Special Education

NYS CDOS Commencement Credential - Questions and Answers (Updated August 2014)

C. Career Plan

  1. When should the student begin a Career Plan?

Students working toward this credential should begin commencement level career planning in grade nine.  However, districts are encouraged to engage students in career planning early on in a student’s education as it is an important mechanism to add relevance and meaning to learning experiences across subject areas.  Section 100.2(j)(ii) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires that a student’s guidance program in grades 7-12 shall include an annual review of each student's educational progress and career plans.  NYS provides model Career Plans beginning in kindergarten which districts may, but are not required to use.  NYS model career plans are available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/cte/careerplan. Beginning in grade six, students may also create individual Career Plans with the "My Portfolio" tool found at the NYS Department of Labor's CareerZone web site available at www.careerzone.ny.govexternal link.

  1. How often should the Career Plan be completed or reviewed during a student’s high school career? 

To ensure the student is actively engaged in career planning, the school district must have evidence that the student has developed, annually reviewed, and, as appropriate, revised his/her career plan.  Additionally, a student’s preferences and interests as identified in his/her career plan must be reviewed annually and considered in the development of his/her individualized education program (IEP).  While the career plan is a student-developed document, some students may require assistance in completing their career plan and districts must, as appropriate, provide such assistance to students.  How frequently a student works on his/her career plan will depend upon the individual student and his/her unique needs.

  1. Many of the students I work with have unrealistic goals for their future.  How do I help students develop realistic post-school goals?

 It is very important that educators and parents encourage students to develop and maintain high expectations related to post-school goals.  What may seem unrealistic may not be if the student is provided appropriate special education programs and services necessary to achieve those goals.  That being said, as students move through the developmental stages of career exploration and development, their goals are expected to change over time based upon their experiences and what they have learned about specific careers.  District personnel, parents and others working with students should assist them in shaping and refining their career decisions based upon their strengths, needs, preferences and interests.  Using tools such as CareerZone (www.careerzone.ny.govexternal link), students begin to identify their career interests; explore a variety of career options; learn about the educational and skill requirements for specific careers; identify what it is about a specific career that intrigues them; and learn about other career options.

In the initial stages of career exploration, students may have limited information about career options and the skills necessary for success in career areas and may identify familiar career paths.  In this stage they often participate in job shadowing experiences, begin identifying their interests and exploring familiar career options. In the middle stages of career development, students continue to explore a broader range of career options, participate in a variety of more hands-on work-based learning experiences and begin to gain a general understanding of workforce expectation. In the later stages of career development, students begin to explore more specific career options, including the education and specific skills required for those careers and the job outlook.  They participate in more career specific work-based learning experiences and begin relating their own skills and strengths to specific careers.  As students move through the stages of career development, they are better able to articulate their own strengths and begin to identify tentative career choices based upon the level of education they intend to pursue and their specific skills and interests.

  1. Can CareerZone’s career plan be printed out so my students and I can review and discuss it in preparation for their annual review?

Yes.  The CareeZone print function has been modified so the Commencement level Career Plan may be printed by the student at any point in time.

  1. Is NYSED’s model career plan provided in format into which student may type?

Yes. The New York State Education Department's (NYSED) Commencement Level Career Plan is available as a Word document which allows the student to type in the template without formatting issues.  This form is Attachment 2 of the June 2013 field memorandum available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/CDOScredential-memo-613.htm.


Last Updated: August 4, 2014