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Career Exploration for High School Students

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Career Education for High School Students

High school students need help understanding what they will face when they graduate and they need the confidence to explore the world outside of the school walls.

When I was a high school junior, my guidance counselor told me that I would never get into college because I was not a strong math student. Talk about a buzz kill, well I was determined to prove him wrong!

20 years later, I have 2 Master’s Degrees, an online curriculum business, and taught for 15 years in grades 7-12. I was lucky to have supportive parents but that comment that he made has stuck with me.

As I tell my own daughters, your life will take twists and turns. What you may be interested in now may change. In fact:

About 80% of students in college end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Career exploration high school activities:

career exploration for high school students

1- Our students love playing this career exploration activity. It is a fact or fiction game that gets them thinking about different careers and the workforce.

2- An interest inventory- Another way to get students thinking about future careers is to do an interest inventory. This CTE careers cluster student inventory is a great start to helping students begin to think about their strengths and interests. It also describes the 16 Career Clusters.

3- Bell Ringers- I am a huge fan of bell ringer journals for classroom management in high school and we use the Career Exploration Bell Ringer Journal at the beginning of each class to help our students think about career exploration. Not only do they get your students thinking about career exploration, but they can create a great classroom routine that helps you and them.

career exploration for high school students bell ringer journal

One teacher says about this journal…. “I love it!! The students love it as well! One student said, ” This is my Journal.” It is a part of their thoughts and dreams!”

4- Have community members come into the classroom and discuss their careers. This is another great way to help students understand the opportunities available to them after graduation. Bringing into the classroom an engineer, a health care professional, a police officer, a computer technician, a business owner, an electrician, and more can help to educate the kids about the workforce.

As a teacher, I always knew what I wanted to be, but that is not the case for many teens. They need help understanding their strengths and skills and direction toward future goals. What a fun position to be in to help them with these significant life choices!

Homeschool Career Exploration Ideas

Even a homeschool curriculum should naturally include career exploration lessons. Homeschool students in some ways may have more opportunities to explore outside careers as they are not confined to the brick-and-mortar classroom.

This blog post by the Organized Homeschooler includes some great homeschool career exploration activities.

5- Have students create a slideshow describing different careers and job options. They can include the requirements, the salary, the post-high school pathway, and more! You can even have them present to the class so students can learn many job options. You can even have students participate in a Gallery Walk and have them gather information from one another about the careers. This gets them moving and talking.

If you would like to help gear your students toward a degree such as culinary arts, we have a full curriculum that can help them get started. Read about your options in our blog post.

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