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  • Tracy Duell-Cazes

What a client should know about a vocational evaluation.

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

I. Purpose of Evaluation

To assess current and/or future employability and wage-earning capacity for the

court. It can include the presentation of a vocational plan outlining specific details

as to how the person will return to the job market (e.g., training time, cost,

appropriate programs, entry/ceiling earnings upon plan completion, and job


II. What are the limitations of this process?

This procedure is not a method for the diagnosis or treatment of psychological

problems nor does it allow for career counseling over a period of time (i.e., job

development, job placement) unless it was part of the referral. Vocational tests

cannot be failed, but are used only as a means of identifying the person’s strengths,

interests and personality, work values, and transferable work skills.

III. Who is qualified to perform this evaluation?

The vocational/career assessment is a master’s level occupation. With three years

of professional experience and recommendations from supervisors, a person can

sit for a written examination leading to Board certification as a National Certified

Counselor (NBCC) followed by application to sit for a written examination covering

five competency areas of career counseling. With successful passage, the person

becomes a National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC) through the National

Council for Credentialing Career Counselors, National Vocational Guidance

Association. The designation of Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is also

available through a state certification process.

IV. What happens in a vocational evaluation?

If you are the person who is being evaluated, you may be nervous about

participating in a vocational evaluation, so I want you to know what to expect.

1. The first step is usually a diagnostic interview which is a question/answer

procedure to gather pertinent information affecting employability (e.g.

work/life experiences, health, age, length of absence from the work force,

educational background, vocational/career goals or priorities, motivation, an

d current family/personal situation). This will also be your opportunity to ask

any questions you may have regarding this evaluation process.

2. The next step is vocational testing. There are a wide variety of vocational

testing instruments used to assess employability. In general, these

instruments cannot be passed or failed but are used to develop a work trait

profile. The following areas are covered:

A. Ability/aptitudes (i.e. Career Ability Placement Survey/CAPS; Wide

Range Achievement Test/WRAT; Differential Aptitude Test


B. Interest/personality (i.e., Strong Campbell Interest Inventory/SCII;

Career Occupational Preference System/COPS’ 16PF Personal

Career Development Profile).

C. Work values (i.e., Career Orientations Inventory; Values Card Sort).

D. Skills assessment (transferable work skills) (i.e., California Career

Information System/Eureka; QUEST; Microskills).

3. The counselor will most likely conduct labor market research to produce

information as to outlook, earnings, qualifications/training requirements for

specific job titles within an appropriate geographical area. You should have

access to this information either through talking with the counselor or by

reading the vocational evaluation report.

4. The fourth step is integrations of all information gained in the evaluation

process. This includes client self-report, counselor observation,

medical/psychological reports, test data, and diagnostic information. Your

feedback is an important part of this process.

5. Finally, recommended next steps are made based on both immediate and

long-term job/career objectives/goals. These steps are based on your

expressed interests as well as your ability to be employed, whether or not

you want to return to a previously held job or career.

V. How can you “prepare” for a vocational evaluation?

Don’t worry about studying or preparing for this evaluation. As noted above, you

cannot pass or fail the tests. It would be helpful for you to bring a copy of your

resume (it does not have to be current) or, if you do not have a resume, be

prepared to discuss your educational background and work history in detail. If you

are in a training program, bring all relevant details such as a description of the

program, costs, length of the program, etc. If you are in the job search process,

bring a written record of your efforts. In fact, it is strongly recommended that you

keep a written record of all job search-related activities. Bring any relevant

information such as medical reports to the evaluator. It is important that you answer

the questions as honestly and completely as you can. Your attorney will guide you

as to whether or not you volunteer information. Be on time to your appointments

and cooperate with the evaluator as your attitude will be noted in the report.

VI. What are your rights in a vocational evaluation?

You have the right to a fair and impartial vocational evaluation and to be given the

opportunity to review all test results. If you disagree with the examiner’s

conclusions, you have a right to have the report examined by a second evaluator.

There is no confidentiality in this process, so anything you say relating to

employability can be reported on and used in forming conclusions.

VII. Are there any benefits to me in participating in this process?

This process can be viewed as an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself

from a vocational perspective. It also provides an opportunity for you to expand

your occupational knowledge and learn about careers that might interest you and

fits your particular needs, skills, abilities and interests. This process can be fun!!

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