Career Development Planning Job Options and Requirements

Oct 02, 2019

Degrees in career development planning prepare students to work with human service organizations and schools. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for career development planning.

School and career counselors work with students to help them determine their skills and interests and plan appropriate studies for their desired career. A social and human service assistant can help those with issues such as addiction or mental health problems find employment.

Essential Information

Those looking to work in career development planning, depending on the state, may need their master's degree. These counseling degrees provide insight into counseling theory and practice, basic counseling procedures and childhood development. Depending on the state, counselors may be required to get their license, certification or both.

Career School and Career Counselor Social and Human Service Assistants
Education Requirements Master's degree High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements State-issued certification required; teaching license sometimes required On-the-job training required
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% 13%
Mean Salary (2018)* $60,160 $35,830

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Students who pursue a degree in career development planning have many job options after college. These include a vocational counselor, career adviser and an employment counselor. Below are descriptions and overviews of three possible career options for career development planning graduates.

School Counselor

School counselors work with students in grades K-12. Those working in elementary schools may observe students and meet with them and their parents to assess strengths, weakness and ways to better facilitate learning. School counselors at the secondary level advise students on planning their careers and studies. Duties may include meeting with students to help them determine what careers they would like to pursue and providing them with resources to research careers on their own.

Once a student knows which career they would like, the counselor advises students on which courses to enroll in and what educational programs to pursue. Depending on their path, counselors may advise students to prepare for academic tests, such as the SAT. Career counselors in schools often need a master's degree in counseling, sometimes mandated by the state. An emphasis on career or school counseling may be helpful. Students may learn about counseling theory and practice, childhood development, basic counseling procedures and career counseling.

Depending upon which state school counselors works in, they may need to earn state school counseling certifications, licenses or both. Additionally, some states require counselors to have a teaching certificate and previous work history in teaching.

Higher Education Counselor

Career counselors at institutions of higher learning advise students on job seeking skills and the training they may need to enter the workforce. Students may look to these professionals for advice on courses to take and potential occupations given their major. Counselors may also provide students with interview and resume tips.

Requirements for career advisers in higher education tend be more lax than counselors in secondary schools. Many times, there is no formal certification requirement. A bachelor's degree may even suffice. For roles such as these, experience in career counseling and employer relations within the community are highly desired traits.

Human Services Career Counselor

Some counselors work with not-for-profit human services organizations to help at-risk clients secure work. Workers in these positions provide group and individual employment counseling to those who have entered a rough patch in their lives. Clients may include people with drug addiction problems and those that suffer from mental illness.

Requirements for career counselors in the human services field vary widely. Some positions may only require a high school diploma and certification, while others may prefer applicants who have a master's degree. For these positions, prior experience working with the mental ill or physically disabled may help job seekers find employment. Additionally, candidates may need to earn a state license.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for school counselors and higher education counselors will increase faster than average by 8% from 2018 to 2028 ( The BLS reported that in 2018, people in these jobs earned a mean salary of $60,160 per year. Those who work in human services could expect a much faster than average job growth of 13% from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS; the mean salary for these social and human service assistants was $35,830 annually in 2018.

It may be possible to begin a career as a social and human services assistant with a high school diploma and certification, although many employers prefer applicants with postsecondary education. A master's degree and license is required to be a school counselor. School counselors may also need to have their teaching license.

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