Future counselors’ career motivations, perceptions, and aspirations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the career motivations of future counseling professionals. Design/methodology/approach: Students completing their Masters of Counseling (n=174) responded to a 30 min survey about their career motivations, counseling career choice satisfaction, planned persistence in the counseling profession and perceptions of the demand and reward structure offered by counseling work. Motivational profiles were educed using hierarchical cluster analysis and compared via MANOVA. Findings: Four distinct profiles were identified: “moderately engaged with family values,” “lower engaged,” “altruistic with family values” and “multiply motivated.” Clusters differed in their perceptions of the demand and reward structure offered by a counseling career, and their level of satisfaction with, and planned persistence in the profession. Cluster composition was unrelated to age, gender or pursuit of previous careers. Practical implications: Implications for educators pertain to capitalizing on career motivations for different types of entrants, to tailor recruitment and professional preparation. Originality/value: The authors add to existing literature by drawing on the theoretical lens of expectancy-value theory in a person-centered approach, to the study of counselor motivations, professional perceptions and career choice satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • Career motivation
  • Counselor profiles
  • Expectancy-value
  • Professional engagement
  • Social values

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