Monday, March 16

Choosing Career-Based Electives in High School

Choosing electives for high school can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.  If it’s a class outside of the core curriculum (required courses for graduation), then it’s an elective class.  What do colleges want to see?  What does your child really need?  And how do you know what to pick...?

Electives can be a good way to make high school fun, to bring some moments of levity to a day crowded with the intense courses found in these upper grades, particularly in a college prep scenario.  What is your child interested in?  Which hobbies does s/he gravitate toward?  Are there any career interests yet?  This is a good way to let colleges know more about your student, as they see which electives made the cut and ended up on the transcript.

If your student doesn’t know what they want to take and / or doesn’t have a field of interest for a possible future career yet, it might be time to check out a Career Exploration course.  The Career Clusters Student Interest Survey is an inventory that helps narrow down your child’s field of interest based on preferences, hobbies, and skills.  It takes about fifteen minutes to complete and then shows the top three fields of interest for possible careers.  This metric includes sixteen different ’career clusters,’ including jobs ranging from entry-level to professional, and is a great way to determine elective choice!

Great places for finding elective materials include Christian Light, SchoolhouseTeachers (which has 350+ courses), Udemy, or creating your own (this last option takes a lot more teacher-planning).  Our favorite source is SchoolhouseTeachers just because of the sheer number of courses offered.  With the same membership we get our core curriculum (for the entire family!), we also get electives for everyone, including Intro to Guitar, another music, one art, two art, list three ore electives here....   One price covers the whole family for everything that’s there now plus everything that’s added in the future...no extra fees or books, it’s all included for preschool to graduation!

If you have the opportunity, it will benefit your student to take elective choices aligning with his or her career interests.  This will help with determining if that is a good fit (it’s better to find this out in high school than once you’ve paid for that college training!), and will give them some introductory level knowledge, which can be a leg up in the job market.

Once you’ve taken the Career Clusters Student Interest Survey and have results in hand, look at the top three clusters.  Find them below to see which careers and elective choices would be a great fit!  Get a printable copy of the table here.


1
Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

This cluster is for anyone interested in the production, management, and consumption of food and the world of natural resources. The career pathways in this cluster include biotechnology, agribusiness, environmental service, animal systems, plant systems, and food products and processing, among many others.

Students interested in this field might enjoy working outdoors and being physically active.  They may also exhibit interest in nature, taking care of pets, the environment and ecology, and gardening.



Potential Careers
·         Ag Science Teacher
·         Veterinarian
·         Biochemist
·         Food Inspector
·         Meat Processor
·         Cartographer
·         Landscaper
·         Farmer / Rancher
·         Greenhouse Worker

Possible Electives
·         Botany
·         Animal Science
·         Whole Foods Cooking
·         Homesteading
2
Architecture and Construction

The three career pathways in this cluster are construction, design and pre-construction, and maintenance and operations.

Students interested in this field might enjoy working with their hands, demonstrate curiosity about structures and design, like using tools, have an aptitude for math and science, like solving or analyzing problems, or enjoy building things. 





Potential Careers
·         Architect
·         Engineer
·         Electrician
·         Plumber
·         Carpenter
·         Construction Worker
·         Elevator Installer/Repairer

Possible Electives 
·         Architecture
·         Carpentry Apprentice
3
Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications

For the more creative students out there, the careers in this cluster encompass everything artistic! Students might get a degree or start working on the job and then move up the ranks.

Students interested in this field might enjoy drawing, animating, performing musically or on stage, dancing, creating original video or film, sketching, painting, photography, sculpture, or graphic design.
Potential Careers
·         Graphic Artist
·         Costume Designer
·         Art Teacher
·         Newspaper Reporter
·         Photojournalist
·         Museum Curator
·         Musician

Possible Electives
·         Art & History
·         Shakespeare
·         Music Theory
·         Graphic Design
·         Web Game Design 
·         Public Speaking
·         Filmmaking
·         Image Editing and Creation
·         Photography

4
Business Management and Administration

Every team needs a good captain, and a career in business and administration includes planning, organizing, and directing for productive business operations.

