The School Counselor and Career Development
(Adopted 2017; revised 2023)
ASCA PositionSchool counselors deliver school counseling programs that enhance student growth in three domain areas: academic, career, and social/emotional development. As a part of that program, school counselors implement strategies and activities to help all students enhance their career development – the mindsets and behaviors students need to understand the connection between school and the world of work, plan for and make a successful transition to postsecondary education and work across the life span – while recognizing that growth in all three domains is necessary for students to be successful now and later in life.
The RationaleAs part of a school counseling program, school counselors provide resources and opportunities that help students explore their strengths and interests as well as career fields that align with these attributes. These efforts help students plan for and choose postsecondary pathways and create opportunities for students to develop college and career-readiness skills that help them successfully navigate postsecondary education and the world of work. School counselors recognize that each student, regardless of background, possesses unique interests, abilities, and goals, which will lead to future opportunities. By including culturally responsive practices within career development strategies, school counselors help historically marginalized populations create pathways for their future (Chan, 2019). Collaborating with students, families, educational staff and the community, school counselors work to ensure all students select a postsecondary path to productive citizenry (e.g., military, career technical certificate, or two-/four-year degree program) appropriate for the student.
School counselors recognize career education begins in kindergarten and is exemplified by students who are knowledgeable about options and are prepared to enroll and succeed in postsecondary experiences without the need for remediation. School counselors also recognize all students possess the skills and knowledge needed to qualify for and succeed in their chosen field (Mau & Li, 2018).
The School Counselor's RoleIn their efforts to enhance students’ career development, school counselors:
- Introduce students to careers and the world of work beginning in elementary grades (Pre-K–3)
- Produce developmentally and age-appropriate connections to the world of work
- Collaborate to provide learning and experiential opportunities for students to acquire behaviors and skills necessary for career readiness (Limberg et al., 2021)
- Work with students to identify their interests, abilities, specific career clusters (Cicco, 2018) and postsecondary plans
- Help students plan the transition from school to postsecondary education and/or the world of work (ASCA, 2021)
- Advise students on multiple postsecondary pathways (e.g., college, career-specific credentials and certifications, apprenticeships, military, service-year programs, full-time employment with a family-supporting wage or with sufficient wage for sustaining an independent lifestyle)
- Connect students to early-college programs (e.g., dual credit/dual enrollment, AP, IB)
- Collaborate with administrators, teachers, staff and decision makers to create a postsecondary-readiness and college-going culture
- Provide and advocate for all students’ college and career awareness through exploration and postsecondary planning and decision-making, which supports students’ right to choose from the wide array of options after completing secondary education
- Identify gaps in college and career access and the implications of such data for addressing both intentional and unintentional biases related to college and career advising and counseling
- Work with teachers to integrate career education learning in the classroom lessons
- Provide opportunities for all students to develop learning strategies, self-management skills, and social skills that lead to a positive attitude toward learning, a strong work ethic, and an understanding that lifelong learning is necessary for long-term career success
- Engage in professional development that addresses career trends
- Practice self-reflection and growth involving traditional career roles and expand equity and access through that growth
SummarySchool counselors provide resources and opportunities that help students explore their strengths and interests as well as career fields that align with these attributes. School counselors provide a school counseling program that helps all students enhance their career development and successfully navigate postsecondary education and the world of work, while recognizing that growth in all three domains of academic, career, and social/emotional development is necessary for students to be successful now and later in life.
ReferencesAmerican School Counselor Association. (2021). ASCA student standards: Mindsets & behaviors for student success: K-12 college-, career- and life-readiness standards for every student. https://schoolcounselor.org/getmedia/7428a787-a452-4abb-afec-d78ec77870cd/Mindsets-Behaviors.pdf
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