Share this page

Select an icon:

Job Photographs

  • Two women are sitting in chairs, talking.  They are both looking at a pamphlet.

    This careers adviser works in a university.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Checking the diary, to see when the next appointment is.

  • Two women are sitting at a desk.  They are both looking at a computer, and one of the women is making notes.

    Introducing the student to a computer program that can help with career options.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Advice is not always given face-to-face. Students sometimes send email queries.

  • Two women are standing in a careers library.  They are talking and looking at a sheet of paper.

    Speaking with a colleague about the careers library.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.  She is speaking on a telephone.

    This is a job where you need good people skills, including while on the phone.

  • A woman is standing behind a table, which is covered in leaflets and pamphlets.  She is speaking to two people standing in front of her.

    Speaking with students at a careers fair.

  • Careers Adviser

Careers Adviser


Careers advisers enable people to make well prepared and realistic choices about their education, training and employment options. They work in a wide variety of settings, including education and independent guidance agencies.

Also known as

  • Careers Consultant

Video: - Christine: Employment Mentor

Work Activities

As a Careers Adviser, you will enable your clients to make well prepared and realistic choices about their education, training and employment opportunities.

Many Careers Advisers work with young people in education. In other settings, you work with adult clients who may be unemployed, facing redundancy or who want to change their career.

An important part of your role is to encourage people to consider their likes, dislikes, skills and abilities. You guide clients through assessment tools, such as careers guidance software and psychometric tests.

Face-to-face interviews are an important part of your work. In education, you assess, inform and encourage clients, and help them to plan ahead. You may write reports based on the interviews.

You help some people to overcome the barriers they face in finding and staying on in employment, training and learning opportunities. For example, you help people to put together a CV, complete job applications, or learn interview techniques.

Some Careers Advisers work closely with employers and training providers, contacting them to obtain careers information and sometimes visiting them to give advice on recruitment, employment legislation and changes in educational qualifications or procedures.

You need to keep careful client records. Other administrative tasks include:

  • writing reports after meetings and visits
  • managing careers information resources
  • corresponding with employers and professional institutions

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Careers Adviser, you need:

  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • to listen carefully, and ask the right questions
  • the ability to show genuine interest in the needs of your clients
  • IT skills

Pay and Opportunities


The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £23,500 - £24,000
  • With experience: £25,000 - £28,000
  • Senior Careers Advisers earn £29,500

Hours of work

You normally work 39 hours a week, which, depending on the post, may include evening work. Part-time opportunities are also available.

Where could I work?

Opportunities for Careers Advisers occur throughout the UK.

Employers include:

  • careers service companies
  • universities
  • colleges
  • the National Careers Service
  • Careers Wales
  • commercial organisations

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on job boards, on employers' websites, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry Routes

Employers place importance on the right personal qualities. Skills and abilities gained in an area such as teaching, youth and community work, social work, probation work or personnel work are useful.

The Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG) is the professional course that enables you to work as a Careers Adviser. It is a postgraduate qualification which combines academic with work-based learning and can be taken over one year full-time or two years part-time. It is available at universities across the UK.

You may be able to enter a QCG course if you don't have a degree, if you can show the course provider that you are able to cope with postgraduate level study.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.


If you would like some training, you could study a NVQ level 4 in advice and guidance. The units you could be studying include:

  • establishing communication with clients for advice and guidance
  • interacting with clients using a range of media
  • preparing clients through advice and guidance for the implementation of a course of action
  • assisting clients through advice and guidance to review their achievement of a course of action
  • liaising with other services
  • promoting careers education guidance
  • ensuring your own actions reduce the risks to health and safety
  • enabling learning through demonstrations and instructions

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience in a customer service or care position would be really helpful for this career.


With experience, it is possible to progress to supervisory and management positions.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

When working with people under the age of 18, this career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to. This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.


Apart from a degree, other potential entry routes into the Qualification in Careers Guidance are a NVQ in advice and guidance, a relevant professional qualification or substantial relevant experience.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


To undertake the Qualification in Career Guidance (QCG) candidates will need to show that they can cope with postgraduate level study, but need not necessarily have a first degree. Skills and abilities gained working with young people are an advantage.

The QCG is available on a part-time basis at various universities, and in some instances via distance learning.

Distance learning

The National Open College Network offers relevant qualifications in information, advice or guidance, via distance learning.


  • 29% of people in occupations such as careers adviser work part-time.
  • 38% have flexible hours.

Further Information


Tel: 0114 2270500



Staffordshire University

Address: College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE

Tel: 01782 294000


Career Development Institute (CDI)

Address: Ground Floor, Copthall House, 1 New Road, Stourbridge DY8 1PH

Tel: 01384 376464


Centre for Career and Personal Development (CCPD)

Address: Canterbury Christ Church University - Medway Campus, 30 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4UF

Tel: 01892 507500


Skills Development Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: Alhambra House, 45 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6HS

Tel: 0141 2856000



Careers Wales (Provides careers information, advice and guidance)


People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales



Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language