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5 Career Exploration Games for High School Students

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High school and middle school students love to play games even though they may not show it, and they need guidance regarding career exploration and exploring career paths. You can incorporate fun activities to help your high schoolers understand their career choices and familiarize themselves with various careers. You may teach life skills, Family and Consumer Science or CTE. Education and are looking for fun career awareness activities. Here is a list of fun games and activities to help your students increase their skill set in this area. 

Career Exploration Activities

This bell ringer journal is an excellent way for students to think about their personality traits, career pathways, information about real-life professionals, and more. Download our free sample here! This free resource comes in both Google and print versions, so you can immediately assign it! You can either assign bell ringer journals with paper in a binder, or you can assign them in Google Classroom. If you use the binders, I left mine in a bin for each period in the classroom and had students hand them out at the beginning of class. You can read more about using high school career exploration bell ringers here

career exploration activities

Career Exploration Interactive Activities

Career Exploration Board Game

This is one of those career games that all students enjoy. All you need is a printer, some game pieces such as dice and objects to move (you can even use pennies), or check out this inexpensive set from Amazon that we use.  Before you have students play the game, you move through the Google slides or PPT of the vital career exploration vocabulary that is included so that they are prepared to play..and win! Then you break students into groups of 4 and give each group the question cards, game directions and record sheet, game pieces, and game board (you can laminate these or put them in reusable dry-erase sleeves). Students play independently, asking each player questions from the pile of cards. Vocabulary covered in the game includes:

  • cover letter
  • transferrable skills
  • resume
  • internship
  • volunteering
  • networking
  • employer and so much more!

Career Exploration Games 

1- Fact or Fiction 

career exploration game

Bell ringer questions act as warm-up activities that ease students into the learning mindset. They can help transition students from social interactions and outside distractions to focus on the subject matter of the class.
This is a great way to get your students guessing and thinking about different careers, including nurses, teachers, farmers, engineers, and many more. With over 30 questions, you can start each class period with this fun high school career exploration activity, use it as a game, and split the class in two. Show the questions one at a time, keep score, and see which team gets the most correct! This is a fun way to introduce them to career options that are out there and get them thinking about salaries and their interests. 

2- Career Exploration BINGO

This career bingo activity has students filling blank BINGO boards with a list of careers and occupations. Teachers then draw from a pile of cards that include descriptions of each profession, and students mark the jobs they put on their boards. This is fun because it not only gives students lists of a variety of jobs but it also includes a description of each. You can have them use the description sheets as a reference or try without. Using no descriptions is a great way to review for an assessment. Students enjoy this activity because it is not on a computer, and they can interact while playing and competing while exploring possible careers. 

A great way to save on making copies is to you dry-erase sleeves with the BINGO boards and have students mark each square as they play with a dry-erase marker. You can have them re-write their boards with new careers to play multiple times or trade boards with a partner! 

Use the list of careers in this free game to make Career Pictionary: Similar to charades, but instead of acting, students draw pictures representing different careers for their peers to guess. This should bring on lots of laughs as students draw and guess career fields. 

3- “Who Am I?” Career Edition: Prepare cards with the names of different professions, one on each card. Tape a card to the back of each student without showing them the profession. Students must ask yes or no questions to determine their careers. If you have a couple of games of Headbands laying around, you can use the headpieces from that and laminate the career cards. Modifying this for elementary students is easy as you can create cards with simple professions such as teacher, doctor, firefighter, etc. This is also a good way to build classroom culture as students are interacting and having a good time. 

4- Workplace Professionalism Digital Escape Room

Students must also understand what is expected of them entering the workforce. That makes this digital escape room a must-have! Students learn about soft skills, how to be professional, how to be reliable, and more in this interactive activity. What is great about this career game is that it is no prep and is self-correcting. It can make a great sub plan for you when you have to be out of the classroom.

It includes links to articles, a short video, and content about work with questions in a Google Form. It includes 8 clues that students move through independently to crack the code! Using an online game is an excellent way to break up class time, as students stay pretty well engaged with them. 

5- Team Building Games

Career readiness is just as much about building healthy relationships as it is about learning about careers. Playing team-building games can be a great way to help students prepare for the workforce when they may have to work with and work for all types of personalities! I love the Paper Bag skits in this career readiness games blog.  You fill paper bags with random household items; examples include:

  • q-tips
  • a cup
  • tissue
  • ribbon
  • coins
  • raisins
  • rubber bands
  • etc.

Students are placed in small groups or choose groups and are given a paper bag per group. Give them a certain amount of time, I like to make it very short so they don’t waste time…like 10 minutes to create a skit using all of the items. You can instruct them to choose a skit about specific careers. If you want to make it more specific to a career, put a slip of paper describing a specific career in the bag for them to prepare with. You can sit back and watch the entertaining skits! This activity helps with time management, teamwork skills, flexibility and public speaking/presentation skills. 

More Career Development Activities

Career Aptitude Tests

Every career readiness program should include some career assessment. I like the College Board Career Quiz because it is a legitimate website that young people will more than likely use when they begin to explore higher education. Students move through the questions to find out their likes and dislikes and get a better idea of the potential careers they may be interested in. The more they think about their strengths, the better! This can help them narrow down career decisions and what fields to explore in technical education or college.  

