Colorado Springs, Colo. (Feb. 6, 2004) -- Bad news: Becoming an accountant doesn’t top most teens’ ideal career. Good news: It beat out dentist and commercial pilot. Those are among the findings of a poll by Junior Achievement.

When asked, “What is your ideal career?” 12.8 percent of teens said businessperson, making it far and away the top choice, according to the JA Kids and Careers 2004 poll. Accountant ranked No. 22 among 35 careers mentioned, cited by 1.6 percent of teens, trailing fashion and design (No. 10) and mechanic (No. 12). That ranking was down eight spots from the No. 13 spot last year.

Doctor ranked a distant second, cited by 6.5 percent of teens, followed by teacher (5.4 percent), and “computer field” (4.9 percent). The career aspirations identified by students in the business category included owning a small business, managing within a company, and serving as chief executive of a major corporation.

According to JA, female teens were much more likely to select professions in law, medicine and education, while their male classmates preferred careers in the computer field and professional sports. JA polled 1,000 students between ages 13 and 18 nationwide from October to November 2003. Full results are available at www.ja.org.

-- WebCPA staff

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