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  • Writer's pictureAllison Styffe

Career Clusters: which cluster is the one for you?

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

The first step in planning a career is to know what options are out there. But where to start? There are countless ways to explore the world of work and the right career path for you, and one such framework is that of "Career Clusters."

A career cluster is a set of occupations that share common features. Someone who enjoys working in a particular job will likely enjoy other jobs in that same cluster. The National Career Clusters Framework provides 16 occupation groupings within 6 main areas based on similar skill sets, interests, abilities, and activities—

First thing's first

In the center, you'll see Foundational Knowledge & Skills. These are what I would also refer to as "transferable skills" or "soft skills" — the ability to problem solve and work on a team, the ability to communicate well both through speaking and writing, the ability to make ethical decisions when faced with a challenge. They're the kind of skills we hope you're developing now in each of your classes that will make you a solid employee no matter which career you pursue. As you explore which cluster might be the right one for you, continue focusing on these types of skills!

Find your cluster

Over the course of this school year, we will be sharing more about each of the 16 clusters to give you more insight about what those career industries look like and whether they would be a good fit for you.

In the meantime, you can take an assessment through Virtual Job Shadow to give you an idea of which cluster(s) could be right for you based on your interests:

  • Login: username - BakerWebS16 password - CareerPrep2020!

  • On the far left side you'll see a menu. Underneath Tools you'll see Assessments. Click on Assessments.

  • You can take the: Career Clusters Interest Survey (CCIS) - 102 questions or the Career Cluster Interest Survey EZ (CCIS-EZ) - 85 questions

  • Your results will show all the clusters ranked from your highest match to lowest match Click on your highest-ranking clusters to explore more about them

Further exploration

Of course, you might find multiple clusters appealing — I know I do! If that's the case for you, here are three ideas to help you explore those career clusters and continue to narrow down the right fit for you:

  • Take some classes Electives are one of the most helpful tools in discovering or further instilling your passions, skills, and knowledge in certain areas. Think Human Services might be for you? Take a psychology or human development class to explore that content. Interested in the area of business but not sure of which cluster? Take both a marketing and accounting class to compare/contrast your experience with both. If you're not already part of Baker Early College or Baker Web Academy and want to talk college-level courses in some specific areas, reach out to our Enrollment Specialist to get started.

  • Evaluate your skill-sets Careers aren't just about doing what we love; it's important to be skilled at your job, too! So take some time to evaluate the things you're good at, and — just as importantly — the things you want to be good at. Just because you don't have a skill today doesn't mean you can't start developing it tomorrow. For example, if you are interested in Graphic Design (which would live in that Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications cluster) but don't consider yourself to be a skilled artist just yet, start working on it! Commit to 20 minutes a day to doodle or watch an instructional YouTube video, and watch yourself become a little more skilled every day.

  • Consider your values One of the most helpful things you can do on the journey toward your career is identify your values and understand how they will play a role in deciding an occupation. This article will walk you through an activity to help establish what your core values are; as you do so, consider how different careers could best support your ability to live those values out.

Check back in next month as we start diving in to the career clusters one-by-one!
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