Students interested in this field might enjoy running a small business, developing web pages, managing financial accounts, preparing reports, analyzing data, or organizing events or fundraisers..
Potential Careers
·         Accountant
·         Financial Manager
·         Company Executive
·         Office Manager
·         Human Resources Specialist
·         Bookkeeper
·         Receptionist
·         Entrepreneur

Possible Electives
·         Starting a Microbusiness
·         Economics
·         Business Plan Creation
·         Accounting
·         Leadership
·         Financial Literacy
·         Public Speaking

5
Education and Training

A job in the education field often comes with less short-term reward, but more long-term reward as this position impacts other.  It includes planning and providing education services and related learning support services.

Students interested in this field might enjoy babysitting, tutoring, creating lesson plans or units, attending summer camps, creating crafts, playing educational games, or coaching youth sports. 
Potential Careers
·         School Counselor
·         Teacher or Teacher’s Aide
·         Social Worker
·         Coach
·         Day Care Center Director
·         Librarian
·         School Administrator

Possible Electives
·         Teaching Reading Through Play
·         College Choice Guidance

6
Finance

This career requires a solid understanding of mathematical applications, and may also include banking, insurance, and business financial management.

Students interested in this field might enjoy investing money, budgeting, using spreadsheets, balancing an account, being a club treasurer, organizing a fundraiser, playing a mock stock market game, or studying investments and the stock market.   
Potential Careers
·         Auditor
·         Appraiser
·         Banker
·         Loan Officer
·         Securities Trader
·         Financial Advisor
·         Accountant
·         Claims Adjuster

Possible Electives
·         Financial Literacy
·         Money 101
·         Economics
·         Starting a Microbusiness


7
Government and Public Administration

Some of these careers are military-based, whereas others deal with the government and serving the country.  Tasks may include national security, foreign service, regulation and inspection, or management and administration at the local, state, and federal levels.

Students interested in this field might enjoy volunteering as a government page, participating in a political campaign, researching and writing grants, learning a foreign language, making speeches, or running for club office.
Potential Careers
·         National Security (FBI, NSA, Armed Forces)
·         Border Inspector
·         City Manager / Planner
·         Congressional Aide
·         Elected Official
·         State Department Official
·         Political Campaign Manager

Possible Electives
·         Accounting
·         Economics
·         Mock Trial
·         Public Speaking
·         Statistics

8
Health Sciences

The fastest-growing of the clusters, these jobs are located everywhere.  Tasks include planning, managing, and providing therapeutic services, diagnostic services, support services, and research and development.

Students interested in this field might enjoy learning First Aid or CPR, volunteering at a nursing home or hospice care center, learning how the body works, or watching medical-themed shows.
Potential Careers
·         Dietician
·         Athletic Trainer
·         Pharmacist
·         Nurse or Physician
·         Radiology Technician
·         Dentist
·         Rehabilitation Therapist
·         Dentist
·         Medical Research

Possible Electives
·         Music 
·         Art & History
·         Music Theory
·         Friendly Anatomy
·         Whole Foods Cooking

9
Hospitality and Tourism

Someone who always knows the best places to visit, the most delicious restaurants, or what’s going on locally this weekend may enjoy the management, marketing, and operations of restaurants and other food services, lodging, attractions, recreation events, and travel related services.

Students interested in this field might enjoy traveling, learning about other cultures, learning a foreign language, planning a vacation, cooking and baking, participating in recreational activities, lifeguarding, or helping others to have an enjoyable time.
Potential Careers
·         Camp Counselor
·         Travel Agent
·         Hotel Manager
·         Chef/Baker/Server/Cook
·         Translator
·         Cruise Ship Director
·         National or State Park Ranger

Possible Electives
·         Foreign Language
·         Whole Foods Cooking
·         World Cultures

10
Human Services

This is a good fit for those individuals who like helping others and meeting the needs of all.  Tasks include counseling, caretaking, and assisting individuals in basic human needs and mental health issues.

