Sonoma County Office of Education

Career Technical Education

Middle School Career Exploration

Middle School StudentsWhile it may seem premature to ask middle school students to begin thinking about careers, research shows that one of the key indicators of future academic and career success is exposure to career awareness activities in grades 6-8. At these grade levels, the goal is to introduce students to the range of possibilities that exist and prepare them to make decisions about high school coursework and, ultimately, their future.

Through its CTE Support Services department, SCOE supports career exploration activities in middle schools that:

  • Expand student knowledge of career options
  • Expand student knowledge of high school and post-secondary education/training options
  • Implement model programs that feature high-wage, high-growth careers
  • Increase positive perceptions of post-secondary career, education, and training opportunities
  • Increase student understanding of career goals, interests, and aspirations
  • Increase staff awareness of career development resources and educational options available to students

SCOE supports the development of these activities in middle schools and provides assistance to connect schools to high school career pathway programs so that students can explore these learning opportunities. SCOE staff can also provide information about and connections to career programs and majors at post-secondary institutions.

Career Exploration Resource Links
California Career Zone
Fire Science Online: Public Service Careers
Career Pillar
Kuder Navigator
O*NET Online
Roadtrip Nation
Who Do U Want 2B?
Academic and Career Planning Template (Read Instructions first to create fillable download document)

Step-Up Classes

Step-UpSCOE’s CTE department will again offer Step-Up Classes to middle school students this spring and summer at no cost. Step-Up Classes are taught by CTE teachers in their regular high school classrooms. The classes provide an opportunity for middle school students to become oriented to the high school campus, learn about programs available there, and gain hands-on access to a career pathway of interest. More information about 2015 classes at


  • Sunni Stecher, Middle School CTE Consultant
    (707) 524-2720,
  • Chuck Wade, CTE Program Coordinator
    (707) 524-8404,