Use teacher externships as an opportunity to provide students with insight into possible career paths while forging relationships within your community.

Within the classroom teachers can use many tactics, from career days to virtual field trips, to introduce students to the opportunities that await them once they pursue employment after high school or college. A more hands-on approach now allows teachers to experience different jobs in a variety of fields, learn about the education or experience required, and report back to students with their own thoughts regarding these positions. Through learning about student career opportunities by embarking upon teacher externships, educators are providing useful firsthand experience in the classroom.

What are Teacher Externships?

teacher externshipsDuring externships, educators devote time to learning about career paths by working onsite with employees at a company, business, or organization. After gaining information regarding the characteristics that make job candidates desirable to these employers, teachers return to the classroom and prepare students for relevant future careers, possibly tailoring class discussion and assignments to cover these fields.

According to the University of California, Berkley’s “Teacher Externship Guide,” the options for teacher externships vary, as some “…range from a day of job shadowing to longer externships that are usually project-based and can last as long as a full summer. Teacher externships offer a professional development experience that is often transformative for educators and their students.” While educators will make their own decisions regarding how much time is realistic to devote to teacher externships, the University of California, Berkley recommends devoting enough hours to fulfill at least two complete works days, or 16 hours.

Which Companies Offer Teacher Externships?

Finding options for teacher externships should start with an educator thinking about how he or she would like to approach discussions regarding careers with students. Educators must formally apply for these programs, but the following companies have previously hosted teacher externships:


John Deere

Newport News Shipbuilding

Renewable Energy Group



Opportunities can also be found with smaller businesses within the neighborhood in which a school is located. Simply contact the Better Business Bureau or local chamber of commerce to be paired with companies that will work with educators through externships.

Before Taking Time for Teacher Externships

teacher externshipsResearch any local and state laws that make provisions for educators who want to pursue externships. If a local government has not yet explored these options, speak with school administrators and work together to organize class coverage that will allow teachers to participate in externships. Educators who work in a school that does not yet recognize the benefits of teacher externships can still participate, but they must apply on their own and use time during breaks or personal days.

With the knowledge gained through teacher externships, educators will not only make the connection between the classroom and careers, they can also work with companies to transform students into ideal job candidates. By forging relationships with businesses, teachers will serve as the conduit between students and their future careers.

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