Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Practice of Career Counseling by Specialists and Counselors in General Practice

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Practice of Career Counseling by Specialists and Counselors in General Practice

Article excerpt

This study sought to identify which career counseling work behaviors are unique to the specialty of career counseling and which career counseling work behaviors are an element of general counseling practice. Career counseling work behaviors related to assessment and counseling were judged to be fundamental to the general practice of counseling. Career counseling work behaviors related to program management, information, and consultation were judged to be fundamental to the specialty practice of career counseling. Implications for counselor certification and counseling program accreditation are discussed.

Career counseling is a recognized specialization in counseling. Individuals can attain specialty certification as a National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Counselor education programs can be accredited for the preparation of career counselors through the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP; Engels, Minor, Sampson, & Splete, 1995).

Career counseling is also a key element of general counseling practice. Career and lifestyle development is one of the eight core areas in the CACREP standards that delineate the common knowledge base required for accreditation of counseling specializations in counselor education programs (CACREP, 1994). The eight CACREP core areas, including career and lifestyle development, are also a major component of the required knowledge base for certification as a National Certified Counselor (NBCC, 1996a).

Career counseling, therefore, has evolved as both a counseling specialty and a key element of the general practice of counseling. A continuum can be conceptualized with career counseling as a specialty on one end and career counseling as a key element of general counseling practice on the other end. However, where career counseling ends as a specialty and begins as a general practice component is unclear. Yet, the answer to this question has important implications. What curricular content and supervised counseling experiences should be required for certified career counselors (NCCCs) compared with the career counseling curricular content required of certified general practice counselors (National Certified Counselors, NCCs)? Similarly, what curricular content and supervised counseling experiences should be required for students in accredited career counseling specialty preparation programs compared with the career counseling curricular content required of all students in accredited counselor education programs?

An initial answer to these questions can be found in the content components of CACREP accreditation standards and NBCC certification requirements. CACREP core-content curriculum standards for career and lifestyle development include studies in nine areas covering both the nature of career development and the process of career counseling. CACREP curriculum standards for the career counseling specialty add requirements of greater depth of knowledge in the foundations and process of career counseling, as well as specific emphasis on consultation, research/evaluation, and ethical/ legal issues. NBCC requirements for certification in the general practice of counseling (NCC) include career counseling content knowledge, which is assessed by the National Counselor Examination (NCE). NBCC certification as a career counselor (NCCC) adds the requirement of the National Career Counselor Examination (NCCE), which includes more extensive measurement of the nature of career development and the process of career counseling, while adding items on the design and management of career services. On the basis of the CACREP standards and NBCC requirements, career counseling as an element of the general practice of counseling is delineated by knowledge of the nature of career development and the process of career counseling. Career counseling as a specialty is delineated by greater depth of knowledge concerning career counseling, while adding knowledge related to the design and management of career services. …

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