A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessment Instruments (5th ed.)

Book Review By Roger H. Gantzarow

As stated in our mission, "NCDA provides service to the public and professionals involved with or interested in career development, including professional development activities, publications"...etc.  Two parts of that service are addressed here, as NCDA offers a conference PDI on career assessment instruments and a review of the new book, A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessment Instruments (5th Edition).


Professional Development Institutes  (PDI) 
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
7:30 am - 12:00 noon
PDI #5: Career Assessment Instruments: What Counselors Need to Know!
Presenter: Roger Gantzarow, Private Practice 

This PDI workshop will serve to help career counselors, career professionals, training, educational and employment professionals use assessment practices in appropriate ways to support the overarching goals of education and workforce development. The workshop will involve both small and large group activities.  All attendees will receive a copy of the Fifth Edition of A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessment Instruments.  This PDI will be followed up by an optional train-the-trainer session in the afternoon (which is limited to 20 who meet the criteria). This PDI is subject to an additional $45 materials fee in addition to the PDI Registration Fee to cover the cost of the book.  All participants will receive a copy.  


Book Review:

Whitfield, E.A., Feller, R.W., & Wood, C. (Eds.). (2009). A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessment Instruments (5th ed.). Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association. 

A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessment Instruments, Fifth Edition, published in 2009 is a book everyone who is involved in career development and assessment needs in their library. The fifth edition has come a long way from the first edition, published in 1982, with subsequent editions published in 1988, 1994, and 2001. Considering the rapid changes that continue to occur in the career development field and the career assessment instruments area, this book is a timely addition and resource to professionals and laymen in this field.

In 1982, the first edition of The Counselor's Guide contained 259 pages. The fifth edition contains 580 pages of up-to-date information. The Counselor's Guide has grown and has added a great deal of new information not found in earlier editions. Several of the chapters in the book and most of the reviews have different authors then those found in earlier editions.  Overall, there are 71 separate instruments included in 55 reviews using a standard format that includes:

  • Descriptions
  • Use in Counseling
  • Technical Considerations
  • Computer-Based Versions (if applicable)
  • Overall Critique and References.

Included in The Counselor's Guide is an extremely useful User's Matrix that lists and categorizes all instruments included in this edition. The reviews include instruments that were not reviewed in the fourth edition as well as new reviews of instruments found in the first four editions. The decision as to which instruments to review and include in the fifth edition were based on a review of the literature, publisher web sites, professional associations', journals and newsletters along with input from career development professionals.

Information for the Guide was gathered from many different areas and each edition of the Guide has benefited from the support of the Buros Institute at the University of Nebraska -Lincoln. This producer and publisher of the Mental Measurement Yearbook (MMY), remains a highly revered and respected standard in the field of assessment and many other publications and guides addressing assessment quality and use.

The three Ph.D. editors of the Guide included 13 chapters written by professionals in the assessment and career development field.  They not only reviewed assessment tools but also covered such topics as

  • A Counselor's Guide: Introduction to the Fifth Edition
  • Career Assessment: Perspectives on Trends and Issues
  • Selecting a Career Assessment Instrument
  • Using Assessment For Personal, Program and Policy Advocacy
  • Computer-Assisted Career Assessment: State of the Art
  • Assessment and Counseling Competencies and Responsibilities - A Checklist For Counselors
  • Assessing Youth and Adults with Education and Career Development Challenges.

The appendices in the Guide include: Sources of Information about Testing and Career Assessment; Publisher Addresses, Phone Numbers, and Web Pages; Test Standards and Codes; and a Counselor's Guide User's Matrix.

Everyone in the counseling and career development field should have a copy of this Guide.  It would also be an excellent book to use by counselor educators in the teaching of career assessments. This is an excellent resource and training guide and the information in the book is up-to-date and meaningful.

This new book is available in NCDA's online Career Resource Store (where you will also find the Counselors Guide Table of Contents, including the Author Information, Foreword, and Acknowledgements).

Roger H. Gantzarow LPC, NCC, MCC, DCC, has retired as the Director Counseling & Testing, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, in Madison, Wisconsin.  He can be reached at gantzarowh@att.net