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Career Exploration

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Career Exploration

Deciding on a career path can be challenging, but career counselors are here to help! 

The career exploration process includes self-assessment, researching careers, and "test driving" the career. These steps allow you to uncover more about yourself and discover occupations that will be a good fit for you. ​

Click the stages below to begin your career exploration journey! 

​​​​​​​​The first step in career exploration is getting to know more about yourself. You must learn about your own personality, interests, values, and strengths to find careers that will be a good fit for you. 


Here are some free online resources for career self-assessment: 

  • CareerOneStop - Comprehensive resource with online assessments on interests, personality, values, and skills. Also has career profiles, videos, and trends. 
  • Eureka​ ​- Complete online assessments through this site to measure your ​interests​​, personality, ​skills, learning style, ​and values. ​
    • ​Access Code: Create an account then use the site code OJL3DHQ
  • ​​​​​Roadtrip Nation - Career resource that begins with a personality and interest assessment. Has extensive information on careers including informational interview videos with professionals.
    • Access Code: SANTIAGO​ 
  • CA Career Zone - ​​Includes online assessments for interests, ​​personality, skills, and values. ​Also includes a tool to see what kind of income would be required based on your desired lifestyle. 
  • ONet Interest Profiler​ - Interest assessment that matches you with a Holland Interest Code. Links to the ONet online database where you can explore over 950 occupations. 

​For an in-depth assessment of your personality and/or interests, SCC's Career Services offers: 

  • ​​Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - This assessment measures your personality, and it connects you with careers that may align based on how you perceive the world and make decisions. 
  • Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - ​​​This assessment helps you match your interests with potential educational, career, and leisure activities, using an individual's preferences in a variety of areas to aid them in discovering what they'd most enjoy doing with their work and their free time.

To take the MBTI or SII, please reach out to Career Services! 

​​​​​​​​​​​Once you have a better understanding of who you are and what careers may be a good fit, it's time to do some research! ​​Here's some things to consider as you find out more information on each career: 

  • ​Does it align with your personality and interests?
  • What skills are required for this occupation?
    • ​What type of academic knowledge? Is there a specific level of education or degree needed?
    • What type of technical skills do you need?
    • What are the 'employability skills' you need? (i.e. time management, communication)
  • How is the job market for this occupation? Is it a growing field? Will there be a demand once you graduate? 
  • What is the salary (median and range) for this job? Does the salary align with the lifestyle you want? Is it higher in certain geographic areas? 
  • What does the "day-to-day" look like for this job? 
  • What is the work environment like for this job?
    • What types of commute or travel would be required? 
    • Are there physical requirements​ for this occupation? (Heavy lifting, standing, etc.) 
  • What kinds of experiences/education would help you be more competitive​ for this job? 
​As you research, we recommend using the following worksheet to keep track of the information you find: Career Research Worksheet

Online resources to help you research careers: ​
  • ONet Online ​- Detailed information on occupations including daily activities, skills and education needed, and salary 
  • Eureka - Overview of occupation including job function and education needed 
    • Access Code: Create an account then use the site code OJL3DHQ
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook​ - Career information on specific jobs including their outlook (job growth)
  • Salary Surfer - Generalized salary information based on degrees/programs ​offered at community colleges and universities 
  • Labor Market Info - (CA) California labor market information through the State of California EDD 
  • Labor Market Info - (USA) National labor market information through the US Labor Department 
Industry specific sites: 
  • Explore Health Careers​ - ​Extensive information on the all the careers related to health ​
  • Careers in Film - Career information for the film and media industry. ​​​
  • The Art Career Project ​- Career information for the arts including fine art, film, culinary, digital arts, performing arts, fashion, music, photography, and more. ​
  • Business Degrees - A resource to understand the different areas of concentration in business 

​​​​​​​Now that you know more about yourself and more about potential careers you're interested in - it's time to test drive the career! 

Just like you test drive a car before buying, it's important that you get hands on exposure to a career. Sometimes a career sounds great when you read about it, but you may realize it's not the best fit once you get first-hand experience. 

So how do you test drive a career? The following are strategies we suggest: 

Informational Interviews 

An informational interview is a an informal conversation you can have with someone working in a career or​ area of interest to you. It is an effective research tool and is best done after preliminary online research. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings. If you feel awkward about asking someone for an informational interview, that's okay. However, informational interviews are a very normal request for professionals - and people generally don't mind talking about their own career journey with someone who is interested! Watch this video explaining more about informational interviews and some tips for navigating them: 


Getting Hands-On Experience 

Hands-on experience can be gained through professional work, internships, volunteering, and job shadowing. These allow you to see first-hand what an occupation is like. 

