Career Exploration and Training for Teens


Regardless of whether your child wants to attend college or not, there are a number of things he or she can do while still in high school to prepare for a career. Here are a few:

Do volunteer work. Volunteering helps your teen develop work ethics and social skills, while helping the community at the same time!

Assess gifts, talents, resources, and interests.

Read and do the assessment in Discover Your God Given Gifts by Don & Katie Fortune. The unique thing abou this book is its focus on careers in relation to your spiritual gifts. Highly recommended for Christian students.

Explore interests. Get involved in a variety of extracurricular activities while in school including music, art, sports, boy scouts, Junior Achievement, missionettes, Royal Rangers, 4-H clubs, community theatre, Generation Joshua, Boys and Girls State, Ham Radio, Toastmasters, and debate.

Participate in a hobby: collecting stamps, rocks and other items; building and repairing things like cars, woodworking, and electronics; decorating; cooking; sewing; crafts; railroading; HAM radio; the list can go on and on!

Enter competitions: Science competitions, Math competitions, writing contests, Spelling Bees, Geography Bees, and more.

Explore careers:

Read over: Exploring Career Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Investigate careers that do not require a college education.

50 Best Jobs For Your Personality (50 Best Jobs for Your Personality) by J. Michael Farr.

300 Best Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree (Best Jobs) by J. Michael Farr. ISBN 1563708612.

If your child shows an interest in starting a business, read books on business, marketing, advertising, and leadership. Here are some suggestions:

Here's an example of two teens starting their own business: Susan and Karen Weckler own and operate Sewing Kits 4 Kids, LLC.

Another example is Shandra Pinion who owns and runs Line Eleven Finery, a handmade jewelry business. Check out their website and see how they do it!

Complete the Career Development/Internship (pdf document) course outline, written by Cindy Downes.

Complete Life Prep for Homeschool Teenagers by Barbara Frank.

Participate in an internship, apprentice or mentoring program.

Formal programs are usually run by private employers and consist of one half on-the-job training and one half formal instruction. They are not easy to come by, but I have found that with a lot of prayer and by asking questions of people you know, you can find them. One way to initiate an apprenticeship program is to approach a business owner with the idea of allowing your child to spend one afternoon at their place of business to observe. If that works out for both parties, ask the business owner if the child could come and volunteer on a regular basis. This means sweeping floors, filing, washing windows, etc. Your child must be willing to do the grunt work! You will find that over time, if your child is diligent and faithful, he will be welcomed with open arms and slowly given more career-related work. This volunteer work may eventually lead to a paid position during high school or even a life-time career.

Business people are looking for good employees; and when they find someone who has potential, they will do all that they can to help train him. If a degree is necessary, some business owners will even help with funds for education. Even if your child decides from this experience that he does not want to pursue a career in this particular field, think of the time and money you have saved!

Other resources you can try:

And don't forget to keep track of your teen's learning in The Checklist!

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