Career consultants help clients with career decision-making and development, job hunting, and returning to work after illness or accident.
Career consultants working in schools or government agencies usually earn
$47K-$77K per year
Source: Careers New Zealand, and Ministry of Education, 2016.
Pay for career consultants varies depending on their experience and qualifications.
Salaries for career consultants working in secondary schools as career advisers
- Career advisers in secondary schools start on about $47,000 to $56,000 a year.
- They can progress each year, to a maximum of $59,000 to $77,000.
Salaries for career consultants working for government agencies
Career consultants who work for the government usually earn between $61,000 and $75,000 a year.
Part-time or self-employed career consultants
Twenty five percent of career consultants work part time. Fifteen percent are self-employed. Their income depends on the hours they work and/or the success of their business.
Sources: Careers New Zealand, ‘Remuneration Project’, 2016; Ministry of Education, 'Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement 2015-2018', 2016.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Career consultants may do some or all of the following:
- help people make choices about education, training and work
- help people use career planning tools and resources and labour market information, identify skills and career values, and develop goals and action plans
- assist people to develop a curriculum vitae (CV) and advise them on interview and job search techniques
- arrange work experience and job placements
- develop and run training programmes and workshops on career development
- provide in-house coaching for people on career development.
Career consultants may also:
- work as part of a team assisting people to return to work after accident or illness (vocational rehabilitation)
- become accredited to administer psychometric and other assessment tools and interpret results.
Skills and knowledge
Career consultants need to have:
- knowledge of various counselling and assessment techniques
- the ability to evaluate their clients' needs
- up-to-date knowledge of the education and training sectors, and local, national and global labour markets
- understanding of social, economic and cultural issues
- knowledge of how organisations are structured (organisational dynamics) and how they work best
- understanding of employment matters, such as Equal Employment Opportunities and recruitment strategies.
- usually work regular business hours
- work in offices and private clinics
- may travel to visit prisons, schools, marae, and other community centres.
What's the job really like?
Career Development Consultant
Checking in with real-life workers to pick a new career
At a midlife crossroads, Bridget Clarke was trying to decide between career coaching and cheesemaking. To help her decide, she used a technique that she would later end up teaching her clients.
"I did informational interviews, visiting people doing the jobs I thought I wanted to do. Cheesemaking wasn’t for me after all – it’s all about process and adhering to standards. I wanted a job where I could have a relationship with people."
Searching out the jobs takes time
Bridget used the hidden job market to find opportunities, then combined working as an employee with contract work.
"To uncover jobs, I suggest people join professional organisations. For career consultants, that would be CDANZ [Career Development Association of New Zealand] and CATE [Careers and Transition Education Association], or connecting up with people through LinkedIn groups.
"Places such as MSD and ACC have contracts with agencies which may hire career consultants, (also known as employment consultants) so find out which agencies they are using, and contact them all!
"And if you're in your own business, you need to allocate plenty of time for marketing and networking."
Choosing career work over counselling
"I first trained as a counsellor but people are usually really struggling when they go to a counsellor.
"With careers it’s an interesting chance to work with people in transition, assisting them to go on a journey and take them to a more positive place.”
Realities of the role
"Depending on the exact role, there’s only a small amount of time you spend with each client. You need to be able to pick up new software systems quickly if you work for an agency and I had to really work on my workshop skills and public speaking."
But Bridget has never regretted her decision – although it’s financially harder than she expected – because she loves helping people make decisions about their future.
To become a career consultant you usually need to have a diploma, graduate diploma or Master's degree in career practice, career development or employment support.
However, degrees in fields such as psychology, human resource management, education or social work are also useful.
Membership of a relevant professional body is recommended.
Training recommended for life coach work
There are no specific entry requirements to become a life coach.
However, a diploma or other qualification from a professional coaching school is recommended. Courses should involve at least 60 hours of practical and theoretical training.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, languages, geography and history.
Career consultants need to be:
- excellent communicators
- able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds
- non-judgemental and able to keep information private
- positive, and able to appreciate people’s strengths
- patient and persistent
- good at research.
Useful experience for career consultants includes:
- social work
- an employment-related job, such as human resource management or recruitment
- volunteer counselling work.
Membership of an organisation such as Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) or Careers and Transition Education Association (Aotearoa) (CATE) is recommended.
- CDANZ website - information about becoming a member
- CATE website - information about becoming a member
Find out more about training
- Career Development Association of NZ (CDANZ)
- firstname.lastname@example.org - www.cdanz.org.nz
- International Coach Federation (ICF) Australasia
- (09) 887 0242- www.icfaustralasia.com
Check out related courses
What are the chances of getting a job?
Chances of getting a job as a career consultant are poor because:
- few people are willing to pay for careers advice
- few organisations hire full-time career consultants, and there is low turnover of staff
- organisations tend to only employ career consultants when there are industrial issues such as staff redundancies and retention problems
- careers advisors in schools often combine part-time work in this role with work as a subject teacher.
Twenty five percent of career consultants work part time.
According to the Census, 585 career consultants worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Types of employers vary
Career consultants may work for government or private organisations, such as:
- Careers New Zealand
- Work and Income
- schools, universities and polytechnics
- job training and recruitment agencies
- independent career counselling and coaching agencies.
Some career consultants work on contract for:
- vocational rehabilitation agencies such as the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Workbridge
- organisations that provide Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) where staff can access support at their employer's cost
- large organisations and corporate clients.
Fifteen percent of career consultants are self-employed.
- Career Development Association of New Zealand website, accessed September 2016, (www.cdanz.org.nz).
- Careers and Transition Education Association (Aotearoa) website, accessed September 2016, (www.cate.co.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Schmidt, A, 'Multi-disciplinary Rehabilitation Teams', Ezine, Winter 2016, Vol 20, Issue 2, Career Development Association of New Zealand, (www.cdanz.org.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Career consultants may progress to set up their own career consultancy business or move into management.
Career consultants may specialise in:
- vocational rehabilitation
- life coaching.
Last updated 18 September 2020