Skill Development Aug, 11 2016

Career counseling: Opportunities unexplored

This need also comes out of the rising market of off-the-hook careers. Thanks to more academies, more vocational courses and budding startups, the need to follow a different career path is growing.

By Jasleen Kaur Taneja
Career counseling: Opportunities unexplored

With avenues growing in the education industry, choosing a career path has become a bizarre game. It is this confusion that paves way for giving a push to the career counseling market in India, which is gradually becoming a billion dollar market. As Surabhi Dewra, Founder and CEO, puts it, “Currently, the career counseling market in India is pegged at $4 billion.”

This need also comes out of the rising market of off-the-hook careers. Thanks to more academies, more vocational courses and budding startups, the need to follow a different career path is growing.

This trend shows the career landscape undergoing a paradigm shift in India. Hospital management, MBA in tourism management, urban planning, climate change research, social media management, and so on, are now trending on the career charts. But are there enough career counselors or career counseling firms in India? A silver lining lies in the fact that most national and international curricula have mandated schools to have at least one career counselor for their students. So this is now a career that is involved in guiding students build their own careers.

However, that is not the only reason why this career is slowly finding resonance among teachers and parents today. According to statistics, while 86 per cent of students are very concerned about which option to choose for higher education, 92 per cent of them don’t get any career-related guidance from their schools. How do students find the right information from the babble of data that comes their way through the Internet? How will parents know what is right for their children? Unfortunately, there are few guiding posts for talented students who can become the future frontiers of a skilled India. In other words, there is a serious inadequacy of guidance counselors, compared to the number of students. The good news is that plugging this yawning gap is not difficult because the job growth curve in this field is equally steep.

Further, Dewra added that in US, there is one counselor for every 500 students, in UK and Australia, the ratio is 1:450 and 1:300 respectively. In India, the ratio is quite disheartening at 1:20,000. This shortfall needs to be covered in order to let students take a wise decision for their career.

Skills required by a counselor

Career counselors say that a professional must possess technological tools, content, credibility to name a few. They say, he/she must:

  • Possess thorough knowledge of current job trends and availability of career opportunities. They must also have very perfect knowledge of various institutions, courses offered by them, courses’ fees, provision of scholarships and financial assistance programs.
  • Have updated information on the changes in the areas of education, emerging career opportunities in the country and abroad as well and scope in the years to come.
  • Possess good listening skills.
  • Be a man of immaculate character, integrity and commitment.
  • Have immense patience and better understanding of human behaviour and psychology.
  • Have perfect knowledge of the job policies and socio-political condition of the various countries across the globe.
  • Have very sound analytical power, communication efficiency and sensitivity.
  • Have motivational power to easily inspire the people.
  • Possess the leadership qualities to lead the candidates to the right path of career choice and job opportunities.

Educational qualifications

Majority of the career counselors pursue this profession with the background of psychology as the main subject as it provides the much-needed insight and understanding of the human behaviour and natural instincts of the people. Any candidate with a post graduation degree in any subject is eligible for applying for a diploma in counseling. Teachers with a few years experience are also eligible for taking up the course of career guidance and counseling.

Here are some institutes offering post graduate diploma courses in guidance and counseling:

  • National Council of Education and Research Training –NCERT, New Delhi (
  • Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Tamil Nadu (M.A. Career Counseling, www.
  • Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu (
  • Sarojini Naidu Government Girls Post Graduate College in Bhopal
  • Karnataka University,
  • Additionally, for the first time, an online course in global career counseling is being offered by the University of California, Los Angeles etc.

Business opportunities: Are they being cashed in on?

In India, as recruiting a counselor in educational institutes has been made mandatory by government, career counseling firms have a huge opportunity of joining hands with various educational institutes and providing their services. A career counselor can also counsel at a career information centre or at a career education program.

He/ She also has an importunity to build an individual brand by working independently for providing help to the students for the preparation of job interviews.

The money

Private practice as a career counselor can fetch up to a crore to the individual. A career counselor working as a freelancer can earn even more. It is high time, therefore, that career counselors grab this opportunity and put it to use. A professional certificate in career counseling combined with years of teaching experience can be perfect for a rewarding career in this billion dollar industry.

Related: On the pinnacle of success

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