  • Professional work - Both part-time and full-time work that's related to your desired occupation. For example, if you wanted to eventually become a veterinarian, you could get a paid job working at the front desk at a veterinary clinic
  • Internships - Internships can be formal (with an application process) or informal (agreed upon by an employer and you). They can also be paid or unpaid. In some instances, you may be able to get college credit for an internship! 
  • Volunteering - Volunteer work can also be formal (through an organization) or informal, but it's always unpaid. 
  • Job shadowing - Think of job shadowing like an extended informational interview. Instead of just getting to talk with someone once about their career, you can spend time observing the life of a professional. This can give you an even greater understanding of the day-to-day tasks for an occupation. Check out this article​ with tips on job shadowing​. 
Additional Learning Opportunities 
  • ​​LinkedIn Learning - Free resource for SCC students! It provides mini-video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills. Get started with LinkedIn Learning by:
    • ​Activate your free account.
      • Be sure to use your SCC student email address NOT your personal email
      • If you have issues getting logged in, contact 

​​​​​Consider taking a class at SCC to help you with the career exploration process!

The courses we offer include: 

Counseling 101: Educational, Personal, Cultural, and Career Exploration (3 units)
  • Designed to promote academic and career success by exploring student development from an educational, sociological, psychological, and physiological perspective.  Exploration of higher education opportunities, potential career interests and a focus on educational planning.  Recommended for students planning to complete an associate degree, and/or to transfer to a university.
  • This course meets the general education requirement for the Associates Degree (Area F1) and CSU general education (Area E1).

Counseling 116: Career/Life Planning & Personal Exploration (3 units) 
  • This course is designed to assist students in successfully establishing and achieving education, career and life goals.  Students are guided through a reflective process that focuses on values, interests, personality, skills and learning styles.  Career and education options are researched, and students are exposed to college resources and support services.  Decision making models and goal setting techniques are examined and will be used to develop short and long term education, career and life plans.
  • ​​​This course meets the general education requirement for the Associate Degree (Area F1) and CSU general education (Area E1).

Counseling 118: Self Exploration & the Teaching Profession (2 units)
  • ​​​An exploration of "self" covering theories of values, interests, skills and personality as applied to the teaching profession.  Topics include culturally diverse student populations, career ladders and options, and academic preparation required for employment.  Students will develop an awareness of psychological and sociological forces within the workplace.  Career and life plans for the teaching profession or alternative career paths will be developed.​

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Major and Career Guides 

Click below for information on popular career goals and majors: 

​​​​​Untitled design (6).pngBecoming a Lawyer

​A lawyer also called an attorney, gives legal advice to people, government agencies, and businesses. They offer representation when needed, prepare legal documents, and interpret laws, regulations, and rulings.

Is Law the Right Career for You?

Start by answering the following questions: 

  • Have you completed an informational interview with a current lawyer? 
  • Are you a disciplined, hard worker? 
  • Do you have strong analytical, research, and writing skills?
  • Are you willing to spend at least 7 years in college (4+ years for B.A./B.S. and 3 years in law school)? 

If you answered yes to these questions, a career in law may be a good fit for you!​

Holland Interest Code

The interest code for the law occupation is EI (Enterprising Investigative)

What's a Holland Code? This refers to a career assessment that measures your personality type across 6 areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. A Holland Code allows you to connect your personality directly with occupations! Find out your code at​

Occupation Basics 

​Sample Job Titles 
​Median Wages
​Required Education
  • ​Environmental Lawyer
  • Family Lawyer
  • Immigration Lawyer
  • Judge​
​In CA: $71,550 - $171,550*

In LA/OC Area: $176,020

*Median wages in the law field differ significantly based on specialization and geographic area. For more information visit​

​Doctorate Degree: 
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Choosing a Major for Law 

There is no required or preferred undergraduate major for law school. Instead, law schools look for an undergraduate background that sharpens analytical reasoning and writing skills. Consider a major that interests you and could lead to an alternate career, if necessary.

Preparing for Law School​

As an undergraduate student, there are several things you can do now to prepare for law school: 

  • Gain exposure to the law through volunteering, work, or job shadowing. 
  • Join a pre-law club, or start one if it doesn't already exist at your college. 
  • Study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). 
  • Maintain a high GPA; grades are a major factor in the selection process. 
  • Connect with faculty and professionals. Remember, most programs will require a letter of recommendation. 
  • Acquire excellent research and writing skills.​

Applying to Law School​

Apply to law school programs using the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). This centralized application service also has a school directory with information on requirements and deadlines for various law programs. Visit for more information.​

Professional Organizations​

Areas of Law​

There are many areas of law that you can specialize in. You are not expected to know the exact area of law you want to practice in before you attend law school. However, it is helpful to gain knowledge of the various areas of law as you decide your career path. Visit this website for an overview of each area of law: ​LSAC Fields of Law 

Related Occupations​

Not sure becoming a lawyer is the right fit for you? Here are some related careers with different educational requirements.​

​Job Title
​​Median Wages in CA
​Required Education
​Holland Code
​Paralegal/Legal Assistant
​Court Reporter​​$89,990 

Pre-Law Guide


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