Graduate Certificate in Career Development

Course Overview

Through an innovative partnership between James Cook University and Career Ahead, the Graduate Certificate of Career Development curriculum was fully redesigned in 2020, integrating leading academic theory with elements of industry best practice.

This CICA industry endorsed course contains four subjects, completed one at a time, to optimise learning immersion. These subjects explore career development theories, provide the opportunity for applied professional practice and regularly include workshops with subject matter and industry experts. The learning experience is designed so that students engage in interactive and evidence based activities, to enhance their knowledge, skills and professional practice capabilities.

Why are we different?

Unique Partnership

The partnership between James Cook University and Career Ahead offers future career practitioners a contemporary, academically rigorous and applied learning experience. The course combines the academic excellence of JCU, with the ‘real world’ experience of Career Ahead. Graduates benefit from this partnership beyond graduation, with ongoing access to resources and support from the highly qualified JCU and Career Ahead teams

Flexible Learning

We understand that attending lectures and completing study tasks can be challenging with busy lives. To create flexibility for students, this course is delivered fully online. The learning experience offers engaging and practical weekly tutorials, self-paced learning activities, informative industry seminars and intensive skill development workshops. We want our students to be present, engaged and importantly ‘work ready’ at the end of the program.

Practical Curriculum

Our course produces highly skilled, work ready practitioners, who can ‘hit the ground running’; capable of supporting clients in the achievement of their career goals. The practical learning approach equips students with the skills and knowledge required for contemporary professional practice. Students graduate with highly developed capabilities, expert knowledge and a portfolio of resources, enabling them to succeed in a range of work environments.

Career Opportunities

JCU Career Development Graduates are highly sought after for rewarding positions including:

  • Private career guidance and coaching
  • Education based career development roles
  • Outplacement or career transition consulting
  • Wellbeing or career advisory roles in professional sport
  • Career guidance in disability or employment services
  • Career counselling for community or government programs

Students may also go on to study the Master of Guidance and Counselling. Receive a two subject credit for this course when you complete your Graduate Certificate of Career Development.


ED5907 Career Development Theories and Tools

A critical pillar of career development professional practice is foundational knowledge in career counselling theory. Building on leading theoretical frameworks, students work with a range of career development tools, including psychometric instruments, career choice diagnostics and skills inventories.

ED5909 The Labour Market and the Future of Work

Given rapid changes in the world of work, students build their knowledge of current and future workplace trends. The focus is on the development of substantial expertise in accessing, analysing and applying labour market data, allowing students to generate critical career management insights to apply in their practice.

ED5908 Career Development Professional Practice

Aligned with Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) endorsement requirements, this subject builds the capability of students to work professionally as career advisors, practitioners. Professional Practice workshops provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to both ‘real plays’ and complex career development case studies.

ED5910 Career Counselling

A ‘hands-on’ subject, providing students with the opportunity to develop counselling micro skills through applied learning activities. Career Counselling capitalises on knowledge developed across the course, translating learnings into practical experiences, ensuring that students are ready to apply counselling models to a range of career development scenarios

Industry Endorsement

JCU has received endorsement from the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) for the Graduate Certificate of Career Development. This means the curriculum aligns to the professional, ethical and educational standards of the peak professional body. Graduates are eligible for professional membership of a CICA Member Association and have the ability to use the title of Career Practitioner.

How is the Course Run?

Fully Online

  • Designed for students with busy lives
  • One subject completed every 8 weeks
  • Entire qualification completed in 32 weeks
Our unique carousel delivery mode enables students to focus on a single subject, allowing for deep engagement and learning immersion. New students can commence the program every 8 weeks, each time a subject commences, staying on the carousel until four subjects are completed. Although this is an online program, enabling self-paced learning, each subject is supported with a weekly tutorial run by a knowledgeable subject facilitator, regularly featuring subject matter and industry guests. In addition to weekly tutorials, both ED5908 and ED5910 include intensive workshops, delivered remotely, providing students with supported skills practice.

Tailored Programs

  • Available to organisations or associations seeking to offer this qualification to multiple students
  • Bespoke programs can be delivered either online or at a workplace, with the curriculum tailored to specific organisational or client requirements

Enquiries should be directed to: 
Katea Gidley, Managing Director at Career Ahead
03 9645 5545

When Can I Start?

Study Period Start Date Subject
86 19-Oct-20 Career Development Tools and Theories
81 4-Jan-21 Career Development Professional Practice
82 1-Mar-21 The Labour Market and the Future of Work
83 26-Apr-21 Career Counselling

Free Individual Consultations

We are pleased to offer 15 minute consultations to individuals considering admission into the program. Discussion may cover:

  • Course suitability
  • Career paths
  • Flexible entry arrangements
  • General course information
  • Admission processes

Please email our Course Co-ordinator, Lindie Frier at
to book your consultation.

How can I Apply?

Additional information, including application criteria and fees can be found on the JCU website