Human Services

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Start your path to a career that makes a difference! Human services job shadow opportunities from Kirkwood can show you what it takes to succeed in this challenging but rewarding field. 

Discover the wide variety of careers in the field of human services, such as: teacher, paraeducator, principal, guidance counselor, social worker, substance abuse counselor, lawyer, community outreach worker, police officer, probation officer, firefighter, EMT, chef, lodging manager, and event planner.

How to Apply for Job Shadows

  1. Review the career exploration days and individual job shadow opportunities available below and select your top two choices. Note: Your choices can be from two different industry categories.
  2. Review the application instructions.
  3. Start your application.

Career Exploration Days

Career exploration days offer a great introduction to specific career fields and allow you to explore a broad scope of careers within that industry, all in one shadow experience. Career Exploration Days are a great option for initial exploration of a specific career or industry. On average, shadows are typically two to four hours in duration.

Athletics Career Day: Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids

Here is your opportunity to learn everything you need to know about a variety of athletic careers! You will have the opportunity to visit with an athletic director, athletic trainer, and a couple of coaches. You will learn what the daily tasks are in their jobs along with the education required. This event will conclude with observation of a basketball practice to see some of these individuals in action! Held Spring 2021.

Athletics Career Day: Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids

Would you like to be involved in sports and athletics with high level athletes in a college atmosphere on a daily basis. If you love to compete and to be around competitive individuals striving to be the best version of themselves, then please join us at Mount Mercy University to explore career paths as an athletic trainer, athletic director, and college coach. Held Spring 2021.

Education Career Day: Cedar Rapids Educational Leadership and Support Center, Cedar Rapids- VIRTUAL ONLY

Do you like working with children? Want to make a difference? Learn about careers in education such as elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher, school counselor, special education teacher, and paraeducator. Hear about the daily tasks in their jobs along with the required education.

Legislative Careers Group Job Shadow Day: Kirkwood Regional Center University of Iowa, Coralville

Learn about careers as a legislator, lobbyist, advocate, writer and researcher as regional elected officials and professionals walk students through a role playing exercise of legislative action.

Baking and Culinary Day at Grand Living: Coralville

Baking part will include an introduction and demonstration using a store bought cupcake. How do you wow with that? Culinary part will include brief introduction and demonstration on simple kitchen techniques for making soups, open conversation with question and answer session. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.  Cap of 10.

Baking and Pastry Arts Career Day: Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids

Experience a commercial kitchen environment in the Kirkwood Community College Baking and Pastry Lab during a live, hands-on lab session instructed by Kirkwood Hospitality faculty. Participants will learn more about the careers of bakers and pastry chefs, and be involved in production utilizing some fundamental kitchen techniques.  You won’t go home hungry!

Culinary Arts Career Day:  Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids

Experience a commercial kitchen environment in the Kirkwood Community College Culinary Lab during a live, hands-on lab session instructed by Kirkwood Hospitality faculty. Participants will learn more about the career of a chef and be involved in production utilizing some fundamental kitchen techniques.  You won’t go home hungry!

Event Planning and Marketing Day: Freedom Festival Offices, Cedar Rapids

Go behind the scenes of one of Cedar Rapids’ largest community celebrations during a job shadow with the Freedom Festival staff. Typically, the Festival produces over 20 events which collectively gathers over 400,000 in attendance, but planning large scale events safely in a world with COVID brought unique challenges! Learn how the Festival planned, marketed, and produced events differently in 2021! If your career interests include event planning, marketing, advertising, graphic design, and community outreach this is the job shadow for you. Cap of 5.

Hospitality Management Career Day: The Hotel at Kirkwood, Cedar Rapids

Visit Kirkwood’s on-campus luxury 4 Diamond Hotel and learn about all of the professional management careers needed to create great experiences in hotels, resorts, and vacation destinations. Explore the world of hospitality management and see why your generation is finding happiness and success travelling and working all around the globe and right here at home as well.

Media/Event Production Day: Wired Production Group, Cedar Rapids

Have you ever wondered who is behind the giant video screens and great sound of an outdoor  concert or event?  If your interests are in audio, video production/editing, staging, lighting, media or event planning and production, this group job shadow is a great fit for you. You will learn about the high demand careers in this exciting field of live event management and production hosted by local industry expert Wired Production Group. December 2021. Cap of 12.

