Interest inventories are a way to gather information about students’ preferences, strengths, and dislikes. They can cover a variety of topics including:

  • Social
  • Occupational
  • Recreational activities

Career assessments are a type of vocational interest inventory that will help students better understand what careers match their skills and interests and their preferred work environment.

Students’ interests, needs, and preferences often change over time. Retaking career assessments and inventories allows students to reassess opportunities as they change.

Assessments can include questions that help students to determine the type of work environment that may be a good fit for them:

  • Working in a group or independently
  • Preferring an inside or outside environment
  • Learning new tasks frequently or sticking to a routine

Career assessments are not a predictor of how successful a student will be in employment or a certain career. They should be used to assist the process of determining where students will thrive or what challenges they may face in the workforce so that they can be better prepared.


Questions to Ask when Selecting a Career Assessment or Inventory

  1. Meet with students’ teacher and discuss assessments.
  • Have students already taken any assessments?
  • If yes, which ones and what were the results?
  • What types of accommodations do students need for taking assessments?
    • Digital
    • Paper and pencil
    • Picture-based
    • Read aloud
  1. Consider the purpose of the assessment.
  • What do I already know about the students’ postsecondary education or employment goals?
  • What information do I need to know about the student?
  1. Check-in with students about their goals.
  • Are you interested in learning more about job opportunities?
  • Do you want to explore a specific career or career categories that may fit your skills and interests?
  • Is there anything that you learned from prior assessments that you would like to know more about?


Delivery Method and Differentiation

  • Keep in mind students’ individual goals and support needs when selecting an assessment
  • Not all students may benefit from taking the same assessment
    • Example: Trey doesn’t need to take the Career Clusters Inventory. He knows he is interested in the Information Technology Career Cluster and has explored jobs in this area with his classroom teacher. When the rest of your group is taking this assessment, John can take an interest inventory to discover his work environment preferences.
  • For additional tips on selecting an assessment, see the video we have on selecting and using assessments with your students
  • For more examples of accommodations and assessments that match students’ needs, see the resource on accommodations and disability friendly assessments