Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose: Brainstorm careers of interest, beginning with occupational categories.

Materials needed: Note taking device, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Classification System, Career Connect career exploration search


This lesson will likely require two sessions with students.
“Remember we have been talking about your skills and interests. Today we will consider many career options that take your interests into account.”
Facilitate the lesson with a relevant example tailored to your student(s), such as “Here’s an example: I know you love law enforcement and are very good at communication. One career you could consider, that uses both of these affinities is a law enforcement dispatcher. What do you think of that?”

Discussion: Career Categories

Discuss the organization of careers grouped into categories. “There are thousands and thousands of careers to choose from. Organizing them into categories, or clusters, is helpful because it makes researching a field a bit easier. You can research a career category that excites you, and narrow your choices by education requirements, average income, or ease of obtaining employment in the field.”  

Exercise: Categorizing Interests

Ask a student to read her list of interests aloud. “Let’s see if we can group your interests into categories that might help our research. I notice you have many interests in _______ (outdoor recreation, art, etc.).” Work with the student on categorizing her interests, thinking about the ways in which certain sets of interests might relate to a career field. With the student, brainstorm possible careers that match each group of interests.

Exercise: Accessing the BLS Classification System

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website contains a thorough record of occupations organized into career categories, called the Standard Occupational Classification System. It catalogs 23 major groups of occupations, listed as links that point to occupations within the categories. See if your students can access the resource independently; assist if the process becomes frustrating.

Exercise: Matching Interests to Careers

Using the classification system and a student’s grouped interests as a guide, have the student list occupations that match her interests. Note which careers were overlooked when brainstorming.

Exercise: Using the Career Connect Career Search

Using the Career Connect career search, a student can explore careers by occupational categories, interest areas, or key word. Have your students browse occupations and discuss the results they find. Talk about what was learned through this process, and have your students voice their thoughts about the careers they’ve found.


“Today we talked about approaching your career exploration by first grouping your interests into categories. We brainstormed careers we thought you may enjoy. We also utilized the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Career Connect as resources to identify which occupations seem like good matches for your interests. Next time we will research some of your favorite careers. Thank you for participating today.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, modifications:

Next steps/lesson:
Career exploration.