Job type

Careers adviser

£21k - £40k

Typical salary

35 – 40

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Help people make decisions about their education and working life
  • Option to become self-employed and work as a consultant, researcher or writer
  • Requires excellent listening and questioning skills, and the ability to research information and explain it clearly

As a careers adviser, you may provide IAG (information, advice and guidance) in schools, colleges and universities. You could be employed by a careers company that places advisers in different settings, or directly by a school, college or university. You could also work online or in a call centre, or as a consultant for a charity or in the private sector.


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

  • Offer face-to-face, online and/or telephone IAG to people about their abilities, interests and achievements
  • Explore learning and work opportunities
  • Help people make decisions and plans of action
  • Give support to overcome barriers, and keep to rules on equal opportunities
  • Develop relationships with employers, colleges, universities and training providers
  • Keep up to date with occupational and labour market information
  • Give talks to groups of service users
  • Update records and meet targets


You may need to work occasional evenings and weekends and your job could include local travel. In a call centre you may have to work weekends and late shifts.

Many employers will offer opportunities for part-time work, flexible working arrangements and job share.

You'll need

This role is ideal for someone with excellent listening and questioning skills, and the ability to research information and explain it clearly.

You can take either a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in career guidance. These courses lead to the Qualification in Career Development. 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. You'll usually need a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course.

You may also be able to do a career development professional higher apprenticeship. Training providers will set their own entry requirements.

Alternatively, 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 like the Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development.

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


You could specialise, for example in working with adults or 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.