College and career guidance and counseling programs aim to help students make more informed and better educational and career choices. Among other things, programs offer information on high school course offerings, career options, the type of academic and occupational training needed to succeed in the workplace, and postsecondary opportunities that are associated with their field of interest. Programs also often provide teachers, administrators, and parents with information they can use to support students' career exploration and postsecondary educational opportunities.
Activities associated with career guidance and counseling programs typically include:
- Advising students and parents on high school programs and academic curriculum, preparing
them for college application and admission .
- Arranging dual/concurrent enrollment and Advanced Placement credits to prepare students for
the rigour of postsecondary education.
- Planning and preparation for college admissions tests, SAT and ACT.
- Informing students about postsecondary financing that can be used to support advanced
education and training.
- Developing career portfolios, which include test and grades results, examples of student
work, and resumes and cover letters to prospective employers.
- Arranging job shadowing, work placements, and community-based learning programs to allow
students to directly experience workplace situations.
- Sponsoring workshops, classes, focus groups, and special presentations that focus on job
skills and personal development.
- Providing specialized counseling and intervention services to provide students with
- The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical
Education Act of 1998 permits funds to be used for career guidance and academic counseling
for students participating in vocational education programs.
- The Perkins Act also authorizes
America's Career Resource Network, which provides school administrators, teachers,
counselors, and parents with the resources and training they need to assist youth and adults in
making more informed decisions about their career choices and preparation.
Research and Evaluation
- Career Development Issues Affecting Secondary Schools (National Centers for Career and
Technical Education, 2000). Discusses the following issues:
clarification of career development terms; delivery of career development programs; resources
that support program development and improvement; and evidence of program effectiveness.
- Decisions Without Direction:
Career Guidance and Decision-Making Among American Youth (Ferris State University Career Institute,
May 2002). National study to survey
Michigan's young people to determine how they choose careers and courses of study, and what
external factors influence those choices.
- Evidence-Based Counseling:
Implications for Counseling Practice, Preparation and Professionalism
(ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, 1999). Discusses the broad
implications for both the preparation of counselors and the practice of evidence-based
- School Counselors:
Emerging Vanguards of Student Safety and Success (AEL, Inc., November 2000). Discusses how effective school counseling
programs can promote school safety.
Secondary Career Development Interventions (National Centers for Career and
Technical Education, 2001). Discusses various interventions - introductory,
advising, curriculum based, and work based - that can help practitioners evaluate and improve
the effectiveness of guidance programs.
- Strategies for Vocational Guidance in the
21st Century (International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance).
Discusses the importance of career guidance in fostering lifelong learning,
ensuring that all members of society use their talents and skills, and helping nations realize
their full productive potential.
- The Taxonomy of Career Development
Interventions That Occur in America's Secondary Schools
(ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, 2001) . Discusses the need for and
the development of a study of career development interventions.
- Improving Academic Achievement: What School
Counselors Can Do (ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, 1999). Outlines strategies and techniques that school counselors can use to
help improve student achievement.
- Leading and Managing Comprehensive
School Guidance Programs (ERIC Digest). Focuses on the beliefs and organizational structure of
comprehensive guidance programs.
- National Career Development
Guidelines (ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services, 1992). Provides guidelines for use by states, local educational institutions, and
private organizations to strengthen career development programs at all levels.
National School Counselor Training Initiative: Professional Development for Practice in 21st
Century Schools. An initiative led by the Education Trust to help counselors be more
involved in school reform, to be a student advocate, and to help close the achievement gap.
- America's Career Resource Network
(ACRN). Supports a variety of career-related information systems and resources. The
addresses and/or websites of state ACRN entities may be found at the ACRN website.
- American College Counseling Association (ACCA).
National organization that strives to support and enhance the practice of college counseling,
to promote ethical and responsible professional practice.
- American School Counselor Association.
Supports school counselors' efforts to help students focus on academic, personal/social and
- Association of Computer-based Systems of Career
Information (ACSCI). Provides information on web-based career information delivery
systems (CIDS). Administrators in each state oversee the CIDS standards also approved by ACRN
Career and Technical Education: Getting Counselors on Board. Discusses how to assist school
counselors in understanding CTE and why it is a viable choice for all students.
- Career Clusters identifies all occupations in a
broad career area, provides basic knowledge and skill statements at the cluster and pathway
levels, supports exploration of all aspects of industry by students and parents, and fosters
greater alignment of courses within and between secondary and postsecondary institutions of
- Career Guide to Industries. Online guide from the
Bureau of Labor Statistics with facts on specific occupations, working conditions, training
needed, earnings potential, and future outlook in the nation's key industries.
- Career Plan How-To Guide.
Resource for administrators, counselors and teachers on designing and implementing career
planning systems for their K-Adult students.
- Center for the Study of Technology in
Counseling and Career Development. Assists practitioners, researchers, software developers,
and policy makers in improving the design and use of computer applications in counseling and
career development. The Center also assists practitioners, researchers, and policy makers in
improving the cost-effectiveness of career services.
- Education World Counseling Center.
Online resource area for school counselors covering academic development, career and college
development, personal and social development, assessment, and counseling techniques.
- Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has
developed and made available on the web a variety of occupational informational programs. These
- National Career Development Association. Provides
service to the public and professionals involved with or interested in career development,
including professional development activities, publications, research, public information,
professional standards, advocacy, and recognition activities.
- National Center for Education Statistics. Prepares and
maintains the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). The purpose of the CIP is to
provide a taxonomic scheme that will support the accurate tracking, assessment and reporting of
fields of study and program completions activity. (Using the search function, enter "CIP")
- National Crosswalk and Service Center. Maintains
the crosswalk between different occupational classification systems, civilian and military,
works to maximize the effective and efficient use of occupational information by providing
specialized occupational tools (files, reports, software) and technical assistance to users
and producers of occupational information.
- Parenting and Career Development
. Article looks at the ways in which parenting styles, family functioning, and parent-child
interaction influence career development.
Workforce Information and Career-Technical Education (National Centers for Career and
Technical Education, 2000). Discusses the need for, uses, and
sources of labor market information nationwide, with a particular emphasis on how counselors
can use this information to guide students in their career choices.
- Young Person's
Guide to Earning and Learning: Preparing for College, Preparing for Careers. This guide
lays out the facts on earnings at various levels of education in the U.S., discusses future
trends in jobs and salaries, and presents the pros and cons of an array of education choices.
Directed at students and their parents, with the aim of clarifying education and career choices.