Career Education

Introduction to Career Education

A person’s career is considered their “journey” through life, and the Career Education curriculum offers students the opportunity to pursue this journey in personally meaningful and goal-oriented ways. Career-life development with intent is the ongoing process of self-discovery, growth in competence, and learning from experiences in educational, work-related, and personal life contexts.

The Career Education curriculum supports students in becoming successful, educated citizens by helping them learn how to effectively manage their life journey toward preferred future possibilities. This area of learning requires students to identify and develop their personal interests, passions, and competencies. Students reflect on learning experiences in school and community, build confidence through their contributions, and explore multiple career-life roles and choices. The curriculum fosters lifelong learning, beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through to graduation and beyond.

Features of the Career Education curriculum

The Career Education curriculum:

  • promotes a holistic view of the student, providing opportunities to explore identity, purpose, and well-being in diverse learning contexts and related to multiple life roles
  • recognizes the value of experiential learning, community connections, and reflection in advancing career-life development
  • is organized in three Content areas that foster purposeful career-life development: personal development, community connections, and planning
  • includes consistent and gradual growth in the Curricular Competencies to support specific learning in career-life development as well as learning across disciplines
  • is structured to facilitate integration across multiple areas of learning

Flexible teaching and learning

The language and design of the Career Education curriculum promotes flexibility for teachers in pursuing career-life development with students. This flexibility accommodates the range of student interests, needs, and goals, as well as the diversity of school and community contexts.

The Career Education curriculum consists of three major phases: Developing Foundations, Exploring Possibilities, and Pursuing Preferred Futures. The connection between grade levels and phases is one of emphasis: many high school students will still need to focus on developing foundations, for example. Students will transition through each phase based on their personal development, community context, and emerging career-life opportunities.

K-5: Developing Foundations in Career-Life Development

In Kindergarten to Grade 5, career-life development is largely about the expanding sense of self, positive community engagement, and reflection on learning and goal-setting. Students develop an awareness of their personal interests and strengths, and the roles and responsibilities of family, school, and community in supporting their lifelong learning journey.

Grades 6-9: Exploring Possibilities in Career-Life Development

In Grades 6-9, students continue to reflect on, self-assess, and set goals in personal competency development and determine their strengths and preferences as they explore career-life concepts such as identity, leadership, personal planning, and transferable skills. Students are introduced to increasingly diverse experiential learning opportunities and ways in which family, mentors, and community networks support their continued career-life development.

Grades 10-12: Pursuing Preferred Futures in Career-Life Development

In Grades 10-12, students further refine personal career-life development goals through experiential learning, cultivating community connections, gathering authentic evidence of learning, and reflecting on competency development. They explore post-graduation possibilities in diverse educational, work, and personal life contexts and build the personal career-life management skills needed to effectively pursue who and how they want to be in the world. Career-Life Education (CLE) and Career-Life Connections (CLC) are part of the graduation requirements, and Career-Life Connections includes a career-life exploration component and a capstone.

For many students, contemplating career-life possibilities becomes prominent for the first time during grades 10-12. Curriculum that provides an intentionally aligned learning progression encourages students to move from exploring various career-life possibilities and practicing employability skills to applying their refined self-knowledge and career-life strategies as they move forward in advancing preferred future possibilities.

A thoughtful learning progression occurs across the Career-Life Education and Career-Life Connections curricula.

Career-Life Education focuses on gaining a clear understanding of career-life development knowledge, skills, and strategies for life’s journey into adulthood, and includes:


Career-Life Connections focuses on applying personal career-life management knowledge, skills, and strategies to the one’s own personal life journey, and includes:


  • exploring career-life possibilities for adult life, such as roles, opportunities, and community resources
  • examining ways to publicly represent ourselves both face-to-face and in digital environments
  • practising inclusive and respectful interactions for various community and work-related contexts
  • connecting and engaging with supportive community members
  • researching post-graduation options and planning resources, such as labour market trends, budgeting tools, and workplace safety guidelines.
  • deepening career-life concepts and thoughtful self-knowledge to inform personal life-long learning choices and post-graduation plans
  • using self-advocacy and employment marketing strategies, such as creating one’s own effective public profiles
  • employing developed social capital, such as leadership and collaboration skills, to cultivate community networks
  • engaging in a substantive experiential learning opportunity of 30 hours or more that is intended to expand and/or deepen student exposure to career-life possibilities, such as service learning, volunteerism, employment, fieldwork projects, entrepreneurship, and passion projects
  • designing, assembling, and presenting a capstone to an audience, celebrating the learning journey and next steps toward preferred futures.

Design of the Career Education curriculum

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas represent what students are expected to understand as a result of their learning – the “Understand” component of B.C.’s learning model. Collectively, the Big Ideas progress in both sophistication and degree of connection with the lives of students throughout the curriculum. The examples below show how the Big Ideas about personal development as lifelong learners and connections to community advance as students progress through the curriculum.







Learning is a lifelong enterprise.

Exploring our strengths and abilities can help us identify our goals.

Leadership represents good planning, goal-setting, and collaboration.

Reflecting on our preferences and skills helps us identify the steps we need to take to achieve our career goals.

