A Career Tribute, more commonly known as a Career, is a tribute who trains throughout their lives to compete in the Hunger Games and then volunteers to participate. The Careers attend a special combat academy until they are 12-18 for the Games, then they volunteer. Typically, most Careers come from the wealthier districts, 1, 2 and 4, where being a tribute is seen as a great honor. The Careers in the 74th Hunger Games were led by Cato. In the 75th Hunger Games, there was no known leader of the Career alliance.
Career Tributes are always the strongest, agile, flexible players in the Hunger Games, having been prepared and trained since they were born. Even though training tributes before the Games begin is technically illegal, the career districts generally get away with this because of their wealth and closer ties to the Capitol. The willingness and in some cases even enjoyment to kill their opponents before the Games even start, cultivated from years of preparation and the support of their families and fellow district citizens, gives Careers a tremendous mental and psychological advantage over the other tributes.
These tributes volunteer to participate in the Games, causing much more commotion during the reaping than necessary. In the other districts and especially in the poorer ones such as District 11 and 12, becoming a volunteer tribute is viewed as sheer suicide. But in Career districts, volunteering is very common. Everyone wants to win the Games, even if it means volunteering. In wealthy districts, victors are regarded as heroes and amass great fame after winning the Games. In the movie, the Careers are very "chatty." Glimmer and Cato run around mocking tributes they are going to kill or have killed. This is in contrast to the novels, where the Career Tributes are generally more stealthy and menacing.
Prior to the start of each Hunger Games, Careers generally begin to form an alliance among themselves, which will cooperate when the Games get underway to secure weapons and supplies and take out common opponents. This gives the Careers an enormous edge during the bloodbath as they already have a strategy in place to carry out and do not need to worry about being killed by each other. However, once most of the other tributes are out of the way, they usually begin to turn on each other. It is the District 2 tributes who most often lead these alliances, as their district raises them in a more militaristic mind-set than 1 or 4; District 4 does not join the main alliance as often as 1 or 2, as shown in the 75th Hunger Games when the District 4 tributes made their own alliance with District 12.