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Jobs & Career

Early career planning is essential for achieving success. As a teen, early planning allows for the setting of goals and provides an incentive to begin the work to achieve those goals. Creating a career plan also helps to provide structure for the teen’s life. This structure helps the teen to stay out of trouble, with a decrease in the likelihood of beginning a life of crime.

Setting an early goal doesn’t have to be limiting on a teen. The career goal can change as the teen’s interests change, but the setting and pursuit of the goal will continue to provide both social and economic benefits. While the actual process of planning a career differs according to the career being considered and the individual teen, there are two primary aspects of teen career planning:

  • Setting goals for career planning
  • Advantages of early career planning

Setting Goals for Career Planning

By the time you reach your teen years, you’d probably chosen and discarded dozens of career choices. As a child, changing your mind often about what you want to be when you grow up is a normal part of developing your interests. As a teen, your many interests may have led you towards one or two career paths that you find more interesting than others. These career ideas are far more realistic than the career ideas of your early childhood, being based more on your skills than your immediate interests. This is the best time to begin to plan your career. While making what may be a lifelong commitment to a profession when you are still developing your own ideas about who you are and what you want out of life may seem daunting, there is plenty of support available to aid you in making a career plan. You should take advantage of this support for your planning, even if you decide to change your ultimate career goals at a later date.

Choosing a Career

There’s no set time for how early career planning should begin. However, those who have the greatest success at choosing a career tend to be teens in high school. Likes and dislikes tend to solidify during the formative high school years. This makes choosing a career path far easier because a teen can look at careers based on preferences as well as skills. In addition, high school provides a teen with an expanded network of support in teachers and counselors who can offer insight into any future careers being considered.

The Importance of High School

One of the primary reasons early planning is necessary is because of the effect a teen’s high school education has on that teen’s future career. Many careers require a higher education level than high school, with over 60 percent of jobs requiring at least some college according to the Florida Department of Education. Entry into a school of higher education requires hard work during high school. The teen who plans for one of these careers early can begin to approach that career goal by taking courses during high school that prepare the teen for further education after graduation. This also has the effect of increasing the teen’s high school success rate by resulting in higher grades and more recommendations.

Advantages of Early Career Planning

The greatest advantage of planning for a career early is the increased chance of success for eventually working at that career. Early career planning is about more than work though. There are other advantages that have little to do with a teen’s future job, but can be just as important in the teen’s life, such as:

  • Planning for a future career teaches a teen goal management techniques. These techniques help the teen in all aspects of life where a desired outcome can be achieved through applied effort.
  • Early career planning provides structure in a teen’s life. Additional structure can keep teens out of trouble, helping to prevent destructive activities such as drugs or criminal behavior.
  • Early career planning creates a sense of accomplishment. With intermediate goals to meet while working toward the chosen career, a teen can feel a sense of accomplishment whenever a goal is achieved.
  • Early career planning provides teens with the first step toward adulthood by letting him or her make a decision that can have a positive effect on the rest of that teen’s life. This is especially true for careers requiring higher education. For example, earnings by those with an associate’s degree average $62,475 per year compared to a high school degree holder’s earnings averaging $26,086 a year, according to the Florida Department of Education.

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