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Definition of a Career Pathway

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A career pathway is an organized approach to career planning for anyone wanting to land a first job or to improve skills for different or better job opportunities. Creating a career pathway means plotting a course for identifying occupational interests, determining education and training needs and establishing an action plan for reaching career goals. A personal pathway may point to a certain high school curriculum, a college or vocational school education, or specialized job training.

Career Pathway Development

Creating a career pathway begins with evaluating your current state of career awareness and readiness. Identifying a potential career opportunity based on interests, skills, work experiences and work values is the motivation behind this evaluation. Work values are worth identifying because of the connection to career satisfaction. Examples of work values include working conditions and job advancement potential. After pinpointing an appealing career choice, it’s time to map out a reasonable and workable pathway with the help of qualified resources.

Career Resources and Support

A number of resources are available to get a career pathway started. In addition to professional career counseling businesses, most states have workforce development career centers that provide access to skill assessments and job databases. Networking with members of trade organizations, such as professional accounting or engineering groups, can also yield information about various career pathways. Students can turn to school guidance counselors or college career services for help.


Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

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