It’s not my intention to give full information or an extensive discussion on every theory. This website is intended to be a starting point and the main difference with other websites is the visual representation of the theory, which I hope will help get to grips with the theory. There are also links it the bottom to get your further research started.

Career Choice and Attainment Model

Kimberly A.S.Howard 2010


Definition or description of the model

Bear in mind that this is a model, not a theory. The Career Choice and Attainment Model articulates key elements of career development and thinking during childhood that other models haven’t addressed. Howard proposes six levels of the development of vocational reasoning – see video below.

What does it look like and how can it be used?

The five key areas of career development and thinking are:

Career theories on marcr and Howard's Career Choice and Attainment Model.



The Career Choice and Attainment Model is, or appears to be, entirely geared towards young children. It offers a way to integrate career guidance and career exploration not only into formal and informal education, but also in everyday life. This is especially important for parents, but care needs to be taken not to allow bias, unconscious or not, to influence the activity. For the adult guiding and supporting the child, being aware of their own biases and how they interact with child based activities is key, especially, but not uniquely, when it comes to expectations related to gender and cultural background.


Pros and cons of this model

Howard’s Career Choice and Attainment Model looks like a very comprehensive model to work on careers with primary school children. However, are there aspects that are not covered by this model?

  • Can you think of a way by which you can adapt this model for adolescents and even adults?
  • What are the limitations of the activities – what can they reveal or teach and what remains unobtainable using this model?
  • How does available time and resources impact on applying this theory?


Useful Links

There are some articles of interest which are behind a pay wall. If you are part of a university you could access these through your university library. An example is and

Related to this theory:


This free webinar with Kimberly Howard is a part of a webinar series that offers you the opportunity to further explore the career theories and models compiled in CERIC’s new book Career Theories and Models at Work: Ideas for Practice.

Webinars are led by the contributing authors to the book.

Overview of Kimberly’s webinar:

The most effective learning activities are those designed with the development level of the learner in mind. It is expected that education curricula in academic subject areas, such as math, reading and science, are created and implemented in such a way that they are well matched to the cognitive abilities of the students in the classroom. The same principle should be applied to the area of career development. The Conceptions of Career Choice and Attainment (CCCA) model provides a six-level framework from which we can understand the way children reason about career-related processes, and how this reasoning changes over time.

In this free webinar, Kimberly A.S. Howard will introduce the key features of the CCCA model and how it can be used by school-based professionals and youth development practitioners to identify the types of interventions that encourage children to develop more sophisticated reasoning about career development and occupational goals.

Webinar Learnings:

• The importance of considering cognitive developmental level when designing career education programs for children and youth
• The key features of the CCCA model
• The nature of career reasoning demonstrated by students in each of the 6 CCCA levels
• How to align their career programming to meet students’ career development needs

About the presenter:

Kimberly A.S. Howard, is an Associate Professor at Boston University, where she serves as training director of the Counseling Psychology PhD program. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) Society of Counseling Psychology and a member of the APA Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education.

Kimberly A.S. Howard is also one of the authors of the Career Theories and Models at Work: Ideas for Practice book, Chapter 16 – Children’s Reasoning about Career Development: The Conceptions of Career Choice and Attainment Model