Graduate Career Courses: Engaging Students

By Vanessa B. Teixeira

As a doctoral student in counseling education and supervision, I have taken career counseling courses at the master’s and doctoral level. I have always found the topic of career counseling fascinating and admired my professors for being so passionate and dynamic when presenting the information to students. In taking the courses, however, I came to notice that some of my classmates were not as interested in the topic of career counseling as I was. Also, some of the material, such as the theories and models, were difficult concepts for some students to grasp. During my doctoral internship as a Teaching Assistant, I found some great ways to keep Master’s level counseling students engaged in class material that is either difficult to learn or less interesting. This article presents two key considerations (a “Do” and a “Don't”) followed by specific practices to keep in mind when teaching a graduate level career counseling course.


DO: prepare students for career counseling by relating the class material to real life practice. While it is important to teach the material, it is equally important to prepare students for what they are actually going to be doing as a career counselor.

DO NOT: focus too much on one learning style or one type of activity. Students tend to lose focus and interest quickly if they get too much of the same thing. This will take some creativity, but students will be much more engaged when instructors are dynamic in teaching the material.


Here are practical ideas to try when teaching a career counseling class:

Teaching a graduate career counseling course can be difficult. Trying out the above list of suggestions will take some resourcefulness and creativity on your part but students will appreciate the real world experience you are bringing to the classroom. They will gain much more from the class when they are actively involved and you will enjoy teaching the class much more when you see that students are able to apply the material they are learning!


Vanessa TeixeiraVanessa B. Teixeira, MS, holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of North Florida and is currently a doctoral candidate in the CACREP accredited Counselor Education and Supervision program at Argosy University, Washington DC. For three years, Vanessa worked as a Rehabilitation Services Coordinator with adults diagnosed with severe mental illnesses. One of her primary duties in this role consisted of career coaching, including assisting clients with developing resumes, looking for work in the community, as well as developing and teaching psychoeducational groups focused on career development. Vanessa is currently working toward licensure at a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia called The Key Center. She can be reached at VanessaTeixeira86@gmail.com.


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