According to a survey conducted in the spring of 2012 by Right Management, fewer than 20 percent of workers are satisfied with their job. This statistic is a good example of why career counselors, who guide others to satisfying careers, are so desperately needed in today's society. With the right education, licensing and credentials, you could open a private practice as a counselor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects increased demand for private career counseling businesses over the next few years.
Earn a master's degree in career counseling, school counseling or a related field. A master's degree is usually a prerequisite for required licensing and voluntary certification. Although requirements can vary, career counselors generally need a state license to practice privately. Prerequisites for licensing generally include a master's degree, supervised field experience and the passage of an examination. Voluntary certification can be earned from the National Board of Certified Counselors. Prerequisites for the voluntary National Certified School Counselor certification include a master's degree and two years of field experience.
Secure a place to practice. Career counselors spend most of their day meeting with clients, so your chosen location should provide a quiet, comfortable space where you can conduct vocational interviews and career placement tests. Basic office supplies, such as seating and communications equipment, will be needed. Other common necessities for career counseling firms include career testing software, career videos, a listing of basic job descriptions, salary statistics, education brochures and college course catalogs.
Advertise your career counseling services. Since many of your clients will include students who are still trying to decide on a career path, advertise in college newspapers or on campus bulletin boards. College or job fairs also are a great place to meet potential clients. Target non-students who need of career advice by hanging flyers at unemployment offices or attending career fairs that are open to the general public.
Host career seminars or career coaching events in your area. This will help to establish you as an expert in the field and also might help to bring in new clients for your growing business.
- Familiarize yourself with some of the industry-standard tests designed to measure a person's occupational interests, personality and skills. Some of the most common tests include the Myers-Briggs Analogy Test, the Holland Code and the Birkman Personality Assessment.
- Earn the voluntary certification from the National Board of Certified Counselors to demonstrate your ability to meet professional and ethical standards in your area of expertise. Once certified, you may refer to yourself as a national certified counselor.
- Establish a web presence to further advertise your services. Your career counseling business should have its own website, Facebook page and Twitter account.
- BLS.gov: School and Career Counselors
- PrincetonReview.com: Career Counselor
- Right Management: Majority of Employees Don’t Find Job Satisfying
- NBCC: FAQ
- BLS.gov: School and Career Counselors (Job Outlook)
- BLS.gov: School and Career Counselors (How to Become a School or Career Counselor)
- NJ Dept of Education: Career Exploration Tools and Materials To Assist Educators, Counselors, And Students
- NBCC: Understanding NBCC’s National Certifications
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images