Adult Day Care Career Day: Milestones Adult Health Center, Cedar Rapids/Marion

Explore the many exciting career opportunities available at our Adult Day Health Centers! Our social workers assist with care plans, funding, and problem solving every day community needs. Nurses monitor medications, work with community physicians, and complete health assessments. Universal workers do many of the same tasks as a CNA such as safety awareness/fall prevention, bathing, activities, and meal assistance. Program and activity coordinators and our habilitation staff engage our participants in programming, outings, special events, and individualized programming that helps them meet their goals. Our dining staff make sure we are following special diets and honor personal choice. We would love to have you join us and show you not only what it takes to do their work day to day, but how roles interact to meet the needs of our participants!

Child Development Day: University of Iowa Health Care, Iowa City- VIRTUAL ONLY

Interested in learning about the growing field of child development and how these specialists help children cope with their medical experiences? Learn from current graduate students and staff about this important service for children with health issues.

Cosmetology Career Day: Capri College, Cedar Rapids

Capri offers advanced Beauty and Wellness training eastern Iowa.  Come explore a career in cosmetology.  You will learn about hair design, makeup, nails and more.

Cosmetology Day: PCI Academy, Iowa City 

Come join PCI Academy for an inside look at what the world of cosmetology, esthetics, and massage therapy looks like. See how exciting and amazing your future career can be.

Mental Health Career Day: Kirkwood Regional Center, Hiawatha

Interested in helping people live better lives? Through small group round table discussions, you will have the opportunity to hear and ask questions from individuals in the career fields of social work, counseling and psychology.  Fall 2021 and Spring 2022.

Mental Health Career Day: University of Iowa Health Care, Iowa City - VIRTUAL ONLY

Explore career opportunities in this growing field and learn how health involves not only the physical well-being, but also the mental well being of individuals.  You will have the chance to learn about mental health research at UI Hospitals & Clinics and practice your responses to mental health scenarios with experts who work in mental health careers

Social Work Day: Systems Unlimited, Iowa City & Cedar Rapids

If you are interested in a career in social work, case management and direct care by helping people with disabilities and other challenges navigate the legal, medical and day-to-day circumstances of life, you will want to attend this event! Hear from energetic Systems Unlimited staff - behavioral support specialists, employment systems manager, community outreach director, and human resources. Cap of 25 at each location.

Attorney Career Day: United States Courthouse, Cedar Rapids

Do you have good analytical, research, and interpersonal skills? Are you creative and able to think of reasonable solutions when problems and unique solutions arise? If so, you have some of the top traits needed to be a good attorney. Come learn more about this career at the United States Courthouse in Cedar Rapids!

Emergency Dispatch & Communications Day: Vinton

Interested in public safety, law enforcement, or 911 dispatching? Sign up to tour the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and learn more about the role of a 911/Emergency dispatcher. From answering 911 calls to dispatching emergency services to emergency calls for service, you will experience the day-to-day responsibilities of a dispatcher. Cap of 10.

EMS Career Day: Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids

Learn about careers in EMS including careers as an EMT and paramedic.Get hands-on practice of EMS skills including CPR, bandaging and splinting, and medication administration assistance. Receive an overview of career options and opportunities in emergency medical services. Fall 2021. Cap of 15.


Investigate how to embark on a career path with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI hires professionals in several criminal justice specialties, such as special agent, special agent linguist, hostage rescue team member and intelligence analyst. Virtual Fall 2021 and In-person Spring 2022.

Legal Day: Johnson County Clerk of Court, Iowa City

Interested in a career in the legal profession?  Come speak with a variety of individuals who work in the legal field to learn more about their careers.  You will have the opportunity to have a conversation with them and also receive a tour of the courthouse.  Spring 2022.  Cap of 12.

Legal Day: United States Courthouse, Cedar Rapids

Held at the United States Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, professionals in a variety of legal fields such as judge, district attorney, and court reporter will tell you all you need to know about their careers and provide time for questions.

Mini Police Academy Day: Cedar Rapids

Officer Glen Kieler will lead the group by providing a tour of the police department in addition to having individuals in the crime scene unit, K-9, special response team, and law enforcement speak to you about their careers.  The shadow will conclude with Officer Keiler teaching defense tactics.  Spring 2022.

