Guidance counsellors in elementary, secondary and postsecondary school settings provide students with academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social competencies. Their responsibilities include assessing the ability and potential of students, providing one-to-one counselling, and liaising with other professionals in this area. The task force set up in 1988 by the National Council on Education (NCE) recommended that counsellors be allowed to practise basis and be structured on a career ladder different from that of other school staff because of their impact status. This recommendation seems to be a major policy decision on the status of guidance counsellor practice. The Benchmark and Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) developed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) as the basic minimum required for award of Bachelors Degree in Education Guidance and Counselling appears to be adequate and in tune with minimum global requirements. However, one would expect that spending national resources to train professional counsellors should translate to providing employment opportunities for them to offer their professional skills to students at all levels. This study, therefore, examined the options available for candidates applying to study guidance and counselling in Nigerian universities and available job vacancies for graduates of guidance and counselling in the labour market. The study included all the universities offering guidance and counselling as a course of study, and 282 graduates from 2010-2015 were randomly selected. Three research questions were raised and answered. The findings revealed that 75% of candidates who applied to study guidance and counselling gained admission. Only 28% of the graduates gained employment in the education sector while 15% were in other employment, different from their specialisation. In education, 3% combined teaching with counselling of students while 97% were employed to teach rather than to counsel. It was concluded that most guidance and counselling graduates were unemployed, and few who were employed could not use the skills they acquired during their training. It was recommended that the counselling profession should be formalised where professional certification will be required before practice. All educational institutions should be mandated to employ qualified counsellors, not ad hoc, as is the case in most institutions.
Keywords: guidance, counselling, graduate unemployment, counselling training, employment opportunity