Career Exploration For High School Students in 2023

At a tender age, everyone, at one point or the other, has been asked what they planned to be in the future. As life pushes one to high school, the narrative inclines towards the course one would like to major in. Most of the time, the questions never received the appropriate answer. This article focuses on career exploration for high school students.

As a matter of fact, some high school students tend to have issues understanding what career interests them. Their mental capacity has not been able to comprehend what they should and should not get involved in. This is why we have decided to help out with this article – career exploration for high school students.

Table of contents

What Is A Career?

A career is a long-term professional journey that you embark on based on your passions and interests. Your career is the pathway you take to fulfill your professional goals and aspirations. To achieve these goals, you may need a level of education or training. On that note, your high school education is one way of working towards your career goals. From taking general courses, you can narrow them down to the specifics that will help you to focus on building a great and successful career.

Interestingly, you may have only one career all your life. This, you can achieve by holding jobs in different fields but under the same career. For instance, a medical practitioner can work in several hospitals, yet, retaining the same job title and role. You may also change your career at some points in your journey due to several reasons like change in interest, need for a more lucrative career, change in location, change in demand for that particular career in an evolving world, and many more.

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What is Career Exploration for High School Students?

Students need to get prepared to face the workplace after school. How prepared you get while in school will determine how you will easily adjust to the demands of work and even the type of work to do. You will need to develop real-world skills that will be needed for the workplace. This is why you need to get exposed to career exploration early in life. 

Career exploration for high school students in the process of delving into, assessing and studying current world opportunities and how high school students can pursue the careers they love. You, as a student, gain more insights into the potential careers you can choose from. You will also know more about the skills that are relevant to the specific career and what the current professionals in the field do as part of their job roles. When you are armed with the necessary information, you can imagine the kind of career that suits you.

What Should I Do If I Can’t Find a Suitable Career?

Not to raise your expectations higher than necessary, chances are that a high school student may not be able to identify the exact thing they want to be. Going through career exploration is highly recommended because it will get the ball rolling but may not help them pick out what they might end up as. Aside from every other factor, tastes change over time and so, a teenager may change their mind after coming in contact with certain experiences.

In everything, the aim is to start now to narrow down your choices so that you do not end up frustrated or doing trial and error before finally arriving there.

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Why are Career Exploration for High School Students Programmes Included in Some Schools?

The essence of career explorations is to help you connect the dots between school and career in such a way that you are motivated to graduate with the relevant skills you need to build your career in the future. When career exploration activities are increased in schools, it will help to enhance the ambitions and achievements of students from diverse backgrounds. For that reason, they may graduate and proceed to post-secondary education without thinking twice. 

Additionally, students who are more aware of the goal of career explorations will likely proceed to college, irrespective of the challenges they might encounter. The key factor is for you to get focused on your current studies and value every class that is relevant to your career. Finally, you will be able to persist and work toward goals during the important years when you may no longer be with your parents.

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Key Factors in Career Exploration

Four factors are involved in the process of career exploration. They will help you to learn more about the career world. These factors include research, evaluation, discussions, and decisions.


Research is when the students are introduced to different careers. As a student, you can select a few careers that look relevant or interesting and study more about them. You can read some books, visit related websites, attend seminars or go on a school trip. 


This is about empowering the students to assess or appraise the research they have conducted. The aim is to get you to have a deeper understanding of the jobs that interest you. You may find more than one career that interests you and it is okay. The major thing is for you to get more insights about potential opportunities for you. 


You can compare and contrast the careers you choose to enable you to narrow down on your choices. You can do so with your peers and help each other make the best decisions. Sometimes, discussing it in groups will spark up your interest in careers you may not have considered and which might end up becoming the chosen one.


At this stage, you are making an informed decision about the career you can focus on. This does not mean that you may not change your mind in the future. Rather, it gives you a sense of direction so that you can follow your passion to enjoy a fulfilled and rewarding career. Having a direction helps you to get focused on the careers that interest you.

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Difference Between a Job and a Career

So many high school students find it difficult to differentiate between the two terminologies. Although they seem alike, there are some notable differences between them. Here are some of the differences:

1. The major difference between a job and a career is that a job is something you do to make some money, while a career is a long-term project. A career is made up of a combination of roles, experiences, education, and pathways that will help you to achieve your goals. It gives you long-term financial security because it encourages you to develop and build your skills, while you continue learning to improve more. It is good to have a job that pays your bills but it is recommendable to go for a career that will keep you working towards attaining long-term success.

2. With the evolvement of industries and the emergence of terminologies like recessions, some jobs might become unstable. As a result, you could go out of your job or look for another job to meet up life demands. However, if you build enduring skills, gain more qualifications and experiences, you will always be prepared to face any challenge in your career. Instead of leaving your career, you might seek ways to improve on it, especially with technological advancement. 

3. With a career, you will earn higher pay and better benefits as you climb the ladder of success. That is to say, you will add more value to your employer and that will lead to greater reward.

4. You will get more job satisfaction if you are in a career that you enjoy. Your sense of pride in what you do will also increase. In the long run, you will enjoy better fulfillment and increased happiness. Your career will offer you challenges and goals that are aimed for growth. Working towards them will enhance your motivation and make your job more significant.

5. Different jobs make up a career. For you to build your career, you must have involved yourself in different jobs. It is the jobs you do that define your career and connect you with other opportunities you are passionate about. On the other hand, different careers will never make up a job.

