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?

The BLS hires primarily economists, mathematical statisticians, computer specialists, and human resources personnel. Information on jobs with the BLS and how to apply for them may be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Opportunities website.  

Additional career information is available through online sources from the U.S. Department of Labor. For example, the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop site includes links to

  • 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; 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 (USCIS) (http://uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm) 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; similar occupations; and sources of additional information, for 334 occupational profiles covering about 84 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 at the top. 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'm interested in?

Many occupations and job titles are covered in the Occupational 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.

The OOH includes occupations that are covered 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 contains articles on some occupations that are not covered in the OOH. Career Outlook is available online at http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook

What occupation would be best for me?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide specific career guidance advice. Nevertheless, most OOH  profiles do give general guidance on the education and training 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 may also 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 selector drop-down menus on the OOH  homepage.

In addition, America's Career Info Net (http://www.acinet.org/crl/library.aspx) has links to career guidance associations and services.

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 links to

  • 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; 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 (USCIS) (http://uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm) before attempting to get a job in the United States.

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

Current employment data by occupation for states and local areas are available from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey at http://www.bls.gov/oes/. Employment data by industry for states and local areas are available from the Current Employment Statistics survey at http://www.bls.gov/sae/. Local area unemployment statistics are available at http://www.bls.gov/lau/.

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

Although the Occupational Outlook Handbook covers occupations at the national level, each state has detailed information on occupations and labor market trends.

Where can I find more detailed data?

The Employment Projections (EP) program homepage has files with more detailed data on, and links to, projected employment by occupation and 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 of the labor force, the aggregate economy, and industry output and employment. Descriptions of education and training, replacement needs, and other projections also are available on the EP homepage.

The Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households, has data on employment by detailed occupation, gender, race, and Hispanic origin. Data are in these tables. 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 through the BLS homepage.

I don't 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 Info Net has links to Department of Labor and labor law sites at www.acinet.org/crl/library.aspx. Or visit the Department of Labor’s compliance assistance website at www.dol.gov/compliance/.

 

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 2012 to 2022.

What are the occupations 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 2012 to 2022.

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 2012 to 2022. The table of occupations with the largest job growth shows the occupations that are projected to add the most new jobs from 2012 to 2022.

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 53 percent through 2022, but because of the occupation’s relatively small size, this percent growth accounts for only about 1,400 new jobs over the 10-year projections decade. In contrast, employment of retail sales workers is projected to grow only 7 percent through 2022, but that employment growth rate corresponds to about 583,300 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 2012 to 2022.

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

Although BLS does not make projections for states or areas, almost all states do so for their states and some local areas.

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

The Employment Projections program homepage 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.

Why might there be a difference between estimated employment in a particular occupation in the Occupational Outlook Handbook 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 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—wage and salary, self-employed, and unpaid family workers—in the agriculture and private household industries.

How does BLS prepare projections?

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Where can I find information on methodology for the employment projections?

Information on methodology is available at 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 at the Classifications and Crosswalks page.  

Information included in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)

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What information is included in the occupational profiles in the 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 2012–-22?

The definitions of the key phrases used in the OOH are as follows:

Changing employment between 2012 and 2022
If the statement reads: Employment is projected to:
Grow much faster than average increase 22 percent or more
Grow faster than average increase 15 percent to 21 percent
Grow about as fast as average increase 8 percent to 14 percent
Grow slower than average increase 3 percent to 7 percent
Little or no change decrease 2 percent to increase 2 percent
Decline decrease 3 percent or more

Are all occupations included in the OOH?

BLS publishes projections for 818 occupations. The OOH includes detailed information on 580 occupations in 334 OOH profiles. Limited information, including 2012 wage data, 2012 (base-year) employment, and 2022 (projected-year) employment, is available for the 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 archives for industry-related information.

Pay

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Where can I find more information on occupational pay?

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey produces employment and wage estimates for more than 800 occupations. These are estimates of the number of people employed in certain occupations and estimates of the wages paid to them. Self-employed persons 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 estimates for specific industries are also available.

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 information on starting salaries provided by selected outside sources. For more information, see the “Pay” section of the occupation of interest.

Is pay by education or experience level available?

This chart shows median annual earnings by educational attainment. The data are from the Current Population Survey.

What are the highest paying occupations?

This chart shows the 20 occupations with the highest median annual earnings in May 2012.

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 has information on finding sources of education and training.

What courses should I take to enter this occupation?

Most occupational profiles in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) describe the general educational preparation typical of 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 for links to career guidance associations and other career services that may be able to advise you.

Does the Bureau of Labor Statistics 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, we do not have information on specific licensing requirements because those requirements often vary by state. However, America's Career InfoNet 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 Government Printing Office. A print version of the OOH is or will be available from the following private publishers:

Bernan

Web: www.bernan.com

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? How do I cite the OOH?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (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 acknowledgments 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, 2014–2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, [date accessed] [http://www.bls.gov/ooh/]."

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, however, are protected by copyright and used by BLS under a subscription service. You will likely need the permission of the copyright holder in order to reproduce photographs. Contact BLS at oohinfo@bls.gov for the contact information of the subscription services that own  the photos.

May I link to the OOH website?

Yes. You may link to this site without permission.

How do I contact the webmaster?

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

Can I download the Occupational Outlook Handbook 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 Compilation (13 MB)

  • 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 the profile Military Careers because this profile is structured differently from the other profiles in the OOH.

 

Military careers

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How do I join the United States military?

The OOH has information on military careers. Another BLS publication, the OOQ, has an article “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 in your local phone book and 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:

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 at www.vba.va.gov/VBA/ or at www.todaysmilitary.com/military-benefits.

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.

 

Didn't find the answer to your question? Then click here to send us a question.

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, OOH FAQs,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/ooh-faqs.htm (visited December 20, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014