Want to get a real-life look at a career you're interested in? Apply for the Job Shadow Program, where OSU students can explore potential career paths by shadowing someone in their place of work. The Career Development Center facilitates matches between students and working professionals, giving students the chance to gain realistic insights into the industry they're interested in exploring. Most job shadows last one or two days, and many offer both in-person and virtual options.


Are you an employer looking for information on hosting a job shadow student? Visit our Job Shadow host page.

What is a Job Shadow?

This is your chance to explore an industry, organization or specific position during a full or half-day experience, in-person or virtually. Job shadows will take place during summer break.

In a job shadow, you will follow your host(s) through their daily activities and learn what it’s like to work in that field. You will work with your Job Shadow host to create a schedule that works for you.

This is a free but unpaid experience.

Important Dates and Deadlines for 2024

  • March 1 - May 3, 2024 - Student application period
  • May 11 - 13, 2024 - Students are notified of their matches
  • May 20 - 24, 2024 - Job Shadow Orientation
  • June 17 - July 5, 2024 - Job Shadows take place

Job Shadow Placement Opportunities

There are more than 100 different options for job shadow host sites in the 2023 Job Shadow program. When you apply, you will list your top three choices for hosts you would like to be matched with.

See Job Shadow Host Sites


Frequently Asked Questions About the Job Shadow Program

  • Come to the Career Development Center during drop-in hours to have your materials reviewed.
  • Read through all the listings before you apply; there are many opportunities and you never know what might match your interests.
  • Keep an open mind — this is a learning experience!
  • Ask questions! Prepare several ahead of time, and ask any questions that come up in the course of your job shadow.
  • Ask for contact information so that you can follow up with your host when you complete your job shadow.

Depending on the host, activities can include an observation of daily work, informational interviews, meetings within the organization, coffee/lunch at the office or worksite, a tour of the organization, hands-on experience and meet-and-greets with current interns and/or college hires. Students will have the opportunity to communicate with their sponsor about what they want out of the job shadow in order to make it as beneficial as possible for both parties.

After you’ve applied and the application period closes in May 2024, the Career Development Center staff will review all applications and match each student with a host. Students will then be notified by mid-May 2024.

Job shadows typically take place in June and July and are normally a half-day or full-day experience.

Job shadow opportunities happen both virtually and in-person. Virtual job shadows may happen at locations all over the United States; Job shadows with in-person opportunities are onsite at the employer location and primarily available in the Willamette Valley (Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene), with some in Seattle, Vancouver (Washington) and Northern California.

​​​​​​Sponsors include Oregon State University alumni and partners who have graciously donated their time and expertise in order to support the Beaver community.

​​​​​​The student is responsible for all expenses.

A job shadow is a way to gain valuable information about a prospective career. Through observation of an individual employee’s activities during their workday, students can gain exposure to career paths, strengthen their job application for internships and employment opportunities and build professional skills pertinent to the workforce.

No, job shadows are unpaid experiences.

2024 Job Shadow Host Sites

When applying to the Job Shadow program, you will be asked to select up to three preferred placement locations. We will do our best to match you with one of your top three placement requests.

Our team has divided job shadow host sites into categories based on industry and job focus, but you may feel free to explore job shadow possibilities in any industry you are interested in. Please note that some job shadow possibilities may span multiple industries and are listed in more than one category.

Arts & Social Sciences

Explore careers in fields related to arts, media, video production, design, public policy, law, social services, human resources, and more.

Arts & Social Sciences Opportunities

Business & Business Services

Explore careers in fields related to business, management, human resources, and operations.

Business & Business Services Opportunities

Engineering, Computer and Information Systems

Explore careers in fields related to all disciplines of engineering & architecture, computer science, and information systems.

Engineering, Computer and Information Systems

Health & Wellness

Explore careers in fields related to health, healthcare administration, mental health, social services, fitness, and wellness.

Health & Wellness Opportunities

Oceans & Coasts

Explore careers in fields related to conservation, natural resource management, marine biology, and science.

Oceans & Coasts Opportunities

Science & Natural Resources

Explore careers in fields related to animal science, biotech, chemistry, environmental science, forestry, geography/GIS, pharmaceuticals, and more.

Science & Natural Resources Opportunities

Teaching & Education

Explore careers in fields related to teaching, education, and youth/student development.

Teaching & Education Opportunities

Additional questions?

Contact us at career@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-4085.