Vocational Counselor

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What Are Vocational Counselors?

Vocational Counselor or Career Advisor assists people who vocational counselorhave the process of earning job decisions by assisting them develop skills or choose a job or educational program.

People work to earn money to live the lives that they really want. Opportunities and working are crucial requirements in life in most of adults on the globe. A lot of people will spend at least 25 % of these adult lives working. Profession guidance can help point people in the right course as it pertains to choosing opportunities that they can excel at and become pleased with. Being pleased with a career can result in a more happy home life and a larger sense of fulfillment.

Quick Facts
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
2016 Median Annual Sallary$54,560
Typical Entry-Level EducationMaster's degree
Typical On-The-Job TrainingNone
Work Experience In A Related OccupationNone
Projected Job Openings 2014 - 202479,700
Employment Change 2014 - 202422,500
Projected Growth 2014 - 20248.2%

Steps to Become a Vocational Counselor

  • Education:

    To start career as a vocational counselor or career advisor, you need to have at least bachelor degree in this field. However the data provided by National Center for O*NET Development, shows that 93 percent of vocational counselor positions are filled by individuals with masters degree focusing on psychology, counseling or another social field. Below is degree level percentage distribution for this occupation:

    • Master's Degree: 93%
    • Bachelor's Degree: 2%
    • Others: 4%
  • Licenses & Accreditations:

    This a state level requirement and it varies from state to state. Some states do require vocational counselors to be licensed. To become a licensed counselor, you must apply directly through the state.

  • Work Experience in a Related Occupation:

    Although most areas do not require work experience, some claims require vocational advisors to have one to two 24 months of experience in a related profession. Although most areas do not require work experience, some claims require vocational advisors to have one to two 24 months of experience in a related profession.

Job Outlook

Salary/Pay

Below are national percentile wage estimates for this occupation in United States.
PERCENTILE10%25%50%75%90%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
Hourly Wage$15.58$20.02$26.23$34.10$43.28
Annual Wage$32,400$41,650$54,560$70,930$90,030

Industries with Highest Levels of Employment in This Occupation:

INDUSTRYEMPLOYMENTPERCENT OF EMPLOYMENTHOURLY MEAN WAGEANNUAL MEAN WAGE
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
Elementary and Secondary Schools128,9501.53$31.28$65,070
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools57,4501.91$24.64$51,260
Junior Colleges21,3002.83$27.57$57,340
Vocational Rehabilitation Services12,6103.82$18.92$39,360
Individual and Family Services7,5400.45$21.37$44,460

Top Paying Industries for This Occupation:

INDUSTRYEMPLOYMENTPERCENT OF EMPLOYMENTHOURLY MEAN WAGEANNUAL MEAN WAGE
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
Insurance Carriers600.01$34.04$70,790
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)8600.04$32.91$68,450
Elementary and Secondary Schools128,9501.53$31.28$65,070
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals3200.01$30.34$63,120
Office Administrative Services2200.05$30.30$63,030

States with Highest Employment Level in This Occupation:

STATEEMPLOYMENTLOCATION QUOTIENTHOURLY MEAN WAGEANUUAL MEAN WAGE
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
California28,5600.96$31.06$64,600
Texas23,8901.10$27.88$57,980
New York22,6301.34$31.90$66,350
Florida11,2300.74$25.62$53,300
Illinois10,3400.94$27.55$57,300

Top Paying States for This Occupation:

STATEEMPLOYMENTLOCATION QUOTIENTHOURLY MEAN WAGEANNUAL MEAN WAGE
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.
New Jersey6,8000.93$34.71$72,200
Alaska7901.31$34.44$71,630
New York22,6301.34$31.90$66,350
Massachusetts7,2401.13$31.68$65,890
California28,5600.96$31.06$64,600

Key Attributes

Every field has basic requirements for people having different skills, abilities and knowledge. Understanding these requirements will help you find right career path for you. Below are few such key attributes that a Vocational Counselor should have.

Skills

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  • Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Learning Strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Persuasion: Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.
  • Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management: Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Management of Personnel Resources: Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

Knowledge

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  • Psychology: Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling: Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training: Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sociology and Anthropology: Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Clerical: Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Administration and Management: Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Abilities

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  • Oral Comprehension: The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension: The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression: The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression: The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Fluency of Ideas: The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality: The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Problem Sensitivity: The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning: The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning: The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering: The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility: The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Selective Attention: The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Time Sharing: The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Near Vision: The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition: The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity: The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What They Do?

