Helping Your Kids Explore Career Options

Posted by Kate Spears on

It is never too early to start thinking about how you want to spend the rest of your life, even if you are in the fourth grade. Careers are the topic on this week’s WCTE’s Get Ready To Learn radio show when host Cindy Putman is joined by Putnam County Schools Academic Career Coach Ashley Allison.

Check out what Putnam County Schools have to say about their Academic Career Coaches: 

“In today’s ever changing economy, students need flexibility in their career field to attain certificates, 2 year degrees, 4 year degrees, and/or advanced degrees as it fits their needs and ability to do so.  It is the hope of Putnam County School System each student has the information needed to  continue their education past high school in order to secure a career with a family sustaining wage. Based on the interest of our students, the information we share is to broaden the knowledge of viable careers in the Upper Cumberlands and beyond.”

The coaches have their own resource page for students, parents, teachers and community members, which you can find at

Allison and her teammate Amy Profant work with all elementary, middle and high school students in Putnam County to help them discover their interests and talents. The Academic Career Coaches administer a career inventory and help the students explore their inventory results to discover what jobs are available for them. Allison says that so many jobs of the future haven’t even been created so it’s important to keep that in mind and think big when considering possible fields.  

There are various paths that students can explore and Allison and Profant are available to guide parents through the process of careers after graduation for their children.

Some of the great information available on the Academic Career Coaches webpage includes content to help decide whether college or career and technical education is the best path for an individual.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) provides students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge, and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners.

Did you know that the high school graduation rate for CTE concentrators is about 90%, 15 percentage points higher than the national average? Today's cutting edge, rigorous, and relevant career and technical education prepares students for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers.

Something else to think about is this: Harvard University predicts that by 2018, only 33% of all jobs will require a four-year degree or more. The same experts also believe that the overwhelming majority will be middle skilled jobs requiring technical skills and training at the credential or Associate’s Degree level.

So, how can you help your child explore various career options? Here are a few tips that might help you embark on this journey.

Be Open Minded

Sure, you have opinions. You probably feel like you know your child very well and have a good understanding of his or her talents and gifts. But try not to discourage your child from exploring a particular career, even if you believe it might not be a good fit.

Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who holds the type of position your child is interested in. Consider asking them to share some insight about their experiences, pros & cons, etc.

Be Connected

No matter what your own occupation is, you probably have an entire network of friends and colleagues who do all sorts of other jobs.

Use your network to seek opportunities for your child to meet other individuals pursuing various careers.

Do Your Homework

Besides the great resources available on the Putnam County Schools Academic Career Coaching website, there is so much other great info available at the click of your mouse.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes career info that is specifically geared toward students, and this is a great place to start.

PBS Parents has numerous expert articles about careers as well, including this great site that has tips for introducing girls to STEM Careers.

Work Together

This is an exciting time for parents and their children to explore various career paths. Use this opportunity as a way to get closer to your child. Get to know him or her better and really ask questions to learn what he is thinking and feeling.

Once your child has grown up and gone off to pursue his or her career, you may not get the same opportunities to help with big decisions like this.

Want to get more information? Contact the Academic Career Coaches or your child’s school counselor for help in ways to navigate your child through their school career and the paths they will choose to travel after graduation.

Reach out to Amy Profant at or Ashley Allison at to learn more.


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM. 

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