Best For

  • Individuals at an early stage of career exploration
  • Individuals who are interested in learning more about how various careers align with their personality types
  • Self-interpretation

What is the SDS?

The Self-Directed Search (SDS) is the most widely used career interest inventory in the world, having helped more than 14 million people with career planning decisions. The SDS is an easy-to-use, self-administered test that helps individuals find the occupations that best suit their interests and skills. Requiring 35-45 minutes to complete, respondents answer questions about their aspirations, activities, competencies, occupations, and self-estimates and then total their scores.

Why Should I Use the SDS?

SELF-DIRECTED CAREER RESEARCH. In the Standard version of the SDS, the respondent arrives at a three-letter Summary Code that designates the three personality types the individual most closely resembles. Respondents then use the Occupations Finder to match their code to the occupations that best suit their personality types, interests, and skills. The Occupations Finder lists over 1000 common occupations. The Occupations Finder also includes the educational development level each occupation requires, as well as the associated NOC codes. The You and Your Career Booklet contains information about personality characteristics and occupational types.

DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATE FORM. The SDS Form E was designed specifically to assess the career interests of respondents with lower reading levels. This 198-item version includes questions about an individual’s likes and dislikes, competencies, interests, and abilities. Individuals answer the questions and derive a 2-letter Summary Code. With this code, test takers search the Jobs Finder for jobs with matching codes that would be most satisfying to them. The Jobs Finder contains 841 jobs, listed with their matching NOC codes, and required level of training. Respondents will find the You and Your Job Booklet useful for further insight into potential job paths.

The SDS Form E was revised and updated in 1996 to more closely reflect the interests of individuals at lower education levels. The items were written at a 6th grade reading level. The Jobs Finder represents current industrial and occupational trends, and focuses on job requirements that more closely match the needs of individuals with limited reading ability.

WORLDWIDE POPULARITY. The SDS has been used by over 22 million people worldwide and has been translated into 25 different languages. SIGMA currently sells the English and French versions. SDS results have been supported by over 500 research studies.

More Details


An overview of startup costs is provided below. A detailed pricing list can be accessed via the link at the bottom of the page.

SDS Startup Costs
US Pricing Canadian Pricing
Hand Scoring

  • Includes: Technical Manual, 25 Standard SDS Assessment Booklets, 25 SDS Occupations Finders, and 25 You and Your Career Booklets, plus an SDS Educational Opportunities Finder
N/A $388

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