Career Exploration and Education

Choosing a new career to pursue can be a difficult decision to come to, whether it is your first time joining the workforce or you have been working for decades.

There are many options to choose from, most of which you may not even be aware of. Deciding on a career path takes some time and careful thought, and, in many cases, some additional education. Though the thought of a new career and the possibility of more schooling may be overwhelming, exploring the career and education options that are available may help you find opportunities that work for you. Whether you are looking to switch to a different field of work or need ideas on what to do after graduation, learning about your options will allow you to make the best decision for you and your future.

Finding a Career Path

Careers are not something most just fall into. A successful career often comes as a result of years of thought and planning, and the implementation of those plans. While planning for a career may seem difficult or unobtainable, it can be made simple with the right resources such as careerexploration tools.

Finding a career path that will be successful and fulfilling can be tough, especially without some research and self-assessment. Completing a self-assessment, such as an aptitude or personality test, can help you gain an understanding of yourself, the things you may be good at and which fields best suit your personality. Many of these kinds of tests can be found online for free, but asking yourself some questions about your preferences can also be a great way to determine which career path is best for you.

Sometimes, figuring out which career path is the best fit for you is easier said than done. Personality and aptitude test can be great for clarifying certain strengths, but they may not always lead you to a solid decision. In cases like these, seeking career counseling may be your best option. career counselor can help you make sense of the desires you have for your career and give you options to consider.

Once you have narrowed down your options to a select few, conducting informational interviews can help you gather more facts about the fields you are looking into. Informational interviews are informal conferences where you ask questions of someone in your desired field or position. These kinds of interviews allow you get an insider’s perspective on a field or a company within that field and any advice he or she might have to share with you.

Career and Technical Education

Advancing in a career path oftentimes requires having the right skills and work experience before entering the field. Few career paths offer well-paying or high-level jobs to those without an education, certification or on-the-job training experience. However, getting an education does not always mean spending thousands of dollars over the course of 4 years for a degree that offers little hands-on experience.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs can lead to a career that is just as lucrative, if not more, as a career that requires a 4-year college degree. Though most may think that the only path to a successful career is through a college or university, attending a vocationalor career school can lead to a job in an in-demand field, such as nursing, information technology or engineering.

CTE programs are offered at career schools, which are also referred to as vocational, trade or technical schools. These schools provide the hands-on training required to enter a specific work field, as well as any industry certifications or preparation for licensure exams. Many career schools also provide students with job search assistance, which can help streamline the job hunting process after graduation.

Online Career Education

Though attending career school may be beneficial, many may not see it as a viable option due to time constraints or the program availability in local schools. However, getting a career education does not always require showing up to in-person classes at campuses miles away from home. Many career school programs are available online, making it possible to complete a career education program when attending school is not an option.

While not all programs may be available at a particular online school, getting your education online gives you a variety of school choices. Finding a program and a school that fits your needs is as easy as looking at your options and figuring out which school offers a program that takes you where you want to go in your career. If you are interested in advancing your career online, you can learn more about online career education, here.

Paying for Career Education

Career education schools tend to cost much less than a traditional college or university education. However, career education schools still cost quite a bit upfront, which means having to find a way to foot the bill. Like with traditional routes of education, there are many ways to finance a vocational education.

The federal government offers financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA aid comes in the form of grants and scholarships, government subsidized loans and government funds for those who show the most financial need. Grants, scholarships and student loans are also available through private or nonprofit institutions, and may have varied requirements for application.

Job-Based Training

Preparing for a career almost always involves some sort of training. Job-based training is a great way to get your foot in the door of your chosen career, because training on the job allows you to gain hands-on experience while building up your work skills and knowledge.

One form of job-based training that has increasingly gained attention is apprenticeships. Apprenticeship programs offer individuals the opportunity to train for a career in a specific field. While these programs do function as jobs, they also include aspects of traditional schooling, such as a curriculum. Apprentices that complete an apprenticeship successfully not only gain the skills they need, but they also receive a nationally-recognized credential that certifies that they are experienced and qualified in their field.

Internships are another well-known form of job-based training, which offers individuals the opportunity to develop their skills through training and work experience. However, unlike apprenticeships, internships are typically unpaid positions and do not end in a certification of any sort. Despite this, internships are still a great way to get experience in a new field and build up a resume.

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