Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. John Geisler

Third Advisor

Dr. Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis


A quantitative research design was utilized to understand the perceptions of the effects of colonization on career choices and occupational development of Africans in the United States. In face-to-face, 60-90 minute interviews using a semistructured interview guide developed by the researcher, participants were asked open-ended questions about the effects of colonization on their career choices and occupational development. Using purposeful sampling, 12 African male and female students, 7 enrolled at one Southeastern university and S from a large metropolitan city in the Southeastern United States, were interviewed for data collection.

Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. Transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparison (grounded theory) technique. Themes and patterns were identified which could contribute to knowledge of Africans regarding the study.

Findings indicate the following: (a) colonization has had an influence on the career choices and occupational decisions of African students; (b) differences between French and British colonial influences regarding careers exist; (c) although parents/family and significant others play significant roles in career-decision making of African students, their career choices have also been influenced by their present environment and life situations; (d) government and foreign scholarships influence career choices and occupational decisions of Africans; (e) although the gap in career and occupational choices between males and females in Africa has continued to diminish (more women doing the same jobs as men), some occupations still seem to attract more men than women; and (f) responses of participants support the notion that in looking at the career development and occupational choices of Africans, it is important consider the person in relationship to his or her environment.

Counselors and university personnel working with African international students must try to understand the intricacies and goals, as well as the concept of careers from the perspective of Africans and their country of origin. Counselors must also understand that colonization was very influential in the lives of Africans and has played significant roles in the career-decision making process for them.

Counselor training programs should incorporate the results of this study into every aspect of education, including practicum experiences and studies as part of the multicultural counseling course.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access