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The Benefits of Working with a Career Advisor

Beginning a new career is a daunting task, regardless of one's age and education level. This is true for those just entering the workforce for the first time as well as those who are changing occupations later in life. This is made harder by the current state of the economy because many applicants, with varying levels of experience, are competing for the same jobs.

One of the resources that many schools offer to help students begin their careers is career advising or counseling. This service is typically free for students who choose to take advantage. Career advisors provide a number of services including helping with resumes, assisting with job and internship searches, and advising students about organizations to join and other steps to take in order to make themselves more marketable to future employers. These professionals also conduct assessments and provide counseling to help students decide if they are likely to be happy and successful in their chosen careers. While the help of a career advisor may be more beneficial for some students than for others, there is no downside to seeking the help of these professionals.

Career Advisor Credentials

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), career advisors or counselors are typically required to have a master's degree. Depending on the institution, career advisors are sometimes also required to have 1 to 2 years of teaching experience and to be licensed through the National Board of Certified Counselors. In order to become licensed, individuals must have 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience before passing a state exam. Continuing education credits must be fulfilled in order to renew a career counseling license. Larger universities might have specialized advisors for each program or area of study offered by the school.

Taking Initiative

It is up to the student to initiate a relationship with a career advisor. Doing so early in one's nursing education is best, but one can also seek help closer to graduation. Ideally, this should be done prior to the final semester. Many students do not take advantage of this great resource, so meeting with a career advisor might place the student at an advantage. It is never too early for a student to think about employment after graduation. Preparing early ensures that students will not be caught off guard and unable to find a job soon after graduation. Speaking with an advisor early allows students to network and take steps to differentiate themselves from their competition. In the case that an individual's nursing program does not offer career advising, he or she can seek help from a private advisor.

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