Helping Your Teen Discover a Career Path
While starting a full-time job might be a ways off for your teen, it's never too early to start exploring opportunities. Think about it this way—how many times were you asked about your dream job while you were growing up? How often did your answers change? Are they still changing? When your teen is asked the same question, you know how difficult finding the answer can be. Through career readiness education, K12-powered students are guided through coursework and extracurriculars that help them uncover their calling
The benefits of career exploration are immeasurable. Finding the right line of work takes trial and error. By going through these trials before graduating from high school, your teen can save time (and money). Career exploration is more than seeing what opportunities exist. It's experiencing the profession firsthand to get a real sense of the work. A K12-powered career readiness education puts this experience at the forefront of the curriculum. Through exploration classes, students complete projects and develop technical skills as a way to learn more about a specific job.
A Tale of Two Students
Imagine two students: Student 1 has always dreamed of becoming a doctor, and Student 2 has no clue what they want to do. Together, they take a class called Healthcare Explorations. To start, they are exposed to the vast number of jobs available in the field. They both discover that only four percent of hospital workers are physicians, while the other 96 percent range from administrative positions to medical support staff. As they continue to learn about healthcare as a system, they each find a keen interest in the industry as a whole. Student 1 is still diving deeper into their passion for medicine, while Student 2 has a newfound interest in the field.
Finally, they come to the First Aid unit. Here, they'll learn basic first aid care, such as patching wounds. Student 2 takes to it like a duck to water. Where has this been all their life? Student 1, on the other hand, discovers that the sight of blood makes them squeamish, a disappointing reaction for the aspiring doctor. They move on to a new project centered around disease control, and Student 1 has an "aha" moment. As they learn the biology behind viruses and the math to track spread, Student 1 is reenergized. Now, they can start to imagine a future in medicine that doesn't involve patching wounds. Each student finishes the class with a narrower vision of the future and opportunities to be excited about.
Career Exploration for Middle School Students
Through a K12-powered career readiness education, students can begin taking exploration courses as early as sixth grade. These courses allow students to explore a wide range of occupations, rather than diving into one specific field. In Middle School Career Explorations I, students explore over 15 industries such as architecture or information technology.
Students spend the semester learning to identify their strengths and how they apply to a profession. At the end of the course, students get to choose one to focus on for their final project. Suppose your teen finds their dream job in this course. What's the next step? In Middle School Career Explorations II, students learn to set goals and develop plans that help them achieve their goals. The course teaches students key career planning aspects often overlooked, such as gaining relevant experience for an entry-level job.
Career Exploration for High School Students
Starting career exploration in middle school can help your teen start high school with goals and a vision for their future. Once they reach high school, K12 offers a full-time career readiness education high school program called Destinations Career Academy. At Destinations, your teen can explore positions across five career fields through specific pathway programs. Think of these pathways like college majors. Your teen can take introductory exploration courses for these pathways to find the best fit for them or choose one right away. Destinations offers pathways across the following areas:
- Health and Human Services
- Information Technology (IT)
Each pathway is designed to prepare students for a specific occupation while also developing professional and transferable skills. Combining career-oriented electives with their regular classes, students graduate ready to pursue a career or college degree related to the pathway. These career-oriented classes allow your teen to dive deeper into their interests and potential professions. Using project-based learning, like in the middle school exploratory classes, students gain insight to the major responsibilities of different job types. Through experience, your teen can explore a potential position while also gaining practical skills. For example, students in the Accounting Pathway may create a business budget and learn the associated math skills along the way.
Throughout a K12-powered career readiness education, industry professionals lend their expertise. Each pathway was designed with the advice of real-life professionals and hiring managers. Many teachers have industry experience and can share insights with their students. Beyond the advice of teachers and career counselors, your teen can hear from current industry professionals. Using a platform called Nepris, teachers can facilitate guest speakers for a class. These virtual lectures allow students to ask questions and gain insight into different professions.
Career exploration is more than seeing the opportunities that exist. Through career readiness education powered by K12, your teen can gain hands-on experience and be one step closer to discovering (and pursuing) their dream job.
Learn more about IT Career Readiness Education and K12’s innovative approach to empowering exploration.