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Become a Career Consultant: Education and Career Roadmap

Career consultants - also called career coaches, career advisors or career counselors - are professionals who assist people in making employment choices. They may work on a freelance basis, for universities or for private consulting firms.

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Should I Become a Career Consultant?

A career consultant helps their clients in the process of discovering and obtaining their ideal vocation. This role requires someone who has a strong base of knowledge in psychology and counseling as well as the practical tools to help individuals find employment in their desired field. Additionally, a career consultant needs to be professional, personable, and approachable.

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  • College Student Counseling

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's and master's
Degree Field Psychology, counseling, marketing, communication
Experience Working in a career center can help with advancement
Licensure and Certification State licensing is required for certain positions and other optional certifications can be obtained from associations such as Coach Training Alliance, the International Coach Federation, the Coaches Training Institute and the National Career Development Association.
Salary $41,479 (Median salary for career counselors in July 2015)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Although there are many educational routes individuals can take to becoming career consultants, there are certain degree programs that may be particularly relevant. Candidates may consider bachelor's degree programs in fields such as psychology, counseling, marketing and communication.

Step 2: Volunteer with a College Career Center

One way to gain experience is by volunteering or working part-time at a college career center while pursuing a degree. Individuals gain an array of valuable skills by reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews and networking. These skills may also benefit career advisers in the future when they do their own job hunting.

Step 3: Acquire Certification or Licensure

Aspiring career consultants may consider pursuing certification in order to legitimize their services. There are numerous professional organizations available to individuals seeking certification. These include associations such as the Coach Training Alliance, the International Coach Federation, the Coaches Training Institute and the National Career Development Association. Those planning on pursuing careers as career advisors within high schools may need to attain state licensing.

Step 4: Gain Work Experience and Increase Employment Opportunities

Once in a career consulting role, tasks may include administering personality assessments and inventories, conducting counseling sessions, assisting clients through career transitions, and teaching job-search skills.

Employment growth for career counselors is expected to be 12% between 2012 and 2022, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest growth is expected in community and social service occupations (www.bls.gov). Professionals seeking to enhance their career prospects may consider attaining master's degrees in counseling or similar fields. Career counselors may need to obtain licensure, depending on their state of employment, and a graduate degree is often necessary for those seeking an official counseling position.

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