The standard question to ask every first grader because, apparently, they need to know what career field they’ll be working in and where they’ll fit into society by the tender age of 6.

Side note: do you ever realize that parents are always stuck on this 6-year-old’s answer and hold them to this answer for all eternity? No? Just me and mine? Okay.

What’s annoying is, at this stage, kids are exposed to a very limited variety of careers. They’re usually the basics like police officer, fireman, doctor, teacher, dancer, astronaut, and pilot. What about being a zookeeper? Or chef? Or lawyer? Or even a news anchor? (I list these careers because some of them are common to what children in grades 1-3 hear about in some form.) There are several careers kids aren’t exposed to and, therefore, their choices for career paths are very limited.

Welcome to Brain Food TCI: a blog tailored for students from the Turks & Caicos Islands. Providing information on career advice/pathways, both academically and technically.

Let’s start from the beginning: what is a career path or pathway?

A career pathway is a small group of jobs within a career cluster that use similar skills. A career cluster is a group of careers that share common features.


There are roughly 16 different career clusters:
– Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
– Architecture & Construction
– Arts, A/V TEchnology & Communications
– Business Management & Administration
– Education & Training
– Finance
– Government & Public Administration
– Health Science
– Hospitality & Tourism
– Human Services
– Information Technology
– Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
– Manufacturing
– Marketing
– Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
– Transportaion, Distribution & Logistics
(Advance CTE; you can find their list of career clusters and pathways here)

Your career pathway is your career goal and the steps you take to achieve it.

How do you determine your career path?

I think the best way to tackle this is from a top-down approach: start with what you want to be when you grow up and work from there.

So here are some questions to ask yourself to get a better understanding of your career path.

  1. What do I want to be when I grow up?
  2. What type of credential would I need? What do I need to achieve the credential? (Formal education? On-the-job training [also known as an apprenticeship]? Professional certification?)
  3. If formal education (Associate’s/Bachelor’s/Master’s/Doctoral degree) is needed, what would my potential major or course of study be?
  4. How long is needed for schooling/training/obtaining my credential?

The best way to start getting information about a career you’re potentially interested in is to talk to someone already working in that field. Have an informal interview to find out their answers to some of the above questions, especially the type of credential needed and how long it took. (If possible, also also about shadowing them to see what “a day in the life” of this career would look like.)

In the end, don’t let others push you toward a career or path you don’t authentically love or have a genuine passion for. Ask yourself why this is important to you, what aspects you love about it, and what change you hope to make in the field or your community in this career. You are the one who has to live with whatever decision you make; why not like what you choose?

Posted by:LaVerne Handfield

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