What Are The Career Clusters – A Complete List of 16 Career Clusters

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Your skills, educational background, and interests all play a role in determining the best career path. It’s also a choice that could have an impact on your future education and retirement plans. You can choose the best career path by knowing about the 16 career clusters.

We address the question, “What are the career clusters?” in this article. and investigate the career paths and pathways within each one. Career Clusters are groups of jobs in the same industry requiring similar skills. Career Clusters can be used by educators, parents, and students to help focus education plans on acquiring the knowledge, skills, and training necessary for success in a particular career path.

A group of jobs with the same characteristics is known as a career cluster. A person who enjoys one job will probably also enjoy other jobs in the same cluster. Based on similar skill sets, interests, abilities, and activities, the National Career Clusters Framework divides these occupations into 16 categories.

An organizational tool used with the Career Technical Education (CTE) program is the National Career Clusters Framework, which has 16 career clusters. It puts careers into groups to help you find one that fits your interests and skills. There are 79 distinct pathways to pursue within the clusters, and those pathways lead to a variety of careers.


A group of jobs with similar characteristics is known as a career cluster. Similar skill sets or knowledge are required for jobs in the same cluster. People are more likely to enjoy jobs in the same group if they enjoy a particular cluster.

There are 16 job groups in the National Career Clusters Framework that share similar interests, skills, abilities, and activities. Career pathways are sub-groupings of the clusters. The National Career Cluster Framework includes 79 career paths.

Career pathways are used by many school systems to develop curriculum that expands students’ knowledge and skills for a specific career field. You can investigate professions in the OCCU-Find by the vocation groups underneath.

These 16 career clusters are:

  1. Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  2. Architecture & Construction
  3. Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  4. Business Management & Administration
  5. Education & Training
  6. Finance
  7. Government & Public Administration
  8. Health Science
  9. Hospitality & Tourism
  10. Human Services
  11. Information Technology
  12. Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  13. Manufacturing
  14. Marketing
  15. Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  16. Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

How to use career clusters?

You can use the career clusters for the following scenarios:

  • Curriculum Development
  • Career Cluster Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities
  • Career Clusters for High School Students

Curriculum Development

Using career pathways, curriculum and career and technical education (CTE) programs help students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a particular field.

National teams of educators, administrators, and representatives of businesses worked together to identify CTE program certifications and standards that are recognized nationally. Schools have been able to better align their reading, writing, math, and science curriculum with the skills and knowledge that students need to succeed in the workplace.

For educators who are interested in developing or improving their CTE curriculum, there are a number of resources available. A Career Clusters Local Implementation Self-Assessment Rubric is provided by Advance CTE to evaluate the development of a career cluster-based curriculum. Additionally, educators looking to include new CTE curricula in their existing offerings can access resources from the same organization.

Career Cluster Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities

The career cluster framework can also be utilized by educators to create day-to-day lesson plans. Free classroom activities that emphasize career planning are available through the ASVAB Career Exploration Program. Learning objectives, instructional guidelines, and teacher guides are included in the design of these recently enhanced activities. Additionally, they conform to national education standards.

To access these resources and create a free account, educators and counselors can use access code CEP4ME. Under “Step 3: Classroom Activities,” once logged in, select Plan” and sort by the “Career Tech Ed (CTE)” category to view activities that are related.

Career Clusters for High School Students

Students can learn about more extensive groups of careers in the context of their interests by using the career clusters framework. By selecting the courses that are most relevant to their plans for post-secondary education, students can also focus their studies.

Students can sort the search results by “Career Clusters” to learn more about careers in a particular field by utilizing the OCCU-Find and their ASVAB results. Other Search Lists provides access to this feature.

Using the “Favorites” button, students can save a job they are interested in learning more about.

16 Career Clusters To Decide Your Career Path

The National Career Clusters Framework organizes CTE programs, as well as the development of curriculum and instruction. The National Career Clusters Framework consists of 16 Career Clusters and 79 Career Pathways to assist students in achieving greater success in college and in the workforce.

