May 2013

Implementing the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification in the Occupational Employment Statistics


Other healthcare-related occupations. In addition to the advanced practice nursing occupations, the 2010 SOC introduced several new healthcare occupations and a healthcare-related community and social service occupation, community health workers. Community health workers assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors by, for example, conducting outreach activities, providing information on available resources, or providing informal counseling. In May 2012, employment of community health workers was about 38,020. Over a third of community health workers were employed by either the individual and family services industry (7,960) or local government (5,700). General medical and surgical hospitals (2,920) and outpatient care centers (2,720) also were among the industries with the highest employment of this occupation.

Metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of community health workers are shown in chart 2. Compared with the United States as a whole, Burlington-South Burlington, VT, and Honolulu, HI, had nearly 9 times as many community health workers as a percentage of total employment. Champaign-Urbana, IL, and two areas in Alaska also were among the areas with the highest location quotients for this occupation. Except for Honolulu, which had about 1,090 community health worker jobs, the areas shown in chart 2 had employment of 320 or below in this occupation.

Community health workers had an annual mean wage of $37,490, below both the U.S. mean for all occupations and the $44,240 average for all community and social service occupations. The industry with the highest employment of this occupation, individual and family services, also was one of the lowest paying for the occupation, with an annual mean wage of $30,810; the mean wage for community health workers employed in local government was $39,670, slightly above the average across all industries.

After nurse practitioners, phlebotomists (draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, and research) and orderlies were the largest healthcare occupations introduced in the SOC revision, with May 2012 employment of 100,380 and 53,920, respectively. About 40 percent of phlebotomists were employed in general medical and surgical hospitals. Most of the remainder were employed in medical and diagnostic laboratories; other ambulatory health care services, which includes blood and organ banks; or offices of physicians. About 72 percent of orderlies were employed in a single industry, general medical and surgical hospitals. Both of these occupations were relatively low paying, with annual mean wages of $30,910 for phlebotomists and $25,700 for orderlies.

Ophthalmic medical technicians (assist ophthalmologists by performing ophthalmic clinical functions) and magnetic resonance imaging technologists (operate magnetic resonance imaging [or MRI] scanners) had May 2012 employment of 29,170 and 29,560, respectively. Over 70 percent of ophthalmic medical technicians worked in offices of physicians, while the majority of magnetic resonance imaging technologists (56 percent) were employed in general medical and surgical hospitals. Employment levels were much lower for the three remaining healthcare occupations introduced as part of the 2010 SOC revision: exercise physiologists (5,820), hearing aid specialists (4,980), and genetic counselors (2,000). About 54 percent of exercise physiologists worked in general medical and surgical hospitals. Sixty percent of genetic counselor jobs were found in either general medical and surgical hospitals or offices of physicians. Two retail trade industries, health and personal care stores and other general merchandise stores, accounted for about 58 percent of employment of hearing aid specialists.

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About the Author

Audrey L. Watson

Audrey L. Watson is an economist in the Division of Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.