How to Find a Career Counselor

A career counselor can provide you with direction in your job search, expert advice, offer testing services and just act as a sounding board for some of your job search frustrations. There are usually fees involved for hiring a career counselor, and to get the most for your money look for a certified counselor.

Finding a Counselor

  • The National Board for Certified Counselors offers a Find a Counselor service. You can search in their database by type of counselor as well as by location. The National Career Development Association also offers a Find a Counselor service.
  • If you prefer to work with a psychologist, since you may have other stressors in your life to deal with beyond your career, you can find a psychologist through the American Psychological Association. There are many psychologists who specialize in career issues or psychological career testing, so this is a good option for a person who has additional concerns beyond careers.
  • If you plan to relocate, you should consider working with a counselor in the city or town where you would like to live, to make the best use of their local network. Many counselors will offer distance counseling services if this is personal requirement.

Free or fee

As a student at a high school or a college, you can take advantage of the counseling services offered by your school. This is an excellent option for students--or for parents who are looking for a career counselor for their children--since the service is usually free or low cost. The programs are usually administered by trained professionals, usually with graduate degrees in counseling, education or business, and they can be gatekeepers to additional programs and services that students should use to find a job. Some college career centers are also open to their alumni at a lower cost than a private counselor.

Your employer may offer counseling as part of a mental health or workplace satisfaction initiative. These programs are usually free, though you might be limited by the number of sessions that you can participate in. Some of these programs can be self-paced or even distance learning, but they are still valuable since they can teach you career management basics that you can apply repeatedly in your career life span.

Finally, you can use the Find A Counselor services mentioned above to find an appropriate counselor. A counselor's fees will depend on their level of education and expertise. You can contact the certification agency, like the National Career Development Association, and ask about the current professional rate in your state.

Certification

Since you are paying for the service, you should get a highly trained, certified professional as a career counselor. Both the National Board for Certified Counselors and the National Career Development Association offer certification programs which means that the counselor has achieved a certain level of knowledge, taken courses on career development theory and practice, and training in ethics for counselors. They will also have to continue their education to hold on to their certification.

Counselors that are certified to give the Myers Briggs or another vocational test should be willing to show you that they are certified and when they were last certified since the tests will change over time.

A career counselor is a valuable guide for your career development, and though they charge a fee for their services, finding a certified counselor will mean that you are spending your time and money wisely.