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

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated March 21, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many people may not take a career test and try several jobs before settling on a career. This strategy can work for some, while others might find that they would prefer a different career but don't know how to go about it. 

The wrong career choice may cause stress, confusion, or feelings of being trapped. A career test can't guarantee that you'll find your dream job, but it can give you a better understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and personality as they relate to various career opportunities.

Narrowing Down Your Career Choices Can Be Overwhelming

What Is A Career Test?

A career test may involve a paper or digital test that asks you questions to determine potential careers that fit your personality, interests, experience, and education. You may take the test at a career counseling center or online. 

Often, it is a multiple-choice test. The test is a personality test, which means it does not have "right or wrong" answers. These tests might measure your personality, aptitude for specific careers, skills, or education and experience. After taking the test, a career specialist may discuss your results with you. If you took it online, you might have your results emailed to you, and you can choose to discuss them with a counselor or coach after the fact. 

What Type Of Career Test Should I Take?

If you go to a career counseling center, you might not have a choice in which type of test you take. Many organizations utilize their testing materials and scoring criterion. If you take a career test through a career counselor or other professional, they might suggest a specific type. A free online career test may allow you to choose which type of test you want, but the results might not be in-depth or accurate. 

Career Aptitude Test

Career aptitude tests can measure your skills, interests, professional style, and values. These tests could have sections on math, language, spatial relations, or problem-solving. The raw score is often compared to the necessary abilities in different careers, and your results may show your best skills and what careers your combination of skills might work for.

Career Personality Test

Career personality tests determine your personality type and what careers you may 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, judging or perceiving, intuitive or sensing, and thinking or feeling. Your attitudes toward these pairs may contribute to your success in specific careers. 

There are alternatives to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Many career counseling centers, universities, and websites have their form of personality tests related to careers. You might find short-form and long-form tests that target varying areas of your personality, or you could try more than one career test to get a more comprehensive report. 

Career Interest Test

In a career interest test, you choose different activities, items, or ideas based on your interests. You may be given choices between two to four different jobs or activities. A career interest test can allow you to compare and see trends in your overall interest. 

General Career Placement Test

A general career placement test may combine other types of tests. It might have several sections that measure your compatibility with careers, including career interests, personality, aptitude, and experience. This career test lets you see the bigger picture and get a list of careers to consider.

Career Tests Based On Age Or Educational Level

You can take a career test based on your position in life. These might include:

  • A career test for teens

  • A career test for high school students

  • A career test for college students

  • A career aptitude test for adults already in the workforce

If you're in any of these situations, ask your school counselor or HR professional if any career aptitude tests are available. 

Should I Take More Than One Career Test?

Some people choose a general career finder test. Others may take more than one test to get the most accurate results. Only you can decide how many career tests you want to take. Taking many tests and getting varying results might make it harder to narrow down your options. If you want to support yourself, visiting a career counseling center or counselor could help you decide.

Narrowing Down Your Career Choices Can Be Overwhelming

What Is The Best Career Test? 

Many career tests offer similar results. If you're hesitant to make this choice yourself, talk to a professional or your test proctor to learn more about your options. 

Are Career Tests Expensive?

Some career tests are costly. You can choose a free career test at a high school counselor's office, a college placement center, or through an online source. Some tests may be free but require payment for full results. In other cases, the results are free, but you may have to sign up for a newsletter or a free service or be enrolled in a university to take the test. 

What Do I Do After Taking The Test?

Once you've taken a career test, you may review the results on your own or with a career counselor. In some cases, the test proctor or organization that did your test will work with you to understand the result and might offer advice for interviewing in future careers. 

Consider The Results

Start by looking at the results. If you don't understand what they mean or how they might apply to you, you may decide to talk to a career counselor for clarification. Think about the careers suggested by the results. How do you feel about them? Which of the careers seems right for you? If you feel comfortable with a few options, consider making a pros and cons chart to narrow it down to your preferred choice. 

What If I Don't Like The Results?

If you hate the idea of starting a career listed in your results, it might mean that the career isn't the correct fit for your interests. However, consider giving the results a chance and research the career path before you make up your mind. If you want to retake a test elsewhere, you can also try other tests.  

If you've taken the test, considered the results, and found out more about the career and don't want to pursue any of the options, talk to your career counselor about your next steps. 

Counseling For Career Testing 

A mental health counselor may be beneficial as you search for the proper career. They may be able to help you interpret the results and explore your challenges in choosing a career path. Additionally, they might help you identify areas of your life that may be holding you back from a job. 

If you have a busy schedule or are looking for support you can find at home, consider online counseling. Online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy in many situations. You can choose whether you attend phone, video, or live chat sessions with your licensed therapist. Additionally, you may submit your preferences and the topics you want to discuss before your session so that your therapist knows how to proceed. Online platforms like BetterHelp offer a growing database of counselors specializing in various topics. 


Taking a career test can help you learn more about the potential careers you are suited for. You can find these tests online, through a career counseling center, or professional contact. If you want to support in interpreting your results and discussing concerns, consider reaching out to a licensed mental health provider. 

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