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Careers adviser

Careers advisers help people make decisions about their education, training and work options.
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What does a careers adviser do?

A careers adviser will help people to:

  • assess their abilities, interests and achievements
  • find learning and work opportunities
  • use careers information and resources
  • make decisions that suit their life and their circumstances
  • look at available training and work options
  • make a plan of action for achieving their aims, and give them support as they carry it out

They will also:

  • develop working relationships with employers, colleges, universities and training providers
  • keep up-to-date with occupational and labour-market information
  • give talks and lead discussions
  • update records and complete other administration tasks

What do I need to do to become a careers adviser?

You can qualify as a careers adviser through higher education or through a work-based route.

Higher education

You can take the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG)/Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance at university. This is a one-year full-time, or two-year part-time, course. It combines academic study with work-based learning placements.

Most people starting this course have a degree. You may also be accepted if you have several years’ relevant experience. Contact course providers for more information about entry requirements.

Work-based route

If you’re working in an organisation that offers advice and guidance services to clients, there may be opportunity to work your way up from an advice assistant level to careers guidance professional.

Initial qualifications you could take include:

  • Level 2 Award in Delivering, Information, Advice and Guidance
  • Level 3 Award for Supporting Clients to Overcome Barriers To Learning and Work
  • Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance

To qualify as a professional careers adviser, you’ll need to take the:

  • Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice
  • Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development

The qualification you take will depend on your job role, responsibilities and availability of funding for training. Check with your employer for details about training opportunities.

The diplomas cover areas such as:

  • guidance theory and delivering advice and guidance
  • understanding barriers to training and work and how to overcome them
  • providing ongoing support and working with partner agencies

You’ll need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to work with young people and other vulnerable groups.


Related skills

  • Administration
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Time management

Vocational route

  • Level 2 Award in Delivering, Information, Advice and Guidance
  • Level 3 Award for Supporting Clients to Overcome Barriers To Learning and Work
  • Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance

Essential qualifications

  • Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance at university
  • Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice
  • Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

You could work at schools, colleges, universities, and adult information, advice and guidance centres. Your job could include a lot of local travel.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0


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