College Career Center
- West High
- Career Planning
Preparing for a Career after High SchoolPosted by Stephanie Cousin on 6/26/2018 3:00:00 PM
There are several paths that you can take to reach your career goals. There are several ways you can research and prepare for your future in high school.
Getting a solid education is an important foundation for any career. Workers in many occupations use problem-solving, communication, research, and other skills that they first learned in high school. By doing well in classes and taking part in career training or college preparation programs, you demonstrate that you’re ready to put these skills into action.
Plan and achieve. Make sure your high school course plan prepares you for entering the next phase of training or education in your desired career. To enter an electrician apprenticeship, for example, you may need a year of high school algebra. Your school counselor can help you plan your schedule to ensure that you take the required classes.
Employers and postsecondary schools often look to your high school record to gauge how you might perform on the job or in an educational program. And finishing high school shows that you can set goals and follow through. “Starting freshman year, do the absolute best you can in your classes,” says Laura Inscoe, dean of counseling and student services at Wakefield High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Start strong and stay strong.”
But school counselors also say not to worry too much if your grades aren’t as good as you’d like. “School studies open doors if you do well, but they don’t shut doors if you don’t,” says Danaher. “You might just take a different path.”
Career programs. Your high school may offer options for exploring careers while earning credit toward graduation. Some of these options also allow you to earn industry certifications, licensure, or college credit.
Career academies and other types of technical education are available in many schools to provide hands-on career training. Classes in fields such as business and finance, culinary arts, and information technology are designed to prepare you for work or postsecondary school.
College prep. If you know your goal is college, school counselors usually recommend taking the most rigorous academic classes your school offers—and those that you can successfully handle. Doing so helps bolster both your college application credentials and your readiness for college-level study.
Some college-prep programs, such as Advanced Placement and dual enrollment, may help you get a head start on earning a postsecondary degree. Taking classes in these programs may allow you to waive some college course requirements, either by achieving a high score on exams or by completing a course for both high school and college credit.
Admission to college is not based on coursework alone, however. Not all high schools offer advanced academics programs, and not all students take them. You may still have more options than you think, depending on your career goals.