What is a Job Shadow?

A job shadow involves a student spending time observing a professional on the job, usually on-site at the professional’s workplace. During a job shadow, a student usually spends a ½ day or longer with an employee or multiple employees during their daily activities.

“By providing a snapshot of a day in the life of an experienced professional, it can help you decide whether or not you think you would enjoy and feel passionate about the job.” – The Balance Careers

Examples of Job Shadows and Potential Fields

Job shadowing is a great way to learn first-hand about specific jobs, career paths, industries, and companies. Shadowing can be especially helpful for any job in which the seeing the job may be more useful than just hearing or reading about the job.

Examples of careers that students can explore include:

Healthcare and medical: physical & occupational therapy, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, radiologists, emergency medical technician (EMT), counseling and mental health practitioners

Manufacturing and production: machine operators, supervisors, product and test engineers, quality control

Public and human services: Human resources, education, firefighting, law enforcement, leisure and hospitality

Technology and product development: software and application developers, web developers, user experience testing, quality assessment, information security

Writing and creative: advertisement, art, graphic design, entertainment, media, journalism

Sports and apparel: apparel and footwear design, business merchandising, market research and data analytics

Architecture and design: designers, architects, interior designers, sustainability

Construction and skilled trades: carpenters, welders, painters, electricians, plumbers, heating and cooling technicians, project managers, engineering

How Can I Get Started?

Contact the career coordinator at your high school to share your career interests and seek assistance with setting up a job shadow. You can also ask people in your network (relatives, neighbors, teachers} for their ideas and help. If you can't find an exact match, be open to learning opportunities that are related, such as volunteering. You can also participate in a small-group career exploration with PWA, such as Career Days or Career Mentorships, which can lead to job shadows. Good luck!