Career Exploration

Scale: Vocational Identity Status Assessment – In-Depth Career Exploration Scale

What it measures:

  • A youth’s reported efforts and activities to explore and understand a field of work or career.

Intended age range: 13- to 25-year-olds.

Brief description: This scale consists of 5 items which are introduced with, “When you explore careers, to what extent do you agree with the following statements? Right now I am…” Sample items include: “Learning what I can do to improve my chances of getting into my chosen career,” and “Learning as much as I can about the particular educational requirements of the career that interests me the most.” Youth respond on a 5-point scale: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Agree and disagree, Agree, or Strongly agree.

Rationale: This measure was selected based on its relative brevity, promising evidence of reliability and validity, and support for its use with diverse populations of youth.

Cautions: Use of this scale may be more developmentally appropriate for older adolescents as they are closer in age to when work roles are established and in-depth career exploration is more likely to occur.

Special administration information: One item in this scale asks about a "chosen career" which many youth may not have yet. It may be useful to have such youth either skip that question or think about a careers that interest them.

How to score: Each item is scored on a 5-point scale from 1 (Strongly disagree) to 5 (Strongly agree). The total score is computed by averaging across all items.

How to interpret findings: A higher score reflects greater levels of involvement in career exploration.

Access and permissions: The scale is available for non-commercial use with no charge and is provided here.

Alternatives: Within the Vocational Identity Status Assessment (VISA), the authors have also published the In-Breadth Career Exploration Scale which assesses youth’s broader exploration of a number of careers. This scale might be more appropriate for youth who are earlier in their exploration of careers. The full VISA measure is available here. To assess a young person’s readiness to make career decisions and occupational choices, the Career Maturity Inventory is also available here.

Citation: Porfeli, E. J., Lee, B., Vondracek, F. W., & Weigold, I. K. (2011). A multi-dimensional measure of vocational identity status. Journal of Adolescence, 34, 853-871.


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