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  • Writer's pictureAllison Styffe

Career Clusters: let's get down to business

In our Which Cluster is the One For You? post, we shared that the Career Clusters framework is one of many ways to learn more about the occupations that exist in the world. Knowing more about career clusters can help you narrow down not only which cluster is right for you, but more specifically which pathway(s) and occupation(s) might bring you the most fulfillment.

This week, we're going to take a look at the Business, Management, & Administration clusters. The careers in this slice of the occupational pie are all about businesses — starting them, running them, growing them, supporting them. Of course, while business overlaps with the other clusters in various ways, the difference here is that business clusters themselves tend to focus on business itself first and the industry later. From accounting to marketing, planning events to managing people, if you're savvy with numbers or people or have a knack for turning ideas into realities, these clusters might be for you! Not so sure? Take the assessment we recommended in our first post to see if this cluster ranks near the top! Then come back to learn more through this post, where we'll cover:

  • what kinds of pathways and occupations are found in this career cluster

  • programs that can help you explore careers in the business realm while still in high school

  • courses that will help you to develop knowledge & skills that can prepare you for this industry


Pathways & Occupations

This grouping is organized into four clusters, each with a handful of career pathways, and a variety of occupations within each pathway. Click the links below to see learn more about each cluster, including careers in each pathway based on education level.

Marketing, Sales, & Service Are you friendly and outgoing? Do you enjoy public speaking? Can you be persuasive? Marketing, sales, and service workers help businesses sell products. You might advertise and promote products so customers want to buy them. Or, you might sell products and services to customers. For example, you might develop a marketing plan for a small start-up company; sell furniture; or measure and fit lenses and frames for eyeglass customers.

Business, Management, & Administration Do you enjoy working with other people? Do you like to plan and organize activities? Business, management, and administrative workers give the support needed to make a business run. You might check employee time records or train new employees. Or, you might work as a top executive and provide the overall direction for a company or department.

Hospitality & Tourism Would you like to get paid to help people have fun? Hospitality and tourism workers help people enjoy vacations and entertainment activities. You might work at a restaurant, resort, sports arena, theme park, museum, or hotel. For example, you might manage operations of a college cafeteria, guide high school students on a trip to Spain, or rent equipment at a recreation center.

Finance Are you good at math? Do you like to work with numbers? Finance workers keep track of money. You might work in financial planning, banking, or insurance. For example, you might provide financial services to a business or individual. Or, you could maintain financial records or give advice to business executives on how to operate their business.


Career Exploration

If you think you may be interested in a career as a helper, there are a few ways to start getting experience and exposure now to help explore the kind of work involved in this slice of the career pie. The following entities provide excellent opportunities to dip your toes in these clusters —

Summer Programs

Many colleges across the country offer opportunities for students to dive into business endeavors (and a variety of clusters and pathways) through interactive programs that provide hands-on experience and sometimes even college credit, too. Check out this list of 15 summer business programs for high school students this coming summer!


One major perk of exploring the business world is that internships are often aplenty. They can be found in a variety of ways, like through a pairing agency like Youth Career Connect that matches high schoolers with local internships; or a simple search engine like (tip: type in "internships under 18 years old" or "high school internships" in the search bar); or by simply calling around to local businesses to see if they are in want in need of an intern. Some internships will be paid, others won't, but all will be a great way to get a glimpse into possible future careers.

Virtual Job Shadow Username: BakerWebS16, Password: CareerPrep2020! All Baker students have access to this virtual platform, with videos and resources that give you a glimpse at a day-in-the-life of hundreds of occupations. To get started, click on the Careers menu at the top, then Career Central. From there, click on the Filter By: Cluster button, and select any of the clusters from today's post from the menu on the left-hand side.


Knowledge & Skills

There are many classes you can take at your local community college to help build foundational knowledge and skills that will prepare you for a career in human services. If you're a Baker Web Academy student who would like to take one or more courses through your community college, contact our Enrollment Specialist, Kimberly Linn.

Here are a few I strongly recommend—


This one's pretty obvious, huh? Of course an Intro to Business class is a great place to start when it comes to gaining some knowledge of how the business world works, from management to marketing, entrepreneurship to finance. After that, you can get more specific with your area(s) of interest, so don't be afraid to take a course in Accounting or Human Resources or Branding.

Communication & Writing

A key to good business is good communication (spoken and written), no matter what your role. While most Baker students will take a public speaking and college writing course, I encourage you to go above and beyond with another course or two in these areas. For example, Technical Writing is an excellent choice, along with Business Communication or Interpersonal Communication.

Computer Science Businesses can't operate without computers (can anything nowadays?), so be sure you're up to speed not just with the basics but with the programs you'll use as a professional. Beyond basic Computer Science, consider courses in Excel and Web Design.

Want some personalized guidance? Click here to schedule a meeting with your career & college counselor today. Allison Styffe works with BEC students in Central, Southern, and Eastern Oregon. Jennifer Tracewell works with all BWA students as well as BEC students in Portland, Salem, and Eugene.
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