What are Career Pathways?

Career Pathways is a tool that helps students thoughtfully select high school courses that are aligned to their personal areas of interest and career goals. Students will receive information, obtain skills, and experience school and work-related activities that will help them maximize the potential of their high school years.

In addition to recommended courses, career pathways provides students with information about related Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) courses, related extracurricular activities, industry approved certifications and credentials (where applicable), high school workplace experiences, and sample career and college majors that fall within each area. Please see the video and "Terms and Definitions" information below to learn more!

Career Pathways Terms & Definitions

Career Cluster: Group of occupations and industries that have a set of foundational knowledge and skills in common. There are 16 nationally recognized career clusters. Some clusters, such as Education and Training, contain more than one pathway depending on the student’s focus.

Program of Study: Sequence of courses and experiences which include core academic, elective, and career and technical education content. Programs of study may include opportunities to earn dual credit and/or receive industry recognized credentials and certificates that will allow students to get a jump start both on their college track and career path.

Pathway Courses: Recommended sequence of courses which provide students opportunities to explore and develop skills within a specified career area.

Related Electives: Courses which provide students additional opportunities within the specified career area or opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in a closely related career area.

Related Activities: Extra-curricular school activities that provide opportunities for students to explore areas of interests and develop skills which are related to their chosen career area.

Recommended HS Workplace Experiences: Extended educational opportunities in which students engage in authentic and relevant work aligned with a career pathway. These experiences allow students to participate in a professional work environment and assist with career skill development and decision making.

Certifications: Credentials awarded to students by an independent third party verifying qualifications or competencies in a career area. Industry-recognized certifications are sought or accepted by employers as a recognized, preferred or required credential for recruitment, screening, hiring, retention or advancement purposes of their employees. Not all career clusters offer certifications.

Possible Careers: Careers are occupations which usually require special training or formal education. In this document, a sample of select careers related to each program of study are listed.

College Majors: College majors are concentrations of educational study focused on a career area. College majors can lead to an associate, bachelor, master or doctorate degree. In this document, a sample of majors related to each program of study is listed.