Two studies are reported which aimed to answer several questions relating to Atkinson's model of achievement motivation. Firstly, how successfully the theory can predict the occupational choices of two different populations and what changes, if any, need to be made to the model to make it more suited to such predictions. Several conceptual errors were found in the theory which make it unsuitable in its present form for predicting occupational choices and suggestions are made as to the possible correction of these. Secondly, a comparison is made between Atkinson's model and the expectancy-valence models currently utilized to describe and predict occupational decision-making. In particular Atkinson's incentive component is contrasted with the valence measure described by expectancy-valence models, and the possible influences of the motive factors (motive to succeed and motive to avoid failure) are considered since these are typically omitted by other models of career choice. Finally, the existence of sex differences in career choice, as well as in the various components of the model are studied and discussed. The changing conceptualization of ‘fear of success’ is also included in this consideration.