It's Homecoming time – thinking about who to ask? What to wear? Well, there is something else that should be on your mind – What's next? Figuring out what you want to do when you graduate starts by figuring out what you really want from life. Do you like money? How much? Do you want to help people? Work alone? All of those questions are important when you begin thinking about what type of career is best for you.

There are two different ways to think about working. You can have a job that may pay your bills and provide you with some room for advancement but is simply a place you go for 8 or more hours a day and provides you a paycheck at the end of the week. The other is a career. A career is something that is rewarding in many ways, provides you with a sense of accomplishment, pride and provides growth both personally and financially. The other most notable attribute to having a career is that it should be enjoyable! A few tips on how to make the right choice for you:

1. Find out if what you want to do is a job that suits your personality. (If you don't like blood, maybe nursing isn't the career for you.)
2. Is the job you want in demand in the area you want to live?
3. Determine what type of education, training or certifications you need.
4. Do your research on salaries for those positions.
5. Think about your career as a relationship – if you know what you want ahead of time, you can pick the right “partner” and it wont feel like work!

There are numerous ways to determine what type of career you want to have. Here are some free and easy tests that can help you find outwhich careers might suit you best, based on your interests, values and goals.

1. Career Path – This free assessment helps you gain knowledge about possible job fields based on your individual values and personality traits. To learn more go to:

2. O*Net – This career exploration tool helps you identify what jobs are in demand and what jobs will match up with your goals. Find out what career is good for you based on your abilities, your skills, experience and your interests. Find out more at:

3. Job Diagnosis – This quick 5 minute test can get you looking at industries and positions that suit you based on your aptitude and skills. It can also show your earning potential in each job category. For more information go to:

4. Career Explorer – This site can provide you with insight into your aptitude for specific career opportunities and determine your strengths in specific areas. To know more go to:

5. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration – Utilize the information about your local labor market to determine high growth, high demand occupations as well as locate your local Workforce Investment Board and Workforce Training Agency. These resources often have funding to provide free career assessment testing, training and education as well as job placement assistance.

While you are exploring your career path it is important to keep in mind that there are many jobs in specific industries. Just because you want to work in the Healthcare Industry doesnt mean you have to be a doctor. There are many jobs in Healthcare that pay well and offer stability and growth, Surgical Technician and X-Ray Technicians both have earning potential of between $40 -$80k per year on the national average. (, 2012)

How often have you heard the term IT Professional? Most people assume this is someone who comes around and helps fix a computer problem. But there are many other jobs in the Information Technology (IT) field, everything from actually building microchips and hard drives to writing the programs that stop hackers from infiltrating your computer.

No matter what resources you use to explore your career options, just remember that choosing the right career for you will be much more rewarding than being a Homecoming King or Queen! (Nobody will care when you pull up in your dream car at the High School.)

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