Project for Middle School Students to Research Careers

By Kellie Hayden

This project is aimed at helping middle school students to do some research on possible future careers and then present their findings to the class. It will help to get students thinking about what jobs they might like to do and how to prepare for them.

At the middle school level, students should start thinking about what they really want to do so that they can start preparing for that career. Students will complete a career inventory, research three careers and present the information in the project to the class.

Career Inventory

Now that students have been in the school system for several years, some may have decided that they really don't want to go to college for more than eight years to be a doctor. However, some do not know what they want to do.

Some schools use printed career inventories and these can become part of this project. However, there are many free career inventories online that student can complete. Teachers should try them out before asking students to go online. Many websites ask for email addresses to send the results. The teacher could have all the students give the teacher's school email address so that all the results go to the teacher first. However, teachers should follow their school Internet policies when completing this project.

Once the career inventories are completed, students should have a list of possible careers that they might be interested in researching. Students should select three careers on which they would like to complete additional research.

Career Research

Now that students have three possible careers, they can start researching those jobs. They need to find out the following for each career:

1. Career Preparation

  • Amount of years of college and or job training needed: on the job training, one year certificate, Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree or Doctorate Degree.
  • Amount of training time on the job before a full salary can be earned.

2. Job Description

  • Describe the day-to-day duties and tasks that are required of the job.
  • Describe equipment and/or technology that will be used on the job.
  • Describe the setting for the career, such as a hospital, ship, office building, outdoors, etc.
  • Explain the parts of the country where a student can find this job.

3. Pay or Salary

  • Describe a starting salary or rate of pay per hour for this job (sometimes students find a top salary that is unrealistic for a beginning worker).

When students have found the information for three careers, they need to prepare a report that they will share as a presentation. First, they need to decide what career they like best from all of the information. Then, they need to report on why this career is the best fit for them. They should give the facts about the other jobs and why the other two jobs are not a good fit for them. They also need to find a visual aid, such as equipment/technology used on the job, uniform worn, place of work, etc.

Presentation and Assessment

Once students have written up their reports on their top choice for a career, they need to write it out on note cards. Students need to practice presenting their reports as homework. Then, they will present their information to the class.

To assess the presentation, teachers can use a rubric. The criteria for the rubric could be as follows: career information and facts, voice, eye contact, and visual aids. Teachers can have students write out their report in a final copy format and assess that as well.

This project is one that students will see has a real-world application. Most will be very excited to be thinking about their future and what they really want to be when they grow up.