Careers Adviser

Job Description:

Careers advisers help people figure out what work or education pathway they would like to take.

Job Category:

What you will do:

You may work in schools, colleges and universities. You could be employed by a careers company that place advisers in different settings, or directly by an educational institution or charity. You could also work online or in a call centre, or as a consultant in the private sector.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • talking to people about their abilities, interests and achievements
  • exploring learning and work opportunities
  • helping people make decisions and plans of action
  • giving support to overcome barriers
  • keeping to rules on equal opportunities
  • developing relationships with employers, colleges, universities and training providers
  • keeping up to date with occupational and labour market information
  • giving talks, updating records and meeting targets


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Careers Adviser, specific qualifications are not mandatory. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing for a career in career advising and counselling roles. Careers Advisers primarily require strong interpersonal and communication skills, as well as a solid understanding of education and employment pathways. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. English Language: Effective written and verbal communication skills are essential for Careers Advisers, as they provide guidance to individuals about their education and career options.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for analyzing career-related data, such as salary information, job growth projections, and educational costs.
  3. Psychology (Optional): Courses in psychology can provide insights into human behavior, motivation, and decision-making, which are relevant in career counseling.
  4. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in computer applications, internet research, and career assessment tools can be valuable for providing up-to-date information to clients.
  5. Business Studies (Optional): Courses in business studies can introduce you to entrepreneurship, business concepts, and employment trends, which can be useful in career advising.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can take either a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in career guidance.

These courses take one year full-time or 2 years part-time and lead to the Qualification in Career Development (QCD).

Many people apply to do a career guidance qualification after working in teaching, youth work or social services.

You could do a Career Development Professional Level 6 Higher Apprenticeship.

This takes 2 years to complete.

You may be able to do an Employability Practitioner Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship, if you’re working in careers or education, then go on to complete a career guidance qualification.

You could start by working as a careers co-ordinator or youth worker and do further training on the job.

Your employer may support you to take work-based qualifications such as:

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

Volunteering in support, advice or mentoring could help you to gain work in this field.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may need to work occasional evenings and your job could include a lot of local travel.

In a call centre you may have to work weekends and late shifts.

Career Path & Progression:

You could specialise, for example in working with adults or people with special needs.

With experience, you could become a manager. You could also become self-employed and work as a consultant, researcher or writer.

Another option could be to move into industry and provide career management advice for employees of large companies.