Book Review—Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach (4th Edition)

by Robert C. Reardon, Janet G. Lenz, Gary W. Peterson, and James P. Sampson, Jr.


The fourth edition of Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach explores career decision making and planning. The way in which the textbook is outlined is consistent with literature and research on career development. It is separated into three different sections: Career Concepts and Applications, Social Conditions Affecting Career Development, and Implementing a Strategic Career Plan. The first part of the book explores self-knowledge, allowing students to answer the question “Who am I?” in regards to career. The subsequent sections provide knowledge about the world of work and instructions for creating a career plan. Many career courses follow a similar outline, and this textbook can be useful in those courses.

This textbook provides many useful activities for students to complete on their own or in small groups during class. The activities allow the students to engage in dialogue about the content in the chapters. The practical elements of this textbook are useful as well. Facts regarding growth occupations, labor market trends and appropriate attire for interviews offer concrete information for students who are embarking on career journeys. The manual accompanying the textbook is also valuable, providing a plethora of material for the instructor, including helpful PowerPoint slides. This manual provides a convenient framework for an instructor who might be teaching this kind of class for the first time.

Although the textbook provides various activities for students to complete, many of them are located in the appendices. It might be useful to have more of the activities in the chapter for students to view.  In many instances, students often skip over the activities in a textbook even when they are easily accessible; with these activities in the appendices, students may be even less likely to consider or complete them. Students might also engage more with the text and understand it better if it were punctuated with case studies and other opportunities for discussion. In addition, the textbook could benefit from a greater emphasis on culture and environment, which play a significant role in career development. Examining cultural and environmental influences in depth might allow students to gain more insight into their reasons behind their decision making.

Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach gives counselor educators, clinicians and students extensive information about career-development processes through a theoretical lens. In addition, it provides activities and interventions to implement in counseling people of various ages and backgrounds. These activities can also be useful for training counselors and clinicians in career development and its practices. Career decision making proves challenging for many individuals, and this textbook’s focus on career development allows clinicians to understand how difficult it often is for people to make career decisions. Counselor educators and clinicians are trained in helping others gain self–knowledge, but not always from a career-development perspective. This textbook could potentially help clinicians offer counseling services from a career-development standpoint. Staying informed about the job market and various employment trends is also important for counselor educators and clinicians, who should maintain up-to-date knowledge for their clients. Professors, practicing counselors and students can all benefit from the information and activities presented in Career Development & Planning: A Comprehensive Approach.


Reviewed by: Diandra J. Prescod, NCC, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, Texas.

Reardon, R. C., Lenz, J. G., Peterson, G. W., & Sampson, J. P., Jr. (2012). Career development and planning: A comprehensive approach (4th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.


The Professional Counselor