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Job Shadows

Job shadowing is a structured component of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum that provides a supervised observational experience in an approved business/industry setting. Job Shadowing experiences are integrated within specific CTE courses that allow the student to observe technical skills learned in the classroom. This experience is directly supervised by the CTE teacher.

Job Shadowing provides an opportunity for students in grades 8–12 to gain knowledge by observing previously learned theory in CTE courses. These experiences are uniquely designed to meet course content standards through supervised experiences and observations, which are coupled with related classroom instruction.


  • Designed to promote:
    • Exploration of a field of interest
    • Exposure to careers and jobs
    • Awareness of the academic, technical and career readiness skills required in particular jobs
  • Provide an exposure to careers and jobs in the actual work setting.
  • Expands student learning beyond the walls of the classroom into the local community.
  • Provide students with experiences and perspectives that are not possible to duplicate in the classroom.
  • Allow students to gain realistic perspectives on expectations in a job and/or career field and the workplace requirements.
  • Supplement information that can be obtained through other work awareness and work exploration strategies.
  • Provide an opportunity to develop students’ career readiness skills, including communicating effectively and appropriately (speaking, professional etiquette), personal responsibility, etc.
  • Provides information on the industry, types of careers and occupations, knowledge and skills requirements and work processes in the actual work setting.
  • Students learn the importance of thinking about career development through conversations with the job shadowing mentor.

Success Factors

  • Develop a plan that includes a career process for selecting potential job shadowing participants and sites for quality job shadowing/work experiences.
  • Develop a process to identify employees at a business or organization who are willing to be shadowed and demonstrate the ability to:
    • Support the growth and career development efforts of the participant
    • Help participants explore career options and job opportunities
    • Convey a sense of caring and importance
    • Enhance the student’s feeling of self-worth
  • Develop a process for matching student’s interests with related careers, businesses, and industries.
  • Encourage parental input.
  • Provide a clear understanding to the job shadowing site and mentor (in writing) that explains how the student will be prepared and what is expected from the site and the mentor.
  • Provide safety instruction for all job shadowing/work experiences, especially where there may be a physical risk.
  • Ensure that job shadowing/work experience participants are supervised by the school and a school employee is assigned to that duty.
  • Conduct orientations for the student and the job shadowing mentor(s).
  • Prior to the job shadow, have the student research the occupation, develop questions, and establish learning objectives and goals.
  • Arrange for students to have exposure to all aspects of industry.
  • Identify the education or training required and the skills needed for various occupations.
  • Provide reflection opportunities after the job shadow such as journals to record and reflect on the shadowing experience.
  • Accommodate students of all abilities.
  • Review job shadowing activities periodically and adjust accordingly.
  • Job shadowing/work experiences are usually considered to be similar to field trips. School district policies regarding transportation and liability apply.
  • Relevant company safety and health rules should be reviewed with students.
  • Students participating in job shadowing activities can participate in mock situations, shadow employees or even participate in the operations of the workplace as long as the person typically responsible for the duty is observing the students’ actions (US DOL Fact Sheet No. 013, Employment Relationship Under the Fair Labor Standards Act).

Prior to placement in a shadowing experience each LEA shall ensure that a Job Shadowing Training Agreement is secured. Parent signature on training agreement is required in order to participate in shadowing experience.

Students participating in Job Shadowing must:

  • Be enrolled in grades 8-12.
  • Be physically and mentally capable of observing and maintaining attention while shadowing.
  • Be in good academic standing and have an acceptable discipline record as determined by the CTE Teacher.

Job Shadowing requires time, commitment, and collaboration of the following partners:

  • Students must arrive at the business/industry at the appropriate time and in the appropriate dress. Students must comply with the rules and regulations of the school district, school, and training facility.
  • Parents/Guardians should provide ongoing support to the student and assume the responsibility for the conduct of the students.
  • CTE teachers shall identify the business industry and placement of students based on their area of interest.

Credit is earned for the specific CTE course for which the student is enrolled.

It is important for the supervisor to understand that job shadowing students are not present to work. They are there to observe and ask questions.

Upon agreeing to take a job shadowing student, the supervisor will:

  • Be responsible as the single point of contact for daily contact and planning.
  • Meet with the students at the start and end of each job shadow day.
  • Arrange for the actual job shadowing experience(s).
  • Inform the student of any relevant polities or regulations at the worksite.
  • Answer any relevant questions about the profession or facility.
  • Direct students to the area of their career interest.
  • Connect the student with professionals that support their area of interest.
  • Monitor the student and contact the district supervisor should there be any problems.
  • Complete the Workplace Supervisor’s Job Shadow Feedback Sheet upon completion.

As part of the job shadowing experience, students will:

  • Make phone contact with the job shadow contact 5-10 business days before the experience begins.
    • Verify: dress code, safety requirements, meeting location and meeting procedures
  • Dress according to the standards of the particular site,
  • Call the site before the scheduled time if unable to attend on the appointed day,
  • Call the school district contact before the scheduled time if unable to attend on the appointed day.
  • Arrive at the site at the agreed upon time.
  • Provide the job site with an up-to-date resume.
  • Follow all guidelines and policies of the site.
  • Complete any school assignments related to the job shadow experience.
  • Complete all required paperwork (permission, medical authorizations, etc.).
  • Send the business a thank you letter within 0-5 business days of the job shadow.

List of required assignments for the job shadow:

  • Written report on a specific career.
  • Information about the job shadow site: media and photos of work areas and projects *verify photos are allowed.
  • Summary of employee interviews.
  • A journal entry describing each day’s activities.
  • Classroom oral presentation and multimedia on careers represented at the job shadowing site.

The classroom teacher will be responsible to see that all students participating in the job shadowing experience have met all of the criteria required prior to the placement of students on the job shadowing sites and assess the job shadow assignments.

  • Collecting appropriate information from the students
  • Contact information
  • Job shadow preferences
  • Biographies
  • Parent contact information
  • Parent permission slips
  • Waivers specific to the job shadow site
  • Student resumes
  • Thank you letters drafts
  • Arrange presentations of job shadows
  • Assess student’s documentation and presentations
  • Review supervisor feedback

The District Supervisor (Teacher Coordinator) will be responsible to see that all students participating in the job shadowing experience have met all of the criteria required prior to the placement of students on the job shadowing sites.

The coordinator’s responsibilities and duties include:

  • Arrange Job Shadow week, student business alignment and record keeping
  • Follow-up with the worksites for feedback on the job shadow
  • Monitoring completion of student assignments
  • Being available in emergency situations
Updated October 22, 2019 11:38am