The Role Of School Counselors In Students Choice Of Career

Project and Seminar Material for Guidance and Counselling

The Role Of School Counselors In Students Choice Of Career

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The basic purpose of career counseling and coaching is to enable an individual to perceive and explore his or her seemingly limitless alternatives. The major service areas of guidance and counselling are educational guidance and counselling, which aids students in their career choices, vocational guidance and counselling, which aids the individual in choosing and preparing for an occupation that is compatible with his interests and aptitudes, and personal and social guidance and counselling, which aids the individual in behaving appropriately in relation to other members of society (Odeck 1999). Career counseling is being challenged to fulfill the demands of a society that is witnessing huge changes in the workplace that is fast growing more diverse, according to supporting literature on career development (Zunker, 2002). Changes in counseling needs have emerged as a result of the requirement for high-quality work performance, which is widespread in people’s lives because it affects all of our life roles. This has broadened the role and scope of the career counsellor beyond simply assisting people in finding work. Despite the fact that finding the right job is crucial, career counseling now covers a wide range of issues such as mental health disorders that limit one’s professional options, changes in the workplace, and matching the needs of workers in a global economy (Creswell, 2008).

School counselors play an important part in kids’ overall development in terms of job choices. As a result, career development interventions are offered to aid in the dissemination of knowledge that will help students make well-informed personal, intellectual, and social decisions.

According to Heward, (2003), the area of school-based guidance and counseling programs was created to assist kids in gaining career knowledge while still in school. The field has faced numerous problems throughout the years, making it increasingly difficult to provide students with sound employment advice. Many public schools assign significant job loads to guidance professionals. The average student-to-counselor ratio in the United States is 479 to 1, with some schools having ratios of over 1000 to 1 (Collins, 2007). This is in stark contrast to what is required to provide adequate student services. According to the American School Counselor Association, a student-to-counselor ratio of 250 to 1 is ideal. To put in place a comprehensive developmental school counseling program that caters to the requirements of all kids. Furthermore, guidance experts are sometimes led to jobs that do not match or require their professional counseling skills, further aggravating these high ratios. Conducting testing programs, registering students for classes, filing up college applications, resolving disciplinary issues, and monitoring student records are all examples of responsibilities. According to Lee, (1993), some counselors has deemed some of these activities inappropriate, such as coordinating and administering cognitive, aptitude, and achievement tests, while others simply push any individual professional to their limits, leaving less time to focus on direct student services such as career guidance. According to a poll of Florida high school counselors, more than 30% said “real career counseling” took up very little of their time (Osborn, Debra and Baggerly, 2004). There’s also a disconnect between what counselors need to know about assisting students in making excellent educational and professional choices and what counselors study in counselor preparation programs. Many counselor training programs place a greater emphasis on mental health models than on academic and professional development models (Martin 2002). As a result, some guidance professionals may lack up-to-date information on career advising and growing job prospects, as well as outmoded ideas about postsecondary options, which may influence the information they share with students (Mitkos, et. al. 2008).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Although most school counsellors are considered to be educated professionals, there are instances where untrained individuals are in charge of guidance and counselling in schools. Several authors, including Ormrod (2003), Heward (2003), Wadsworth, Milson, and Cocco (2004), believe that guidance counsellors should be psychologically trained professionals who can provide a variety of concrete services to parents, students, and instructors of all pupils. As a result, the school counsellor is an important team player or member of the educational leadership team who assists pupils ( Sari, 2010 citing Lapan, Gysbers and Keyson, 2007; Stone and Dahir 2006; Lee, 2001; Sandhu, 2000). School counsellors have traditionally provided assistance and counseling to students in a school counseling program on concerns such as academic, vocational, and/or career counseling (American School Counsellors Association-ASCA, 2003). Career counsellors, on the other hand, provide students with a variety of job-related programs geared at supporting students in planning their careers, making educated decisions, and selecting a career that would place them in the right vocation, allowing them to enjoy their work (Zunker, 2002; Collins, 2007). As a result, students receive comprehensive career counseling (interventions) that include career and life plans at all levels of education and beyond, as well as school-to-work programs that focus on preparing students for work through experienced internship activities in communities and organizations (Zunker, 2002).

