Counseling Today, Features

Job surfing made easy

Angela Kennedy September 22, 2006

Looking for a position in the counseling profession just got a lot easier.

The American Counseling Association Career Center recently launched a revamped website and a partnership with CareerBuilder.com. The ACA Job Center webpage, a supplement to the online Career Center, will help counselors find nationally advertised positions with the click of a mouse. The new service, free to ACA members, should be useful for counselors at all stages of their career — recent graduates looking to land their first job, professionals who are relocating and counselors who are pursuing personal growth by taking on a new challenge.

The Job Center, which is powered by CareerBuilder.com, allows ACA members to search prefiltered specialty positions for both master’s- and doctoral-level positions within the counseling profession. “We filtered out what you would call a fairly generic career site and focused in on specific counseling specialties so our members don’t have to go through that step,” says ACA Professional Projects Coordinator Martha McIntosh. “That was very difficult. We had to figure out what key words would work best in pulling the jobs that our members are the most interested in.”

Among the niche areas that ACA members can search for job openings are:

  • Addictions/substance abuse counselor
  • Adolescent counselor
  • Career counselor
  • College counselor
  • Community/mental health counselor
  • Educator/counselor
  • Geriatric counselor
  • Licensed counselor
  • Marriage and family counselor
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • School counselor

“What we found when we were creating these filters was that many of these employment sites don’t have an understanding of what professional counselors do,” McIntosh says. “We address that in the Job Center FAQs and try to educate counselors about the experience they are going to have with any career search engine if it’s not specific to counselors.” Thanks to the work of the Job Center team, ACA members no longer need to sift through hundreds of openings for camp counselors, investment counselors and the like in their pursuit of the perfect job.

In addition to the counselor-centered search engine, the site also offers career tools, additional web resources and employment tips, while the CareerBuilder.com site provides job alerts, networking pointers and salary reports.

“I want membership to know that this is a great service,” says ACA President Marie Wakefield. “Job seeking can be very challenging. CareerBuilder.com and the ACA Job Center can provide members with the resources to make job hunting less complicated.”

Coming soon

The ACA Job Center project team is currently working to add local governmental employment postings to the site. Specifically, the site will include links to education department employment sites in individual states for school counselors and vocational rehabilitation department employment sites in individual states for rehabilitation counselors.

“We realized that there were some limitations with using CareerBuilder alone, so we are going to try and fill in those gaps by adding some additional features to the Job Center website,” McIntosh says. “Basically, we are looking to become a clearinghouse for sites that will be most useful in counseling job searches.”

Also in the works is an online forum for counselors who are looking for employment. The hope is that job seekers will communicate with one another, share information and brainstorm.

Amy Reece Connelly, ACA manager of Career Services, says CareerBuilder.com and other similar Internet resources provide excellent information, particularly when it comes to leads on hiring organizations. However, she advises counselors not to rely solely on Internet sites in their job search. “CareerBuilder is an established name with a lot of positions, and I think it is a good tool to use,” she says. “It’s a good place to start. However, nothing is going to be the answer for a job search.” Even with advances in job searching over the Internet, she adds, networking and personal contact remain critical elements of career development.

Connelly also reminds members not to overlook the “ACA Preferred” listings when checking on job openings. These positions are advertised in Counseling Today but are also available online by clicking on “Opportunities” in the top left-hand corner of the Career Center page. These listings remain one of the best resources for uncovering academic positions in both counseling and counselor education.

“Long term, we want to be able to provide information that will make it easier for our members to conduct job searches,” Connelly says. “We want to make the Career Center page an excellent tool for our members, but we can only do that if our members communicate to us what they want to see on the webpage and what will be most helpful to them.”

The Job Center service is free to ACA members in good standing. Members can access the resource by going to www.counseling.org and clicking on “Career Center.” From there, look for the ACA Job Center logo on the left-hand side of the page. 

Connelly says the ACA Career Center will continue to tweak the system as site users provide feedback. ACA members should send all comments and suggestions specific to the Job Center site to Rebecca Daniel-Burke at rdanielburke@counseling.org or call 800.347.6647 ext. 230. Those with career-related inquiries can contact Connelly at acacareers@counseling.org. E-mails should include the member’s name, home state and a contact phone number.