Career coaches are widely seen as people who help mid-level professionals prepare for that next big step or change in their lives.
In Virginia however, high school students are getting a jump on their futures with help from career coaches who add a whole new twist to the traditional guidance counselor's role.
"I never want to dissuade somebody from going the route of learning for the sake of learning, I think that’s an incredible goal, but… if you don’t have a skill you’re coming away with, you’re going to be looking at going back to school for something else that’s in demand," career coach Don Landis told the Charlottesville (Va.) Daily Progress.
The newspaper noted that Virginia schools started to include career coaches as part of a 2004 pilot program that now features 100 of them statewide. This program is particularly helpful because traditional guidance counselors tend to have workloads that make it impractical for them to do much with actual career planning for students.
The increased demand and specialization for school counselors is part of a nationwide trend, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics calling for a 21 percent jump in demand for school counselors of all kinds, from substance abuse specialists to vocational counselors.