A lack of career knowledge and awareness can be linked to a lack of readiness to manage the changing workplace. More than half of high school students report no one at their school has helped them with job choices or educational opportunities. Hurley and colleagues (Hurley et al., 2002). Without regular advisory activities, young people are more likely to drift through high school without learning about all of the job options accessible to them or the skills needed. Others may miss the linkages between high school, post-secondary education, and the job and make career decisions based on faulty or inadequate information.

Doctor or surgeon (10 percent), teacher or professor (8 percent), engineer (6 percent), nurse/medical assistant (6 percent), arts or entertainment (5 percent), lawyer or attorney (5 percent) were the top career choices among students in an open ended question conducted by the state of our nation’s youth (5 percent ). (2008-2009 Horatio Agler Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.) The majority of these options necessitate several years of post-secondary study. Despite this, only 70% of pupils complete high school on time, and just 34% are college-ready. (2000, Alliance for Excellent Education) When students are confronted with the realities of the job market, this discrepancy between goal and school accomplishment sets them up for personal or financial disappointment (Lee, 1993).

Many other students go to college without knowing what they want to do with their lives. As they drift from one program to another or pursue courses of study that do not line with company needs, this results in indecision and the costly prospect of extra time spent in post-high school institutions. One of the fastest growing populations in community colleges is students over the age of 25 (Niles, & Bowlsbey, 2002). They frequently enroll in order to get extra abilities in order to remain competitive in the workplace. Many of these students have already completed some college or perhaps a four-year degree, but have found it insufficient or inappropriate for the job options open to them. Engaging in post secondary education without a defined goal wastes public and private resources, and many students might have benefited immensely from more comprehensive career coaching earlier in their studies.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this study is to examine the role of school counselors in students choice of career.

Specifically but not limited to, other objectives of this study are:

  1. To examine the effectiveness of the school counselors’ role in helping students to choose a desired career.
  2. To examine the perception of students on the need for counselors in their career choice in secondary schools.
  3. To examine the extent students adhere to the school counselors in their career choice in secondary schools.
  4. To examine the challenges of the school counselors’ role in helping students to choose a desired career.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions which are in line with the objectives will be answered in this study:

  1. How effective are school counselors’ in helping students to choose a desired career?
  2. Do students feel the need for counselors in their career choice in secondary schools?
  3. To what extent do students adhere to the school counselors in their career choice in secondary schools?
  4. What are the challenges of the school counselors’ in helping students to choose a desired career?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will demonstrate the value of school counselors in secondary schools in terms of students’ career choices to students, teachers, administrators, parents, the government, and employers of labor. Students would benefit from a knowledge of how critical and necessary the counselor is in their career choice.

It will help parents and instructors realize the importance of early career grooming for their children and wards, as well as the role of the counselor in helping their children/students achieve professional success and contentment.

In order to be more productive, the administrators will be able to give materials that would encourage a better counselor/student interaction.

Governments and employers of labor will benefit from a better-prepared and packaged workforce with the required training and expertise to aid in nation-building and efficiency.

Finally, this study would contribute empirically to the body of existing literature and it would serve as a reference source to students or other researchers who might want to carry out their research on the similar topic.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will be focused on examining the role of school counselors in students choice of career. Specifically, it will focus on examining the effectiveness of the school counselors’ role in helping students to choose a desired career, examining the perception of students on the need for counselors in their career choice in secondary schools, examining the extent students adhere to the school counselors in their career choice in secondary schools and examining the challenges of the school counselors’ role in helping students to choose a desired career.

This study made use of secondary school students in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta state.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

A study of this sort would be incomplete without addressing some of the difficulties that the researcher experienced. As a result, the different issues that limit the results of this research endeavor are addressed below.

This study is primarily based on the responses of students and teachers/counselors. The time allotted for this study was insufficient; as a result, the researcher was unable to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the subject.

In the local government region used as a case study for this research, there was another period of long vacation for teachers and pupils.

Finally, all of the questionnaires distributed to the researcher were not returned by instructors, students, or counselors. And this would only encourage him to work with those who were closest to him.

1.8 Definition of Terms


A role is a set of connected behaviors, rights, obligations, beliefs, and norms as conceptualized by people in a social situation. It is an expected or free or continuously changing behavior and may have a given individual social status or social position.


A person trained to give guidance on personal or psychological problems.


A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving employment in a desired field


An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.

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