. After all, not all clients are easy to relate to.
A counselor meets with different characters and temperaments thus it is important to control your emotions and always have a friendly demeanor to avoid having any conflicts with your clients.
Having a genuine interest in others is another essential skill a career counselor should possess. Having an interest in your clients will make you be committed to their wellbeing and that will prompt you to do your best to help them.
Career counselors also need to develop the skill of paying attention to details, this skill will help them notice changes in their clients and figure out if there is a problem without being told.
Career counselors should also be able to research extensively and have an idea about every career if possible so that they can offer accurate advice to their clients. It is also very important that they have good communication skills to enable them to have a smooth conversation with their clients.
Career Counselor Salary
When most people think of how to become a career counselor the next thing that comes to mind is the career counselor salary. To earn a salary as a career counselor, you must meet all the above-mentioned requirements and be efficient at what you do.
As of the 7th of July 2021, the average career counselor salary in America is $44, 839 per year which is $22 per hour, $862 per week, and $3,737 per month.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a career counselor ranges between $34,000 per year (25th percentile) to $747,500 per year (75th percentile). The top earners however earn a salary of up to $62,500 per year (90th percentile).
It is important to note that the salary should not be the major reason you will want to pursue a career. Make sure you have a passion and are ready to meet all the requirements that are involved in how to become a career counselor before you go into it.
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