Career Pathway Frequently Asked Questions


What Is A Career Pathway?

Career pathways provide students a sequence of rigorous academic courses, access to early college credits, industry certifications and personalized, career-specific learning experiences. They allow students to explore different interests without the commitment that comes with a college major.

What Is A Career Cluster?

Career Clusters are groups of occupations and industries that require similar interests and skills. There are 16 nationally recognized career clusters. Within each cluster, representative pathways are offered.

Are Students Required To Begin A Pathway During Their Freshman Year?

No. Students can begin a pathway at any point in their high school career. Students should work with their guidance counselor to determine a pathway to pursue. We highly encourage students to identify and explore career-related opportunities and courses.

Are Students Required To Complete The Career Pathway That They Start?

No. Students are under no obligation to complete an entire pathway. Pathways are opportunities to explore careers. If students decide the pathway is not for them, they can work with their counselor to choose another.

What Does The Coursework Look Like Each Year?

Pathways are two, three or four years long. Students can start at any point during their high school career. The first year comprises an orientation course, including general career iformation and an overview of the pathway as an introduction to the field.  Classes become increasingly advanced each year and generally culminate in opportunities to receive early college credit, an industry certification, and/or opportunities to participate in a workplace learning experience.

What Does A Pathway Include Beyond Classwork?

Many pathways offer supporting experiences through clubs and activities as well as internships, workplace learning experiences and industry certifications.

What Is An Industry Certification?

A certification is a career credential awarded to students by an independent third party verifying qualifications or competencies in a career skill area. Industry-recognized certifications make students more marketable. District 214 offers 40 industry certifications in several industries, including construction, culinary arts, information technology, manufacturing, personal fitness and automotive services.

What Else Can I/My Child Do To Prepare For A Career While In High School?

Once a student expresses interest in a certain pathway, they will be encouraged to explore related cocurricular activities and electives. We also encourage students to apply for credit-bearing workplace learning experiences through the District’s Center for Career Discovery.

Why Should I/My Child Consider A Career Pathway?

Pathways encourage students to start thinking about potential careers prior to college, allowing them to narrow down their interests. Industry certifications and internships gained through the pathway process also can be helpful once students begin applying for jobs or college.

It’s Important For My Child To Focus On Rigorous English, Science And Math Courses So They Can Go To A Good College. How Does Career Pathways Fit In?

Career Pathways incorporate rigorous academic courses. Students can simultaneously take advanced English, math and science classes while participating in our Career Pathways program. In fact, we have partnerships with universities and colleges that encourage participation in the Career Pathways program. Many of these partnerships help defray the costs of college tuition through early college credits students receive through the Career Pathways program.

How Do Special Education Students Fit Into The District’s Career Pathways Program?

Our mission is to prepare all students for success beyond high school. Special education students can participate in various Career Pathways and workplace learning experiences – from external job sites to internal micro-internships – to gain essential postsecondary life skills.