If you want to become a career advisor, you're likely to need a graduate degree in a human services discipline and possibly even a post graduate certificate in career advising. Two years of supervised work experience plus passing an exam approved by an organization such as the National Board for Certified Career Counselors is usually required as a part of the licensing requirements for a career advisor. Since this is a helping profession, doing volunteer work is often considered a good way to start to prepare to become a career advisor.
Community nonprofit job search programs or job clubs may be good places to find volunteer positions such as those that involve assisting career advisors meet the needs of clients. Independent career coaches may also be a good source of volunteer work for a person aspiring to become a career advisor. Environments in which you can network and have access to resources are ideal ones in which to learn about the field and what clients' needs are.
For example, there are many aptitude and other tests that career advisors give to clients that help both the advisor and client understand careers that are likely to be a good match. The Meyers Briggs personality test is one type of tool used in career exploration and aptitude tests that reveal areas of strong skills. Another evaluation tests manual dexterity by requiring the person to do timed tasks such as drawing straight lines or joining dots with a pencil on paper, or on a computer, to form patterns. Intelligence tests may also be given to clients by a career advisor as the results can help career advisors and each client find out which skill area clients are the strongest in, such as mainly verbal or mostly numerical.
It's important to have a genuine passion for helping people discover their best possible careers if you want to become a career advisor. Most of your work hours will be spent consulting with clients to determine their best career direction. In addition to understanding personality, intelligence and aptitude testing, career advisors must be confident in working in areas such as advising clients on how to retrain and change careers. It’s important to keep up with statistics such as those from the United States Department of Labor in regard to which careers are expected to experience job growth faster than average, slower than average or remain stable in the next decade or more. If you want to become a career advisor, keep in mind that you’ll not only be advising clients but also tracking their progress with detailed files and reports.