Since 1960s, career cluster resources have been used as career exploration and planning tools in schools, learning communities, and organizations across the nation. Career Clusters is a system that matches educational and career planning.
Step 1: Identifying Career Cluster Interest Areas
Career clusters are groups of similar occupations and industries. When teachers, counselors, and parents work with teens, college students, and adults, the first step is to complete career cluster assessment. The assessment identifies the highest career cluster areas. Career assessments show teens, college students, and adults rankings from one of the following 16 Interests Areas or Clusters:
1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources
2. Architecture & Construction
3. Arts, A/V Technology & Communication
4. Business, Management & Administration
5. Education & Training
7. Government & Public Administration
8. Health Science
9. Hospitality & Tourism
10. Human Services
11. Information Technology
12. Law, Public Safety & Security
14. Marketing, Sales & Service
15. Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
16. Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Step 2: Exploring Career Clusters and Related Careers
After pinpointing the highest career clusters, teens, college students, and adults explore the different careers and create education plans. Career cluster tools used in career and educational planning include:
LISA: A comprehensive career cluster database
High school plan of study
Interest and Skills Areas
After completing a career cluster assessment, teens, college students, and adults look at web sites, career models, brochures, pathways, and high school plans. One of the most unique comprehensive career cluster resources is the Louisiana Integrated Skills Assessment (LISA), an Internet program. LISA lets you explore career clusters, careers, abilities, training requirements, and more. There are 3 steps in the LISA program:
STEP 1: Click here to select a Career Cluster
STEP 2: Click here to select a Career Group
STEP 3: Explore Occupations within this Career Group
In Step 1, when you choose a career cluster, you will see a description of the cluster. When you select a career group in Step 2, you see different careers. Finally, in Step 3, you see a wealth of information:
Educational and training requirements
Crosswalks, for example ONET, DOT, GOE, and other codes
Labor Market Information
Even though LISA is an awesome program, in classroom or workshop settings, you need printed materials. When using printed materials, the career model is the best place to start. Models provide excellent overviews listing the cluster definitions, sample careers, pathways, knowledge, and skills. Visual models show career clusters, the cluster subgroups, and related careers. Models are an excellent way to introduce career clusters.
For presentations, workshops, and group discussions, the career cluster brochures provide additional information. Adults and teens read about the different careers that are available in each career cluster. Teachers, counselors, and parents use the brochures to solidify adults’ and teens’ potential career or educational decisions. The brochures cover topics such as:
Definition of career clusters
Teachers, counselors, and parents use career pathways for more detailed information. The career pathways are subgroups or areas of concentration within career clusters. Each pathway contains career groups. The career groups have similar academic skills, technical skills, educational requirements, and training requirements. Career pathways are plans of study that outline required secondary courses, post secondary courses, and related careers. The career pathways are essential tools that teachers, counselors, parents, and other adults use to give educational planning advice.
Several web sites feature High School Plans of Study. These study plans show required, elective, and suggested courses for each grade level. The school plans also match the career clusters to related careers, career pathways, and post-secondary options. Teachers, counselors, and parents find that these school plans are guides for selecting the right high school courses to match potential careers. Beyond high school, the Utah System for Higher Education has created a College Major Guide. Parents, teachers, and counselors can use the guide to match college majors to Certificate and Degree Programs.
Additional Resources for Counselors and Teachers
For planning curriculum and educational programs, there are detailed Knowledge and Skills Charts and Cluster Crosswalks. The knowledge and Skills expand upon the information listed on the career cluster models. For each knowledge and skill area, there are performance elements and measurement criteria. Crosswalks show the relationships between career clusters and other career models:
Career clusters build a bridge between education and career planning. Different types of career cluster resources are available: videos, web sites, booklets, brochures, activity sheets, and workbooks. Teachers, counselors, and parents use career cluster resources to successfully complete career and educational planning.