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Exploring the roles, qualifications and skills of career guidance professionals in schools

An international review

RapportPart of report series: No

This report explores the practices in five comparator countries in relation to the regulation, qualification, skills and quality assurance of career professionals in schools. The report was prepared by Tristram Hooley for Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education

Publisher:Tristram Hooley (Professor at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and the University of Derby)
Editor-in-chief:Tristram Hooley


This report explores practice in school-based career education and guidance in five comparator countries. It examines the following questions.

  • What kinds of training and qualifications are required to lead career guidance in a school?
  • What skills does it require to undertake these roles effectively? How are these skills usually developed?
  • Does the existing National Quality Framework for Career Guidance provide a sufficient framework for the development of professionalism in Norwegian schools or is there a need to supplement it with additional guidance and specification (Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills. (2021). National Quality Framework for Career Guidance)).

These questions are explored through five international case studies of career guidance systems.

  • England
  • Iceland
  • New Brunswick (Canada)
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • Sweden

Key findings include:

  • It is common for governments to place a legal expectation on schools to deliver career guidance. This frequently includes detail about how career guidance should be delivered and requirements for the training and qualification of careers professionals.
  • Qualifications for career guidance professionals working in schools are typically at either the Bachelors degree level or at the Masters level. In some countries the requirement for professional practice is built on through a formal certification or registration process.
  • There are a relatively common set of skills and competences which are identified by the case study countries. These broadly align with the Norwegian National Quality Framework for Career Guidance framework.
  • Most countries have developed forms of quality assurance for career guidance in schools. Quality is assured across a range of domains including policy, organisation, process and people.

Based on these findings the following recommendations are made.

  1. Ensure that schools have a strong and unambiguous requirement to deliver career guidance to pupils.
  2. Include requirements for appropriately trained careers professionals to appointed as part of the regulations that are given to schools.
  3. Produce a school specific articulation of National Quality Framework for Career Guidance framework.
  4. Clarify whether career guidance is a separate profession in schools or a function performed by school counsellors.
  5. Develop and articulate the mechanisms that can be used for quality assurance of career guidance in Norwegian schools.
  6. Strengthen the professional association(s).
  7. Develop a strategy for continuing professional development (CPD).