Explore Technical and Vocational Careers

Research technical and vocational careers to see which path works best for you!

About the Activity

There are so many rewarding and valuable technical and vocational careers to explore after high school. These opportunities are available in a variety of fields, like health care, construction, beauty, and so much more. Using a career log, teens will explore potential technical and vocational opportunities. By the end, they will have a better understanding of which careers are a good fit for their future.

Grades: 9-12
Topic: Financial Literacy, Career Exploration, College Readiness
Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

Brought to you by TD Ameritrade

Two girls working on a project in the classroom

These simple supplies are all you’ll need for this activity.

  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • If you would like to complete the career log virtually, you can use excel.
supply list icon

Activity Steps

Choosing a career is an important decision. Creating a career log can help you explore a variety of career options before you decide to make a commitment. Follow the steps below to start learning about different opportunities.

  1. Before you get started, take a look at the activity guide. This pdf will have all the supporting resources for this activity like a list of vocational and technical careers as well as a career log.Did you know? Career and technical education is a group of courses, classes, or training that prepares a person for a technical or skills-based career. Some technical and vocational careers require education after high school that leads to a certificate in a specific field.
Three students working hands-on in the classroom
  1. Prepare your career log by printing the page from the activity guide or you could draw the log with your pencil and paper. If you prefer to make a digital version of the career log, you could use Excel.Did you know? Some careers offer on-the-job training that will provide specific training related to the job. A good example of this is the military. They provide the training that you’ll need for the type of job you’ll be performing.
  2. Using the list of technical and vocational careers, select five jobs that you are curious about. If you have a career in mind that isn’t on the list, be sure to add it to the log.Did you know? Apprenticeships are another form of on-the-job training that usually pay you to work and learn alongside an experienced employee.
  3. Once you’ve chosen five career interests, fill in the other information on the chart about education requirements, compatibility, and salary. After you have filled in your log, take a moment to review your research and think about which career could be the best fit for you.Did you know? Some of the jobs that don’t require a four-year bachelor’s degree do require a two-year associate degree. Associate degrees are usually obtained from two-year community colleges or other schools. This degree can lead to a specific career or it can be a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree.

Bonus Activity (Optional)
After you’ve completed the career log, you could dive deeper as a career detective.
Select one or two of the careers from your career log and find someone in your family or community who has that job or a similar job. Interview them with the questions found under the career detective section of the pdf to learn more about the role. This inside scoop could give you a better idea of the day-to-day responsibilities of a potential career.

Reflection Questions
Questions for your kids and teens.

  1. Did you discover a new career interest after completing this activity?
  2. What were some of the pros and cons of the careers you were interested in?
  3. What are some next steps you can take to learn more about technical and vocational careers?
lightbulb icon

Investigate and Explore
Take what you've learned to the next level to learn more and explore the possibilities.

There are many paths towards a successful, lucrative, and rewarding career. Some students decide to attend college and some students pursue careers that don’t require a college degree. They opt into the military, obtain a vocational certification, or enter the workforce directly after high school. Each of these career options is equally important to the way our society operates.

As you plan for your career path, be sure to make it personal by factoring in your interests, skill set, goals, and most importantly, your happiness.

Group of kids workin on a woodworking project in class

Shop 4-H Curriculum and Products

Shop 4-H offers university-backed curriculum, educational kits, and products to expand your interest in financial literacy and more!

SmartCents digital download

Smart Cents Digital Download

Youth make decisions about how to use money every day and develop financial skills.  Each unit includes 1 digital access code.



SmartCents student workbook

Smart Cents Student Workbook

This Smart Cents Activity Guide Workbook & accompanying playbook (available above) teach youth about how to use money every day financial skills.



financial literacy bundle

Financial Literacy Bundle

These financial literacy resources guide educators through curricula that helps youth build the skills and behaviors they need to achieve financial health.



My Financial Future curriculum bundle

My Financial Future

Grades: 7-12


Middle and high schoolers will develop money management skills from organizing finances to risk management.



Mi Futuro Económico curriculum

Mi Futuro Económico

Grados: 7-12


Incluye el Nivel Principiante, el Nivel Avanzado, y La Guía para el Facilitador de Mi Futuro Económico.



Reading Makes Cents digital download

Reading Makes Cents

Grades: 3-5


Includes 53 activities about money saving, spending and more. Each unit includes 1 digital access code.



Brought to you by:

No endorsement of these supporters' products or services is granted or implied by 4‑H.

Help 4-H Provide Equal #Opportunity4All Kids