Career families are a way of grouping occupations that have a core of common knowledge and skills, which result in an economy-driven industry and occupational framework for organizing careers. Career areas included in these career families are varied and require different levels of preparation and skills, ranging from a high school diploma to a college degree.

Careers representing those of the 21st century have been divided into career families. The Virginia Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Education Services identifies 16 Career Families that have a common core of knowledge and skills. Virginia’s career families align with career clusters from the United States Department of Education, and are listed as follows:




Possible Careers

Agriculture and Natural Resources: Growing plants, harvesting crops, raising and training animals, the health of plants and animals, use of natural resources, and management of agricultural businesses and goods.

Farmer, agriculture scientist, veterinarian, veterinarian assistant, forester, landscaper, nursery worker, environmentalist.

Architecture and Construction: Design, planning, managing, building, and maintenance of physical structures: roadways and bridges, industrial, commercial, and residential facilities and buildings.

Architect, carpenter, electrician, roofer, brick mason, surveyor, plumber, heating and air conditioning mechanic.

Arts, Audio/Video, and Communication Services: Designing, producing, exhibiting, performing, writing, and publishing multimedia content (e.g., visual, performing arts and design, journalism, and entertainment services).

Camera operator, photographer, journalist, dancer, actor, director, musician, producer, painter, newscaster, web designer, advertiser, public relations, editor.

Business and Administration: Planning, managing, and providing administrative support, information processing, accounting, and human resource management services and business management support services.

Secretary, legal and medical secretary, general manager, executive, financial manager.

Education and Training: Planning, administering, managing, providing education, training services; related learning support services (e.g., library, information services, child care, counseling services) including preparatory medical training in educational settings.

Teacher, curriculum developer, child care worker, educational administration & counseling, librarian, college professor.

Finance: Banking, investment, financial planning, economics, and insurance services, including managing and planning for firms and businesses involved in such services.

Banking, insurance services, stockbroker, financial planner, and accountant, insurance adjuster, actuary.

Public Administration and Government Services: Planning, managing, and providing government, legislative, administrative, and regulatory services, government services at the federal, state, and local levels such as public finance.

Chief executive, legislator, county employee, postal employee.

Health Science: Planning, managing, and providing diagnostic, therapeutic, treatment, research, and information services related to the physical and mental health of humans.

Physician, dentist, dental hygienist, dietician, nurse, nurse aide, occupational therapist, radiology technician, registered nurse

Hospitality and Tourism: Provision of lodging, food, recreation, convention, tourism, travel and related planning and support services.

Tour guide, chef, food service manager, resort employee, coach, and professional athlete.

Human Services: Promoting and providing family and community relations and wellness, including family and work issues, religious services, care for the elderly, and social work.

Social worker, recreation worker, residential counselor,  juvenile, marriage & family therapist, substance abuse counselor.

Information Technology: Design, development, management, maintenance, an d operation of computer, information, communication, and technology networks, including related hardware and software.

Computer programmer, computer engineer, database administrator, network systems and data communication analyst, computer support specialist.

Law and Public Safety: Police work, the law and legal services, the judicial (court) system, the study and detention of criminals, and fire protection.

Corporate lawyer, criminal investigator, detective, fish and game warden, firefighter, police officer, correctional officer, security guard.

Manufacturing: Creating intermediate and finished products from raw materials; includes managing, planning, and performing the production of various items by operating machinery and industrial support activities (e.g., as production planning, control and maintenance).

Production worker, nuclear machine operator, cabinet maker, supervisor.

Retail/Wholesale Sales and Service: Marketing, advertising, promoting, selling merchandise; managing retail establishments, making merchandise-specific repair, and providing personal services (e.g., cosmetics, hairstyling, funeral services) to consumers.

Wholesale or retail buyer, cashier, salesperson, manicurist, cosmetologist, travel agent, interior designer

Scientific Research and Engineering: Engineering, related technologies, scientific research and application of scientific principles in all the natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics) and social sciences (e.g., economics, sociology, geography archeology, anthropology).

Chemical and civil engineer, geologist, computer hardware engineer, atmospheric and space scientist.

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics: Planning, managing movement of people, materials and goods by road, pipeline, air, rail, and water; related professional and technical support services (e.g., transportation planning and management, logistics services, and mobile equipment and facility maintenance).

Airline pilot, flight engineer, truck driver, motorcycle mechanic, flight attendant, automotive service technician, farm equipment mechanic.