Career Information Hotline

Toll Free 1-800-661-3753

Edmonton 780-422-4266

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up

Career Development Professional

Career development professionals advise, coach, provide information and support people who are planning, seeking and managing their life and work direction.

  • Avg. Salary $48,410.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.68
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
Also Known As

Career Counsellor/Advisor, Counsellor/Advisor, Employment Counsellor

NOC & Interest Codes
The Career Development Professional is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Employment Counsellors
NOC code: 4213

Interest in consulting to advise employers on human resources and other employment-related issues; in referring clients to appropriate services; in assisting clients with such matters as job readiness skills and job search strategies; and in providing established workers with information on maintaining a job or moving within an organization, dealing with job dissatisfaction or making a career change


Interest in compiling information to collect labour market information for clients regarding job openings, entry and skill requirements and other occupational information; and in administering tests designed to determine interests, aptitudes and abilities


Interest in interpreting test results and identifying barriers to employment; and in providing consulting services to community groups and agencies, businesses and industry, and to other organizations involved in providing community-based career planning resources

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 15, 2016

Career development professionals help clients of all ages:

  • make plans and decisions related to choosing a career direction
  • select education and training programs
  • balance work and other life roles
  • navigate career transitions and stages
  • enhance career satisfaction
  • find employment or self-employment opportunities, write resumes, develop portfolios and prepare for interviews.

Working with clients individually or in groups, career development professionals may:

  • help people develop a better appreciation of their unique characteristics and how those characteristics relate to career choices
  • use various assessment tools to help clients identify their interests, values, beliefs, lifestyle preferences, aptitudes and abilities, and relate them to the world of work
  • help clients identify educational requirements and develop training plans
  • facilitate career management and career decision making workshops
  • work with clients who have disabilities, language and cultural differences, or other special needs that affect their employment prospects
  • help clients deal with barriers to achieving their career plans
  • help employed clients plan their next career move, cope successfully with job dissatisfaction, or make occupational or job changes
  • provide current labour market information to help clients make realistic occupational or employment decisions
  • market clients to potential employers and help clients find job or work experience placements
  • assist clients with implementing effective employment search strategies, writing resumes, and developing career portfolios and interview skills
  • plan and implement career and employment related programs
  • evaluate the impact of career and employment related programs and services on the lives of clients
  • refer clients to appropriate services to address their particular needs
  • work co-operatively with community groups and agencies, businesses and other organizations involved in providing career planning resources
  • host job and volunteer fairs to connect clients with employers
  • use computers to write reports and proposals, and research information on the Internet
  • perform related administrative tasks such as keeping records.

For information about school guidance counsellors and counsellors in post-secondary schools, see the Educational Counsellor occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Career development professionals may work in a variety of settings but usually work in offices where they can conduct private interviews with clients and in classrooms or boardrooms where they conduct group sessions. Depending on the organization, their hours of work may include some evening and weekend work.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Career development professionals need the following characteristics:

  • a genuine interest in and respect for people from all walks of life
  • patience, understanding and the ability to listen non-judgmentally
  • excellent oral and written communication skills and presentation skills
  • objectivity and tact
  • the ability to motivate and inspire clients
  • the ability to facilitate communication in groups
  • the ability to work with different clients' learning styles
  • good organizational and planning skills
  • the ability to work effectively with other professionals and community agencies.

They should enjoy consulting with people, compiling information and working with clients to develop innovative solutions to problems.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Most career development professionals have post-secondary education in a related discipline such as psychology, education, social work or human resources development. Increasingly, employers are looking for applicants who have a certificate, diploma or degree in career development, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Post-secondary schools throughout Alberta offer psychology, education, social work and/or human resources development programs.

On an ongoing basis, career development professionals must keep up to date with changes in educational, occupational and labour market information.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

The Career Development Association of Alberta grants the designation Certified Career Development Professional (CCDP) to applicants who meet educational, experience and ethical requirements. This certification is voluntary.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Career development professionals are employed by:

  • provincial and federal government departments
  • educational schools (public, separate and post-secondary schools)
  • the human resources departments of large organizations
  • private agencies
  • not-for-profit organizations.

An increasing number of career development professionals work on a contract basis or are self-employed.

Advancement opportunities depend on the nature and size of the employing organization, and the career development professional's qualifications.

Career development professionals are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4156: Employment counsellors.  In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,900 Albertans are employed in the Employment counsellors occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 21 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As career development counsellors form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for career development counsellors.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Salaries for career development professionals vary depending on the organization and the individual's qualifications.

Career development professionals are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4156: Employment counsellors.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Employment counsellors occupational group earned on average from $22.51 to $30.85 an hour. The overall average wage was $25.68 an hour. For more information, see the Employment counsellors wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 08, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?