A Note to Teachers
The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is an online publication that has information on hundreds of occupations in the United States. The OOH is a rich resource for those seeking career guidance. Using the OOH, students can explore different aspects of occupations by clicking on the following tabs:
- What workers do on the job
- Work environment
- Education, training, and other qualifications needed to enter the occupation
- Projected employment change and job prospects
- State and area data
- Similar occupations
- Contacts for more information
As a teacher, you are in a position to help your students plan their future. Through the OOH, students can access valuable occupational information that can help them make career choices. By familiarizing yourself with the features of the OOH, you will be in a position to quickly and effectively help your students use this valuable tool.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has created handouts that give a quick overview of the data and analyses available from the Employment Projections program, including the OOH and Career Outlook (formerly the Occupational Outlook Quarterly). These handouts can be distributed to teachers, students, and parents.
- Employment projections (PDF)
- The OOH and occupational employment projections (PDF)
- Career Outlook (PDF)
What’s New in the OOH?
Career videos have been added to some occupational profiles on the Summary tab. The videos, produced by CareerOneStop, provide a brief overview of the occupation, including typical duties and entry-level education needed.
Navigating the OOH Homepage
There are several ways to find career information about a detailed occupation:
- Occupation Group Search. The OOH is broken up into clusters of similar occupations. To find an occupation, students may browse the occupational group of interest on the left-hand side of the homepage. Clicking on a group results in a landing page of similar occupations together with their respective job summaries, typical entry-level education, and median pay. Typical entry-level education and median pay can be quickly sorted by clicking the arrows at the top of each column.
- Occupation Finder. The occupation finder (located towards the top of the homepage) makes it easy to search for occupations by typical entry-level education, on-the-job training requirements, projected number of new jobs, projected employment growth rate, median pay, or a combination of any of these five characteristics. For example, a student who wants to learn which occupations typically require a bachelor's degree and pay an annual salary of $75,000 or more can use the drop-down menus to narrow down the occupations using those two criteria.
- Search Box. Students may also search for occupations by entering a title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top right side of the homepage.
- A–Z Index Search. Students may use the alphabetical index to look for an occupation. For example, someone looking for “Accountants” would click on “A” and then on “Accountants” in the A–Z index search. The student would then be directed to the occupational profile on accountants and auditors.
- Browse Occupations. Clicking on these buttons takes students to three distinct pages: highest paying occupations, occupations projected to be the fastest growing, and occupations projected to have the most new jobs created.
- Featured Occupation. With each visit to the OOH homepage, a different occupation will be featured that students can click on and explore.
- OOH Glossary. The OOH Glossary includes terms frequently used in the occupational profiles and related pages, including general economic concepts, such as seasonal employment and the labor force; definitions of BLS resources, such as surveys and classification systems; and terms particular to the OOH, such as education and training categories.
- Question Mark (?). Certain terms in the profiles have question marks next to them. Users can click on the question mark to read the definition of a term or about the section.
About the Information in Each Online Profile
Each occupational profile in the OOH is made up of nine separate “pages” or tabs: a summary page highlighting key characteristics of the occupation, and additional pages:
1. Summary Page
- Quick-facts table; this feature summarizes key information about the occupation, including:
- Median pay
- Entry-level education
- Work experience in a related occupation
- On-the-job training
- Number of jobs in the base year
- Job outlook
- Employment change
- Summary information describes each occupation by basic characteristics (See items 2–9)
2. What They Do
- Definition of the occupation
- Typical duties
- Specialties within the occupation
3. Work Environment
- Number of jobs in the base year
- Work setting, including potential hazards and physical, emotional, or mental demands
- Employment by largest industries
- Work schedules, including information on hours worked and seasonality of work
- Injuries and illnesses (if relevant)
4. How to Become One
- Typical entry-level education requirements
- Important qualities that are helpful in performing the work
- Typical on-the-job training needed to attain competency in the occupation (if relevant)
- Licenses, certifications, and registrations (if relevant)
- Work experience in a related occupation (if relevant)
- Other experience (if relevant)
- Advancement (if relevant)
- Median annual or hourly wages
- Top 10 percent in wages earned
- Bottom 10 percent in wages earned
- Wages earned in top-employing industries
- Chart showing median annual or hourly wages in the occupation in comparison with median annual or hourly wage for all occupations
- Work schedules
- Union membership (if relevant)
6. Job Outlook
- Projected change in level and percentage of employment, including a discussion of the following factors affecting occupational employment change:
- Industry growth or decline
- Technological change
- Demand for a product or service
- Demographic change
- Change in business patterns
- Chart showing projected rate of employment growth in the occupation in comparison with the projected rate of growth for all occupations
- Job prospects
- Expected level of competition (if applicable): number of applicants versus number of positions available
- Factors that may improve job prospects
- Table showing employment projections data for the occupations covered in a profile, with a link to a spreadsheet that details employment by industry for those occupations
7. State and Area Data
- Links to sources for employment, wages, and projections data by state and area, including:
- Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program annual employment and wage estimates for more than 800 occupations
- Projections Central contains state employment projections developed by Labor Market Information (LMI) or by individual state Employment Projections offices
- CareerOneStop includes occupational profiles with data by state and metro area
8. Similar Occupations
- List of similar occupations, with summaries of their job duties, typical education level needed to enter the occupation, and median pay
- Similar occupations are selected on the basis of similar work performed and, in some cases, on the basis of the skills, education, and/or training needed to perform the work at a competent level.
