Job Exploration / Career Counseling

Job Exploration Counseling, or Career counseling, can include a wide variety of professional activities which help individuals with career-related issues. Career counselors work with youth seeking to explore career options, experienced professionals contemplating a career change, parents who want to return to the world of work after taking time to raise their child, or people seeking employment. Career counseling is also offered in various settings, including in groups and individually, in person or virtually1.

Discussion or counseling of job exploring options are intended to foster motivation, consideration of opportunities and informed decision-making. Specific to youth, real-world activities ensure that students recognize the relevance of a high school and post-school education to their futures, both in college and/or the workplace. Job exploration counseling activities can be done in conjunction with private, for-profit, public or nonprofit businesses in your community and/or through web-based resources2.

Job Exploration Counseling may include discussion or information on:

  • The student's vocational interest inventory results
  • The labor market
  • In-demand industries and occupations,
  • Non-traditional employment options,
  • Administration of vocational interest inventories, and
  • Identification of career pathways of interest to the students.

Students may be participating in a number of pre-employment transition services or transition services through VR or Education. Discussion or counseling on the results of some of these activities can help to identify viable career options or solidify careers that a student will want to explore further.

Other Job Exploration Activities, may include:

In the Career Awareness phase of career development planning, is to understand how personal work related values applies to opportunities through the world of work. Developing your career awareness means gaining knowledge of career paths and job opportunities and the skills and qualifications necessary to be successful in these positions. 
Career Speakers provide an overview of a specific job or career area. The speaker typically presents to a class, large group or small group of students for a short period of time. Artifacts and or photos are used to enhance the presentation. These sessions are typically informative, motivational and provide recommendations for additional career exploration activities.
Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)3 are vocational organizations primarily based in high schools and career technology centers. Often, on the state level, they are integrated into Departments of Education or incorporated as nonprofit organizations4.

1Kidd, J.M., Career Counseling(06/26/2007).

2Author, unknown. (12/06/2010). UC Davis Career Compass Core Competencies Model.

3U.S. Department of Education (2013-04-04). Career and Technical Student Organizations.

4Bastiaens, T. (2006). Competence-based learning in virtual environments. In T. Reeves & S. Yamashita (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006 (pp. 1046-1053). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Resources for this Required Activity

Pre-ETS Notice

This part of the website has been updated to reflect the Notice of Interpretation in the Federal Register.

Curriculum Options

A collection of curricula and lessons to help in the provision of Pre-Employment Transitional Services.



A series of web-based modules specific to the five required WIOA Pre-Employment Transition Services activities.


A series of web-based modules specific to the five required WIOA Pre-Employment Transition Services activities.

Pathways to the Future

Sample lessons plans and detailed curricula that could be used in delivering Pre-ETS services.

Transition TN Curriculum Database

Developed a searchable database of curriculum that includes options for providing the five required pre-employment transition services.

GCFLearnFree.org program

A collection of topics, lessons, and videos which could be used to provide Pre-ETS services.

American Foundation of the Blind Transition to Work

The Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide was created to improve employment outcomes for teens and young adults who are blind or visually impaired.

Career Exploration


More Resources

  • National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability - No Cost
    Find the latest details about NCWD/Youth resources and tools including: news, events, issues and policies central to preparing youth for transition to adulthood. Products include:
    • Charting The Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities
    • The Guidepost for Success
    • The 411 on Disabilities
    • Navigating the Road to Work: Basics