OOH FAQs

Career information | Employment estimates and growth | How does BLS prepare projections? | Information included in the Occupational Outlook Handbook | Pay | Education, training, and licensing | Publications and website information | Military careers | Disclaimer

 

Career Information

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Will the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) hire me or provide information on a specific job for me?

BLS hires primarily economists, mathematical statisticians, information technology specialists, and human resources personnel. Information on jobs with BLS and how to apply for them may be found at the BLS Career Opportunities website.  

Additional career information is available through online sources from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For example, the DOL’s CareerOneStop site includes the following links:  

  • State job banks, which allow you to search job openings listed with state employment agencies
  • America’s Career InfoNet, which provides data on employment growth and wages by occupation; a career resource library; data on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by an occupation; and links to employers
  • America’s Service Locator, which is a comprehensive database of career centers and information on unemployment benefits, job training, and educational opportunities

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should check immigration rules with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before attempting to get a job in the United States.

How can I learn about an occupation that is of interest to me?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) provides information on what workers do; the work environment; education, training, and other qualifications; pay; the job outlook; information on state and area data; similar occupations; and sources of additional information, for 329 occupational profiles covering about 83 percent of the jobs in the economy.

The OOH is broken up into clusters of similar occupations. In order to find an occupation, browse the occupation groups of interest on the left-hand side of the homepage, or use the A–Z Index if you know the specific occupation. You may search for occupations by using the selector drop-down menus on the OOH homepage. Select by pay range, entry-level education, on-the-job training, projected number of new jobs, or projected growth rate. If you know the specific occupation you are interested in, you may enter a job title into the “Search Handbook” box on the top right-hand side of the homepage. In addition, you may browse by clicking any of the three links titled “highest paying,” “fastest growing (projected),” and “most new jobs (projected).”

What if I can't find the occupation I am interested in?

Many occupations and job titles are covered in thOccupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). If you cannot find an occupation you are interested in, look under the A–Z index, using similar occupational titles to search for an occupation. Or you can simply search for your occupation by entering the title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top of the page.

The OOH includes occupations that are defined in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC), which is used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data.

In addition, Career Outlook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, features articles about occupations, including some that are not covered in the OOH. Career Outlook articles include topics such as the career exploration process, as well as the You’re a what?”  series, which highlights certain occupations and includes interviews with workers.

What occupation would be best for me?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific career guidance or advice. Nevertheless, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) profiles do provide general information on the education and training typically needed to enter occupations. To learn about employment growth and job prospects, you are encouraged to read the “Job Outlook” section of occupations that interest you.

You also may search for occupations by pay range; entry-level education; on-the-job training; projected number of new jobs; or projected growth rate, using the Occupation Finder, an occupation navigation tool featuring drop-down menus on the OOH homepage.

Career information also is available through online sources from the U.S. Department of Labor. For example, the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop site includes the following links:  

  • State job banks, which allow you to search job openings listed with state employment agencies
  • America’s Career InfoNet, which provides data on employment growth and wages by occupation; a career resource library; data on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by an occupation; and links to employers
  • America’s Service Locator, which is a comprehensive database of career centers and information on unemployment benefits, job training, and educational opportunities

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should check immigration rules with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before attempting to get a job in the United States.

Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have employment information for states or local areas?

Employment data for states and local areas are available from several BLS programs. Employment data by occupation for states and local areas are available from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. Each profile in the Occupational Outlook Handbook has a “State and Area Data” section with links to OES data and resources for states and areas.

Current employment data by industry for states and metropolitan areas are available from the Current Employment Statistics State and Area program. Local area unemployment statistics are available from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.

The BLS Geographic Guide for Employment and Unemployment contains a comprehensive list of available information by geography. 

Where can I find state resources on occupations and labor markets?

While the Occupational Outlook Ha ndbook (OOH) provides projected employment growth at the national level, each state’s Employment Security Agency develops and provides state occupation projections. These projections—as well as the links to each of the states’ Labor Market Information website, which contain information on that state’s employment, unemployment, and wages—are available from Projections Central. The “State and Area Data” section within each OOH profile contains links to resources for state and area data.

Where can I find more detailed data?

The Employment Projections (EP) program has detailed downloadable data on projected employment by occupation or industry. These files show National Employment Matrix base-year and projected employment for each occupation by industry and for each industry by detailed occupation. The EP homepage also has links to projections for the aggregate economy, labor force, industry output and employment, and replacement needs.

The Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households, has data on employment by detailed occupation, gender, race, and Hispanic origin. The CPS uses an occupational classification different from that of the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, and the OES is the primary source of employment data for the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Therefore, the coverage of some occupations may not match between the two sources.

Data on unemployment, prices, and other labor statistics–related topics are available from other BLS programs. BLS programs by subject area are available on the Subject Areas homepage.

I do not think my employer is treating me fairly. What can I do?

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have information regarding your legal employment rights, America's Career InfoNet resource library has links to Department of Labor and labor law sites. You also can visit the Department of Labor’s compliance assistance website.

