Exploring Career and Educational Options
|Once you've spent some time understanding what your strengths, interests,
and values are, it's a good idea to investigate potential career fields
and learn what various occupations actually entail. You will also
want to investigate educational options as part of the process.
three main ways to gather information about career options are reading,
talking, and doing.
On a very basic level you will want to have information available
to you about the job description, educational requirements, skills
needed, working conditions, current employment statistics (# of people
currently employed in the field), salary information, job outlook
(future growth or decline in job opportunities)
|Talking "Informational interviewing"
Is probably the best way to gather information about the world of
work. It enables you to gather information about a field, industry,
or particular type of work that you won't find in a book. Getting
that personal and realistic view can help you make a sound decision.
It's a good idea to talk with as many people as you can to get the
most complete picture. Ask friends, relatives, teachers, career counselors,
and professional association members for suggestions of who to contact.
Job shadowing, cooperative education, internships and volunteering
are just a few of the ways to investigate a career that interests
you. Job Shadowing is our favorite. It's an excellent way to test
your career goals by seeing "a day in the life" of a particular
field or position. Spend a few hours, a day, or several days on-site
literally "shadowing" a specific professional or a group
of professionals. Not only can you see what the work is like from
day to day, but you have a chance to talk with professionals who can
give you information about related positions, about a particular organization,
or about the job market in a specific industry or geographic region.
You can also use it to get advice on strategies for pursuing a particular
job or career path and to make connections - "get referrals"
for people to contact about potential jobs, internships, or more job
|Your immediate goal should be to make the best career choices possible at this point in
your life. Keep in mind, it's only natural that your dreams and aspirations may change
over time. Changing interests and personal circumstances, and the rapidly
evolving nature of the world of work, will require you to make numerous career-related
decisions throughout your lifetime.
|Did you know
that close to 70% of the graduating high school class of 2005 will
be enrolled in a college - either 2 or 4 year, this coming fall. And
did you know that college graduates, age 25 and over, earn nearly
twice as much as workers who stopped with a high school diploma. Need
more be said??? There are many things to consider while you are making
the decision about which school to attend. Here are a few things to
|Types of Schools:
Here is a list of the types of schools you might hear about as you
plan for your post-high-school education:
|Public vs Private: Public institutions are state supported.
Private for-profit institutions are businesses. Private not-for-profit
institutions are independent for instance, the school
might have been established by a church or through local community
donations rather than by the state government.
|4-Year College: A four-year college grants bachelor’s degrees (Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Science). Some colleges also award master’s degrees.
|University: A university grants bachelor's and master's
degrees, and sometimes includes a professional school such as
a law school or medical school. Universities tend to be larger
than colleges, focus more on scholarly or scientific research,
and might have larger class sizes.
|Community college: A public two-year college granting associates
degrees and sometimes certificates in particular technical (career-related)
subjects. Some students start their postsecondary education
at a community college and then transfer to a four-year school,
either because a community college tends to be cheaper than
a four-year college, or because admissions standards at community
colleges are often less stringent than at four-year schools.
|Junior college: Similar to a community college, except that a junior
college is usually a private school.
|Technical school, Vocational School, Trade School, Career
School: These terms are often used interchangeably. May be public
or private, two-year or less-than-two-year. Career schools offer
courses that are designed to prepare students for specific careers,
from welding to cosmetology to medical imaging, etc. The difference
between technical schools and trade schools is that technical
schools teach the science behind the occupation, while trade
schools focus on hands-on application of skills needed to do
Cost of Going To School:
Most people believe that school is much more expensive than it really
is. Although some are expensive, there is most likely a school near
you that is within financial reach. A few good resources to check
|Choosing A School or Training Program:
Selecting a school to attend is like buying or leasing your first
car. It's a very personal thing - what's important to you may not
be important to your neighbor or best friend. Here are some of the
things you will have to consider:
|Location: Factors to consider are how far
from home, what part of the country (or abroad), and type of
setting (small rural town to a major metropolitan area such
as New York or Los Angeles).
|Size: Schools range in size from less than
500 to over 40,000
|Cost: Know what finances you have in place
and know where to get financial aid, if needed.
|Type of School: Public vs. Private
- Trade, 2 Year, or 4 Year.
|Majors: Choose a school that can prepare you a career or cluster of careers that interest you.
|Other Factors: Athletics, Extra-Curricular Activities, etc.
I - Self Assessment
Part III - Creating A Plan