One World, Many Cultures: Career Counseling Services in a Globalizing World

By Recep Varcin and Ilkay Savci

The National Career Development Association announced the 2007 NCDA conference focus as Integration and Collaboration within a Multicultural World. Integration and collaboration are not new phenomena for NCDA. The Global Career Development Facilitator (G-CDF) program and the Center for Credentialing and Education years ago encouraged countries to implement approved career counseling training programs not only in the United States and also in other countries as well. Along with this philosophy we developed and have been implementing a career counseling master's program at Ankara University in Turkey.




Since the 1980s, Turkey has been experiencing a structural reform program towards a market economy. In line with the structural reform program, Turkey lifted a long standing state monopoly over employment and career counseling services. In order to implement employment and counseling services effectively and efficiently in a rapidly grown transitional economy, there was an urgent need for well-trained employment and career counselors. In 1999, Ankara University, with a World Bank fund, developed an employment and counseling services training program and trained 300 Turkish Employment Organization staff over eight months in ten separate groups. For the sustainability of the training program, the World Bank provided us with additional funds to establish a master's degree and a certificate program in highly developing areas of employment and career counseling.

In 2000, we worked with the University of Oregon's Careers (formerly CIS) Director, Daniel Erdmann and Susan Roudebush, a Certified Master CDF Trainer and Registered Instructor, to develop and implement a Global CDF program and a Master's program. We shared our early work with NCDA participants at the 2001 conference in Tucson, Arizona (Varcin and Erdman, 2000).

We officially opened our master's program in 2003. Although there are several universities providing master's programs in the area of human resources in Turkey, our program is the only one that provides a master's degree in the area of career counseling.


At Ankara University, we set up a curriculum development committee that worked in cooperation with Susan Roudabush and Daniel Erdman. Our master's program is interdisciplinary in that several departments, including but not limited to, sociology, psychological counseling and guidance, law, management, public administration, and labor economics are involved.

Taking into consideration the backgrounds and employability of our students after graduation, we offered a wide array of classes. In order to complete the program successfully, students are required to complete at least ten classes (3 credits each) and a graduation paper. The graduation paper is a soft thesis requiring students to use the expertise they have acquired from the program in an employment setting. Completing the program takes at least three semesters but students are allowed up to six semesters to complete the program.

Table: Courses in Human Resources and Career Counseling Program

Courses (fall)

Courses (spring)

Human Resources Management

Turkish Economy and New Developments in Turkish Labor Market

Career Counseling

Employment and Social Security Law

Labor market theories and policies

Human Resources Development in Rural Areas

Counseling services

Assessment in Career Counseling

Social Psychology

Employee Career Planning

Globalization and Innovation

Private Employment Services

Field Research in Career Counseling I

Field Research in Career Counseling II

Research Methods

Life-Long Learning

Strategic Planning

Managing organizational changes

Economy of Entrepreneurship

Psycho-drama in Personnel Selection

Graduation Paper

Graduation Paper

Profiles of Students

Our initial target group for our master's program was public and private employment services staff and career counseling/HR practitioners at various enterprises. From the beginning, our master's program attracted a significant number of students (several hundred applications each year) and became the top master's program among all of the master's programs at the University. However, we limited enrollment to 20 students each year.

Among our students are career counselors who work independently or work for public and private enterprises such as university career centers, private employment offices and consulting companies. Since most of our students work, we switched our program from a day to an evening program. Our classes take place between 6-9 PM. Those who have enrolled in the program without a position can often find a job even before graduation. Employers of our graduates point out their satisfaction with the performance and contributions of the students that they make to their companies.

Continued Growth

In order to organize career counselors professionally and to increase the value of the occupation in society, we have founded the Career Counseling Association which can be reached at http://www.kariyer.org.tr/ (not available in English). We also implemented joint projects with our students on various aspects of career counseling. For instance, we implemented a European Council funded project on employee career planning with the Ankara Chamber of Industry and published two books on career counseling (see Varcin, 2005; Varcin, 2007).

All such efforts attracted more students to the Program and we revised our course offerings and opened new courses based on the demand we received.

Our experience in implementing our master's program demonstrates that career counseling is becoming an increasingly significant occupation in Turkey. As Harris-Bowlsbey et al (2000), points out, there is a critical need for career counselors. In an increasingly competitive global workplace, the role of career counselors in private and public spheres has been critical and will remain so in the years to come.



Harris-Bowlsbey, J., Suddarth, B.H. and Reile, D.M. (2000), Facilitating Career Development:Student Textbook, Ohio: National Career Development Association.

Varcin, R. And Erdman, D (2001), "Implementing a Global CDF Program in Turkey", Career Counseling: Nurturing the Human Spirit, 10Th Global Career Development Conference, June 26-30, Tucson, Arizona.

Varcin, Recep (ed), 2005. Isletmelerde Kariyer Planlamasi El Kitabi/ Employee Career Planning Hand Book. Ankara: ASO and IKDAM publication.

Varcin, Recep. 2007. "Delivering Occupational Guidance and Career Counseling Services in a Multicultural Environment: The Case of Turkey," paper submitted at the National Career Development Association Annual Meeting, July 6-8, 2007, Seattle, Washington.


Career Convergence welcomes articles with an international connection.


Recep Varcin is an associate professor at AnkaraUniversityand Director of AnkaraUniversityCenterfor the Study of Human Resources Development and Career Counseling (IKDAM). He is also president of the Career Counseling and Human Resources Development Association (KARDER). He can be reached at varcin@kariyer.org.tr

Ilkay Savci is an associate professor and deputy director of AnkaraUniversityCenterfor the Study of Human Resources Development and Career Counseling (IKDAM). She can be reached at savci@politics.ankara.edu.tr

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