Using Values-Based Approaches in Employment Counseling and Assessment: Professional and Related Occupations

By VanVoorhis, Richard W.; Protivnak, Jake J. | Journal of Employment Counseling, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Using Values-Based Approaches in Employment Counseling and Assessment: Professional and Related Occupations


VanVoorhis, Richard W., Protivnak, Jake J., Journal of Employment Counseling


This article describes growth trends in professional and related occupations from both historical and projected perspectives. Professional and related occupations that are considered "hot" (based on growth and demand) are described and grouped according to educational requirements. Next, the authors discuss applicable values-based counseling theories, including person-environment fit, Brown's (2012) values-based approach, Super's (1974) theory of vocational choice, and the theory of work adjustment. Related counseling strategies, assessment approaches, and resources are shared. Finally, a case study and practical examples that relate to professional and related occupations are presented.

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Employment counselors serve an important role of helping clients understand the availability of occupations and how those occupations may fit with client interests, abilities, and values. Clients may be interested in having employment counselors identify "hot" occupations (i.e., in demand or projected to grow in the future) as a way of focusing their plans to pursue work or training in a field. Employment counselors frequently use various assessment techniques to help clients clarify skills, interests, expectations, and values. Matching client preferences to promising field-related occupations can yield successful employment and job satisfaction. As mentioned in this special issue's introduction, each article in this issue describes the outlook for a unique occupational area as well as a unique theoretical perspective. The present article focuses on professional and related occupations and the utility of values-based approaches.

As of 2008, the largest occupational area identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classification system was the professional and related occupations group (BLS, 2009-2010). This group accounted for nearly 21% of the overall workforce. Skilled workers in this particular occupational area engage in activities such as diagnosing and treating illnesses, teaching, and designing. According to the BLS (2009-2010), professional and related opportunities exist in health care, education, science, information technology, the arts, and a variety of other jobs. Examples include teachers, lawyers, physical therapists, registered nurses, engineering technicians, and computer software engineers.

HISTORY OF RECENT GROWTH TRENDS

In 2000, the area of professional and related occupations was projected to have the highest increase in jobs over the following decade. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (2003), the majority of job growth in professional and related occupations was attributed to three subgroups: computer and math occupations; health care practitioners and technical occupations; and education, training, and library occupations. Individual occupations that were predicted to have the fastest job growth included physician assistants, speech-language pathologists, computer software engineers, applications and systems software, and computer systems analysts. Nursing and teaching were occupations that were predicted to have the largest numerical job growth over the 2000-2010 period. From 2000 to 2008, the number of those employed in the professional and related occupations increased substantially from nearly 27 million jobs to over 31 million jobs, representing a 14% increase.

PROJECTED GROWTH TRENDS

Table 1 lists areas that make up the greatest percentage of jobs in professional and related occupations as of 2008. Two areas that offered the majority of jobs include education, training, and library (30%) and health care practitioners and technical (24%). Furthermore, it seemed that similar predictions from 2000 to 2010 hold true for 2008 to 2018. According to BIN (2009-2010) projections, specialized fields involving the health care practitioners and technical area and the education, training, and library area were each expected to gain more than 1 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018. …

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