By Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education
We are hearing a lot these days about “career pathways” and the importance of making a “wise choice” when making a decision about which career pathway to follow. Students are being asked to make this choice early in their educational experience. Choosing a career pathway is an important decision and one needs to understand the process of making career choices, but should also realize that choosing a career is not a onetime event. Career management is a life-long skill that develops for most people over many years.
There are many resources available to help in the career pathway choice. UtahFutures.org is a good place to begin. Talking to parents, counselors, and professional contacts will help. The first step is to understand yourself, what you like to do, what your interests are, and what skills and abilities you would like to develop. Taking interest surveys and participating in career development activities can help to better understand what motivates and drives you. Since we will spend countless hours at work, getting satisfaction from performing those duties is important.
There are many career choices available to you. If you are interested in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) area, 16 “career clusters” have been identified. A career cluster is a group of jobs and industries that are related by skills or products. Each of the 16 clusters represents a distinct grouping of occupations, and each cluster is then broken down into individual pathways. The 16 clusters are:
|1. Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources||9. Hospitality & Tourism|
|2. Architecture & Construction||10. Human Services|
|3. Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications||11. Information Technology|
|4. Business Management & Administration||12. Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security|
|5. Education and Training||13. Manufacturing|
|6. Finance||14. Marketing|
|7. Government & Public Administration||15. Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics|
|8. Health Science||16. Transportation, Distribution & Logistics|
In Utah there are 62 CTE career pathways within eight program areas. Each CTE pathway connects to one of the national 16 career clusters.
Knowing what the many career choices are is also an important step in choosing a career pathway. Actively explore a variety of career options as you consider the direction that you want to pursue. If you understand yourself and understand the options that are available to you, the chances of making a great choice are much higher.
In the world that we live in today, education is the key to a successful life. Developing career skills that are in demand by business and industry will mean the chance for a good job leading to a successful career. Individuals that earn certificates and degrees that are in demand will earn more during their lifetime and will have a higher chance of stable employment.
Spend the time now necessary to make a “wise” career choice and you will be rewarded later in life.