The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is an online career guidance resource that provides information on hundreds of occupations in the United States. Updated every 2 years by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the OOH allows students to 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 from 2012 to 2022
- 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.
What’s New in the 2014–2015 Edition of the OOH?
The 2014–15 OOH includes many new occupational profiles:
- Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists
- Computer network architects
- Emergency management directors
- Genetic counselors
- Information security analysts
- Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners
- Solar photovoltaic installers
- Training and development specialists
- Web developers
- Wind turbine technicians
Other profiles have been split into separate occupational profiles. For example, there are separate profiles for home health aides and personal care aides, as well as for public relations and fundraising managers and public relations specialists.
Navigating the OOH Home Page
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 2012 median pay. Typical entry-level and 2012 median pay can be quickly sorted by clicking the arrows at the top of each column.
- Occupation Finder. The occupation finder makes it easy to search for occupations by median pay, typical entry-level education, typical on-the-job training requirements, projected number of new jobs, projected employment growth rate, 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 filter occupations on the basis of those two criteria.
- A–Z Index Search. Students may use the alphabetical index to look for an occupation. For example, someone looking for “Attorneys” would click on “A” and then on “Attorneys” in the A–Z index search. The student would then be directed to the occupational profile on Lawyers.
- Search Box. Students may also search for occupations by entering a title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top right of the homepage.
- 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 replacement needs; 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—including terms in the Quick Facts table, on the Home Page, 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 2014–15 edition of the OOH is made up of eight separate “pages”: a summary page highlighting key characteristics of the occupation and seven additional pages, each describing one aspect of the occupation, such as pay or the job outlook:
1. Summary Page
- Quick-facts table; this feature summarizes key information about the occupation, including
- 2012 median pay
- Entry-level education
- Work experience in a related occupation
- On-the-job training
- Number of jobs, 2012
- Job outlook, 2012–22
- Employment change, 2012–22
- Summary information from each occupation profile page, as follows.
2. What They Do
- Definition of the occupation
- Typical duties
- Specialties within the occupation
3. Work Environment
- 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)
- 2012 median annual or hourly wages
- Top 10 percent in wages earned
- Bottom 10 percent in wages earned
- Chart showing 2012 median annual or hourly wages in the occupation in comparison with median annual or hourly wage for all occupations
- Work schedules
- Benefits and 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
- 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. 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
8. More Information
- 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 (Occupational Information Network), which provides comprehensive information on key characteristics of workers and occupations
About the Projections
The BLS long-term employment projections are prepared every 2 years. The 2014–15 OOH features projections covering the 2012–22 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 employment projections About the Numbers page.
In describing projected employment change in an occupation, the OOH uses phrases such as “faster than average,” “average,” “slower than average,” and “decline.” A table found at the end of this page explains how to interpret these key phrases. For 2012–22, the average projected employment growth rate for all occupations is 11 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 occupation projections describe expected employment change between 2012 and 2022; 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.
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:
Occupational Outlook Quarterly (OOQ). The OOQ 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. The OOQ also summarizes current labor market research and presents profiles of unusual careers.
Employment Projections homepage. This site includes prepared tables, searchable databases, and technical publications about BLS employment projections.
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey homepage. 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) survey homepage. 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) homepage. The CPS survey provides 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 Education
Gateway to 21st-Century Skills is a database of lesson plans. Some of these lesson plans relate to careers and can be adapted for use with the OOH.
The U.S. Department of Labor
America’s Career One Stop 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, 2014–2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, [date accessed] [http://www.bls.gov/ooh/]."
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.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Teachers Guide,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/teachers-guide.htm (visited November 24, 2014).
Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014