Advanced Career Counseling – COUC 850

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 02/01/2022

Course Description

A thorough grounding in current career development theories and application is provided. Special attention is given to career development, career counseling with special populations, and decision-making models.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course provides an extensive study of the current state of career development and of career counseling theory, research, and practice. Students examine the major theories of career development and vocational behavior, as well as their related constructs and interventions, including strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations. In addition, students learn andragogy for effectively teaching career to master’s level students. Finally, students have the opportunity to examine the existing literature in order to learn how to advance the field through research, presentations, and leadership/advocacy in the field based on these readings.  Students are required to already have a knowledge and understanding of basic career counseling theories at an entry-level competency.

Method of Instruction: This course is delivered using an intensive format. Students attend 36-40 hours of classroom-based instruction at our campus in Lynchburg. In addition to the one week of class time, students are expected to complete additional work online both pre and post intensive over the duration of this 16-week course.

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the candidate will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Participate in Class Discussions and Group Activities

This course is structured so you will learn not only from the textbook and readings, but also from one another. Becoming a counselor educator is a process, so it is important to establish a professional attitude and demeanor in a doctoral program. As doctoral students, you are responsible for active and respectful participation in class activities. To facilitate the process, the class participation grade will be based on your (a) contribution to discussions, (b) contribution to the learning experience of your classmates; (c) attending class and being on time, (d) active participation in all in-class activities, (e) completion of and bringing to class the assigned assessments/results and presentations.

In-Class Activities: Students will participate in a variety of exercises designed to help students learn the process of teaching career counseling experientially. They will take and interpret a variety of career assessments, value sorts, career story assessments, career genograms, and other career exploration instruments. Students will also be involved in other self-awareness and self-learning activities throughout the course

Reflective Journal Entries (10) Assignment

Students reflect on assigned individual readings from the text. Students will: (a) read the chapter; (b) write a short concise summary; (c) reflections, challenges, and areas for growth; and (d) implications for teaching master’s students.

Career Self-Assessment Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is help students develop a better understanding of the complexities of the career counseling and planning process and to complete his/her individual career counseling and planning cycle. As noted in VI.A, students complete a variety of career assessments, such as interest/personality assessments, values card sort, career story assessment, career genograms, career exploration, and career attainment skills; as well as other self-awareness and self-learning activities. This assignment demonstrates students’ ability to synthesize the multiple components of career development and career counseling into an integrated personal career assessment report.

Career Development Program Proposal Assignment

The National Career Development Association (2011) encourages counselors to possess the knowledge and skills needed to develop, plan, implement, and manage comprehensive career development programs in a variety of settings. To develop this competency, students will design a career development program appropriate to the type of setting they may find themselves employed as counselors. The proposal should be written to a stakeholder, such as school, agency, or nonprofit Board of Directors.

Career Development Research Paper: Population Assignment

The first part of the Career Development Research Paper identifies a population (e.g., first-generation college students, student athletes, retirees, rural women, etc.). 

Career Development Research Paper: Theory Assignment

The second part details a career theory as it relates to your population.  The third section demonstrate the use of the theory with this population through a detailed case study. 

Career Development Research Paper: Final

Through creation of a 12-15 page manuscript, the student will combine theory and practice in a meaningful way. Each student will select a career theory of his/her choice along with a specific population of interest and then combine the two in a case example.

  • The paper is to be written as if being submitted to Career Development Quarterly or similar journal, so reading articles from journals will be necessary. Note: There are excellent examples of conceptual articles you can find using the library data bases, particularly any article co-authored by M. Shoffner
  •  Throughout the process, students will receive feedback from the instructor on the progress of their manuscripts. Students are expected to incorporate the feedback into their final version of the paper.  
  • Once completed, students will prepare a proposal based on the requirements for submission to the NCDA conference.

NCDA Presentation Proposal

Once students have completed the Career Proposal Manuscript, they will fill out the information required to “submit” a proposal to the National Career Development Association’s Global Conference. The purpose of this assignment is to give students experience in the process of disseminating the results of their research to other professionals in the field. Particular attention will be on students’ ability to tailor the presentation to match the theme of the conference.