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What is a Career Area? With Some Examples

A career area is a broad category of occupations that share similar skills, interests, and job duties. It is a way to organize and explore different career options based on your strengths and passions.

Whether you’re just starting out or considering a career change, knowing about career areas can help you narrow down your job search and focus on the industries and roles that align with your goals.

This article will dive into the specifics of what a career area is, why they matter, and how you can find the one that’s best for you.

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What Is a Career Area?

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A career area can be used in different ways but it is essentially a group of related job titles that require similar skills, knowledge, and education.

It’s different from a job title, which refers to a specific position within an organization. When speaking of a career area, these job titles are often grouped together based on the industry or field they belong to.

For example, the healthcare industry has a variety of career areas such as nursing, medical assisting, and physical therapy.

Career Areas Vs Job Titles

As I briefly mentioned above, career areas are different from job titles. While job titles refer to specific positions within a company or organization, career areas refer to a group of related job titles.

For example, a company may have job titles such as ICU Nurse, Nursing Assistant, and Nurse Practitioner, which all fall under the career area of nursing which falls under the industry of healthcare.

The finance industry has career areas such as accounting, financial planning, and investment banking. There are a variety of job titles within each of these career areas.

Learn about the difference between a job and a career here.

Why Career Areas Matter

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Understanding career areas can be help you when exploring different career options or considering a career change.

By identifying the career areas that you have experience with or are interested in, you’ll have an easier time finding the jobs that are available.

Additionally, understanding career areas can help you research the education and training for different roles in that area.

For example, if you’re interested in working in healthcare, you might explore different career areas such as nursing, medical assisting, or healthcare administration.

While each of these job groups is in the healthcare industry, they all have vastly different day-to-day responsibilities. So separating them by area is helpful.

By learning more about each of these areas, you can determine which one is the best fit for you.

How Career Areas Change Over Time

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The idea of career areas has existed for a long time but has changed a lot throughout history.

Due to advances in technology and economic progress, career areas like blacksmithing or farming look vastly different today than they did 300 years ago. And new career areas are being created all the time.

For example, the rise of the tech industry created new areas like information technology and digital marketing.

Another factor that has contributed to the evolution of career areas is an increasing emphasis on education and specialized training.

As more people pursue higher education and training, they gain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter new careers and industries. This has led to a greater diversity of jobs and a more complex job market.

Learn about careers in the Natural Resources System in our article here.

Examples of Career Areas

Here are some examples of career areas to help you understand the concept better:

Industry-Based Career Areas

Industry-based career areas are those that are specific to a particular industry or sector.

1. Healthcare

Some popular career areas within healthcare include nursing, medical assisting, healthcare administration, and medical billing and coding.

To succeed, you typically need strong communication skills, empathy, and specialized training or degrees.

2. Information Technology

Some examples of IT career areas include software development, cybersecurity, network administration, and database management.

This career area demands technical proficiency, problem-solving skills, and continuous learning to keep up with technological advancements.

3. Education

Some popular career areas in education include teaching, curriculum development, educational administration, and student services.

Important education skills include patience, communication, and a passion for lifelong learning.

Function-Based Career Areas

Function-based career areas are those that are based on a particular function or skill set that can be applied across different industries. Some examples of function-based career areas are:

1. Marketing and Sales

Marketing and sales are two closely related functions that are essential for any business.

Some popular career areas in marketing and sales include advertising, public relations, sales management, and market research.

Helpful skills include creativity, communication, and analytical skills.

2. Finance

popular career areas in finance and accounting include financial analysis, accounting, investment banking, and financial planning.

3. Human Resources

Some popular career areas in human resources include recruitment, training and development, compensation and benefits, and employee relations.

Overall, there are numerous career areas to choose from, and it’s essential to choose a career area that aligns with your interests, skills, and values. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of finding a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Get more inspiration for career options in this article

How to Choose a Career Area

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Whether you’re a student choosing their career for the first time or have been in the workforce for years and are looking for something new, here are a few tips for choosing an area to work in that fits you.

What are Your Skills and Interests?

Take a moment to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? 

Consider taking a skills assessment test or personality test to help you identify your strengths and interests.

Try Using Career Assessment Tools

There are many career assessment tools available online that can help you identify your strengths and interests as they relate to careers.

Some popular ones include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Strong Interest Inventory, and the Career Key.

Research and Networking

Research different career areas that interest you. Look for job descriptions and requirements, salary information, and growth potential.

Talk to people who work in those fields to get a better understanding of what the job really is like.

You can even attend career fairs and networking events to meet professionals in the field.

Try using the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to get quality up to date info about different jobs in the United States.

Shadowing and Internships

Shadowing and internships can provide you with hands-on experience in a particular career area. This can be a great way to learn about the day-to-day responsibilities of a job before you commit a bunch of time and/or money.

When I was in college I was studying to be a physical therapist and was fortunate enough to shadow one for a summer.

After the shadowing experience, I decided that physical therapy wasn’t for me and switched career paths before making the financial and time commitment to a physical therapy school.

Relevant Degrees and Certifications

Some career areas require specific degrees or certifications. Research the requirements for the career areas you’re interested in and consider pursuing the necessary education and training.

For example, suppose you’re interested in becoming a Doctor. In that case, you’ll want to be fully aware of the college, medical school, residency, and fellowship training that involves hundreds of thousands of dollars and 10-20 years of your life.


By exploring different career areas, assessing your skills and interests, and staying adaptable, I hope that you can find a fulfilling career path that aligns with your goals, values, and gifts!

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