Setting up a Job Shadowing Program

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Setting up a Job Shadowing Program

Job shadowing allows a student to spend a few hours or a day with a professional working in the student's career interest. The student has the opportunity to experience what the job is like and can ask questions too!

Starting a job shadowing program at your school requires a lot of work, but managing the program becomes much easier the more established it is. Here are some tips to get you started:


Ask student teachers and interns to help you make phone calls, collect data, and document your findings. You can also recruit students to help set up your program as part of their senior project.

Poll your students to assess their interest.

Before you set up a job shadowing program, you may want to discuss job shadowing with your students to determine their interest. Visit classrooms and pass out a sign up sheet to see how many students may want to participate.

Define your program's focus.

Decide if you want your job shadowing program to focus on only specific career clusters, such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, etc.

Reach out to local employers.

Contact a variety of employers in your area to get them on board. First send a letter explaining your program and then follow up with a phone call.

Choose how to best implement into the curriculum.

Perhaps you want to incorporate the program into an English class by having students write a report on the experience, create a visual collage, or prepare an oral report. Or you may want to make job shadowing mandatory for all students in a particular grade. The choice is yours!


Create any documents needed for your job shadowing program and schedule meetings with all participants to get the program up and running.

Create employer documents.

You should probably have a simple consent form for any employer who agrees to participate in the program. Also consider creating a document that gives the employer an opportunity to provide feedback on the student. For example, did the student show up? Was the student punctual?

Schedule a meeting with participating employers.

Once you have some employers on board, arrange for an informational meeting to talk about your goals for the students and your expectations of the employers. During this time, share your employer documents and open the floor to questions.

Explain the program to students.

Schedule a meeting with any student who plans to participate in the job shadowing program. Talk about the school's (and employer's) expectations, such as dress code, promptness, behavior, etc. Review any safety procedures, if relevant. And discuss what the student must do to fulfill the program requirements and earn school credit.

Reach out to parents.

Once you have the employers and your students on board, reach out to the parents. Create a permission form that parents must sign and return to the school in order for the student to participate. Use this opportunity to also address transportation issues and lunch. If you have a lot of students participating in your program, it may be of benefit to schedule an informational meeting to discuss these matters with all parents at the same time.


Make sure your program fulfills your original expectations and is of benefit to both employers and students.

Thank employers.

Don't forget to send thank you letters to employers who have participated in the program. Include a participation certificate that they can showcase in their business.

Issue completion certificates.

Create certificates of achievement/completion for students.

Evaluate your program.

At the end of the academic year, take a critical look at your program. What aspects were successful? What can be improved on? Where can you solicit help for next year?

Advertise your success.

Contact local news stations and newspapers. Such advertising provides free publicity for your employers and is a great way to showcase what your school is doing for students.

Don't Have the Resources to Set up a Program at Your School?

Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, your city's Community Action Agency, or a nearby job training center to see if programs are already in place. Many Chambers of Commerce have Business and Education Committees that can help with this process.

Students can also find job shadowing opportunities by making phone calls and setting up workplace visits on their own. If this occurs, you may want to contact the employer to verify a student's visit and offer the student school credit.

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