What is a Career?

A career is a long-term occupation where one can fulfill professional goals and passions. You could hold numerous jobs under different employers in your chosen industry as you progress in your career.​ Careers may require a certain level of education or training.

Careers often have set salaries with benefits such as medical insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, pensions, and bonuses. Individuals can also gain benefits beyond money, such as personal growth, self-worth, and work satisfaction.​

Careers vs Jobs

A job is a paid position of regular employment to earn money to support basic needs. It can be full-time or part-time. You might earn an hourly wage or a set paycheck rather than a salary with benefits. You might need specific skills connected with that role, but not all jobs require a specialized degree or advanced training.​

A job can be short- or long-term. It is also one single period of employment with a single employer. Sometimes it provides no satisfaction beyond a paycheck.

6 Career Personality Types
  • REALISTIC (Doer)

- Likes working with their hands making and fixing things.


- Likes to deal with facts and figures.

  • ARTISTIC (Creator)

- Likes working with patterns, shapes, and expression.

  • SOCIAL (Helper)

- Likes working with, teaching, and helping people.

  • ENTERPRISING (Persuader)

- Likes to lead and make decisions.

  • CONVENTIONAL (Organizer)

- Likes procedures/routines with a clear line of authority.

Learn About the 16 Career Clusters

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
The production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing and development of agricultural commodities and resources including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture and other plant and animal products/resources.

Jobs in this cluster include: farmers, food processing plant workers, food scientists, and beekeepers.​
Architecture & Construction​​
Focused on careers in designing, planning, managing, building and maintaining the built environment.

Jobs in this cluster include: architects, contractors, carpenters, electricians, draftsmen, and building maintenance.
Arts, Audio/Video Technology, & Communications
Designing, producing, exhibiting, performing, writing and publishing multimedia content including visual and performing arts and design, journalism and entertainment services.

Jobs in this cluster include: entertainers, artists, musicians, production assistants, set designers, web designers, and cell phone manufacturers & service providers.
Business Management & Administration
Planning, organizing, directing and evaluating business functions essential to efficient and productive business operations. Career opportunities are available in every sector of the economy.

Jobs in this cluster include: office managers, administrative assistants, executives, and quality control personnel.
Education & Training
Planning, managing, teaching, and providing educational training services, and related learning support services.

Jobs in this cluster include teachers, trainers, curriculum specialists, tutors, counselors, and education administrators.
Planning and managing finances and investments. Provides services for financial and investment planning, banking, insurance, and business financial management.

Jobs in this cluster: bankers, financial planners, tax preparers, actuaries, insurance agents and investment brokers.
Government & Public Administration
Executing governmental functions to include governance, national security, foreign service, planning, revenue, taxation, and regulation at the local, state and federal levels.

Jobs in this cluster include: local mayor and city council, the state legislators and governor, urban planners, and Parks & Recreation employees.
Health Science
Planning, managing and providing therapeutic services, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services and biotechnology research and development.

Jobs in this cluster include: doctors, physical therapists, medical researchers, biomedical engineers, nurses, physician’s assistants, and x-ray technicians.
Hospitality & Tourism
Management, marketing and operations of restaurants and other food services, lodging, attractions, recreation events and travel related services.

Jobs in this cluster include: Wait staff, chefs and line cooks, country club tennis and golf professionals, hotel desk clerks, and amusement park workers.​
Human Services
Preparing individuals for career pathways that relate to human needs like counseling, mental health, personal care, family, community, and consumer services.

Jobs in this cluster include: loan officers, psychologists, social workers, embalmers, and substance abuse counselors.
Information Technology
Designing, developing, supporting and managing of hardware, software, multimedia, and systems integration services.

Jobs in this cluster include: software engineers, IT support staff, computer engineers and network managers.
Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
Planning, managing and providing public safety, protective services and homeland security, including professional and technical support services.

Jobs in this cluster include: police officers, firefighters, lawyers, judges, prison guards, and private security officers.
Planning, managing and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products. Professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance, and process engineering.

Jobs in this cluster: manufacturing plant line workers, automotive technicians, and electrical engineers.
Planning, managing and performing marketing activities to reach organizational objectives.

Jobs in this cluster: sales clerks, advertising executives, commercial artists, and retail workers.
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Planning, managing and conducting scientific research in professional and technical services in the physical sciences, engineering, and math.

Jobs in this cluster include: hydrologists, computer scientists, chemists, economists, and statisticians.​
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Planning, management and movement of people, materials and goods by road, pipeline, air, rail and water. Related support services include transportation infrastructure planning and management, logistics services, mobile equipment, and facility maintenance.

Jobs in this cluster: truckers, train conductors, airline employees, supply chain analysts and postal workers.​

Career Exploration Resources

California Career Zone

CA Career Zone is an incredible resource that utilizes real-time CA data to find careers. View all occupations in the system in a listing that can be filtered to find what you are looking for. Click "Explore Now" to learn more.

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Big Futures: Career Quiz

Sign in with your College Board account to take a 15 minute quiz. Discover what careers your are matched with based on your likes and dislikes. Click "Take Quiz!" to take the quiz.

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Big Futures: Explore Careers

Use Career Search to find out about over 900 careers and what they pay, if they’re hiring, what the work is like, and the education and skills you need to succeed. If you take the Career Quiz, you can explore your personalized recommendations. Click "Explore Now" to start seaching careers.

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