Learn about typical career interests of the the ISTP personality type, potential career matches, and careers to avoid.
Reading time: 5 minutes
After a short summary of ISTP career interests, you’ll find 20 potential career fits for ISTPs, along with several poor fits, identified by combining data about ISTP personality patterns with detailed occupational information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The chart below shows where ISTPs tend to fall on the classic RIASEC career interest dimensions: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
Your unique blend of these dimensions dramatically influences how well a career feels like a good fit.
The dark blue areas show where ISTPs are most likely to fall on each dimension.
Most ISTPs tend to have the following pattern of interests:
High Realistic interests: People with high Realistic interests enjoy careers that allow them to work with their hands or tools to get a job done, rather than thinking or talking about it. They may also gravitate towards jobs with opportunities for working outdoors, competition, and risk-taking. Examples include police officers, military officers, professional athletes, farmers, builders, mechanics, forest rangers, and woodworkers.
High Conventional interests: People with strong Conventional interests excel in roles that require categorizing, planning, and systematizing information and processes. Examples include financial officers, budget analysts, office managers, database analysts, and systems administrators.
Average Investigative interests: People with strong Investigative interests prefer roles that require observation, researching, and understanding ideas. They tend to prefer working with data and ideas rather than working closely with other people. Examples include medical researchers, chemists, software engineers, scientific reporters, and statisticians.
Average Enterprising interests: People with strong Enterprising interests are often skilled communicators and enjoy influencing, persuading, and leading other people. They actively pursue leadership roles and opportunities to bolster their status and reputation. Examples include sales and marketing directors, politicians and political organizers, and executives.
Low Artistic interests: People with strong Artistic interests prefer jobs that require innovation through artistic and intuitive skills in less structured tasks and environments. Examples include artists, novelists, actors or actresses, musicians, curators, and designers.
Low Social interests: People with strong Social interests fit well with careers that involve helping, comforting, caring for, and teaching other people. Examples include physical therapists, counselors, clergy, social workers, doctors, and nurses.
However, it’s possible to find ISTPs at any point on any of these six dimensions. While most ISTPs have relatively low Social interests, there are still a few ISTPs who score very highly on them. This is one of the limitations to using MBTI personality types for career matching. Alternatively, you can find a more precise assessment of your unique combination of personality traits, strengths, career interests, and more here at TraitLab.
Most ISTPs have intense Realistic interests, pulling them towards roles that involve working with their hands, tools, or machinery.
Many ISTPs also have strong Conventional interests, meaning they will gravitate towards roles with opportunities to organize, systematize, and develop procedures.
Some ISTPs have relatively higher Investigative interests, pulling them towards roles requiring for analysis, research, and working with complex ideas.
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People who work in the following 20 occupations tend to have similar interests to most ISTPs:
Also known as Information Analyst, Information Systems Manager (IS Manager), Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist), LAN Specialist (Local Area Network Specialist), Local Area Network Administrator (LAN Administrator), Network Administrator, Network Coordinator, Network Manager, Systems Administrator
Systems Adminstrators install, configure, and maintain an organization’s local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), data communications network, operating systems, and physical and virtual servers. In addition, Systems Adminstrators
Typical pay range: $52,830 - $134,970 (annual)
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Also known as Health and Safety Specialist, Industrial Hygienist, Industrial Safety Engineer, Product Safety and Standards Engineer, Product Safety Consultant, Product Safety Engineer, Safety and Health Consultant, Safety Engineer, Service Loss Control Consultant, System Safety Engineer
Industrial Safety Engineers promote worksite or product safety by applying knowledge of industrial processes, mechanics, chemistry, psychology, and industrial health and safety laws. They also includes industrial product safety engineers.
Typical pay range: $55,390 - $144,800 (annual)
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Also known as Biological Science Laboratory Technician, Biological Science Technician, Biological Technician, Laboratory Technician, Marine Fisheries Technician, Research Assistant, Research Associate, Research Specialist, Research Technician, Wildlife Biology Technician
Biological Technicians assist biological and medical scientists. In addition, Biological Technicians
Typical pay range: $30,440 - $74,600 (annual)
Learn more about Biological Technicians ->
Also known as Airline Captain, Airline Pilot, Airline Pilot (Captain), Airline Transport Pilot, Captain, Check Airman, Co-Pilot, Commuter Pilot, First Officer, Pilot
Commuter Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. In addition, Commuter Pilots
Typical pay range: $80,920 - $208,000+ (annual)
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Also known as City Surveyor, County Surveyor, Land Surveyor, Mine Surveyor, Registered Land Surveyor, Surveyor
Surveyors make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. They also provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth’s surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.
Typical pay range: $37,690 - $109,010 (annual)
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Also known as Bio Medical Technician, Biomed Tech (Biomedical Technician), Biomedical Electronics Technician, Biomedical Engineering Technician (BMET), Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET), Dental Equipment Technician, Electronic Technician, Repair Technician, Service Technician, X-ray Service Engineer
Biomedical Technicians test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.
