Keywords: job training, career selection, vocational training, industry

Introduction to Career Planning

Students who choose to pursue higher education typically plan on specializing in a certain field of interest.  This decision is most evident when students apply to specific majors within a university and begin to take specialized classes.  However, the academic side of career selection is often aided by many resources that fall under the realm of student affairs.  Furthermore, the co-curricular activities that students participate in often help shape career selection as well.  Asking students what they plan on doing for the rest of their life is not a simplistic answer, and understanding why different people pursue different careers is a necessary component for recognizing student development. 

When Would You Measure Career Planning?

Student affairs professionals may want to measure career planning if their goal is to gauge:

  • Character traits that are often associated with a unique career
  • Student ability to understand the requirements that certain jobs demand
  • Effectiveness of programs designed to improve the ease of career selection (e.g. a seminar created with the intent to show students how to search for specific jobs)
  • Self-perceived attitudes towards one career path or purpose in life



Those wanting to measure career planning may find it helpful to start their research by reviewing similar evidence-based literature:

Predicting a Student’s Vocational Choice (Holland & Lutz, 1967)

  • This early research on career choice provides a theoretical basis for how current and future career decisions align. Furthermore, this article helps provide unique descriptors for different career paths that aid in understanding career changes. 


Mentoring Alternatives: The Role of Peer Relationships in Career Development (Kram & Isabella, 1985)

  • The authors provide data on dyadic relationships and their influence on the development and growth of career changes and decision making.


Frequently Used Instruments/Measures

 The following instruments/measures have been used to assess career planning:

  • Career Decision Scale
  • Career Development Inventory
  • Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Assessment


Don’t Think This Construct Matches Your Assessment Goals? Check Out These Related Constructs: Self-Efficacy, Motivation, Communication

Back to Top