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    Choosing A College Major with the ASVAB CEP

    Posted by Dr. Irina Rader
    ASVAB Career Exploration Program banner image containing young female student looking puzzled


    Choosing a college major is an exciting milestone in a young adult’s career journey. With so many options available, deciding on a field of study can be overwhelming. However, there is a tool that can help high school students make this decision easier: the ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP) OCCU-Find.

    In this article, we will explore how teens benefit from participating in the ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP) and how its unique ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find database can help them choose a college major, find institutions offering related fields, and make informed decisions about their futures. 

    What is the ASVAB CEP?

    The ASVAB CEP is a no-cost career exploration program available to all students in 10th grade and above. It leverages the predictive power of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), allowing students to reveal their skills and vocational strengths. After the test, participating students also access a suite of career readiness and planning tools that help them understand their work-related values and interests, explore various career options and pathways, and make meaningful plans for life after high school

    What is the ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find?

    The ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find is a unique career database specifically curated for teens and young adults. It features thousands of potential job options. Using OCCU-Find, participants can search for careers based on their unique interests and their ASVAB assessment results or explore any career they might be interested in. 

    What makes the ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find truly special is the extensive information it provides for each career option. Each OCCU-Find Occupation Details page lists:

    • A brief job description
    • Job skill importance, work-related interests, and values information
    • Related career information
    • Entry-level and average salary details
    • Education and training requirements
    • Related certifications, apprenticeships, government jobs, and colleges

    The OCCU-Find also has an important section that should not be overlooked for college-bound students: “College Info.” Here, they find programs of study associated with the occupation they’re considering, which colleges and universities offer these majors, tuition costs, acceptance rates, and much more. This helps them see which college majors apply to their desired career and compare them with other career paths.

    How to Use the ASVAB CEP to Choose a College Major

    Let's examine a real-world example of how the ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find can help you choose a college major.

    Samantha is a high school student interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. She has always been passionate about helping others and loves science and math. Samantha took the ASVAB and learned that her highest career aptitudes are math and science/technical skills.

    She completed the FYI (Find Your Interest Inventory) and learned she is interested in social, investigative, and conventional jobs. She also completed the Work Values Situational Judgment Activity, indicating that she prefers work environments that prioritize relationships and offer support and achievement opportunities. She is already considering a career in healthcare sciences, so she filters by the “Health Sciences” career cluster.

    Using her results, Samantha searches for matching careers in the OCCU-Find. The OCCU-Find matches her with three jobs she is most suited to based on her inputs. These are:

    • Clinical Nurse Specialists
    • Registered Nurses
    • Anesthesiologist Assistants

    Samantha clicks into Registered Nurses (RN). In the “How To Get There” section, she learns that most RNs obtain a bachelor’s degree. Then, she clicks on College Info and sees that she could choose more than 20 majors in this career path!

    This is insightful, but Samantha is interested in continuing to graduate school and working in an advanced nursing career. She checks out Clinical Nurse Specialists and learns that most people in this occupation have a Master’s Degree. She learns that many of the possible college majors for RNs and Clinical Nurse Specialists overlap, so she should probably consider one of these.

    More than 2,000 schools offer degrees related to these careers. Using the OCCU-Find, she evaluates potential colleges based on her SAT and ACT scores, GPA, and desired tuition cost. For each school, she sees exactly which degree programs are offered. This helps her narrow her list and identify suitable colleges and majors.

    Samantha reviews more information on the career fields she has explored and learns about the job outlook, salary, and required education for each. She also has the opportunity to participate in a job shadowing experience through her school’s CTE program, which solidifies her interest in healthcare.

    As a result, Samantha decided to pursue a degree in nursing and is confident in her decision thanks to the guidance of the ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find!

    Why Use the ASVAB CEP and OCCU-Find to Choose a College Major?

    The example above walks you through how to use the ASVAB CEP’s OCCU-Find to find possible college majors. But couldn’t Samantha have relied on her first inclination toward healthcare and just picked nursing? Of course, she could have just picked a healthcare major and waited to see how it worked out.

    However, not all students have a clear path as Samantha does. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that roughly 80 percent of college students change their major at least once

    Further, more than half change their major at least three times. And that’s not even considering all the students who go to college with no major declared or undecided.

    Even if students feel confident in their field of study when they select it, the research suggests they will likely change course. This means potentially lost time and tuition dollars in reaching their ultimate goal. 

    By participating in the ASVAB CEP, students get highly reliable information about what jobs they are suited for, are better informed, and therefore more equipped to make decisions from the start. 

    Benefits of Using the ASVAB CEP Tools for College & Career Planning

    Personalized Recommendations

    Most other career exploration programs or aptitude tests for teens rely on self-reporting or short quizzes. The ASVAB CEP is different because it relies on one of the most validated and researched aptitude tests and applies it to all career paths. Then, using the OCCU-Find, students can search for careers based on their interests, skills, and values. This means that the recommendations students receive are tailored to their unique strengths and preferences, making them more relevant and accurate.

    Comprehensive Information

    The OCCU-Find database contains information on thousands of careers, including civilian, government, and military jobs. This means that young people are shown many options and can explore different paths before deciding.

    The database also includes information on job outlook, salary, and required education for each career field, giving you a better understanding of what to expect in your chosen field.

    Easy to Use

    The ASVAB CEP OCCU-Find is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The Career Exploration Program is self-paced, allowing you to complete it independently. The OCCU-Find database is also easy to search, making finding information on different career fields and industries simple.

    Once students identify careers they’re interested in, they can favorite them and create an intentional action plan to reach their goals. They can also create multiple career plans and pathways to revisit as they gain experience and learn about themselves.

    Learn more about the many benefits of ASVAB CEP participation for students and young adults at www.asvabprogram.com.

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    Dr. Irina Rader

    Dr. Irina Rader

    ​​Dr. Irina Rader is the National Program Director of the Department of Defense (DoD) ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP). Dr. Rader works with a panel of experts in the field of career development and planning and develops and implements new career planning models, ensuring that the technical aspects of new or newly revised programs are theoretically and empirically sound, unbiased, and consistent with current practice and procedures. Dr. Rader provides technical guidance and training to various personnel involved in the ASVAB Career Exploration Program, including civilian and military Education Service Specialists. She acts as the primary representative of the Defense Testing and Assessment Center in matters related to the DoD ASVAB CEP.