Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Social Work

First Advisor

Anneris Coria-Navia

Second Advisor

Duane C McBride


Beginning at an early age, children discuss what they want to be when they grow up. This is known as their career aspirations. There are multiple factors that influence the career aspirations of children. Some of which includes familial income level, grade level and ethnicity. Although studies suggest that there is a relationship between income level and career aspirations, there is a gap in the literature when examining the relationships between socioeconomic status, ethnicity, grade level, and their effects on the career aspirations of children. This study explores this multi-level relationship on what a child wants to be when they grow up, by surveying students in grades 3, 6, 9, and 11, from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. In addition, it aims to differentiate if social class, ethnicity, or a combination of these factors, predicts the career aspirations of children. Although the results of this study suggest that ethnicity, socioeconomic status and grade level do not have a significant effect on what a child wants to be when they grow up, the trend of the findings suggest that minority students were twice as likely to choose unskilled and semiskilled careers. Also, the trend in the results showed that middle school and high-school students had a higher percentage of students who aspired to unskilled and semi-skilled careers than third grade students. This suggests that as children become older, they are aware of their skill levels and aspire to more personal and realistic careers. Researching factors that influence the career aspirations of children, allows parents and institutions to gain insight on the career goals of their students. This also allows them to provide any support that children need, to gain access to social mobility that education should provide

Subject Area

Career development; Ethnicity;Social status;

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