A career counselor in the United States holds a masters degree in counseling as a minimum and is well versed if not licensed as a mental health counselor. Hence, they are mental health counselors first with a specialty in career counseling. During the masters degree program a practicum is often required of the student in a career setting. There are many specialties in counseling such as marriage and family, substance abuse, online counseling so career counseling is one more.
Why is this distinction so important? Many individuals come to career counseling with an associated array of related issues; anxiety, depression, pot traumatic stress disorder, expression of bipolar episodes, anger management and only a mental health therapist is trained to identify, and treat or refer. Career counselors are also trained in assessments and interpretations related to interests, ability, aptitude, personality, which are not as simple as, they may seem.
A career coach has no known definition in the United States; someone could take a one-day workshop and call him or herself a career coach without any formal education or training. They often don’t know what they don’t know, which can be dangerous to the consumer.
A career counseling may also conduct career coaching as they move clients through the counseling process and maintain contact when the client is in a job transition stage, however, the reverse cannot be said of a career coach.
Consumers may find referrals to career counselors though www.ncda.org, the website of the National Career Development Association which is the premier career counseling professional organization in the United States.
Always, check out the credentials of the person providing services, caveat emptor.