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How to Choose a Career for Jr. High Students

by Susan Rickey

Junior high students have barely crossed into their teen years, but are setting goals for their lives and becoming more responsible for their accomplishments in school. An ACT policy report states that 78 percent of middle school and early high school students have thought about the career path they would like to pursue. These students are preparing to choose their career path in high school and college by working closely with school counselors, teachers and their families. Finding the perfect career includes looking at interests and researching career requirements. Middle school is a perfect time to start this search.

Consult Interest Surveys

Take an interest survey provided by the school counselor. The interest surveys will help see the types of places and careers the student will be most comfortable in. Some people like to work on their own, while others like to meet new people every day. The interest surveys will help students determine the ways they like to work and what they like to work with -- people, animals, words or numbers. Look at the careers the finished survey points toward. The counselor helps the student understand the survey data and can present him with career options that might work for his interests.

Attend a Career Day

Talk to the school counselor about sponsoring a career day at the middle school. Middle schools typically sponsor career days at the school to give students an opportunity to interact with professionals in a variety of careers. Map out some questions for the speakers to help learn more about the careers. Listen to the speaker talk about the daily challenges of her occupation and how she prepared for the career in junior high, high school and college. Students should research the career with the help of their counselor and family to determine if it seems like a good fit.

Find an Outlet

Students that have an idea of their career choice need to find a way to get involved in the career on a more personal basis. For instance, students that like to work with children and who are considering a teaching career might find a volunteer position that involves working with kids (e.g., camp counselors, church Sunday school or babysitting for pay). Or, if they want to become a musician, their focus should be on taking music lessons. The classes the students take in middle school and high school should also be a part of their career path, leading them to higher-level courses in the subjects related to their college degree.

Check It Out

If the middle-school student has an idea of the career path she might follow, she should design a career path with her school counselor and family. The path should be flexible but guide her through middle school, high school and college. If the student changes her mind after researching the career, her family and school counselors should listen and encourage her to reevaluate her options, strengths and interests.

About the Author

Susan Rickey started writing in 1994 with a technology feature article for the "Pioneer Press." She was the writer of the Klamath Forest Alliance newsletter, an environmental organization. Rickey obtained her teaching credential from California State University and acquired her Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

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