of Career Clusters - Gaining Knowledge in the Context of Careers
The U.S. Department of Education's 16 Career Clusters provide learners with a focus for career-related
learning and academic study, and schools or training programs with a way of restructuring curriculum, teaching resources,
and how students are grouped. Students take classes around a particular career field (such as business, health, the
arts or technology). Students who select a career cluster learn about that particular field and may also learn general academics
(i.e., English, mathematics, social studies and science) in the context of that career field.
Each Career Cluster has within it several Career Pathways, within which there are numerous Career
Specialties - each layer requires more specific and advanced skill learning, but skills learned at the Cluster level
are usually transferable to most of the Pathways and Specialties within the Cluster. CareerScope provides an
objective way to guide and connect students to Career Clusters and Pathways and Specialties for which they
have high interest and aptitude - thus ensuring a higher likelihood of success in school and at work.
History of Career Clusters Initiative
The Career Clusters Initiative began in 1996 in the U.S. as the Building Linkages Initiative and was a collaborative
effort between the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), the National School-to-Work
Office (NSTWO) and the National Skill Standards Board (NSSB). The purpose of the Initiative was to establish linkages among
State educational agencies, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, employers, industry groups, other stakeholders
and Federal agencies. The goal was to create curricular frameworks in broad career clusters, designed to prepare students
to transition successfully from high school to postsecondary education and employment in a career area.
The creation of curricular models within the context of broad career clusters
ensures the alignment of academic and technical instructional strategies with the requirements of postsecondary education
and the expectations of employers in increasingly academic and technologically demanding careers. The vocational education
field has historically responded to the needs of the national economy by preparing individuals to enter jobs in demand.
Source Federal Register, December,6, 2000
DOE Structure of Career Clusters, Pathways and Specialties
Level Represents the general skill and knowledge, both academic
and technical, that all learners should achieve regardless of their pathway. There are 16 Career Clusters in the U.S.
- Agriculture, Food
& Natural Resources
Audio/Video Technology & Communications
Management & Administration
- Government & Public Administration
- Health Science
- Hospitality & Tourism
- Human Services
- Information Technology
- Law, Public Safety & Security
- Marketing, Sales & Service
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Level Represents the more specific skill and knowledge, both academic
and technical, necessary to pursue a full range of career opportunities within a pathway - ranging from entry level to management,
including technical and professional career specialties. There are 78 Career Pathways in the U.S. DOE model. Examples
include: Business Financial Management and Accounting, Health Informatics, Management and Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics . . .
Specialties Represents U.S. DOE's full range of career opportunities
within each pathway. There are 1800 Career Specialties in the U.S. DOE model. Examples include Bookeeper, Epidemiologist,
Marketing Manager, Geoscientist. . . .
Emerging Best Practice: CareerScope is an objective and efficient way to identify
students with interest and aptitude for STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - Careers. The
portion of the CareerScope Summary Report below shows that the student's interests and aptitudes are aligned with
94% of the Career Specialties found in the Science and Mathematics Pathway within the STEM Cluster. A great
tool for allowing students to self-select and stay motivated for pursuing a STEM Pathway through High School and College.