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The researcher set out to investigate factors that influence career choice among the senior high school students in Alimosho senior High school and the extent to which those factors influence students’ choice. Survey design was used. The main instrument used for data collection was questionnaire. Simple random sample techniques was used to select 200 students, and convenient sampling techniques used to select three administrators and three guidance and counselling coordinators for the study from the three public second cycle institutions in the District. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used in analysing data. The construct validity was established using factor analysis and reliability using Cronbach’s alpha. The results of the main hypothesis and the research questions postulated for the study revealed that Intrinsic factors reliably predicted career choice suggesting that Extrinsic factors and Interpersonal factors are not significant predictors when the effects of Extrinsic factors and Interpersonal factors are controlled for. This helps students learn about and explore careers that ultimately lead to career choice. This played a critical role in shaping students career choice. It was recommended that Career Education and Guidance should be introduced in the primary school to enable children to explore the world of work as young people need to make a smooth transition from primary school to the initial years of senior high school and the Ministry of Education should allocate fund for a Guidance and Counselling activities in all basic and second cycle schools. This will enable the guidance coordinators to function effectively at their various levels of work.



1.1       Introduction

Occupation choice is not a smooth process, when an individual is confronted with choice making in career, there are certain prevailing factors which may determine the choice. Among these factors are intrinsic, extrinsic, interpersonal factor, academic achievements, family socio-economic status and according to Roe (1956), the individual needs also determine the kind of job he may like to engaged in based on the above factors, whether realistic vocational choices are made by youths in their secondary school years should be a matter of concern to all educational agents and most especially our school counsellors.

A comprehensive study conducted in America by Remmers and Raddler (1957) cited in Horrocks (1962) indicated that one-third of teenagers after finishing high school within six months expected to be at work, though know less about how to choose a job, train for it and establish in it.  “A job is a kind of work and a career is time spent in one type of job area of interest” (Kelly-Plate and Volz-Patton, 1991, p.13). Most students have very little help in developing a career direct Occupation choice is not a smooth process, when an individual is confronted with choice making in career, there are certain prevailing factors which may determine the choice. Among these factors are personality, environment, opportunity, academic achievements, family socio-economic status and according to Roe (1956), the individual needs also determine the kind of job he may like to engaged in based on the above factors, whether realistic vocational choices are made by youths in their secondary school years should be a matter of concern to all educational agents and most especially our school counsellors.

They are often influenced by the media, peers, and with very little knowledge of what they might primarily be interested in or motivated to do. Most of them may have a level of uncertainty of where to get help on how to choose a career. Since career is a lifelong plan, students at this level should be assisted to enable them have a clear cut plan as it will be difficult for them at their age to see things clearly about themselves.

Thinking or making a decision about one’s career and making a choice is vital. Fry, Stoner and Hattwick (1998) opine that it is never too early to begin thinking about careers when in high school. Some students may have clear career direction in mind while many of them will have little clue as to which career is best for them. Fry et al, further said “even if you are a freshman or sophomore, now is the time to begin thinking about your life beyond college.

Various people choose jobs for various reasons. A lot of people look for jobs that will pay well since everyone needs money for the basics such as food, clothes, accommodation, education, recreation and others. For many men and women, work helps define their identity and their sense of self-worth (Thio, 1989). They see themselves as people, who are responsible, who get things done and capable enough to be paid for the services they render. People take pride in the work they do. They also like the feeling that comes with doing their work well.

People enjoy using their skills, talents and working hard to improve those skills. People work to be useful, by working; people feel that they are contributing their quota to the development of the society. They may work to take care of themselves and their family or work to help other people in the society. Most people choose jobs that will enable them interact with others. For example, journalism, teaching, and selling enable one to interact with a whole lot of people. They do not like to be alone for a long period. Their job gives them the opportunity to be with others and talk to people.

It is clear that work fulfils many important needs and even those who become rich overnight still work. Since no one particular job satisfies all needs, the right job can be satisfying in a very special way, and that is why it is important to think carefully about one’s own wants, needs, interests and abilities before making a choice.  One needs not to joke about his choice of career. Working should not be just occupying oneself. O’Toole (1973), cited in (Thio, 1989) opines that

“People with satisfying jobs have better mental health than those with less satisfying work. Thus, people who are happy with their jobs also tend to have better physical health and to live longer. Although diet, exercise, medical care and genetics are all related to the incidence of heart disease, job dissatisfaction is more closely linked to the cause of death.”

