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Economic News Release
ORS ORS Program Links

Occupational Requirements in the United States News Release

For release on 10:00 A.M. (EST) Thursday, February 21, 2019					USDL-19-0308

Technical information: 	(202) 691-6199
Media contact:	  	(202) 691-5902


On-the-job training was required for 76.8 percent of all civilian workers in 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor 
Statistics reported today. The average length of on-the-job training was 34 days.

Education, training, and experience
The preparation time required for a typical worker to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and 
develop the facility needed for average performance in a specific job can range between a short 
demonstration to more than 10 years. Preparation time includes formal education, pre-employment training, 
on-the-job training, and prior work experience.

Requirements for all workers: 
	•  Approximately 31.5 percent of workers had preparation time requirements that included more than 
	a short demonstration and up to 1 month of preparation and 19.0 percent were required to have 
	between 2 years and 4 years of preparation time.
	•  High school was the most common minimum education level for workers in 2018, with 40.7 percent 
	of jobs requiring at least a high school diploma. There was no minimum education level required for 
	31.5 percent of jobs, while a bachelor’s degree was required for 17.9 percent of workers.
	•  On-the-job training was required for 76.8 percent of all civilian workers in 2018. Prior work 
	experience was required for 47.0 percent of workers and 33.0 percent of workers were required to 
	have completed pre-employment training.

Requirements by occupation: 
	•  Prior work experience was required for 84.3 percent of accountants, with another 68.3 percent 
	requiring on-the-job training. The majority (92.0 percent) of accountants required a bachelor’s 
	•  For management occupations, the most common (59.5 percent) minimum education level required was a 
	bachelor’s degree.
	•  The majority of workers in food preparation and serving related occupations (81.4 percent) did 
	not have a minimum education level requirement. A high school diploma was required for 18.1 percent 
	of workers.
	•  Over half (55.3 percent) of workers in production occupations were required to have a high school 
	diploma. Post-employment training was required for 86.6 percent of these workers.

Physical demands
Physical demands are the physical activities workers are required to perform to carry out critical job 
tasks. The presence and, in some cases, duration of these activities are published.

Requirements for all workers:
	•  A medium strength level was required for 35.5 percent of workers, while a sedentary strength 
	level and a light strength level were required by 26.6 percent each. A heavy work strength level was 
	present for 9.6 percent of workers and a very heavy work strength level accounted for the remaining 
	1.7 percent of workers.
	•  Almost all workers were required to use fine manipulation (97.0 percent) and gross manipulation 
	(99.4 percent). Fine manipulation is the use of fingers (pinching, etc.), while gross manipulation 
	is grasping with the palm or full hand.
	•  Traditional keyboarding was required for 63.3 percent of workers.
	•  Ability to push and pull with one’s hands or arms was required for 23.1 percent of workers.
	•  Reaching at or below the shoulder was required for 81.9 percent of workers, while reaching 
	overhead was required for 44.5 percent.
	•  Crouching was required for 35.6 percent of workers, while kneeling was essential for 27.0 
	percent, and crawling was necessary for 6.7 percent of workers.

Requirements by occupation:
	•  The average maximum weight lifted in construction and extraction occupations was 57 pounds.
	•  Traditional keyboarding was required in all computer and mathematical occupations. 
	•  Approximately three-fourths (70.3 percent) of plumbers were required to climb ramps or stairs. 
	•  Climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds on the job was required for 80.8 percent of plumbers.
	•  Jobs for protective service occupations required workers to reach at or below the shoulder 
	(90.4 percent), reach overhead (57.7 percent), drive (55.6 percent), and kneel (53.1 percent).

Environmental conditions
Environmental conditions are the various tangible or concrete hazards or difficulties that are in the 
vicinity of where a job’s critical tasks are performed. 

Requirements for all workers:
	•  About one-third (33.3 percent) of workers were required to perform outdoor work.
	•  About three-fourths (75.1 percent) of workers experienced a moderate noise intensity level (such 
	as a business office or department store noise level). A quiet noise intensity level (such as a 
	private office or art museum) was experienced by 15.9 percent of workers and a loud noise intensity 
	level (such as large earth moving or manufacturing equipment) was experienced 8.8 percent. 
	•  Most workers were not exposed to humidity (98.9 percent), heavy vibrations (97.2 percent), 
	extreme heat (94.8 percent), extreme cold (94.2 percent), hazardous contaminants (91.4 percent), or 
	high, exposed places (89.8 percent).

Requirements by occupation:
	•  The majority of workers (92.3 percent) in construction and extraction occupations were exposed 
	to the outdoors, while 76.1 percent worked in high, exposed places.
	•  Most recreation workers (74.3 percent) were exposed to the outdoors and 54.4 percent were 
	exposed to wetness. Wetness is defined as any contact with waters or other liquids or working in a 
	wet area.
	•  About half (53.0 percent) of welders were exposed to extreme heat, while 65.6 percent were 
	exposed to moving mechanical parts.
	•  Most transportation and material moving workers (76.6 percent) were exposed to a moderate noise 
	intensity level, and 21.5 percent worked at a loud noise level.
	•  About half (51.3 percent) of workers in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations were 
	exposed to wetness on the job.

					Technical Note
Data in this release are from the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS), conducted by the U.S. Department 
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The ORS provides job-related information about the physical 
demands; environmental conditions; education, training, and experience; as well as cognitive and mental 
requirements of jobs in the U.S. economy. Additional job requirements are available through

Sample size
The ORS is a nationally representative establishment-based survey. To maximize the amount of publishable 
information, the BLS combined data across three samples collected over a three year period to produce the 
2018 estimates. The total sample included approximately 25,300 establishments and estimates represent about 
140,800,000 civilian workers.

Aligning previous collected requirements
Additional imputation procedures were used for these estimates to align previously collected data with 
current survey definitions. Where possible, three years of ORS samples are included in the estimates. The 
scope changes implemented before the third year of collection resulted in conceptual inconsistencies for 
physical demands and environmental conditions requirements across the three years. A multiple imputation 
approach employing an iterative logistic regression imputation procedure was used.

Measures of reliability
To assist users in ascertaining the reliability of ORS estimates, standard errors are made available shortly 
after publication of the news release. Standard errors provide users a measure of the precision of an 
estimate to ensure that it is within an acceptable range for their intended purpose. Collected and imputed 
data are included in the standard error calculation. For further information see: 

Occupational classification
BLS uses the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, The ORS classifies 
occupations by eight-digit codes used by O*NET’s detailed occupational taxonomy referred to as “O*NET-SOC 
2010 Occupations,” see for more information regarding O*Net occupation 
classification. Military specific occupations (55-0000.00) are out of scope for the ORS.

Obtaining information
For addition information on estimation concepts and methods see the Handbook of Methods at and More information can be 
obtained by calling (202) 691-6199, sending email to, or by visiting 
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request -- 
Telephone:(202)691-5200; Federal Relay Service:(800)877-8339.

Last Modified Date: February 22, 2019