Students interested in this field might enjoy helping others with problems, listening to friends in need, working with the elderly and inform, volunteering, collecting and delivering items to people in need, or serving at a homeless shelter.  
Potential Careers
·         Childcare worker
·         Sociologist
·         Counselor (various types)
·         Psychologist
·         Funeral Director
·         Clergy/Pastor
·         Social Worker

Possible Electives
·         Teaching Reading Through Play
·         So You Want to be a Pastor?
·         Social Justice

11
IT Information Technology 

An up and coming career cluster, this sector requires continuous learning to stay focused on the current trends in design, development, support, and management of hardware, software, multimedia and systems integration services.

Students interested in this field might enjoy playing video games, designing video games, computer programming, assembling computer parts, web site development, analyzing data or information, or creating apps.   
Potential Careers
·         Computer Engineer
·         Animator
·         Database Administrator
·         Network Systems Analyst
·         Web Administrator
·         Computer Programmer
·         IT Security Specialist

Possible Electives
·         Digital Art for Small Business
·         Graphic Design
·         Web Game Design  

12
Public Safety, Corrections, and Security

Tasks in the security cluster include planning and providing legal, public safety, protective services, and homeland security.  This may include law enforcement, legal services, or emergency services.

Students interested in this field might enjoy mystery books or movies, following court cases in the news, listening to police scanners, volunteering with search and rescue efforts, or participating in military organizations. 
Potential Careers
·         Lawyer
·         Corrections Officer
·         Court Clerk
·         Police Officer or Detective
·         Firefighter
·         Park Ranger
·         Probation or Parole Officer
·         Armed Forces

Possible Electives
·         Social Justice
·         Mock Trial
·         Military Organizations (ie:  Civil Air Patrol)

13
Manufacturing

This isn’t just about building things, but about improving upon current designs.  Tasks include turning materials into final products, as well as the related technical support, production planning, and engineering of products. 

Students interested in this field might enjoy hands-on projects such as sewing or knitting, building things such from wood and metal, repairing machinery, repairing home appliances and equipment, working with leather goods, operating tools and machinery. 
Potential Careers
·         Machine Operator
·         Inspector
·         Manufacturer
·         Inspector
·         Technical Installer
·         Engineer
·         Laborer

Possible Electives
·         Automotive Maintenance
·          Welder Apprentice

14
Marketing, Sales, and Service

Marketing is important to every industry and sector, whether corporate or non-profit.  Tasks include planning and performing marketing activities, organizing promotional events, and creating designs to bring attention to the product.

Students interested in this field might enjoy giving advice on products they buy, creating review videos for YouTube, selling products for fundraisers, design costumes and everyday clothes, rearranging furniture, or setting up a fashion show.   
Potential Careers
·         Real Estate Agent
·         Marketing Consultant
·         Retail Store Manager or Clerk
·         Customer Service Agent
·         Interior Designer
·         Fashion Model

Possible Electives
·         Fashions in History
·         Podcasting
·         Starting a Microbusiness
·         Photography

15
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Technological innovation involves planning and providing scientific research and technical service, such as laboratory and testing services.  Sciences, math, engineering, and technological careers also involve research and development.

Students interested in this field might enjoy problem solving, creating new technological designs, collecting and identifying rocks or plants, conducting science experiments, watching the weather, or stargazing. 
Potential Careers
·         Architect
·         Biologist
·         Physicist
·         Environmental Scientist
·         Engineer
·         Chemist
·         Technician
·         Computer Hardware Engineer

Possible Electives
·         Military Organizations (ie:  Civil Air Patrol)
·         Statistics
·         Marine Biology
·          Botany
·         Animal Science

16
Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

These types of careers involve managing the movement of people, materials, and goods by road, pipeline, rail, air, and water.  Services addressed include transportation, infrastructure planning, logistics, mobile equipment, and facility management.

Students interested in this field might enjoy working on automobiles, taking transportation such as trains and planes, learning how machines work, fixing all types of machines, or helping someone to move.
Potential Careers
·         Pilot
·         Mechanic
·         Transportation Specialist
·         Baggage Handler
·         Aerospace Technician
·         Urban Planner
·         Engineer
·         Electrician

Possible Electives
·         Automotive Maintenance

1 comment:

  1. I need to do a careers unit with my lad, might help him generate ideas for his own future.

    ReplyDelete