Guidance, counselling and information services are available in Hungary for all citizens who are either studying, working or unemployed. The services provided by national authorities and their branch offices are free of charge and support lifelong learning and career development. Since there is no unified lifelong guidance system in place, guidance and counselling services are available within the fields of education and labour and are provided by different service providers at regional or local level.


In Hungary guidance activities and development are overseen by both the Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the Ministry of Human Capacities. In the current ministerial structure the Ministry for Innovation and Technology is responsible for some elements of active labour market policy, vocational education and adult learning as well as higher education. At the same time the Ministry of Human Capacities has responsibility over the fields of youth policy, social inclusion, family policy, primary schools and general secondary education. 

The Innovative Training Support Centre (IKK) has been recently established which is an economic association owned by the Hungarian State. Developing a career tracking system, contributing to supporting and coordinating career orientation, and providing support for the newly developed specialised systems of vocational training and adult learning belong to the core activities of the Company.

In 2015 the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning (NOVETAL) was established and became responsible for the development of lifelong-guidance activities within the field of VET in Hungary.

National guidance developments were carried out under the Social Renewal Operational Programme in two phases (Developing a Lifelong Guidance System in Hungary 2008-2011 and 2012-2015). The programme laid special emphasis on developing tools and services used in guidance and career counselling as well as on the training of counsellors (e.g. teachers, social workers, career professionals, PES front-line staff).

In 2010 the National Guidance Portal was launched which has been recently further developed. Since 2020 it is availabe under the name of Career Orientation Portal

The importance of vocational guidance is mentioned in the new National Lifelong Learning Strategy for 2014-2020, adopted in 2014. 


For primary and secondary school students career guidance is a separate field of development according to the National Core Curriculum. Without being a separate subject, career guidance is offered mainly under life management and practical skills.

Pedagogical professional services, as defined by the 15/2013 (II.26) Decree of the Ministry of Human Capacities, are also important actors in the guidance activities of primary school students. Guidance activities of the pedagogical professional services include testing the skills, learning abilities and the orientation of students and helping choose the appropriate educational institution.

The 2011/187 Act on Vocational Education stipulates that the chambers of commerce are also involved in vocational guidance activities. The guidance related tasks of the chambers of commerce include the following: vocational guidance and orientation for primary school students focusing on occupational skills shortages, events related to vocational guidance and orientation, organising field visits to factories and companies.

The core tasks of the labour departments of county government offices do not only include employment and job-search counselling, guidance, career and psychological counselling, but also information provision on training opportunities. The services are available for both employees and job seekers. The 30/2000 (IX. 15) Ministerial Decree describes labour market services and benefits as well as the qualification requirements of counsellors working within the employment service.

A network of Employment Information Centres (FIT) offer direct access to various resources, such as films and information folders on occupations. Currently they are within the county government offices.

In 2015 a network of 44 vocational centres was established. The vocational centres provide information on the training programmes of affiliated VET schools as well as on adult education and training possibilities. The activities of the vocational centres are defined by the 2011 CLXXXVII. Act on Vocational Education.

The pedagogical professional services, the chambers of commerce, the government offices and the vocational centres often cooperate at county level to support schools in vocational guidance and orientation.

The 2011 CCIV Act on National Higher Education states that with their information and counselling services the higher education institutions should assist the students in career planning during and after their studies and maintain a career tracking system. The majority of higher education institutions offer such services in the form of career centres and bigger institutions run career management courses or trainings. 


In Hungary the training of guidance counsellors in higher education dates back to more than 20 years when in 1992 the predecessor of Szent István University started a training programme for employment counsellors. This training programme was further developed and later became the andragogy bachelor programme with a specialization in employment counselling (2006-2013) and today’s Human Resource Counselling master programme.

The 18/2016 (VIII.5.) Ministerial Decree provides a new regulatory framework on the requirements of bachelor and master programmes. The decree defines the training objectives of the Human Resource Counselling master programme as well, and accurately lists the professional competencies of the counsellors. According to this, the aim of the Human Resource Counselling master programme is to train professionals who have developed profound knowledge during their training in human and economic disciplines, possess good counselling skills and are able to provide detailed analysis of trends shaping the labour market, education and training. The future counsellors should be able to help clients refine their career plans and make career decisions, as well as to support stakeholders by evaluating current trends in education and workforce management.

The Human Resource Counselling master programme is a 4-semester programme where students should acquire 120 ECTS credits. Theory and practice are evenly divided in the training curriculum: foundation courses aim to develop knowledge related to psychology, labour market and career planning, while practical courses and field work practice develop those skills which are related to the profession of counselling, such as good communicative, cooperative, problem solving and conflict resolution skills. By the end of the programme the counsellors-to-be have developed independence both in conducting individual and group counselling and have learnt to regard work as an important factor when organising one’s life.

The Human Resource Counselling master programme is currently run by five universities in Hungary (Szent István University, University of Pécs, University of Debrecen, University of Eszterhazy and Eötvös Loránd University). These universities have developed a consortium and offer focus either on human resources, economics or counselling, depending on the institution’s individual profile.



Currently no unified ethical guidelines exist for guidance practitioners but preparatory steps have been taken to develop such protocol. The publication “Unified Guidelines for Guidance Practitioners” included references to the counsellors’ competencies and professional requirements, as well as some implications to ethical standards and supervision. Under the 2nd phase of the SROP 2.2.2. programme, the code of guidance ethics was also tackled.

The English language publication on the Hungarian guidance system is available here.

Last updated at: September 2022