School counselors are the first line of support for students. - Richard Wong.

Counseling careers are based on experience and are built over time. By virtue of that, they bring a rich experience that is required by most schools to strive for excellence beyond academic success. Whether it is career guidance to students or career development advice to working professionals, as a career counselor you can explore many branches and expertise. With a plethora of options, there are innumerable ways to achieve your career goals in the domain of counseling.

Counseling is a noble profession too. An example of this would be how career counselors specialize in helping people with special needs to integrate them into the job market. This gives you a feeling of fulfillment and a sense of duty towards boosting the economy by generating employment.  As a first step, you must be aware of the qualifications you need for the different career paths, and the various kinds of career services you can engage with. As a counselor, you can choose from streams like educational psychology or career counseling. Make sure to learn new skills and keep upgrading your portfolio to keep up changing needs of clients.

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Job Prospects As A School Counselor

A school counselor acts as a friend, philosopher, and guide for students | Source: Pexels

A professional school counselor is tasked with many administrative and non-administrative duties. Your job search should be determined by the degree you possess, the accreditations you have, and of course the skills you have mastered. These help narrow down and improve your job search strategies and prepare you with the right interview skills, especially if you are a fresher and have just stepped into the job market. So, as a counselor, you yourself should have a career plan first.

A school counselor or an educational psychologist job requires you to have at least a bachelor's degree in Psychology or Social Work, depending on the job role. You can advance your qualifications by getting a specialized degree in educational psychology, which is a vocational training program, designed especially for professional counselors. More advanced qualifications would include a doctorate and post-doctorate degrees.

Median Pay and Job Responsibilities

India is currently short of about a few thousand school counselors if you go by the recommended student: counselor ratio. Higher demand also means that the job prospects of a school counselor are limitless. The median pay of a school counselor in India is approximately 3,00,000 per annum. And that's only true of freshers. With more advanced specializations and work experience, your career prospects are bound to increase.

School Counselor Responsibilities

Below is a broad task list that a school counselor is expected to execute:

  • Career management services.
  • Administrative tasks.
  • Providing informative resources online.
  • Conduit between parents and school.
  • Act as a grievance redressal system.

Essentially, the role is a dual one that combines the fields of vocational training with career advice and career assessment. So, if you have a fair level of experience in a particular industry but seeking a change or want to transition into a role that utilizes your rich experience, then this is your calling. You can enter the domain by way of career and job fairs, or associating with career management services, or career development centers. You can also share anecdotes from your own journey to aspiring job seekers and start your own online channel or resource hub.

Another branch you can explore in this domain is that of a university application specialist, someone who gives expert advice on everything from which undergraduate programs are the best to perfecting your Ph.D. application. The skills required for this are:

  • Knowing how to get an appointment with a degree specialist.
  • Matching the right cover letters with the right applications.
  • Interest in networking.

Job Prospects As A Career Counselor

Give direction to life-changing careers as a career counselor | Source: Pixabay.com | Image Credit: Gino Crescoli

Are you still in high school and your mind is juggling between career options? Or you might be a working professional, looking for a career change that utilizes your experience. No matter where you are at in terms of your career path, you can always consider becoming a career counselor in India. One advantage of this job is that it doesn't require you to be a master in any particular field or have an undergraduate degree in Psychology. So, that's the first step.

Scope of Career Counseling

A career counselor typically works with career management services in schools or colleges or a company that specializes in connecting people with employment opportunities, performing career assessments, or offering in-person or online resources for career information. You can easily become a career consultant if you have the passion to help people with their career choices and can handle a large number of clients on a daily basis.

You may also associate with a university career center as a career consultant, helping students with jobs and internship opportunities. This will include:

  • Conducting mock interviews. 
  • Develop interview skills. 
  • Updating job postings.
  • Providing job-related resources on the online job board.
  • Supporting career management plans.
  • Looking out for internship opportunities for students. 

Important Skills for Career Counseling

Helping people decide the right career moves is not easy. It requires experience, analytical skills, and excellent networks. You should look to master the following skills if you want to excel in your role as a career counselor:

  • Effective communication.
  • Excellent presentation.
  • Creativity.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Organizational skills.
  • Basic computer know-how.
  • Active listening.

Depending on the requirements of the role, the demand for skills may vary. But these are the basic expectations your employer will have from you as a career counselor. You can expect to earn anything between 2,00,000 to 2,40,000 as a starting salary per annum. This will only increase given the rising demand for career guidance throughout the country and ensure job growth for you.

Useful Information Regarding Counselor Jobs

Questions
Know the basics of counseling before getting started | Source: Pixabay.com | Image courtesy: Gerd Altmann

The success of college education rides a lot on helping students make an informed choice about their careers. Therein lies the importance of counselors. Counselors do not need to be restricted to the roles already discussed in the article. There are other roles also that you may explore.

If you think you have the entrepreneurial spirit, then you must pursue that to become a career advisory trainer. A professional trainer uses their experience to train others in the domain and teach them useful skills and tricks to excel in their professions. This may involve training professional adults on technical skills like using computer software or working with students on their career development.

You may also organize your own career training and information providing workshops and sessions. For this, you can collaborate with state training centers or even start your own career advisory business. Both the state and central governments have policies and schemes dedicated to finding jobs for the unemployed, and they are always seeking experts in the field. You can become one. Your skills in writing good CVs or how to ace a job interview will come in handy in this role.

And if psychology is your thing, try exploring the arena of mental health. Career choices always come with high levels of stress and difficult decision-making. A counselor's job is also to help an aspirant navigate through feelings of anxiety and frustration.

Find Your Calling Using The Holland Code

Unlocking human potential
Unlock your true potential as a counselor and find the right job fit for yourself | Source: Pixavaby.com | Image courtesy: Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke.

College education programs are important and crucial in setting the right career goals. But there are other scientific methods that researchers have discovered that can help you find your true calling and passion. One such technique is the Holland Code.

What is the Holland Code?

A three-letter code derived from an individual's dominant personality types will reveal your unique Holland Code. Prominent psychologist, Dr. John Holland devised a unique way to understand your personality type based on six possible choices:

  • Realistic.
  • Investigative.
  • Artistic.
  • Social.
  • Enterprising.
  • Conventional.

The six personality types are together clustered as RIASEC. Using a self-assessment tool called the Strong Interest Inventory Tool will include your Holland Code findings. Based on this code, you can assess your personality type and analyze your passion in terms of career choices. It helps you get a basic understanding of what kind of work would suit you best. For example, if your Holland code is ISE i.e Investigative, Social, and Enterprising, the role of a counselor would be great for you.

Find out more about how the Holland Code can help you determine your career choices.

The career of a counselor has many choices and opportunities that you can take advantage of if you wish to thrive. A counselor can work in a large corporation or a state-run school to improve holistic education. Whatever be your reason to choose counseling as a career, the opportunities and scope are huge. The challenge of inaccessible information on emotional, behavioral, and career issues can be directly addressed by a school or career counselor. 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.

Based on the requirements of the role, and the program, you can always find a fit for yourself. So, start digging and put on your inquisitive hat to begin your journey as a counselor!

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Pragnajyoti

Doctor, dog lover, traveler..