Not Sure What Career You Want? Try a Career Inventory

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Teacher helps students work at a tableMost high school students are familiar with career inventories. While some may not always yield what you think are accurate results, they at least allow you to become more aware of your possible compatibility with occupations.  Sometimes, you find out what you would not like to do.

The career inventory in this lesson plan is My Next Move. My Next Move is a U.S. Department of Labor career site that allows you to explore career information. The interactive careers survey presents questions that may help define career interests and lets you find more compatible matches for potential career paths.

Materialsscreenshot of career website

  • Computer with internet (one per student)
  • Student worksheets
  • Printer for career information (optional)


  1. Go to “My Next Move” at
  2. Find the “I’m not really sure.” option on the right and click Start to begin your O Net Interest Profiler.
  3. Follow the directions on each screen clicking “Next” when you are ready to move on.
  4. Rate the descriptions of different types of work. There are 5 different screens of jobs listings.
  5. Read your Interest Profiler results. These interests indicate the type of career you might enjoy. If you have any questions about what the occupation might involve, click on the interest listing to learn more about it.
  6. Explore Job Zones by clicking on the zone choices. Each Job Zone describes the amount of experience, training, and education that matches your expectations and preferences for building a possible career.

7. After choosing a Job Zone, you will see some possible career matches. The matches are listed with links to information for each.

screenshot of careers website

You might want to use this page to consider a slight change to your Job Zone. Changing your Job Zone up or down one category does not greatly change the preparation required, but may give you career choices that may appeal to you a lot more. Read the additional choices that seem to interest you.

See example results for Chemical Technician below.

  1. On the worksheet with this activity, list the top 5 careers that interest you along with a brief summary of what the job entails. In the last column, list what interested you in that career. For example, you may choose x-ray tech because you have seen some x-rays before and have been interested in finding out more about them.  Maybe you thought it was a good career that doesn’t require a four-year degree.  Maybe you chose Health Educator because it allows you to combine your interest in teaching with science and health interests.


Now that you have a few ideas for science careers, you may want to use the “Plan a Career in Science—Now” activity to identify the courses you should take in high school to prepare you for the career you want. The Pandem Disease Center’s (PDC) Epi-Career Directory   has information on science careers with diverse requirements for education and training. The Spotlight on Careers feature on the PDC site is an easy-to-use resource that allows you to quickly skim through basic information on a number of careers.

You may also use the PDC’s Epi-Career Career Directory to find out more about your top five career choices. The Directory has extended description of many, but not all, biomedical and information technology careers. If your career of interest is not listed on the PDC’s Healthcare Career Directory, you can use the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook at


My Next Move. National Center for O*NET Development, n.d. Web. 12 Jul. 2017. <>.

screenshot of career website

Science Career Choices Worksheet

Career Choice Description Education/Training Salary Reason for Interest