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What’s the difference between a career coach and a career counselor?


Dear Donna,

What’s the difference between a career coach and a career counselor?

Wondering About Coaches Versus Counselors

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wondering About Coaches Versus Counselors,

There is a difference between career coaches and career counselors. Career counselors have a graduate degree in counseling and specialized education and training in career management. They must be licensed or certified in their state. Many career counselors use standardized testing to identify personality traits and interests. These tests do not actually tell you what type of career or specialty you should be in, but rather tell you in what fields people with similar traits are working. Some career counselors also can help you develop a career plan and clarify career goals. They can be particularly helpful if you have specific personal or career challenges to address.

Career coaches do not need to be licensed although some are certified by professional associations. They do some of the same things that a career counselor does, depending on their background and expertise. A coach might be characterized as a catalyst, a facilitator or a personal trainer for career-related issues. Like a career counselor, they can help you decide what’s right for you and then help you get there. They can give you specific advice that will help you to clarify goals, develop an action plan and then hold you accountable to meet those goals.

If you are considering working with either, I recommend that you find a coach or counselor that is a nurse. A nurse career coach or counselor has a much better understanding of the unique knowledge base and skill set a nurse possesses as well as the varied opportunities within the profession. Non-nurse coaches and counselors often see nurses in a limited one-dimensional way.

You can find a nurse career coach or counselor by asking friends, family and other associates, doing an Internet search or getting a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association ( whether or not you are a member.

Best wishes,

By | 2014-12-17T00:00:00-05:00 December 17th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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