Professional Standards

Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners

The publication of the Professional Standards represents a landmark in the history of Australian career development and a benchmark for career development practitioners. The Professional Standards:

  • Define the career industry, its membership and its services;
  • Recognise the diverse skills and knowledge of career practitioners;
  • Guide practitioner entry into the industry;
  • Provide a foundation for designing career practitioner training;
  • Provide quality assurance to the public and other stakeholders;
  • Establish a benchmark against which career practitioners can be assessed, evaluated and judged by their peers and by others;
  • Require career practitioners to undertake continuing professional development;
  • Create an agreed terminology for the industry.


Click here to download your copy of the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners.


History of the Professional Standards

Scoping Paper

A scoping paper for the project was written by Dr Mary McMahon, called “Shaping Career Development Culture – Standards Shaping Paper“. This paper identified key issues and information relevant to developing national standards for career practitioners in Australia. It provided the framework for discussions at the National Forum for Career Practitioners.

National Forum for Career Practitioners

The National Forum for Career Practitioners held on 25-26 August 2004, began the consultation phase, and gave participants the chance to have early input into the project. Although participation in the forum was limited, those invited were selected on the basis of their expertise and knowledge of issues relevant to standards and accreditation, and their capacity to assist in the widespread implementation of standards across Australia. Participants were also selected because they represented a group that is central to the development and acceptance of the standards.

National Consultation Process

A national consultation process then occurred which provided an opportunity for everyone to participate. This part of the project was managed by CICA and Miles Morgan Australia. The EdNA (Education Network Australia) website was regularly updated with information and mechanisms for those who wished to contribute in this consultation process and in the development of national standards. Miles Morgan produced a Consultation Report Standards that was distributed to all stakeholders.

Briefing Papers

These resources were used in the development of the Professional Standards. They are here for historical purposes only.

Briefing Paper 1 – Standards Background and Terminology

Briefing Paper 2 – An overview of the QS project

Briefing Paper 3 – A possible model

Briefing Paper 4 – Code of Ethics

Briefing Paper 5 – Continuing Professional Development

Briefing Paper 6 – Competency Frameworks

Briefing Paper 7 – Adoption and implementation

Briefing Paper 8 – Implementation of Professional Standards

Briefing Paper 9 – Implementation Update of Professional Standards

Briefing Paper 10 – Professional Standards FAQs

Briefing Paper 11 – CICA Professional Associations and Professional Standards

Briefing Paper 12 – Continuing Professional Development


2018 Review of the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners

The Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners came into effect on 1 January 2012 and heralded an important milestone for the career industry in Australia. The introduction of the Professional Standards was a significant step forward in professionalizing the industry and providing confidence to stakeholders for the delivery of career services.

In developing the Standards, CICA was focused on ensuring that they were practitioner owned and endorsed through an extensive consultation process with all CICA Member Associations.

Professional Standards are living documents that need to be responsive to changed contexts. In October 2017, the CICA Council commissioned a review of the Professional Standards and established a Working Group to manage the review.

CICA was committed during the review in ensuring that members of CICA Member Associations were provided with an opportunity to provide input into the review of the Standards. The Working Group developed a survey and practitioners were invited to participate in this important phase of the review.

Review Briefing Papers

As part of the review, the Working Group will be providing a series of Briefing Papers to keep Member Associations and career practitioners informed throughout the process.

Briefing Paper 1 – What are Professional Standards? Why do they need to be reviewed?

Briefing Paper 2 – How have the Professional Standards changed?


2022 Removal of Alternate Entry Pathway in Entry Level Qualifications

As of 1 July 2022, changes were made to the Entry Level Qualifications with the removal of the Alternate Entry Pathway provision.

The new requirements state that:

Professional Career Development Practitioners work in a range of settings, coordinate teams including Associate Career Development Practitioners, and in supervisory roles.

Entry level qualifications for Professional Career Development Practitioners are either

a) a CICA endorsed Graduate Certificate or higher or

b) an International Career Development Specific Qualification


Associate Career Development Practitioners work in support roles.

Entry level qualifications for Associate Career Development Practitioners provide an introduction to career development.

a) a CICA endorsed Certificate lV in Career Development