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Investigate Careers Questions

How do I choose a career?

First you need to know yourself. Next you need to know the opportunities available and what you need to do to prepare for those opportunities. Then you need information on the programs available that will let you acquire the skills you need to succeed. Information and resources on this website give you a good place to start. High school counselors, college academic advisors, Department of Workforce Services employment counselors, Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, and others can further assist you in making necessary decisions and taking control of your future.

What is "Career Development"?

"Career Development" describes a cycle many people go through as they choose and pursue a career. Because the average American changes careers (not just jobs, but entire career paths) as many as five times during a working lifetime, most people go through the cycle of career development repeatedly.

The cycle begins with taking stock of your current situation and what you want (self-assessment), identifying and evaluating viable options (career exploration), deciding on a course of action and setting goals, preparing for and executing a job search, and managing your career. This last step includes actively taking responsibility for the currency of your skills; keeping tabs on the economic and corporate environments you work in and the trends that are affecting them, and staying tuned to your sense of satisfaction with the course and direction of your work life.

I am not sure what I want to be when I "grow up." Can you suggest any additional career resources?

Yes! A good starting point for you would be

  • contains an Occupational Information category where you can explore occupations.
  • The "Explore Careers" section has career and salary information, assessment guides, and career sites.
  • The "Explore Educational Training" section will help you prepare for a career. If you need to finish a degree or learn new skills, these resources will assist you in finding information on training and available funding.
  • The "Resources" section can help you find career information resources in Utah.

I want to find additional information about my career. Where do I go?

To find out more about specific occupations, go to the "Investigate Careers" section. Select the sub-heading "Explore by Careers" to obtain a profile of the career. Selecting "Career Outlooks and Trends" will provide you with information about careers in Utah and the Nation.

I don't plan to go to college after I graduate. Why should I do any career exploration?

Once upon a time students graduating from high school possessed all the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the world of work. Today, more and more jobs are high-tech or require advanced skills. Most high school programs are unable to teach these advanced skills. Consequently, many students graduating today will not have the communications, computations, and general learning skills needed to succeed in today's world of work. If you are not interested in continuing your education, you can do some career exploration to discover exactly what kinds of jobs you can do with a high school diploma. You may be able to identify some training programs that aren't college-level, but that would give you excellent skills to find a good job and launch a career.

I'm only in 9th grade. Why should I be exploring careers?

Ninth grade may seem a little early for looking into what you'll actually be doing when you grow up, but in reality, you already have interests and likes and dislikes that have been guiding you toward your future occupation. The idea behind early career exploration is that as you become aware of the career areas you might want to pursue, you become more sensitive to the types of skills and knowledge you will need in the future. You might get a better idea of the courses you will need to take in high school. Early career exploration is not a way to restrict your choices - but it can help you focus your choices so you do not have to guess more than you need to.

Why do I need to worry about choosing a career before I get to college?

You will definitely get to choose a career in college. However, many colleges expect students to choose a career major sometime during their first year. With all the changes you will be experiencing during that time - new friends, new school, living more as an adult, tougher classes - it can be pretty hard to make this important decision. Although many colleges allow students to switch career majors, if you have enough information about careers before you enter college, you will be better prepared to make informed educational choices in the first place.

What exactly is Career and Technical Education?

Career and Technical Education provides students with technical training to prepare for a successful career. The structured training each student receives gives him or her the tools needed to be successful in a job after high school and/or furthers his or her post-secondary education, whether technical school, two-year college, or four-year college. Each student is encouraged to explore various areas of study and to develop the skills necessary to feel competent in entering today's competitive job market.

What does "nontraditional employment" mean?

The US Department of Labor defines nontraditional occupations as those in which either women or men comprise less than 25% of the total employed. A vast range of jobs fit under this category.

Do non-traditional jobs really pay more?

About 54% of all working women are employed in low paying support jobs like clerical or retail. However, women who work in non-traditional fields tend to make 20-30% more than those who work in traditional fields.

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Explore Education and Training Questions

What can I do in high school to prepare for college?

Colleges recommend you take rigorous classes in high school. Different colleges may suggest different classes. See USHE admission standards for details on Utah's public colleges' recommendations.

I did not graduate from high school. Now I want to earn my GED. Where do I go?

There are over 20 locations around the state where you can prepare to take the GED. If you are studying to pass the GED tests, you're in good company: in 2001, about 7,120 Utah adults passed the GED.

Can I earn credits toward college while I am in high school?

Concurrent enrollment classes help you earn college and high school credit at the same time. Both Advanced Placement classes in high school and the CLEP tests may earn you credit for introductory college classes (check with a campus advisor on how and when Advanced Placement and CLEP credits count toward college graduation). Talk to your high school counselor about concurrent enrollment and Advanced Placement classes.

What are college entrance requirements? How do I apply for admissions to college?

There are two categories of admissions requirements: open access admissions, which require a high school diploma only, and admissions that require students to meet a certain admissions index calculated from ACT entrance exam scores and high school GPA. Visit Utah Mentor to complete admissions and financial aid forms at the same time.

I've taken classes at one college. Now I want to study at another school. Do I have to start over again?

No. As a general rule, Utah's public colleges and universities accept transfer credit for college-level courses from any other public Utah college as long as minimum grades were earned. Ask for a transfer credit audit to see which credits will count toward your new major.

Does Utah have student exchange programs with other states?

Utah participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program and a graduate exchange program for students interested in veterinary medicine, podiatry, and optometry.

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Find a Job Questions

I want a job with a future. What are the occupations in demand?

In the ever-changing world of work, there are always many occupations in demand in industries that are growing. Look at the complete list.

I have been absent from the workforce for some time. To whom can I turn for advice on entering today's workforce?

The Department of Workforce Services has many resources designed to give you the necessary skills to succeed in a competitive job market. To get started, read the Utah Careers (pdf file), sign up for a skills workshop.

I am interested in a job that requires licensing. What do I need to know?

Licensed professions generally require a licensing fee, some sort of licensing exam, and are governed by a regulating body like the Department of Commerce. Licensed professions also have professional associations to turn to for exam prep and for job referral. Learn more about specific licensed professions.

I want a career in the military. Where can I look?

There are many careers available in the military. Look on this military website for a list of available jobs and to find out which branch of the military interests you most.

Where can I find information about the interview process and how employers decide whom to interview and hire?

The Department of Workforce Services has put together a publication for employers (Adobe pdf document) to help them in the interviewing process. It goes over what to look for in candidates, what kinds of questions to ask, and how to score the answers. It is a great guide to help you see the interview from the employer's perspective.

I'm a person with a disability. To whom can I speak for the best advice on career choices?

Start with Vocational Rehabilitation. Its mission is to assist and empower eligible individuals with disabilities to achieve and maintain meaningful employment.

I have children and need to work. What child care options are available to help me should I decide to enter the workforce?

Utah has six Child Care Resource and Referral centers. These centers offer free parent referral listings, along with valuable resources to child care providers, including start-up support, free and low cost training, and lending libraries.

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