Employment and career guidance | Employment estimates and growth | Redesigned Occupational Outlook Handbook | Pay | Education, training, and licensing | Publications and website information | Military careers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) hires primarily economists, mathematical statisticians, and computer specialists. Information on jobs with the BLS and how to apply for them may be found on the BLS career opportunities website.
Additional career information is available at America's Career InfoNet. Information on job search methods and addresses of local sources of information are available in the “Sources of Career Information” section of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should check immigration rules with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before attempting to get a job in the United States.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) provides information on what workers do; working conditions; education, training, and other qualifications; pay; job outlook; similar occupations; and sources of additional information, for 341 occupational profiles covering 85 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 occupational group of interest on the left-hand side of the homepage, or use the index if you know the specific occupation. You may also search for occupations by pay range, education level, training, projected number of new jobs, or projected job growth rate, using the Occupation Finder or occupation selector drop-down menus on the OOH homepage. If you are interested in occupations with the highest pay, you can browse them by clicking on the hot link “Highest Paying.”
Many occupations and job titles are covered in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. If you cannot find an occupation you are interested in, look under the alphabetical 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.
In addition, the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contains articles on some occupations and other fields that are not covered in the OOH.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide specific career guidance advice. Nevertheless, most Occupational Outlook Handbook profiles do give general guidance on the education and training needed to enter occupations. To learn about employment growth and job prospects, you also may wish to consult the job outlook section of occupations that interest you.
In addition, you may search for occupations by pay, education level, training, projected number of new jobs, or projected job growth rate, using the Occupation Finder or the occupation selector drop-down menus on the OOH homepage.
America's Career Info Net has links to career guidance associations and services.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics develops projections only for the nation as a whole. However, almost all states make projections for their states and some local areas. In addition, current employment data by occupation for states and areas are available from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
The Employment Projections (EP) program homepage has 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 each 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 information are available on the EP homepage.
For data on employment by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic origin, see these tables. These data are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a survey of households. 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics homepage.
The O*NET program, which is developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration, is a leading source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. O*NET is the replacement for the U.S. Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have any information regarding your legal employment rights, America's Career Info Net may offer information. Or visit the Department of Labor’s compliance assistance website.
A list of the occupations projected to grow the fastest is available here.
A list of the occupations projected to add the most new jobs is available at here.
Projected employment can be viewed in two ways: as percent change and as numeric change. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has two tables that illustrate these different approaches.
The table of fastest growing occupations shows the occupations that are expected to have the highest percent increases in jobs between 2010 and 2020. The table of occupations with the largest job growth shows the occupations that are expected to add the most new jobs between 2010 and 2020.
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 biomedical engineers is projected to grow 62 percent through 2020, but because of the occupation’s relatively small size, this percent growth accounts for only about 9,700 new jobs over the 10-year projections decade. In contrast, retail salespersons are projected to have a slower employment growth rate through 2020 (17 percent), but that rate corresponds to about 706,800 new jobs over 10 years because of the occupation’s large size.
A list of industries with the fastest projected employment growth is available here.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not make projections for states or areas, almost all states make projections for their states and some local areas.
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 each industry and for each industry by detailed occupation.
The employment figure given for a particular occupation in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is total employment (for all classes of workers) from the Bureau's 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.
Furthermore, some OOH occupations combine several occupations listed in the matrix. For these reasons, employment numbers cited in the OOH often differ from employment data provided by the OES survey, CPS, and other employment surveys.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook has been redesigned to make it more visually appealing and easier for users to find career information. The new version also incorporates a reader-friendly, written-for-the-Web style.
Most of the information included in previous editions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) can still be found in the redesigned OOH. For example, the “Nature of the Work” section is now called “What They Do.” “Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement” has been renamed “How to Become One.” Information previously covered in the “Employment” section can be found in the “Work Environment” or “Job Outlook” section. The projections table previously contained within the “Projections Data” section is now in the “Job Outlook” section.
In the new online version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), each occupation has eight “pages”: a summary page and seven additional pages with each describing one aspect of the occupation, such as pay or job outlook. The summary tab is easy to scan and allows readers the option of navigating directly to an area of interest. For example, a high school student who wants to learn what kind of education and training is required to become an electrician can move directly to the relevant information by clicking on the “How to Become an Electrician” link on the summary page.
Two more ways to navigate through the redesigned OOH are as follows:
In addition, the new OOH homepage has an Occupation Finder, which makes it easy to search for occupations by pay range, education level, training, projected number of new jobs, projected job growth rate, or a combination of any of these five characteristics. For example, someone who wants to learn which occupations typically require only a high school diploma and pay over $55,000 can use the drop-down menus to filter occupations on the basis of those two criteria.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has discontinued publication of the Career Guide to Industries as an independent product. In the future, career information from an industry perspective will be integrated into the Occupational Outlook Handbook, tentatively in the 2016-17 edition. Later in 2013, we will post more information about what, how, and when industry information will be available.
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.
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.
A chart showing 2011 median annual earnings by educational attainment can be found here. The data shown are from the Current Population Survey.
For 2010 median annual wages for occupations by selected education category, see table 6 in Brett Lockard's and Michael Wolf's “Occupational Employment Projections to 2020,” Monthly Labor Review, January 2012.
This table shows the 20 occupations with the highest median annual earnings in May 2010. This table can be accessed from the Occupational Outlook Handbook homepage. The source of the table is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
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.
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. Beyond this information, we are unable to advise you on the specific courses to take. However, a page on America's Career InfoNet has links to career guidance associations and other career services that may be able to advise you.
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 these requirements often vary by state. However, America's Career InfoNet allows you to search for occupational licensing requirements by state, occupation, or agency.
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:
If you are a private publisher of the OOH, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the list.
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. 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, 2012–2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook, [date accessed] [http://www.bls.gov/ooh/]."
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 email@example.com for the contact information of the subscription services that own the photos.
Yes. You may link to this site without permission.
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)
Address technical (web) questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Occupational Outlook Handbook has information on military careers at www.bls.gov/ooh/military/military-careers.htm. Another Bureau of Labor Statistic publication, the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, has an article “Military training for civilian careers (Or: How to gain practical experience while serving your country),” available online at www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2007/spring/art02.pdf.
Each military service publishes its own pamphlets, handbooks, and factsheets, which describe entrance requirements, training and advancement opportunities, and other aspects of military careers. These publications are widely available at recruiting stations, most state employment service offices, and in high schools, colleges, and public libraries. Phone numbers and addresses for recruiters can be found in your local phone book and online at each service branch's official website. Recruiters also can be located 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:
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.
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.
Publish Date: Friday, October 26, 2012