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Career Development Specialties for the 21st Century

Trends and Issues Alert 13

by Sandra Kerka

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This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. ERIC/ACVE publications may be freely reproduced.


In the ever-turbulent world of work, the need for career development services is growing. New career specialties have emerged to meet the needs of adults in transition and young people preparing for work. This Alert describes some of these specialties, addressing the issue of the qualifications of individuals using these new job titles.

One-stop career centers and school-to-work programs have spurred demand for Career Development Facilitators (CDFs). Working under the supervision of a qualified career counselor, a CDF “may serve as a career group facilitator, job search trainer, career resource center coordinator, career coach, career development case manager, intake interviewer, occupational and labor market information resource person, human resource career development coordinator, employment/placement specialist, or workforce development staff person” (National Career Development Association 1999, n.p.). CDFs must have a high school diploma or college degree and 1‑4 years of career development experience depending on their educational level. Using a curriculum developed by the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (Hoppin and Splete 1996), they undergo training in 12 competencies: helping skills, labor market information/resources, assessment, diverse populations, ethical/legal issues, career development models, employability skills, training clients and peers, program management/implementation, promotion and public relations, technology, and supervision (Casey 1999). (A student manual developed by NCDA is currently in press.) Upon completion of the training, an individual may be certified by the Center for Credentialing and Education.

The career coach, another growing specialty, assists clients in identifying core values, sense of purpose, and vision and in turning vision into a plan for life/career action (Hudson 1999). Many business professionals are being “telecoached”–getting career assistance from virtual coaches through e-mail and telephone (Harrington 1998). The International Coaching Federation has established a voluntary credentialing program for coaches, and the Career Planning and Adult Development Network offers an International Job and Career Transition Coach Certification program (“Network’s New” 1996).

Like cybercoaching, WebCounseling is a growing, but controversial area. A special issue of Counseling Today (“Counseling and the Internet” 1998) addresses some of the issues: qualifications of online counselors, privacy and confidentiality on the Web, lack of nonverbal communication cues, and whether state boards allow counseling across state lines. A consumer guide to online counseling may be found at

Issues surrounding these emerging career specialties highlight the need for education and training in these areas and increased awareness on the part of both practitioners and consumers of career services. As with any helping profession, codes of ethics are important. An ethics module is part of the CDF training (Ward 1998), and the National Board for Certified Counselors has developed standards of ethical practice for WebCounseling (Bloom 1998; Harris-Bowlsbey, Dikel, and Sampson 1998).

Following are print, Web, and organizational resources for more information about new career specialties.


Bloom, John W. “The Ethical Practice of WebCounseling.” British Journal of Guidance and Counselling 26, no. 1 (February 1998): 53-59. (EJ 567 192)

States that the emergence of online counseling services to address problems raises serious ethical concerns. Discusses a number of these ethical considerations, such as confidentiality, and describes the evolution of the National Board for Certified Counselors’ Standards for Ethical Practice of WebCounseling.

Casey, J. A. “The CDF Project: An Innovative Counselor Education Collaborative.” Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 15, no. 2 (Summer 1999): 81-86. 

Describes the CDF curriculum developed collaboratively by the Career Development Training Institute at Oakland University, National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, National Career Development Association, and National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

“Counseling and the Internet. Special Report.” CTOnline. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association, 1998. <>

Includes “Counseling and the Challenges of Cyberspace” (Lee); “Counseling Online” (Sussman); “NBCC WebCounseling Standards” (Bloom); and “NBCC WebCounseling Standards Unleash Intense Debate” (Morrissey).

Harrington, A. “A Sounding Board in Cyberspace.” Fortune 138, no. 6 (September 28, 1998): 301-302. (EJ 571 368)

Career coaching is “just-in-time” career assistance that is done by phone and through the Internet. Coaches provide a sounding board and motivation and offer a fresh perspective on career and life problems.    

Harris-Bowlsbey, J.; Dikel, M. R.; and Sampson, J. P., Jr. The Internet: A Tool for Career Planning. Columbus, OH: National Career Development Association, 1998. (ED 429 182)

Includes discussion of potential problems and ethical concerns in WebCounseling: the quality of resources and services offered on the Internet, individual readiness for Internet use, availability of user support when needed, credentials of resource and service providers, lack of counselor awareness of local conditions and events, confidentiality and user privacy, and equality of access to Internet-based career resources and services. Includes NCDA’s Guidelines for the Use of the Internet for the Provision of Career Information and Planning Services and NBCC’s Standards for the Ethical Practice of WebCounseling.

