It seems as though as soon as children begin speaking they begin getting asked: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. While usually quite entertaining at the younger ages, the question later becomes unwelcomed as it starts to feel daunting. As adults, though, it is easy to understand the plight. The average American changes career paths 5-7 times in their working life. At the college-level, approximately 80% of students change majors during their degree program. Figuring out a career path seems to be an ongoing exploration, but there may be evidence that starting early on the path to career exploration may help cut this figures later in life.
Why is it that the existence of career exploration lessons within schools is so scarce? Perhaps because it isn’t a subject that is easily taught. Sure there are career quizzes and lists of common jobs, but none are personalized enough to allow students to get a good understanding of these careers. The majority take an A+B=C approach, where, for example, if a student likes numbers and working on computers, then they would enjoy being an accountant. Maybe they get accountant, banker or engineer. Still, the hundreds of other jobs are not mentioned, never mind that this student may not only like numbers and working on computers, but they may also love science, the outdoors and motorsports.
Having a higher level of career exploration would be beneficial to middle school students to start helping to guide them on their career paths in a way that suits them. Many students stress over choosing a major for college and many of those who go straight into the workforce after high school get random jobs that don’t help them on their path to a career they really desire. When thoughtful career exploration begins at a young age, it often helps goals be both recognized and then later achieved. Remember, you need to have some idea of a goal (or in this case career path), in order to be able to attain it.
If the idea of tackling a more comprehensive (and individualized) approach to career exploration is unnerving, then consider using a program that does the heavy lifting for you. Enterprise City is a great tool to utilize for exactly this. Not only do students learn the curriculum in class which also covers financial literacy, civics and consumer mathematics, it also not only serves as career exploration, but students have to actually apply for jobs of their choice and then on the day of their field trip they work in their job. This takes career exploration to a whole new level, where students are able to learn hands-on.
Learn more about Enterprise City and happy teaching!