Career Café: Setting a Schedule

Career Café is an opportunity for students to learn about careers from individuals in their community. One of my biggest success as a school counselor has been starting a Career Café at my school. Students absolutely love Career Café, it is a blast to host, and it meets ASCA Student Standard in the Career Domain. Career Cafe can also be geared toward any level - elementary, middle, or high school!

I have gotten tons of inquiries and questions about hosting a Career Café. I am creating a series of posts to explain Career Café in greater detail and provide you with the tools you need to start a Career Café at your school. 

Now that you have determined a location for your Career Café, it is time to think about when and how often you would like to host it. 

Setting a Schedule
One of the great things about Career Café is you can determine how often and when you want to host it.  You can host Career Café once a week, bi-weekly, once a month, or as often as you can schedule speakers.  The first year that I hosted Career Café I hosted 8 speakers. This past year I hosted 7. I did not have a consistent schedule due to a number of factors, but I would recommend trying to make it as consistent as possible. In the future I would like to host Career Café at least bi-weekly. That way, students know when to expect it. 

I hosted Career Café on Fridays during lunch.  Students had 30 minutes for lunch, so by the time they got their lunch from the cafeteria and brought it to the Career Café location there was about 20 minutes for the Career Café speaker to present. There was plenty of time for the speaker to present to students and students had enough time to ask questions at the end.

You do not need a whole lot of time to host a Career Café session. I recommend having 20-30 minutes of time for the Career Cafe speaker to present the to students.  However, if you want the presentations to be longer or shorter, that is definitely possible. 

I hosted two Career Café sessions back to back, so the speaker came for an hour and presented to two groups of students. 

There are definitely some advantages to hosting Career Café during lunch. 
  • Students are excited to eat in a different location. It makes them feel special to be invited somewhere else in the building to eat their lunch. 
  • Lunch is bonus time! Lunch is great because it is already built into the schedule and everyone has it. Lunchtime also does not interrupt academic time.
  • I love having a theme! I made all of my Career Café items coordinate, had tablecloths, and made flower pens as table decorations. More about decorating later... ;)
If lunchtime does not work for you, you can change the name of Career Café to something else like "Career Connection" and host it during a different time of the day.  For me, lunch was an easy time to be able to pull large groups of students. 

Suggestions of when to host a Career Café:
  • Before school
  • After school
  • Lunch
  • Study hall
  • Club time
  • Advisory 
  • Homeroom
Do you host a Career Café at your school? What time of the day do you host your Career Café? How often do you host Career Café?

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Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


  1. I've been looking forward to your Career Cafe series. Thanks so much for taking the time to do it. I am excited to start Career Cafe in the fall, and your tips will be very helpful!

  2. Thanks Vanessa! I am excited to get all of the information out there in a series! :)

  3. Danielle, I love this idea and am trying to plan something similar at my school. I have about 650 students at my school of 5th and 6th grade. Do you reccommend doing just one grade level to get started? Also, how do you keep track of which students have gotten to see a speaker? I assume it is a compilation of students from several classes since it is based on their interests. Thanks for your help, and for putting this out there to the public!

  4. I am working to complete this series. I have answered some of you questions in other posts. It really depends on what you want to do. That is the great thing about Career Cafe - you can really tailor it to your school and your population. I recommend starting out small. I did four grades at a time and if I could go back in time I would do a smaller number to start out.


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