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As challenging as it is, education is the start of your journey towards being an independent and successful individual. Consequently, the time comes when you have to choose the right career path. The truth is, this can be very challenging, especially when you have to juggle school as well. However, it is possible to be in high school and career ready.

Granted, your high school years are part of the most formative years of your life. It plays a huge role in helping you decide on the career you want to embrace when you’re older. There are lots of instances when students already know what they want to do by the time they’re graduating – but some aren’t so lucky.

Why Should Students Start Thinking About Careers While They’re Still in High School?

Although choosing your career path may seem challenging, it’s not. It only requires careful thinking and planning. Remember that this decision will affect you for the rest of your life in terms of your income, way of living, job satisfaction, and more. Thus, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Well, you can always change career paths later on in life, but the process is very challenging and will still depend on the choices you make now.

The fact of the matter is that this is the best time to be thinking about the future. If you already have an idea of what you would want to do, you can go on to choose the appropriate classes and schools to further your education and start working towards your goals early on. But while you’re still young and exploring new ideas and thoughts, it’s the best time to decide on your future and create a smooth and steady path for yourself. So, how can you make the right career choice that ultimately sets you up for success?

A Step by Step Guide on How to Choose a Career While You’re Still in High School

Vector Image of Connections-Career Path

While there are many tips to help you choose a career path, here are a few essential steps to get you started.

1. Create a List of Professions

Every high school student has an idea of what they would like to pursue, which is a huge advantage when it comes to making a list of the occupations that interest you.

This list should consist of all the professions, starting from the ones that interested you as a child to the ones you’re interested in right now, regardless of how bizarre they seem.

2. Explore the Professions

Once you’ve created a list, it’s time to do research. Don’t worry; this research is nothing similar to what you do for your term papers, so it should be fun! All you need to do is read engaging articles, get more information about your potential dream career(s), and learn more about the occupations on your list.

Additionally, look for published resources and find the requirements of the careers you’ve listed. Read what other people are saying about the jobs you are interested in. Consider whether you’ll require to receive a college degree to improve your marketability in that field and so on. You don’t have to get your final career choice from this research, but only narrow down on your options.

3. Self-evaluation

The final decision about your career choice should be based on you, your interests, hobbies, personality, and preferences.

To ensure that you choose a career that is right for you, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

Where you see yourself dramatically determines what you want to do. For instance, do you see yourself in an office or travelling around the world? Would you like to pursue a career in law or athletics? Perhaps you want a flexible schedule as a freelancer?

Generally, you need to think about all these factors and come up with answers to these questions, among others. Doing this will enable you to eliminate some of the choices that you’ve simply grown out of or don’t resonate with where you see yourself. Moreover, this allows you to stick with the career choices that you want and not those imposed by another person.

2. Do You Need Further Education for Your Career Choice?

In most cases, after choosing your career, the next step involves determining whether you’ll need further education. Are there better opportunities with a college or university degree? Will a college education prepare you for the career?

3. Do You Have the Necessary Skills?

It’s pretty simple really if your dream career is to be a writer, you’ll need advanced writing skills, and if it’s to be a singer, you need a killer voice. All career paths demand a specific skill set.

Thus, regardless of how badly you want a job or think that a particular career is the best for you, having the right skills is a must. And no, not everyone possesses the same set of skills. Nonetheless, you can do a self-assessment and determine whether you have what it takes to pursue your career choice.

4. Do You Enjoy Working With People?

Although communication and collaboration are significant aspects in most careers, some require minimum communication. Typically, whether you enjoy working with people or not all depends on your personality.

In this case, you need to determine whether you’re an introvert or extrovert and pick a career that compliments your character to avoid job dissatisfaction.

Career Path-A Group of People on Vacation-Vacations

5. Is Your Career Choice Financially Maintainable?

Choosing your future career boils down to two critical things, education and finances. Generally, the well-paying jobs demand more training and experience, which realistically may take a lot of time. On the other hand, you can do a short-term course for an average salary.

While making your choice, consider college expenses. Is your career path capable of paying off your college debt if you enrol in a college program? Will receiving further education improve your career opportunities? When answering these questions, do take your time to come to the right decision.

