Occupational Requirements Survey Summary
Last Modified Date: November 29, 2017
For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, November 29, 2017 USDL-17-1572
Technical Information: (202) 691-6199 ORSinfo@bls.gov www.bls.gov/ors
Media Contact: (202) 691-5902 PressOffice@bls.gov
OCCUPATIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES Ė 2017
About thirty percent of workers had jobs that required between 4 hours to 1 month of preparation time
to successfully perform a job, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Occupations with
this short preparation time requirement include 89.0 percent of fast food cooks and 77.0 percent of
amusement and recreation attendants. Preparation time refers to the minimum formal education,
training, and work experience required for a typical worker to successfully perform a job.
This release provides data from the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS). ORS provides job-related
information about the physical demands, environmental conditions, education and training, and mental
requirements for jobs within the U.S. economy.
Occupations with a high percentage of jobs that required preparation time of over 10 years include
architectural and engineering managers (57.1 percent) and chief executives (56.9 percent).
Occupations with a high percentage of jobs that required 4 to 10 years of preparation time are
nurse practitioners (85.8 percent), lawyers (76.2 percent), and electricians (49.6 percent), while
those occupations that typically required 2 to 4 years are elementary school teachers (59.9
percent), industrial machinery mechanics (48.0 percent), and food service managers (39.3 percent).
Some occupations in chart 2 required minimum education levels that include more advanced formal
degrees. For example, 87.8 percent of lawyers typically required a professional degree, 76.0 percent
of nurse practitioners required a masterís degree, and 96.2 percent of elementary school teachers
required a bachelorís degree. This contributes to longer preparation time for these occupations.
Prior work experience, and not necessarily high levels of formal education, may also result in
greater preparation time for an occupation. For example, 81.9 percent of industrial machinery
mechanics required prior work experience, and 59.0 percent required a high school diploma. The
average time of prior work experience for industrial machinery mechanics, when required, is about
2.5 years (998 days). Similarly, 65.8 percent of electricians require an average prior work
experience of about 3.5 years (1,247 days).
For architectural and engineering managers and chief executives, typically both a bachelorís degree
(78.9 percent and 61.3 percent, respectively) and about 8.5 years of prior work experience were
required (3,112 days and 3,183 days, respectively).
Strength and selected physical demands
Physical demands refer to the effort generally required to successfully perform work-related tasks.
The strength required for a job is based on how much weight a worker is required to lift or carry,
how often they lift this weight, and the amount they stand or walk in some special cases. Strength
is measured in five levels, from sedentary to very heavy.
Only 3.4 percent of workers had jobs classified as a very heavy strength level. About half (57.3
percent) of emergency medical technicians and paramedics had jobs considered a very heavy strength
level, along with 25.4 percent of lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service
workers, and 22.5 percent of laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (hand). These
occupations required lifting or carrying an average maximum weight of between 60 to 120 pounds.
Occupations with a high percentage of workers in jobs considered sedentary include telemarketers
(91.6 percent) and computer programmers (86.7 percent). These two occupations required workers to
spend about 90 percent of the workday sitting. Although most advertising sales agents are
sedentary, they only spend about 80 percent of their workday sitting.
Upcoming Changes to the Occupational Requirements Survey
The Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) procedures are currently being revised. BLS has taken
steps to revise procedures to align more closely with a narrower scope of work that pertains to the
hiring and pay factors of the job. Beginning with the 2018 release, ORS data will reflect these
revised concepts. For more information see www.bls.gov/ors/ors_improvements_09142017.htm.