Career Clusters™ help students navigate career options

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Let’s say you’re a middle school student who is good at math and science—and who likes helping people. A career in the health care field might be a good option—but so might food science, social research, or even engineering. Exploring how one’s talents and interests apply across a wide variety of potential career options is made easier thanks to Career Clusters.The wide range of careers of today and tomorrow has been organized into sixteen Career Clusters—and each cluster includes multiple career options that appeal to a similar range of interests, talents and personal traits. Additionally, Career Clusters includes educational pathways—specific academic courses and Career Technical Education (CTE) courses—that can guide a student’s journey through high school and college on the way to success in their chosen career.

Mary Janata with West Point Schools leads a group of students as they use to explore the wide range of career options available to them. The free, online resource helps students assess their own strengths, talents and interests—and then match those to possible careers and the educational pathways required for success.

Mary Janata with West Point Schools leads a group of students as they use to explore the wide range of career options available to them.

Becky Barner, Career Specialist with Mid-Plains Community College, says Career Clusters give students options even after they’ve entered college. “For example, a high school junior decides she wants to be a pediatrician, but once she’s in college and has taken the first year of medical classes, she realizes it isn’t quite the right fit,” Barner said. “With Career Clusters, she is aware of other career options in the medical and health care field and can adjust accordingly, without totally wasting the time spent in college.”

Students can explore Career Clusters online at—a powerful, free online resource that helps students assess themselves in terms of their interests, skills and work values—all in an effort to help them choose the right classes in high school that can lead to a more focused college experience and eventually, a satisfying career.

Mary Janata is a guidance counselor at West Point Public Schools. She says that students who begin career exploration using Career Clusters are continually throughout their high school experience. “The sophomores are going back to how they responded in their freshman year to compare—to see if the same careers are at the top of their list,” she said. “If the same areas keep coming up, they get more focused and take high school courses that strengthen that career area and capitalize on their interests.”


The sixteen Career Clusters are:

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Education & Training
  • Finance
  • Government & Public Administration
  • Health Sciences
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Each cluster includes a variety of career options and outlines educational pathways that can help students choose the right courses in high school and college. Exploration of Career Clusters is available at, a free online career exploration resource.