How to Help Your Homeschooler Choose a Career

Career Planning Tips for Homeschoolers

When you’re homeschooling a high school student, it helps to realize that one of the many roles you’ll need to fill is that of guidance counselor. A guidance counselor helps students make the best choices to be as successful as possible in their academic and post-graduation choices.

One of the areas in which you’ll need to guide your student is in his or her potential career options. You’ll want to help him explore his interests, uncover his aptitudes, and decide what post-graduation choices will help him achieve his goals.

Your teen may go directly into college or the workforce, or he may decide that a gap year will be beneficial.

It is wise to encourage your high school students to explore as many of their interests as your family's schedule and finances allow. This exploration can provide valuable insight when it’s time to consider their vocational options after graduation. Most people find their most satisfying careers when their interests, talents, and aptitude can be directed toward their life’s work.

How do you help your student decide on the career path he’ll follow after high school?

How to Help Your Homeschooled Teen Choose a Career Path

Look for Apprenticeship Opporunities

Apprenticeship opportunities aren’t widely available, but they do still exist. You can often find such opportunities with people who are self-employed.

Year ago, my husband worked as an apprentice for an appliance repairman. He ultimately decided on a different career path, but the skills he learned have proved invaluable for our family.

He has saved us countless dollars in repair fees since he is able to do most of those repairs himself.

A few years ago, a self-employed homeschool dad was seeking a homeschooled teen to act as his apprentice. He advertised in our local homeschool group’s newsletter, so that’s a good place to check. Look for people seeking an apprentice or advertise your student’s willingness for such a position.

I graduated with a girl who apprenticed with a farrier. A friend’s son apprenticed with a piano tuner. If your student is interested in a particular field, ask friends and family if they know someone who does that type of work.

Volunteer

Help your student look for volunteer opportunities that align with her interests. Does she think she’d like to be a marine biologist? Consider volunteering at an aquarium or marine rehabilitation facility. If you live near the coast, check out opportunities to volunteer as a sea turtle nest parent.

If your student loves animals, consider zoos, veterinarian offices, animal shelters, or rescue organizations. If she’s considering healthcare, try hospitals, nursing homes, or doctor’s offices.

Would-be journalists might try a newspaper office of television studio.

Secure an Internship

Talented, hardworking students may be able to land intern jobs. An internship is an opportunity that employers offer for students to get experience in a field that interests them. It’s a great way for students to see if the career field is something they would truly enjoy pursing.

Some internships are paid while others are not. There are full- and part-time internships. Both are usually for a set time, such as a summer intern position, a semester, or a few months.

We have a homeschooled friend who is a dual-enrolled high school senior working a full-time internship with an engineering firm. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about her desired field while also getting a taste of full-time employment.

There are online resources for finding an internship. You can also check with colleges or companies for whom your student would like to work. Networking among friends and family can also be helpful in discovering potential opportunities. 

Take Career Assessments

Your student may be unsure what career path interests him. In this case, an aptitude test can be helpful in investigating possible choices based on your student's interests, talents, and personality.

There are a variety of free aptitude tests and career assessments available online. Even if the tests don’t reveal a career path that interests your teen, it may help to spark the brainstorming process.

It can also reveal talents and traits he hadn’t considered when thinking of possible vocational options.

Consider Hobbies

Help your student to objectively assess her hobbies and recreational interests to see if there is a career opportunity there. Your amateur photographer may want to consider a career as a professional. Your musician may want to teach her talents to others.

One of our friends, a homeschool graduate, was heavily involved in community theater as a student. After taking a local acting course, he is now following his dreams to become a professional actor.

Another local graduate is a gifted sculptor who has traveled abroad studying and creating. She has won several awards and been commissioned by wealthy clients to create artwork.

Even if your student’s passions remain simply lifelong hobbies, they’re worth investing in and pursuing.

Because of the flexibility that homeschooling offers, homeschooled teens have a unique opportunity to fully explore potential vocations. They can also customize their high school courses to prepare for future employment.