• Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
  • Education at Coker College
Module 1 – Career Guidance

Definition: Career guidance is a process by which students become aware of the world of work, explore career options, and prepare for post-secondary opportunities.

Performance Standard: Teacher candidates will explain the career guidance process.


The State Department of Education recommends that school districts require teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans the standards and competency indicators set forth in the document South Carolina Comprehensive Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program
Model (http://www.myscschools.com/offices/ssys/youth_services/guidance//SCPM.pdf).


School districts must lay the foundation for the clusters of study system by providing career awareness activities for students in elementary school (including prekindergarten and kindergarten).



School districts must implement counseling and career exploration programs on the clusters of study and make them available to all sixth-, seventh-, and eighth grade students. These programs must be in place in the 2006–07 school year and must provide students with career interest inventories and information to assist them in making their career decisions.

School districts must begin in grade six the process of creating and updating developmentally appropriate career plans for students. The parents or legal guardians (or authorized representatives of the parents or guardians) as well as the students themselves must be directly involved in this process.

School districts must require that before the end of the second semester of the their eighth-grade year, students select a preferred cluster of study and begin to develop an individual graduation plan (IGP) in consultation with their parents or legal guardians (or authorized representative of the parents or guardians). A certified school counselor must sign the IGP. Note: the Career Clusters and Individual Graduation Plan will be discussed in Module II.



School districts must require that certified school counselors—as well as career specialists under the supervision of these certified counselors—advise students during the ninth and tenth grades to further define their career cluster goals and further refine their IGPs so that the students are prepared for a seamless transition to employment, further training, or postsecondary study.

School districts must require that before the end of the second semester of the their tenth-grade year, students declare an area of academic focus, known as a career major, within a cluster of study. A career major is a sequence of four elective courses leading to a specified career goal.School districts must provide work exploration guidance activities and career awareness programs that combine counseling on career options and experiential learning with academic planning to assist students throughout their high school years in fulfilling their IGPs.

School districts must provide students with a variety of work-exploration experiences such as the following:

  • Traditional mentoring experiences that seek to build a relationship during which the mentor and protégé work on the protégé’s personal development and interpersonal skills. The relationship generally lasts a year, with the mentor maintaining occasional contact with the protégé for an additional one to two years.
  • Community and shadowing experiences (short term) that introduce a student to a particular job by pairing him or her with a worker. The protégé follows, or “shadows,” the worker for a specified time to better understand what is required in a particular career.
  • Service-learning experiences that provide one or more students the opportunity to work on a service project at a particular work site or community agency. Under close adult supervision, students develop work skills as well as life skills and learn how to behave in work situations.
  • School-based activities that provide opportunities for students to explore basic business practices and entrepreneurial enterprises, including starting a small business. • Internships and cooperative education experiences that provide students with a one-on-one mentoring relationship and hands-on learning in their areas of interest. Under a contract that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of both parties, the protégé works regularly during or after school for three or four hours a week in exchange for the mentor's time in teaching the student work-related skills. An internship generally lasts from three to six months.
  • Youth apprenticeships beginning in the eleventh grade for students who are age sixteen and older that combine classroom instruction with on-the-job learning, connect secondary and postsecondary education, and result in certification of mastery of work-based skills. A youth apprentice may spend one to two years in work-based learning and 1,000 or more hours at a work site. After secondary school, youth apprenticeships may connect to adult apprenticeships that require another 1,000 or more hours of work-based learning and may last for another two years.
  • Extended learning opportunities that may include senior-year projects or community involvement or leadership.

The following list of basic components of structured work-based learning is offered as a guide to the school districts in planning work exploration and experiential learning opportunities for their students:

  • a planned program of job training, paid or nonpaid work experience, workplace mentoring, and work-site instruction in workplace competencies and in a broad variety of elements that are related to business and career fields;
  • a program of study based on high academic and skill standards and linked to postsecondary education; additional school-based learning that offers career exploration and counseling as well as instruction in a career major; periodic assessments that identify students’ academic strengths and weaknesses;
  • activities that foster interrelations among employers, schools, and students by matching students with school-based and work-based learning opportunities;
  • a program for the training of teachers, mentors, and counselors in themanagement of school-based and work-based learning opportunities.

Youth apprenticeships—which combine academic and career and technical curricula, work-site learning, and work experience—are an important means of providing structured work-based learning. The effective youth apprenticeship model calls upon school districts to fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • requiring students who participate in a work-based learning component to be at least sixteen years of age and in the eleventh grade;
  • offering opportunities for these students to pursue a course of education that integrates academic studies with work-site learning and practical work experience and thus enables them to graduate from high school not only with preparation for the world of work but also with a variety of other postsecondary options;
  • providing a list of the academic, career and technical, and work-site skills that the student can acquire;
  • awarding credentials that are based on both academic and career and technical skills;
  • requiring the student who seeks to engage in work experiences at an off-campus site to furnish written permission from his or her parent or legal guardian (or an authorized representative of the parent or guardian) before being allowed to do so;
  • requiring documentation that the student is appropriately covered regarding workers’ compensation, insurance and liability, or other issues related to the school-to-work system;
  • integrating experience-based competencies with classroom studies;• requiring a written agreement stipulating that the student’s employer will provide him or her with experiences that integrate work-based and school-based competencies and requiring that this agreement be signed by the employer, a representative of the student’s school, the student’s parent or
    legal guardian (or an authorized representative of the parent or guardian), and the student;
  • coordinating the development of broad-based school-to-work partnerships; And
  • developing articulation agreements with related postsecondary institutions.

Each school district must have in place policies and procedures for ensuring the safety of students who participate in work-based activities that require them to interact with individuals in the community. Abridged from South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act Guidelines, June 2006

Major Resources

Additional Resources