Evaluate yourself by INTERESTS
- Interest Assessment (Minnesota CAREERwise) — takes 10-15 minutes
- Career Cluster Interest Survey (Minnesota CAREERwise) — takes 5-10 minutes
- MNCareers Interest Assessment (Minnesota CAREERwise) – takes 5-10 minutes
Evaluate yourself by SKILLS
Match your Skills to Careers
- CareerOneStop Skill Matcher — helps identify your work skills
- My Skills My Future — match previous jobs to other careers
- List of skills — this list becomes extremely useful when you are looking for a job that fits your skills and when you are writing a resume or preparing for an interview.
Careers by Skills
- Minnesota Careers (Minnesota CAREERwise)
- Career Explorer (MN DEED)
Evaluate yourself by PERSONALITY
Define your personality and then match it with jobs that will allow you to be yourself. Also beneficial in helping you recognize what your weaknesses are so that you can learn to compensate for them.
- Myers-Briggs — This is one of the most commonly used personality assessments. Completing the entire MBTI is the best way to learn your four-letter personality type. This site allows you to identify your type quickly, easily, and for free. It’s important to note that using this quick online tool is not as reliable and does not come with an insightful interpretation by a professional who is familiar with the test.
- Jung Typology Test — Similar to the personality assessment with the Myers-Briggs, taking both assessments will help you confirm the accuracy of your personality type.
- Temperament Test — Although this site uses slightly different titles, it provides you with more information on temperament. The four types are renamed- adventurer (artisan), defender (guardian), counselor (guardian), and scientist (rational). This site is fun and insightful.
- Types Indicator — This assessment groups people based on nine types and provides you with scores in all nine areas so that you can see how strongly you match each type. The descriptions of each type are insightful and include both strengths and weaknesses.
It’s also helpful to think about how much additional education you are interested in pursuing. College is available in different models depending on your career path:
- Certificates in a specific career area (1-2 years of technical or vocational education)
- Associates Degrees in general areas of study or specific careers (2 years)
- Bachelors Degrees with general studies plus specialty education in specific areas (4-5 years)
- Advanced degrees, including Masters and Doctorate Degrees are usually specific to one area of study (an additional 2-4 years)
Apprenticeships are also available for some careers. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, or Job Corps may also provide valuable skill training to prepare you for your career.
If college is what is needed to pursue your career goals, it is important to register for high school classes that will satisfy the entrance requirements for potential college or university institutions. These requirements can vary among various institutions and among programs within the same institution. It is the responsibility of the student to become familiar with the entrance requirements of potential institutions to which they wish to apply. Admissions factors considered by post-secondary institutions may include cumulative grade point average (GPA), grade point average in challenging courses, class rank, high school course selection, entrance exam scores (ACT, SAT, ASVAB, or Accuplacer), leadership in school and community activities, personal essays, and teacher recommendations.
Once you’ve selected your desired career and determined its educational requirement include college, you can start working towards that goal. You could consider taking courses in your designated career pathway with a Bridges Career Academy, acquiring college credits while in high school and/or reviewing testing and admission requirements for colleges.
Bridges Career Academies are designed to build connections between classroom learning and the world of work. Academy courses are organized around a specific career pathway. Visit this page to see if your school offers any Career Academies and how you can enroll.
College Credit in High School
- CIS (College in the Schools) — College in the Schools is a program that offers college level classes at your local high school. Students must meet the sponsoring school’s criteria to enroll in these concurrent college courses. Class work at a college-level pace and covers more complex materials in greater depth than in the standard high school courses. Expectations in these classes are high. Grades earned in these classes become part of a student’s permanent college academic record. Locally, Central Lakes College and MSTATE both offer such programs.
- Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) allows high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to take courses, full- or part-time, at a post-secondary institution for high school and college credit. Both Central Lakes College and MSTATE offer PSEO. Students must meet course prerequisites or course enrollment standards. The PSEO program was designed to provide students with a greater variety of class offerings and the opportunity to pursue more challenging coursework than may be available at your high school. The tuition, fees, and required textbooks are at no cost to the student. Grades earned by students in these classes become part of a student’s permanent college academic record. Online PSEO class options are also available.
