Lesson Introduction

Career Development Process

Career Awareness Stage

Career Awareness includes career fairs, classroom visits by working professionals, and career cluster/pathway introduction
Even before starting school, children begin formulating attitudes towards work and possible careers based on interactions with family and friends. They also will have begun developing specific interests and abilities.

In school, students learn about the world of work, assess their interests and skills, and discover a wide range of career options they may not have known existed. Teachers can invite guest speakers to the classroom or schools may hold career fairs to help students develop career awareness. Students can also learn about career clusters and pathways offered in Texas schools.

In Texas, there are two courses at the middle school level designed to help students develop an awareness of possible careers within a chosen career pathway:

Click each course title below to learn more.

Career Exploration Stage

Career Exploration includes informational interviews, company tours, videos, job shadowing, and mentoring.
The second stage of career development is career exploration. As students begin to narrow career interests within a career pathway, they can explore these careers more in depth. In this stage, students gain more understanding of the careers and what it takes to be successful in them.

During the career exploration stage, students may interview professionals in careers they are interested in as part of class projects or visit companies to learn more about different opportunities. Students may also view videos to learn more about their fields of interest and what those careers entail. They may also participate in job shadowing or mentoring opportunities.

Career Exploration – Job Shadowing

Manufacturing worker demonstrating use of automation equipment to a student
Job shadowing is where a student follows a worker throughout the day—like a shadow. By observing the worker in their work environment, the student can gain a better understanding of the job and career path.

Job shadows are usually for a couple hours or up to a couple days. The student is not paid and does not perform any work during the experience. To be an effective learning experience, the person the student is shadowing must be a competent worker who models the characteristics of a good employee.

Career Exploration – Mentoring

Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship between an experienced professional and a less experienced person or a student. In this relationship, the mentor guides the mentee (or protégé) with the goal of helping the mentee create a path to or reach professional goals.

The mentoring relationship usually lasts for an extended period of time which could range from several months to several years.

Career Preparation Stage

Career Preparation includes internships, apprenticeships, and Work-Based Learning

Career preparation is the stage in which students gain the knowledge and skills for their career pathway. In this third stage of career development, they get hands-on experience often participating in work-based learning (WBL) and other on-the-job training (OJT) opportunities.

OJT refers to any type of training that takes place at a worksite while the trainee is performing the actual job under the supervision of an experienced worker. In the career preparation stage, many opportunities include components of OJT, giving the students substantial experience to pursue their career pathway after graduation.

On the next screens, you will learn about some of the types of career preparation programs are available and how WBL fits into this stage.

Career Preparation – Internship

interior designer discussing fabric with a student
An internship is temporary job position that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and OJT in a professional setting. Internships can be paid or unpaid and could last from several weeks to several months. Some WBL experiences can be internships if the classroom instruction is linked to the work experience.

Internships usually involve three parties, each with a different interest in the relationship.

Click on each party below to learn more. 

Career Preparation – Apprenticeships

Career Preparation – WBL

Work-based learning student

WBL experiences are part of the career preparation stage. This is where students gain hands-on experience in an authentic workplace.

A written arrangement between the school and an employer outlines expectations and supervision requirements for both parties.

The student may attend school and work on alternating days or attend school for a half day, then proceed to work. Schools and employers work with the student to determine the best schedule for the student’s success.

Career Preparation – Community Service/Volunteer Work

Another method of career preparation is community service and volunteer work. Students can gain valuable experience, explore career opportunities, and gain skills directly related to their career path by volunteering with non-profit or government organizations.

Quick Check #1

Quick Check #2

Lesson Review

Lesson Conclusion