Teachers Guide

A Note to Teachers

Dear Teacher:

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is an online publication that has information on hundreds of occupations in the United States. Updated every 2 years by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 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:

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 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.

What’s New in the 2016–2017 Edition of the OOH?

State and Area Data

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for more than 800 occupations. Estimates are available for the individual states and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

New Occupational Profiles

The 2016–17 OOH also includes profiles that have been split into separate occupational profiles. For example, purchasing managers, as well as buyers and purchasing agents, are now two separate occupational profiles.

Navigating the OOH Homepage

There are several ways to find career information about a detailed occupation:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 high school diploma and pay an annual salary of $55,000 or more can use the drop-down menus to narrow down the occupations using those two criteria.
  3. Search Box. Students may also search for occupations by entering a title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top right of the homepage.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Featured Occupation. With each visit to the OOH homepage, a different occupation will be featured that students can click on and explore.
  7. 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 replacement needs; definitions of BLS resources, such as surveys and classification systems; and terms particular to the OOH, such as education and training categories.
  8. Question Mark (?). Certain terms in the profiles—including terms in the Quick Facts table, on the homepage, and in column headings in tables—have question marks next to them. Users can click on the question mark to read the definition of a term.

About the Information in Each Online Profile

Each occupational profile in the 2016–17 edition of the OOH is made up of nine separate “pages” or tabs: a summary page highlighting key characteristics of the occupation and seven additional pages, each describing one aspect of the occupation, such as what they do or how to become one:

1. Summary Page

2. What They Do

3. Work Environment

4. How to Become One

5. Pay

6. Job Outlook 

7. State and Area Data

8. Similar Occupations 

9. More Information 

About the Projections

The BLS long-term employment projections are prepared every 2 years. The 2016–17 OOH features projections covering the 2014–24 decade. Employment projections 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,” “slower than average,” “little or no change,” and “decline.” A table found at the end of this page explains how to interpret these key phrases. For 2014–24, the average projected employment growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

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 between 2014 and 2024; employment change is expected to vary within that 10-year period. In addition to job openings that stem from employment growth, many more job openings are expected to occur from the need to replace workers who retire or who permanently leave an occupation for other reasons. Replacement needs by detailed occupation are listed in Table 1.10.

To learn more about using the OOH, see Occupational Information Included in the OOH. For answers to frequently asked questions, see the OOH FAQs page.

Other Career-Related Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

In addition to publishing the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has developed 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 survey gathers employment and earnings data related to demographic variables such as age, sex, 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.

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. Career assessments and other teaching tools also are included.

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. 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, 2016–2017 Edition, [article title], on the Internet at [http Web address] [date accessed]." One may link to this site without obtaining special permission.

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.

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015