What is Career Counseling?
Career counseling is one of the services WSU Online offers to students. It involves talking with a professional
who is trained in helping you explore and work through career-related decisions, concerns, and issues within the
context of life planning.
Why would you see a career counselor?
Students seek career counseling for a variety of reasons, such as:
Needing advice in choosing or changing their major
Completing a career self-assessment to better understand interests, values,
Examining how to relate an academic major to future opportunities
Exploring career-related decisions
Managing future professional development through job searches, internships,
or graduate school
Help with writing a resume and improving interviewing skills
How long does it take?
Counseling sessions range from 10 minutes to over an hour depending upon the
topics discussed. Usually in the first meeting, the counselor will ask you questions to get a clear picture
of your situation and background. From that point, you and the counselor would agree on what you will do
together in the counseling process. Although career counseling is usually short term (1-3 sessions are typical),
students often return for follow-up sessions months, or even years, later. Career development is an on-going
process that takes time. Often students find it helpful to connect with a counselor at various points
throughout college, for example, when choosing a major, developing an internship or seeking experiential
learning opportunities, and connecting with future professional opportunities.
Who are career counselors?
The WSU Online career counselor has academic training in career development and counseling as well as practicum
and professional experience in counseling and career counseling. The current WSU career counselor, Chris Miller,
completed his master’s degree in counseling psychology at Washington State University in 2007.
Are there limits to what we can talk about?
Yes. The WSU Online career counselor’s role is to talk with you about counseling issues related to your career
development. Sometimes people have other counseling issues that are more appropriately discussed with an
interpersonal counselor. Your WSU Online career counselor may be able to help you identify someone in your
community or region that could provide services related to personal counseling issues.
Is It Confidential?
Career counseling provided at a distance, rather than face-to-face, using telephones, email, or other electronic
technology cannot provide the same level of privacy as in-office visits. The limitations of these methods of
communication are important for you to know before engaging in counseling. According to Washington state law,
there are exceptions to confidentiality, such as situations in which we determine that you or someone else is
in imminent danger, or if a minor or impaired person is being abused. Courts may subpoena counseling records for
legitimate reasons, as well. However, it would be quite unusual for this to happen with career counseling records.
To ensure the best service for your needs, we will sometimes confidentially consult with WSU staff members. When
client issues are discussed, it is done without providing identifying information about the client. Please feel
free to discuss any questions about this with your career counselor.
Are communications encrypted?
Email communications are not encrypted and thus are available for others to view. If you do not wish people
other than your career counselor to potentially see your information, then communicate this information via mail or
telephone. If you choose to work with the WSU Online career counselor via email, please communicate only the
information you are comfortable reporting and do not include any information you deem to be confidential. Your
career counselor may send you general resource information (web links, referrals, information about opportunities
available to many). If you send a resume for review and critique, the WSU Online career counselor will communicate
with you via email or by telephone regarding suggestions for improvement.
What to do if you don’t hear from the career counselor as expected.
If you make an attempt to contact the WSU Online counselor and do not get a call or email back, it is possible
that an error occurred in the communication process. Rather than going without assistance, call WSU Online at
800-222-4978 and ask to be transferred to the career counselor. Please leave a detailed voicemail message if
the phone call is not answered.
What to do if you feel misunderstood or dissatisfied.
Without visual cues that are important to nonverbal communication, misunderstandings
can occur. If you feel that you are not being understood because you may not be getting enough verbal or other
auditory feedback, please voice your concerns. Different students have different needs with respect to telephone
feedback—be sure to ask for what you need.