Students should be taught how to think, not what to think.- Harsh Malik

In India, if you wish to practice counseling, especially counseling psychology, you need to have a valid degree and certification from the Career Counseling Psychology Association of India (CCPAI). Irrespective of your branch of counseling- education psychology, career planning, career development, or school counselor, it is a good idea to get an accreditation to develop your portfolio as a credible counselor.

No matter the choice of profession- career coach for adults, career planning and training courses for students, or developing career management skills and use of tools and support, you will need to build some solid footing in the domain. There are some recommended vocational training courses and qualifications that can prepare you for counseling jobs. Counselors can have thriving and lucrative careers with the right network and accreditations.

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How to Become A Career Counselor?

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Follow the right steps to taste success in your career as a counselor.

Counselors are known by their clients. It is thus important to choose the right branch of counseling to excel at your job. Whether it is career planning and school guidance, there are some differences between coaching and career counseling. Take a look at the scope of counseling to understand what it requires to become a career counselor.

Scope of Counseling and the Different Roles of Counselors

People with a background in psychology and an inclination to work in the domain of counseling and coaching should have a basic understanding of the different career roles they can take up.

Education Psychologist

This is generally a person who works in a school or with school students to provide emotional, personal, and behavioral support. The main tasks of an educational psychologist are,

  • Teach stress-relief methods to deal with anxiety.
  • Support students in dealing with school-related stress.
  • Help students talk about conflicts at home. 
  • Collaborate with teachers, parents, and social workers to achieve the best outcomes for the students. 

To become an educational psychologist, you need an undergraduate degree in Psychology, to start with. You can top it up with relevant work and volunteering experiences before applying for a Master's degree at the university. The academic know-how is very important in this role and will boost your job application. Aim for specializations like child psychology, and get post-secondary training in the field. This can include either working in a center that can assist students and their emotional needs at your university or volunteering in a state government organization or schools.

Student Counselor

A degree in Psychology can also be useful in becoming a school and career counselor for young adults. This role entails a lot of administrative tasks to the end of managing and helping students with useful resources on their psychological needs. Bullying, for example, is a tough issue faced by any child in schools across India. As a counselor, you can supply self-help materials and other necessary support to help them tackle the issue.

Career Counselor

Career assessments, career guidance workshops, or profile analysis- the three main tasks you would associate with this role. As a career counselor, you can work both in the public or private sector. Your main tasks would involve,

  • Facilitate career path identification.
  • Help students match their profiles with prospective jobs. 
  • Participate in the university or school career fair.
  • Consulting online on career advice for private companies.
  • Provide students with useful information and resources on university admissions or career choices. 
  • Provide student assessment vis-a-vis job prospects.

A career counselor is not mandated to have a bachelor's degree in Psychology, although it is good to have a sound understanding of the subject. Considering the job market is highly competitive, a relevant degree, coupled with the right amount of experience is sure to give you an edge.

Career Consultant

A counsellor who helps job seekers and working professionals transition into a new job is called a career consultant. As a consultant, you are responsible for,

  • Creating job strategies.
  • Build the interview skills of individuals.
  • Draft job-worthy resumes and cover letters. 
  • Act as a conduit between the job seeker and recruiter.

Again, your work experience will have more weight than your educational background in this role. You can always get a specialization like a certification or a diploma in career counseling to boost your portfolio. But make sure you follow the right steps to become a career counselor.

Programs for Post-Graduate Certification in Career Counseling

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Try out a post-graduate diploma program in career counseling | Source: Business cloud

A good source of information on which program to pursue in counseling is to visit the career and job fairs organized by your college or university, right after graduation. Make sure you have a list of questions ready to ask potential recruiters in terms of the skills, qualifications, and accreditations required to be hired as a professional counselor.

The domain of career counseling offers a plethora of opportunities thanks to the ever-expanding education market. Though there is no clear mandate for getting a degree to become a career counselor, you must strive to enroll in a post-graduate diploma or certification program in counseling to increase your chances of getting hired and creating a solid footing in the sector.

It is advisable to enroll in a career counseling program that is instructor-based. This helps to resolve your queries and doubts and gives you the chance to connect theory to practice by applying concepts to real-time situations. In contrast to traditional programs, the new programs for budding career counselors offer scope for a lot of handholding and application of new techniques.

Key Features of Career Counseling Programs

Most counseling programs in India state the following important components to be included in their curricula:

  • Psychometric theories and their applications.
  • Applied career counseling.
  • Latest information on career trends.
  • Objection handling methods.
  • Case study-based learning.
  • Basics of human psychology.
  • Multi-dimensional psychometric assessments.
  • Understanding of rubrics.

A good amount of experience in the field of counseling can also open doors for a teaching career. Schools especially would jump at the prospect of hiring you and the value you can add as a student counselor to its most important client-the student. You may, however, need a teaching degree to supplement the experience.

Where and How to Get the Right Accreditations

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The right certification can help you step into the world of counseling | Source: Rythmzz Academy of Dance

Counseling careers usually flourish in the latter half of their journeys. But this does not mean that you cannot get employment as a fresher or that new clients will not approach you if you are not old enough. It only means that experience plays a huge role in counseling careers and so do accreditations. You will often find people making a switch to the role of a career counselor only after they have built a fair amount of experience in the domain.

As a first step, get the right career qualifications that help you do the following:

  • Assess career prospects.
  • Map jobs.
  • Maintain online resources.
  • Provide the latest job-related information to job seekers.
  • Make support resources available, like tackling emotions through a career transition.

Getting Accredited

The process of accreditation entails a formal recognition of your professional skills and qualifications by a recognized authority like an apex body or organization. The process of getting accredited typically involves one or more of the following steps:

  • Complete a career counseling program.
  • Attain a formal certification.
  • Completing a post-graduate diploma in counseling.
  • Achieving a relevant amount of work experience as a counselor.

Certified Career Analyst (CCA) is one such accreditation body in India that offers an AI-based career assessment platform and helps aspiring counselor kick-start their careers.

People flock to counselling services by people who hold accreditations to their name. Irrespective of whether you work at schools or any university, or organize job fairs for aspiring job-seekers, being accredited plays a tremendous role in helping you land a job.

Get An Online Master's in Counseling

Online education is available all the time
You may want to explore online counselling programs to get things going | Source: RCR Education

Online education is like a rising tide, it's going to lift all boats. - Anant Agarwal.

Your skill and career development as a counselor does not have to be restricted to traditional and established programs alone. You may also want to look elsewhere like an online certification program that can be equally useful in building your profile as a career counselor.

Types of Online Counseling Programs

Most online counseling courses are offered as supplements to degree courses. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Introduction to Career Counseling: As the name suggests, it is a foundation course to introduce you to the world of career assessments and workforce influence.
  • Career Assessment and Evaluation: This program deals with understanding scoring systems and how to match student profiles to jobs.
  • Counseling Techniques: This course delves into the techniques of cracking an interview and advanced counseling.
  • College Counseling: This course helps you understand the nuances of college admission procedures and to convince clients to apply to particular schools.
  • The Business of Counseling: Here, aspiring career counselors learn the methods of fee structures, devising marketing plans, and how to prepare contracts.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and get accredited. A super inspiring counseling career beckons!

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Pragnajyoti

Doctor, dog lover, traveler..