Study Document

Career Counseling Essay

Pages:8 (2777 words)



Topic:Career Planning

Document Type:Essay


Part One

I am currently a middle school math teacher who works with kids that have emotional behavior disorders. To advance my career, I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in school counseling. My short term goal is to be a high school guidance counselor, and I have long term goals of staring a full-service consulting group that helps underprivileged or underserved students access resources and tools for personal and professional development.

As a middle school math teacher, I started to work with students with emotional and behavioral disorders. I started working with students with special needs because of my background in psychology and my interest in working in education. Teachers need an abundance of different skills and abilities, perhaps more than any other field. Communications skills help us to speak to a class collectively while also reaching individual students. We also need to interact regularly with administrators, colleagues, and parents. In addition to the communications skills teachers need, we also need organizational and planning abilities, so that we can prepare and execute lesson plans. Teachers need to be methodical in the way we work, but we also need to adapt those lesson plans and be flexible in our approach to education. Pressured to teach for standardized tests and assessments, teachers are often constrained in what they do and rarely feel we are reaching our potential or helping students do the same. One of the reasons I am shifting to counseling as a career is that I believe I can empower others through this line of work.

I see my career as a counselor as progressing in stages. First, I want to continue working in the school setting. I want to work in high school in particular, at the exact time most students start to think more seriously about their futures. Most students are frightened about the future when they do not have good guidance. Their parents might mean well and give them emotional support, but what they really need is a professional who takes into account the students’ performance in school, personality, dreams, talents, and unique opportunities. It would be my job to investigate all of the resources available to students, including resources for special populations. I also want to help students understand themselves better, by using personality tests and not just making assumptions based on their body language or behavior. Especially in high school, teenagers can be guarded in front of adults and they are also changeable. I view my role as counselor as someone who sees each student for who they are, and for who they want to be.

Long-range goals will be a continuation of my work as a high school guidance counselor. I might continue to work in the public school sector as a leader or policy analyst, but I also would consider starting my own guidance counseling company that provides consultation and services to schools, parents, and especially to underserved and underprivileged students who might not otherwise know what opportunities they have and how to pursue them.

Part Two

A) My path of career development started as a young child who was influenced by peers, parents, and my teachers. Since I was old enough to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I have always been interested in being a teacher. Being a teacher to me means so much more than regurgitating facts and figures. I knew that being a teacher meant that I could have an impact on the ways kids thought about themselves and the world. In addition to what we learn from our friends and family members, we are also exposed to our teachers’ unique ways of solving problems, looking at the world, or understanding reality. Teachers can be mentors and even friends in some cases.

With parents of Bahamian descent, I also learned the value of community and recognized teachers as part of our community. Our family had strong spiritual beliefs and while some of our relatives were religious, our culture was more important to preserve than the trappings of ritual. We as a community believed in compassion for others, selfless service, and the importance of personal growth and development. Being a good person was more important than making money, and pursuing a rewarding or fulfilling career that helps others was also more important than salary or the size of our house. As a middle class family, we did not struggle but we did honor the value of a good education in advancing our careers. I graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior High and went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from FAMU.

Even if my immediate family had not supported me in my choice, I believe I still would have pursued the same path…

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…the gamut of roles that educators can play. I only knew I wanted to work with children to help them thrive, but only recently determined that I am much more suitable for a counseling role than for teaching. Using personality inventories has encouraged and inspired me to think big about my career plans, and not limit myself to specific work environments. I might work in the public school system for some time yet, but I might also start a company that delivers quality educational counseling services to underprivileged and underserved communities.

Part Three

The specific skills I entered into the Occupational Information Network (ONet) included active listening, critical thinking, coordination, complex problem solving, judgment and decision-making, and monitoring. Although I knew I was embarking on a specific path towards educational counseling, I decided to explore other options that aligned with my skills, my personality, my knowledge and abilities, and the work activities and environments I prefer. Receiving Chief Executive as one of the career choices, I focused then on the tasks required for this path. The tasks included directing and coordinating budgets to maximize a firm’s profitability, appointing department heads to improve company leadership, analyzing operations, planning and directing company policies, and preparing budgets. Corresponding knowledge required included administration and management, personnel and human resources, and customer and personal service. The abilities included various types of oral and written communication and comprehension, as well as deductive reasoning and speech clarity. Chief executives do need some of the same skills and abilities as school counselors. Likewise, I learned that the work activities of a chief executive include making decisions, solving problems, communicating, gathering information, working with people inside and outside the organization, and building teams. The information I learned form the ONet search helped confirm that my career will be a good fit for my skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Exploring the interfaces between counseling and other career paths helps me to forge my own destiny. “Individuals impose meaning and direction on their vocational behavior,” (Savickas, 2004). Our careers become extensions of ourselves, and just as we change over time, so too can our careers. My current job as a teacher still reflects who I am, and my interest in helping others. I have a lot of energy, and the work environment suits me even though it is restrictive and bureaucratic. In the future, I will recognize different ways of…

Sample Source(s) Used


Holland, J.L., Johnston, J.A. & Asama, F. (1994). More evidence for the relationship between Holland’s personality types and personality variables. Journal of Career Assessment 2(4): 331-340.

“Holland’s Six Personality Types.” Career Key. Retrieved online:

Occupational Information Network (ONet, 2017). Website;

Rogers, M.E. & Creed, P.A. (2011). A longitudinal examination of adolescent career planning and exploration using a social cognitive career theory framework. Journal of Adolescence 34(1): 163-172.

Rogers, M.E., Creed, P.A. & Glendon, A.I. (2008). The role of personality in adolescent career planning and exploration: A social cognitive perspective. Journal of Vocational Behavior 73(1): 132-142.

Savickas, M.L. (2004). The theory and practice of career construction. In Career Development and Counseling. John Wiley.

Walsh, B. W., & Holland, J. L. (1992). A theory of personality types and work environments. In W. B. Walsh, K. H. Craik, & R. H. Price (Eds.), Person–environment psychology: Models and perspectives (pp. 35-69). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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