How to Create SMART Career Goals

Each of us have dreams and goals that we want to accomplish in our careers and in life. Maybe you dream of being the first person in your family to graduate from college or maybe you want to start a more rewarding, fulfilling career.

Creating SMART career goals can help you achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself. To make your goals more effective, they should follow a few guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Using these five criteria when creating your career goals will increase your chances of success. So, how exactly do you create goals that are SMART? Read on as we reveal exactly how to do it!


To start, you need to ensure that your career goals are specific. The reason for this is that when you have a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve it. Here is an example of a specific career goal: I want to graduate from a Dental Assisting program in Columbiana County within 18 months to start a new career.

You now know exactly what you need to do to reach your goals after answering these questions.


For your career goals to be SMART, they have to be measurable, as this allows you to track the progress you make toward your goals along the way. When measuring your progress with each step you take, you will know if you’re on track to meet your goals or if you need to change something in order to reach them.

Dividing your goal into smaller pieces is the easiest way to do this. So, for our Dental Assisting program goal example, each class you take to complete the program can be considered a milestone toward your goal. You will be one step closer to your goal every time you complete a class.


Next, you need to ensure your SMART career goals are attainable. This step is very important, because when you create goals that aren’t actually attainable, it can be hard to keep yourself motivated and working toward them. For example, taking a trip to Mars next month seems like an awesome goal, but because the technology to do this doesn’t yet exist, it’s not actually attainable. Setting your goals so high that they can’t be accomplished can be counterproductive, because they can de-motivate you.

Using our Dental Assisting program goal as an example, there are a few things you should consider to ensure you can achieve your goal, such as whether you have the time to commit to the program, the support system required to succeed, any prerequisites that are needed, and the resources to pay for it.


The fourth thing your SMART career goals need to be is relevant. To ensure your goals are relevant to you, ask yourself these questions: Do I really want to meet this goal? Do I care enough to do the work to achieve the goal? Does it align with my other goals? Does this goal help me get closer to my long-term goals and dreams?

In the Dental Assisting program example, it’s a relevant goal because it helps get you closer to starting a new career. Therefore, when you achieve the goal, it takes you one step closer to have a rewarding and fulfilling career.


Ensuring your SMART career goals are timely is the last step. This means that as you create your goal, assign a time frame in which you will complete the goal. If your goal has no due date, you won’t have a sense of urgency pushing you to complete the goal.

In addition to your larger goal’s time frame, you should also create deadlines for the specific events along the way that you must complete to reach your goal. In our Dental Assisting program goal example, you can create a time frame for taking specific classes, completing an externship, and passing your certification exams.

Reach Your Goals with East Ohio

You’ve created your own SMART career goals, so now you’re ready to reach your professional goals! Whether you want to work in healthcare or in a professional business environment, East Ohio has the fast track programs to get you there!

Learn more about our Nursing, LPN to RN Bridge, Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Business Administration programs and request information to get started today!