Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
version 4, draft 4

How to become a Careers Advisor

If you know you can make a good mentor and help people with their career decisions, you could then consider becoming a careers advisor. This is a highly responsible job as career advisors are entrusted with a huge responsibility of helping people reach acme in their chosen professions. As a careers advisor, you may guide students in preparing them for job applications, interviews and career progression.

Job Description

The job of a careers advisor includes various tasks and responsibilities such as:

  • Assessing the abilities, interests and achievements of clients
  • Help students with theirs CVs’, essay writings, job applications, interview techniques, etc
  • Suggesting career moves to clients
  • Find learning and work opportunities
  • Draft a roadmap to success by making a plan of action
  • Conducting seminars and leading discussions
  • Record management
  • Keeping abreast with career news and happenings
  • Psychometric testing

The job generally involves 37 working hours a week. You may have to travel a lot to different educational institutions as part of your work.

Pay Scale

As per, there are no national salary scales.


Per year 



£18,000 to £22,000


£23,000 to £27,000

 Careers team managers


Short-term contracts are becoming increasingly common.

Educational Requirements

This profession is open to all graduates but a degree, HND or foundation degree in a sociological or educational related subject is certainly useful.

To become a qualified careers advisor, you may do it through formal education or through work in the field.

You may take one-year full-time or two-year part-time Careers Guidance (QCG)/Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance at university. It offers both academic study as well as work-based learning placements.

You may refer to Career Development Institute (QCG providers) for details of colleges and universities providing the QCG.

You can follow this route by working in an organisation that offers advice and guidance services to clients. This offers some opportunities for you to work up from a starting position to careers adviser position.

You may consider taking some initial qualifications:

  • Level 2 Award in Delivering, Information, Advice and Guidance
  • Level 3 Award for Supporting Clients to Overcome Barriers To Learning and Work
  • Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance.

You may be required to take the following if you wish to be qualified as a professional careers advisor:

  • Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice
  • Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development.

To be eligible to work, you are required to pass background checks by Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This certifies you eligible to work with young people and other vulnerable groups.


To keep yourself updated with career news and to gain access to continuing professional development programs and networking opportunities, you may consider joining Career Development Institute.

You may also join the national Register of Career Development Professionals (CDI), which aims at promoting professional excellence.

Skills Needed

You can make a good careers advisor if you possess the following:

  • Good listening skills
  • Impeccable communication skills
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Excellent inter-personal skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Administrative and public speaking skills
  • Report-writing and record-keeping skills
  • Proficiency in working with computers
  • Interest in research work
  • Be able to motivate people
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Flexible approach

Career Prospects

You can find employment as a careers advisor in a variety of establishments such as:

  • National Careers Service
  • Schools
  • Higher Education Institutes such as colleges and universities
  • Voluntary and private sectors
  • Independent career development consultancies
  • Large companies

With experience and skills you may progress to a supervisory or management position and other senior posts such as Head of Services, Senior Careers Advisor, Deputy Director of Services, etc. You may find self-employment by working as a consultant, researcher or writer.

As this job, which is highly versatile and respectable, entrusts you with a task of helping people make their career moves; it is expected that you take it very seriously. You shouldn’t enter into this profession just to earn big bucks and if you don’t have empathy for people. While in job, you should always remember that the career decisions people make under your influence are one time decisions of life and can’t be changed.

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