Are you interested in going to college but unsure about your major? Do you know what career you would like to pursue but don’t know what degree or certification you’ll need to receive first? Or maybe you know earning a degree is a valuable investment but aren’t quite sure how a degree correlates to career opportunities. Our career exploration activity is a great place to start.
Many students begin their journey toward earning a college degree or certificate with lots of questions about their career path. And that’s okay! Choosing a degree or certificate program at a college or university is a big decision, and knowing your career path first will allow you to choose the right program. If you are able to identify a handful of career paths that interest you, you will be able to select a postsecondary program that matches your career goals.
Step 1: Check out the O*Net Interest Profiler
The Occupational Information Network Program, or O*NET for short, is a great resource for learning about different careers or jobs and what types of education you’ll need to be successful. To help navigate their database of information, they created the O*NET Interest Profiler.
Step 2: Fill out your profiler
Answering a series of questions to understand interests can help you decide which kind of career you might enjoy.
You will rate 60 areas of interest on a scale from Strongly Dislike to Strongly Like. There are no right or wrong answers, and don’t take into account whether you know how to perform the task or how much you would be paid to complete the task. Simply rate your interest in performing each of the tasks.
Step 3: Review your results
After you finish the interest profiler, you will receive a score in six areas of interest: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.
Review your interest profiler results, and learn more about what each area of interest means.
Step 4: Explore different job zones
We recommend exploring at least five different job zones. Each zone represents a different level of training, experience, and education that is needed to perform the responsibilities of these careers.
Don’t be deterred by jobs that require higher levels of education. Keep in mind that by 2030, 60 percent or more of all new jobs will require some level of higher education. While today, only 42 percent of Texans between the ages of 25 and 34 have an associate’s degree or higher. This means that earning a postsecondary education is an investment in your job security.
Step 5: Explore your career list
Check out the career summary pages for careers from all five job zones. Each career summary page will provide information about what you would do in that career, the knowledge, skills, and abilities you would need, as well as the education level required and the job outlook.
Make sure you have your Personality Test Guided Activity handy to connect your personality type with different careers. You’ll also want to have the Texas Reality Check Guided Activity to connect your desired lifestyle with the expected salary for different occupations.
Step 5: Complete the My Next Move Career Matrix
Identify four different careers that especially interest you, and complete the chart.
- Career: Insert the career name that interests you.
- Why This Career: What stands out to you about this career? This response should be personal to you.
- What Knowledge, Skills, or Abilities Stand Out to You: Review each of these sections on the career summary page, and list anything that stands out to you.
- Personality: Check out your results from the Personality Test Guided Activity to connect your personality type with different careers.
- Job Outlook: Are new job opportunities in this career very likely, average, or below average?
- Median Salary: Look at your results from the Texas Reality Check Guided Activity to connect your desired lifestyle with the expected salary for different occupations.
- Required Education or Training: What are the degree requirements for this career? Keep in mind that degree requirements that are listed are often the minimum requirements, and attaining a higher level of education can correspond to a higher salary in the same career field.
You have a list of four possible careers that you are interested in, so what now? Check out the next resource on exploring careers!