CAREER READINESS EDUCATION FAQs
What is career readiness education?
Simply put, career readiness education is a modern approach to high school that seeks to prepare students to be successful in life after graduation, whether that’s college, career, or both. One big difference with K12’s career readiness education -- it’s more than career-related courses. Students can also learn directly from industry experts, gain work experience, prepare for industry-recognized certification exams in high demand jobs all while earning their high school diploma.
What are career fields and career pathways?
A "career field" is an industry classification such as Information Technology or Manufacturing. “Pathways” are specializations within the career field. Pathways can be further divided into programs. For example, Pharmacy Technician is a pathway within the Health and Human Service career field.
Why should I enroll my student in career readiness education?
Some students know what they want to do after high school and taking career readiness courses can give them a head start. Others may not know what they want to do, and through career readiness education, can explore different occupations and career fields to figure out where their interests lie. Others simply enjoy taking courses that they find relevant to everyday life. Career readiness education helps students master professional skills such as teamwork, project management, and leadership, which are needed to succeed on the job or in college.
What are professional skills and why are they important?
Professional skills are also referred to as transferable skills, interpersonal skills, soft skills, or social skills. These are the skills that employers look for when hiring. Examples include teamwork, collaboration, presentation and communication skills, problem solving, creative thinking, and leadership. Professional skills may include nearly any ability that pertains to the way a person approaches others or handles their professional life.
What does a school day look like in a career readiness education program?
A typical school day will vary depending on the student's grade, course load, and chosen career pathway. In general, students can expect a mix of individual coursework, teacher-led instruction, assessments, and project collaboration with other students.This learning environment prepares students for the modern workforce they will enter in the future. Please visit A Day in the Life to see how K12 students spend their day.
Can my student change their selected career pathways?
Yes. We understand that as students explore different options in a career readiness education program, they sometimes choose to change their pathway to fit their career goals.
Why would my student need an industry-recognized certificate or a credential?
An industry-recognized certification is one way your student can demonstrate to college admission officers and employers that they're ready and able to do the work required to be successful and have technical expertise in a particular field. Most certifications require students to take an exam to show that they're knowledgeable in the content learned throughout their course of study. Exam requirements may also include a hands-on component. Test preparation is a part of career readiness education, which supports students in their efforts to obtain the hands-on/practicum that they’ll need to be prepared for the certification exam.
How can my student prepare for a certification exam?
K12’s Destinations Career Academy prepares students for pathway-specific careers and certification exams. Most career pathways consist of four to six specialized courses followed by some work-based experience. Typically, students need to be in a pathway for two years to complete these specialized courses (in addition to core subjects). Certain certifications, such as Adobe® Photoshop or Microsoft® Excel, can be obtained after completion of a single course.
What is a career and technical student organization (CTSO)?
A CTSO is a career club where students with similar career interests connect, collaborate, and even compete against other schools. DECA (business), Future Farmers of America (agriculture), and HOSA (healthcare) are all examples of a CTSO. Participation in these student-led organizations can help students build teamwork, communications and leadership skills, citizenship, and volunteerism.
How can my student plan for their future career?
Career readiness education allows students to get a jump-start on their careers by exploring interests as early as middle school. Through career-oriented courses, students can discover their interests and develop skills for a specific career pathway or specialization, helping them graduate high school ready to enter college, a career, or both.
When should my student start career planning?
It’s always the right time for students to start exploring passions and discovering paths to careers. Your student can start career-specific electives as early as middle school. They can dive deep into their chosen career field through job shadowing, live, online sessions with industry professionals, and career-oriented camps in areas like coding and STEM.
Why is career exploration important in middle school?
Exploring career pathways in middle school can provide students with the ability to better map out their education journey and make the most out of their time. Early career planning gives you and your student the ability to learn more about their skills and interests to maximize and understand their education and career opportunities so they can graduate high school a few steps closer to their career goal.
Through career readiness education, students are prepared for their career through real-world experience and industry insight. By focusing on career readiness education in high school, your student can graduate one step closer to an industry-recognized certification and develop real-world skills for their life after high school.
What percentage of high school students know what they want to do?
According to the Student Research Foundation, 70% of freshman students are thinking about their career paths. We understand that sometimes those paths change. That’s why it’s important to identify interests, strengths, passions, and future goals to help students map out a career plan. The career readiness curriculum offers career exploration opportunities to help students discover and prepare for their career before it begins.
Health and Human Services FAQs
Does my student need a degree to work in health services?
The degree requirements to work in health services vary. Some jobs, such as those in medical billing, only require the technical skills pertinent to the role, where nursing assistants (CNAs) require a specific certificate. No matter the job function, our career readiness curriculum allows your student to dive deep or simply explore health service skills that they may need after high school.
A college degree is not needed to become a nursing assistant. Instead, Certified Nursing Assistants must complete training and pass a certification exam. Students interested in this pathway can take career-focused electives to learn the skills needed for this job and be prepared to start working after graduation.
Does my student need a degree to be a dental assistant?
To become a dental assistant, students must complete an accredited dental assistant program and pass an exam for certification such as the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA®) certificate. Through a career readiness Dental Assisting pathway, students will be prepared for this exam by learning the technical skills while still in high school.
Information Technology FAQs
Does my student need a degree to work in IT?
Many information technology (IT) careers do not require a college education. Your student can choose an IT career pathway program that teaches them the skills required to work in a specific IT job. Through career-focused electives, your student learns the technical skills that could lead to jobs in such areas as cybersecurity, programming, and game design.
Does my student need a college degree to be a computer programmer?
Most game design careers only require a high school diploma. Instead, game design employers require extensive knowledge and experience within the career and a strong portfolio to demonstrate these skills. Your student can take computer science, programming, and game design courses to build a portfolio and learn the skills required to start a career in game design.
Does my student need a degree to work in cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity careers require a bachelor’s degree. Your student can enroll in electives such as computer science and Security+ courses which will start them on a cybersecurity career journey and prepare them to pursue a relevant degree. By starting this career pathway in high school, your student can get a jump start on their college degree before graduation.
Does my student need a college degree to be a marketing assistant?
Marketing assistant jobs vary in required degrees. Typically, employers prefer a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience for entry-level positions. Marketing assistants support marketing teams in their daily tasks of research, development, and content creation. your student can begin learning these skills as early as their freshman year of high school with opportunities to intern, job shadow, and work on projects that prepare them for a future career in marketing.
Does my student need a degree to be an entrepreneur?
Many entrepreneurs do not have college degrees and often learn through experience. With career readiness education, your student has the opportunity to gain these experiences while completing their high school diploma. Through project-based learning, job shadowing, and internship opportunities, students can begin their career before they graduate high school.