What is the purpose of this site?
Not Invented Here LifeWorks (NIHLifeWorks.org) is an interactive career exploration web site for middle and high school students, their parents, and teachers.
Although the Office of Science Education at the U.S. National Institutes of Health originally created the
site content, NIHLifeworks.org is no longer supported by, or connected with,
the U.S. National Institutes of Health in any way.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has no responsibility for the information here.
The original LifeWorks web site was in launched April of 2003 and was hosted and developed by the U.S.
National Institutes of Health’s Office of Science Education for over 10 years. During that time
the site served well over four million students, parents, teachers, counselors, etc. In September of 2013
the U.S. National Institutes of Health decided to remove most of the Office of Science Education’s
web content as part of a government-wide restructuring of science education programs. Compare this
snapshot of the Office of Science Education’s web site from July of 2013
with this snapshot from late October of 2013
Within 24 hours the Office of Science Education was receiving distressed phone calls from teachers trying
to use the LifeWorks resource with their students.
A civically minded person has decided to host the
LifeWorks site’s content on NIHLifeworks.org so that students, teachers, parents, etc. can continue
to benefit from access to this valuable information. This work was done on their own time and at their own
personal expense. As the informational content on the original site was created as a U.S. government work,
it is not considered copyrighted and is in the public domain…
Users can browse for information on more than 100 medical science and health careers by title, education
required, interest area, or median salary. NIHLifeworks.org promotes awareness of the wide variety of
occupations in health and medical sciences and the range of opportunities at different education levels.
The site complements its factual career data by highlighting true stories of successful people. They
illustrate the variety of real-life career pathways, from the carefully planned to the unpredictable.
Top of Page
Who was this site designed for?
NIHLifeWorks.org is designed for middle and high school students and those helping them make decisions about their future, such as guidance counselors, science teachers, mentors, and parents.
Top of Page
What is on this site?
At NIHLifeWorks.org students can:
- Read about real people who have achieved success in their careers
- Find careers that match their personal interests, skills and abilities
- Browse careers by salary, education required, interests, and job title
- Learn about working conditions, certification and licensing requirements, and job market trends
- Discover the types of high school and postsecondary courses they should consider for specific career paths
- Find links to professional organizations
Top of Page
Why does NIHLifeworks.org provide this resource?
The individual involved in NIHLifeworks.org has done extensive work with students and teachers
both in the District of Columbia and in Montgomery County, MD. This person noticed substantially different
career aspirations expressed by students of similar ambition and achievement even though they lived less
than 10 miles apart. When questioned, these students often explained that they developed the career
interest from a parent, a family member, or even a neighbor. It seems that it is hard to develop an
interest in careers that you never knew existed. NIHLifeworks.org exists to inform young people,
irrespective of their background, neighborhood, or socioeconomic status of the many rewarding, and
well-paying, careers available in the health and medical sciences.
Career selection is a process influenced by a person's background, interests, goals, personal qualities,
motivation, and environment (Farmer, 1987). Unfortunately, most students pursue career choices without
access to reliable information about the variety and outlook of occupational opportunities (CIEWD, 2002).
As a result, many high school students’ critical decisions about their career paths are uninformed and
misdirected. More active and thorough career guidance is often stated as the solution to more successful
post-secondary planning (Fouad, 1995).
Because parents provide the primary influences in high school students’ career decisions, exploration of
career alternatives generally tends to be restricted within the boundaries imposed by socioeconomic status,
parents' educational and occupational attainment, cultural background, and the limited experiences of
students’ families and friends (CIEWD, 2002; Hall, Kelly, Hansen, & Gutwein, 1996; Kerka, 2000). However,
regardless of the home environments and contexts that influence their perceptions, parents are virtually
unanimous in their beliefs that a college education is a necessary requisite for career success (Brown,
2003). Few parents are fully aware that increases in the percent of high-paying occupations that do not
require a college degree are as great as the increases for those that do (Bureau of Labor, 2002, 2003).
