Discover What You're Best At
One thing homeschoolers may miss out on is career testing. The individual career counseling tests that I have seen tend to approach choosing a career on the basis of an individual's values, interests, and perceived aptitudes. I know this is true of one particular Christian organization's career placement service and was also true of the test that was previously supplied in College Majors and Careers (before revision removed it). However, Discover What You're Best At contends with this type of testing. Author Linda Gale points out that it doesn't matter how much you would like to do a certain job if you don't have the ability to do it. It's important that you first select a career that you have the aptitude for. You may not have the particular skills required today (you may have to learn or train for them), but you at least need the potential, or aptitude, for it. No amount of self-examination or self-evaluation can be as objective or realistic as aptitude testing. We tend to color our perception of our abilities according to our desires or, often, we just have a much higher (or lower) opinion of our abilities than is actually warranted. The author relays a story about a young man who was very determined to be a mechanical engineer. When he took this battery of aptitude tests, he scored extremely low on both the mechanical and numerical tests, indicating that pursuing a career in this field would be a struggle for him. As it turned out, his father was a mechanical engineer and both father and son strongly desired that this young man follow in his father's footsteps. Apparently, this was so ingrained in the young man that he never realized his abilities lay elsewhere. After testing and some additional career counseling, he decided to switch his career goals.
The battery of six tests in this revised book are the National Career Aptitude System tests that have been administered for over twenty years, with apparent success. Only slight changes to the tests have been made over the years, mostly in response to changing technology. And, no, you don't have to pay a lot of money to send them off to be scored for you. The timed tests are self-scoring. Unlike those other career placement tests, this test actually helps you to identify clusters of careers that would fit your aptitudes. Once your tests are scored, you can determine which clusters best define your abilities; then you can scan the list of careers in those clusters. Over 1,100 specific careers are listed and described briefly, along with the clusters they belong in. If you see a career that interests you by cluster, you then look it up in the career listings. Often, these are followed by compatible clusters that you may want to refer back to for additional career choices. At this point, you should consider how well each career fits with your value system, since this will play a major factor in your job satisfaction. This book does provide a list of job-related values to help you identify what your priorities are. You will probably want to find out more about the specifics of each likely job to determine how well it will meet your needs. To this end, the book closes with information about job search and career information sites available on the web, so you can become better informed about your career choices and even apply for a job!
This will be a very helpful tool for high schoolers unsure of a college major, for those seeking a job right out of high school, and for parents seeking to return to the job market or considering a change in their careers.