Career Clusters breaks down all of the careers in Career Planner into 16 career fields, or "clusters". If you are just starting your career research, this is an excellent place to begin; you will learn the basics of each job type, the education and training you can expect to invest, and compare wages for specific jobs in that field.
Chances are that you've probably already heard of a few of these Career Clusters, so start clicking and remember to favorite careers you discover along the way!
Each Career Cluster has its own page; click on any picture for a closer look into that cluster.
A Closer Look at Career Clusters
Each Career Cluster page gives a brief description of why the field might appeal to you, and summarizes the career paths in that field. You can also hop straight to a list of all careers in that cluster. You can do this by clicking the link under the picture at the top right of the screen ("see all careers in this cluster").
There are a lot of careers out there, and even within a single Career Cluster you can see plenty of variety . For example, you may be interested in working with computers, but are you more interested in software development or cyber security? Information technology or web development?
Career Pathways breaks down a Career Cluster even further to help you better understand your options in that field.
In the example below, the Education & Training Career Cluster is broken into three pathways with their own summaries and lists of careers.
To see a complete list of careers for a pathway, click the (see all careers) link.
Employment and Outlook
Employment and Outlook presents an overview of growth in the field - is demand for jobs in this field high, or will positions be difficult to find? Which careers in the cluster are most likely to secure you a job in the future?
After you get a snapshot view of the Career Cluster as a whole, you can look at Employment and Outlook information for individual careers in Career Profiles.
Level of Education and Wages
These sections summarize the education and training expectations for the field, and break down all careers in the cluster by the level of education needed to earn a position, from short-term on-the-job training to doctoral degrees.
The example below shows all Architecture and Construction careers that require short-term training. This is the first of seven possible levels of education for this cluster.
This section also summarizes wage information for the field - do earnings vary from season to season? Are additional benefits like health insurance typically available?
In the list of careers, you will see two columns with dollar amounts. The first column is the National Annual Median Wage for each career and the second is the Washington Annual Median Wage.
National Annual Median Wage gives you an idea of how much the average worker in the United States earns every year after spending several years in that career. One way to think of it is "about 50% of workers earn this much or more every year."
Washington Annual Median Wage is like the National Annual Median Wage, except it only looks at workers in Washington State.
In the example below, Construction Helpers in the United States earn $27,310 - $30,570 every year after several years of experience. Construction Helpers in Washington, however, earn $31,022 - $44,689.
By comparison, Electrician Helpers in the United States earn $29,530 midway into their careers, while Washington Electrician Helpers make $48,123.
In both of these examples, the Washington Annual Median Wage is higher. This means that on average, workers in Washington earn more in these careers than they would elsewhere in the United States.
It is worth remembering that you may earn more money in certain locations, but it may also cost more to live in those locations.