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Career Pathways

Reflecting the changing work world, the career pathways focus adds to current state and federal education reforms as one of the most important planning tools for high school students. From the moment students enter high school, it is important that they realize they are preparing themselves to compete and succeed in a global economy. Students must understand the relevance of what they are learning today to what they will do tomorrow in the work world. Career pathways are tools to help them get where they want to go.

The Puyallup School District has adopted the Pierce County recommendations for five basic career pathways. Each pathway is a cluster of occupations or careers that are grouped together because people in them share similar interests and strengths. The career pathways are:

  • Arts and Communications
  • Business and Marketing
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Health and Human Services
  • Science and Natural Resources

Along with an emphasis on a strong academic program, the pathways give students the opportunity to explore specific career-related classes and activities.

Beginning in kindergarten, students experience a variety of career-related activities designed to expand their awareness of future options. In eighth grade, students make tentative career pathway selections using self-assessment and career interest surveys. As students learn about their options, or as their interests and plans change, they may choose to change pathways.

Career pathways help students focus on an area of interest. The chosen career pathway provides a structure for all students to develop a career plan, regardless of their desired level of education. This focused plan helps students select school courses, activities, and part-time employment. Students can see the relevance in their selected courses, thereby making school more meaningful for them.

With the high cost of post-secondary education, it has become even more important to help students avoid wasting time and money at the post-secondary level. Experiences in the high school career pathway can help students decide whether they are really well-suited for a particular choice.

Since each career pathway includes a variety of options and choices, they are applicable for all  students, whether they plan to go on to four-year colleges, community or technical colleges, or directly into apprenticeships or work. In addition to providing a basis for career awareness and exploration, all career pathways share the basic educational learning requirements and core competencies students need to be successful in any career.

Career Pathways Honors

Seniors who have completed a sequence of courses in their pathway program may be recognized as a Pathway Completer and receive a Certificate of Achievement.

Students who earn a "B" or better in each of their pathway courses earn the distinction of Pathway Honors and the student will receive a Pathway Honor cord to be worn at graduation.