What is Japanese National Licensed Career Consultant?(国家資格キャリアコンサルタント)

Japan, a country known for its meticulous approach to education, career development, and employment practices, offers a unique professional service designed to assist individuals in navigating their career paths: the National Licensed Career Consultant. This specialized role, recognized and regulated by the government, plays a pivotal role in the Japanese workforce, aiding individuals in making informed decisions about their career trajectories. Let's delve into what a Japanese Career Consultant is, the services they provide, and why they're an indispensable part of the job market in Japan.

Understanding the National Licensed Career Consultant

A National Licensed Career Consultant in Japan(国家資格キャリアコンサルタント) is a professional who has obtained a national license to offer career guidance and counseling services.

From April 2016 (Heisei 28), under the Vocational Ability Development Promotion Act, 'Career Consultants' have been defined as experts in providing consultation and advice on career choices and skills development. Career Consultants hold a title-protected, registration-based qualification that requires renewal every five years, and they are obligated to maintain confidentiality and to avoid actions that would discredit their credibility.

This certification is granted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), signifying the consultant's expertise in providing career-related advice and support. The establishment of this license in 2016 aims to ensure the quality and reliability of career consultation services, safeguarding clients' interests in a critical aspect of their lives: their careers.

To become a Career Consultant

To become a 'Career Consultant,' one must pass the 'Career Consultant Examination' and register in the Career Consultant registry. Eligibility to take the 'Career Consultant Examination' requires practical work experience of at least three years. However, even without practical work experience, completing a training course certified by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare grants eligibility to take the exam.

The examination consists of a written test and a practical skills test, and passing both parts is required. The pass rates for each section are around 60% to 70%. As of April 2014, there are approximately 72,000 National Licensed Career Consultants registered in Japan.

The Role and Responsibilities

Japanese Career Consultants serve a broad spectrum of clients, including students, job seekers, and even employed individuals looking for career advancement or a change in their career path. Their responsibilities encompass:

Career Counseling: Offering personalized advice based on an individual's skills, interests, and career aspirations. They help clients understand their strengths and areas for improvement, aligning their career goals with realistic opportunities.

Job Search Assistance: Providing support in finding suitable job opportunities, crafting resumes, and preparing for job interviews. Consultants use their extensive knowledge of the job market to guide clients toward promising sectors or companies.

Career Planning: Helping clients develop long-term career plans, including potential career changes and advancements. They assist in setting achievable goals and identifying the steps necessary to reach these objectives.
Skill Development Guidance: Advising on necessary skills and qualifications for desired career paths and suggesting educational or training programs.

Emotional Support: Offering emotional and psychological support to clients facing career challenges, helping them overcome setbacks and maintain motivation.

The Importance of the National License

The national license serves as a guarantee of the consultant's expertise and commitment to ethical standards. To obtain this license, candidates must pass a rigorous examination that tests their knowledge of labor laws, counseling techniques, and an understanding of the Japanese job market. This ensures that licensed consultants are well-equipped to provide high-quality, reliable advice.

Why They're Indispensable

The Japanese job market is known for its competitiveness, complexity, and rapid changes in industry demands. In such an environment, the guidance provided by a National Licensed Career Consultant can be invaluable. They offer a beacon of clarity and direction for those navigating the intricacies of career development and job searching in Japan. For foreigners seeking employment in Japan, a Career Consultant can also provide crucial insights into cultural norms and expectations within the Japanese workplace.

A significant challenge facing National Licensed Career Consultants

A significant challenge facing National Licensed Career Consultants in Japan is the lack of opportunities for their skills to be utilized. Fundamentally, even though they are career supporters, they are not coaches, not specialized professionals like counselors, nor are they intermediary agents. This ambiguity in their role leads to a situation where there is less work available than expected. About half of the career consultants are employed within companies, but even there, they do not specifically engage in career consulting work. For those who are independent, solely taking on career consulting does not suffice to make a living, leaving the challenge of how to effectively utilize this qualification unresolved.

How can I meet Japanese Career consultant

There is an official qualified person search service provided by formal institutions, which could be beneficial to utilize. Additionally, there is an option to search through Coconala, a Japanese skill-sharing portal site.

キャリコンサーチ (mhlw.go.jp)



A National Licensed Career Consultant in Japan is more than just a career advisor; they are a trusted guide through the often complex and challenging journey of career planning and job searching. With their expertise, personalized advice, and support, individuals can make more informed decisions, setting the stage for fulfilling and successful careers. Whether you're at the outset of your career, contemplating a change, or seeking advancement, consulting with a licensed career consultant can provide you with the tools and confidence needed to navigate your path forward.

The presence of such licensed professionals underscores Japan's commitment to supporting its workforce at every stage of their career, ensuring that everyone has access to the guidance and resources needed to thrive in the evolving job market.

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