Creating a Career Day

January is a great time for counselors. We still have energy from our recharged battery from the holiday break. Typically this is the time of year that you can start putting things on your calendar that will take you through the year.

So, if you have thought about doing a Career Day … NOW is the time to get your timeline sketched out. (Note: Some counselors have a Career/College Day on the same day, but I love making it 2 events. Whatever works for you… go for it! This post is about Career Day. A post about College Day will follow.)

Here is an outline for setting up a Career Day. As with anything, start small. (For full details, check out Chapter 9: How to Create a Career Day in resource book Making the Link (2005) for full details, printouts of letters, schedules, maps, etc. )

How to Create A Career Day

  1. Confirm Career Day date with administration and have it put on your school’s master calendar. Email this date out to staff for all those who like plenty of advance notice.
  2. 6-8 weeks prior to event, start calling potential speakers. You can call on school-related people or from your own personal contacts. (For me, anyone I run into socially at that time is a “victim” if their career falls into a career cluster that we want to cover).
  3. Send emails to teachers at least 4 weeks in advance reminding them of their scheduled program. (At my school grades K-3 participate in Careers on Wheels and grades 4&5 have Round Robin Speakers.)


“Careers on Wheels” Details:

Careers on Wheels

Careers on Wheels is a fun and engaging way to get kids involved in career exploration.

We have each class visit 6 stations forMaster List for COW contacts 10 minutes each station. Because of the size of our school we do this double time.. meaning we have 12 vehicles set up and one grade level travels to stations 1-6 while another grade level travels to stations 7-12. 10 minute intervals are designated by one of the vehicles of choice blows its horn/siren… or you can use a bell or bullhorn). Here is an example of a map that teachers are given.


“Round Robin of Career Speakers” Details:

We have 2 grade levels that participate in Round Robin of Speakers. I have found that 4 speakers for 20 minutes each is the most desirable. I’ve tried it several ways over the years and when I’ve had 3 speakers, teachers say that they prefer the 4 speakers which works out to about an hour and a half program. Because we have 5 classes each in 4th and 5th grades, we have one class send ¼ of their class to each room creating 4 equal groups who rotate rooms to see each speaker.
We usually invite/recruit speakers that fit into the Career Clusters for that specific grade level. (In GA this is a requirement for our annual CCRPI score and an easy way to satisfy this requirement). Also, when students listen to the speakers they can take notes using  these Career Day Reflection Sheet (available here with permission from Youthlight Inc. but look at Teaching Career Essentials  for more elementary Career Awareness ideas and lessons.
reflection notes
 Stay tuned for upcoming posts about adding skype speakers and career centers to Career Day for upper grades.

Optional/Supplemental ideas for this day

Other ideas that can implemented for Career Day include:

  • Career Day can be a time where students dress up as what they want to be when they grow up.
  • Have teachers send in photos of themselves as kids and post in the hallway as a guessing game.

    Matching Game and staff member games

    Having Career Games in the lobby of the school helps promote Career Awareness and allows classes to participate in school wide trivia/guessing games.

  • Have morning announcements that have
  • Set out worksheets from Making the Link (2005)  and Teaching Career Essentials (2015) as morning work (crosswords, etc).
  • Don’t’ forget to have teachers encourage their students to write thank you notes to the speakers.


Coming soon: I’m going to build an “All in One Place: Elementary Career Awareness Resource” page that will help you navigate this site and other helpful links, printables, timelines, etc. Stay Tuned!

4 thoughts on “Creating a Career Day”

  1. I have done career days for about 18 years! Tried a lot of different things. I really appreciate your information! This year may try a STEM themed day as that is a big push here in our district and our city. I have always done a full day, and although a lot of work, it generally turns out in the end. It does get crazy at times.

    1. Carol, Good luck on your upcoming Career Day! I’d love to see some STEM themed photos. Our Career Day is coming up too at the end of March. I’m planning some new twists that I’ll post about afterwards. Thanks for reading my blog :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.