NACE provides a strong foundation for professionals focused on the career development and employment of college graduates. This foundation includes ethical principles, professional standards for operations, and professional competencies for individual practitioners.
The NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice
- A principle is “a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” – Oxford Dictionaries
The NACE Principles provide the ethical framework on which all those involved in the career development and employment of college graduates can base their operations and interactions.
The Principles are not policies in and of themselves, but can inform the development of policies to ensure ethical practice.
Refer to the NACE Principles when:
- You want to ascertain a “right way”—an ethical way—to handle a particular situation or interaction.
- You are developing policies for your operation or guiding others in doing so.
What’s the Difference?
- The Principles provide an ethical framework for professionals involved in the career development and employment of college graduates.
- The Principles are not policies, but policies should reflect the Principles.
- The Professional Standards focus on your operation. The Professional Standards can help you assess your programs and services.
- The Professional Competencies focus on the individual practitioner. The Professional Competencies can help you assess your own professional performance and the professional performance of staff.
Professional Standards for College & University Career Services
- A standard is a “level of quality or attainment.” - Oxford Dictionaries
The Professional Standards constitute the processes, policies, and procedures as they apply to the career services operation.
The Professional Standards identify the practices the institution should follow to ensure a sound operation. They facilitate the creation, maintenance, and delivery of programs, resources, and services, and they foster improvement, innovation, and excellence in all of these.
The Standards themselves are divided into two categories: minimum and best practices. Minimum standards are essential for all institutions and are designated as “must” practices. Best practice standards are processes and so forth that institutions should consider to improve or enhance their operations. They are designated as “should” practices.
The Professional Standards address 13 dimensions associated with career services operations, including mission, program components, facilities, and financial resources.
Refer to the Professional Standards when:
- You are assessing your operation.
- You are seeking ways to improve your programs and services.
- You are making a case for enhancing your operation.
Please note: In addition to the Professional Standards, which focus on the career services operation, there are standards and protocols for the NACE First-Destination Survey. These are separate from the Professional Standards and are specific to the survey.
Professional Competencies for College and University Career Services Practitioners
- A competency is “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.” - Oxford Dictionaries
The Professional Competencies address the individual practitioner and provide a roadmap to professional excellence. They identify critical skill sets at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels across eight functional areas, such as career coaching, advising, and counseling; information management; and program and event administration.
Refer to the Professional Competencies when:
- You are building professional development plans for staff at all levels and functions.
- You are developing meaningful job descriptions.
- You need to identify the skills needed for an effective team.