5 Career Readiness Lesson Plans Your Students Will Love Blog Feature
Chris Zook

By: Chris Zook on October 5th, 2017

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5 Career Readiness Lesson Plans Your Students Will Love

Career Readiness

Career readiness lesson plans are some of the most in-demand educational materials today.

They apply to every grade level, and the skills are important for every student to know before joining the workforce.

Career readiness lessons give students the practical information and soft skills they need to move forward in their lives.

And while it’s helpful to learn these skills at any point in a student’s life, it’s best to learn career readiness when a student is young.

This is why it's so important to teach career skills to younger students, especially middle school students

That early reinforcement means they can recall, understand, and apply career concepts quickly — almost like second nature. 

So how can you instill that second nature in your students’ lives?

The answers lie in these five career readiness lesson plan resources:

  1. Career readiness student rubric
  2. Career guidance handbook guide
  3. Career development lesson plans
  4. Career and college readiness lesson plans
  5. Career development module

All of these options provide excellent solutions for both teachers and students!

1. Career Readiness Student Rubric


Provided by: West Virginia Department of Education

Grade levels: High school (9-12)

West Virginia’s Department of Education has one of the most thorough and impressive collections of career readiness lesson plans.

In fact, they have a full career readiness pathway for students to follow from freshman through senior year.

Over those four years, students learn everything from an introduction to high school to guidelines for living on your own. 

In between, students learn practically all there is to know about launching their post-education careers — including personal finance!

The West Virginia DOE regularly updates these lesson plans, too. So if you find one that’s a few years old, rest assured that it’ll be replaced.

Why Teachers Love It

One of the biggest reasons teachers love this resource is its simple layout.

Every lesson plan is laid out in a table format. 


The lessons are also in order according to the appropriate grade level. On top of that, they’re numbered according to the order in which you should teach them to get the best results from students.

That means West Virginia’s Department of Education created these lesson plans with a firm plan in mind. Following it can make your life easier since you don’t have to make anything from scratch.

Instead, you can follow the plan and fill in the few gaps you have.

Best of all, you can use these lesson plans word-for-word if you teach in West Virginia.

You can also use these career readiness lesson plans in other states. But you may have to tweak them to fit your state’s standards. 

Why Students Love It

Most importantly, students love these lesson plans for a simple reason.

They’re easy to understand.

As we said earlier, the West Virginia DOE created these lesson plans according to a plan.

That plan is logically laid out to help students learn essential skills when they’re younger and upper-level concepts when they’re older.

This is the “scaffolding” approach to education — erecting the framework of a strong education from the ground up and filling in the gaps with more complex knowledge later.

As a result, students can understand what they’re learning more easily.

That doesn’t mean the lessons are “easy” — it means they’re more effective for students.

The end result is a comprehensive list of career readiness lesson plans that are easy to teach and engaging to learn.  

2. Career Guidance Handbook Guide


Provided by: Washington Department of Education

Grade levels: K-12

Like West Virginia, the Washington Department of Educationhas a full guide to career readiness skills for its students.

But these lesson plans aren’t just for high school students — they’re for every grade level.

That doesn't necessarily mean teachers in Washington are showing kindergarteners how to start a career. But teachers can incorporate the values of hard work and success at early ages.

The Washington DOE views career readiness lesson plans from a standpoint of “guidance” more than actual instruction.

That makes these lesson plans a little “looser” than West Virginia’s, but teachers can still learn a lot from Washington.

For example, the Washington DOE has a whole section for online career guidance and electronic resources — two areas that are rapidly expanding.

They also provide teachers with a framework for how to craft their own career readiness lesson plans, as opposed to just giving teachers ready-made lessons.

In fact, that’s part of the reason so many teachers like these lesson plans. 

Why Teachers Love It

The Washington DOE’s guide for career readiness treats teachers the same way that teachers treat students.

The guide doesn't just give teachers the answers — it provides the framework for the teachers to discover the answers themselves.

As a result, teachers can prepare unique lesson plans that meet standards in a more engaged way.

After all, if you just copy and paste a lesson plan, you’re not engaged with the concepts in that lesson plan.

But if you’re engaged with a career readiness lesson plan from the start, then you’re in a stronger position to provide a quality education.

That’s why the Washington DOE’s career guidance index discusses concepts instead of hard-and-fast lesson plans.


That means Washington’s standards don’t just help teachers with ideas — they help teachers get better at teaching.

Why Students Love It

Students love this career guidebook indirectly. They may not know it even exists — but they’ll see the results in their teachers’ presentations.

That’s because their teachers will have a firmer grasp on what they want to present, how they want to present it, and how students should react.

As a result, students engage in lessons that make sense to them. They can follow their teachers’ trains of thought and arrive at logical conclusions.

Best of all, they learn how to prepare for their lives’ careers. 

3. Career Development Lesson Plans


Provided by: Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

Grade levels: K-12

The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education knows that career development lesson plans are important, but teachers also need to match lessons to students who can understand them.

That’s why they’ve segmented their lesson plans according to the needs of different grade levels.

That includes emotional development, academic development, career development, and grade levels.

