Friday, December 9, 2011

Determining Your Career Path after High School

If your high school graduation is right around the corner, or even a year or two away, you may be feeling unsure, and even overwhelmed, about choosing your future career path. These feelings are normal. The important thing is to become familiar with the options available. The following list may help.
  • Pursuing a 4-year or 2-year college degree program
  • Enrolling in a trade or vocational program
  • Joining the military, perhaps for a career or in exchange for college tuition assistance
  • Securing a full-time job after high school for the long term or to save money for college
  • Traveling abroad to gain cultural experience or work with an international volunteer organization

Whatever path you choose, before you decide, be sure to invest time exploring your interests, aptitude, and strengths, and the career options that align with these. Following is just a sampling of activities that can help you make an informed decision about “What next?”:
  • Dismiss stereotypes regarding occupations; keep an open mind to possible career paths.
  • Recognize and leverage the abundant career information and resources available through your school, the library, the Internet, etc.
  • Talk to counselors as well as parents, teachers, and other trusted adults.
  • Take aptitude, interest, and personality tests to help identify careers you’re well suited for. Many are free and available through your school’s career center.
  • Research careers, related educational and/or training requirements, projected job growth, job descriptions and tasks, salaries, etc.
  • Look into post-secondary schools and programs based on your career interests. Consider their academic reputation, suitability for your field of interest, cost, location, culture, etc.

After doing your homework, your options and career direction may be much clearer. Then it’s time to create a plan and start working toward it. Put yourself on a future path to success.

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