Do I Need To Take A Career Test Before Choosing My Life Path?

By: Sarah Fader

Updated February 04, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW

Many people bypass taking a career test and jump right into whatever career presents itself to them. This works out for some people, but others regret their choice for years before they ever try to pursue a career that suits them better - if they ever do.


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For some, the wrong career choice may mean a string of failures. It can mean unhappiness and added stress, too. A career test may not guarantee that you'll love the career it recommends. However, it does give you a better understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, talents, and personality as they relate to different careers so that you can make an informed choice. Is it necessary to take a career test before you choose a career? Of course not. Can you benefit from taking one? Absolutely!

What Is A Career Test?

The typical career test is what is called a 'pen-and-paper' test. This name dates to when all tests were taken on paper. Now, you may take the test on a computer, either at a career counseling center or online. Usually, it is a multiple-choice test, so all you have to do is choose the answer that seems right to you or that seems to describe your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors best. Some career tests measure your personality, while others measure your aptitude for specific careers.

Once you've taken the test, you get a list of careers you're best suited for in order from most to less suited. You might get just a printout of these results, or you may have the opportunity to talk to a professional who can help you interpret them.

What Type Of Career Test Should I Take?

If you go to a career counseling center at an educational institution, you probably won't be given a choice of tests. Instead, you'll be given the tests used by that organization. If you take a career test through a Career Counselor or other professional, they might suggest a career test, but you may also suggest a certain test if you have a preference. Taking a test online allows you complete freedom in choosing any career test you want to take. To help you decide, here is a list of some of the different types of tests available.

Career Aptitude Test

Career aptitude tests may measure your skills, talents, interests, style and values. It may have sections on math, language, spatial relations, problem-solving, and others. The raw score would show the level of your natural abilities in each area. Those raw data would be compared to the abilities shown to enhance success in different careers. The results you get show not only what skills you excel in, but also where your combination of skills might best be used.


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Career Personality Test

Career personality tests determine what type of personality you have and what kinds of careers you would be best suited for. One of the most popular personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This test reveals whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, prefer judging or perceiving, are intuitive or sensing, and prefer thinking or feeling. Your attitudes towards each of these pairs of personality components contribute to your probability of having success and happiness in different careers.

There are alternatives to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. You can take a different career personality test if you prefer or are offered it in a career counseling center. The overall results would likely be similar, showing you which careers would suit your personality best.

Career Interest Test

A career interest test is just what it sounds like. As you take the test, you choose different items based on what interests you most. You may be given choices between two to four different jobs you would like, for example. Although it may seem like you should already know what interests you, but you might not. A career interest test allows you to compare based on a narrow career choice so that you can see the overall trends in your selections and broader career preferences.

General Career Placement Test

A general career placement test may combine all the other different types of tests. It may have several sections that each measure your compatibility with different career choices. Sections may include career interests, personality, aptitude, and experience. This type of career test allows you to see the bigger picture and get a list of careers to consider. However, because it lumps all the different tests together to get one set of results, you lose the ability to tell which facet of career suitability contributed most greatly to the results.

Career Tests Based On Age Or Educational Level

You can take a career test that's based on your position in life. These different tests might include:

  • A career test for teens
  • A career test for high school students
  • A career test for college students
  • A career test for adults such as a career aptitude test for adults or another career assessment test for adults already in the workforce.

Should I Take More Than One Career Test?

Some people choose a general career finder test that includes all the facets of suitability to careers. However, others are more cautious about choosing the right career for them. They may take more than one test to get the most accurate, specific results for each facet of the dilemma they're facing.

Only you can decide how many career tests you want to take. You might decide what you want to do after taking one or two tests. If you still aren't convinced the results represent what you want, you can always take another test. Be aware, though, that taking too many tests may do nothing more than confuse you.

What Is The Best Career Test?


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With all the above information, you might be wondering what the best career test might be for you in your situation. The truth is that many different career tests can put you on the right track in finding out what career is right for you. The factors that determine the best career aptitude test or the best personality career test for you might combine complexly. So, if you're hesitant to make this choice yourself, you can always talk to a counselor who can offer expert advice on choosing the best career test.

Are Career Tests Expensive?

Some career tests are quite costly, but there's no reason to give up on taking a career test because it's too expensive. You can choose a free career test at a high school counselor's office, a college placement center, or through an online source. You aren't limited to one kind of test, either. You can take a career aptitude test free, or for that matter, just about any type of career test free.

With all the above information, you might be wondering what the best career test might be for you. The truth is that many different career tests can put you on the right track to finding the career that is right for you. The factors that determine the best career aptitude test or the best personality career test for you might combine complexly. So, if you're hesitant to make this choice yourself, you can always talk to a counselor who can offer expert advice on choosing the best career test.

Are Career Tests Expensive?

Some career tests are quite costly, but there's no reason to give up on taking a career test because of the expense. You can choose a free career test at a high school counselor's office, a college placement center, or through an online source. You aren't limited to one kind of test, either. You can take a free career aptitude test, or for that matter, just about any type of free career test.

Do I Have To Pay For Results?

Whether you take a free career aptitude test or another type of free career test, it won't do you any good if you can't afford the results. Some tests are free, but you have to pay something for full results. In other cases, the results are free, but you have to sign up for a newsletter, a free service, or to get free information from colleges. If you take this option, be prepared for a full inbox. If you want a free career test with free results that doesn't require anything of you, you'll likely find the options extremely limited.

What Do I Do After Taking The Test?

Once you've taken the best career test you could find for the amount of money and time you're willing to spend; the next step is to review the results. After you carefully consider what the results mean to you, you may have additional questions that the test didn't answer.

Consider The Results

Start by looking at the results of the test. If you don't understand what they mean or how they might apply to you, now is a good time to talk to a Career Counselor for clarification. Think about the careers suggested by the results. What do you think about them? How do you feel about them? Which of the careers that rank high on your results seems right for you based on both your intuition and the facts? If you've found a satisfying answer, you may decide it's time to move forward with your career plans.


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What If I Don't Like the Results?

What happens if you hate the idea of starting one of the higher-ranking careers according to the test results? Does it mean you've taken the test wrong or that the test wasn't the best career test? Perhaps, but more likely, you have misgivings based on what you've heard or seen in the media, from the entertainment industry or from friends in that career. Give the results a chance by doing some research to find more substantial facts about the career path to see if a more accurate view of it changes your mind.

What If I'm Still Not Sure?

Suppose you've taken the test, considered the results, and found out more about the career. What do you do now if you still aren't sure whether a specific career path is right for you or not? Should you just pick a career at random and hope it works out? Should you choose a career based on the test alone, whether it appeals to your sensibility or not? In both cases, the best answer is 'no.' Instead, consider talking to a counselor and get help deciding what to do next.

How a Counselor Can Help

A counselor can be helpful in a number of ways. They may be able to help interpret the results and explore your challenges choosing a career path. They can help you with any issues that are making your decision more difficult. And, they can help you find ways to manage current life situations or relationship issues that may be holding you back from making the best choice.

If you prefer to talk to a counselor in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere else you choose, you can connect with a licensed counselor through BetterHelp.com. Get started right away and choose your counselor within minutes. Soon, you'll be ready to make that important decision of what career to follow next.


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