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Career Coach: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Working as a career coach requires some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Career coaches offer professional development guidance to high school students, college students and other individuals. They help clients identify and realize career goals through personal consultation. Many secondary and postsecondary schools employ career coaches, as do various organizations and businesses; self-employment is also an option for this profession. Most career coaches hold bachelor's degrees, though some have earned certificates in the field. Voluntary certification is available.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in counseling, business or a related field is common; certificate programs in career or life coaching are available
Other Requirements Voluntary certification available through the Center for Credentialing and Education or International Coach Federation
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 12% for school and career counselors*
Median Salary $53,600 for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (2013)*;
$44,910 for college career counselors (2014)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Job Duties of a Career Coach

Career coaches assist their clients in identifying personal goals, developing leadership skills and planning career moves. Daily duties may include helping clients hunt down new employment opportunities, providing feedback on resumes or cover letters and strategizing for a successful job interview. They also hold workshops, network and maintain relationships to actively promote career opportunities.

Work with clients could span a week to several years, depending on an individual's needs. In addition to students and recent graduates, clients may include the unemployed as well as individuals with physical disabilities or those looking to change or upgrade careers.

Requirements to Become a Career Coach

According to job listings in May 2011, employers typically prefer that applicants have at least a bachelor's degree, possibly in a field such as business or counseling. Work experience in a related field may also be desirable. Proficient communication skills - both verbal and written - are necessary. The ability to handle a variety of tasks, prioritize and problem solve are also important. Potential career coaches must have spreadsheet and database management skills.

Aspiring career coaches can also choose to undertake more targeted training through a college or university program in career or life coaching; the latter addresses both personal and professional development. Some of the courses may cover assessments and consultations, goal-setting and time management. Programs often culminate in a certificate. Completion may lead to eligibility for certification by the Center for Credentialing and Education or International Coach Federation.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics