Vocational counseling is a career that focuses on assisting people who are looking for work. Many centers, including those run various government agencies and serving a diverse group of people, may provide these counseling services. When people seek out or are referred to a vocational counselor, they may work with that counselor to assess skills, learn how to improve skills, learn how to successfully search for jobs, and develop methods for applying for and interviewing for jobs.
People who might benefit from vocational counseling are diverse. Someone who is having difficulty keeping jobs or who has skills that are no longer in demand may need to change careers. These services may be beneficial to those with certain employment disadvantages, such as advanced age or disabilities. People who receive any form of government assistance or who are unemployed are frequently referred to free visits with a vocational counselor, which, while not always mandatory, can be extremely beneficial.
The vocational counselor is likely to identify the client’s interests as part of their work, which can be done through survey testing and conversation. If the client is looking for a new job, the counselor may ask them to take some tests to determine their strengths. The client may now have sufficient skills in a particular field to begin applying for jobs right away. If not, the counselor may suggest training programs to help the client gain new skills and find work in a field that he or she enjoys.
Vocational counseling can sometimes be done in a much shorter amount of time. Clients who only require resources or references for job searches may be able to get what they need in one or two sessions. The counselor could investigate the reasons for unemployment and offer advice on how to improve work habits, or he or she could assess interview skills and provide coaching so that clients are more impressive during interviews. Alternatively, some clients may require vocational counseling for a much longer period of time if they are unable to find work or must first complete extensive training.
There are a variety of counselors who can offer some form of vocational guidance. Counselors in high school and college are examples of this. Another field that crosses over is rehabilitation counseling, which can include career advice and work when people’s physical or mental health has changed significantly, altering their career prospects.
Vocational counseling is usually provided at a low or no cost in the majority of cases. As previously stated, government agencies may provide this service. It could also be made available through a variety of privately run non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of specific groups of people.