4 Questions to Ask When Planning Your Career After High School

refrigeration students learning a skilled trade

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As a high schooler approaching graduation, you’ll inevitably come up against a seriously tough question: “What will you do for work?”

When planning a career after high school, one of the most effective ways to find out the best path forward is to gain a better understanding of what you’re looking for out of a career.

Don’t worry! You don’t have to have a clear grasp on what you want to do to gain clarity on your path forward.

Read on to learn about some questions you should ask yourself to help narrow down possible career options to find one that suits you best.

Ask yourself these key questions before planning a career.

Does working inside or outside interest you more?

Location, location, location. It’s one of the most important factors to consider when deciding on a career path.

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Where you work can have a significant impact on your enjoyment of the work itself. Do you prefer the comfort of working inside a temperature-controlled space or does the idea of being outdoors while on the job excite you?

If you want the freedom to choose between both options and the ability to mix it up, the trades might be a good career path for you.

For example, HVAC technicians tend to work both indoors and outdoors, depending on their roles and expertise. Similarly, electricians can work inside commercial and residential buildings or outside on construction sites and other similar jobs.

Welding also offers the flexibility to work either indoors or outdoors.

How much do you want to move around at work?

Does the idea of working at a desk from 9-to-5 sound bad to you?

Harvard University suggests that sitting for prolonged periods of time, which many people do at work, can increase your risk for a range of health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

There are plenty of rewarding career opportunities that allow you to move around for most if not the entire workday to match your preferences and to maintain your health.

For example, most of the work tradespeople do can’t be completed from behind a desk. It requires a lot of physical activity and movement.

If constantly being up and about sounds like the perfect gig, a career in the trades might be calling your name.

Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?

Some people just don’t like working as part of a team. If you find yourself struggling with group projects or activities in high school, you may fall into this category.

When planning your career as you approach graduation, you might want to look towards career paths that provide a greater level of autonomy and independence.

Although there are notable exceptions, many professionals in the skilled trades work on their own for most of the workday. For example, many electricians operate solo on their projects minus short collaborations here and there with others in the field.

A lot of the work tradespeople do only requires the skills of one person, so extensive teamwork is not always necessary.

How quickly do you want to start working?

You might have to undergo some additional education before entering the workforce. The question is how long you’re okay with waiting until you can start earning an income.

Although it only takes four years to earn a college degree, over half of the students take longer to complete their studies. This is one of the major differences between college and the trades.

Alternatively, a trade program can get students qualified to work within just a few years at most. For example, The Refrigeration School’s trade programs last anywhere between 6 and 15 months.

If you’re eager to hit the professional ground running after high school, the trades offer a quicker path to the workforce.

Career satisfaction in the trades.

If a career in the trades sounds like a fulfilling path, you’re not alone! In fact, 83% of tradespeople are satisfied with their choice of work, according to Angi’s Skilled Trades in America report.7 In comparison, around 65% of people overall are satisfied with their careers.

Recently, more people have actually started enrolling in the trades post-pandemic because of the various opportunities and advantages this career path offers.

Interested in learning more about how to become a skilled trades worker? Read about crucial data regarding skilled trades careers.

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