Often, we think that high school students are too young to know what they want to do with their lives.
But it is never too soon to acquaint them with these 7 best steps to help high school students choose a career path.
Granted, they may change their minds a few times before they commit to a decision.
But the sooner high school students start down their career path, the sooner they will find out what they like and what they do not.
This is especially important because their choice is, potentially, what they’ll find themselves doing to make a living in the foreseeable future.
The Best 7 Steps to Help Your High School Student Choose a Career Path
1) Help Them Discover Their Interests and Talents
One of the most crucial things to help high school students choose a career path is making sure it interests them.
If students don’t find a particular profession interesting, there is a higher chance that they will not strive to perform well in their studies when pursuing it.
Moreover, in both their studies and later their careers, this demotivation could lead to negative emotional experiences and a general lack of satisfaction with their lives.
An excellent way to help a student determine their interests is to ask them to make a list of things that they like to search for on the internet.
We sometimes forget that our hobbies can lead to good careers, and most likely, if we are good at something, that talent can morph into a living.
Understanding a student’s learning style can also help narrow down career paths for a high-schooler.
For instance, if you are a more tactile or kinaesthetic individual, you might prefer a career that lets you work with your hands compared to a desk job.
Figuring out what your student wants to pursue as a specialized career that benefits from specific skills can also ensure you choose the right college or training program later in life.
For instance, let’s consider teens interested in pursuing careers in fashion or graphics design.
Applying for a school that specializes in these departments helps them avoid having to go back to school or getting additional training after graduating from college with a different major.
2) Talk with Some Pros
Talking to someone who experienced in a particular field can help your high-schooler know if that profession is something they would like to pursue.
Often, and especially when we are younger, we are prone to have idealistic, rose-colored perceptions of what our dream job is like.
By consulting with experienced people, students can gain an idea of the expectations from the job, the educational route to take, the area in which to reside, and even the salary expectations.
Aside from talking to real people in the industry, there is plenty of information available online about what to expect from a career.
As a parent, you can do this research yourself and share your findings with your child.
You can also seek the help of career counselors at your child’s high-school.
3) Aptitude Tests and Courses
If you are unsure what type of career suits you, or the kind of job you wish to be doing after graduation, take a career aptitude test.
These can help highlight your skillset and pinpoint fields where your potential can shine.
There are also many courses available online that your child can try their hand at, to decide if they have an affinity with a particular subject or skill.
This helps ensure their abilities and interests are compatible with their future major and career path.
Students can also benefit from internships.
Not only do they gain experience in their field, but they will also meet with people who can serve as references for them.
Although high school students may not be able to land a paid internship, the experience that they gain will be priceless.
If you can find an internship that interests them, it won’t seem like work, but just a fun way to spend their time and gain new skills.
This will also help them determine whether the field they’ve chosen to work in aligns with their expectations and if this is something they would like to pursue in the future.
Not only can internships help your student gain references for the future, but they also help them to learn about networking.
Having a position within their chosen field at a young age will put them above their competition.
Internships and work experience weigh positively on their resume when applying for college, as well.
The more accustomed they get to juggling studies and work, the better they will be able to chalk up the relevant years of work experience that many fields often require when hiring for the best positions.
5) Determine Expectations and Plan Ahead
Encourage your high school student to research potential careers.
If they are planning to pursue a career in engineering and realize that they are not very good at math, then now is the time for them to seek help to improve or begin considering other career paths.
This is important so you and your child are aware of the best subjects to focus on and the appropriate majors to choose for college.
Then, they have the specialization and knowledge needed to be a valuable candidate for hire in the desired field.
It is crucial to remind high-schoolers that it pays to become serious about picking a career early on.
Your academic performance in specific subjects can determine whether you get into the right college, which can then give you a head start in launching down the right career path.
If you can prepare your kids early for some of the unpleasant parts of a career, it will also be easier for them to decide if it is something they want to do.
If your student is not willing to do some of the “dirty work” that comes along with a particular job, perhaps they aren’t cut out for it.
However, if they are passionate enough about their chosen career, the rough parts of a job will not be able to deter them from pursuing it.
Supporting and cheerleading your high-schooler on their chosen path gives them the motivation to strike on with confidence.
It’s also important to reassure your child that they don’t have to pick a single career path and stick it to for the rest of their lives.
If they don’t like or enjoy their first job, they are still getting valuable experience, which looks good on their CV, and can help them score their dream career down the line.
6) Visit Career Days
Many colleges and businesses offer career days for potential students and employees.
This would be a good time for high school students to visit these events and get an idea of the many careers up for grabs, some they may not even have considered before.
There is an endless supply of information at job fairs and career days, and most likely, professionals available to give students some first-hand advice.
If your child is a senior in high school, a career day could be extremely beneficial in helping them decide which college to attend.
If a college has a good program that your student finds interesting, it might make a world of difference in their choice of school.
7) Have a Back-Up Plan
Compared to fifty years ago, there are thousands, if not millions, more graduates with qualified degrees in the job market. More, in fact, than there are jobs.
Of course, no one wants to dishearten their children and students or put a damper on their dreams, but it is essential to be realistic.
Being passionate about theatre does not make an easy path to becoming a top-paid A-lister on a Hollywood red carpet or a Broadway star.
As much as it is essential to encourage and support your child’s talents and passions, it is also necessary to remain realistic about the opportunities out there.
Rather than specializing exclusively in one skill, it may be better to have a back-up plan and a back-up plan to your back-up plan to fall back on if necessary.
This does not mean giving up on your dreams – it’s better to have a safety net that can assure you a secure flow of income while you keep striving for your dream job.
Motivating high school students can be challenging.
After all, this is a period marked by many changes.
Your child is discovering and growing into their unique personalities and getting ready, so to speak, to leave the nest.
Ensure that your child has a better sense of direction rather than merely getting carried away by the whirlwind that is college.
It is essential to encourage them to begin thinking about their career options and take steps to accomplish their goals without being too controlling or overbearing.
The best way to help your high schooler get on the right career path is to help them discover their interests and talents, and support them as they grow and develop these interests and talents.
Your student may not come to you for advice, but you can always give them a friendly reminder of how to get going while they are still young.
These are my 7 best steps to help high school students choose a career path.
Did you find these tips helpful?
Which one are you going to work on first?
I’m curious to hear from you!
Dixie Somers is a writer who loves writing about anything to do with business, finance, women’s interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three daughters, who are the inspiration for her writing. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering, and trying to choose an emphasis can visit http://engineering.online.ohio.edu/electrical/ to explore their options and get more information about the industry.
[ Updated : October 2, 2020 ]