The Benefits of Offering Career-Focused Courses in High School

Posted by Georgia Meyer on February 23, 2024

Currently, the Career Pathways options are available only to partner organizations. If you’re a student looking to enroll in high school with vocational electives, learn more here.


Penn Foster’s High School Diploma offers learners the opportunity to take vocational electives combined with standard subjects like English and American History with job-specific elective courses to equal the required 21 credits. This allows people continuing high school and opportunity youth learners to complete their diploma while preparing to take the next steps toward a career they’re interested in or toward furthering their education post-graduation. But what exactly does a career pathway look like, how does it work, and what options are available for learners in your community?


Mechanic working on car tire with flashlight.

Maximizing outcomes with career pathway electives

The key advantage of completing a high school diploma with vocational electives is the exposure to a variety of career possibilities. By selecting industry-oriented electives for learners, organizations can create pathways to in-demand careers or advanced training. Through a range of online electives, learners can simultaneously navigate their high school diploma while preparing for post-secondary education or workplace application. Elective options include:

  • Auto Repair Technician: For learners considering a career as an auto repair technician there, this course can get them started on the path toward their dream job. In this course, your learners will study the automobile repair field, engine parts and operation, and engine types.
  • Child Care Professional: This course can start to prepare learners for a career working with children. In this course, experts explain everything step-by-step: the benefits of child day care, licensing requirements, managing staff, and details on child growth and development.
  • Medical Administrative Assistant: For learners hoping to get a jump start on a career in healthcare, this course shows what it’s like to work side by side with doctors in the rewarding health-care field. Topics include learning strategies, time and stress management, interpersonal communication, and law and medical ethics.
  • Small Business Management: This course can help learners gain the skills they need to start their own business and learn the basics of a business plan. This course introduces market research and business connections.
  • Veterinary Assistant: For learners who love animals and want to make a difference in their lives, this course can help them take the first steps toward a career helping pets. Topics include introduction to animal care; animal behavior, handling and restraint; and veterinary terminology.

Explore our vocational pathways and other high school elective offerings.


Read More: 3 Ways to Prepare High School Students for Jobs


How Penn Foster’s career pathways work

Penn Foster’s self-paced, online high school diploma is regionally and nationally accredited and learners are required to earn a total of 21 credits to graduate. 16 of those credits come from standard courses like English, math, history, and science, while the last five credits are earned through electives. With Penn Foster’s general high school diploma, learners can choose from a variety of available electives—usually a mix of classes that suit their interest or graduation goals. With a specific career in mind, these electives are carefully chosen to provide foundational knowledge, aligning with the learner’s chosen career and your organization’s needs.


Read More: 3 Ways Education Benefits Help 90% of Your Workforce


Guide your learners to the best career pathway

For job training organizations catering to a diverse community with individual goals, assisting learners in choosing the right career pathway is crucial for their success. Use these guiding questions to help them identify their goals:

  1. Do you like helping others? The veterinary assistant, medical administrative assistant, or child care professional electives could be your best bet.
  2. Do you like working with your hands? Auto repair technician could be a great fit!
  3. Do you like working independently or running the show? Sounds like the small business management could spark your interest.
  4. Do you want to prepare for college? Our academic/college prep electives can challenge you and get you ready to crush college level studies in the future.


Whether exploring career options or pursuing a specific advancement opportunity, vocational electives and career pathways offer a chance to learn industry essentials while finishing a high school diploma.


Prepare for the future today with Penn Foster

Penn Foster’s online high school is a self-paced, regionally and nationally accredited program that allows learners of all ages to finish their diploma. Take steps to improve outcomes in your community of workforce, aspiring youth, adults, or others by reaching out to our expert team today.