Career Path Definition (With Examples)

Career Path
Copyright Todd Davidson / Illustration Works / Getty Images

A career path is comprised of a sequence of jobs that make up a career plan. A career plan includes short-term or long-term goals leading to an ideal career, while a career path includes the jobs that step an individual towards his or her goals and objectives.

What Is Included in a Career Path

A career path doesn’t need to be a straight line up the career ladder. Career paths traditionally imply vertical growth or advancement to higher level positions but they can also entail lateral movement within or across industries.

The average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during their career. Those changes can involve different types of positions in different industries. In fact, some people even plan a move down the career ladder.

Whichever way a career path takes, it is designed to provide increased satisfaction of a worker's career values and needs by targeting a series of jobs designed to get them to their career goal.

Organizational Career Paths

Career paths are sometimes part of the employee development process within organizations. In this case, an employee and a supervisor or Human Resources representative discuss the career development of the worker within the context of their organization.

This may occur as part of the performance appraisal process and takes into account the interests, knowledge, and skills of the employee. Additional education, training or work assignments may be planned as mechanisms to qualify employees for subsequent roles within their career path.

In many cases, an individual will develop and actualize a career path without the cooperation of their employer. These workers will engage in the career exploration process independently or with the assistance of a career counselor, mentor or personal advisor.;

Examples of Career Paths

Here are examples of career paths for a variety of different career fields.

Keep in mind that some career paths are direct with specific jobs that move an individual up the career ladder.

Others are indirect and may involve work in different industries or types of jobs. That’s especially the case when someone is working on a career change.

Administration: Administrative Assistant - Executive Assistant - Office Manager

Advertising: Advertising Account Coordinator - Assistant Account Executive - Account Executive - Major Account Executive

Communications: Public Relations Assistant - Public Relations Representative - Assistant Director of Public Relations - Director of Communications

Customer Services / Sales: Customer Service Representative - Inside Salesperson - Outside Salesperson - Major Account Salesperson - Regional Sales Manager

Development: Development Assistant - Annual Giving Officer - Development Associate - Major Gift Officer - Leadership Giving Officer - Associate Director of Leadership Gifts

Editorial: Editorial Assistant - Assistant Editor - Associate Editor - Editor - Senior Editor - Editorial Director

Education: Teacher - Master Teacher - Curriculum Coordinator - Assistant Principal – Principal

Education to Training: Teacher - Insurance Salesperson - Trainer for New Agents
Engineering: Junior Engineer - Senior Engineer - Project Manager - Engineering Consultant

Entrepreneur: Salesperson - Sales Manager - Business Owner

Human Resources: Human Resources Assistant - Interviewer - Benefits Assistant - Benefits Specialist - Assistant Director of Human Resources - Director of Human Resources

Retail: Retail Sales Clerk - Assistant Manager - Department Manager - Store Manager - Regional Manager

Sales to Marketing: Salesperson - MBA - Assistant Brand Manager - Brand Manager - Group Manager - Marketing Director

Related Articles: What is the Career Planning Process? | Take a Career Test

Continue Reading...