37 percent of May 2016 employment in occupations typically requiring postsecondary education

June 28, 2017

Occupations that typically require some type of postsecondary education for entry made up nearly 37 percent of employment in May 2016. The most common postsecondary requirement was a bachelor’s degree (21 percent). Occupations in this category include many computer, management, and engineering occupations, as well as teachers at the kindergarten through secondary levels. 

Employment by typical entry-level educational requirement, as a percentage of total employment, May 2016
Typical entry level educational requirement Percent

No formal educational credential

27.7%

High school diploma or equivalent

35.8

Some college, no degree

2.6

Postsecondary nondegree award

6.0

Associate's degree

2.4

Bachelor's degree

21.3

Master's degree

1.7

Doctoral or professional degree

2.5

Occupations that typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent for entry, including many production, construction, and office and administrative support occupations, made up 36 percent of employment. 

Nearly 28 percent of employment was in occupations that typically need no formal educational credential for entry, including retail salespersons, cashiers, and janitors.

Between 2014 and 2024, occupations that typically require a postsecondary nondegree award or higher for entry are projected to grow more rapidly than the average for all occupations. The largest postsecondary category, bachelor's degree, is projected to grow by 8.2 percent, compared with a projected growth rate of 6.5 percent for all occupations.

Projected percentage change in employment by typical entry-level educational requirement, 2014–24
Typical entry-level education Employment change, 2014–24 (percent)

All occupations

6.5%

No formal educational credential

6.9

High school diploma or equivalent

3.9

Some college, no degree

0.5

Postsecondary nondegree award

11.5

Associate's degree

8.7

Bachelor's degree

8.2

Master's degree

13.8

Doctoral or professional degree

12.2

Occupations that typically need no formal educational credential for entry are projected to grow by 6.9 percent, similar to the growth rate for all occupations. Occupations that typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent for entry are projected to grow at a below-average rate of 3.9 percent.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics and Employment Projections programs. Typical entry-level educational requirements are based on education and training categories assigned to each occupation by the BLS Employment Projections program. These assignments represent the typical educational requirement for entering the occupation, and may be different from the education levels of workers employed in the occupation. More information on the system of education and training categories, including the typical entry-level educational requirement assigned to each occupation, is available from the Employment Projections program. May 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics data by typical entry-level educational requirement are available as a downloadable XLSX spreadsheet.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 37 percent of May 2016 employment in occupations typically requiring postsecondary education on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/37-percent-of-may-2016-employment-in-occupations-typically-requiring-postsecondary-education.htm (visited April 20, 2018).

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