Three Ways to Get Students Excited About Creating Their Own Career Paths

In today's ever-changing job market, we need to help students develop a variety of skills that will enable them to be flexible with the changes we are seeing in the world of work. It is also important that students have opportunities to consider a variety of career paths. It's not enough to just focus on the careers and options that exist today, as technology and the jobs in demand are constantly evolving.

To help students take ownership of their career journey and be curious about the opportunities available, educators can explore the resources provided by Defined Careers to help students learn about their options. Defined Careers is an online platform that offers a variety of tools and resources to help K through 12 students explore and experience career options and develop the skills needed to succeed in the future, whether in college or career. There are materials available for students in elementary, middle and high school and each has a listing of possible career choices.

Here are a few ideas for how educators can use Defined Careers to get their students excited about creating their own career paths:


1. Encourage Career Exploration

One of the best ways to get students excited about creating their own career paths is to encourage them to explore their interests and passions. Ask students about their interests and provide opportunities for students to exchange ideas with classmates. Sparking interest in career exploration happens when students have a chance to dive into their own curiosity and tap into their personal interests. When students are passionate about something, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. Sharing resources will provide students with access to a wide range of real-world career scenarios that can help them identify their interests and passions. These resources may inspire students to think about the types of careers that would enable them to pursue their passions while also making a difference in the world. Defined Careers offers a wealth of information for all grade levels and different areas of work. It includes job descriptions, education requirements, and salary information.

To make this learning experience more engaging and build communication skills and classroom collaboration, educators can also have students create brief presentations or share what they learned about different careers. This can help students get excited about the possibilities and start to envision their own career paths.


2. Foster Career Readiness Skills

In addition to exploring different careers, students also need to develop the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. Defined Careers offers resources to help students develop these skills through career courses. Each Career Course focuses on providing students with relevant career experiences and skills needed for a specific career. Each career course is a collection of projects that gives students hands-on learning opportunities.  Teachers can supplement these materials by having students create materials they need for careers of interest such as resumes and cover letters, or preparing for an interview. Through the career clusters, students also create products of their learning that can be uploaded into their portfolio to track their growth. Students can explore to learn about the demand for specific careers.

Educators can incorporate these resources into their curriculum, either as standalone lessons or as part of larger projects. By helping students develop these skills, educators can empower them to take ownership of their career paths and feel confident in their ability to succeed.


3. Incorporate Real-World Experiences

One of the best ways to get students excited about their future careers is to give them real-world experiences. Defined Careers' Courses offers a variety of units and career clusters that have projects and project descriptions to give students real-world learning experiences.  To bring it to life even more,  educators can help students to find opportunities to engage in virtual job shadowing or connect within the community to learn about industry-specific projects.

By incorporating these types of experiences into their curriculum, educators can help students see how their education is directly relevant to their future careers. This can be especially valuable for students who may not have a clear idea of what they want to do after graduation. Having a variety of options to explore within one platform is so helpful for educators looking to provide more choices for students and for students to have guided support as they learn about careers through the pathways. Exploring the work of commercial and industrial designers, a baker, a hazmat technician and other careers will spark some curiosity.


4. Encourage Students to Think Outside the Box

In order to create their own career paths, students need to be able to think outside the box. Defined Careers resources can be used to help students think creatively about their future careers. Especially for students that may be unsure about future plans, exploring these real-world tasks can be so beneficial.

For example, students can explore non-traditional career paths, such as an interior designer, an artist, or a game designer, and learn about the skills and resources they will need to succeed in these types of careers. By encouraging students to think outside the box, educators can help them see the possibilities for their future careers and feel excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Educators can also offer their own guidance by providing one-on-one meetings with students to discuss their career goals and help them create a plan for achieving those goals. By offering this kind of support, educators can help students feel more confident in their ability to navigate the constantly changing job market.

Getting students excited about creating their own career paths is essential to best prepare them for the future. Defined Careers offers a variety of resources to help educators foster career exploration, develop career readiness skills, and incorporate real-world experiences through a range of project-based learning experiences that help students develop the skills they will need to succeed. By utilizing these tools, educators can empower their students to take ownership of their future careers and feel confident in their ability to succeed. 





About the Author:

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM: What’s Next in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and Community Leader and served as president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She was named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers to follow in 2021.

She is the author of seven books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU,” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World, “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us,” and her newest book “Things I Wish […] Knew” is now available at


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