 

Employment estimates and growth

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What are the fastest growing occupations?

The table of fastest growing occupations shows the occupations that are projected to have the highest percent increase in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Which occupations are adding the most jobs?

The table of occupations with the largest job growth shows the occupations that are projected to add the most new jobs from 2014 to 2024.

What is the difference between “fastest growing occupations” and “occupations adding the most new jobs”?

Projected employment can be viewed in two ways: as percent change and as numeric change. BLS has two tables that illustrate these different approaches.

The table of fastest growing occupations shows the occupations that are projected to have the highest percent increase in employment from 2014 to 2024. The table of occupations with the largest job growth shows the occupations that are projected to add the most new jobs from 2014 to 2024.

The occupations in these tables are different because a fast rate of employment growth does not always translate into many new jobs. For example, employment of industrial–organizational psychologists is projected to grow 19 percent through 2024, but because of the occupation’s relatively small size, this percent growth accounts for only about 400 new jobs over the 10-year projections decade. In contrast, employment of retail salespersons is projected to grow only 7 percent through 2024, but that employment growth rate corresponds to about 314,200 new jobs over 10 years because of the occupation’s large size.

What are the fastest growing industries?

The table of the fastest growing industries shows the industries that are projected to have the largest percent growth in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have data on projected employment growth for states or geographic areas?

The BLS provides data on projected employment growth at the national level. State projections are developed and provided by each state’s Employment Security Agency and are available from Projections Central.

Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have employment estimates by state or geographic area?

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for more than 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. Each profile in the Occupational Outlook Handbook has a “State and Area Data” section that contains links to OES data for states and areas.

Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have more details on projected employment growth?

The Employment Projections (EP) program has detailed data on, and links to, projected employment by occupation and industry. The Bureau’s National Employment Matrix provides base-year and projected employment for each occupation by industry and for each industry by detailed occupation. The EP homepage also has links to projections for the aggregate economy, labor force, industry output and employment, and replacement needs.

Why might there be a difference between estimated employment in a particular occupation in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) and estimated employment in that same occupation from surveys such as the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey or the Current Population Survey (CPS)?

Employment for a particular occupation in the OOH represents total employment for all classes of workers—wage and salary, self-employed, and unpaid family workers—from the BLS National Employment Matrix, which combines employment data from several different sources. Data in the matrix come primarily from the establishment-based OES survey, which reports employment of wage and salary workers only, for each occupation in every industry except agriculture and private households. Matrix data also come from the household-based CPS, which provides information on the number of self-employed and unpaid family workers in each occupation. In addition, the matrix incorporates CPS employment data for all classes of workers in the agriculture and private household industries.

 

How does BLS prepare projections?

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Where can I find technical documentation on employment projections?

Technical documentation on employment projections is available on the Employment Projections methodology page.

Where can I find the ONET-SOC-to-OOH crosswalk?

The ONET-SOC-to-OOH crosswalk is available on the BLS website on the Classifications and Crosswalks page.  

 

Information included in the Occupational Outlook Handbook

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What information is included in the occupational profiles in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)?

See Occupational Information Included in the OOH for information on what is included in each section, or page, of OOH profiles.

What are the definitions of the key phrases used to describe projected changes in employment for 201424?

The definitions of the key phrases used in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) are as follows:

Changing employment between 2014 and 2024
If the statement reads— Employment is projected to—
Grow much faster than average increase 14 percent or more
Grow faster than average increase 9 percent to 13 percent
Grow about as fast as average increase 5 percent to 8 percent
Grow slower than average increase 2 percent to 4 percent
Little or no change decrease 1 percent to increase 1 percent
Decline decrease 2 percent or more

Are all occupations included in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)?

BLS publishes projections for 819 occupations that are included in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC). The OOH includes detailed information on 576 occupations in 329 OOH profiles, which covers about 83 percent of the jobs in the economy. Limited information, including wage data, 2014 base-year employment, and 2024 projected-year employment, is available for the remaining occupations that are not covered in detail.

Where is the Career Guide to Industries?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has discontinued publication of the Career Guide to Industries as an independent product. The BLS website has data on current and projected occupational employment within industries and current and projected industry employment by occupation. The Career Outlook occasionally publishes articles on industries. Search the Career Outlook Archive for industry-related information.

 

Pay

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Where can I find more information on occupational pay?

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces wage estimates annually for more than 800 occupations. OES wage estimates represent wages and salaries only, and do not include nonproduction bonuses or employer costs for nonwage benefits, such as health insurance or employer contributions to retirement plans. Self-employed people are not included in the estimates. Estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. National occupational wage estimates for specific industries also are available. Additional information for these estimates, including hourly and annual 10th-, 25th-, 75th-, and 90th-percentile wage data, is available in downloadable Excel files found on each page.  

How do I find starting-salary information?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on starting salaries. However, some profiles in the Occupational Outlook Handbook have links to outside organizations in the “Contacts” section that may have information on starting salaries.

Is information on pay by education or experience level available?

