Career counseling is basically a kind of personal support-giving and advice given by career counselors usually to their clients, in order for the clients to overcome their journey towards professional and personal growth, learning new skills and life changes. In this way, they can learn how to be more employable and independent. They help clients understand what they want to achieve in their careers and how to face the obstacles that lie on the way.
Professional counselors of this field are generally a part of a multidisciplinary team, which includes sociologists, psychologists, educators and others. The aim of this team is to build an environment, in which knowledge and skills can be shared. By doing this, the members learn from each other. They also share ideas and experiences on occupational psychology, career counseling and vocational psychology. Career counseling psychology is becoming increasingly important, as it provides students with essential information regarding career choices, and their relation to other fields. Some of the fields where this particular form of psychology plays an important role are arts, sciences, health services, human services, marketing, law, business and political science.
Counseling psychologists in career counseling follow a professional ethical code which involves various methods and techniques such as research, clientele analysis, research design, demonstration, practice and evaluation. They also use different kinds of tools and devices such as structural equation modeling, multivariate analysis, qualitative research methodologies and psychological assessment. Educational psychologists usually specialize in particular areas such as educational counseling, developmental, counselling, career planning and teaching. These fields are very interrelated and there are many sub-fields and sub-specialties. There are also some overlap between the different fields.
There are also different types of career counseling psychology. One of these is transactional psychology. This kind of psychology addresses problems that arise from business and organizational activities. Other forms include human resources and personality psychology, work and organization psychology, occupational therapy and occupational health psychology.
There are many other specializations within career counseling. In the American Psychological Association (APA), there are three main concentrations. they are descriptive, behavioral and functional. Within these three concentrations, there are numerous subspecialties such as occupational information management, occupational psychology, applied behavioral research, career counseling and career transition planning, which are just a few examples.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is a non-profit membership organization which brings together NASPs in North America. Their mission is “to advance the knowledge and counseling skills of school psychologists and promote research and education”. NASP also sponsors national conferences and workshops, providing a forum for advancing career education. Many state schools and universities are affiliates of NASP.
NASP provides training and tools to improve understanding of personal development and career counseling. They also offer support groups for those who are leaving their careers and looking for ways to grow in new and creative ways. The Personal Development Department at the University of Minnesota is one of the premier programs in the nation for personal growth and development. Students in the program are taught career planning, development, self-esteem/security, motivation, interpersonal skills, and effective communication skills. At the end of the four year program students complete a series of practice test and performance tests to measure their progress. Students then attend a career counseling workshop to improve their career progression and prepare them for a new direction in their careers.
One can gain a lot of valuable information about career counseling and/or about career change, from books to websites. Career counselors are usually very well-versed in the fields of statistics, counseling, and education. A good career counselor will be able to access the resources that are needed to make an informed career choice. A professional career counselor can give sound advice regarding many career-related questions that may arise.