Educator Toolbox

Texas Reality Check

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Created By: Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Education Agency

Audience: Students, parents, teachers, counselors

Focus: Cost of living vs. job salary analysis

Big Picture: Texas Reality Check is a site that makes figuring out life after college fun and engaging. From the homepage, users have three ways to find the right career for them. They could choose the Reality Check path, where users start by determining what they think their monthly expenses will be, and then find a career that matches the necessary income. Or they can enter a Future Salary, and then search for careers that will earn them that much. Finally, there’s the Occupation Direct path, where users find their desired job, see the salary, and then get looped back to Reality Check to plan their monthly expenses accordingly. Lively profile pages for every featured career round out this simple and creative way to get students looking at their futures.

Big Challenge Solved: What TRC does exceptionally well is getting students to think about how to survive in the real world. The site’s engaging income builder lets them see firsthand the benefits of a budget and living within one’s means.

Must-Use: Most of the career profiles include full-screen video “reports.” Users should allow themselves time to sit back, watch, and learn about the jobs that interest them.

Most Unique Tool: Anticipate having a spouse and kids? Want to see how that impacts your income needs? Go to Occupation Direct, click on Family Plan Additional Costs, and they will be added to any career search you make.

Best Middle-School Student Tool: Younger students could really take advantage of the Help section, as it provides simple counseling on what to think about when considering choices from the various income categories (such as types of clothing, housing, and healthcare).

Best High-School Student Tool: For an extra dose of reality, students can open up the career profile pages and check out the far right tab entitled Labor Market Information, which compares Texas salaries to the national average.

Protip: For users already in college, ready for work, or just extra curious, go to any career profile page and click the link to current job openings—the Texas Workforce Commission’s search page for that job will open up in a new window.

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