Jun 01, 2017
Audio Resource

Question: What Careers Are High School Students Interested In?

From Marketplace.org (1:32 audio):

Here are the top 10 results from the survey conducted in 2016 with 150,000 high school students:

Four of the 10 most popular career options cited by survey respondents were in the health care field, an area that is expected to grow in the coming years as the U.S. population grows older. Other science and engineering fields drew interest from 18 percent of respondents, with mechanical engineer rounding out the top 10 fields garnering the most student interest. The top 10 most popular careers include:

1.      Registered nurse
2.      Professional athlete (here’s a popular blog post we did about the percentage of millionaires that are professional athletes)
3.      Artist
4.      Musician/singer
5.      Athletic trainer/sports medicine
6.      Physician/surgeon
7.      Actor/Actress
8.      Veterinarian/Veterinary technician
9.      Photographer
10.    Mechanical engineer

Other key findings from the survey:

  • Desire to pursue STEM careers is high: “In fact, the most popular careers were in STEM-related fields with 45 percent of respondents expressing the most interest in careers such as physician, mechanical engineer, computer programmer or marine biologist, with the health care field drawing the most interest.
  • Skilled trades not so popular: “Only 3 percent of survey respondents expressed interest in one of the skilled trades, and nearly half of those – 46 percent – are interested in automotive work, a field that may experience decreasing demand as vehicle technology advances.”
  • Gender gaps start to show up long before students enter the workforce:
    • Eighteen percent of male students chose an engineering career, compared to 3 percent of females.
    • Twelve percent of male respondents expressed interest in a health career compared to 40 percent of female respondents.
    • Male respondents were twice as likely to choose a business career as women (14 percent vs. 7 percent).
    • Young women who took the survey were 86 percent less likely than young men to say they want a career in computing – such as programming, support, analytics, and software development.

Questions for students (before sharing the results of this survey with them):

  • What is your desired career at this point?
  • Why do you like this specific career?
  • What education/training do you need to achieve this result?
  • What interests you about this career?
  • Have you ever had a conversation with someone who does this job? What did you learn OR what would you ask them about it?


Interested in more Career activities? Check out our Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? activity.




About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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