Student Career Development


Career development is one of 12 elements of high-quality CTE, defined in ACTE’s comprehensive, research-based Quality CTE Program of Study Framework. This element addresses strategies that help students gain career knowledge and engage in education and career planning and decision-making, including career counseling,
career assessments, curricula that helps students learn about careers, information about educational opportunities and workforce trends, and job search information and placement services. The following reports, articles, guides and toolkits can help you develop and support a high-quality career development system.

Career Guidance, Development and Exploration

Career Guidance, Development and Exploration

CTE’s Role in Career Guidance
ACTE, December 2008

This Issue Brief explores the role that CTE plays in the field of career guidance and in improving student success through a comprehensive counseling and guidance system, through a curriculum framework for career exploration, and through personalized and applied learning.

Career Exploration and Soft Skills: Preparing Students for Success
Loup, Kornegay and Morgan, ACTE Techniques Magazine, January 2017

This article shares a number of resources and free curricula to help educators and counselors guide students through the process of exploring personal interests, learning about various Career Clusters, considering postsecondary education options and practicing the soft skills that are critical to success in the workplace.

The State of Career Technical Education: Career Advising and Development
Advance CTE and the American School Counselor Association, February 2018

This report explores whether and to what extent counselors have adopted career advising and development strategies.

School-based Career Development: A Synthesis of the Literature
Hughes and Karp, Teachers College, Columbia University, February 2004

Following a synthesis of the research literature, the researchers recommend focusing practice and research on middle-school students; targeting resources towards ensuring that all middle- and high-school students have regular conferences with counselors; and focusing on exploring the relationships between guidance interventions and positive student behaviors, rather than attitudes.

Elementary and Middle School Career Development

Elementary and Middle School Career Development

Career Exploration in Middle School: Setting Students on the Path to Success
ACTE, May 2017

Career exploration is offered to middle school students through exploratory and introductory CTE courses, personalized education and career planning, and opportunities to explore future options through career and technical student organizations and work-based learning activities. This report from ACTE, with support from Career Cruising (now Xello), provides examples of these delivery methods and recommendations to help teachers, counselors and administrators implement and improve these practices at the program, school and district levels.

Comprehensive Career Development in Grades K-6
Viviano, ACTE Techniques Magazine, May 2015

An elementary career development curriculum helps younger students determine more of who they are so that by the time they are of employability age, they can concentrate more on what they want to do.

Delivery Methods and Strategies

Delivery Methods and Strategies

The Mobile Technical Education Center: STEM Career Inspiration on Wheels
McKinnon, ACTE Techniques Magazine, May 2017

The Mobile Technical Education Center offers an interactive exhibit to inspire youth to pursue careers in STEM.

Hop on Board the Career Development Bus
Heath, ACTE Techniques Magazine, March 2017

The Iguana Bus makes trips to local elementary schools and community events. On board the bus, students can participate in group activities, emphasizing certain career paths available at Eastern Oklahoma County Tech.

Embracing Ambiguity: Navigating the School-to-Work Transition
Preble, ACTE Techniques Magazine, January 2017

Counselors can better help students by asking open-ended career discovery questions.

Knowledge is the Key to Helping Students Choose Their Path
Williams, ACTE Techniques Magazine, January 2017

A teacher describes the professional development workshop process she designed for her students, including college and career research in the classroom, a single job-shadowing day within the career the student researched, reflection on the experience and a classroom presentation.

A Counselor’s Guide to Career Assessment Instruments, Sixth Edition ($)
Wood and Hays, National Career Development Association, 2013

This book reviews a multitude of career assessments, covering such topics such as multicultural considerations in career assessment, selecting a career assessment instrument and career assessment standards and competencies for practitioners. A matrix provides a cross-reference to search for each instrument based on the purpose and population served.

Individual Learning Plans for College and Career Readiness: State Policies and School-Based Practices
National Association for College Admission Counseling, October 2015

This publication shares results from a national study on the operationalization and effectiveness of individual learning plans in public high schools across the United States.

Using Technology to Deliver Career Development Services: Supporting Today’s Students in Higher Education ($)
Venable, The Career Development Quarterly, 2010

Career services professionals are increasingly involved in decisions regarding the use of technology and must consider student needs, available technologies, funding requirements and confidentiality issues. This article describes current asynchronous and synchronous technologies and provides examples of the use of each in the context of career services.

Job Seeking and Employability Skills: Career Knowledge Series ($)
National Career Development Association, 2015

This book provides a comprehensive resource for assisting or guiding clients in searching for employment, including networking and the job search process; professional presentation through resumes, media, e-mail communications, interviewing, use of social media and personal branding; and workplace affiliation and job retention skills.

Guided Pathways

Guided Pathways

Guided Pathways at Community Colleges: From Theory to Practice
Thomas Bailey, Community College Research Center, December 2017

The guided pathways model​ involves redesigning each part of the student experience, from the stage where students choose programs and start remedial or college-level work to the time of graduation, when they move on to further education or careers​.

What We Are Learning About Guided Pathways
Jenkins, Lahr, Fink and Ganga, Community College Research Center, April 2018

This practitioner packet looks at what implementing guided pathways entails, along with promising evidence from early adopters. Topics include process, timelines and measurement.

Building Blocks: Laying the Groundwork for Guided Pathways Reform in Ohio
Jenkins, Lahr and Fink, Community College Research Center, September 2017

Ohio two-year colleges have innovated to implement guided pathways more broadly. This report recommends steps colleges can take to facilitate the implementation of guided pathways reforms.

Implementing Guided Pathways: Tips and Tools
Community College Research Center, March 2015

This guide provides tips and tools that can aid colleges in gaining buy-in from faculty and staff and in planning and embarking on the process of redesigning programs and support services following the guided pathways model.

Guides, Frameworks and Professional Development Models

Guides, Frameworks and Professional Development Models

National Career Development Guidelines Framework
National Career Development Association

The National Career Development Guidelines Framework has three domains: Personal Social Development, Educational Achievement and Lifelong Learning, and Career Management. Under each domain are goals that define broad areas of career development competency.

Minimum Competencies for Multicultural Career Counseling and Development
National Career Development Association

The purpose of the multicultural career counseling and development competencies is to ensure that all individuals practicing in, or training for practice in, the career counseling and development field are aware of the expectation to practice in ways that promote the career development and functioning of individuals of all backgrounds.

Career Counselor Assessment and Evaluation Competencies
National Career Development Association

These competencies describe the knowledge and skills that career counselors must demonstrate in the areas of assessment and evaluation. The competencies can be used by counselors as a guide in the development and evaluation of workshops, in-service and other continuing education opportunities, as well as to evaluate their own professional development, and by counselor educators as a guide in the development and evaluation of career counselor preparation programs.

Facilitating Career Development Training
National Career Development Association

This training provides individuals with relevant skills and knowledge to serve as Career Services Providers and Facilitators, assisting others in planning careers and obtaining meaningful work. Participants receive training in each of the 12 career development competencies.

Infusing the Career Development Facilitator Curriculum Into Career and Technical Teacher Education: A Model for Fundamental Change to Improve Outcomes for All Students
Schmidli, Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 2001

The curriculum and credentialing process for a Career Development Facilitator (now known as a Career Services Provider) are explained, demonstrating the significance of infusing the curriculum into teacher education programs to meet career development goals.

North Carolina Career Development Coordinator Evaluation Process
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2014

The North Carolina Professional Career Development Coordinator Standards are the basis for career development coordinator preparation, evaluation and professional development. This publication includes an evaluation process and self-assessment rubric.