Mini Police Academy Day: Coralville 

Come attend a mini police academy and learn about what it takes to become a police officer, enjoy hands-on experiences with a number of our specialized officers, and investigate different stains! This will be a day long event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Spring 2022.

Mini Police Academy Day: Marion

You will be given a tour of the facility in addition to hearing about a variety of careers in law enforcement including dispatch, K-9, bomb technician, police officer and crime investigation to name a few!  Fall 2021.

Mini Police Academy Day: North Liberty

Come attend a mini police academy day which will be held on a school day and last from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  You will get to learn what it takes to be a police officer.  You will also get to hear about the K-9 unit, investigations, patrol, drug task force, SERT (Special Emergency Response Team), Dive team, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) team and from the medical unit as well.  You will also get a tour of the new North Liberty Police Dept.  Fall 2021.

Paramedic Day: Johnson County Ambulance Service, Iowa City

Johnson County Ambulance Service provides an exciting experience for those interested in a public safety career.  If you’d like to learn about the skills and education it takes to be a paramedic, then this is the event for you!  Paramedics from Johnson County Ambulance Service will give you all the details regarding what a typical day looks like on the job.  They will demonstrate a medical emergency call scenario and the teamwork it takes to work in this field. Spring 2022.

School Resource Officer (SRO) Day:  Benton County

A career in law enforcement can include working to keep schools safe by becoming a school resource officer. By signing up for this job shadow experience, you’ll learn more about the day-to-day responsibilities of an SRO. An SRO seeks to establish a positive relationship with students, parents, and teachers. An SRO is able to provide instruction on various subjects to students such as a basic understanding of the laws, roles of police officers and deputies, and overall safety for various events. Cap of 10.

Individual/Small Group Job Shadow Opportunities

Individual/small group shadows allow for a deeper dive into specific careers, shadowing a professional(s) in that field. These small group shadows are perfect for those who are more confident in their career interests and have had some initial exposure to that career.

Job shadows may be individualized or include a handful of students, depending on demand. On average, shadows are typically 2 – 4 hours in duration.

Careers to Shadow


Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents or manage/advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or practice broadly in many areas of law.


Mix and bake ingredients to produce breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries or other baked goods.

Child Care Worker

Attend to children at schools, businesses, private households, and childcare institutions. Perform a variety of tasks such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play.


Provide beauty services such as shampooing, cutting, coloring and styling hair, and providing massages and scalp treatments. May apply makeup, dress wigs, perform hair removal, and provide nail and skincare services.

Counselor - School

Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.

Event Planner

Coordinate activities of staff, convention personnel or clients to make arrangements for group meetings, events or conventions.



Control and extinguish fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts. Promote fire safety.

Funeral Director

Perform various tasks to arrange and direct funeral services such as coordinating transportation of body to the mortuary, interviewing family or other authorized person to arrange details, selecting pallbearers, aiding with the selection of officials for religious rites, and providing transportation for mourners.

Law Enforcement (Must first complete Mini Police Academy job shadow)

Patrol an assigned area to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, control crowds, prevent crime and arrest violators.

Librarian/Media Specialist

Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings including public libraries, educational institutions, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and health care providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloguing, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials. May perform in-depth strategic research and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information.


Plan, direct, or coordinate programs designed to promote the religious education or activities of a denominational group. May provide counseling and guidance relative to marital, health, financial, and religious problems.

Sports Information Director

Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs, such as sports or news.

Teacher - Preschool

Instruct preschool-aged children in activities designed to promote social, physical and intellectual growth needed for primary school, day care center or other child development facility. May be required to hold a state certification.

Teacher - Elementary

Teach students basic academic, social and other formative skills in public or private schools at the elementary level.

Teacher - Middle School (specify subject)

Teach students in one or more subjects in public or private schools at the middle, intermediate or junior high level which falls between elementary and senior high school as defined by applicable laws and regulations.

Teacher - High School (specify subject)

Teach students in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics or social studies at the secondary level in public or private schools. May be designated according to subject matter specialty.

Teacher - College/Professor (specify subject)

Plan, direct, or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services, and other educational activities at postsecondary institutions including universities, junior colleges, and community colleges.