Typical pay range: $31,180 - $84,720 (annual)
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Also known as Audio Engineer, Board Operator, Broadcast Engineer, Broadcast Maintenance Engineer, Broadcast Operations Engineer, Broadcast Technician, Control Operator, Production Engineer
Audio Engineers set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to acquire, edit, and transmit audio and video for radio or television programs. In addition, Audio Engineers
Typical pay range: $21,570 - $83,620 (annual)
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Also known as Assembler, Bridge Carpenter, Bridge Repair Crew Person, Cabinet Maker, Carpenter, Concrete Carpenter, Construction Worker, Form Carpenter, Framer, Rough Carpenter
Carpenters construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood and comparable materials, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; and wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. In addition, Carpenters
Typical pay range: $31,200 - $87,410 (annual)
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Also known as Auxiliary Operator, Equipment Operator, Licensed Nuclear Operator, Non-Licensed Nuclear Equipment Operator (NLO), Non-Licensed Nuclear Plant Operator (NLO), Nuclear Auxiliary Operator, Nuclear Equipment Operator (NEO), Nuclear Plant Equipment Operator (NAPEO), Operations Technician, Systems Operator
Nuclear Technicians assist nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, or other scientists in laboratory, power generation, or electricity production activities. In addition, Nuclear Technicians
Typical pay range: $53,570 - $116,680 (annual)
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Also known as Control Technician, Electrical and Instrument Mechanic, Electrical and Instrument Technician (EI Tech), Electrical Maintenance Technician, Electrical Technician, IC Tech (Instrument and Control Technician), Instrument and Electrical Technician (IE Tech), Repair Technician, Service Technician, Technical Support Specialist
Industrial Equipment Mechanics repair, test, adjust, or install electronic equipment, such as industrial controls, transmitters, and antennas.
Typical pay range: $39,160 - $87,970 (annual)
Learn more about Industrial Equipment Mechanics ->
Also known as Avionics Installation Technician, Avionics Technician, Avionics Test Technician, Engineering Technician, Engineering Test Technician, Flight Test Instrument Technician, Instrumentation Technician, Systems Test Technician, Test Technician
Avionics Technicians operate, install, adjust, and maintain integrated computer/communications systems, consoles, simulators, and other data acquisition, test, and measurement instruments and equipment, which are used to launch, track, position, and evaluate air and space vehicles. They also may record and interpret test data.
Typical pay range: $43,400 - $103,450 (annual)
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Also known as City Engineer, Civil Engineer, County Engineer, Design Engineer, Project Engineer, Railroad Design Consultant, Structural Engineer
Civil Engineers perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.
Typical pay range: $56,160 - $144,810 (annual)
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Also known as Automotive Technician, Car Audio Installer, Car Electronics Installer, Car Stereo Installer, Electronic Equipment Installer, Electronic Technician, Installation Technician, Installer, Mobile Electronics Installation Specialist, Mobile Electronics Installer
Automobile Mechanics install, diagnose, or repair communications, sound, security, or navigation equipment in motor vehicles.
Typical pay range: $26,860 - $57,550 (annual)
Learn more about Automobile Mechanics ->
Also known as Communications Technologist, Electrical Engineering Technician, Electrical Technician, Electronics Engineering Technician, Electronics Technician, Engineering Technician (Engineering Tech), Engineering Technologist, System Technologist, Technologist
Electrical Engineering Technicians apply electrical and electronic theory and related knowledge, usually under the direction of engineering staff, to design, build, repair, adjust, and modify electrical components, circuitry, controls, and machinery for subsequent evaluation and use by engineering staff in making engineering design decisions.
Typical pay range: $40,170 - $99,810 (annual)
Learn more about Electrical Engineering Technicians ->
Also known as Arson Investigator, Fire and Explosion Investigator, Fire Code Inspector, Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, Fire Official, Fire Prevention Inspector, Fire Prevention Specialist, Fire Protection Specialist, Fire Safety Inspector
Fire Inspectors inspect buildings to detect fire hazards and enforce local ordinances and state laws, or investigate and gather facts to determine cause of fires and explosions.
Typical pay range: $39,860 - $100,780 (annual)
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Also known as Building Inspection Engineer, Building Inspector, Building Official, Code Enforcement Officer, Combination Building Inspector, Construction Inspector, Elevator Inspector, Home Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, Public Works Inspector
Building Inspectors inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. They also inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.
Typical pay range: $37,850 - $101,170 (annual)
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Also known as Appliance Mechanic, Appliance Repair Mechanic, Appliance Repair Technician (Appliance Repair Tech), Appliance Service Technician, Appliance Technician (Appliance Tech), Repair Man, Repair Technician, Service Technician (Service Tech), Vacuum Repairer
Home Appliance Mechanics repair, adjust, or install all types of electric or gas household appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, and ovens.
Typical pay range: $25,000 - $65,640 (annual)
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Also known as CAD Operator (Computer Aided Design Operator), Design Drafter, Designer, Drafter, Electrical Designer, Electrical Drafter, Layout Designer, Line Staker, Mask Designer, Staking Engineer
Electrical Drafters prepare wiring diagrams, circuit board assembly diagrams, and layout drawings used for the manufacture, installation, or repair of electrical equipment.
Typical pay range: $37,020 - $101,130 (annual)
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Also known as Blast Hole Driller, Blaster, Explosive Technician, Powderman, Unexploded Ordnance Quality Control Officer
Explosive Technicians place and detonate explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials. They also may perform specialized handling, storage, and accounting procedures.
Typical pay range: $33,440 - $73,650 (annual)
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Also known as Aerial Photogrammetrist, Cartographer, Cartographic Designer, Digital Cartographer, Mapper, Photogrammetric Technician, Photogrammetrist, Stereo Compiler, Stereoplotter Operator
Cartographers research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for one or more purposes, such as legal, social, political, educational, and design purposes. In addition, Cartographers
Typical pay range: $42,980 - $108,890 (annual)
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Most ISTPs would struggle to enjoy careers that consistently demand Artistic and Social interests. These careers would involve lots of helping, nurturing, and creative thinking in relatively unstructured environments.
A few examples include: