While your traditional high school classes (like English, math, science, etc.) are a great way to get a taste of different areas of study, they don't always help you narrow down a specific career field that you wish to pursue upon graduation. Students who excel in math could thrive being anything from an accountant to a rocket scientist. These days, simply knowing that you like math is not enough. So, what options do we have in taking advantage of early career exploration before it becomes expensive?
1. Career Readiness Education
If you want high school to prepare you for a career, you may want to explore career readiness education (CRE). If you go to a CRE high school, your electives will be dedicated to career-focused courses and learning practical skills in a career field that you are interested in. By the time you graduate, you will have a plan for success after high school—whether it's college or in the workplace!
While the movies show interns making coffee and picking up dry cleaning, most internships are dynamic learning experiences that can help you learn a lot about a career field. Regardless of the size or prestige of a company, real-world experience in your area of interest will look great on your resume and help you understand a career field!
3. Job Shadowing
Seeing a Day-in-the-Life of a working professional can give you an indication of whether you would enjoy a career and can potentially connect you with a professional mentor. These days, job shadowing can be done both in-person and virtually, so the possibilities are truly endless.
When most people think of research, they think of chemicals and test tubes. However, research isn't reserved for STEM and can be a great way to see how your interests apply in the real world. Participating in a research project, whether in conjunction with a university or through a program for high schoolers, can be a great way to explore career options.
Volunteering in the field you wish to pursue is another excellent way to gain workplace exposure. Whether you'd opt for the fast-paced role of an EMT or you'd prefer the quiet of doing clerical work in a law office, there are tons of volunteer opportunities that will help you get a better sense of your desired career field.
In the world of COVID-19, there's no doubt that working from home is the new normal. However, most traditional high school jobs don't lend themselves well to a virtual format.