Tasks

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  • Counsel individuals to help them understand and overcome personal, social, or behavioral problems affecting their educational or vocational situations.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Provide crisis intervention to students when difficult situations occur at schools.
  • Prepare students for later educational experiences by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks.
  • Provide students with information on topics, such as college degree programs and admission requirements, financial aid opportunities, trade and technical schools, and apprenticeship programs.
  • Teach classes and present self-help or information sessions on subjects related to education and career planning.
  • Conduct follow-up interviews with counselees to determine if their needs have been met.
  • Prepare reports on students and activities as required by administration.
  • Plan and conduct orientation programs and group conferences to promote the adjustment of individuals to new life experiences, such as starting college.
  • Assess needs for assistance, such as rehabilitation, financial aid, or additional vocational training, and refer clients to the appropriate services.
  • Instruct individuals in career development techniques, such as job search and application strategies, resume writing, and interview skills.
  • Address community groups, faculty, and staff members to explain available counseling services.
  • Compile and study occupational, educational, and economic information to assist counselees in determining and carrying out vocational and educational objectives.
  • Provide information for teachers and staff members involved in helping students or graduates identify and pursue employment opportunities.
  • Review transcripts to ensure that students meet graduation or college entrance requirements and write letters of recommendation.
  • Refer students to degree programs based on interests, aptitudes, or educational assessments.
  • Provide special services such as alcohol and drug prevention programs and classes that teach students to handle conflicts without resorting to violence.
  • Provide disabled students with assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Interview clients to obtain information about employment history, educational background, and career goals, and to identify barriers to employment.
  • Establish and supervise peer counseling and peer tutoring programs.
  • Refer qualified counselees to employers or employment services for job placement.
  • Sponsor extracurricular activities, such as clubs, student organizations, and academic contests.
  • Confer with parents or guardians, teachers, administrators, and other professionals to discuss children's progress, resolve behavioral, academic, and other problems, and to determine priorities for students and their resource needs.
  • Evaluate students' or individuals' abilities, interests, and personality characteristics, using tests, records, interviews, or professional sources.
  • Identify cases of domestic abuse or other family problems and encourage students or parents to seek additional assistance from mental health professionals.
  • Counsel students regarding educational issues, such as course and program selection, class scheduling and registration, school adjustment, truancy, study habits, and career planning.
  • Collaborate with teachers and administrators in the development, evaluation, and revision of school programs and in the preparation of master schedules for curriculum offerings.
  • Observe students during classroom and play activities to evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Attend meetings, educational conferences, and training workshops and serve on committees.
  • Plan and promote career and employment-related programs and events, such as career planning presentations, work experience programs, job fairs, and career workshops.
  • Establish and enforce administration policies and rules governing student behavior.
  • Establish contacts with employers to create internship and employment opportunities for students.
  • Plan, direct, and participate in recruitment and enrollment activities.
  • Supervise, train, and direct professional staff and interns.

Work Activities

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  • Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People: Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards: Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies: Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities: Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Interacting With Computers: Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Documenting/Recording Information: Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization: Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others: Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others: Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public: Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others: Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Developing and Building Teams: Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Training and Teaching Others: Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others: Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others: Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Performing Administrative Activities: Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Work Context

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  • Telephone: 100% responded "Every day"
  • Letters and Memos: 74% responded "Every day"
  • Face-to-Face Discussions: 91% responded "Every day"
  • Contact With Others: 56% responded "Constant contact with others"
  • Work With Work Group or Team: 46% responded "Extremely important"
  • Deal With External Customers: 40% responded "Extremely important"
  • Coordinate or Lead Others: 30% responded "Extremely important"
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety: 17% responded "Very high responsibility"
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations: 40% responded "Every day"
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled: 80% responded "Every day"
  • Physical Proximity: 17% responded "Very close (near touching)"
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections: 17% responded "Every day"
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results: 20% responded "Very important results"
  • Frequency of Decision Making: 25% responded "Every day"
  • Freedom to Make Decisions: 39% responded "A lot of freedom"
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate: 13% responded "Extremely important"
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work: 28% responded "A lot of freedom"

Job Zone

  • Title: Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
  • Education: Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Related Experience: Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
  • Job Training: Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
  • Job Zone Examples: These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, surgeons, and veterinarians.
  • SVP Range: (8.0 and above)

Find Your State Licensing Requirements

Whether you need to complete an internship or a doctoral degree, licensing requirements may vary from state to state. Click name of state below to find licensing requirement for that particular state.

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