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Careers adviser

Alternative titles for this job include Career consultant, career coach, career development practitioner

Careers advisers help people make decisions about their education, training and work options.

Average salary (a year)

£21,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a careers adviser

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You can take either a postgraduate diploma or masters degree in career guidance. These courses lead to the Qualification in Career Development (QCD).

Many people apply to do this course after working in teaching, youth and community work or social services. These courses take 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More Information


You may be able to do a:

  • Level 4 Employability practitioner higher apprenticeship
  • Level 6 Career development professional higher apprenticeship

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths

More Information


You could start by working as a careers support assistant or youth worker and take further training on the job.

Your employer may sponsor you to take work-based qualifications such as:

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


Experience of relevant paid or unpaid work, for example in support, advisory or mentoring roles could help you to gain work in this field.

Find out about local opportunities for voluntary work through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations or Do IT

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

Once you're qualified, you can apply to join the Career Development Institute's UK register of career development professionals.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a careers adviser from the Career Development Institute.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on the people you work with, for example school pupils, undergraduates or unemployed adults.

You may:

  • work with people individually or in groups
  • give advice face-to-face, online through email or webchat, or on the telephone
  • explore clients' skills, abilities, interests and achievements and look at how they relate to potential careers
  • identify and discuss work experience, learning, training and work opportunities
  • help people make decisions, overcome barriers and to make plans of action 
  • promote equal opportunities and challenge discrimination
  • develop relationships with employers, colleges, universities and training providers
  • research occupational and labour market information and write careers information
  • give talks, update records and meet targets

Working environment

You could work in a contact centre, at a university, at a college, at a school, at an outreach centre or from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could specialise and work with adults, graduates or young people with special needs.

With experience, you could become a manager. You could also become self-employed and work as a consultant, researcher or writer.

Another option could be to move into industry and provide career management advice for employees of large companies.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Careers Employability and Enterprise Advisor

  • Wage: £22,197.00 Annually

Courses In England

Information, Advice & Guidance Level 2

  • Start date: 07 August 2023
  • Location: Not known

Award in Information, Advice and Guidance L2

  • Provider: Cornwall Adult Education Service
  • Start date: 19 April 2023
  • Location: Helston

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