- AP (Advanced Placement) Classes— Some high schools offer AP (advanced placement) classes, in person or online. AP is a program of classes developed by the college board to give high school students an introduction to college-level classes and also gain college credit before even graduating high school. These courses are more difficult than the usual high school class and also require passing an AP exam at the end of the year to gain the college credit. AP exams are tests on everything you’ve learned in your AP class that year. They’re scored on a scale from 1 to 5 with any score above 3 considered passing, though some colleges and universities will only accept 4’s and 5’s for credit. Taking AP courses and passing the tests are signs that you’re prepared for college and can put you at the top of the list for admissions if you’re smart about which ones to take.
- Articulated College Credit (ACC) — This program allows students to earn Technical or Community college credits (Articulated College Credit) in 10, 11, or 12 grades at the student’s own high school. Students continue to explore career opportunities through high school courses, and may complete their college program sooner, saving time and money. Some Technical or Community College career program or majors may also transfer to a university. For more information check with your high school guidance office or visit Minnesota Community and Technical College Credit Program.
College Testing Information
The ACT and SAT are the standard college entrance exams used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. They are multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper tests, and can also include writing/essay options.
Most high school students take the ACT, SAT, or both during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year. It’s important to leave time to re-take the test if you need to raise your score before you apply to college. Find the national ACT exam dates and SAT exam dates.
- Pre-ACT — The Pre-ACT test gives students the opportunity to practice for the ACT test with a shortened version of the test. It provides scores on the ACT on the 1-36 scale, as well as a full view of students’ college and career readiness by identifying areas of strength and areas that need improvement. Information from the Pre-ACT will be used by the students to work within the ACT Academy, an online learning tool that allows students to take periodic quizzes, track scores, and receive targeted practice in areas of deficiency.
- PSAT — All juniors are eligible to take the PSAT exam (Preliminary SAT). The exam is held in October on the nationally designated test date. Students must pay for this exam. This is the only exam that can qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students who are planning on attending a four-year college right out of high school are encouraged to take the exam. Parents and students will receive more information about the PSAT via email in the fall.
- ACT — Any junior who plans on attending a four-year college right out of high school can sign up to take the ACT through on the designated test date set by the state of MN. When taken through the school district, the exam is free of charge. Seniors who did not choose to test as juniors are eligible to take the ACT as seniors. Parents and students will receive an informational letter and deadline for sign up via email in the spring.
- There are 4 sections to the ACT: English, Reading, Math and Science. There is also an optional 40-minute writing test.
- How long is the ACT? The ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes long. If you choose to take the ACT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 35 minutes long.
- How is the ACT scored? Each section of the ACT is scored on a 1 to 36 point scale. Your composite ACT score is the average of your four section scores, also on a scale from 1 to 36. If you take the ACT with writing test, you will receive a separate score on the writing test.
- Free Practice Resources
- SAT — Register directly on their website
- There are 2 sections to the SAT: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing is comprised of two tests, one focused on Reading and one focused on Writing & Language. There is also an optional essay test.
- How long is the SAT? The ACT is 3 hours and 15 minutes long. If you choose to take the SAT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 50 minutes long.
- How is the SAT scored? The SAT is based on a 1600-point scale, with 2 sections—Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, each scored between 200 and 800. The optional essay is evaluated separately.
Many positions in Central Minnesota may be started right out of high school, with a certificate, or with minimal training. Registering for electives in a specific career field will provide experiences and knowledge to help determine a student’s career path. While still in high school, students can take a work experience seminar that prepares them for work experiences to earn high school credit. Students along with school staff can also arrange job apprenticeships and internships for credit. Job shadowing opportunities can also provide knowledge and experience about a typical day in a specific career.
Find local jobs now through the Bridges Career Depot.
How do I prepare for work?
Consider these four areas: Employability Skills, Mindsets and Social Awareness, Career Development, and Transitional Knowledge. These experiences, integrated with subject-specific academic knowledge, identify mindsets, skills, abilities and experiences that everyone needs to enter the workforce.
1 – Employability Skills
Employability skills reflect the general knowledge and skills necessary for success in education, in all regions of the labor market, and as part of the civic responsibility of all citizens. These competencies are sometimes referred to as “foundational skills” and include communication, technology and information literacy, work habits, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
These experiences form the “core” for career and college success in every career pathway.
