A comprehensive career-centric curriculum is an important part of developing students who are purposeful in determining their career pathway plan. Gathering the right technology, tools, and content is key to delivering fun, engaging lessons that are applicable to all students. Here are five steps that counselors, career advisors, and others can take to develop an effective curriculum for all grade levels.

1. Understand Your Objectives

Objectives in a career-centric curriculum may have multiple dependencies. State requirements, district focus, and general tasks all have a place in curriculum objectives. For a clear picture, gather all requirements together. Identify themes, grade levels, and time-bound tasks to get a full picture of what’s ahead. Tie each objective to outcomes and goals by month and by grade level.

2. Build a Career-Centric Calendar

A career-centric curriculum is a vital part of the student experience, and building a relevant and highly engaging program depends greatly on the sequence of materials delivered. Set a theme for every month, quarter, or trimester. Themes can be school-wide or vary by grade level. Connect your calendar to career development observances or design your own depending on your specific objectives and outcomes. Design a monthly calendar that allows stakeholders transparency on each activity by grade level to ensure an equitable experience for each student.

3. Determine Your Format

Instructional time is at a premium, so determining your delivery format is an important piece in the curriculum planning process. Whenever possible, partner with teachers and advisors to solidify your message and keep the learning going even when counselors or career advisors are not in the classroom. Delivery systems and format can vary, but typically, lessons can occur:

Once the format is determined, you will have everything you need to begin to develop your lessons: objectives, scope and sequence, and duration.

4. Develop Content

When devoting time to developing career-centric content, lesson plans should be transferrable and detailed to allow advisors, teachers, counselors, and anyone else in a school to deliver it to scale. Each lesson plan in a career-centric curriculum should utilize a basic lesson plan template that includes:

Develop content that builds on itself as students progress and that has a student’s future career goals in mind. Activities such as interest and skills assessments, work values inventories, resume writing, and career searches are activities that can all be built upon and applied to all students who participate.

5. Measure Outcomes

Tracking student outcomes is of the utmost importance in career-centric curriculum planning. Goals and desired outcomes should be set early in the curriculum planning cycle and assessed throughout the school year. Set goals that are SMART and share the projected outcomes with administration, advisors, teachers, and families. Outcomes may include:

With these steps in mind, you can create a comprehensive career-centric curriculum that allows all students to learn relevant, applicable skills necessary in their own career pathway development process.

About the Author

Kim Oppelt, Ed.D is the Vice President of Career Readiness and Development at Kuder. Dr. Oppelt has over 20 years of experience in career and college readiness, both as a licensed school counselor and in educational technology. Throughout her career, Dr. Oppelt has worked with districts and state systems throughout the country to design and implement successful pathway planning processes, developed products and programming for K-12 students, and has conducted research on the experience of students as they develop their own career pathways. Dr. Oppelt has a B.A.S. in Health Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth, a M.S. in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and a Doctor of Education from St. Mary’s University.