This chart shows median annual earnings by educational attainment. The data are from the Current Population Survey (CPS). They reflect the highest level of education that a worker has attained. They do not take into account completion of training programs in the form of apprenticeships and other on-the-job training, which also may influence earnings and unemployment rates.

The “How to Become One” sections in the Occupational Outlook Handbook profiles do provide information on the education and training typically needed to enter occupations.

What are the highest paying occupations?

This table shows the 20 occupations with the highest median annual earnings. 

 

Education, training, and licensing

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Where can I find a school that offers the training or education I need to enter this occupation?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have information on specific providers of education or training. However, America's Career InfoNet training finder has information on available training programs, colleges, and universities in your local area for the occupation you are interested in.

What courses should I take to enter this occupation?

Most occupational profiles in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) describe the general educational preparation typical among those who enter the occupation. This information is available under the “How to Become One” section in each OOH profile. Some profiles include information on helpful coursework. See America's Career InfoNet resource library for links to career guidance associations and other career services that may be able to advise you.

Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have information on licensing requirements?

Beyond the general information on licensing presented in the “How to Become One” sections of some Occupational Outlook Handbook profiles, BLS does not have information on specific licensing requirements because those requirements often vary by state. However, America's Career InfoNet license finder allows you to search for occupational licensing requirements by state, occupation, or agency.

 

Publications and website information

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How do I get a print copy of the Occupational Outlook Handbook?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is no longer available in print from the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). A print version of the OOH is or will be available from the following private publishers:

Bernan

Web: www.bernan.com

Order: http://www.bernan.com/Online_Catalog/Title_Page.aspx?TitleID=6107935

Email: customercare@bernan.com

Phone: 800-865-3457

Fax: 800-865-3450

Claitor’s Publishing

Web: www.claitors.com

Phone: 800-274-1403

Fax: 225-344-0480

JIST Publishing

Web: http://jist.emcp.com/

Phone: 800-328-1452

Fax: 800-328-4564

If you are a private publisher of the OOH, please contact us at oohinfo@bls.gov and we will add you to the list.

Who is the author of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)? How do I cite the OOH?

The OOH is revised every 2 years by a staff of economists in the Employment Projections program at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A list of ackowledgements for the OOH is available. The BLS suggests the following citation, which conforms to the U.S. Government Printing Office’s style guide, for the OOH website:

"Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, [article title], on the internet at [http web address] (visited [date accessed])."

The suggested citation for each profile can be found on the bottom of the web page. For example, the citation for Biomedical Engineers profile is as follows:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Biomedical Engineers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.htm (visited December 17, 2015).

May I reproduce material from the Occupational Outlook Handbook website?

All text, charts, and tables are in the public domain and, with appropriate credit, may be reproduced without permission. Photographs are protected by copyright and used by BLS under a subscription service with ThinkStock. You will need the permission of the copyright holder in order to reproduce photographs.

ThinkStock

Phone: 888-698-8547

Email: sales@thinkstock.com

May I link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook website without permission?

Yes, you may link to the site without permission. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) copyright policy indicates that you are free to use our public domain material without specific permission, although we do ask that you cite BLS as the source.

How do I contact the webmaster?

Address technical (Web) questions to webmaster@bls.gov.

Can I download the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) as a single file?

There is no single PDF or other printer-friendly version of the entire OOH at this time. Individual printer-friendly versions are available on each occupational profile page.

For users interested in a data file with OOH content, an XML file is available for download here: OOH in XML format (13 MB). Note that: 

  • This is a data file and is not suitable for reading or printing.
  • This file can be loaded into most databases.
  • This file does not include any of the additional materials found in the OOH, only occupational profiles.
  • This file does not include Military Careers because this profile is structured differently from the other OOH profiles.

For more information, see OOH Data Access and Republishing Information

For information on how to import XML files, visit http://www.bls.gov/help/hlp_xml_output.htm.

 

Military careers

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How do I join the United States military?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook has general information on military careers. Another BLS publication, the Career Outlook, has articles related to the military, such as “Military training for civilian careers (Or: How to gain practical experience while serving your country).”

Each military service publishes its own pamphlets, handbooks, and fact sheets, all of which describe entrance requirements, training and advancement opportunities, and other aspects of military careers. These publications are widely available at recruiting stations, at most state employment service offices, and in high schools, colleges, and public libraries. Phone numbers and addresses of recruiters can be found online at each service branch’s official website. Recruiters also can be located by searching by zip code at www.todaysmilitary.com/contact-a-recruiter.

The U.S. Department of Defense sponsors several websites that have information on military careers, including the following websites:

Careers in the Military

My Future

Today’s Military

Information on educational assistance and other veterans’ benefits is available at Department of Veterans Affairs offices throughout the country or on the Today’s Military benefits page.

Can I join the United States military if I am not a U.S. citizen?

You must have U.S. citizenship or proof of permanent residency to join any branch of the U.S. military. Immigration rules are set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


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Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, OOH FAQs,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/ooh-faqs.htm (visited July 24, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015