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Careers counsellor

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Summary of occupation

Career counsellors help people plan and manage their careers. They offer assistance in making decisions about education and training and personal development, and may also assist in arranging work experience and internships. As career development is a lifelong process, career counsellors work with clients of all ages and may work in schools, TAFE colleges (or institutes of technology), universities, business organisations, government agencies and/or private practice.

ANZSCO description: Provides individuals and groups with information about career choices and assists individuals with self-development.
Alternative names: Career Coach, Career Counsellor, Career Development Practitioner, Career Management Consultant, Careers Adviser, Employment Counsellor, Guidance Officer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Career counsellors need:

  • to enjoy working with people
  • excellent communication skills
  • to be able to motivate and inspire people
  • to be able to relate to people of all ages
  • current knowledge of the labour market, and education and training options
  • effective research skills.
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Working conditions

Career counsellors generally work standard office hours. They have a high level of contact with people, including clients and industry contacts.

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Salary details

On average, careers counsellors, classified under counsellors, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a careers counsellor develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Career counsellors use a wide range of industry-specific tools such as books, websites (including career websites) and attend professional development seminars and conferences.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a careers counsellor you usually need to complete formal qualifications in counselling and career development.

The Diploma of Counselling is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can complete a degree majoring in counselling, education, human resources or psychology.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant undergraduate degree courses. Postgraduate courses in career development are also offered at interstate universities, through distance education.
Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

The Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) endorses career development programs in Australia. Contact CICA for more information.

The Certificate IV in Career Development is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

To work in schools in Western Australia, you need to hold a current Working With Children Check issued by the Department of Community Services and undergo a National Police History Check conducted by the Department of Education Screening Unit. Contact the Department of Education for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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