Career Assessment Tests: Cerebral Palsy Career Builder for Middle School

By Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, Disability Employment Expert

Career assessment tests can help the middle school student with cerebral palsy (CP) you’re mentoring make some preliminary career decisions in the best possible light.

Here is a guide to three free O*Net Career Exploration Tools for career counseling, planning and exploration that have been developed by the U.S. Department of Labor and Employment and Training Administration.

This guide will help you better understand the different types of career assessment tests and how you may want to use them to guide your junior high school student.

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) team has designed a set of self-directed career exploration/assessment tools to help individuals consider and plan career options, preparation, and transitions more effectively.

 These career assessment tests, which are based on a "whole-person" concept, include:

  • O*NET Ability Profiler
  • O*NET Computerized Interest Profiler
  • O*NET Work Importance Profiler

 These instruments help individuals identify their work-related interests, what they consider important for working on the job, and their abilities so they can explore those occupations that relate most closely to those attributes.

There is no charge for completing them and obtaining the results online (or printing them out, completing them and sending them to your state workforce development department for a results report).

Users of these career assessment tests may link to the more than 950 occupations described by the O*NET database as well as to occupational information on, a workforce assistance and information portal site administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and Employment and Training Administration.

As a result, individuals can make a seamless transition from assessing their interests, work values, and abilities to matching their job skills with the requirements of occupations in their local labor markets.

Your youngster has three options in most cases:

  • Take these career assessment tests online.
  • Work with a career counselor on an individual basis in taking them and evaluating their results.
  • Join a group of individuals under the direction of an administrator who helps each person take and evaluate the assessments.

It may be wise to seek professional guidance, especially in matching your youngster’s profile to the needs of the job market in your area -- someone who takes into account all aspects of individuality in the critical decision of choosing an occupation.

And, of course, since your youngster is still in junior high, you have some time to choose the right time for administering these career assessment tests.

Graphic showing checkmarks for taking a test or assessment.

O*NET Ability Profiler

This instrument is a career exploration tool that helps individuals plan their work lives. The O*NET Ability Profiler uses a paper and pencil format (the only one of these tests which cannot yet be taken online) with optional apparatus parts and computerized scoring.

 Individuals can use the O*NET Ability Profiler results to:

  • Identify their strengths and areas for which they might want to receive more training and education.
  • Identify occupations that fit their strengths.

 The O*NET Ability Profiler measures nine job-relevant abilities:

  •  Verbal Ability
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Computation
  • Spatial Ability
  • Form Perception
  • Clerical Perception
  • Motor Coordination
  • Finger Dexterity
  • Manual Dexterity

 Here are specific features for the O*NET Ability Profiler:

  •  The O*NET Ability Profiler must be administered by staff people who provide instructions to individuals taking the assessment.
  • The User Guide is provided for workforce development professionals.
  • The O*NET Ability Profiler offers flexible administration:
    1. It can be administered in individual or group settings.
    2. It has both paper and pencil and optional apparatus sections.

  • The O*NET Ability Profiler offers computerized scoring.
  • Results from the O*NET Ability Profiler:
    1. Are presented on computer-generated customized score reports.

    2. Can be linked to the over 950 occupations in O*NET OnLine.

    3. Are easily interpreted.

    4. Can be used on a stand-alone basis or with other O*NET Career Exploration Tools or with privately developed instruments.

  • The O*NET Ability Profiler was developed:
    1. Following rigorous scientific procedures.

    2. With help from customers and leading experts in the field of assessment research to ensure that it is a valid, user-friendly, assessment tool for career exploration, career planning, and career counseling.

O*NET Computerized Interest Profiler

The O*NET Computerized Interest Profiler is a career assessment test administered by computer. Users receive an accurate, reliable profile of their vocational interests that provides valuable self-knowledge about their vocational interests and fosters career awareness.

This instrument is a self-assessment career exploration tool that can help people discover the type of work activities and occupations that they would like and find exciting. Users identify and learn about broad interest areas most relevant to themselves.

The instrument is composed of 180 items describing work activities that represent a wide variety of occupations as well as a broad range of training levels. People can use their interest results to explore the world of work.

O*NET Work Importance Locator and Profiler

These instruments are self-assessment career assessment tests that allow users to pinpoint what is important to them in a job. They help people identify occupations that they may find satisfying based on the similarity between their work values (such as achievement, autonomy, and conditions of work) and the characteristics of the occupations.

The O*NET Work Importance Locator is a paper and pencil instrument, and the O*NET Work Importance Profiler is computerized. These alternative delivery modes increase the flexibility that programs and users have in career exploration.

Together, the O*NET Work Importance Locator and Profiler measure six types of work values:

  • Achievement
  • Independence
  • Recognition
  • Relationships
  • Support
  • Working Conditions

These are the strengths of the O*NET Work Importance Locator and O*NET Work Importance Profiler:

  • Based on over 30 years of research by leading vocational psychologists.
  • Extensive and thorough development effort.
    1. Stakeholder input during all stages.

    2. Construct validity and reliability evidence.
  • Extensively pilot tested; customer reactions overwhelmingly positive.
  • Can be self-administered and self-interpreted.
  • User Guide provided for workforce development professionals.
  • Can be used on a stand-alone basis or with other O*NET Career Exploration Tools or with privately developed instruments.
  • Results link directly to over 900 occupations in O*NET OnLine.
  • Approximately 30-minute completion time.

Administered by computer, The O*NET Work Importance Profiler asks participants to indicate the importance to them of each work need -- in two different steps.

In Step 1, participants rank order 21 work need statements by comparing them to one another and ordering them according to their relative importance.

In Step 2, they rate those work needs by indicating whether or not the need is important independent of the other work need statements. Users receive a profile of their work values that:

  • Helps them develop valuable self-knowledge about their work values.
  • Fosters career awareness.
  • Provides a window to the entire world of work via the 900+ occupations within O*NET OnLine.

Remember – you and your youngster can obtain each of these career assessment tests and individual results for each of them for free.

"The ability assessment is not so easy to take," writes Janet Wall in A LinkedIn reply/comment.Excerpt from a LinkedIn group discussion.

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This is Creative Commons content.  You can freely and legally use, share and repurpose it for non-commercial purposes only, provided you attach this sentence and the following attribution to it (including the two links):

Originally written and illustrated by Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, owner of Hasse Communication Counseling, LLC, who, as a person with cerebral palsy, served for 10 years as a vice president in a Fortune 500 company during his 29-year career in corporate communication. He’s an Accredited Business Communicator, certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator and author of 14 Amazon books about disability awareness and disability employment issues.