Education, Counseling, & Youth Development


Interested in helping others? Curious about education careers inside or outside the classroom? This career community provides resources and support for students interested in Teaching & Instruction, Human Services (counseling, social work, disability services), Library & Information Science, Training & Development, Student Services, Educational Leadership & Policy, Education Technology & Innovation and more!

Types of Organizations

There are a wide variety of jobs within the Education, Counseling, & Youth Development industries, but people are often attracted to this field for similar reasons - to make a difference in the lives of others. Some sample jobs are listed below.

  • Adult Education Teachers
  • Environmental Education Program Directors
  • Athletic Directors
  • Guidance Counselors
  • Career and Employment Counselors
  • Library, Media, and Information Science Specialists
  • College and School Administrators
  • Mental Health Counselors
  • College Professors
  • Social Workers
  • Curriculum Developers
  • Student Affairs Professionals
  • Education Directors and Museum Teachers
  • Teachers (Pre-K and K12)
  • English as a Second Language Teachers
  • Tutors and Trainers

As there are many types of roles in Education, Counseling, & Youth Development, there are also a variety of work environments. These might include:

  • K-12 Schools
  • Universities
  • Nonprofits
  • Education technology companies or startups
  • Research institutions or think tanks
  • Human resources departments
  • Government and private organizations

Industry Basics

Students who are interested in Education, Counseling & Youth Development often identify themselves as helpers. They may be interested in or value skills such as:

Advocating, collaborating, facilitating, listening, moderating, motivating, teaching, training, counseling, solving problems, leading discussions, and developing relationships

Sound like you? You may be interesting in trying out some of these fields through volunteer work, student organizations, internships or part-time jobs. In most positions in Education, Counseling, & Youth Development, direct contact with people in teaching, training, counseling, or related positions will be especially valuable. This could include a formal experience through an academic program, such as student teaching or a practicum, or a relevant paid or volunteer experience like working as a camp counselor, volunteering with a mentoring program, serving as an orientation leader, coaching, tutoring, nannying, and more.

It’s important to know that in fields like education and counseling, there are sometimes requirements about licensure and educational background. For example, you must be licensed to teach in public school, but many private schools do not require state licensure or an extensive background in education coursework. Students who are not education majors are often eligible to teach in a private or independent school setting. You will also need licensure and a graduate degree to be a counselor or social worker. Not ready for graduate school? There are entry level roles in those fields that can prepare you for additional school and licensure later. Make sure to do your research about academic and licensure requirements for your field of choice.

Hiring timelines might also vary by industry. There are always exceptions, but here are some ideas about when to apply for positions in Education, Counseling & Youth Development.

  • August - November
    8 – 10 months in advance
    • Graduate School Applications
    • Some Bridge Year Programs (e.g. Fulbright)
    • Many Teaching Abroad Programs
  • December - July
    4 – 6 months in advance

    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • Education Organizations
    • Bridge Year Programs, especially those with rolling or multiple deadlines
    • Research Institutes/Think Tanks
    • Government Organizations

Get Connected

Want to find out more about Education, Counseling, & Youth Development programs and opportunities at UVA? Sign up for the Education, Counseling, & Youth Development Career Community newsletter and follow me on Twitter at @michelleskeen. You can also learn more by reading industry news. Here are a few suggestions:

Connecting with alumni in Education, Counseling, & Youth Development can give you valuable perspectives and information about various career paths in this industry. Check out the following resources to assist you with networking and mentoring relationships:

  • Virginia Alumni Mentoring program: Connects UVA students with alumni who can offer insights into their own undergraduate experience, career progression and current work.
  • LinkedIn: A professional social media site. You can use LinkedIn to research a company, see where alums land after graduation and connect with other professionals. Check out the Find Alumni section to see where UVA alumni are currently working.

More to Explore

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Counselor: Michelle Ball

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