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Career development activities for high school students are appropriate and needed to assist students with career planning (Bloxom, et al., 2008, p. 91). According to Bloxom, et al. (2008), most high school students want resources and support when developing their career plans (91). Unfortunately, many high school students are not receiving much information or support in terms of career guidance.
In a report by de Cos and Salling (2009), school counselors reported that their duty to focus on student promotion and graduation requirements made it difficult for them to provide students with much career guidance (58). Despite a lack of career guidance for many high school students, there are a variety of career development theories that have proven effective in guiding high school students in terms of career education.
Interest inventories and personality profiles are a good way to start high school students thinking about different careers that may match them best. According to de Cos and Salling (2009), most students found the results of these career exploratory tools helpful in giving them an idea of possible careers to explore based on their personality profile (19). Another aspect of career development of high school is to provide students with "job shadowing, mentoring, work experience, or other training opportunities" (59). I'd break up this run-on paragraph by starting a new paragraph.
According to research by de Cos and Salling (2009), high school students "with intensive career exploration and development programs involving hand-on, project based learning activities, together with opportunities to interact with local businesses and industries, exhibited greater awareness of and interest in potential careers in their local regions" (17). This research also showed that these students were more motivated about completing high school and getting more education or training in a specific career field. Hands on learning experiences can provide students with a wealth of knowledge about various careers and give them the ability to make better decisions for their own career path (17).
As high school students select career goals, it is important to honestly tell them what they will need to do to achieve their goals (Rosenbaum, 2010, p. 3). For example, if a student wants to become a medical doctor but is not taking high level math and science classes and is not a hard worker, a conversation about the student's current class selection, work ethic and career goals would help the student in modifying his or her class selection, work ethic, and/or career goals. Individual student planning is very helpful for high school students to monitor and manage career development in high school (Reese, 2010, p. 18).
According to a study by de Cos and Salling (2009), "many students expressed the desire to receive more information from guidance counselors about appropriate high school courses to take to improve future education and career opportunities" (19). In other words, high school students want to know what it will take to achieve their dream job. It is extremely important that counselors are honest with high school students about what it takes to achieve various career goals starting in high school. This way, students can make sure that they are taking the right classes in high school for careers they are interested in exploring upon graduation.
Educational qualifications have a huge impact on "occupational aspirations of teenagers and in predicting occupations they would enter later" (Sharf, 2010, p. 236). However, over the past few decades, "most of society became convinced that a bachelor's degree is necessary to land a good job, and many educators responded by encouraging all students to go to college" (Rosenbaum, et al., 2010, p. 2). The problem with this is that less than half of high school seniors will actually achieve their goal of earning a bachelor's degree (3). Rather than push all students towards a 4-year degree college, it is important to fully inform high school students of different career paths and the educational qualifications needed for various careers (3).
A bachelor's degree will open the doors to certain careers (e.g., teacher, nurse), but not all careers (e.g., mechanic, chef). According to Rosenbaum, et al. (2010), it is crucial to inform high school students about various trainings, certifications, and applied associate's degrees which can give them the specific skills needed for a wide range of desirable careers varying from plumbing to dental hygiene to computer networking (13).
A final important aspect of career development for high school students is parental involvement. In a study conducted by Bloxom, et al. (2008), 12th grade students reported that they were most comfortable in turning towards their parents for career planning help (with school counselors being second) (93). Thus, it is beneficial for students to get parents involved in their career development by keeping parents updated on career development resources and to offer parents "training on how to take an active and informed role in their children's career education (93).
In conclusion, the career development of high school students is an important process for all students to go through, regardless of academic abilities or interests. A well developed high school career guidance program includes many different components. Personality and interest inventories help students understand more about themselves and possible careers that match their personality and interests. Career fairs, job shadowing, or mentorships help students learn more about careers by allowing them to interact with individuals in careers that interest them. I'd break up this run-on paragraph by starting a new paragraph.
Finally, individual student career planning, with some parental involvement, informs students about the educational requirements and training needed for different careers and honestly discusses how realistic students' career goals are. There is a great need for improved career development programs in many high schools. This improvement will begin with current and future counselors and educators dedicated to improving the career development of their high school students.