written by: Kellie Hayden
• edited by: Wendy Finn
• updated: 9/11/2012
A career exploration field trip is a great addition to career lesson plans. It will allow students to see the possible careers in their town or city.
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Career Field Trip
These career lesson plans explain how to plan a Career Exploration Field Trip to a local downtown area. This field trip is great for middle school students, upper elementary students or possibly younger high school students. The field trip will allow students to explore careers in your community.
Planning a Career Field Trip
A Career Exploration Field Trip can be a great experience for you and your students. However, it takes a great deal of planning on the teacher's part. A great resource for the trip is your local Chamber of Commerce. The director can help you to find businesses that will allow your students to visit and give you addresses and phone numbers.
When you contact local businesses, you want to let them know your goal for the field trip. Your goals could be the following:
to learn about businesses in the area
to learn about future jobs or careers in the area
to learn about training or degrees necessary for jobs in the area
In addition, you want your administrators to know and approve all the details of your field trip. If you are able to walk to local businesses from your school, this will save a great deal of money. However, if you need a bus to take you to your destination, you will need to find money to pay for transportation for your field trip.
Each business visit should not last longer than 15 to 20 minutes, especially for younger students. They will lose interest with a longer presentation. Students can learn the basics about a business and possible future jobs or career from the speaker. Teachers should plan around five minutes to walk from business to business.
If you travel to a downtown area, you will want to visit five to seven businesses. A great itinerary is to begin the field trip around 9:30 and eat lunch at a local park. You will need to keep groups to around 15 students so that the small groups can fit in local shops. This means that you will need many parent chaperones. In addition, you need to make sure that there are places for students to use the restrooms and drinking fountains.
It is also helpful to let the mayor, police department and fire department know in advance about the field trip so that they are aware that small groups of children or young adults will be converging on the downtown area.
Career Field Trip for Larger Group
If you are planning a field trip for more students than the ones in your class, you may want to make several rotations. For example, you could have three rotations with seven businesses in each rotation. You would need around 21 businesses for the field trip day. Each group would visit seven businesses.
The key to a successful Career Exploration Field Trip is preparation. In addition, it is important to have the administration completely involved in the process. Contacting the local newspaper about the field trip is also great positive publicity for the school district and students.
Reflection of Career Exploration
One of the most important aspects of the field trip is the reflection. Students should write what they learned and tell if they found any careers or jobs that they would like to do in the future.
In addition, it is important that students write thank you letters to the businesses that give the tours. This is a good skill for students to learn. These career lesson plans will help students to see possibilities for their future and will help to create a good relationship between the local businesses and the school.