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We are speaking at conferences around the country! See us at:
August 5, 2017: Christian Homeschooling Association—Springfield, IL (Carol Becker)
Don’t miss our informative new eBooks, now available from the HSLDA store!
Develop a Plan for High School is the first in a three-book series by Carol Becker and Diane Kummer, HSLDA High School Consultants. This e-book covers how to choose courses, assign high school credits, evaluate coursework, and improve time management for you and your high school student.
Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript is the second in a three-book series by Carol Becker and Diane Kummer, HSLDA High School Consultants. This e-book covers in-depth details on both recordkeeping and transcripts.
Not able to attend one of Carol or Diane’s high school events? HSLDA’s recorded event High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality features sessions on developing a high school plan, creating transcripts, charting a course for post-high school plans, and more—with lots of encouragement! Purchase it at the HSLDA store.
Guiding Your Teen to Explore Career Possibilities
|Dear Friends,||January 12, 2017|
Most high school students are uncertain when asked “What are your plans after graduation?” Many parents may be just as concerned!
High school lasts four short years, and caring parents want to use that time to ensure that their students are prepared for the next step in life. Thankfully, there are great tools parents can use in their roles as career counselors to help teens discover and explore potential careers.
As the cost of college education rises steadily above the rate of inflation and families shy away from financing college debt, it is crucial for teens to set very clear goals for post-high school training, whether it’s a four-year college, a two-year community college, or appropriate alternatives.
Post-high school options include:
- bachelor’s degree
- associate’s degree or specialized certification
- vocational trade school or apprenticeship program
- entrepreneurial training
We recommend that you explore career aptitude testing and job shadowing within a career development elective to give your teen time to investigate and make wise choices.
Career Aptitude Testing
Unlike career assessment books, which tend to offer general information, career aptitude tests focus more on your student’s skills, abilities, talents, organizational style, and personality. These tests then match the individual student’s interests, skills, abilities, personality traits, goals, and achievements with the most suitable career path.
Our website lists six good career aptitude test providers. Grade 10 or 11 is a great time to invest in this type of testing to help your teen better understand his strengths and see how these can guide him to a vocation.
Your student could take a test like the ASVAB Career Test. Although used by all branches of the military, any student may take the ASVAB. Check with ASVAB to find a testing center in your area. This free test is generally offered twice a year, but testing centers may charge a nominal administrative fee. Co-ops or homeschool groups can contact ASVAB directly (1-800-323-0513) to arrange for an ASVAB representative to administer the test at the co-op or group facility at no charge.
Other companies offer online testing in the privacy of your home. These tests require 45 minutes to an hour to complete. The more thoughtful information your student reveals as he answers the questions, the better information the test can give him. All of these test providers send a multi-page report that assesses personality traits, summarizes important motivational aspects, lists important skill sets, and reports educational requirements for recommended careers. This will help your teen determine what fields could be a good fit.
Career aptitude tests are surprisingly affordable. Several test providers also offer a session with a career specialist. Although this option more than doubles the cost of the service, it may be more helpful for a teen who wants specific, personalized guidance rather than general direction.
Career Development Elective
Now that your student has been armed with a streamlined list of viable careers, he is ready to flex his research muscles. For each of these careers of interest, we recommend that he research the job description, work environment, required training, geographical restrictions, potential earnings, projected growth, and other related information. Because this takes some time, consider designing a semester credit elective for your teen that encompasses career development.
We recommend students check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics because it lists this type of job information. Also, the Department of Labor hosts an apprenticeship website where teens can research opportunities around the country or in their state. Your teen may enjoy watching short career videos on the following websites:
- U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop provides videos in each of its 16 job cluster areas. Be sure to check out the student resources such as What’s My Next Move?, which guides students in the career planning process and includes a free online career interest test.
- The iSeek Careers website, maintained by Minnesota state colleges, offers career resources and features 3–5 minute videos with realistic information on various careers.
Because many careers have various entry levels depending on the applicant’s training, ask your teen to find an entry-level position that requires a minimal level of training at first. For example, a teen interested in computer security could complete a one-year certification in Information System Security and Assurance. This certificate allows him to search for a job in this field. Earning money will help defray the costs of college if he decides to complete his associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree to become a software engineer.
Alternatively, he could pursue another direction with his computer skills after working in the security field for a while. Students who know what they want out of community college or a four-year university are much more focused and motivated. Encouraging your teen to try out various fields is a wise investment of time and capital rather than sending an undecided student to college to spend four or more years finding himself.
Another challenge for homeschooling parents is helping teens understand how the skills and work habits acquired during high school have a direct connection to successful employment after graduation. Job shadowing exposes students to professionals with valuable skills, trained abilities, and subject knowledge. This can help teens connect the dots between finishing high school and completing vocational training or attending college.
Once your teen has narrowed down the list of career options, try to find job shadowing opportunities where he can gain information to determine if an occupation matches his skills, abilities, and disposition. Job shadowing gives teens a more realistic picture of a career—both its merits and its associated skill sets. Take advantage of free time during the summer months or a flexible homeschool schedule during the school year. You may want to schedule one job shadowing experience each year of high school so that your teen has exposure in various career fields.
You can network with your friends, parents of your teen’s friends, church members, neighbors, work associates, or relatives to find people in fields of interest. A personal connection with an employee, employer, or small business can open doors to a job shadowing opportunity. Some large corporations host career days where teens can follow employees for a day to gain a vision for working in a particular field.
Helping your teen determine his next step after high school graduation is an important aspect of homeschooling high school. We encourage you to use these important years to engage teens in career testing, career research, and job shadowing. These tools will help teens choose viable career paths and connect the dots to prepare students for post-high school careers.
Join us next month as we consider award opportunities and honors organizations open to homeschooled teens.
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants