The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook is a classic place to begin investigating careers and it is available online. This free guide is a great way to get your teen beginning to consider different careers with a realistic eye. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is easily searchable and for each occupation students will find out the following information:
- the training and education needed
- expected job prospects
- what workers do on the job
- working conditions
Change is Common
Parents should know that it is very common and typical for high school age students to not have a firm idea of their future career path. Many of the students who feel sure may also change their minds in the future. Research suggests that the majority of students entering college will ultimately change their major at least once, often more times. Even though change is common, it still makes sense for families to begin to explore the idea of careers and to help students develop an understanding what they will need to be successful.
Encourage Student Research
Students searching the Occupational Outlook Handbook may also wish to pay special attention to the expected first year earnings and expected median earnings. This may help put into perspective student’s plans regarding financing their education. Many high school and college age students drastically overestimate what their realistic initial earnings will be in their chosen occupation. Other students focus so much on what they plan to make that they don’t pay adequate attention to choosing an occupational they will actually enjoy and excel at.