What is a Career Path?

career path

What is a career path?
How to choose a career path?

Today we are going to talk about career paths. From the word you must be wondering that it means following a path towards your career. You are correct. Let’s get more clarity about this topic.

What is a career path?

It is a series or sequence of job roles and diverse positions in an organization that an employee carries out during his/her career. Basically, it is the pathway to achieve your career goals. Career path comprises a job that you need to do or get for your career. But it does not follow a particular straight line. There is no such timetable or blueprint for ascending the career ladder.

Career paths can work both in vertical and horizontal growth. Vertical growth refers to moving upwards to higher level positions. Horizontal growth refers to moving across industries or moving across different fields of work. We will discuss this in more detail later.

Sometimes you wish to change a job during your career, that’s completely fine. Change in job can be because of the reason that you wish to grow up the career ladder. Change in job will also come with an opportunity to work in a different industry or different field. This will automatically add to your career growth.

Types of Career Path

As explained above, work both in vertical and horizontal ways. Now we will discuss how these ways can be classified in Internal and External Career Path: –

  1. Internal Path – Internal career path refers to growth of an individual within the same organization. This means that employees work in the same organization but the growth can be horizontal or vertical.
  • Vertical growth: – This basically means getting promoted by the company from junior to senior positions.
  • Horizontal growth: – This means that an employee can shift his/her department within the same organization. This helps in acquiring different skills for the future. For e.g. Moving from the finance department to the collection department.

2. External Path – External career path refers to growth of an individual with different organizations or even different industries. This means employee work in different organizations but growth can be horizontal or vertical.

  • Vertical growth: – his basically means getting an offer of a higher-level job from another company.
  • Horizontal growth: – This means that an employee can shift his or her department along with the change in organization. For e.g., Moving from the sales department of a software company to the sales department of a product manufacturing company.

Let’s discuss about some common examples: –

  • Accounting Career Path – Finance Major → Junior Accountant → Senior Accountant → Corporate Controller → Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Engineer Career Path – Engineering Student → Engineer I → Engineer II → Senior Engineer → Principal Engineer
  • IT Career Path – Computer Science Major → Web Developer Intern → Junior Web Developer → Software Engineer → IT Manager → Head of IT
  • Retail Career Path – Retail Sales Associate → Cashier → Consumables Team Leader → Assistant Store Manager → Store Manager → District Manager
  • Media Career Path – Editorial Intern → Editorial Assistant → Assistant Editor → Associate Editor → Managing Editor → Editor in Chief
  • Marketing Career Path – Social Media Specialist → Content Marketing Associate → Marketing Lead → Head of Marketing → Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • Education Career Path – Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education → Teaching Assistant → Teacher → Assistant Principal → Principal
  • Physical Therapy Career Path – Biology & Physiology Major → Doctor of Physical Therapy → PT Resident → Physical Therapist → Private Practice

How to choose a Career Path?

When we all think about a suitable career for ourselves. We need to keep some points in our mind: –

  1. You need to recognize your strengths, and weaknesses.
  2. Your interest should be the first priority for finding a suitable career.
  3. Third, you need to know your personality. So that you can choose a more suitable career for yourself.
  4. Fourth, you need to consider your goals and future plans.

Well, we all need to choose a career path for our future. Let’s look at some steps to choose career paths.

  1. Know about yourself: – Firstly, you need to know about yourself. Know what your interests are? What type of profession will you enjoy doing in future? What is your personality? Learning about your personality is very important. Learning about your personality will help you recognize yourself. This will also help you to have confidence while choosing a correct career for yourself.
  2. Create list of your choices: – Once you are sure about your interests and abilities. Choose careers you are most interested in. Don’t choose just because others are choosing the same career. The other thing is to make sure your skills and qualifications match the career you have listed down. The next step is to list down career choices you wish to pursue.
  3. Consider short term and long-term plans: – When you have decided about the career you want to pursue. Then the next step is to give a look at short term and long-term goals. Make sure that goals are achievable. Look at what are the requirements for the job or career you have decided to pursue. Is there any special course from which you can get an extra preference over others? Make sure that you have done all the research and you are ready to rock!


Career path refers to the different types of jobs which a person does in his/her lifetime. Career can be internal or external. On the basis of internal and external they can be further classified on the basis of vertical and horizontal. Give a look at some of the examples of career paths. When it comes to choosing a career, you need to recognize yourself first. Knowing your interests, strengths and weaknesses, goals etc. You must decide a career path.

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