As a high school student, you may wonder exactly when is the right time to start thinking about your career path. While some students are happy to take life as a high-schooler one day at a time, others are constantly looking towards their future - and often times, their future career. Here are a few suggestions for narrowing down possible career paths, educating yourself, and getting a head start on your career while you are still in high school:
- Do your research. The first step to laying the groundwork for your future career is figuring out exactly what that career is. Keep a list of every career that you might be interested in, and do as much research as you can on those professions. Learn about average salaries, popular locations, and levels of education needed for each career on your list. If you have a clear idea of where you would like to work, or how much time you are willing to commit to education before entering your industry of choice, narrowing down your career options might be easier. Friends and family can be invaluable resources during your research, so ask around to see if anyone you know can provide insight into your potential future career.
- Get hands-on experience. It’s hard to make a decision about your future career without having experience in the field, which is why internships and volunteer work can be incredibly important in helping your decide on a career path. Keep your eyes open for internship and volunteer opportunities related to the careers you would like to pursue. First-hand experience is so important to helping you determine whether you actually like doing the job or not, so get as much of it as you possibly can in the early stages of your career planning.
- Start taking classes. Once you’ve determined your ideal career path, start getting the education required to pursue jobs in that field as soon as possible. If you are a high school student that has already decided on a career path, start taking career-specific courses as early as you can. Some high schools offer career pathway programs to help students get a head start on their career by offering college-level courses alongside a student’s regular high school curriculum. For example, if you are certain that you would like to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician, you might consider a high school program with a pharmacy technician career pathway that will allow you to learn the basics of the pharmaceutical industry while you earn your high school diploma. Be sure to do your research, as some schools will allow you to transfer credits from those courses into related college programs.
So when is the right time to start thinking about your future career path? Right now! Get the jump on your future career by doing your research, gaining hands-on experience, and taking classes that will be helpful and relevant in your career. Want to learn more? Check out these career pathway programs to see exactly what courses are offered to high school students with a specific career path in mind.