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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 Profile for Employment CounsellorsCareer Cruising (profiles for ‘career counsellor’ and ‘career coach’).

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the annual median salary for career counsellors is $51,097.  In BC’s regions, career counsellors can expect to make:

hourly wages for career counsellors in BC regions

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 counsellors usually receive benefits such as paid vacation, paid sick days, and dental coverage. Self-employed counsellors must provide their own benefits.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Employment CounsellorsCareer Cruising (profiles for ‘career counsellor’ and ‘career coach’).

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

For the 2017-2019 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.  The largest number of job openings is forecast for the Lower Mainland/Southwest BC – annual growth of 1%, followed by Vancouver Island/Coast – annual growth of 0.9% and Thompson Okanagan – annual growth of 1.1%

Employment Outlook

employment outlook for career counsellors

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Employment Counsellors, JobBank Canada

How Do I Become a Career Counsellor?

Employers will usually require the following education:

  • a bachelor’s degree or college diploma in employment counselling, career development or in a related field, such as human resources development, psychology, education or social services
  • a master’s degree may be required in counselling psychology or a related field such as educational psychology, developmental psychology or social work

Although certification is not required in BC, it can provide better employment opportunities. In BC, certification as a Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) 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.

For further information, see:

Source: WorkBC Career Profile for Employment Counsellors

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.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    Available from the VPL Digital Library
    NOTE: Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

  • BC JobConnect
    **must have permanent resident number** newcomers can post their skills, education and work experience to BC employers looking for workers

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 counsellors 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” OR “employment counselling”and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    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

Additional community organizations offering employment services may be located by using 211.ca:

  • BC211.ca “the Red Book”
    [click on Immigrants & Refugees, then click on ‘Employment’]
    covers all types of community organizations Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, Squamish-Lillooet and Sunshine Coast

For additional tips see:

Networking for Employment

Getting Canadian Work Experience

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:

Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

Where Can This Job Lead?

Some career counsellors may progress to supervisory positions, and eventually to ‘Director of Counselling’ 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