Choosing a career path also entails deciding on an educational one, and although it comes with a major price tag, a post-secondary education is still very much worth the investment (Zhao, et al., 2017). Research overwhelmingly indicates that those with a college or university education have greater earning potential and amass valuable “transferrable” skills that result in fewer disruptions in employment during times of economic downturn (Zhao, et al., 2017). Still, over the past thirty years, the cost of pursuing a post-secondary education has risen at a rate much higher than inflation (Martins, 2024), making what was always an important decision even more crucial.

Gone are the days when time at college or university was an opportunity to “find yourself.” Also a relic of the past, are the days when just any credential would impress a potential employer. Now, it’s not enough to choose just any program, one must carefully choose a program that will lead to a successful career. But how? One website estimates that there are more than 12,000 different careers to choose from (Robinson, n.d.). Choosing the right one can be daunting.

Deciding on a career path isn’t about “finding your passion” and it isn’t as straightforward as figuring out what kinds of jobs are “in demand” or pay well. What if you’re passionate about something that isn’t a fit with your abilities? What if the best paying and “in-demand” jobs are in areas that aren’t interesting to you? Finding a career that fits involves taking into account one’s abilities, skills, interests, personality factors, and values. Like finding the perfect outfit, it’s important to find something that fits you, whether it’s “on trend” or not. Unlike that perfect outfit, your career should last more than one season. It should last 30 or 40 years.

Whether you’re graduating high school and choosing a career path for the first time, or have been working for many years and are considering a change, a qualified career counsellor can help anyone find a career that fits. Career counselling and assessment starts with investigation into your abilities and skills. A great deal can be gleaned through examining your learning and work history. To enhance this picture and get a sense of your aptitude for future learning, career counselling may also include cognitive and academic assessment.

The next step in the process is to get a sense of your preferences regarding what an ideal job might look like. For instance, would you love to be surrounded by other people all day, or would you prefer to work alone or in smaller teams. Do you learn best through hands-on experience, or in a more traditional academic environment? What do you find that you are “drawn to,” what motivates and drives you? How much autonomy would you like to have? How much training are you prepared to invest? What are your expectations regarding salary? There is no “right” answer to any of these questions, and figuring out the answers will involve some reflection on your part, but a career counsellor can help narrow down those 12,000 options into something much more workable.

Finally, career counselling often involves testing – further examining a person’s personality and work-interest profile. Although these tests won’t tell you what the “perfect” job for you is, they provide valuable information not available through mere reflection.

Although it is important to consider the “realities” of the job market, these realties will shift many times during your lifetime. In contrast, your abilities and aptitudes, personality style, and preferences for work are relatively stable. Therefore, choosing a career with these factors in mind is likely to enable you to adapt to shifts in the workforce, rather than having to “start over” if a robot takes your job.

Many people are able to find a fulfilling career without guidance from a career professional. However, very few achieve the level of self-understanding that a career assessment can provide. This information could prove to be invaluable during the process of your career selection, and can be an investment in your future that provides life-long returns. If you would like to learn more about career counselling and assessment, contact Eckert Psychology & Education Centre at and we will help answer your questions and when you are ready, book your career assessment.

Jason is a Registered Psychologist with nearly 20 years of experience counselling adults and adolescents with a variety of concerns. Areas of specialization include anxiety, AD/HD, identity development, relationship issues, depression and self-esteem. In addition to counselling services, Jason conducts assessments with learners of all ages. He makes a unique contribution to the Centre through his skill in career assessments.

Martins, N. (2024, February 8). Here’s how much post-secondary tuition costs in Canada by Province. Canada.
Robinson, M. T. (n.d.). List of over 12,000 careers.
Zhao, J., Ferguson, S. J., Dryburgh, H., Rodriguez, C., & Gibson, L. (2017, November 29). Census in Brief: Does education pay? A comparison of earnings by level of education in Canada and its provinces and territories.