Herr, E. L. Counseling in a Dynamic Society: Contexts and Practices for the 21st Century. 2d ed. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association, 1999. (ED 421 676)

Provides an overview of the changing models and paradigms of counseling practice, describes future challenges for counseling, and presents new perspectives on the counselor’s role.

Hoppin, J., and Splete, H., eds. Curriculum for Career Development Facilitators. Washington, DC: National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, 1996. 

This instructors’ guide contains modules for each of the 12 competencies of a CDF.

Hudson, F. “Career Coaching.” Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 15, no. 2 (Summer 1999): 69-80.

Career coaching is evolving in a world of ongoing change. Effective coaches should have the following skills: personal mastery, emotional competence, communication, team and group, change mastery, and interpersonal relationship.

Mariani, M. “Career Counseling and Facilitating: Standards for a New Century.” Occupational Outlook Quarterly 42, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 30-42. (EJ 571 366)

Includes “Career Counseling Standards for Every Counselor”; “A New Credential for Career Development Facilitators”; and “National Standard for School Counseling Programs: New Direction, New Promise.”

National Career Development Association. “Career Development Facilitator Project.” 1999. <>

Explains the functions of a Career Development Facilitator and Certified CDF, describes the CDF training curriculum, and provides links to the NCDA Registry of CDF Instructors/Programs.

“Network’s New Career Coach Training Program.” Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 12, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 51-55.

Describes the International Job and Career Transition Coach Certification program of the Career Planning and Adult Development Network, a credential for professionals involved in helping individuals with job search and career planning.

Pate, R. H., Jr. “Certification of Specialties: Not If, But How.” Journal of Counseling and Development 74, no. 2 (November-December 1995): 181-184. (EJ 522 645)

Discusses the need for recognition and respect of counseling credentials; suggests that the profession of counseling will be strengthened if all counselors have a minimum foundation of counseling knowledge and build accepted specializations on that foundation.

Riverin-Simard, D. “Key Roles in the Revolution of Work.” Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Guidance and Counseling Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1998. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Career Development Foundation, 1999. (ED 430 170)

At the height of the work revolution and its great social challenges, career development and employment counseling specialists have essential key roles to play: counselor of the being-doing link, counselor in real and virtual careers, counselor in managing vocational chaos, and a role involving the counselor in the social guidance of work.


Rogerson, L. “Diversifying Your Career Counseling Practice: An Overview of Options.” Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 13, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 81-86. (EJ 556 465)

Options include adjunct faculty, outplacement consultant, small business advisor, motivational speaker, mentor/advisor for special groups, job club facilitator, professional development seminar leader, personnel leasing service, executive search service, Web counselor, radio host, and newspaper columnist.

Stedman, D. “Educational Consulting: An Option for Diversifying Your Career Development Practice?” Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 13, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 87-92.

Describes how career development specialists can become educational consultants. Advises that they recognize the economics of the territory, the viability of their products/services, and needs of the marketplace.

Ward, V. G. “Training Career Development Facilitators in Ethical Decision-Making.” In NATCON Papers 1998, pp. 193-203. Toronto, Ontario: National Consultation on Career Development, 1998. (ED 429 251)

Describes the content and development of the ethical decision-making module in the CDF curriculum.


Career Planning and Adult Development Network, 4965 Sierra Rd., San Jose, CA 95132; 408/441-9100; fax: 408/441-9101; e-mail:; website:

Center for Credentialing and Education, Inc., 3 Terrace Way, Suite A, Greensboro, NC 27403; 336/547-0607; e-mail:; website:

International Coach Federation, PO Box 1393, Angel Fire, NM 87710; 888/423-3131; 505/377-3300; fax: 888/329-2423; e-mail:; website:

National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc., 3 Terrace Way, Suite D, Greensboro, NC 27403-3660; 336/547-0607; fax: 336-547-0017; e-mail:; website:

National Career Development Association, c/o Creative Management Alliance, 10820 E. 45th St., Ste 210, Tulsa, OK 74146; 918/663-7060; fax: 918/663-7058; toll-free: 866/367-6232; e-mail:; website:


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