Could we benefit from a vocational assessment approach to find the right career path?

Could we benefit from a vocational assessment approach to find the right career path?

There are many benefits to having a vocational assessment completed by a registered psychologist if you are either:

  • a school leaver
  • an injured worker
  • an employee/recently retrenched and seeking a career change

A vocational assessment identifies and recommends vocational goals to help people find or return to meaningful employment. Many factors are considered in completing a vocational assessment, including employment history, education history, injury and medical background, psychological testing (ability and personality factors), employment preferences, retraining requirement for suitable roles and labour market considerations. A vocational assessment is usually performed by a registered psychologist who has an excellent understanding of the employment market and who provides a comprehensive report with a number of employment options.

There are a number of reasons why a vocational assessment provides an expert opinion regarding an individual’s career choice and why it is better than just completing a job questionnaire measure. Job questionnaires vary somewhat depending on their origin but usually are divided into similar categories as follow.

  • Technological
  • Nature
  • Scientific
  • Culture
  • Expressiveness
  • Helping
  • Persuasiveness
  • Organizing

In my practice, I often see clients who have completed a job questionnaire that is divided into the categories detailed above. This may be an excellent base for career direction, but it has some significant limitations if not expanded on further.

For instance, an individual’s response may indicate that they are likely to be highly suited to the helping profession. This may suggest that being a registered nurse would be of significant interest to them. However, within a vocational assessment, it may be discovered that one of their work preferences is that they would prefer not to do shift work. In this case, it may be beneficial for them to look at an alternative allied health profession that provides them with a regular roster. Alternatively, an individual may indicate via the responses and clinical interview that being a school teacher could be a career path that interests them, but they have not considered that they have always been someone relatively shy that has difficulty talking in front of others.

In summary, a detailed vocational assessment will ensure that when determining suitable employment goals, all factors that could affect a person’s ability to achieve and perform these employment options have been considered.

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