Are you a Career Development Practitioner?

CDPs help individuals navigate learning and work transitions across the lifespan.

Most of our work here at the CEC is focused on Career Development Practitioners, or CDPs. But, what is a CDP? The following is the 2021 definition of a Career Development Professional developed in consultation with folks across Canada. 

Career Development Professionals enable individuals to manage learning and work, acquire and enhance skills, seek/create employment, and access community services that support personal and professional growth in an increasingly complex, interdependent and changing world. 

Career Development Professionals collaborate with employers, education and training providers, community-based services organizations, and other private and public institutions to promote positive health, social and economic outcomes for individuals, institutions and communities. 

Many people would look at this definition and call it broad. And they’re right!

Being a CDP does not mean fitting a highly specific set of criteria; it means helping people through all the different transitions on their career development journeys.


CDPs help people with their career development journeys  and for simplicity can be described in 6 dimensions. It is important to note that these stages are not be linear and we are at some stage throughout our lives. 

  1. Job Readiness CDPs that help with job readiness help clients with developing their “RMD” skills: reliability, motivation, and dependability. This is often done through one-on-one counselling or in group settings. Examples of these CDPs include career counsellors and social workers.  
  2. Career Decision-Making: CDPs who help clients make career decisions often do so through providing resources about different career options, outlining different education paths, etc. Examples of these CDPs include school guidance counsellors and academic advisors.
  1. Skills Enhancement: CDPs that work with clients on skill enhancement generally focus not only on teaching clients work-related skills, but also on helping clients to know what kinds of skills will be best for their career journey. Examples of these CDPs include adult basic education instructors and trade school educators.  
  2. Work Search: CDPs assisting clients in their work search often help with things like resume construction, finding labour market information (LMI), and facilitating career experiments (eg. internships, job shadowing, etc). Examples of these CDPs include librarians and co-op coordinators. 
  3. Job Maintenance: CDPs that assist clients with job maintenance help to eliminate barriers that may impact a client’s ability to remain in their job, as well as encouraging clients to learn and use new skills. Examples of these CDPs include human resources workers, community centre workers, and occupational therapists.   
  4. Career Growth: CDPs who help clients in the career growth step of their journey often focus on goal setting and challenging their clients. Examples of these CDPs include life coaches and managers. 

Do these descriptions fit the scope of your work? Congratulations you are a CDP! The impact of your work on peoples lives is profound. 

If you’d like to learn more about CDP Competency Framework or connect with other professionals, contact Elayne at