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Teens and Career Planning

Career planning may not seem like an important task for a teen, but planning ahead is essential if one hopes to have a long, successful career. Starting early gives you the opportunity to set specific goals and work toward completing those goals. Just because you start planning early does not mean you need to stick with the same career throughout your whole life, but it does give you an edge when it comes to applying for college or finding your first job after high school. There are several things to consider when planning your career path, such as:

  • Academic requirements
  • Job duties
  • Required secondary education
  • Potential salary
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Job availability

Learning the aspects of teen career planning during high school will help you succeed after graduation.

Choosing a Career Path

Teens in high school should start thinking about their career options early. Think about your favorite classes and the things you like to do after school. This can help you choose a career path. If you like to work with animals, you may want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, zoology or marine biology. Someone who prefers crunching numbers and calculating statistics might want to pursue a career in accounting or finance.

The availability of jobs is another important concern when choosing a field. The National Center for Education Statistics says that 348,000 students graduated with business degrees in 2009. If you pick such a saturated field, you may have difficulty finding a job after you graduate from college. You also need to consider the educational requirements for your chosen career. A high school education may not be enough for every industry. Some careers require you to hold a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. Others require special certifications and licenses.

Preparing for a Career

Once you have a career goal in mind, you need to prepare for the future. It is important to take all required courses in high school so you qualify for admission to secondary schools or career training programs. If you have a specific college in mind, find out how many credits of specific courses are required for admission. It is also a good idea to participate in volunteer work during high school, as this can help you narrow down your list of possible future careers. Participating in volunteer work can also keep teens out of trouble and help them learn valuable skills they can use in college or in the workplace.

Benefits of Career Planning

If you make a career choice while you are still in high school, you will save time and money in the long run. Students who do not plan ahead may delay starting college or take extra courses to give themselves time to make up their minds. U.S. News & World Report says that the average annual tuition at a four-year private college is $35,000. If you spend an extra year in school, you may have to take out additional loans or pay extra money out of pocket to cover the cost.

Choosing a career while you are in high school also gives you time to explore your chosen industry. If you find a career that sounds interesting, you can arrange to shadow someone in the field and see what it is really like to have that job. You can also apply for internships related to your desired industry. This will help you build a professional network before you even graduate from high school. Professional contacts are very valuable, especially when you are looking for a job in your field. If you do as much as you can to build a network before you are ready for a job, you will be more likely to succeed.

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