Selecting a career while you are in high school can be intimidating . Especially when there are so many options available to you, with so many paths to explore. Finding the right career is about asking yourself, and the people around you, the right questions. Here’s a list of questions to consider while considering your next steps out of high school.
What are my interests?
What are the things that you like? What topics and classes in school attract your attention? Maybe you’re big on cars and would love to be a mechanic. Or you enjoy helping others learn like your teachers. Whatever your interests, now is the time to really think about the things you like and don’t like and do some research. Focus on what interests you, then explore what careers are available and what skills you need to get there. If you’re really into music and would love to start a band, what other careers are available to work with bands? If you run into obstacles, the best advice is to start with an interest you want to pursue and then go from there.
How much demand is there for this career?
Once you have narrowed down the career you are seeking, explore how widespread is the demand for the work. Demand for a career refers to how much room there is for new people to enter that career at any one time. In other words, it’s how badly the job market needs people interested in pursuing that career. Some careers, like science, computers or technology, are in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. If your career is in high demand then that means there are lots of spots open for you to claim. If your career is in moderate or low demand then it may be harder to break into that field.
What are the salary and benefits of this career?
This is important to understand as you are working to discover what it takes to break into a career. Should you pursue what you love for possibly less income? Or find a better opportunity with more stable job options in the same field? Money is certainly not everything. But you do need to consider the benefits your career offers over the long term. The good news is you’re in control when it comes to the type of life you want to live.
What education do I need for this career?
The education you require depends on your career path. If you want to be a doctor, you’re going to need more education than you would if you wanted to be an HVAC technician. Don’t let extra school or requirements intimidate you. If you really love animals but don’t want to go to school for eight years to become a veterinarian, research what other careers work with animals. You may discover there’s another way you can help. Veterinarians need assistants and other people to help them do their job. Don’t let education get in the way of your interests; there are always other opportunities to work in the field you are interested in.
Where do I go for my education?
Start by looking at the top schools for the course of study you’re interested in. The school you choose should be a good fit for you in terms of price, reputation, location, and campus culture. Compare the schools on your list across those areas. If they are local, you can schedule visits to tour the campus. Remember, your choice in education is a personal one. A good fit isn’t just about academics. Don’t compare yourself to your classmates, trust your best judgment and any advice from those who love you.
Where will I have to live to have this career?
Not all careers can be found in every part of the country. If you want to be a marine biologist, Ohio is not going to be the best option. You may want to consider working with wildlife in the region, even if it is Lake Erie or the Ohio River. If you like technology, there are many places you can find tech jobs, from Information Technology to computer programming. Most jobs can be found in more than one place so location might not be the first question you think of but make sure you understand where you may or may not be able to live before you charge off to pursue the career of your dreams.
There is no time like now to start thinking about your post-school future. Whether you are looking to go into a trade field or something highly specialized with more schooling, knowing the best path to take can help you make better decisions during high school. Speak with your parents, teachers, and counselors to involve them in the decision and to find out more information about after you graduate.