The framework also serves as a helpful guide for creating individual student plans of study for a wide range of career options and bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education systems. As a result, it enables students to choose the educational path that can lead to success in high school, college, and a career by assisting them in identifying their interests and passions.

Let us go through 16 career clusters one by one:

1. Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Everything connected to the production of agricultural goods is included in the cluster Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources. Scientists, engineers, ranchers, farmers, and veterinarians are all included in this.

Some of the career paths in this cluster may necessitate a bachelor’s degree in their particular field, while others educate individuals through hands-on experience. Since most of the work is done outside, most people in this field like to be outside.

Career pathways in this cluster include:

  • Agribusiness Systems
  • Animal Systems
  • Environmental Service Systems
  • Food Products and Processing Systems
  • Natural Resources Systems
  • Plant Systems
  • Power, Structural and Technical Systems

Some jobs to pursue in this cluster are:

  • Veterinarian
  • Environmental officer
  • Hazardous material handler

2. Architecture and Construction

People who are involved in the design, construction, and upkeep of homes, industrial facilities, streets, and bridges are included in the Architecture and Construction cluster. Education requirements for skilled tradespeople, such as carpenters and plumbers, vary depending on the job, but most of the time, training is completed on the job.

The people who work in this field are passionate about design, home improvement, and decor and have strong math skills. An office or the homes and businesses of your customers can serve as your typical workplace.

Pathways in the Architecture and Construction cluster are:

  • Construction
  • Design/Pre-Construction
  • Maintenance/Operations

Here are some jobs to pursue in this cluster:

  • Architect
  • Plumber
  • Landscaper

3. Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications

The Arts, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications cluster, which includes journalists, actors, dancers, singers, radio announcers, and people who work behind the scenes, may be the best career cluster for creative people. If you want to be an actor, studying theater and drama or film and media arts could be helpful.

You can also take certificate programs to become a sound engineer or a telecommunications technician. A theater, film, television, or recording studio could serve as the workplace. The majority of those employed in this cluster have genuine passions for fashion, dance, cinema, or music.

Career pathways in the Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications cluster are:

  • Audio and Visual Technology and Film
  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Performing Arts
  • Printing Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Visual Arts

Examples of jobs to pursue in this cluster are:

  • Actor
  • Production assistant
  • Photographer

4. Business, Management and Administration

Business analysts, accountants, HR professionals, and managers are all part of the Business, Management, and Administration cluster, as are numerous entry-level positions like receptionists, secretaries, and typists. A bachelor’s degree is required for most positions in this cluster, and some accounting positions may also require a CPA license.

The regular workplace is an office, and numerous jobs require working straightforwardly with clients. People who are interested in this career cluster typically have strong business acumen and strong communication skills.

The Business, Management and Administration cluster has pathways like:

  • Administrative Support
  • Business Information Management
  • General Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Operations Management

Jobs to pursue in this cluster include:

  • Business development manager
  • Human resources manager
  • Marketing assistant

5. Education and Training

In addition to teacher, tutor, and instructor positions, the Education and Training career cluster employs counselors, school psychologists, and speech-language pathologists who provide students with support and direction. A bachelor’s degree and a license are required for elementary and secondary school teachers, while an advanced degree is required for college teachers.

A school or college is the usual place to work. People who want to be role models for younger people or have strong leadership skills might be interested in this career cluster. If you want to work in this field, you should be passionate about the subject you want to teach.

Pathways in the Education and Training cluster are:

  • Administration and Administrative Support
  • Professional Support Services
  • Teaching/Training

Here are some jobs to pursue in this cluster:

  • Preschool teacher
  • Teacher aide
  • School counselor

6. Finance

Auditor, financial analyst, treasurer, economist, bank worker, debt counselor, and insurance sales agent are the roles in the Finance cluster. A bachelor’s degree is required for many jobs in the Finance career cluster, and obtaining a license as a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Internal Auditor may be helpful for some positions.

An office, an accounting firm, or a tax agency are the usual places to work. Most of the time, people who work in this field have good math skills and can explain complicated ideas to customers who don’t work in the field.

