Career Planning Information



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Purpose of Career Paths and Career Clusters

Career Paths

Career paths are clusters of occupations/careers grouped according to participants’ interests and talents or skills. All paths include a variety of occupations that require different levels of education and training. Thus, career paths provide a plan for all students, whatever their interests, abilities, talents or desired levels of education. Selecting a career path provides a student with an area of FOCUS, along with FLEXIBILITY and a VARIETY of ideas to pursue. The focus of career paths is on helping students choose a career path, not a specific occupation. Selecting a career path is not a lifelong commitment; it is a place to begin focusing one’s energies. As students take different courses and learn more about themselves and careers, they will probably change career paths. Students who understand the career paths concept will be aware that there are a variety of other related possibilities if the first path no longer fits them. If different career paths become more interesting, the students can reevaluate plans, make appropriate decisions, and revise their high school plans as necessary.


Deciding on a career path can assist you in exploring your interests and preparing for your future. The intent is not for you to decide on a specific occupation for the rest of your life, but to select a career path into which you can begin directing your energies. Identifying a career path can help you in selecting school courses, activities, and part-time employment. It can also help guide your participation in job shadowing, career exploration, and internships. A career path choice is not a permanent commitment. As you have new experiences, you learn new things about yourself and may decide to change career paths. If you decide on a different career path to explore, you should discuss it with your counselor and adjust your future course selections in accordance with your new career exploration.

Career Exploration Assessments

Blue Springs R-IV students complete career exploration assessments starting in the 8th grade. This is a way the student can identify an initial career path choice. Counselors will then use this information to assist students in making course selections and developing a five-year plan.

Choosing a Career Path or Cluster

  1. Identify your interests, abilities, and talents.
  2. Identify the career path or cluster that relates to your interests, abilities, and talents.
  3. Explore occupations in those career paths or clusters.
  4. Decide how much education you want to receive after high school.
  5. Develop an Individual Career and Academic Plan by selecting courses and co-curricular activities that relate to your career educational and career goal.
  6. If undecided regarding a career path or cluster, choose courses from different career areas to give you a better idea of your interests.

Career Planning Common Language

Definition and Purpose:

  1. Guidance Grade Level Expectations (GLEs): The systematic, sequential and developmentally appropriate set of knowledge, skill and understanding for the K-12 guidance curriculum.
  2. Life Career Development: Self-development over the life span through the integration of roles, settings, and events of a person's life.
  3. Individual Planning: The process of on-going educational and career-planning services that helps all students develop Personal Plans of Study organized around programs of study and their personal, career, and educational goals.
  4. Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP): A student’s scope and sequence of coursework and related activities based upon their chosen Career Path or Career Cluster and their educational goals. Initiated in the eighth grade, it is designed to ensure a successful postsecondary transition and is the key component of the individual planning process.
  5. Program of Study (POS): Secondary-to-postsecondary sequences of academic and career education coursework, along with additional learning opportunities, that lead students to attain a postsecondary degree or industry-recognized certificate or credential.
    1. Process: Missouri currently uses a 10-step process for the development of Programs of Study that is aligned with federal guidelines which includes creation of POS templates and secondary/postsecondary curriculum alignment. This process is currently under review at the state level.
    2. Template: The model or form developed by schools that lists courses, occupations and additional learning opportunities to help students develop their personal plan of study. The completion of the POS template does not infer that the POS process has been completed.
  6. Career Paths (6) Clusters (16) Career Pathways (78): A progressive framework to organize the world of work and career information. The framework provides the structure to assist students in understanding the world of work, and to organize course and co-curricular offerings in the school.
  7. Missouri Connections: A free web-based career and educational planning resource to help Missouri citizens determine their career interests, explore occupations, establish education plans, develop job search strategies, and create résumés. For additional information, visit the website: Missouri

Career Preparation

Choices after high school (or any combination of the three) may lead to "My Career"

1. Work

  • on-the-Job Training Apprenticeships

2. Post-Secondary Education

  • Vocational/Technical Schools Community College 4-Year University or College
  • WorkKeys

3. Military

  • Additionally will assist with:
    • College Financial Assistance
    • Variety of Skill Training