Careers guidance

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:22

Graduate jobs in careers guidance.

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Guidance counsellors working in post-primary schools are normally teachers who have spent some time in mainstream teaching before undergoing further training, allowing them to specialise in career guidance counselling. Various qualifications are available for those wishing to work as careers guidance counsellors.

Working life

This work is extremely varied involving vocational, educational and personal counselling of students, devising and delivering lessons on topics such as career exploration, designing a CV, completing applications to the Central Applications Office (CAO) and to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), conducting or facilitating mock interviews, organising careers evenings in school, inviting guest speakers to speak to students and attending careers open days. The Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) provides some in-service training each year.

Where you could work

Guidance counsellors are also employed outside of school settings, such as working with early school leavers, disadvantaged groups and adults, as well as working in private practice. In third-level institutions, careers advisers work with both undergraduate and postgraduate students, covering such topics as subject choice, career exploration, goal-setting, further study and job-seeking strategies. This work also involves liaising with employers seeking to recruit graduates; preparing and delivering presentations; attending in-service training and involvement in collaborative projects with careers advisers in other institutions.

Qualifications required

The position of guidance counsellor is regarded as a specialist teaching post. This means that as well as holding a recognised qualification for teaching, you must also have a postgraduate qualification in that specialist area. The following institutions currently offer recognised Guidance Counselling postgraduate diplomas:

  • University College Cork
  • University of Limerick
  • National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • University College Dublin
  • Marino Institute of Education
  • Queen’s University Belfast.

For an up-to-date list of courses check the course listings on .

Skills required

An ability to manage your time effectively, plan ahead, work to deadlines, encourage and facilitate students in taking responsibility for their choices and future, as well as enthusiasm, motivation, stamina and a sense of humour, are important when working in this area.

Further information

The Association of Higher Education Careers Services

Institute of Guidance Counsellors

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