The pathways in the Finance cluster are:

  • Accounting
  • Banking services
  • Business finance
  • Insurance
  • Securities & Investments

Jobs to pursue in this cluster:

  • Accountant
  • Loan Officer
  • Actuary

7. Hospitality and Tourism

You can work in restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, resorts, hotels, and travel agencies in the Hospitality and Tourism cluster. While a high school diploma or its equivalent is typically required for entry-level positions, a bachelor’s degree and proficiency in multiple languages may be required for higher-level positions such as tour guides or travel agents.

The kitchen of a restaurant, a ticket office, a hotel reception, or an airport are all common places to work. People who enjoy cooking and don’t mind standing for long periods of time might be interested in the careers that are associated with bars and restaurants. People who enjoy culture, the arts, and traveling may be interested in career paths related to tourist attractions.

Here are the career pathways in the Hospitality and Tourism cluster:

  • Lodging
  • Recreation, Amusements & Attractions
  • Restaurants and Food/Beverage Services
  • Travel & Tourism

Examples of jobs to pursue in this cluster are:

  • Hotel front desk clerk
  • Restaurant manager
  • Travel agent

8. Human Services

Psychologists, social workers, and child advocates are among the professionals in the Human Services career cluster, as are hairdressers, manicurists, and cosmetologists. A bachelor’s degree and a license are required for the counseling and mental health career paths. Beauty and wellness-related jobs require specialized training. A person who wants to be a cosmetologist, for instance, could take a specific college course and then work as an apprentice in a beauty salon.

A beauty salon, spa, or hospital might be the place of employment. The particular career path has a profound effect on the environments. Most of the people who work in this cluster have good interpersonal and listening skills, as well as patience and empathy for other people.

The Human Services cluster’s pathways are:

  • Consumer Services
  • Counseling and Mental Health Services
  • Early Childhood Development and Services
  • Family and Community Services
  • Personal Care Services

Jobs to pursue in this cluster include:

  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Hairstylist

9. Information Technology

Computer science teachers, computer forensic professionals, and information security analysts are among the other careers in the Information Technology cluster. The cluster is for students who want to become developers, web designers, network administrators, and computer support specialists. degrees or certifications in the field, such as Microsoft Certified or AWS Certified Developer: For many of these jobs, Azure Solutions Architect Expert is helpful.

Due to the rapid pace of technological advancement, those who work in this field typically require ongoing education. The workplace is typically an office, and people who have a passion for the Internet may be interested in a career in information technology, such as assisting with web navigation and resolving security issues.

Pathways in the Information Technology cluster are:

  • Information Support and Services
  • Network Systems
  • Programming and Software Development
  • Web and Digital Communications

Jobs to pursue in this cluster include:

10. Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security

Citizens are safeguarded by members of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security cluster, including FBI agents, attorneys, paralegals, and security guards. After completing three years of law school and passing the final bar exam, attorneys earn a bachelor’s degree. Police officers graduate from the police academy after passing the entrance exam.

A jail, court, police station, or other public location where people need to be protected could serve as the workplace. This could include playgrounds, beaches, and pools. People who are courageous and have a strong desire to protect others may be interested in working in this cluster.

Pathways for the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster are:

  • Correction Services
  • Emergency and Fire Management Services
  • Law Enforcement Services
  • Legal Services
  • Security and Protective Services

Jobs to pursue in this cluster include:

  • Lawyer
  • Legal assistant
  • Police officer

11. Manufacturing

The careers of equipment operators, millwrights, assemblers, and warehouse workers are just a few examples of the kinds of physical work that can be found in the Manufacturing cluster. While other paths may require a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically only require on-the-job training. Some workers, for instance, check the quality of goods and services while others make sure factories are safe.

An industrial unit is a typical workplace. However, some employees are able to fix household appliances or work directly at their clients’ homes. If you have strong manual skills and enjoy doing things yourself, you might want to work in manufacturing.

