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Job exploration counseling

Pre-ETS Notice

The pre-employment transition services section of the WINTAC website is undergoing review and updates based on the recent publication of the Notice of Interpretation (NOI) on Pre-Employment Transition Services in the Federal Register. We wanted to keep the pre-employment transition services information available, but we caution our users to compare the information on the site with information published in the NOI until we have completed our review and revision of the site based on the recent guidance. If you need assistance please feel free to contact the pre-employment transition services WINTAC team: Melissa Diehl @, Christine Johnson @, Brenda Simmons @, Carol Pankow @

Required Activities

Job Exploration Counseling

Job Exploration Counseling, or Career counseling can include a wide variety of professional activities which help individuals with career-related issues. Career counselors work with youth seeking to explore career options, experienced professionals contemplating a career change, parents who want to return to the world of work after taking time to raise their child, or people seeking employment. Career counseling is also offered in various settings, including in groups and individually, in person or virtually1.

Discussion or counseling of job exploring options are intended to foster motivation, consideration of opportunities and informed decision-making. Specific to youth, real-world activities ensure that students recognize the relevance of a high school and post-school education to their futures, both in college and/or the workplace. Job exploration counseling activities can be done in conjunction with private, for-profit, public or nonprofit businesses in your community and/or through web-based resources2.

Job Exploration Counseling may include discussion or information on:

  • The student's vocational interest inventory results
  • The labor market
  • In-demand industries and occupations,
  • Non-traditional employment options,
  • Administration of vocational interest inventories, and
  • Identification of career pathways of interest to the students.

Students may be participating in a number of pre-employment transition services or transition services through VR or Education. Discussion or counseling on the results of some of these activities can help to identify viable career options or solidify careers that a student will want to explore further.

Other Job Exploration Activities, may include:

  • Career Awareness

    In the Career Awareness phase of career development planning, is to understand how personal work related values applies to opportunities through the world of work. Developing your career awareness means gaining knowledge of career paths and job opportunities and the skills and qualifications necessary to be successful in these positions. 

  • Career Speakers provide an overview of a specific job or career area. The speaker typically presents to a class, large group or small group of students for a short period of time. Artifacts and or photos are used to enhance the presentation. These sessions are typically informative, motivational and provide recommendations for additional career exploration activities.
  • Career Student Organization

    Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)3 are vocational organizations primarily based in high schools and career technology centers. Often, on the state level, they are integrated into Departments of Education or incorporated as nonprofit organizations4.

    RSA Guidance provided to WINTAC January 4, 2016 regarding Assessment and Pre-Employment Transition Services:

    Pre-employment transition services required activities may be general in nature for students with disabilities who have not applied and been determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. As a student progresses through the VR process by applying and being determined eligible for services, the DSU will have the information necessary to conduct assessments and provide more individualized and customized services to address the students' particular needs (81 FR 55694 August 19, 2016 emphasis added).

    DSU's are not to use the pre-employment transition services required activities as assessment services for the purpose of determining whether additional vocational rehabilitation services are needed, or if the individual will be successful in employment (81 FR 55695). Although DSUs or VR agencies may provide interest inventories as a pre-employment transition service under job exploration counseling, assessment services to determine eligibility or priority for services, or determining VR needs are services for individuals who have applied or been determined eligible for VR services under 34 CFR §361.48(b). As such, an assessment to determine whether a student meets the definition of a "student with a disability" is beyond the scope of pre-employment transition services described in section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR §361.48(a) of its implementing regulations.

    Therefore, assessments other than interest inventories would not be allowable expenditures as required, authorized or coordination activity under pre-employment transition services.

For some specific resources for this required activity click here.

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1Kidd, J.M., Career Counseling(06/26/2007).

2Author, unknown. (12/06/2010). UC Davis Career Compass Core Competencies Model.

3U.S. Department of Education (2013-04-04). Career and Technical Student Organizations.

4Bastiaens, T. (2006). Competence-based learning in virtual environments. In T. Reeves & S. Yamashita (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006 (pp. 1046-1053). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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