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Career Clusters


Basic image of the 16 career clusters that follow the 6 career pathways.  Perfect to use in small group and/or… | Career clusters, Career pathways,  Career counseling

Career Clusters are broad groups of occupations and industries, “Health Sciences” is an example. The U.S. Department of Education created 16 of these Career Clusters (see above). You want to ask yourself,  “Which cluster includes the occupations that match my interests?”

Career clusters are subdivided into “career pathways”

For example, the Health Science Cluster includes five career pathways.

  • Career Pathways are a series of courses that prepare you for an occupational field.
    For example, courses in the “Therapeutic Services” Pathway lead to jobs like radiologist, physician, or physical therapist. 

Career clusters and pathways are NOT organized according to career interests

They are organized around broad industry or economic areas. This means some jobs are in more than one cluster! For example, the job “accountant” is found in two clusters: a) Business, Management and Administration and b) Government and Administration.

So for an individual making a career decision, it makes more sense to start with interests and matching careers first before choosing a cluster or pathway.


Check out the following online articles if you would like to learn more:

The 16 Career Clusters: Definition and Guide

The Concept of Career Clusters

Careers in the Military