What is Career Education? A Complete Overview.

character education curriculum programs

Career education helps students to develop the skills that are needed to evaluate potential career paths. Students engage in hands-on learning to master a craft, such as plumbing, automotive technology, cosmetology, or welding. Career education contrasts vocational training, which requires students to participate in an array of academically oriented subjects.

Why is Career Education Important?

The choices that young adults make in school have long-lasting impacts on their careers. A primary function of secondary education is to prepare students for the workplace. Career education provides them with the skills, knowledge, and encouragement they need to get the most out of their desired career path.

Students display higher levels of engagement and motivation when they have a clear understanding of what they want to do. Career education hones their focus so that they can make informed choices about their careers. Teachers and counselors provide the essential guidance that creates a bridge between education and career.

How Positive Action Can Help

Positive Action prepares students for the workforce by developing skills for evaluating potential career paths and being a productive employee within an organization. As a part of the underlying philosophy, Positive Action challenges students to think about their best skills and abilities as they form their self-concept.

This introspective exercise requires students to consider their educational opportunities and find the best path to develop their interests.


Career Education Standards

As a broader effort to align to academic standards, Positive Action was independently evaluated for alignment to career education standards. Below is a list of the career education standards that were found to correlate with Positive Action lessons.

Develop Career Awareness

  • Develop skills to locate, evaluate, and interpret career information
  • Develop an awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests, and motivations
  • Learn how to interact and work cooperatively in teams
  • Understand the importance of planning
  • Pursue and develop competency in various areas of interest
  • Find a balance between work and leisure time
  • Acquire employability skills such as working on a team, problem-solving and organizational skills
  • Learn about the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees
  • Learn to respect individual uniqueness in the workplace
  • Understand the importance of responsibility, dependability, punctuality, integrity, and effort in the workplace
  • Use time- and task-management skills

Acquire Career Information

  • Apply decision-making skills to career planning, course selection, and career transition
  • Identify personal skills, interests and abilities and relate them to current career choice
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the career-planning process
  • Know the various ways in which occupations can be classified
  • Use research and information resources to obtain career information
  • Learn to use the Internet to access career-planning information
  • Describe traditional and nontraditional career choices and how they relate to career choice
  • Understand how changing economic and societal needs influence employment trends and future training

Identify Career Goals

  • Demonstrate awareness of the education and training needed to achieve career goals
  • Assess and modify an educational plan to support a specific career
  • Use employability and job readiness skills in internship, mentoring, shadowing and/or other work experience
  • Select course work that is related to career interests
  • Maintain a career-planning portfolio

Acquire Knowledge to Achieve Career Goals

  • Understand the relationship between educational achievement and career success
  • Explain how work can help to achieve personal success and satisfaction
  • Identify personal preferences and interests influencing career choice and success
  • Understand that the changing workplace requires lifelong learning and acquiring new skills
  • Describe the effect of work on lifestyles
  • Understand the importance of equity and access in career choice
  • Understand that work is an important and satisfying means of personal expression

Apply Skills to Achieve Career Goals

  • Demonstrate how interests, abilities, and achievements relate to achieving personal, social, educational and career goals
  • Learn how to use conflict management skills with peers and adults
  • Learn to work cooperatively with others as a team member
  • Apply academic and employment readiness skills in work-based learning situations such as internships, shadowing, and/or mentoring experiences


Improving outcomes and achievements are central to the overall goal of career education. The structure instills students with the knowledge and skills they need to obtain a meaningful career. Career education makes rewarding work possible, regardless of the student's interests, aptitudes, or abilities.