Career Counselor Competencies and Standards: Differences and Similarities across Countries
Raising the profile of career guidance involves developing ways of identifying and acknowledging the competencies required to deliver quality career services. To date, several national and international initiatives have been developed to provide a mechanism for this acknowledgement and/or to offer professional preservice or inservice training and qualifications for those who want to expand their areas of expertise. In this chapter we review some of the background that will help readers become aware of key factors that have contributed to different approaches for developing competency systems and we provide some examples of competency frameworks that have already been implemented.
The issues described include the unevenness of professional training, the variation in meaning attached to key terms across countries and within any given country, and differences between training programs depending on the scope of practice of the trainees (e.g., career development facilitators, career coaches, career counselors, or career guidance practitioners). The components that contribute to being a competent professional vary from one country to another and the language used to describe these factors also varies, which often creates a barrier to international cooperation and collaboration. There also are differences in the philosophical approach used to develop competency frameworks. Some approaches are based on the belief that a framework should focus on the competencies required to deliver quality career services regardless of the primary professional affiliation of the person providing services, while other approaches are based on the belief that a framework should focus on the competencies that are unique to career practitioners and are not likely to be part of the competency set of other professional groups. The scope of practice and the nature of service also need to be taken into account when identifying the characteristics needed to be a competent service provider. Some clients need only information or advice to meet their needs. Other clients may require guidance in obtaining the relevant information and considering all of the factors necessary to making informed decisions. Other clients face multiple barriers and require more comprehensive counseling in order to develop a meaningful career-life plan. Any approach to developing professional standards needs to address these types of issues in order to develop a meaningful framework for identifying the components that contribute to developing competent career professionals.
In this chapter, we also describe some different competency systems that have already been developed. Specifically, we describe the Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner (EVGP) credential developed by the IAEVG as one way to acknowledge practitioners who possess the competencies needed to provide quality services to clients. We also describe the Global Career Development Facilitator credential, which currently is in place in several different countries.
We conclude the chapter by highlighting the issues that we believe need to be addressed when developing competency frameworks, and encouraging countries and professional associations interested in developing their own frameworks to begin by consulting the public documents pertaining to existing approaches. We believe that it is important to adopt some mechanism for acknowledging and validating practitioners who possess the competencies needed to deliver quality career guidance services. This chapter is intended to be a starting point for accomplishing that goal.
KeywordsCareer Development Career Guidance Career Counselor Competency Framework Vocational Guidance
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