Some terms often used by employers, educators, and workforce professionals are not always understood by the general public. Knowing what these words and abbreviations mean can make education and career exploration easier.
This list is of words and abbreviations for definitions used on ISEEK and common to other education and career exploration materials.
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Find lists of regional and national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education or higher education programs they accredit.
Adult Basic Education
Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs serve students ages 16 and over who are not enrolled in school and who want to improve their basic skills, including math, reading, language, and work-readiness skills. MyMnCareers is for ABE students and others who want to explore careers, set goals, get training, or learn more to advance their careers.
An employer's formal training program combining on-the-job learning with technical instruction for a specific trade. In Minnesota, there are two types of state-approved apprenticeship programs. Learn more about registered apprenticeship and about youth apprenticeship. Use the apprenticeship search tool to identify registered apprenticeship sponsors in any region of the state.
Tests or career decision-making tools used to identify skills, abilities, and interests in order to make education or career decisions. Employers can use assessments for pre-employment testing to maximize chances for getting the right fit between jobs and employees. Educators use different types of assessments to analyze students' knowledge or progression in a program.
A degree granted by technical, community, and some private career colleges that typically requires at least two years of study (60+ hours) beyond high school.
An academic award that usually requires four years (120 hours) beyond high school at an accredited college or university.
Reference to a type of job that requires workers to wear work clothes or protective clothing, usually manual labor positions that earn an hourly wage. See also White Collar.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A division of the U.S. Department of Labor that is the main fact-finding agency for the federal government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. State information is gathered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
A person's consecutive, often progressive achievement or experience in professional or business life that expresses commitment to a career cluster or pathway. It includes education, training, past jobs, community involvement, and hobbies that demonstrate self-development.
The marketing technique of using one's resume, portfolio, networking activities, and other forms of communication to highlight one's professional reputation, skills, attitude, and goals related to a chosen career pathway in the hopes of being viewed favorably by employers and business contacts. Sometimes called personal branding.
Groupings of occupations needing the same knowledge and skills. Each of the 16 career clusters can include hundreds of different careers.
A person who acts as a supporter, advocate, mentor, and advisor on issues related to job search or career management. Can be a certified or licensed professional or a person with no formal training. Also known as career consultant, career adviser, work-life coach, or personal career trainer.
Career counselors work with job seekers at all levels to determine their strengths to maximize their success in the job market. Services often include assessing a client's career interests, aptitudes, and goals; providing occupation research; resume and job interview assistance; education and job training guidance; and assistance in applying for jobs and communicating with employers. These licensed professionals can work in private practice or be employed by a school, company, or community organization.
Broad term referring to the ongoing process of exploring, choosing, and acting on educational, occupational, and other options related to one's work life.
Six broad groupings of occupations that can be subdivided into 16 career clusters and numerous career pathways.
Career Ladder or Career Lattice
A series of related jobs with progressively more responsibility and prestige. Career ladders display only vertical movement between jobs. Career lattices contain both vertical and lateral movement between jobs, more closely reflecting today's career paths. Employers can create career ladders/lattices to show job progression within a specific company or industry. However, workers sometimes move up their career ladder/lattices by obtaining a higher position at a different company.
Decisions and actions taken to maintain or increase one's employability or job satisfaction. Can include proactive choices to seek employment, promotions, special projects, or training to increase one's salary or prestige, or changing one's career goals. Also includes decisions and reactions to unforeseen transitions, such as a layoff, company restructuring, or an unsolicited job offer. Implies an individual, not one's employer, is aware and has control of one's career development.
Career pathways are small groups of occupations within a career cluster. Occupations within a pathway share common skills, knowledge, and interests.
Career Technical Education
High school and college programs that teach industry-specific skills, including math, writing, reading, science, and foundational knowledge and skills used in a career. CTE programs are directed and funded by the Perkins IV Law (see Perkins).
CareerOneStop is a suite of national websites with career, education, and business resources for job seekers, students, employers, and career professionals.
Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006
A certificate is a type of award given to students by a college, university, or professional school upon satisfactory completion of an organized program of study.
See Occupational Certification
A postsecondary educational institution that offers undergraduate programs, but usually no graduate degree programs.
College Admission Tests
Most four-year colleges and universities rely on standardized admission tests to determine a prospective student's readiness for college-level study. A good test score can help a student enter their school of choice, obtain scholarships, and receive advanced placement or college credit.
A type of college that offers one- or two-year degree programs. Full-time students can graduate in two years or less with a certificate, diploma, or degree in a career area. Or students can earn an associate degree and then transfer to a four-year college or university to finish a bachelor's degree. This state's community colleges are all part of the Minnesota State Colleges and University system.
A program that provides educational, recreational, cultural, health, or community courses and events. Most courses are taken for personal development and do not offer credit that can be applied to a degree or certifying program.
Processing knowledge of, ability to use, or necessary skills related to a career pathway.
The official and unofficial beliefs, expectations, and values that affect the work environment and the way a company conducts its business. Behaviors and attitudes accepted and expected of most employees within a department or whole organization.
A course is one of a series of lessons or class meetings as that may be part of an education program.
Evidence of one's education, training or knowledge, including degrees, licensing, occupational certification, and accreditation information.
Curricula Vitae (CV)
A detailed statement of professional qualifications that is used instead of a resume when seeking employment in higher education, science, or medical arenas in the United States, or when job seeking in foreign countries. A longer, more detailed document than a resume that can include earned degrees, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and other activities related to a career pathway.
A degree is a type of award given to students by a college, university, or professional school upon satisfactory completion of an organized program of study. Examples include: associates, bachelor's, and master's.
A worker who has recently been or is about to be laid off from a job.
Methods of teaching that are alternatives to traditional in-person classroom education involving the physical separation of teacher and students. Examples include online learning recorded or live television broadcasts, audio recordings, and mail correspondence.
The highest award a student can earn for graduate study. The doctorate degree requires prior completion of an undergraduate award. Examples includes: Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Juridical Science (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).
DLI or DOLI
See Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
See U.S. Department of Labor
A company's reduction of production, business operations, and financial expenditures. Often includes the reduction of payroll expenses through employee layoffs.
A one-minute or less statement used by job seekers to describe skills, experience, education, and preferred career pathway. Statement is used as part of a job seeker's career branding. Can be used in various career and job search situations, including job interviews, career fairs, and networking events.
The skills, attitudes, and personality traits needed to increase a job seeker's chances of being positively perceived by employers. Includes basic skills, such as reading comprehension and basic math skills; soft skills; technical skills; and workplace competencies needed to relate to and communicate with customers and coworkers.
ETA or DOL-ETA
See U.S Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration
Field of Study
A major or academic discipline. Examples include Biology or Automotive Repair. It is a more general term than "program," since a program is a specific offering at a specific institution. See Program of Study.
Money from an outside source to help pay for education. Financial aid programs are most often based on financial need. Most students qualify for some type of financial aid. More information: Financial Aid 101.
Financial Aid Package
An estimate from a school of the total amount of financial aid a student is to receive. It can include grants, scholarships, work study, and loans from a various sources.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
This application is the first step in the financial aid process. Most schools use the FAFSA to determine students' financial aid. The FAFSA determines the amount of money a student and/or family is expected to contribute toward the price of attending a postsecondary institution.
General Education Development (GED)
A diploma awarded to individuals who pass five tests. It is an alternative to a high school diploma for those who did not complete the standard high school curriculum. Passing all parts of the GED test is seen as equal to a high school diploma by most colleges and employers.
Postsecondary studies beyond the bachelor's degree. Graduate certificates and degrees include master's and doctoral programs. Students enrolled in graduate programs are called graduate students.
Green careers have a direct or essential impact on a product, service, or process that results in environmental benefits.
Occupations that produce a product or use processes which benefit or cause the least amount of negative impact on the environment. Includes career pathways related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Can be either blue-collar or white-collar jobs.
Recruiters, employment agencies, or executive search firms that companies pay to find qualified job candidates for specific positions. Often specialize in an industry or geographic region.
Hidden Job Market
Job openings not publicized to the general public. Positions are discovered and applied for through networking, informational interviews, or other ways of communication that do not include responding to official job postings.
High-Demand Occupations, Industries, or Skills
Occupations, industries, or skills sets identified by employers and economists as being more employable than others. Criteria can be based on a combination of growth rate, total job openings, pay, local and global economic trends, and workplace trends. State data is derived from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's occupations in demand.
High-Growth Occupations or Industries
Occupations or industries projected to have more total openings than the average occupation, and represent at least 0.1% of total employment in the base year. Minnesota growing careers and Minnesota growing industries data is derived from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's employment projections.
High-Pay Occupations or Industries
Occupations or industries that represent at least 0.1% of total employment in the base year and have an annual median salary which is higher than the average for the current year. High-pay careers data is derived from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's employment projections.
See High-demand Occupations, Industries or Skills
A specific type of business, or branch of a particular field, that employs personnel and uses and generates capital. Often named after its principal product or service. Search industries in over 70 groups.
A conversation between a job seeker and a networking contact or potential employer for the sole purpose of increasing the job seeker's knowledge about a company, industry, career pathway, or specific position.
A short-term experience where an individual works under supervision in a workplace to gain practical skills and experience in a career pathway and to increase work-readiness skills. A common type of work-based learning for high school 11th and 12th grade students and college students. Can be either paid or unpaid. Might offer school credit.
A multi-agency consortium in Minnesota composed of state government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private industry to promote education, career, and workforce development initiatives. The mission of iSeek Solutions is to provide Minnesotans with excellent information resources about careers, education, and jobs.
A paid position with specific duties and responsibilities at a particular organization. See the Find a Job section for job search information.
See Career Coach
A type of work-based learning where a student or job seeker observes the daily routine of an employee at a worksite. The observer is expected to gain information about the employee's education, job training, and experience as well as information about the industry and similar occupations. Can last a few hours or several days.
Knowledge and Foundation Skills
Basic or a core set of skills needed to be ready for work and college referred to in the career pathway framework.
Temporary or permanent termination of one or more employees, usually part of a company's efforts to reduce costs, production, or end operations. Employees are sometimes called dislocated workers and are often eligible for unemployment and other benefits.
Regulations and permission granted by a competent authority to engage in a business or specific types of occupations, many dealing with public health and safety. The most restrictive form of professional and occupational regulation, overseen by the states or federal government. Licensure requirements vary by state. If a license to participate in a certain occupation is required by the state, unlicensed practice of an occupation is a criminal offense.
The act of gaining knowledge and skills through both formal and informal education throughout one's life.
An award that requires the completion of a program of study typically lasting one or two years of full-time academic work beyond the bachelor's degree. Students enrolled in master's programs or other graduate certificate and degree programs are called graduate students. Master's students are usually required to complete a thesis (an original research project and paper).
See Older Worker
A person with professional or personal experience who counsels and guides a younger or less-experienced person. Can be an informal relationship or part of a formal mentoring program administered by a company, school program, or community group. Mentoring relationship can focus on specific topic or goals, such as personal growth, career development, lifestyle changes, spiritual fulfillment, or other areas mutually agreed-upon areas. See work-based learning.
Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)
The state agency that oversees all K-12 schools in Minnesota and other educational programs, including early learning programs, adult basic education, community education, and citizenship programs. Responsible for curriculum standards and performance measures. Administers Minnesota's 339 school districts and oversees all licensed teachers in the state. MDE is one of the founding partners of iSeek Solutions Executive Board and provides data to ISEEK for fields of study, K-12 online learning, and career descriptions.
Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS)
A Minnesota Department of Education online career exploration resource requiring a paid license for access. MCIS resources include interest and skill assessments, information on colleges, program requirements for various occupations, and ACT practice tests.
Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology (OET)
See MN.IT Services
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU))
The administrative body for the state's community colleges, technical colleges, and state universities, comprised of 24 two-year colleges and seven state universities. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is the largest single provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota. All of the system's two-year community and technical colleges have an open admissions policy, allowing anyone with a high school diploma or GED to enroll. MnSCU is one of the founding partners of iSeek Solutions Executive Board. The University of Minnesota is not part of MnSCU.
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
The state's main economic development agency, with programs promoting business recruitment, expansion, and retention; workforce development; international trade; and community development. The agency supports the economic success of individuals, businesses, and communities by improving opportunities for growth. Also serves as the state agent of the U.S. Department of Labor, and administers the Minnesota WorkForce Centers, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) certifications, unemployment insurance, and other services. DEED is one of the founding partners of iSeek Solutions Executive Board.
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI)
The state agency that oversees safety, compensation, and other workplace and employment laws, including worker's compensation, child labor regulations, and apprenticeship registration. DLI is an Affiliate Member of iSeek Solutions Executive Board.
Minnesota Office of Higher Education (MOHE)
A cabinet-level state agency providing financial aid programs and information to allow for greater access to postsecondary education. Serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research, and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance, and trends. The agency oversees the Minnesota State Grant program, tuition reciprocity programs, a student loan program, Minnesota's college savings program, licensing, and an early awareness outreach initiative for youth. MOHE is one of the founding partners of iSeek Solutions Executive Board.
Minnesota WorkForce Centers
Comprehensive one-stop centers, providing a variety of free and low-cost employment and benefit services to job seekers and local businesses. Services can include career counseling, job training and education information, job search assistance, job matching, and employer recruiting events. Administered statewide by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; in other states the centers are known as One-Stop Career Centers.
The State of Minnesota's central information technology organization; formerly called the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology (OET). MN.IT Services manages the governance process for enterprise leadership and planning, and provides Minnesota government customers a wide variety of technical services. It is one of the founding partners of the iSeek Solutions Executive Board.
The exchange of information or resources to cultivate productive relationships for employment or business activities. More information: Build a Network.
An occupation or pathway that is not commonly pursued by a specific gender or cultural group. Often refers to occupations in which less than 25 percent of the workforce is of one group.
A set of pre-determined work activities, skills, knowledge, and other criteria that is performed for pay or profit on an ongoing basis, as classified by the Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC). Similar occupations are grouped in career pathways.
A pre-determined standard that verifies a worker's expertise within an occupation and allows the worker to perform job duties using a specific occupation title ("right to title"). Non-certified individuals may perform the same duties, but may not use the title.
Occupational Information Network (O*NET)
A U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored web-based resource for comprehensive information on job requirements and worker competencies. The nation's primary source of occupational information. It replaced the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
A group of occupations from one or more industries that share common skill requirements. See also Career Cluster.
Job seeker whose age is seen as a challenge to finding employment. Exact age group varies by the program or initiative geared toward assisting the group with job searching and encouraging employers to hire them.
Hands-on-instruction given to new employees to learn the basic duties of an occupation. Implies that little or no formal technical training is required of applicants.
An education method where teacher and students who are physically separated use the Internet and related technologies to communicate rather than all being located in a traditional in-person classroom. Various public and private educational institutions, including K-12 (Kindergarten through 12th grade), colleges and universities, and adult continuing education can administer courses. K-12 online learning requires parental permission for students age 17 and younger. More information: Online Learning.
Educational programs or courses that allow students to register or start classes at any time throughout the year instead of all students starting a new term on the same date.
Act of a business or organization contracting with an outside supplier for goods or services. Often referred to when a company uses outside contractors for all or part of its operations, limiting its need to hire employees directly.
Act of a business or organization contracting with a supplier from another country for good or services. Often referred to when a U.S. company's moves all of part of its operations overseas, limiting its need to hire U.S. employees.
A description of how attainment of a learning objective will be measured. Examples include standardized tests, surveys, and assessments.
The minimum acceptable level of achievement for each learning objective.
See Career Branding
Perkins or Perkins IV is short for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The Perkins IV Law provides the direction and the funding for high school and postsecondary Career Technical Education programs, and adult career exploration and job training initiatives.
Portfolio or Career Portfolio
A selection of a person' work compiled over a period of time. Used to demonstrate overall performance or progress in a particular area. Can be a display of professional or student work showcasing creative, education, career, and personal achievements. Can be online or a hard copy.
A situation where an individual chooses to work a combination of jobs within a career pathway for multiple employers instead of one, traditional full-time job, in order to have a flexible schedule or a broader range of experiences. Can include part-time positions, temporary jobs, freelancing, and self-employment.
A formal instructional program which curriculum is designed primarily for students who have earned a high school diploma or the equivalent. Includes two-year colleges and four-year colleges and universities as well as academic, vocational, and continuing professional education programs. Also called higher education.
Private Career School
Higher education schools that provide short-term programs (three years or less) to prepare for specific careers. Owned, administrated, and primarily supported by a non-governmental agency or company. Can be for-profit or non-profit.
Private College or University
Higher education schools owned, administrated, and primarily supported by a non-governmental agency or company. Can be for-profit or non-profit. Some are religiously affiliated.
A person who is employed in a particular profession as a permanent career, or possesses the skills, knowledge and ethical standards of a career pathway. Often refers to career pathways that require formal education, implying a higher status than other pathways. Also refers to an attitude of courteous, conscientious and generally businesslike behavior.
An academic award, also known as First Professional Degree, requiring two or more years beyond a bachelor's degree at an accredited university that is the minimum requirement for certain occupations. Examples include lawyer and pharmacist.
Professional Development Organization
Association dedicated to the improvement of members' work-related performance. Often offer opportunities to network with other professionals, ways to gain skills, and provide related information.
Programs of Study
High school and postsecondary educational programs developed around a career pathway that helps learners prepare for a career. Curriculum is sequential and based on regional industry expectations and skill standards. See Field of Study.
Public or State College or University
A higher education school that receives funding mainly from the state government.
Pop culture term for an individual's deliberate change in career paths. Often referring to older workers who start a new career pathway after retiring from another.
An agreement that allows students to attend participating public universities and colleges in a neighboring state at reduced tuition prices.
An estimate of the need for new workforce entrants to replace workers who will die, retire, or otherwise permanently leave the occupation. State data is derived from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's labor market information.
A fixed amount of financial compensation paid regularly for performing a job, usually determined by the week, month, or annually. Often part of an employee's compensation package, which can include health care benefits, paid time off, and other benefits. More information: Salary Information.
A monetary award to students that pay for all or part of educational costs that is not expected to be repaid. Scholarships are given based on academic or athletic achievement, cultural or religious background, military affiliation, or special skills and talents. Many scholarships are offered directly to students through the colleges.
The knowledge and competencies required to perform successfully in the workplace.
Personality traits, aptitudes, and attitudes that direct how a person interacts and works with others on the job. Can include interpersonal communications, cultural awareness, appearance and ability to dress appropriately, and manners. Does not refer to the technical skills (or hard skills) which are unique to each career pathway. Also known as employability skills.
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System
The U.S. government's system of classifying all occupations, allowing government agencies and private industry to produce comparable data.
State College or University
See Public or State Colleges and Universities
Reference to the career cluster or skills of Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
A higher education school that offers employment courses and programs that teach specific knowledge and skills leading to specific jobs. Programs are usually 10-23 months, and eligible for credit transfer to a four-year program.
Employment arrangement allowing employees to do all or part of their work offsite, often at the employee's home. Telephone, Internet, and other technical resources are used for employees to complete work and communicate with employer.
Abilities, technical skills, and personal qualities a worker can use in more than one occupation. Can be acquired from past jobs, education, work-based learning, volunteering, hobbies, participating in sports, or other activities.
Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
Two-day workshop to assist veterans dealing with career, education, and employment decisions. Most participants in the workshop are service members who are about to or recently completed military services and are re-entering civilian life.
Higher education program that leads to an associate or bachelor's degree, but not to a graduate or professional degree. Students who are freshman, sophomores, juniors, or seniors at a college or university are called undergraduates.
Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, are actively looking for work, and are currently available for work. Persons who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed. Receiving benefits from the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program has no bearing on whether a person is classified as unemployed.
Unemployment Benefits or Compensation
Temporary financial help to people who have lost their jobs or had their work hours greatly reduced through no fault of their own. Employers pay the government unemployment insurance; an out-of-work person applies to the government to receive unemployment benefits.
The percentage of people eligible and able to work who are unemployed, as measured by the number of people currently receiving unemployment benefits. State data is derived from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's labor market information. National data is derived from the U.S. Department of Labor.
A higher education school that offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
University of Minnesota
A public research institution and the state's largest university. The system has five campuses: Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, Crookston, and Rochester. The University of Minnesota is not a part of the Minnesota State Colleges and University system.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
A federal government agency that fosters and promotes the welfare of U.S. job seekers, wage earners, and retirees. The agency is responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Most states have comparable labor departments that work with and report to the federal agency, including the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
U.S Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration
A division of U.S. Department of Labor that contributes to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high-quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services, primarily through state and local workforce investment systems.
Veterans Employment Services
Federal and state programs providing veterans and transitioning service members with local and national resources and services related to job searching, employment and reemployment rights, and meeting labor-market demands.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)
Minnesota State agency which helps people with disabilities prepare for work, find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible.
A payment of money for labor or services, usually determined by an hourly, daily, or per-project basis. See also Salary.
Reference to a type of job with salaried, professional workers in office settings who typically wear business attire as opposed to the protective clothing of blue collar jobs. See also Blue Collar.
Refers to the skills, aptitudes, and attitudes employers expect job seekers to have in preparation for the culture and demands of the workplace. Can be obtained through education or job training programs, employer-sponsored events, work-based learning, and other activities that increase transferable skills.
On- or off-campus job offered as part of a student's financial aid package. Student is employed by the school. The position is funded by the federal or state government.
An educational opportunity that allows students to gain career skills and knowledge through real-life work activities, and connect what they learn in school to workplace expectations and competencies. Examples include internships, job shadowing, work-site visits, and informational interviews.
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
A federal program that gives workers the chance to learn the skills and information needed to compete in the new economy. The WIA certification process ensures that workers can find quality training programs that meet their educational needs. Under WIA, training programs are certified as meeting certain performance standards. Eligible job seekers can use federal WIA funds to pay for training programs that are WIA certified. All certified education and job training providers in Minnesota are listed on ISEEK.