Career descriptions for teens can be a helpful resource as you plan for the future.
Finding Career Descriptions for Teens
Occupational Outlook Handbook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the most comprehensive sources of career descriptions available. These descriptions weren't created with casual reading in mind, so they can be a bit dry and statistic-filled. However, they're also thorough and give you a great overview of the work. Learn what training is necessary, what workers do on the job, the conditions in which they do that work, and average salaries. Links to related organizations can put you in touch with even more information on your potential career fields.
CollegeBoard.com offers extensive profiles of college majors and careers. Career profiles briefly describe each job, including tasks you might be asked to do and skills you should bring to the table. They also provide a few suggestions to "make high school count" like improving speaking and writing skills in English class. The site also describes the future prospect for job growth in the field and average earnings. You can find everything from aquaculturists to ship engineers, divided into 25 broad categories.
Workers in the Field
When you're looking for information on a particular job, consider going straight to the source - someone who works in that field every day. Contact a person doing a job in which you're interested and ask if he or she would be willing to take part in an informational interview. For an even more in-depth look at the day-to-day tasks involved in the position, ask if your interview subject will let you take part in a job shadowing experience.
The Benefits of Career Descriptions
Career descriptions help you learn what kind of training and education is necessary to do the job. Will you need a B.A. to get started, can you receive certification from a community college program, or does the field require an apprenticeship? Even for high school students, it's not too early to think about how your current classes can help you prepare for a future job. You may want to sign up for an advanced math class, an elective science class, or a writing-intensive course, depending on your plans. You may also be able to sign up for a related work-study or career training program during your junior or senior years. Having a career goal can improve your motivation and achievement in the classroom when you see the purpose behind the homework you're doing.
Determining a potential career can also influence your college decision. If you're interested in becoming a chemist, then you'll want to make sure your future college has state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, while a future teacher would be more interested in attending a school with a highly-ranked college of education. You certainly don't have to commit to a career during your teen years, but a little thought can help keep your options open and prepare you for the future.