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If you’ve seen a TV series set in a high school, you’ve likely seen an episode where the characters take a career aptitude test, get their results, and then hilarity and/or drama ensue. 

Whether you’re just beginning to figure out your future profession or you’re looking to make a career change, the idea that you can just answer a few questions and have a test spit out the perfect answer to “What should I be when I grow up?” is enticing. 

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. But you also don’t have to just drift along in a sea of choices: There are plenty of resources out there to help you narrow down your options and find a job where you’ll thrive. 

We’ve researched the best career assessments and job personality tests to help you identify which occupational fields and career paths might help you live your best professional life. 

What are career tests?

Let’s get this out of the way: No test can guarantee it’ll tell you your “dream job” or your forever career. 

These quizzes will ask you about your values, interests, skills, and goals and give you some ideas for careers or types of careers to explore further—in other words, they’re a “jumping off point,” says Muse career coach Lynn Berger, who’s used these tests for over 20 years to help clients gain focus and direction in their careers. 

Some will also help you learn more about your working style or what type of environment you thrive in. Your results might even provide a little help for you in your current position—setting you up for success, no matter where you are in your career journey.

Free career aptitude tests

1.

screenshot of mynextmove.org

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, this free job quiz will help you identify where your career interests lie, then point you toward career paths that might feed those interests.

The results section has a “Current Job Zone” where you can explore opportunities based on the experience you currently have as well as a “Future Job Zone” that showcases how much education and experience you’ll need to secure the job you want.

2.

screenshot of 123Test.com

Rather than answer questions on a sliding scale of agree or disagree, this free career test shows four photos (each picture depicts work associated with a specific type of personality) and you choose both your favorite and least favorite illustrated activity. After 15 questions, you get a “Holland Code” result, based on John Holland’s theory of personality types and careers, along with a list of suggested occupations that match your specific type.

3.

screenshot of What Career Is Right for Me dot com

What’s unique about this test’s approach is that you’re asked to rank your skill set, interests, work style, and values, plus say how much money you’d like to make, what education requirements you’re looking to meet, and how much potential growth you’d like to see in your career field. The results are no-nonsense—with links to job descriptions as well as job openings.

4.

screenshot from Truity.com

With this free career personality test, you’ll discover more about how you relate to others in less than 10 minutes. The results detail how open to new experiences you are, how much self-discipline you may have, how much of an extrovert you are, and how you handle stressful situations—not just how you imagine yourself to be. This intel is especially useful to understand when it comes to how you handle your job and coworkers and what kind of work environment would be best for you.

Note: While the basic results are free, you’ll have to pay to see your full report. 

5.

screenshot from my plan dot com

MyPlan.com offers four different assessment options—a career personality test, a career interest inventory, a career skills profiler, and a career values assessment—that together will measure your career personality and help you find your ideal career.

You can still learn things from each test individually, though. For example, the “career values test” will give you a sense of what to look for in a position in order to find meaning, while the “careers personality test” includes 739 careers ranked according to how well they align with your personality.

6.

screenshot from career explorer dot com

This comprehensive career test measures your interests, history and goals, and workplace and personality traits. Then it matches you along several dimensions so you can make an informed decision regarding your career. You also get personalized top career matches and insights.

Note: While the basic results are free, you’ll have to pay to see your full report. 

7.

screenshot from career fitter dot com

This 60-question quiz not only helps to identify your personality strengths, but also applies the results to how to find the right career. While you can check out the free career test version for your core strengths and management style, in our opinion, it’s worth the upgrade for the premium 10-page report that includes the best career choices for your personality type, details about potential weaknesses, and info about your ideal business environments.

Note: While the basic results are free, you’ll have to pay to see your full report.

8.

screenshot from assessment.com

The Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential (MAPP) test focuses on your likes and dislikes and is designed to be taken quickly so that your answers are based on your instincts rather than letting you overthink things. There are various packages to choose from for more in-depth information, but the free results offer ample insights about career motivations and suggest 10 possible vocational areas for you to check out.

Note: While the basic results are free, you’ll have to pay to see your full report.

