21 Strategies for K-12 Career Development

by Debbie Osborn

One arena in which career development activities are crucial is the school system. School counselors have the opportunity to provide career counseling to students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Recent research (Osborn & Baggerly, 2004) on 1,280 Florida school counselors' perceptions about career counseling and career testing revealed that most prefer the trait/factor approaches, such as Holland's RIASEC theory, Person-Environment Correspondence, or Cognitive Information Processing. The actual time school counselors spent doing career counseling and career testing was minimal at the elementary, middle and high school levels- however, school counselors at all levels reported wanting to spend significantly more time on both of those activities.

Listed below are 21 strategies for school counselors working with elementary, middle and high school students. Some only would require minor adjustments to make the strategy more or less sophisticated and appropriate for other levels.

For elementary students:

For middle school students:

For high school students:

Other Online Resources for School Counselors:

A great resource for career development activities can be found in Experiential Activities For Teaching Career Counseling Classes & Facilitating Career Groups (available online at NCDA's Career Resource Store ). Some sample career counseling lesson plans can be found at NCDA's Internet Sites for Career Planning and K-12 Interest Areas . Finally, some sample lesson plans can be found at University of South Florida and at the Florida Workforce Education website.

Osborn, D. S., & Baggerly, J. N. (2004). School counselors' perceptions of career counseling and career testing: Preferences, priorities and predictors. Journal of Career Development, 31,45-59.

Debbie Osborn is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida. A similar listing of resources was first published in the Florida Counseling Association's newsletter, Guidelines. (The author received permission to expand and reprint it here). Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to her at Osborn@tempest.coedu.usf.edu.  Individuals wishing to share additional successful strategies are also encouraged to write.

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