4. Make a Shortlist

Now, after you’ve gone through all the steps above, it’s time to narrow down further. Look at the career choices on your list and, again, eliminate more based on what you’ve learned from your research. The goal is to end up with about five to ten occupations.

Once you have this list, you can do the final round of eliminations. At this point, you should be ready to answer “how to choose a career? And make the final choice. Remember to select the occupation that brings you the most satisfaction, is within your skillset, and matches your future objectives.

5. Make a Career Plan

Well, different careers require a set of specific skills, talents, and qualifications.

By the time you make the final decision, you’ll already be aware of the requirements of your career path. At this stage, you should have a career plan to help you achieve your goals and get in your dream career path. Besides this step by step guide, read on for more tips to help make your career plan a success.

How Can I Decide on a Career Path While I’m Still in High School?

One of the best things you could do to choose a career path is to develop and explore your interests. If you aren’t interested in a specific career option, then it’s not for you.

Find something that you love to do because there’s almost always a career path for our hobbies. If you love to cook, the culinary arts waits for you. If you love to write, you could go on to become a leading journalist in your city. The options are limitless, but make sure that you consider something that you enjoy.

As cliché as it may sound, make sure that you give importance to education. Many take advantage of their access to education and don’t use it in the right ways. Learning constantly helps you grow as an individual, and will eventually benefit you in the long run. Never pass on the opportunity to learn new things. Look at them as a way of growing and educating yourself.

Talking to a professional in the field that you’re considering would be extremely beneficial as well. By doing so, you’ll be able to learn about the experiences they’ve had in this industry and you would be able to decide for yourself whether this is the path you want to pursue.

Internships and volunteer opportunities are a great way to discover unconventional jobs and the world around you. If you love animals, you could volunteer at your local shelter and see if that sparks a passion in you that you didn’t even know you had. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should not have realistic expectations. Not every hobby can turn into a successful career and it’s always best to be realistic about what you choose to do.  

It’s important to remember that while you might find something that you love, those things might change in the future. It’s helpful to think of a few possible career options in case this does happen; always have a back-up plan. Keep in mind that everything changes. If you do choose a career and end up unhappy, it will never be too late to try out something new so you must start planning now and think of other professions you would like to possibly take on.

We’re constantly evolving and changing as human beings and it’s understandable if our passions and interests change along with us. You will always be able to control the way your path goes – you are in charge of your future and happiness.

Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and try activities you usually wouldn’t. Learn about a topic that you wouldn’t otherwise choose first. Exposing yourselves to the different activities and experiences that the world has to offer is vital and will help you learn new skills in life and allow them to gain knowledge outside the classroom.

Don’t focus on the opinions of other people. Some individuals will put down their choices, but it’s important to stay true to who you are. If you choose a path that you truly believe in, then stick to it. The world is full of Debbie Downers and if you let them get to you, you’ll find it hard to be happy.

Don’t let someone else choose a career for you. While parents may know best sometimes, they don’t know you as well as you do. If your parent or guardian tries to pressure you into a specific career but you know that it’s something you won’t enjoy, then it’s not a career that you should pursue. If you end up at a job that you don’t necessarily like or one that you wanted, you won’t learn and you won’t be motivated to be the best you can be. To be successful in your career, it takes wanting to be successful. You will never excel or even want to do a good job if you are unhappy with your profession.

Ask relevant organizations if you can shadow a professional. Shadowing someone in the field you’re interested in will give you a clear idea of what the day-to-day responsibilities will look like if you were to take on that role in the future. This is a good way of learning whether or not you might like or enjoy the job, and will give you a clear understanding of whether you think you would be able to handle the work.

One last piece of advice is to never be afraid to ask for help. There are teachers, career professionals, and counsellors who are trained to help you plan out your life. Sometimes we all need a bit of guidance and a push to learn more about ourselves and discover newer opportunities. Asking for help will never make you weak!


Written By
Fazreen Razeek from Edarabia.com has served the education industry for over 5 years. He collaborates and works alongside education-marketing agencies, event organizers,  and educational Institutions ranging from nurseries, schools, and universities to develop and execute their marketing strategies. He is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications. 

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