The survey, which was fielded in 2016 to more than 150,000 students from 8th to 12th grade, gauged interest in more than 200 career options and resulted in a top 10 list that ranged from in-demand medical positions like nurses and physicians to more aspirational positions like professional athletes, singers, and actors. The survey also revealed that childhood ambitions evolve with maturity. Middle school respondents were twice as likely as their twelfth grade counterparts to select careers in athletics and the arts, while interest in health and business careers increased as respondents entered high school. In fact, the most popular careers were in STEM-related fields with 45 percent of respondents expressing the most interest in careers such as physician, mechanical engineer, computer programmer or marine biologist, with the health care field drawing the most interest.
The Exploring program offers young people, ages 10 through 20, the opportunity to spend time in the workplace and learn directly from professionals. These youth gain valuable real-world experiences to help them determine how their interests could translate into career options. Although the Career Interest Survey primarily helps match students with the workplace experiences that best match his or her interests, survey results also point to important emerging trends about America's future workforce. Health Care is Hot Four of the 10 most popular career options cited by survey respondents were in the health care field, an area that is expected to grow in the coming years as the U.S. population grows older. Other science and engineering fields drew interest from 18 percent of respondents, with mechanical engineer rounding out the top 10 fields garnering the most student interest.
The top 10 most popular careers include:
1. Registered nurse
2. Professional athlete
5. Athletic trainer/sports medicine
8. Veterinarian/Veterinary technician
10. Mechanical engineer