Each individual is faced with choosing among the large areas of occupational cluster of work. Such as agriculture, business and office, communication and media, health, hospitality and recreation, manufacturing, marine science, construction, arts, humanity and sciences, home economics, marketing and distribution, natural resources and environment, personal services, public service, and transportation.

Rao (1992) cited in Kankam & Onivehu (2000) identified two factors that call for guidance and counselling services or activities in secondary schools one of which is the making of academic choice that in the end determines the vocational future. The origin of vocational guidance can be traced to the United States of America. Educational guidance originated from the development of vocational guidance services. In 1908 the Vocational Bureau of Boston was formed under the auspices of an American lawyer and educator; Frank Parsons to assist young men make vocational choices based on their occupational aptitudes and interest (Fruehling, 2008). Guidance began to spread as a result of Parsons’ ideas.

Brewer (1942) cited in Archer (1997) put across four conditions that work together to bring about the beginning and development of vocational guidance. These are: division of labour, the growth of technology, the extension of vocational education, and the spread of modern forms of democracy. The four elements listed above were however, intensified by the First World War which led to the shortage of skilled manpower. Though in Ghana vocational/technical can be traced back to the 19th century when both the Basel and Wesleyan missionaries made a shift from the initial three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic to agricultural and technical curriculum (Hama, 2003), guidance in Ghana started in 1955 when the Ministry of Labour, Education and Social Welfare came together and established Youth Employment Department. Its aim was to cater for the needs of the unemployed middle school leavers below the age of twenty years. By 1960, there were about thirty of such centres in the country (Ackummey, 2003).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Searching for a job, career planning and deciding on what to choose play an important role in students career choices. Many students often are faced with uncertainty and stress as they make career choices. Many of them do not make adequate research on their own career nor do they receive adequate directions from their school guidance coordinators. Most of them are not aware of what goes into career choice. Many youth go into unsuitable careers due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, advice from friends, parents and teachers or as a result of the prestige attached to certain jobs without adequate vocational guidance and career counselling.

Lawer (2007) researched on assessing the effectiveness of career guidance in senior secondary schools in Alimosho district area. He concluded that majority of students were not aware of major occupation groups in Nigeria, knowledge of training and qualification necessary for employment in the various occupations, conditions of work, earning and other rewards of occupation, and did not have better understanding of their career interest, aptitudes and abilities. This clearly shows that majority of them were not concerned about their future career. This situation compels one to ask whether they are given the needed guidance on available careers relating to the programmes they are pursuing. Are they aware of what goes into career choice? And what specific factors influence their choice and how do those factors influence them? This study therefore seeks to find out the extent to which intrinsic, extrinsic, and interpersonal factors influence the choice of career of senior high students.

1.3       Research Questions

The following research questions were also used to guide the researcher to carry out the study.

  1. To what extent do Intrinsic factors influence students’ choice of career?
  2. To what extent do Extrinsic factors influence students’ choice of career?
  3. To what extent do Interpersonal factors influence students’ choice of career?
  4. What problems do students face in making their career choices?

1.4       Objective of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify those factors that influence students’ decision concerning choice of career in the Alimosho District and the extent to which these factors influence their choices. In addition, the study seeks to examine the differences between intrinsic factors, extrinsic factors, and interpersonal factors in making career choice. It will also attempt to find out problems encountered by students in making their career choices.

1.5       The Significance of the Study

Many factors affect career choices of senior high school students. Identifying these factors would give parents, educators, and industry an idea as to where students place most of their trust in the career selection process. It will not only focus on factors influencing career choice among students in the Alimosho District, but also highlight career decision making tools that have implications for career counselling. In addition, it will equally provide an update study into how intrinsic, extrinsic and interpersonal factors influence career choice for others who wish to further research into this area of study.

1.6       Scope and Delimitation of Study

The study focuses on what goes on in the Alimosho District instead of looking at the country as a whole, hence its application to the country or larger population may not be reliable.

1.7       Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study the following operational definitions will be used:

Intrinsic factors: include interest in the job and personality that satisfies work. In the broader sense they are basic and essential features which form part of someone rather than because of his or her association.

Extrinsic factors: include availability of jobs and how well an occupation pays or brings benefit. They also include those essential features as a result of the individual’s associations or consequences.

Interpersonal factors: include the influence of parents and significant others. It is concerned or involved relationships between people.

Career: is a pattern of work related to preparations and experiences which is carried through a person’s life.

Job: is a piece of work carried out for a pay.

Work: physical and mental effort directed towards doing something. It is a job in the broader sense.

Youth: is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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