Overall, that makes these lesson plans exceptionally specialized so teachers can find the ones that work best for their classrooms. 

Why Teachers Love It

The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education has a huge range of lesson plans. Teachers can view them in different categories or all grouped together.


That means teachers can identify the category most relevant to their needs, look into it, and pull the lesson plans that work for them. 

On top of that, Missouri’s DoE organizes its lesson plans according to scaffolding education. That makes it easier for teachers to see how all of the lessons tie together, and it helps students retain information more effectively.

That’s a big win for any teacher.

The only catch is that you’ll have to tweak these lesson plans for your own state’s standards if you don’t teach in Missouri.

Still, if you have emotional support students or other individualized education plans, Missouri’s career development lesson plans provide an excellent framework for success.

Why Students Love It

These career readiness lesson plans are so specialized that they’re practically guaranteed to apply to any group of students.

That means your students don’t just get a cookie-cutter lesson plan that leaves half the class behind.

Instead, they get helpful instruction that applies to them and where they are in life.

It’s really that simple — Missouri has created a strong list of lessons that can work for any student.

With that in mind, teachers can start preparing students as young as kindergarten for success after school.

Best of all, students with special needs can keep up just as well.

No one is left behind. 

4. Career and College Readiness Lesson Plans


Provided by: California Career Resource Network

Grade levels: 5-12

The California Career Resource Network has its own set of standards and career readiness lesson plans.

(These plans apply to post-secondary, four-year education in addition to career development.)

Their extensive list of lessons starts with an “Educator Guide” that prepares teachers for the rest of the CCRN’s content.

The lesson plans themselves are geared entirely at students. They encourage students to look inward and learn about themselves, study the market for their possible careers, and brush up on the skills they need to succeed.

The CCRN’s resources are set up as a process. Students start the process in fifth grade and continue through high school graduation.

By the time students are out of school, they’re adequately prepared for a career or additional education with real-world skills. 

Why Teachers Love It

Teachers love the CCRN’s career readiness lesson plans because they cover such a huge range of ages.

In addition, teachers love the scaffolding strategy that we see so often from lesson developers. 

CCRN also offers videos, Word documents, and PDFs so teachers can make the most of every class they have at every grade.


As a result, teachers just need to fill in any information gaps they feel are important. Otherwise, they’re ready to teach — complete with Spanish-translated worksheets!

Why Students Love It

Students love these lesson plans because they’re student-focused, procedural, and versatile.

The lessons are student-focused because they ask students to look inward and explore what they like about life.

Then, the lessons walk students through different careers that apply to those preferences.

Students also love the procedural nature of the lesson plans. They build off of and reinforce each other so students never lose the information they learned the year prior.

Last, they appreciate the versatility of the lessons, especially if they’re ESL students.

The CCRN prepares these lesson plans in English and Spanish because of California’s large Spanish-speaking population.

Because Spanish is becoming more common throughout the country, any teacher from Texas to Minnesota can use these lessons for students who don’t natively speak English. 

5. Career Development Module


Provided by: Business&ITCenter21

Grade levels: 6-12 and post-secondary

The career readiness lesson plans from Business&ITCenter21 are the only privately-endorsed materials on this list.

They also come directly from us at Applied Educational Systems.

These lesson plans are part of a larger digital curriculum that includes everything from self-assessment for students to automatic grading for teachers.

That thorough attention to detail makes these the easiest lesson plans for teachers to use in the classroom, especially in a blended learning environment.

Throughout the lessons, students will explore careers related to their interest while determining the goals they need to meet to succeed.

They’ll even look at alternative careers that may fit their interests to give themselves a wider breadth of possibilities in the future.

Most teachers use these lesson plans in middle school or high school, but they’re also useful for post-secondary career and technical education courses.

Overall, teachers can deliver assessments and students can figure out what they want to do with their lives.

It’s one of the best win-wins you could want in education.

Why Teachers Love It

Teachers enjoy Business&ITCenter21 because it has everything they need to succeed.

Newer teachers often say they enjoy the quick access to lesson plans and automatic student tracking.

Veteran teachers frequently talk about how they supplement their own expertise with the lesson plans they find from Business&ITCenter21.

Between those two extremes, teachers also enjoy the online aspect of the lesson plans. Students can complete work in class or at home.

That makes these career development lesson plans accessible for everyone in a classroom, even when a student is absent.

But most of all, teachers love that the lessons are relevant to students.

Whether it’s a sixth-grade career exploration class or a post-secondary CTE course, every student needs to know the essential skills in these lesson plans.


Teachers then build on that information with their own expertise to specialize the lessons for their own classrooms.

Why Students Love It

Business&ITCenter21 lessons provide students with an interactive and engaging alternative to a straight lecture.

As a result, they get to work at their own paces, retain information more effectively, and enjoy their education.

This is especially useful for students with IEPs who may need more (or less) time with different parts of career exploration.

Students get to see videos, examples, animations, and interesting visuals that make it more fun and less stressful to complete schoolwork.

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About Chris Zook

Chris Zook is a contributing author to the AES blog. He enjoys everything about online marketing, data science, user experience, and corgis.