- Communication: Express your thoughts using appropriate written, verbal and adapted modes of communication via terminology, active participation, and responsive within a conversation in a manner that is relevant in a variety of settings. Express your ideas in meaningful communications for a variety of audiences and settings using appropriate terminology, standards, formats, and sign up.
- Technology and Information Literacy: Use technology to research, collect, manage, transform, and exchange information using a variety of media across networks. Understand how to select and use hardware and software suited to the task at hand. This includes understanding how to maintain data security and safety online.
- Academic Content Knowledge: Draw on information, language, procedures, and knowledge you have acquired to complete tasks, create solutions or products, and make meaning.
- Collaboration: Work effectively on teams consisting of diverse members and skill sets with integrity and empathy toward a shared purpose.
- Creativity: Combine your knowledge, skills, original ideas, and imagination to make solutions, ideas, interpretations, or works that go beyond traditional ideas or patterns.
- Critical Thinking: Use analytical and strategic thinking to differentiate between multiple perspectives, options, approaches and interpretations.
2 – Mindsets and Social Awareness
This area includes skills, habits, and beliefs critical to success in life and work. These include social-emotional learning (SEL) qualities such as relationship skills, self-management, and decision making. This area also includes growth mindset and multicultural and global awareness.
- Growth Mindset: Adopt effort as a means to improve academic learning and job performance, viewing challenges and failures as opportunities to improve knowledge and skills for future career and college success.
- Relationship Skills: Establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups, demonstrating values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that lead to inclusive academic and workplace environments.
- Cultural Fluency and Global Awareness: Develop an understanding, sensitivity and appreciation of the history, values, experiences, and lifestyles of groups that include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, class, gender, ****** orientation, and ability.
- Self-Management: Be able to control your emotions and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals and managing stress and motivating oneself while recognizing when and how to access support.
- Problem Solving: Identify your problems and determine potential solutions by accessing supportive resources and tools and analyzing possible outcomes. Recognize that some solutions may require a broader thinking approach.
- Decision Making: Apply a purposeful process, weighing options to achieve a practical goal, reach conclusions on an ethical course of action, and explain the reasoning behind their choices.
- Self-Advocacy: Develop the ability to exercise your rights by communicating or acting for yourself to speak about my needs, make informed decisions, and/or correct inequalities.
3 – Career Development
This area emphasizes various types of exploratory learning, specifically career awareness and preparation of educational and workplace learning options and supports available to assist students in preparing for success in postsecondary education or moving directly into the workforce. The framework of criteria associated with this area includes development of career pathway-specific knowledge and skills, completion of career and technical and rigorous course content, and participation in experiential learning opportunities such as work-based learning, service learning, mentorships, and apprenticeships. Career pathways represent an organization of related occupational areas within a specific career cluster. Each pathway has its own set of identified knowledge and skills required for initial employment and progression throughout a career.
- Career Awareness: Gain early exposure to career options, jobs and occupations.
- Career Exploration:Dive into specific career options and learn about career fields, clusters, and pathways and how they align with my own unique preferences, developmental level, skills, interests, and values to be better prepared to make choices regarding career and education pathways.
- Career Preparation: Enroll in pathway specific courses that clearly tie the knowledge and skills learned to those necessary for future careers of interest. Courses and curriculum are aligned and structured to provide seamless progression of study in a student-chosen career pathway. Enroll in rigorous courses to earn industry credentials and post-secondary credits. These education and workplace experiences allow hands-on skills and knowledge using industry-validated curricula to earn post-secondary credits and industry certifications. This can also include the option to earn credits in rigorous core academic courses and career technical education courses taught by certified teachers.
4 – Transitional Knowledge
Career- and college-ready students possess the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully adjust to and succeed in work and post-secondary education environments following their high school graduation. These are activities that everyone should experience to develop the knowledge and skills needed for successful transition into post-secondary institutions and/or career pathway-focused workplace settings.
- Career Field and Post-secondary Entrance Requirements: Understand the academic knowledge, and skill requirements for successful entry to and participation in my chosen workforce or post-secondary options. Complete requirements for entrance.
