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5 aptitude tests that expose students to more career paths

For many students, opportunity isn’t always equal. Those who have less access to resources or little encouragement may see their career paths narrow over time. Others get pigeonholed by their gender early on or simply lack exposure to different jobs based on their limited life experience.

To counteract these realities, there’s been a renewed interest in aptitude testing. School counselors are using them to show students their strengths and empower them to pursue careers where they can thrive.


What is an aptitude test?

Capabilities alone don’t determine a career, but they’re a good start. It’s also what most aptitude tests measure for.

Using questions that assess an individual’s strengths and growth edges, aptitude testing helps blend passion and personality with one’s potential. Taken together, these elements create a fuller picture of the work environments in which a person may excel, even if they’re not familiar with a particular field.



Opening students’ minds to new career possibilities

“Just asking kids what their interests are and matching that with a particular set of careers can be helpful, the researchers say. But giving students an aptitude test that measures their potential in an array of fields might give them a nudge to consider jobs that they could excel at, but aren’t as familiar with, or didn’t think they could be good at”, a study published by Cambridge University Press and quoted in EdWeek found.

Skilled counselors understand how to use the results of an aptitude test to spotlight a student’s natural or hidden talents and dovetail them with the ever-changing job landscape. Helping students see what’s out there and where they may perform best can help broaden the path or at least get them thinking beyond their conditioning.

Career assessments are particularly helpful for breaking out of traditional gender roles, which may unconsciously steer students away from certain industries.

Again, EdWeek highlights, “This is especially true when it comes to women and STEM fields, the study found. Just 12 percent of women are interested in careers related to information technology. But aptitude tests show that just as many women as men have the capability to excel in that field…What’s more, males were more than 1.6 times more likely to show promise in patient care positions.”



Popular aptitude tests

Different tests measure different components of a person’s potential. In addition to helping school counselors craft post-highschool roadmaps, these tests can also be given at various stages of the educational journey to track a student’s growth, personality changes and new skills they’ve acquired.

Wondering which type is right for your school or an individual student? Explore the facets of these common career aptitude tests:

  1. Myers-Briggs: By assessing a person’s judging, thinking, perceiving, feeling, intuition, sensing, introversion, and extroversion skills, the test gives an in depth breakdown of their personality. The results point students towards possible areas of study and professional interests based on their preferred distastes and inherent gifts.
  2. Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS): Similar to the type indicator test above, this evaluation is based on one’s personality and psychological makeup. Here the focus is on behaviors and temperaments both within and outside the work environment.
  3. Enneagram Institute: This test has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, especially among high school and college aged students. By identifying whether someone is a peacemaker, challenger, enthusiast, loyalist, investigator, individualist, achiever, helper, or reformer, it can guide their professional and interpersonal relationships, as well as help them work towards more career contentment.
  4. MAPP career test: The assessment hinges less on dimensions of one’s personality and uses information gathered to create a list of top industries that might be a fit. The goal here is to single out one’s career aspirations and generate potential roles and professions from a large database.
  5. Strong Interest Inventory: As the name suggests, these 291 questions center around one’s personal and professional interests. One of six key traits typically emerge, and career or degree advice is usually given based on how enterprising, social, artistic, investigative, realistic, and conventional the student is.

No matter how thorough an assessment may be, aptitude testing alone will only take you so far. While it can point students in the right direction, they still need guidance, exposure and training to excel in their chosen careers. Remind them that career options are just that, options, and encourage them to define what “meaningful work” is for themselves.