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Making Career Choices

Making good career choices can be exciting, rewarding, fun, and frustrating! To help you make career decisions, Cape Fear Community College provides you with this step-by-step approach to career planning.*

Steps in Career Planning

1) Understand your interests, abilities, values, and personality.

  • What do you enjoy doing and do well? What are your hobbies? Your favorite school subjects?
  • What features do you like and dislike in your work, household chores, and volunteer work?

Need help in understanding yourself in relation to career preferences? See your high school counselor or CFCC career counselor.

2) Explore different careers.

  • What occupations sound exciting to you?
  • Can you find someone in the community with a similar occupation and talk with them?
  • Ask yourself, “Would you like to be doing this job all day?”
  • Why not explore careers by working at temporary services, internships and co-ops? Need more information about careers? Search for books, videos, information on computer, and visit school career centers.

3) Learn about education and training for occupations of interest.

  • How much school is required for these careers? One, two, or four years?
  • Where are these schools and how much will this training cost?

Need to examine your options? Talk to your high school counselor or CFCC counselor.

People? Data? Things? Ideas?

Occupations are classified into categories– people, data, things, and ideas. Do you see yourself working with people? With data? With things? With ideas? Or a combination of these categories?

People-Related Occupations

Do you enjoy working with and for other people–educating, counseling, and informing? Are you friendly and like to help others? Examples of people-related occupations are day care workers, teachers, sales representatives, police officers, social workers, psychologists, recreation workers, and counselors.

Data-Related Occupations

Do you like to explore ideas and analyze data? Do you have abilities in math and science? Are you curious and often like to work independently? Examples of data-related occupations are accounting/office clerks, paralegals, engineers, medical transcriptionists, and lab techs.

Things or “Hands-On” Related Occupations

Do you like working with your hands to build or produce things? Are you mechanically inclined and enjoy working outside and on machinery? “Hands-on ” occupations are machinsts, electricians, truck drivers, chefs, builders, auto mechanics, and welders.

Idea-Related Occupations

Are you creative? Do you enjoy the performing and visual arts? Are you always thinking of new ideas and innovations?

Idea-related occupations include interior designers, artists, musicians, computer programmers, architects, and chemists.

You can have occupations that combine categories such as people/data (radiologic technologists, pharmacy technicians, dental assistants, and nurses) or data/”hands-on” (marine science technicians, drafter, engineering and computer systems technicians).

*North Carolina State Occupational Informational Coordinating Committee. “Career Choices in North Carolina,” No. 13, 1996-1997.



Wilmington Campus
411 North Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

North Campus
4500 Blue Clay Road
Castle Hayne, NC 28429

Burgaw Center
100 East Industrial Drive
Burgaw, NC 28425

Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday: 8:00am to 5:00pm

Accessibility Services

Cape Fear Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, political affiliation or age.