Career pathways in the Manufacturing cluster are:

  • Health, Safety and Environmental Assurance
  • Logistics and Inventory Control
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair
  • Manufacturing Production Process Development
  • Production
  • Quality Assurance

Some to pursue in this cluster include:

  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Production worker
  • Electrician

12. Marketing, Sales and Service

Salespeople, telemarketers, real estate agents, representatives of customer service, market research analysts, and marketing managers are all members of the Marketing, Sales, and Service cluster. Even if you don’t need a degree in marketing, it can be helpful.

Certifications like the Google AdWords certification or the Google Analytics Individual Qualification can also help people who want to work in online marketing. The customer’s home, an office, or a retail store can all serve as the workplace. Those with excellent communication skills may be interested in pursuing a career in this field.

Career pathways in the Marketing, Sales and Service cluster are:

  • Marketing Communications
  • Marketing Management
  • Marketing Research
  • Merchandising
  • Professional Sales

Here are some jobs to pursue in this cluster:

  • Sales representative
  • Marketing director
  • Real estate agent

13. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Biologists, statisticians, chemists, and geoscientists are among the most highly educated workers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster. A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is required for all positions, and professional engineers must also obtain a state license.

A weather station, a laboratory, or an industrial facility could all serve as the working environment. People who are interested in this career cluster typically have a strong interest in geography, science, or math, and they are willing to continue their education and training.

Career pathways for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster are:

  • Engineering and Technology
  • Science and Mathematics

Examples of to pursue in this cluster include:

  • Laboratory technician
  • Data scientist
  • Research assistant

14. Government and Public Administration

People who aid in the enforcement of the law are included in the Government and Public Administration cluster. It includes, for instance, tax collectors, municipal clerks, personnel serving in the military, and customs brokers. Mail carriers, aircrew members, and postal service clerks are also part of this cluster.

Some jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but jobs like judges and magistrates require an advanced degree. You could also earn a Certification as a Municipal Clerk, a Certification as a Tax Assessor, or a License as a Customs Broker depending on the career path you choose. Most of the time, the workplace is a city’s municipal or customs office. People with strong communication skills and an interest in politics might be interested in pursuing a career in this area.

Career pathways in the Government and Public Administration cluster include:

  • Foreign Service
  • Governance
  • National Security
  • Planning
  • Public Management and Administration
  • Regulation
  • Revenue and Taxation

Some jobs to pursue in this cluster are:

  • Financial controller
  • Flight attendant
  • Administrative clerk

15. Health Science

Specialized training is required for all roles in the Health Science cluster, which includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, and healthcare operators. Nurses, for instance, go to nursing school and get a license, whereas doctors need more education, like a medical degree.

In a similar vein, opticians earn a state license and attend EMT training, which leads to either a national or state certification. People who are interested in this cluster typically have a natural predisposition to assist others, and the workplace may be a hospital, private clinic, pharmacy retail chain, or the homes of patients.

The Health Science cluster includes career pathways like:

  • Biotechnology Research and Development
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Health Informatics
  • Support Services
  • Therapeutic Services

Jobs to pursue in this cluster include:

  • Director of nursing
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Dentist

16. Transportation, Distribution and Logistics

The Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics cluster is responsible for driving, fixing, and working behind the scenes to ensure that public transportation is always efficient. They are parking lot attendants, pilots, rail car mechanics, civil engineers, and transportation planners. Licenses are required for truck drivers, train operators, and pilots; advanced degrees are required for engineering positions. A specific certification is not required for rail car repairers, but it can be very helpful.

An office, a train, a bus, or a car repair shop can all serve as the workplace. The career in question determines the location. For individuals who have a passion for driving automobiles or repairing automobiles, the careers in this cluster may be appealing.

Career pathways in the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics cluster are:

  • Facility and Mobile Equipment Maintenance
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Management
  • Logistics Planning and Management Services
  • Sales and Service
  • Transportation Operations
  • Transportation Systems/Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
  • Warehousing and Distribution Center Operations

Some to pursue in this cluster are:

  • Truck driver
  • Logistics manager
  • Pilot

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