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A career in career counselling

Charting the route to success. Photo: K. Ananthan  

If you do a roundup of all the famous people today who become celebrities either through TV, films, Twitter, YouTube or blogs, you would find people from an amazingly wide array of professions. Celebrities such as the AIB stars or authors such as Devdutt Pattanaik and Amish Tripathi have become famous in fields that were largely unknown to Indian context as successful career choices. They are not engineers or doctors or lawyers; professions that most Indian parents are obsessed with. They are famous comedians, critics, and authors in fields such as Indian mythology.

This only goes to show that the career landscape is 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, with a hashtag that screams change. In the same breath, career counselling is also emerging as one of the top professions, quite naturally among teachers and educators. It is boosted by the fact that most national and international curricula have mandated schools to have at least one career counsellor for their students. So this is now a career that is involved in guiding students to build their own careers.

However, that is not the only reason why this career finds so much 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 flag-bearers of a skilled India. In other words, there is a serious dearth of guidance counsellors, compared to the number of students. There are only 500 counsellors for about 1.5 million students! Compare this to the U.S. which has about 2.6 million counsellors for 1,80,000 students. The good news is that plugging this yawning gap is not difficult because the job growth curve in this field is equally steep. There are more than 20,000 jobs out there because employers are searching for counsellors both inside and outside of schools.

All teachers need is the will to get into this space and tap the potential. They could be aspiring teachers, established teachers looking for growth, graduate students looking to start their teaching journey or just adults wanting to do something significant in the education space. The remuneration in this field is high because of the high demand, and the growth is steady. But, in order to excel in this area, one needs some inherent skills of counselling such as patience, willingness to listen and good communication skills. Apart from this, subject knowledge, information about the various national and international curricula, traditional and emerging courses, job trends, application processes for studying abroad, courses and their roadmaps in different countries, and so on, are prerequisites for becoming a career counsellor.

So, how does one gain that? There are various certifications provided by some colleges and institutes in India, mainly at the diploma and postgraduate level. For example, the Sarojini Naidu Government Girls Post Graduate College in Bhopal offers a postgraduate degree in guidance and counselling. The same degree is also offered by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) in New Delhi. Additionally, for the first time in India, an online course in global career counselling is being offered by the University of California, Los Angeles (Extension), and Univariety. While UCLA (Extension) is the continuing education wing of UCLA, Univariety is Asia’s largest career counselling company, offering guidance to over 1,00,000 students. The programme is called Global Career Counsellor (Green Belt Certification) that is delivered online and is a self-paced course. Spread over 15 modules, the 20+ hour course will be a great addition to the resume.

A professional certificate in career counselling combined with years of teaching experience is the perfect recipe for a rewarding career in career counselling.

The writer is CEO and founder, Univariety.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 1:20:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/A-career-in-career-counselling/article14469006.ece

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