Career-life choices are made in a recurring cycle of planning, reflecting, adapting, and deciding.

Lifelong learning and active citizenship foster career-life opportunities for people and communities.

Strong communities are the result of being connected to family and community and working together toward common goals.

Family and community relationships can be a source of support and guidance when solving problems and making decisions.

Our attitudes toward careers are influenced by our view of ourselves as well as by our friends, family, and community.

The value of work in our lives, communities, and society can be viewed from diverse perspectives.

Cultivating networks and reciprocal relationships can support and broaden career-life awareness and options.

Engaging in networks and reciprocal relationships can guide and broaden career-life awareness and options.

Curricular Competencies

Curricular Competencies are action-based statements that reflect the “Do” component of the curriculum model and identify what students will do to demonstrate their learning. The Curricular Competencies have been written to promote as much flexibility and creativity as possible, enabling students to explore and find multiple ways to demonstrate their learning.

The Curricular Competencies connect with the Core Competencies – Communication, Thinking, and Personal and Social – which are the intellectual, personal, social, and emotional skills that will contribute to lifelong learning. The Curricular Competencies throughout the Career Education curriculum provide ongoing opportunities for student self-assessment of the Core Competencies and growth in self-awareness as it relates to purposeful career-life development.


The Content learning standards reflect the “Know” component of the learning model and are stated as concepts and topics. The Content acts as both a supporting structure intended to assist students in demonstrating the Curricular Competencies and a foundational element leading students to the Big Ideas.

The Content of the Career Education curriculum is organized into three areas that support meaningful career-life development: personal development, community connections, and planning. In Kindergarten to Grade 5, students focus on the first two areas – personal development and community connections. In Grade 6, planning for career-life development is introduced and continues through to graduation.


Elaborations have been provided for many of the Content and Curricular Competencies learning standards in the Career Education curriculum. The elaborations offer definitions, clarifications, examples, and further information about the topics or competencies at a given grade. They have been included to provide additional clarity and support for both teachers and students and can serve as potential places to begin teaching and learning. Examples of elaborations within the Career Education curriculum are shown below.


Big Idea

Curricular Competency



Career-life choices are made in a recurring cycle of planning, reflecting, adapting, and deciding.

  • Examine the influences of personal and public profiles on career-life opportunities
  • value of volunteerism for self and community

Career-life choices:
Sample questions to support inquiry-based learning:

  • How do we pursue open-ended career-life goals in a rapidly changing world?
  • What tools and strategies can help us commit to short-term actions, while keeping us open to emerging possibilities?
  • What evidence of learning both in school and out of school best represents development of our competencies?

personal and public profiles: taking into consideration:

  • personal versus public contexts
  • digital and face-to-face contexts
  • various audiences being addressed
  • social and peer group interactions and the potential loss or gain of reputation/opportunities/status
  • the importance of both verbal and non-verbal communications in interviews and presentations

value of volunteerism: for example, develops self-esteem, resilience, social responsibility, connections, and practical workplace skills and provides opportunities for service learning; contributes to community


Important considerations



Students may explore and experience various career-life roles and opportunities before they discover preferred options that are personally meaningful. Mentors play an important role in purposeful career-life development for students, including exposure to new possibilities, connecting with community networks, gathering authentic evidence of learning, and planning and decision making. In high school, this mentorship role is often performed by the Career-Life educator but may involve a different educator or educators depending on the needs, interests, and goals of the student.


First Peoples Principles of Learning

The First Peoples Principles of Learning have been affirmed within First Peoples societies to guide the teaching and learning of provincial curricula. Because these principles of learning represent an attempt to identify common elements in the varied teaching and learning approaches that prevail within particular First Peoples societies, it must be recognized that they do not capture the full reality of the approach used in any single First Peoples society.

The First Peoples Principles of Learning greatly influence the curricula and are woven throughout. They lend themselves well to the Career Education curriculum, as they promote experiential and reflexive learning, as well as self-advocacy and personal responsibility in learners. They also help create classroom experiences based on the concepts of community, shared learning, and trust, all of which are vital to a rich learning environment.

Working with First Peoples communities

To address First Peoples content and perspectives in the classroom in a way that is accurate and that respectfully reflects First Peoples concepts of teaching and learning, teachers are strongly encouraged to seek the advice and support of members of local First Peoples communities. As First Peoples communities are diverse in terms of language, culture, and available resources, each community will have its own unique protocol to gain support for integration of local knowledge and expertise. Permission for the use or translation of cultural materials or practices should be obtained through consultation with individuals, families, and other community members. This authorization should be obtained prior to the use of any educational plans or materials.

To begin discussion of possible instructional and assessment activities, teachers should first contact First Peoples education coordinators, teachers, support workers, and counsellors in their district who will be able to facilitate the identification of local resources and contacts, such as Elders, chiefs, First Nations tribal or band councils, First Peoples cultural centres, First Peoples Friendship Centres, and Métis or Inuit organizations. In addition, teachers may wish to consult the various Ministry of Education publications available, including the “Planning Your Program” section of the resource Shared Learnings. This resource was developed to help all teachers provide students with knowledge of, and opportunities to share experiences with, First Peoples in B.C.

For more information about these documents, consult the Aboriginal Education website: