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Academic and Career Planning
Using Career Interests to Choose a Program of Study

Many students come to college without clearly defined career goals.  The first step toward academic and career success is to select a field that matches a person's skills, interests and values.  The Strong Interest Inventory tm and the Self Directed Search tm can help the student identify interests and match them with possible occupations.  These interest inventories can be taken in the Career/Transfer  Centers on any Montgomery College or through the Career Development course [DS103].

Interests and talents tend to fall into certain patterns or themes.   The interest inventories mentioned above use six themes identified as "Holland Codes:" Realistic, I nvestigative, Artistic, Social, E nterprising, and C onventional.  The following descriptions help to further define each of these themes and how they relate to different types of people. 

The chart below matches in a general manner the different themes of interests with programs of study offered at Montgomery College. However, both the programs of study and individuals usually contain more than one single theme.  For example, most individuals are a combination of three of the following six themes.  See a counselor  to discuss in depth your overall career interests or an advisor  to discuss a specific program of study.  

Read through the following six themes, click on the highlighted word for a list of possible college programs and then click on the program title for the college catalog description of the program.  Select the "Career Info" box to learn about possible jobs, employers and other sources of information.


Holland Codes

  • People who have REALISTIC interests are likely to enjoy creating things with their hands.   They tend to be rugged, practical, physically strong and enjoy working outdoors.   They prefer working with objects, tools, machines and animals.
  • Those whose interests are INVESTIGATIVE enjoy analyzing, problem solving and research.   Their focus is on data, ideas and theories.  They tend to be curious, original and independent, and prefer working alone rather than with others.
  • Individuals with ARTISTIC interests are inclined to be unconventional, creative, expressive and intense.  They prefer unstructured working situations and coworkers who are also creative and individualistic.
  • People with SOCIAL interests are at their best working with people rather than machines.  They are concerned about the welfare of others and enjoy teaching, training, helping and serving other people.  They tend to be cheerful, articulate, responsible and socially adept.
  • ENTERPRISING people are usually good at leading and persuading others.  They tend to be enthusiastic, self-confident, energetic and adventurous.  They prefer persuading and directing other people rather than working with objects and data.
  • Those with CONVENTIONAL interests tend to be stable, dependable and thorough.  They prefer using verbal or numerical skills and are most comfortable working with clearly defined tasks in structured environments.

Programs Oriented to Ideas:  Math and Science

Programs Oriented to Tools, Equipment, or Things

Programs oriented to Information or Data

Programs oriented to Ideas: Aesthetic

Programs oriented to People: Business




Programs oriented to People: Helping, Teaching, Curing

Still have questions, email us:  Germantown | Rockville | SilverSpring/Takoma Park

 Content Manager: Anita.Crawley@Montgomerycollege.edu

Last Updated: July18, 2006