State of Alaska > Career Ready > Students & Parents

Get Career Ready, Get Certified

What is Alaska Career Ready?

As a student you have a wonderful opportunity to participate in Alaska Career Ready, a state program that helps students prepare for college and career. Here, you can learn about occupations, take assessments in work-related academic skills, take lessons to improve your skills, and receive a nationally recognized credential, the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). The NCRC documents your achievement in three of the entry-level academic skills that employers value most.

What is WorkKeys?

WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system. The WorkKeys system identifies and measures "real world" skills that have been shown to be essential to success in hundreds of jobs and occupations throughout the nation. These skills are valuable for any occupation you may be considering. For more information, go to WorkKeys.

Will the WorkKeys Assessment Tell You "What You Should be When You Grow Up?"

One test alone cannot tell you what career field is best for you. But WorkKeys can be one very important piece of the puzzle for you as you look at your future. You will also want to consider your likes and dislikes, your work preferences, how much time you are willing to devote to training after high school, how much money you want to make, etc. Your guidance counselor can help you put all of the puzzle pieces together.

What is the Importance of Alaska Career Ready and WorkKeys?

Students with these academic skills are more prepared to learn specific skills on the job. More than 10,000 jobs have been profiled nationwide as employers are taking a stand, requiring a highly skilled workforce.

With this credential, you also receive a detailed score report that explains exactly what skills you have demonstrated. The NCRC and score reports can be shown to prospective employers, training programs and colleges as concrete proof of your skills. Increasingly, employers nationwide look for career readiness certificates. Alaska is no exclusion; Department of Labor job centers are actively working with many employers across our state to recognize WorkKeys as a hiring and recruitment tool. In fact, some employers and training programs are requiring the NCRC.

What Three Assessments Will I Be Taking?

Your school will be administering three WorkKeys assessments in the fall in the following foundational skills:

  • Reading for Information
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Locating information

Look At Sample WorkKeys Test Questions

WorkKeys test questions may be completely different than what you have experienced on other assessments. For more information, view sample questions.

Who Is Required To Test?

Regulation 4 AAC 06.717 requires that each school district in Alaska allow students in grade 12 and require students in grade 11. Grade 11 students must take all three content areas and grade 12 students may take all three content areas.

What To Expect On Test Day

Your school will be giving you specific instructions ahead of time on the day and time for the assessment, about what room to report to, what you should and should not bring with you, and other details. As with other tests, get a good night's sleep before test day, eat breakfast that morning and get to school in plenty of time.

For More Practice

Use the Career Ready 101/KeyTrain computer program to prepare for the assessments. It's free, and you may use it wherever you have Internet access. See your school's guidance counselor or principal for login information. For more information, go to KeyTrain.

Order Official WorkKeys Practice Test

Full-length online WorkKeys practice tests are available for purchase. The practice test will look and feel like a real online WorkKeys test. Individuals will receive an estimate of the level score achieved at the end of the practice test. For more information, see Online Practice Tests.

Want To Try A Free WorkKeys Practice Test?

The Department of Education, through SLED (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway), offers a website with a variety of FREE resources for Alaskan students and adults. One of the resources is the "Testing and Education Reference Center (TERC)", which offers free practice guides and tests for a wide variety of assessments, including WorkKeys Math and Reading. Please note these practice tests are NOT OFFICIAL ACT WORKKEYS PRACTICE TESTS. They have been developed by an independent company.

Use this link and the bulleted steps below to get to the TERC website:

  • Scroll down to the letter "T" and choose "Testing and Education Reference Center."
  • Then, in the lower right-hand corner, click Go under Family College Planning Center
  • Look under the Test Preparation column for the heading "ACT WorkKeys Prep" to find the practice WorkKeys tests.
  • Before taking any of the practice tests listed, you will be asked to establish a username and password for future use.

How Are My Assessments Scored?

WorkKeys assessments use a scoring system of 3 to 7. The higher your skill level or score, the more jobs you may be better prepared to enter. Alaska awards NCRC's at four levels. Students who score at least a 6 on all three WorkKeys Assessments receive the Platinum credential; score at least 5 on all three assessments receive the Gold credential; score at least a 4 on all three assessments receive the Silver credential; and score at least a 3 on all three assessments receive the Bronze credential. Scores below Level 3 are not recorded for the NCRC, but they are listed on the score reports and would still be valuable and relevant in finding a career of interest.

After you have completed the assessments your school will provide you with a score report. The score report gives the test name (Math, Reading, or Locating), your exact score level, and the levels that are possible, as well as giving you a brief idea of what skills you demonstrated and what you might want to work on in order to improve your skills. For more information, go to NCRC.

How Can I Use My Scores?

