Support Students with Career-Learning Resources

Educators and counselors play a critical role in helping students explore careers, identify a career plan, and build the skills they will need for future success. We know you can’t do it alone! The resources in this section are designed to support the critical career-learning work you do in the classroom.

Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources Pathway

Careers in production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing, and development of agricultural commodities

Information Solutions

Careers in arts, audio, video, technology, communication, and information technology

Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering, & Manufacturing

Careers in architecture, construction, manufacturing, STEM, and transportation

Health Sciences

Careers in therapeutic services, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services, and biotechnology research

Human Services

Careers in education, human services, hospitality and tourism, government and public administration, law, public safety, corrections, and security

Business, Finance, Marketing, & Administration

Careers in business management and administration, finance, and marketing

Explore Career Pathways

All careers are organized into six career clusters that are then broken down into 16 career pathways. To assist students in their career search,  have them consider their interests in the first six categories and then dig deeper into the various careers that are a part of that category. Students can consider which careers are in high demand,  how much education they will need, and what their likely paycheck will be. Students should also consider their skills and what they enjoy doing.


Once students have a few career pathways that interest them, it’s time to explore how they can build their knowledge and skills in that pathway through job shadows, internships, in-school courses, and outside-of-school programs and camps.

Explore Career Pathways

Set Your Grade-Level Goals

What types of experiences and information should a student have in order to make the most informed decision about college and career planning? This framework, developed in Illinois, provides a set of standards by grade that can help educators, schools, and districts connect and align their career exploration curriculum.

8th Grade

By the end of 8th Grade, students should –

Financial Aid Literacy:

  • Be exposed to a financial literacy unit in a course or workshop

Career Exploration and Development:

  • Complete a career cluster survey
  • Attend a career exploration day
  • Know the concept of career clusters of interest

Post-Secondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection:

  • Complete a unit on education planning
  • Know the relationship between community service and extracurricular activities and post secondary education and career goals

9th Grade

By the end of 9th Grade, students should –

Financial Aid Literacy:

  • Complete a financial aid assessment with a family member
  • Know general cost ranges of various post secondary options

Career Exploration and Development:

  • Revisit career cluster interest survey and take a career interest survey
  • Identify one or two career clusters for further exploration and development

Post-Secondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection:

  • Attend a post secondary options workshop
  • Meet with a counselor to discuss coursework and post secondary and career plans
  • Begin determining eligibility for advanced placement (AP) courses
  • Outline a plan for community service and extracurricular activities related to post secondary plans
  • Know the importance of community service and extracurricular activities to post secondary and career plans

10th Grade

By the end of 10th Grade, students should –

Financial Aid Literacy:

  • Attend a postsecondary affordability workshop with a family member

Career Exploration and Development:

  • Visit at least one workplace aligned with career interests
  • Complete an orientation course to a particular career cluster or cluster grouping
  • Select a career pathway within a career cluster of interest
  • Complete a job shadow experience within a career cluster of interest
  • Know educational requirements, cost, expected entry level, and midpoint salary for occupations in selected career path

Post-Secondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection:

  • Determine eligibility for AP courses
  • Identify 2-3 adults to support the student through the post secondary and career selection process
  • Review coursework and post secondary/career plans
  • Know different types of post secondary credentials and institutions
  • Know general timing of post secondary entrance exams and applications
  • Know the benefit of early college credit opportunities to post secondary access and completion

11th Grade

By the end of 11th Grade, students should –

Financial Aid Literacy:

  • Know financial aid deadlines for chosen postsecondary options
  • Complete a financial aid assessment with a family member
  • Know the affordability of postsecondary options in relation to expected entry-level career salary and anticipated debt
  • Know estimated cost of each postsecondary option
  • Complete a thorough scholarship search and application process

Career Exploration and Development:

  • Finalize a resume and personal statement
  • Compare and contrast personal strengths and weaknesses with career choice
  • Identify an internship opportunity related to career pathways
  • Know educational requirements, cost, expected entry level, and midpoint salary for occupations in selected career clusters
  • Interview a professional who is working in desired field

Post-Secondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection:

  • Know 3-5 match schools, one safety, one reach school for postsecondary program of study
  • Know entrance requirements, including application deadlines, for expected post secondary programs of study
  • Take at least one college entrance exam
  • Determine readiness for college-level coursework in math/ELA

12th Grade

By the end of 12th Grade, students should –

Financial Aid Literacy:

  • By 12/31 Attend a FAFSA completion workshop
  • By 12/31 Complete the FAFSA
  • Know the terms and conditions of any scholarship or loan

Career Exploration and Development:

  • Participate in a job shadowing opportunity
  • Obtain an internship opportunity related to career pathway of interest
  • If applicable, receive industry-based certification(s) related to the career pathways
  • Attend a career exploration day
  • Visit at least one workplace aligned with career interests

Post-Secondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection:

  • Attend a college fair
  • Visit at least 3 postsecondary institutions
  • By 12/31 Meet with a school counselor to ensure all steps in the postsecondary admissions process are completed on time
  • Address any remedial needs in math/ELA
  • Show evidence of postsecondary plans
  • By 12/31 Complete 3 or more admissions applications to postsecondary institutions

Know Our High-Demand Careers

While we want every student to find their passion, we also want to make sure they know which careers are in high-demand in our region. Students who pursue these pathways and develop the required skills are likely to have job opportunities right here in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR).