Steps for High School Students to Follow in Exploring Their Career

The following will enable you to explore the career options you have and how to get the details about jobs within the various career fields.

Step 1 – Reflect on yourself

You can take a career inventory to understand the career fields that might be the best for you. You can go to some websites of some top high schools to see what is available for you. For instance, if you love planning, budgeting, and keeping records, you are likely going to tilt towards accounting. Though other factors will come into play too.

You may answer the following questions or discuss them with your friends, teachers, parents, coaches, or counselors.

  • How would you want to stand out among your peers?
  • What do you enjoy doing and can lose sleep while doing it?
  • What can you teach others without losing track of your line of thought?

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Step 2 – Research on your career

You can go to the following career online sites:

  • O*Net and O*Net Career
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Illinois Career Information System, etc.

Step 3 –

Search for information like wages required for education and licensing, projected outlook, entry-level income, and other information about the jobs.

Step 4 – Plan and Explore

You need to gain practical experience and get to meet people who are professionals in the diverse career options for you. Conduct some interviews online or in person. Tour a company’s facility to see what it is like to work there. Participate in activities like summer camps, workshops, and clubs.

Career Sites for High School Students to Explore Their Skills

This comprises free online quizzes and tests that will help you figure out what your current skill set is and the ones you might consider developing further.

1. Princeton Review’s Career Quiz

You will need to register for free on the platform and answer a series of 24 questions. You will be offered one of four interest colors indicating the kind of career you might become interested in and the style of work involved. For instance, Red stands for Expediting, Green stands for Communicating, Blue stands for Planning and Yellow stands for Administering. 

After this stage, you will go over to the section of ‘Recommended Careers’ which brings out a list of careers that match your interest and style. You can look through and see what’s in for you.


2. Career One Stop Skill Matcher

This site has figured out 40 skills required in the workplace. As a result, they created a skills matcher to enable students to match their real-life skills with them to know the ones that best correspond. There are levels in each of the skills and they include beginners, basic, skilled, advanced, and expert levels. After completing the levels, you will be offered a list of jobs where your natural skills and the ones you intend to develop are put into play.


3. Online Career Test

Here, you will answer 35 questions, register with the site’s email listing and you will get your answer. You will be measured based on different types of career paths like financial, service-minded, artistic, nursing, technical, communications, etc. The essence of the email is for the platform to get your email address for further emails. 


4. O*Net Interest Profiler

Here, you will be provided with RIASEC interest levels, which match with diverse jobs. RIASEC means:

  • Realistic – practical problems and solutions
  • Investigative – ideas, thinking, and figuring things out
  • Artistic – crafting, designing, and making things happen as you wish
  • Social – offering help to people, teaching, and talking
  • Enterprising – leading, taking charge, and doing business
  • Conventional – data, detail, and doing things the normal way.

After that, a list of likely jobs you can do will be brought out for you to match your skills.


How to Develop Your Skills for Your Future Career

Your career requires that you constantly develop your skills. You need to upgrade or improve your skills to remain relevant in the employment world. To develop new skills or identify existing ones, you need to do the following:

  • Set goals for yourself. You must set specific goals to improve your career and help you focus on developing yourself. Your goals must be measurable, realistic, relevant to your profession and time-bound to be able to achieve them easily. You also need to set smaller goals to achieve the bigger ones.
  • Learn about yourself. Study yourself critically and understand what you enjoy doing. By exploring your career, you will be able to identify the skills you enjoy. If you do not know what you want, then you need to find out what you will like to learn about. For instance, if you like arts and drawing, you can ask yourself why you enjoy them.
  • Identify possible careers. Once you have identified the things that interest you and you have passion for, you will need to look for careers to put them into use. Your school counsellor, teacher, or parents can help you identify them. Reading this article will also help in great ways. In addition, consider local employers and the type of job they do. It could be in manufacturing, healthcare, engineering and other occupations near you. For instance, if you explore a career that involves working with older people and helping the sick, you might discover yourself becoming a nurse. While you narrow down on this option, broadening your scope will help you identify more career options for you.
  • Get a mentor. A mentor has already walked the path you are about to walk. It must be someone you respect and trust. Your school counselor could be ideal for this. The moment you get one, reach out for meetings and develop some level of relationship.
  • Get experience. Doing some part-time jobs or internships will help you to gain adequate experience in different fields. Gradually, you have started building your career.

What is the Importance of Career Exploration for High School Students?

Involving high school students in their career exploration is needed because they are at the center of the plan. So, they need to be aware of what lies ahead for them. Below, you will find the reasons for getting the students involved:

  • Career exploration can help to enhance academic performance. It will also increase the chances of students completing high school and going further to college or post-secondary education.
  • It improves the attitudes of young people regarding their career possibilities while motivating them to keep striving.
  • Career exploration improves the knowledge of students regarding their career options. For that matter, they are encouraged to develop and work towards goals after college.
  • It helps them to envisage how they will fit into the career world. This means that career exploration prepares them ahead and enables them to set meaningful goals for themselves and go after them.
  • When you get involved in career exploration, you will be able to plan your course of study critically and make improved efforts to gain the skills you will need.


It is good to understand that the career path you choose will somewhat affect the level of pay you will receive. Besides, some career fields have more hourly-type jobs, while some have more salary-type jobs. So, while considering every other condition, ensure to consider the pay too. Most of the time, the career that pays high is usually more tedious, requires more time and also more years in college. So, choose wisely.


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