If students are comfortable with it, you can put them in small groups to discuss their findings and share their results. It can be interesting to see what other career options are suggested to their peers. I still remember taking a personality test that helped with career guidance in high school ages ago, and it suggested teaching! Additionally, career aptitude tests are valuable resources for career counselors and advisors. The test results can facilitate more personalized and effective guidance for their clients, helping them explore viable career options.

Financial Literacy Games

Financial literacy is another essential life skill for students as they become more independent. The topic can be super boring, but there are some ways to spice it up and keep students interested. We have a great resource for this, similar to the career exploration board game; the Credit Card Board Game includes a slideshow with vocabulary terms and a game board, game instructions, and everything you need to play except for game pieces. Even though students might not have much money, they must prepare to manage credit. Another financial game is a Writing Checks Board Game. In a world of online transfers and online banking, writing checks is less and less of a “thing” but still necessary.

financial literacy activities

This free financial literacy game is a fun way to introduce the topic to your students. Developing creative ideas to teach essential skills such as financial literacy and career research is tough, but hopefully, these ideas help! Your students may groan at the thought of having to play a game but once they get into it, they will have fun and learn in the process. They may even ask to play again!

Classroom Speakers

Bringing in classroom speakers can be very valuable for students to learn about different jobs available to people they can talk to, as well as different ways people make a living. You can have your students prepare questions before the questioning that help them understand the role of the job, the natural skills necessary, and the type of career it is. You can tell students all about a job, but until they meet a real person, students won’t be sure if the career path is a good fit. It also helps establish role models for teens to look up to as they explore their interests and futures. Listening to speakers and engaging in question-and-answer sessions can help students improve their communication and interpersonal skills. It encourages active participation and enhances their ability to interact with professionals in a formal setting.

high school career exploration

Hearing from professionals can prompt students to think more seriously about their future career goals. It can motivate them to develop plans and set clear objectives to achieve their desired career outcomes. This exposure can help broaden their horizons and introduce them to various professional paths they might not have considered before.

Job Shadowing: Organize opportunities for students to shadow professionals in their workplaces for a day. This hands-on experience provides firsthand insights into various careers and gives your students a break from the walls of the classroom. It also allows them to see the work culture in various settings which can be much different than school! Students have the opportunity to see what the day in the life of someone in that specific profession is like and see if it interests them at all. It can also be a great connection for the future for the teens and who knows, it may end up being their dream job!

A career panel typically includes professionals from various industries and backgrounds. Having a diverse group of panelists offers students exposure to a wide range of career options and perspectives. This exposure can help students explore different paths they may not have considered before.

Career Fairs: 

Organize career fairs where students interact with representatives from various industries, colleges, and vocational programs. You can even have students create a mock career fair in which they have their own booths in which they research about a career and present as students rotate. Career Panels: Invite professionals from different industries to participate in career panels where they can share their career journeys and answer students’ questions. 

Career Research Projects:

Assign students to research and create presentations or reports about different careers. Have students put the careers on posters and use them as classroom decor. You can even incorporate a gallery walk activity in which students gather information from the posters and fill in a pre-made worksheet. This activity promotes independent learning and information gathering.

Volunteer Work Research Project:

Volunteering is one important step necessary for college and job applications; many students are unaware of what is available. Have students find volunteer opportunities in your community or the school district and even online, and present the information they found to the rest of the class. This could help them connect with volunteer work and local businesses and explore their options for post-high school careers. Your school counselor can be a good first point of contact for organizing a project like this. 

In conclusion, career exploration games and activities such as board games and research assignments for high school students offer a myriad of benefits that extend far beyond the classroom. By actively engaging in these immersive experiences, students gain valuable insights into various career opportunities and develop essential skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication. These activities foster a deeper understanding of different career paths and empower students to envision a meaningful career in a particular field that aligns with their passions and strengths.

Through these hands-on career activities, students get a taste of the real world, allowing them to make informed decisions about their educational pursuits and future professions. By exploring diverse industries and professions, they can identify the best way to achieve their aspirations and embark on a fulfilling journey that resonates with their interests.

Furthermore, these career exploration games and activities emphasize the significance of hard work and determination in achieving one’s goals. Students recognize that building a successful career involves continuous learning, adaptability, and perseverance. Whether they choose to pursue a traditional career path or embrace entrepreneurship, the exposure gained through these activities equips them with the confidence to face challenges head-on.

high school career exploration
Flat design modern vector illustration concept for higher school, university, online education, e-learning, e-book, business studying, training, webinar with tablet, clock, calculator, academic cap, book, globe, apple and loupe – eps 10

By providing high school students with opportunities for career exploration, we not only nurture their intellectual curiosity but also instill the value of purpose-driven decision-making. By encouraging critical thinking and self-reflection, these activities prompt students to explore their passions, values, and long-term aspirations. As a result, they can make well-informed choices that align with their unique talents and aspirations, leading to a more fulfilling and rewarding professional journey.

Investing in career exploration games and activities for high school students is a good idea because it lays the foundation for a future where young minds are equipped to embrace meaningful careers that resonate with their passions and interests. By cultivating a culture of curiosity, self-discovery, and hard work, we foster a generation of empowered individuals who are well-prepared to shape their destinies and contribute meaningfully to society. So, let us continue to champion these transformative experiences, for they are the stepping stones that guide our students toward a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.

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