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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 $48,577.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.96
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Career Counsellor/Advisor, Counsellor/Advisor, Employment Counsellor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Employment Counsellors (4213) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Employment Counsellors (E213) 
  • 2011 NOC: Employment counsellors (4156) 
  • 2016 NOC: Employment counsellors (4156) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Career Development Professional is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Employment Counsellors

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.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Vancouver College of Counsellor Training

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

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

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.

In Alberta, the E213: Employment Counsellors occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 21 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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.

Employment counsellors

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.75 $35.43 $23.41 $22.06
Overall $20.79 $38.32 $25.96 $24.73
Top $21.52 $46.15 $28.21 $28.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Business, Building and Other Support Services
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

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:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

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.

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