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Help Your Child Choose the Right Career

Red tennis shoes trying to choose a path

Your teen is growing up and thinking about their dream job. Now is the time to start a conversation about the skills they will need to land a career that they will love. When choosing a career, it is useful to consider potential earnings, job satisfaction and opportunities for growth. In general, studies have shown that workers with better educations, more prestige and higher salaries tend to be happier, but money isn’t the whole picture and four-year college is not the right choice for everyone.

Need a conversation starter? Have your child take the Financial Identity Quiz to discover where they are on their path to financial independence.

Talking Points: Help Your Child Choose the Career that is Right for Them

Talk to your teen about their attitude towards money, security and self-development to help them gain clarity about potential career paths and set goals for how they want to grow professionally and personally.

  • Decide if college is a good fit.
  • Discuss backup opportunities and contingency plans if your child’s first-choice plan doesn’t work out.
  • Start paying attention to what interests your child. Explore how those interests might turn into a career.
  • Guide your child to reflect on their current decisions and goals to explore how these will impact their future major, career and earning potential.
  • Switching majors can be very costly. Make sure your child’s higher education institution offers flexibility and a variety of potential career tracks or majors.
  • The more education you have, the more you tend to earn. Talk to your child about how more education today might affect their future earnings.
  • Emphasize balance of school and social time. Discuss how sacrificing some time with friends in order to devote time to internships and on-the-job training can pay off down the line.
  • Discuss your child’s values. The more closely their values match their chosen career, the more satisfying their work likely will be.
  • Encourage your child to volunteer and try part-time jobs in their desired fields.
  • Encourage your child to share their goals and interests with others. You never know when a casual connection might turn into a potential job or internship opportunity.

Information to guide in choosing a career

[Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by the National Endowment for Financial Education.]