By Michaela Martens - 08/03/10 10:11 PM EDT
Susanne Maurer is a licensed professional counselor and the founder and
chief operations officer of Washington Career Services. She has worked
as a career counselor for the George Washington University Career
Center and has her M.A. in counseling psychology.
What is your role as a career counselor?
My role as a career counselor varies from client to client. But generally, my role is to support an individual with their personal career development, whether it’s to find a job or look into a career transition.
Again, depending on the situation, a career counselor could help you figure out jobs or careers that you might be best suited for. A career counselor can give you a career assessment, including the Myers Briggs or Strong Interest Inventory tests. A career counselor can work with you around figuring out a career action plan — identifying a goal, then developing a plan on how to get there.
What is the value of pursuing higher education?
A college degree can be a very valuable thing depending on the career path of an individual. Some individuals opt for careers where a college degree is not necessary, and this is fine. However, many positions these days require at least some college, if not a college degree.
How beneficial is it to get a second degree?
A second degree really depends on the career path of an individual. For example, if a client is interested in a career transition from law to social work — to actually become a social worker — the client would need to obtain a master’s of social work degree. There are also certain fields where a secondary degree can be helpful when moving to a management/supervisory position.
What is your advice to individuals looking at getting a higher degree or pursuing continuing education?
I would encourage the individual to do the research and make sure of a few things. One: Is this the career path the individual wants? Two: Is an advanced degree necessary for the career. Although there are also times when an individual pursues more education or takes classes for personal knowledge, which is fine.