Other career aptitude tests

9.

screenshot from self-directed-search.com

The Self-Directed Search (SDS) is a career assessment test that matches people with jobs based on aspirations, competencies, activities, and interests. The result is a personalized report ranking and detailing how realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, or conventional you may be—a version of the Holland theory called RIASEC. Along with your personalized summary code, you’ll receive a list of careers with salary data as well as educational opportunities that best fit you and your results. The SDS also has specialized reports for veterans and students. 

Cost: $14.95

10.

screenshot from enneagram institute dot com

This test tells you which of the nine Enneagram types you are most like: the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger, or the peacemaker.

Understanding more about your type can help you get along better with your coworkers and clue you in about which characteristics you need to look for in a career in order for it to be fulfilling.

Cost: $12

11.

screenshot from gallup.com

Formally known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder, this assessment tells you your top five out of a pool of 34 possible strengths. Muse career coach Elena Pastore often uses it with clients to “help them synthesize and understand what they are actually good at, what they thoroughly enjoy, and how to identify a job that is aligned.” It’s worth noting that “CliftonStrengths is not a personality assessment, and therefore cannot and should not be used to push people to a specific career path,” Pastore says. “This tool is best used to help individuals identify their talents and then determine what they need to thrive and what they bring to teams rather than predicting a specific career.”   

After taking the quiz, you’ll get a customized report that lists your top five dominant talents, along with videos and supporting materials to help you achieve academic, career, and personal success.

Cost: $19.99 and up

12.

screenshot from myers briggs dot org

Applicable across all areas of your life, the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is probably one of the most-used assessments by career centers and managers alike. “Many companies use the MB test to evaluate counseling, leadership training, and work-team development qualities,” says Muse career coach Steven Davis, a technical recruiter and owner of Renaissance Solutions Inc. So not only can your results point you toward possible jobs, but they can also “be a powerful tool for advancement, receiving recognition, and promotions.” 

The MBTI gives you your personality preferences: where you get your energy, how you like to take in information, how you make decisions, and what kind of structure you like in the world around you. While these preferences can certainly point to careers that might suit you well, they can also give you a lot of valuable information about what kind of workplaces might be best for you, what your working preferences are, and how you can best relate to others at the office. When taking the test, Davis suggests that you “approach the test to discover more about who you are as a person,” as well as how you might communicate best and how others may perceive you.

If you don’t want to pay to take the official test, you can take a pretty good (and free) online version here.

Cost: $49.95 for a basic online report; $175 with personal feedback 

13.

screenshot from johnson o'connor research foundation website

This nonprofit research foundation has been studying innate human abilities and aptitudes since 1922. Its goal is to help people make informed decisions about their career paths based on the idea that the career someone finds most rewarding is the one that uses their natural aptitudes and strengths. By identifying those aptitudes, they help you home in on the fields that are most likely to bring you career satisfaction. Unlike most tests that can be taken online, these tests are only available at 11 testing centers across the country.

If getting to a center is not in your future (or the $850 price tag is too hefty!), you can get a taste for the Johnson O’Connor approach via a free career assessment test they developed for Oprah.com

Cost: $850

Career test FAQs

Here’s a bit more about career assessments and quizzes, with some insight from a few of our Muse career coaches.

What is the best career test?

There is no one best career test. And of course, nothing is stopping you from trying more than one…

Different tools with resonate with different people, Pastore says. “Use that tool that works for you that you feel you can understand and identify with. If you don’t identify with any you’ve taken—that’s OK too!”

Are career tests accurate?

Career tests are helpful “to gain focus and clarity,” in your search for the right job, Berger says. Pastore stresses that “taking the assessment and receiving your results is just the first step.”

If the results include specific jobs or paths, make sure you still do your research about what they entail before jumping in. Consider doing some initial reading online, and if the career sparks your interest, try setting up informational interviews with those already in the job to find out more. Or you could use your results to start a conversation with a career coach or counselor.

You might even think of a career test as just part of the first step—you should definitely explore careers that don’t line up with your results if they interest you, and take all these tests with a grain of salt. You’re the only one who can truly decide what you want.

How will a career test help me?

“The purpose of [a career test] is to build self-awareness about what we are good at, how others view us, and what we bring to the table,” Pastore says. This insight may help you find new careers to explore or it may help you thrive in your current job.

Regina Borsellino contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.

Updated 5/27/2022