Most teenagers receive little or no career guidance outside the home to clarify their career plans and
decisions (Fouad, 1995). While many schools have excellent guidance departments, more than half of high
school graduates report that they had no career guidance in high school (CIEWD, 2002). Even when high
school students do have access to career counseling, guidance counselors with typical caseloads of 400
students or more seldom have the time or resources to provide the kind of one-on-one help that most
students need to choose the right career path. When guidance counselors offer postsecondary guidance,
many focus only on application and admission to college (Cohen & Besharow, 2002).
Given these influences it is not surprising that 94 percent of students, regardless of gender or
racial-ethnic status, plan to pursue post-secondary education after high school. As many as 80 percent
enroll in four-year colleges or universities (CIEWD, 2002, Trei, 2003). However, over half of the students
admitted to college drop out and many take up to 10 years to complete requirements for a bachelor’s degree
(Astin, Tsui, & Avalos, 1996; National Library of Education, 1999; Smith et al., 1996; Stanfield, 1997).
While a decision to attend college is the right choice for many students, many other young people go to
college simply because they don't know what else to do (Brown, 2003; Cohen and Besharow 2002; Trei, 2003).
Parents, guidance counselors, and students need access to high quality information about a full range of
post-secondary career pathways. In particular, students need access to the career guidance and mentoring
necessary to empower them to pursue viable alternatives to the traditional four-year college career path.
One versatile and cost-effective solution is to develop interactive web sites with online tools to: (1)
help users assess their interests, skills, aptitudes, and job expectations; (2) match students’ personal
characteristics with compatible careers; and (3) provide detailed occupational information such as the
nature of the work, working conditions, occupational outlook, education and training requirements,
earnings, related occupations, and common career ladders (Harris-Bowlsbey 1992; Imel, 1996; Tice & Gill,
Top of Page
Who manages this site?
NIHLifeworks.org is financially supported and maintained by a civically minded person.
Top of Page
Who do I contact if I have questions about this site?
Questions and comments about the NIHLifeworks.org
Web site should be sent to:
Top of Page
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2002). Charting the projections: 2000-10. Occupational Outlook Quarterly U.S. Department of Labor: Washington, DC.
- Career Institute for Education and Workforce Development (CIEWD). (2002). Decisions without direction: Career guidance and decision-making among American youth. Comprehensive Report and Data Summary. Ferris State University: www.ferris.edu/partnership.
- Farmer, H. S. (1987). A multivariate model for explaining gender differences in career and achievement motivation. Educational Researcher, 16, 5-9.
- Fouad, N. A. (1995). Career linking: An intervention to promote math and science career awareness. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73, 527-534.
- Hall, A. S., Kelly, K. R., Hansen, K., & Gutwein, A. K. (1996). Sources of Self-Perceptions of Career-Related Abilities. Journal of Career Assessment, 4(3), 331-343.
- Kerka, S. (2000). Parenting and career development. ERIC Digest No. 214. Washington, DC: ERIC/ACVE Publications.
- Brown, B. L. (2003). The image of career and technical education. Practice Application Brief No. 25.
- Cohen, M., & Besharow, D. J. (2002). The role of career and technical education: Implications for the federal government. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
- Trei, L. (2003). Getting in is not the hardest part: Students ill-prepared for college, study finds. Stanford Report. Stanford University.
- Astin, A.W., Tsui, L., and Avalos, J. (1996). Degree attainment rates at American colleges and universities. Los Angeles, CA: University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education, Higher Education Research Institute.
- National Library of Education. (1999.) College for all? Is there too much emphasis on getting a 4-year college degree? Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
- Smith, T.M., Young B.A., Bae, Y., Choy, S.P., & Alsalam, N. (1997). The condition of education 1997. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
- Stanfield, R.L. (1997). Overselling college. The National Journal, 653656.
- Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (1992). Systematic career guidance and computer-based systems. In Adult Career Development: Concepts and Practices. 2nd Ed., H. D. Lea and Z. B. Leibowitz, Eds. Alexandria, VA: National Career Development Association.
- Imel, S. (1996). Computer-based career information systems. ERIC Digest No. 170. Washington, DC: ERIC/ACVE Publications.
- Tice, K. E., & Gill, S. J. (1991). Education information centers: An evaluation. Journal of Career Development, 18(1), 37-50.
Top of Page