Whether you’re giving career guidance to students, offering career exploration to fresh graduates, providing career development or career planning for professionals - there are many different job opportunities for people who are interested in becoming counsellors. In fact, there are countless of ways you can accomplish your personal and career goals with the plethora of career options. One major example is helping people with special needs integrate into the job market, which can be both fulfilling and a helpful way of engaging with a community to boost the economy.
However, with many a career path to choose from comes with the difficulty of both knowing what kind of qualifications you should get as well as what kinds of career services you should engage with. From taking a new career in educational psychology or seeking a career change into becoming a career counsellor, the possibilities you can benefit from are endless.
Where will you find your job as a psychological or career advisor? Here’s our guide on everything you should know about tips and resources on accreditation, resume and cover letter materials for jobs in the field!
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Educational Psychology and Career Advising for Students
If you’re interested in becoming a professional school counsellor, here is what the world of work will look like. Job seekers in this field should be aware that there are two major differences between these two career pathways. Understanding types of career choices you will need to take for either field will help improve your job search strategies and interview skills whether you’re just starting out in the job market after graduation or if you are starting to draft your career plan.
Those that are interested in becoming an educational psychologist are those who are interested in the fields of psychology and social work. The type of qualifications you will need in order to become a professional in this field in the UK will require you to complete a postgraduate course in educational psychology, which normally takes the form of a 3-year, vocational training program that results in a doctorate.
According to the Association of Educational Psychologists in the UK, there are currently 13 universities in England that offer doctorate programs in this field. Both Wales and Northern Ireland have one university that offers this course of study. One of the most common degrees for undergraduates wanting to take on this career path is in psychology, which will give you the necessary foundations to be able to not only get into a graduate program but also a postgraduate one as well.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in being a student counsellor, your tasks will involve less psychological and behavioural support for children and teens and more course and career management. One of the most common ways to become involved in this field is by searching for career options in the sector for Further Education and Training.
This sector combines the fields of vocational training with career advice and career assessment. It is ideal for those who have worked in a particular industry but who enjoy or want to transition into giving advice to those looking to enter the field through career fairs, in a career centre or by providing online or in person career resources. The most common job that you can look for if you’re interested in this type of work is working at a Further Education, or FE, college in the UK, which teach everything from English to Higher National Diplomas. The most common qualifications you’ll need if you want to work at an FE college are:
- Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET)
- PGCE Secondary
If you’re interested in being more of a school related career coach for students, in person or online job you can look out for is a university application specialist. These kind of in person or online career specialists are experts in giving you advice on how to get into everything from undergraduate programs to perfecting your PhD application. The types of skills you’ll need to have are similar to those working in FE colleges: knowing how to get an appointment with a degree specialist, understanding what kind of cover letters to write for different degrees, and participating in a career fair or two.
Career Counsellor for Professionals
Whether you’re still in high school thinking about what career occupations you might be interested in or if you’re already employed and looking for a career change, looking in to becoming one of the UK’s many career counsellors might just be the job for you. You can start by understanding what type of counselling, as well as the educational requirements involved, entails.
Working as a career guide or advisor, you will typically work for a company that specializes in connecting people with employment opportunities, performing career assessments, or offering in-person or online resources for career information.
If you’re working in this field, one of the most common career opportunities you will encounter is being a career consultant. On a day to day basis, you will be in charge of helping clients in a whole range of topics, from deciding what career choice will lead to a promotion to helping someone transition between career fields.
Another similar option would be to start as a jobs and internships consultant at a university career centre. Some of the tasks you may be charged with can include conducting a mock interview to increase student success in attaining a job, updating job postings on the university online job board, and offering to assist students in their internship search or to explore possible career paths.
Whether you’re working in student employment or with established professionals, helping people decide what kind of career moves they should make is always a difficult job. In order to be able to offer career and student resources, participate in an annual job fair, maintain office or walk in hours, and offer individualized career plans - you will have to master key interpersonal and professional skills. These can include:
- Excellent verbal and oral communication
- Organizational and basic computer software skills
- Listening techniques
- Offer creative solutions
Other Career Guidance Professionals
Believe it or not, there are many more ways you can work in career guidance than just the occupations we’ve already mentioned. If you’re less interested in working in a development centre and more interested in giving people advice on the specifics that go into attaining, maintaining and advancing in a career - you may want to look into these professions.
If you’d like to combine your entrepreneurial spirit with your professional or career interest, become a postsecondary trainer. Becoming a professional trainer can be an interesting way to combine skills in jobs you are already experienced in and teaching others how to excel in them. This kind of work can involve anything from training adults skills they never learned, such as using computer software, to giving advice on how to advance in a career you’ve already mastered.
Another one of the career or student services you can provide is running informative workshops, whether you’re part of a governmental career centre or have started a business of your own. There are many government bodies dedicated to finding jobs for people who are unemployed as well as tons of opportunities to start your own career information hub online or in-person. If you’re interested in being in charge of running career workshops, you can delve into topics that range from how to write a CV to how to ace a job interview.
If you’re more interested on the psychology side of things, there are many different types of fields you can get into in the public sector. Whether you want to be a psychologist offering help in drafting policies relating to young adult mental health to providing aid services to people who are unemployed.
Explore Career Options in the Private Counselling Sector
Looking to the private sector, there are many other opportunities you can take advantage of as a career or psychological counsellor - whether it be in a large corporation or as a private career coach. While the concept of a career coach might sound strange if you haven’t heard of it before, it is as natural as sports and life coaches.
In fact, the problem both teens and adults often face related to emotional, behavioural and career issues is most often that they are simply not informed. This misinformation can come as not knowing proper de-stress or anxiety-relief techniques and even as simply not knowing how to start writing a CV.
Whether you’re interested in working in the public or private sector, as a school psychologist or as a career advisor, you should always look into becoming accredited with reputable organizations. This can help you stand out from others in the job market!