Career Development Association of New Zealand




Clarity of professional identity reflects in part the language individuals use to describe their career development services and role including what they call themselves. A lack of clarity and inconsistent use of terms in the field of career development contributes to ambiguity about the professional identity of both the field and its practitioners.

The Professional Standards for CDANZ Career Development Practitioners define the field through agreed terminology. Such agreement assists in defining the membership and features of the field. Key terms are included within the Professional Standards, with a more comprehensive Glossary available on the CDANZ website.


The Association formed in 1997 as the Career Practitioners Association of NZ (CPANZ), the term ‘practitioner’ chosen to encompass a broad range of professionals dealing with career development activities. In 2006 members voted in favour of changing the name to the Career Development Association of NZ (CDANZ) to reflect the field of knowledge applied by members of the association. This was also consistent with internationally accepted terminology for career industry professional associations.


“Career is a lifestyle concept that involves the sequence of work, learning and leisure activities in which one engages throughout a lifetime. Careers are unique to each person and are dynamic; unfolding throughout life. Careers include how persons balance their paid and unpaid work and personal life roles.” (CCCDA, 2012)

Everyone has a career - ‘career’ is a holistic term embracing the sequence and variety of work roles paid and unpaid, that a person undertakes throughout a lifetime. This includes life roles in the home and the community, leisure activities, learning and work. Work, learning and life, though sometimes distinct, are closely intertwined. (Ministry of Education, 2009).

Career Development

“The lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure and transitions in order to move towards a personally determined and evolving future.” (CCCDA, 2012).

In Australia and New Zealand, the term career development is used synonymously with the terms career advice and career guidance to describe the field and its practices. However, the terminology for career development globally is inconsistent. In Europe, the United Kingdom (UK), and Ireland, careers guidance is widely used, and in Canada and the United States (US) the term commonly used is career development (McMahon, 2004).

Career Development Practitioner

Career development practitioners are professionals who assist individuals to “manage career development as a process of managing life, learning, and work over the lifespan” (MCEECDYA, 2010).

Career development practitioner is an umbrella term increasingly used to describe a “direct service provider” (CCDA, 2012) in the career development field. Previous career development research in Australia and New Zealand found a lack of consistency in terminology used for the professional roles and services (Athanasou, 2012a; Furbish, 2012). A lack of clarity about titles and their use in the field of career development contributes to ambiguity about the professional identity of both the field and its practitioners.


[1] Canadian Council for Career Development Association. (2012). Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners: Glossary of terms. Retrieved from

[2] Ministry of Education. (2009). Career Education and Guidance in NZ Schools. Retrieved from

[3] McMahon, M. (2004). Scoping paper—Shaping a career development culture: Quality standards, quality practice, quality outcomes. Retrieved from Career Industry Council of Australia website:

[4] The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (2010). The Australian blueprint for career development. Retrieved

[5] Athanasou, J. A. (2012a). Career development practitioner survey analysis. Retrieved from Career Industry Council of Australia website:

[1] Furbish, D. (2012). An overview of New Zealand career development services. Australian Journal of Career Development, 21(2), 14-24