There are many things to consider when exploring possible career options, such as which career will fit your interests, personality, strengths, salary expectations, and has a promising outlook in the labor market. Whether you are just now exploring your options, have a career field in mind, or you already know which career you would like to pursue, these career exploration resources will help guide you forward in learning how to identify and attain your dream career.
Resources for Getting Started if You Are Undecided
A good place to start if you are undecided is to explore the field by looking at labor market trends and identifying career opportunities that are in demand and match your interests, strengths, and values. Reflect on your personality, your desired lifestyle, your interests, strengths, and values, and then begin making connections to your long-term goals and career.
Identify your Interests, Strengths, and Values
Take these online quizzes to see what careers match up with your personality type, desired lifestyle, interests, and values.
The Personal Values Assessment is a helpful tool to understand what you think is most important in life. Just like companies or organizations have values, you do too! This quiz can help you understand what your personal values are.
Explore the Field
If you do not know which specific career you may want, you might begin by exploring different career fields. There are so many careers within each field. Review these different career clusters and narrow your focus to a few in order to further your research.
Another way to explore career fields is by digging into labor market data to identify career fields that are in demand. Careers that are in demand are great opportunities to pursue because there are more job openings in that field. This increases your chances of gaining employment in a field that is in demand! Review labor market information and see if you can identify career fields that match your interest, strengths, and values.
Reflect with Your Current Resources
Do you know someone who seems to have an exciting career? Do you know someone who seems to share similar interests, personality, or values as you? Reach out to them to discuss what they do and what led them to pursue that career.
Do you have a favorite subject in school? Ask your teacher what careers you could explore that are related to that subject.
Share your results from the quizzes you completed above with your high school counselor, teacher, or community member and have a conversation about possible careers.
Resources for Exploring a Career Field
There are many individual careers that fall within one field or area of interest. These resources can help you narrow down your broader interests into careers that will be a good fit for you. For example, you might be interested in healthcare, but did you know that there are hundreds of ways to work in healthcare other than being a doctor or a nurse? Or maybe you are interested in playing sports, but there are many different careers in sports and athletics other than being a player, such as coaching, sports management, physical therapy, or even an events coordinator.
Your specific interests within a field, salary requirements, and education requirements will all play a factor in narrowing down your career choice within any given career field. The following resources can help to narrow your focus.
Explore by Career Overview
These websites not only give you information on career fields, but provide a detailed description of many careers, including a job description, salary information based on location, job outlook, education requirements, pros and cons of the profession, reviews from people in this position, and more.
Explore by Salary
Salary is an important aspect in determining which careers you want to pursue. It is important to find a career you enjoy, but you must also take into consideration the realities of cost of living and income when making a decision.
Texas Reality Check
Texas Reality Check calculates your estimated expenses based on your lifestyle preferences and the amount of money that you will need to make to cover these expenses. It also lists career information for careers with salaries that allow for these expenses. This is for those that plan to live in Texas as it is based on the cost of living and job opportunities here in the state.
Education Quest Reality Check
After selecting “My Expenses” this Reality Check assessment calculates your estimated expenses based on your lifestyle preferences and the amount of money that you will need to make to cover these expenses, similar to the Texas Reality Check Activity. It also lists career information for careers with salaries that allow for these expenses but can be used to calculate information for those looking to work out of state.
Occupational Outlook from the Bureau of Labor Statistic
Occupational Outlook shares salary and job growth information for various career options and also allows you to search for careers based on the highest paying, projected the fastest growth, and projected most new jobs.
Explore by Education Requirements
You will need to complete various amounts of training, education, and experience to begin your dream career. This can range from a weekend workshop or a two-year training certificate to eight years of professional schooling in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Some things to consider are the amount of time and money that you will need to dedicate to begin working in a specific career. Often, you will work in a related job in your career field while you continue your training and education before you start your dream career.
Find Training with Career OneStop
This website allows you to search for a career based on the necessary training and education needed. It also includes the cost for necessary training/education for various careers.
Careers for Your Major
Ball State University compiled a library of various college degrees, including associate, bachelor’s, and pre-professional. The library also includes the different career opportunities that each degree type and major offers.
Resist feeling discouraged if you are still unsure of your career path; many successful students and professionals have felt the same way upon transitioning from high school to college. . If you are still doubting your career pathway, the best thing to do is just get started! All career pathways will help you to gain transferrable skills that are related to multiple career opportunities. Find an in-demand career pathway that matches your skills, interests, and values, and get started on an entry-level plan that will allow for you to explore that field and also gain transferrable skills. For example, if you think you might want to pursue a career in nursing but are still undecided, start by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and gain entry-level employment to explore the field further. Having an idea of your career interests and field should play a major role in determining which degree and college will best fit your needs. However, it is also important to keep your exploration mindset, and be open to discovering a new career path along the way.
It is never too late to change your career pathway as you learn more about yourself in the future. There are many paths to achieving your career goals, and it is okay for your path to be your own.