Career guidance has a long tradition in Portugal, going back to the first decades of the 20th century. Currently guidance services are delivered by many players, in a wide variety of contexts, throughout the lifespan of clients.

The Psychology and Guidance Services in schools, the Qualifica Centres, the Public Employment Services, Career Centres in Universities and other entities credited by the competent authorities, develop information and guidance actions for qualification and employment. These actions should be coherent, integrated, systematic, continuous and complementary, according to the competencies of each service, taking into account their users profile and needs.

In public services guidance is free of charge.


Guidance and counselling services are mainly organized under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Employment, Solidarity and Social Affairs.

Guidance is mentioned in many documents on lifelong learning, education, social inclusion, training and labour market policies.


Lower and upper secondary schools

Every public school has guidance services.

Information, guidance and counselling are delivered by school psychologists. Teachers and parents as the other stakeholders are engaged in the guidance process.

The interventions could be individual/group sessions, study-visits, work-experiences, exhibitions and job placements. A wide range of online tools to support career education are available.

Higher Education institutions

Career Centres at universities are providing information, guidance and counselling. Development of career management skills, information about labour market, provision of internships and support in the transition to labour market are the main interventions.

Public Employment Services

Adult and young unemployed, employees willing to change job and companies are the target groups of the guidance services in the Public Employment Service (PES).

Information, coaching, guidance and counselling; employability skills development are delivered face to face, via group sessions or on-line.

Vocational and Educational Training Institutions

Guidance in this context support citizens to choose a training course, during the course and the transition to the labour market. Target groups are adults and young people.

Private companies

Privately owned companies either have an HR department that sometimes offers career development services or they hire HR companies to recruit, develop and improve their workforce.


The majority of guidance practitioners in Portugal are qualified psychologists, with a variable degree of specialization in career guidance. Other professionals involved in information activities may have studied social sciences or are specialized teachers.


The Portuguese Association for Career Development – APDC – was founded in 2009 and aims to be a reference and point of contact and synthesis of multiple agents who , in Portugal, are contributing to the advancement of research and intervention in the areas of career development and guidance.

The faculties of psychology have research centres on guidance:


The Order of the Portuguese Psychologists is the national body responsible for the accreditation, training and regulation of the psychologists in Portugal.                  

Regulamento Nº 258/2011 is a referral document that integrates ethical principles of the profession in Psychology in any area and context of application.

Last updated at: April 2018