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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Haynes

How to Help Your Teen Determine What to do After High School: Part 2

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

This is the second in a series of two posts of excerpts from my new book College Is Not Mandatory: A Parent's Guide to Navigating All the Options Available to Our Kids After High School.

You can find the previous post here.

Once your teen has a solid idea of their personal values and passions the next step is to incorporate the most important ones into the industry areas they are most interested in to see how they could lead to a potential career.

Most people focus on a post-high school option, like which 4-year institution to attend, before they have a clear idea of how they want to spend their time making a living. The process I outline in my book flips that perspective and invites parents to help their teen think about their future based on what they value most and identifying which industry area(s) best support those values and then determining how to best enter that industry area.

As I’ve worked with my students and teenage clients (and their parents) over the years I have come to develop a process that parents can use to guide their high schooler into a successful future:

1. Help their teen identify their values and passion points.

2. Guide their teen into a growth mindset about their future and the development of meaningful goals.

3. Work with their teen to identify all their potential career pathways and the options available to them.

4. Teach their teen how to research each option effectively and establish a post-high school pathway to personal success.

Today's post features questions designed to help parents guide their teen in identifying potential career pathways.

The questions in this part of the process are for your teen to think about and research. There are a lot of questions and there is a lot of information gathering. Your teen may do better if you work with them or on their own. Do what you think is best according to who they are.

Questions and Resources to Uncover Potential Career Cluster Pathways

  1. Rank the following industry areas according to what seems most interesting to you to learn more about (1 is most important, 16 is least important). Note: If you do not know about these career pathways, consider using a Google search of each area to learn more.

  2. Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

  3. Architecture and Construction

  4. Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Communications

  5. Business Management and Administration

  6. Education and Training

  7. Finance

  8. Government and Public Administration

  9. Health Science

  10. Hospitality and Tourism

  11. Human Services

  12. Information Technology

  13. Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security

  14. Manufacturing

  15. Marketing, Sales, and Service

  16. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  17. Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

  18. What about your most favorite choice seems the most interesting to you? How does that choice reflect your values and passions?

  19. Have you ever done a career profile inventory “test”? If not, please consider taking one. There are three I have used:

  20. Myers Briggs (free):

  21. Naviance (if your school doesn’t have it there will be a fee):

  22. In Charleston County, you can use:

  23. What potential career options were you given?

  24. For each career you are interested in (from your top career cluster or industry area), answer the following questions. I recommend using Google searches or this government site:

  25. What are the potential career options of that career?

  26. Which seems the most interesting to you to learn more about? (note: if you know nothing about any of them you should learn a little more about all of them before answering.)

  27. What education or certifications are required?

  28. If college is required, what major is associated with this career?

  29. How long does that training usually take?

  30. What is the expected potential income to start?

  31. What is the expected growth of this industry? (i.e., will there be more, or less, demand for this career in the future.)

  32. Based on your research, what are the top 3 careers you are interested in?

These questions can sometimes be overwhelming to teenagers who are experiencing a myriad of emotions and new experiences which are helping to shape them. Be patient with them, and yourself. Your student will figure out how to spend their days after high school.

For more support, encouragement, and tools to help guide your teen through high school and beyond, be sure to sign up for my High School Parent email list!

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