Agricultural Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $49,000 Career Pathway →
Diesel Mechanic Associate’s Degree $40,000 Career Pathway →
Plumber High School Diploma $50,000 Career Pathway →
Farm Machinery Operator Certificate $35,000 Career Pathway →
Computer Software Developer Associate’s Degree $88,000 Career Pathway →
Health Info Technician Associate’s Degree $40,000 Career Pathway →
Financial Manager Bachelor’s Degree $102,000 Career Pathway →
Marketing Manager Bachelor’s Degree $94,000 Career Pathway →
Registered Nurse Bachelor’s Degree $60,000 Career Pathway →
Computer Research Scientist Master’s Degree $93,000 Career Pathway →

*Information provided by Emsi National data and Kirkwood Community College Regional Talent Forecast Data

Discover Classroom Resources

Explore the wealth of resources available to help your students achieve their educational and career goals through these local organizations.

Grant Wood AEA

Grant Wood AEA Media Center provides quality service and materials to support success for all learners. Resources include assistive technology; boxed, multiples, and leveled reading books; DVDs; professional journals; and access to a collection of 27 online resources.  Visit Site

Marion Community Promise

Community Promise connects kids with real careers through their Career Explore Program.  Visit Site


Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) is a nonprofit organization that assists students with multiple barriers to graduate from high school and/or successfully transition from high school to continued education and careers.  Visit Site


StairWay5 provides computer coding/programming, robotics, and engineering acceleration courses for youth, as well as summer camps and after-school STEM enrichment programs in the Iowa City area for elementary and junior high students.  Visit Site


New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) is a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring that Iowa is known around the world for making big things happen. Visit Site

Workplace Learning Connection

WLC has developed age-appropriate programs to show younger students the relevance of classroom activities as they relate to the world of work.  Visit Site

Iowa STEM Council

STEM is a vital economic development advantage for quality job growth in Iowa, as STEM graduates are in great demand to meet current and future workforce needs. Created with the goal of increasing STEM interest and achievement, the Iowa STEM Council is a collaboration of bipartisan Iowa legislators, educators, business, nonprofits, students, and families focused on improving STEM opportunities and awareness in Iowa.  Visit Site

Ignite My Future in School

Ignite My Future in School is a comprehensive set of resources seamlessly integrating the principles of computational thinking across the curriculum and at home to give students the 21st century skills they need for future success.  Visit Site

Junior Achievement

Inspiring and preparing young people to succeed, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa helps prepare today’s students for a bright future.  Visit Site

Future Ready Iowa

Future Ready Iowa is a statewide initiative signed in by Executive Order that brings students, educators, and professionals together to foster work-based learning experiences that will jumpstart the next generation of the workforce by exposing them to different kinds of careers. Visit Site

ICR Industries Portal

ICR Industry Sector Boards are business-led coalitions that develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to meet the workforce needs of a specific industry. These boards work hand-in-hand with regional organizations to help students explore their career interests and connect with career opportunities right here in ICR Iowa.

ICR sector boards have developed industry specific web-sites and a shared landing page to help students and job seekers complete a career interest assessment and navigate occupations across multiple industries that align with their personality type and natural skills and interests. Check out this resource at

Enhance Your Practice with Professional Development and Leadership

High-quality teaching and counseling are vital for student success. Explore elements of effective professional development and leadership critical for growing and supporting your career.

Through Ignite My Future, TCS and Discovery Education are partnering to ignite action on the critical role computational thinking plays in 21st century classrooms by empowering educators with world-class transdisciplinary learning resources.



The Iowa STEM Council offers many professional development opportunities, including through programs such as STEM Scale UpSTEM BEST, and Iowa STEM teacher externships.



New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) is a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring that Iowa is known around the world for making big things happen.



Equipping teachers with knowledge and hands on experience allows for a classroom curriculum best aligned with the employer needs. The Marion Community Promise provides resources to empower teachers to be more knowledgeable in the classroom as they influence the career pathways of our future workforce.



Grant Wood Area Education Agency offers opportunities for professional learning to enhance professional skills and practices to improve student learning. These include a variety of courses for credit, workshops that offer the latest evidence-based professional learning for educators, parents and community partners, and paraeducator and substitute authorization training programs.



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