When considering vocational counseling, it is important that you investigate the credentials of any vocational counselor whom you consider, find out whether the counselor specializes in certain aspects of vocational planning, and ensure that you will be able to afford the counselor's services and complete the career counseling program. Vocational counseling is available through a variety of sources, including schools, social service agencies, and private organizations. In some cases, you may be able to receive job counseling free of charge or at a very low cost through government-sponsored job clinics.
A vocational counselor is a professional trained in providing counseling and assessment services to individuals who need help in finding a career or transitioning to a new line of work after they have been displaced from their previous profession. The career counselor may provide aptitude testing to clients so as to match clients with potential career paths. In some cases, the vocational counselor may also offer specialized assistance to individuals with specific challenges, such as being out of the workforce for a long time or having a disability that limits their job prospects.
If you are currently a student, you may be entitled to free or low-cost vocational counseling through your school. Contact your school's counseling or career center for more information about vocational counseling services. In addition to the affordability of these services, a job counselor at your school may often be able to work with your school's job placement center to assist you in beginning your career. On the other hand, if you have special circumstances, you may wish to seek vocational counseling from a counselor with specialized training. When searching for a career counselor, be sure to ask the counselor if she has experience in assisting people in your situation.
Vocational counseling may be a licensed profession in the area where you live. If this is the case, it's important to determine whether a vocational counselor is appropriately licensed. You may also want to find out if the counselor holds any certifications from recognized professional boards.
In situations where you are unable to afford vocational counseling but believe that it would be in your best interest to obtain it, you may need to look for resources within your community. If you are currently receiving unemployment compensation, you may be able to get referrals for vocational counseling from your unemployment office. Some charities in community mental health centers may also be able to assist you in getting the job counseling that you need for a reasonable fee.