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Career Counsellors (NOC 4156) may also be called:

  • employment counsellor
  • career development consultant
  • career coach
  • occupational counsellor
  • relocation counsellor
  • vocational counsellor
  • outplacement counsellor

What Would I Do?

Career counsellors offer assistance, advice and information on all aspects of employment search and career planning. They can also provide advice and information to employers regarding human resource and employment issues. Your duties can include:

  • interview clients to get employment history, educational background and career goals
  • give and interpret tests designed to determine the interests, aptitudes and abilities of clients
  • identify barriers to work and help clients with matters such as job readiness skills, job search strategies, writing resumés and preparing for job interviews
  • assess need for assistance such as rehabilitation, financial aid or further vocational training and refer clients to the appropriate services
  • provide established workers with information on maintaining a job or moving within an organization, dealing with job dissatisfaction or making a mid-career change
  • collect labour market information for clients regarding job openings, entry and skill requirements and other occupational information
  • provide consulting services to community groups and agencies, and to organizations that offer community-based career planning resources

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

Career counsellors should:

  • have an interest in human behaviour and development
  • have good communication skills; be able to listen and ask questions effectively
  • be knowledgeable about careers and the labour market
  • be patient and understanding

Career counsellors usually work in an indoor office setting.

Sources: WorkBC Career ProfilesCareer Cruising database (Profile for Career Counsellor).

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the average annual salary for career counsellors ranges from $44,000 – $53,000. In BC’s regions, career counsellors can expect to make:

career counsellor regional wage

Table from Job Bank Wage Report

Career counsellors’ earnings vary considerably depending on where they work. Experience, education, and geographic location also affect earnings. Full-time counselors usually receive benefits such as paid vacation, paid sick days, and dental coverage. Self-employed counselors must provide their own benefits.

Sources: WorkBC Career ProfilesCareer Cruising database (Profile for Career Counsellor).

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

For the 2013-2015 projection period, employment opportunities will be fair for Career Counsellors in British Columbia. Compared with all other occupations, more job openings are expected as a result of workers retiring or leaving this occupation. However, this will be offset by weaker than average employment growth, as well as a proportionately larger number of unemployed workers with experience in this occupation that may compete for available jobs.

Employment Outlook

employment outlook for career counsellors

Chart from WorkBC
Sources: WorkBC Career Profile, JobBank Canada

How Do I Become a Career Counsellor?

Usually the minimum requirement is completion of secondary school plus at least a diploma or degree in a related field (such as psychology, social work, or education) as well as some specialized training or experience in career counselling. Some employers look for broad training in human resources, as well as knowledge of subjects such as organizational psychology or career counselling.

Although certification is not required in BC, it can provide better employment opportunities. In BC, certification as a Career Development Practitioner is available through the BC Career Development Association – BCCDA. Certification requires completion of courses in ethical conduct, submission of professional references, AND a combination of education* and relevant experience, e.g.: a Bachelors degree plus two years related work experience, OR a diploma plus three years of related work experience.

*education must be in career/employment development OR in related field such as psychology, sociology, counselling, education, human resources management and social work

For further information, see:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?
Career counsellors work in a variety of settings including:

  • schools, colleges and universities
  • governments
  • large companies
  • employment agencies
  • social service organizations

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who employ career counselors in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • HR [Human Resources] Vendors Guide
    [can search for all HR organizations in BC or try searching by category, e.g. ‘Assessments’ or ‘Organizational Effectiveness’]
    Also available in print at Central Library, Level 4, Career Centre, 658.30025 H87
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “Career & vocational counselling”** and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    **You can also try entering “Employment counselling” to find more company names.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.  Use the  library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

Some career counsellors may progress to supervisory positions or to work in Human Resources or Training & Development.

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • Careering
    Careering is an online magazine that covers the latest career counselling and development practices and theories
  • Career Developments
    profiles progress in the field of career development including training, certification, evidence-based research, policy and practice