  • WorkKeys score reports and the NCRC are an excellent way to communicate your workplace skills to employers, colleges and training programs. Attach not only your NCRC, but your score reports to job applications, college applications, resumes, or cover letters when applying.
  • Your WorkKeys scores and NCRC also can help you focus training to improve selected workplace skills.
  • Score reports contain information about how you can improve your skills to achieve the next level and a variety of training resources focusing on such improvements are available. You can find information about these resources at

How Can An Employer Or Educational Program Verify My Certificate?

Your NCRC has a registration number that is unique to you. You may register your NCRC and allow employers or training programs to verify that you have those skills.

  • On the back of your certificate you will find your user ID and a temporary password.
  • Use that information to log in to your account at
  • Follow the instructions to mark your certificate as "public." Provide the link to an employer or educational program to verify your certificate and your scores.

Include Your NCRC With Job Applications

List your WorkKeys scores and your NCRC on your resume and include them with your job applications. During a job interview, tell the prospective employer about your accomplishment and explain that your NCRC shows that you have demonstrated specific skills in math, reading, and locating information on the job. Your NCRC may make the difference between you and the next most qualified person!

What Students Can Do Now

Take control of your future career. Talk to your parent, teachers, and school counselors about your interests and abilities and their educational and work experiences. Explore careers that you encounter in daily life that may be of interest to you. Today's jobs demand higher-level skills and good jobs go to highly skilled workers.

Profiles of hundreds of occupations geared to WorkKeys skill levels are available for you to search for jobs by WorkKeys Skill Levels. You can see whether you have the level of work-related academic skills that will help you get an entry-level job in the occupations you are interested in.

If you want to improve your scores on the WorkKeys assessments, you may access the Career Ready101/KeyTrain online curriculum. You can work through this curriculum at your own pace. To find out if you already have a login ask your school counselor or principal. For more information, go to KeyTrain.

How Parents Can Help

Parents and community can use Alaska Career Ready, WorkKeys, and the NCRC as an opportunity to talk to students about career interests, the skills that employers look for, and the relevance of school to future employment. Reinforce the importance and value of workplace skills and help them to understand the critical connection of real world skill as it translates to job placement in rewarding occupations.

Support, provide direction, and encourage your child as they make decisions about continuing their education beyond high school. Be proactive!

Alaska Performance Scholarship

The Alaska Performance Scholarship provides an opportunity for Alaska high school students to earn a scholarship to help cover the cost of an Alaska postsecondary education. With qualifying GPA, rigorous course work and qualifying assessment scores students may qualify for the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS). Students can qualify for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) APS using WorkKeys scores. The CTE APS can be used for attendance in a career and technical education certification program, but not for a degree program. Beginning with the Class of 2013, a combined WorkKeys score of 13 (with no score lower than 4) meets the test score requirements for the CTE APS award. Learn more about the APS program by visiting the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education's website.

Are You In An Alaska Public High School And Want To Retake?

After you take you required assessment in grade 11 you will have an additional free opportunity to test in grade 12. Ask your principal or guidance counselor when your school may be giving additional WorkKeys assessments, at student or district expense. Use the Career Ready 101/KeyTrain courseware to practice the WorkKeys skills.

Are You An Out-Of-School Youth Or Adult Job Seeker And Want To Retake?

Contact your local job center for more information on taking the WorkKeys assessments, at no charge. For more information see Job Seekers.

What Other Skills Are Important In The Workplace?

Alaskan employers developed a list of workplace skills and summarized them in a poster called "Want a Great Career? Alaskan Employers Expect." The items are grouped into three categories: Skills, Attitudes, and Work Ethic. Use school and home to practice these skills, attitudes, and values to prepare you for success in any job.

Exploring Careers

There are many ways to explore different careers.

  • Talk to parents, other family members, teachers, and other adults you know about their educational and work experiences.
  • Talk to your parents, teachers, and school counselor about your interests and abilities.
  • Look for examples of different occupations you encounter in daily life, such as teacher, pharmacist, construction worker, dental hygienist, office worker, plumber, carpet layer, sales person, tour guide, chef, welder, ship worker, truck driver, real estate agent, banker, store clerk, fast food worker, utility worker, receptionist, etc.
  • Ask your teacher or guidance counselor how to find information about occupations that may not be common and inquire about scheduling an informational interview.
  • Learn about "career clusters," a broad grouping of occupations that has many different types of career pathways all related to that general area such as healthcare (pharmacist, x-ray technician, doctor, medical receptionist, dental hygienist, nurse, physician assistant, physical therapist, dentist, medical billing specialist, etc.).
  • Talk to your school guidance counselor for more information on career & technical high school and college programs, apprenticeships, occupational certificates, and two- and four-year degrees.

Not sure where to find career information? Here are some starters:


Alaska Dept. of Education
& Early Development

801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
Telephone: (907) 465-6410

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Alaska Dept. of Labor
& Workforce Development

1111 West 8th Street
PO Box 115509
Juneau, AK 99811-5509
Telephone: (907) 465-5948