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College and Career Information

Important things to consider when you are researching colleges:

  • Is the school and program accredited? You do not want to get all the way to the end to find out that your degree cannot get you the job. Schools and programs must fulfill certain requirements in order to maintain accreditation for their programs. If you attend an unaccredited school you will find that your credits won’t transfer to another school, your degree might not satisfy the requirements for certification or licensure, or your degree might not get you into the interview. Be aware and ask questions!
  • Be aware of any certifications or licensures that might be required for your career. For example, teachers must get a teaching certificate in the state where they will work. In order to get the certificate, teachers must graduate from an accredited teaching program, pass a couple of big exams, and pass a background check. Other requirements will vary based on the state. Remember: Certification and licensure requirements are different from state to state! If you know what state you want to live in, research their requirements by going to the job’s state governing board’s website.
  • Choose the college because of the major, not the other way around. If your dream college doesn’t offer the major that you’re interested in, then they aren’t meant for you. Do not compromise your career goals to be able to claim a certain alma mater.
  • Be conscious of cost! Understand what financial aid might be available to you. Consider money saving options in necessary- apply for grants, scholarships, and student loans. Consider taking core curriculum courses (ie. English, Speech, Fine Arts) at a community college where they are offered cheaper.
  • If you are planning on transferring credits, make sure you verify that the credits will transfer BEFORE you take the class!! Again, this can be related to whether the school has accreditation. In order to find out if courses transfer, visit the website of the school where you want the credits sent. Search for “course equivalencies” for that school. If you have any trouble, feel free to contact your counselor or the college counselor.

How to Research Careers

  • If you have no idea of what you are interested in, you can start with interest inventories. Classroom guidance lessons often incorporate Missouri Connections, a website that provides a wealth of career information to students. Students will take interest inventories at least three times during their time in high school. Students have login names and passwords to access the Missouri Connections website to take additional tests at home.
  • Start broad! Research all of the careers in a certain category that you match with. You might find a job that you had never heard of before that interests you.
  • Think outside of the box. Many people believe that you “have” to go to college to be successful, but that is not always the case. Consider trade schools or programs- the trades will be experiencing a growth in job opportunities with salaries beginning around $50,000 per year right out of high school. Trade careers include Plumber, Electrician, Welder, Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Brick Mason, HVAC Technician, and more.
  • Curious about the future growth of a career? Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook website at You can search careers based on their median pay, required education/training, and job outlook. Job outlooks range from “Decline” meaning there will be less jobs available in the field to “Much Faster Than Average” meaning there will be a big demand for employees in that field. It is important to consider this when looking for a job, as market trends and changes in technology are making some careers irrelevant.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to try out the job that you are interested in. Join relevant clubs, take related classes, look for part-time jobs, internships, or job shadowing opportunities. It is better to find out early on that you don’t like something about your dream job. That will save you both time and money on college or job training.
  • Once you have a career in mind, start creating your academic plan. An academic plan should address any classes that you need to take, any qualifications, skills, or abilities that you need to master, any deadlines to be aware of, and any additional relevant information. You will then use this academic plan to start your college search.


Important Links:




Missouri Connections:

SHS Counselors

SHS Counselors

Career & Educational Planning Guide

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