9. More Info
- List of outside associations, organizations, and government agencies that provide career information for specific occupations. Sources are listed as a service to readers, but are not endorsed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Links to O*NET, which provides comprehensive information on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
About the Projections
Employment projections cover a decade and focus on long-term trends and are based on assumptions about economic and labor force growth. However, because the economy may be affected by unforeseeable events, such as those leading to an economic downturn, the projections are subject to error. Refer to the About the Numbers page on the employment projections site.
In describing projected employment change in an occupation, the OOH uses phrases such as “faster than average,” “average,” “more slowly than average,” “little or no change,” and “decline.” A table found at the end of this page explains how to interpret these key phrases.
BLS employment projections are national in scope and do not always reflect local conditions. State employment projections are developed by state employment security agencies. State projections are available on Projections Central.
The occupational projections describe expected employment change over the projections decade; employment change is expected to vary within that 10-year period. In addition to openings that stem from employment growth, many more openings are expected to occur from the need to replace workers who retire or who permanently leave an occupation for other reasons. See table 1.10.
Change to annual occupational projections
BLS currently releases new employment projections every 2 years. However, in an effort to enhance the timeliness of the projections data and the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the Employment Projections program plans to transition to an annual release of projections. Moving to annual projections will allow new research to be incorporated into the published projections sooner, improving the overall quality. In addition, non-projection information in the OOH will be updated in “real-time,” rather than once every 2 years.
Other Career-Related Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
In addition to publishing the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has other sources of career information that might be useful to teachers and students:
- Career Outlook. The Career Outlook is an online publication that includes articles about specific occupations and industries, types of training and education, and methods for exploring careers and finding jobs. It also summarizes current labor market research and presents profiles of unusual careers.
- Employment Projections. This site includes prepared tables, searchable databases, and technical publications about BLS employment projections.
- Occupational Employment Statistics (OES). The OES survey provides wage and employment data on more than 800 occupations and shows how wages and employment vary by geographic area and industry.
- Current Employment Statistics (CES). The CES survey has comprehensive data on earnings, hours, and employment for a specific industry or group of industries via customized tables.
- Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS gathers employment and earnings data related to demographic variables such as age, gender, race, and educational attainment.
More Career Information
The U.S. Department of Defense
The MyFuture.com page is a career search database that provides information related to training, including both college and military training options.
The U.S. Department of Labor
- CareerOneStop provides links to career resources, including a library of occupational information. Career assessments and other teaching tools also are included.
- MyNextMove is a U.S. Department of Labor career search site that allows users to search for careers by keyword, industry, and interest. There is also a special search that veterans may use.
- The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) provides information about various characteristics of occupations, such as tasks performed in the occupation, physical requirements, and other skills needed. Youth Rules! uses simple language to explain the laws that govern youth employment.
The text in the Occupational Outlook Handbook is in the public domain and can be reproduced without further permission. One may link to this site without obtaining special permission. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, requests appropriate citations. The following citation for the OOH website conforms to the U.S. Government Printing Office’s style guide:
"Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [article title], on the Internet at [http Web address] [date accessed]."
Information from the OOH will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 1 (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1 (800) 877-8339.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Teachers Guide,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/teachers-guide.htm (visited January 31, 2018).
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017