- Personal Financial Literacy: Develop basic money management skills that support financially responsible decision making a transition to independent living after high school. Explain the relationship between income, expenses, savings, investments, and lifestyle choices through development and use of budgets and other financial tools.
- Financial Aid Processes: Understand costs and return on investment for education and training options and financial aid options, including scholarships, grants and loans, and the role of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Employment and Admission Procedures: Complete tasks required for entry into their next career pathway or postsecondary institution, including application completion, interviewing skills, social media profiles, resume development, and college application completion and timelines. Understand the economic effects for my career choices.
Source: MN Department of Education Career & College Readiness Guife, Domains and Compentencies, 2018
If you’re thinking of enlisting in the military, start with some research. It’s a big decision, and you’ll have important choices to make when you sign up. As an active duty enlisted member, you’ll learn a job specialty and do hands-on work. You’ll sign a contract, usually for four years active and four years inactive service. The military has five branches: the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Each has its own focus, job specialties, base locations, and more.
Requirements to Enlist
- U.S. citizen or
- Lawful permanent resident with a valid Green Card (You may have fewer job choices.)
Enlist at 17 with parental consent, or 18 or older without.
Education and Testing
- High school diploma or
- GED (Your options may be more limited in some branches.)
Everyone must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. It determines which branches and jobs you can pursue.
Health and Fitness
Pass a physical exam and meet weight limits. Each service has different fitness standards.
Requirements for Joining the Military
The U.S. military has five branches of service: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. The requirements to join are similar for all five. The main differences are in age limits, test scores, and fitness levels. Men and women meet different fitness standards. Besides the requirements listed here, a branch may have other requirements.
- Air Force: The Air Force is part of the Department of Defense (DOD). It’s responsible for aerial military operations, defending U.S. airspace and air bases, and building landing strips. The Air Force Space Command is under this branch. Service members are known as airmen. The reserve components are Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.
- Army: The Army is part of the DOD and is the largest of the five military branches. It handles major ground combat missions, especially operations that are ongoing. The Army Special Forces unit is known as the Green Berets for its headgear. Service members are known as soldiers. The reserve components are Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
- Coast Guard: The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It’s responsible for maritime law enforcement, including drug smuggling. It manages maritime search and rescue and marine environmental protection. It also secures ports, waterways, and the coasts. Service members are known as Coast Guardsmen, nicknamed Coasties. The reserve component is Coast Guard Reserve.
- Marine Corps: The Marine Corps is part of the DOD. It provides land combat, sea-based, and air-ground operations support for the other branches during a mission. This branch also guards U.S. embassies around the world and the classified documents in those buildings. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) members are known as Raiders. All service members are referred to as Marines. The reserve component is Marine Corps Reserve.
- Navy: The Navy is part of the DOD. It protects waterways (sea and ocean) outside of the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction. Navy warships provide the runways for aircraft to land and take off when at sea. Navy SEALs (sea, air, and land) are the special operations force for this branch. All service members are known as sailors. The reserve component is Navy Reserve.
Join the Military as an Enlisted Member
Enlisted members make up most of the military workforce. They receive training in a job specialty and do most of the hands-on work. Usually, you’ll sign up for four years of active duty and four years inactive. After you’ve completed your active duty time, you can either extend your contract or re-enlist if you want to continue serving.
Steps for Enlisting
- Contact a Recruiter
Get in touch with a recruiter for each branch you’re interested in. They’ll answer your questions.
- Report to MEPS
If you decide to enlist, you’ll spend a day at a military entrance processing station (MEPS). You’ll take the ASVAB, have your physical exam, and meet with a career counselor. If you’re accepted, you’ll take the oath of enlistment.
- Await Orders for Basic Training
You’ll receive orders for basic training within a few weeks. If you enrolled in the delayed entry program, you’ll get orders within a year.
- Bridges Career Depot — local jobs website for 14-18 year olds
- Path to Workforce Success (DEED)
- How to Join
- ASVAB — military assessment
How much will you need to earn?
Try out one of these living wage activities to learn more about how much money you’ll need to earn to live on your own.
- Determine your living wage (MIT)
- Find your Living Budget (CA CareerZone)