Is a Job the Same as a Career?

It sometimes seems like the terms "job," "occupation," and "career" mean the same thing. In fact, they have very different meanings. For this guide we will be using them to mean the following:

  • A job is a specific position or work for which you get paid. For example, Maria’s job is a math teacher at Central Middle School.
  • An occupation is a collection of job titles that share job duties, skills, and training. People who work in an occupation do similar tasks and need similar training. For example, Maria and every teacher in all the high schools share the same occupation: secondary school instructor.
  • A career is a lifelong journey that includes your education, interests, jobs, occupations, recreational activities and volunteer work. Throughout your career you will gain many different skills, work in many different jobs representing many different occupations, and have changing interests including recreational activities.

Managing your career includes all of the steps in this guide. People who manage their careers effectively revisit all of the steps many times throughout their lives.
Here’s an example of a career path.

  • Volunteer
    To get experience, Maria volunteered at her church’s child care center. She found out that she really enjoyed teaching children.
  • Tutor
    Maria worked in an entry-level job at an after-school program helping elementary school children with their homework. She learned about lesson planning and managing conflict. She wanted to do more to move ahead in this career. Maria went to a community college to earn an associate's degree in education.
  • Teacher’s aide
    After graduating from college, Maria became a teacher’s aide in a public middle school. While there, she decided that she really liked math and working with older children.
  • Math Teacher
    Maria went back to school for a bachelor's degree in math education. She studied to earn a state teaching license. She now works as a math teacher in a middle school. Every year, she takes more classes to keep her knowledge and skills up to date.

How do you move into a career path? Setting goals helps you turn your work experience into a career path. Successful people tend to set short- and long-term goals. They think about what they can do now to achieve their goals in the future.

Don’t forget that we are always here to help you in your process.  Jewish Vocational Services

You are now ready to start with Step 1: Assess Yourself.

Manage Your Career Create A Plan & Set GoalsExpand SkillsExplore CareersAssess YourselfFind A Job