People who have athletic ability, prefer to work with objects, machines, tools, plants or animals, or to be outdoors. They would describe themselves as practical, straightforward/frank, mechanically inclined, stable, concrete, reserved, self-controlled, independent, ambitious, and systematic. It's important to remember that "Realistic" in this sense doesn't refer to your ability to be practical, but is a category of interests skills, and values. The information on this page is not a comprehensive overview of Realistic interests, but meant more to give a general idea of this particular occupational theme.

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Realistic interest often revolve around building, crafting and working with tools, technology or machines. Individuals with Realistic interests tend to enjoy working more with hands on projects than they do working with people.  People with Realistic interests tend to also like the outdoors and nature and like working with plants or animals. They are often interested in physical or athletic activities. "Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.  They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, machinery and technology.   Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others." per O*Net Online


  • Crafting/creating with materials
  • Constructing/modeling rooms
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Strength/stamina
  • Whole body agility/coordination
  • Operating/driving machinery
  • Physical risk/daring
  • Athletic Ability
  • Skills with tools
  • Mechanical knowledge and skills
  • Skills with plants and animals


  • Practicality
  • Productivity
  • Structure
  • Tradition
  • Independence
  • Physical Skill

Career Communities & Activities

If you have Realistic interests, you could be interested in any of the career communities, so make sure to investigate all of them. These communities in particular could be a good place to start:

Below is a small sample of clubs and activities at UVa that may focus on Realistic themes and interests. The club directory will have even more options that you can explore.

  • Earth Week at the University of Virginia
  • Environmental Sciences Organization
  • Outdoors Club
  • Student Council Environmental Sustainability Committee
  • Naval ROTC
  • EMT
  • Beach Volleyball Club
  • Club Cross-Country
  • Club Figure Skating
  • Peanuts and Crackerjacks
  • Engineering Student Council
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Relevant Majors & Courses

Below are examples of majors at UVa that may focus on Realistic themes and interests.  This list is just a small sample of the majors available at UVA and is by no means exhaustive.  Explore the full list of undergraduate majors further  and be sure to speak with an Association Dean, Advisor, or Director of Undergraduate Programs if you have questions about the major.

  • Architecture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nursing
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art

Potential Occupations

O*Net Online provides selected occupations matching interest areas. Occupations are sorted by Job Zones that group occupations by required education, releated experience, and on-the-job training. Please see O*Net Realistic occupations page for more options.  Again, this list is just a small sample of some of the occupations that relate to the Realistic theme.  Remember that most occupations have more than one theme associated with them, so if you don't see an occupation listed here, look at some of the other theme pages or search for that occupation on O*Net.

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians
  • Airline Pilots
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Archaeologist 
  • Biological Technicians
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
  • Civil and Environmental Engineers
  • Construction Managers
  • Farm Manager
  • Foresters
  • Geodetic Surveyor
  • Industrial Arts Teacher 
  • Jeweler
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Landscape Architect 
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Museum Technician and Conservator
  • Optician
  • Petroleum Geologist 
  • Photographer
  • Set Designer
  • Software Technician
  • Surveyors
  • Transportation Engineers
  • Veterinarian