Educational counsellors


Educational counsellors advise current and prospective students on educational issues, career planning and personal development, and coordinate the provision of counselling services to students, parents, teachers, faculty and staff. They are employed by school boards and post-secondary educational institutions.

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Counsel students regarding educational issues such as course and program selection, time tables and scheduling, school adjustment, attendance problems and study skills

  • Counsel students regarding career or vocational issues including career exploration and planning, résumé preparation, job interview skills and job search strategies and make available to them a wide range of educational and occupational information

  • Coordinate co-op and school-to-work transition programs, and the provision of counselling and information services, such as career information, professional development sessions and exchanges with other educational institutions, to students, parents, teachers, faculty and staff

  • Consult with teachers and parents or faculty and other professionals such as psychologists, speech therapists and social workers regarding various issues and concerns, and with administrators and community agencies regarding programs and referrals

  • Administer and interpret standardized intelligence, personality, vocational, aptitude and interest tests

  • Develop and coordinate study skills groups or workshops in high schools, colleges and universities on topics such as note-taking, test or examination anxiety and preparation strategies and time management skills

  • Visit colleges and secondary schools to provide academic information to prospective students, their parents and educational counsellors

  • Coordinate or participate in student orientation programs in colleges or universities

  • Arrange for employers to recruit graduating college and university students, and students for co-op education work terms

  • Counsel students regarding personal and social issues such as substance abuse, depression, sexuality, eating disorders, anxiety, self-esteem, family problems, relationship and interpersonal skills and anger management

  • Counsel students in crisis situations such as dealing with the death of a friend or family member, suicidal tendencies and abuse situations

  • May supervise peer counselling programs in school settings

  • May supervise field experience for graduate students in counselling

  • May teach regular classes.

  • Vocational counsellors in Quebec may also provide professional orientation to individuals with a mental illness, disabilities, and those with adaptation difficulties. Those with specific training may also perform certain mental health assessments.

Job titles

  • academic adviser
  • academic counsellor
  • academic skills counsellor
  • career counsellor - education
  • co-op officer - schools
  • co-op placement officer - school

Employment prospects

Source: BC Labour Market Outlook 2023 edition

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expected job openings (5-year forecast)

Education and training

Employment requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in counselling, career development, education or social sciences is required for counsellors in school settings.
  • A master's degree in counselling psychology or a related field such as educational psychology, developmental psychology or social work is usually required.
  • A teacher's certificate in the province of employment and some teaching experience is usually required for counsellors in school settings.
  • Educational counsellors in colleges and universities may require licensing from a provincial regulatory body governing psychologists, educational counsellors or social workers.
  • Educational counsellors in post-secondary settings require an undergraduate degree and may require a graduate degree. A particular academic specialization may also be required.
  • In Quebec, membership in l'Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d'orientation is mandatory to use the titles 'vocational counsellor', 'guidance counsellor' and 'vocational guidance counsellor'.

Additional information

  • Educational counsellors in colleges, universities and other settings may specialize in academic, career or personal issues counselling.
  • Elementary school counsellors generally provide more social and personal counselling whereas academic counselling is provided more by high school counsellors.

Certification requirements

Optional: The following certifications are optional to practice as Educational counsellors in B.C.

  • Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) designation - Educational Counsellors
  • Certificate of Qualification in Teaching - Educational Counsellors

Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) designation - Educational Counsellors

Please confirm with the certifying body that your intended program qualifies you for this certification. To work as career development practitioner or career counsellor in BC, you may choose to earn the Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) designation. Eligibility is achieved through a combination of graduation from a recognized educational program and work experience.

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Certificate of Qualification in Teaching - Educational Counsellors

Please confirm with the certifying body that your intended program qualifies you for this certification. To work as an educational counsellor in BC, you may need a Certificate of Qualification in Teaching. Eligibility is achieved through meeting requisite education requirements, including a teacher education program.

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Work Experience

  • Work experience recommended

Post-secondary programs in B.C.

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