Specialists contribute to the success of organisations in the form of unique expertise and specific skill sets. Research into career success for specialists is limited and the career of the specialist is not well defined. This study aims to increase understanding of what constitutes career success for specialists, what strategies individuals can employ to achieve such success and what organisations can do to support specialist career success.In line with qualitative research methodological principles, this study followed a exploratory approach to understanding specialist career success. A total of seventeen in-depth interviews were held with senior specialists who have achieved career success, senior internal Human Resource practitioners, and external career development and Human Resource experts. The sample represented a broad range of industries, including Petrochemicals, Telecommunications, Banking, Financial Health Insurance, Academia, Healthcare, Aerospace, FMCG, Mining, Information Technology, Specialist Consulting and Specialist Search and Recruitment.Key findings reflect that career success is an individual construct which is achieved through a variety of strategies. The research allowed for the development of a framework for career success for specialists, which outlines the career path options and career success strategies available to specialists. Furthermore, a model titled ‘the 5 C’s of organisational support for specialists’ summarises what organisations can do to support specialist career success. The outcome of this study provides guidance for specialists in managing their own careers and for organisations who wish to understand specialists in order to attract and retain them as valuable contributors to organisational success.