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Career Clusters Guide

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Using This Guide for Career Planning

Are you planning for high school, college, the workforce, or a career change? You will find the North Carolina Career Clusters Guide a valuable resource as you make these important decisions. This guide is designed to be a tool for planning and preparing for a career. It provides you a structure for selecting careers based on linking what you know about yourself with information about occupations and typical training requirements.

The career-planning process is the cycle you follow when seeking employment in occupations that match your interests. You can repeat this process as needed to help you find your place in the world of work. Follow these steps to learn about Career Clusters, their multiple pathways, and to find career options that best fit you.

#1 - Know Yourself

The Interest Profiler gives you one option for finding career clusters and occupations that match your personal characteristics, strengths, and preferred activities. Results do not tell you which occupation or cluster you should choose, but they do provide information for determining the kinds of work you might want to explore.

About Career Interest Types.

#2 - Explore Career Clusters

Career Clusters help you to organize all of the many occupations. Each career cluster contains occupations that have similar knowledge and skills. Career Pathways within each cluster help identify useful training to prepare for work in specific jobs. Connect your Interest Profiler results with clusters and occupations to discover which ones most closely match your work-related interests.

16 Career Clusters and their Pathways

Career Clusters Matrix

Get the cluster's "big picture" and find online career resources. Then learn about the cluster, its pathways, and related occupations. Find out about successful people who work in the cluster.

#3 - Know Your Options

Use the results of your Interest Profiler and your knowlege of Career Clusters to start matching occupations. Select one cluster or all of them, and select one of your top interests from the Interest Profiler.

map of NC Prosperity Zones
Select one or more of the above and then select the button.

Review the job descriptions, employment growth, salary data, and interests for each of the matching occupations. Repeat this process with other clusters and your secondary Interest category.

#4 - Experience Real Jobs

You may want to learn what it's really like to work in a specific occupation. Work-Based Learning is a way to experience real jobs while still in school.

#5 - Explore the Job Market

Whether you're still planning your future career or getting ready to enter the job market, getting a well-rounded understanding of what employers are looking for in job candidates is always helpful. Explore the Job Market.


Printed version of the 2015 NC Career Clusters Guide (pdf 3.5mb)

A Guided Tour of the NC Career Clusters Guide (describes the printed book and website)