Occupational Requirements Survey Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, November 29, 2017				USDL-17-1572

Technical Information:	(202) 691-6199  ORSinfo@bls.gov		www.bls.gov/ors
Media Contact:		(202) 691-5902  PressOffice@bls.gov

			OCCUPATIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES Ė 2017

About thirty percent of workers had jobs that required between 4 hours to 1 month of preparation time 
to successfully perform a job, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Occupations with 
this short preparation time requirement include 89.0 percent of fast food cooks and 77.0 percent of 
amusement and recreation attendants. Preparation time refers to the minimum formal education, 
training, and work experience required for a typical worker to successfully perform a job.

This release provides data from the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS). ORS provides job-related 
information about the physical demands, environmental conditions, education and training, and mental 
requirements for jobs within the U.S. economy.

Preparation time
Occupations with a high percentage of jobs that required preparation time of over 10 years include 
architectural and engineering managers (57.1 percent) and chief executives (56.9 percent). 
Occupations with a high percentage of jobs that required 4 to 10 years of preparation time are 
nurse practitioners (85.8 percent), lawyers (76.2 percent), and electricians (49.6 percent), while 
those occupations that typically required 2 to 4 years are elementary school teachers (59.9 
percent), industrial machinery mechanics (48.0 percent), and food service managers (39.3 percent).

Some occupations in chart 2 required minimum education levels that include more advanced formal 
degrees. For example, 87.8 percent of lawyers typically required a professional degree, 76.0 percent 
of nurse practitioners required a masterís degree, and 96.2 percent of elementary school teachers 
required a bachelorís degree. This contributes to longer preparation time for these occupations.

Prior work experience, and not necessarily high levels of formal education, may also result in 
greater preparation time for an occupation. For example, 81.9 percent of industrial machinery 
mechanics required prior work experience, and 59.0 percent required a high school diploma. The 
average time of prior work experience for industrial machinery mechanics, when required, is about 
2.5 years (998 days). Similarly, 65.8 percent of electricians require an average prior work 
experience of about 3.5 years (1,247 days).  

For architectural and engineering managers and chief executives, typically both a bachelorís degree 
(78.9 percent and 61.3 percent, respectively) and about 8.5 years of prior work experience were 
required (3,112 days and 3,183 days, respectively).

Strength and selected physical demands
Physical demands refer to the effort generally required to successfully perform work-related tasks. 
The strength required for a job is based on how much weight a worker is required to lift or carry, 
how often they lift this weight, and the amount they stand or walk in some special cases. Strength 
is measured in five levels, from sedentary to very heavy. 

Only 3.4 percent of workers had jobs classified as a very heavy strength level. About half (57.3 
percent) of emergency medical technicians and paramedics had jobs considered a very heavy strength 
level, along with 25.4 percent of lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service 
workers, and 22.5 percent of laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (hand). These 
occupations required lifting or carrying an average maximum weight of between 60 to 120 pounds.

Occupations with a high percentage of workers in jobs considered sedentary include telemarketers 
(91.6 percent) and computer programmers (86.7 percent). These two occupations required workers to 
spend about 90 percent of the workday sitting. Although most advertising sales agents are 
sedentary, they only spend about 80 percent of their workday sitting. 
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			Upcoming Changes to the Occupational Requirements Survey
The Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) procedures are currently being revised. BLS has taken 
steps to revise procedures to align more closely with a narrower scope of work that pertains to the 
hiring and pay factors of the job. Beginning with the 2018 release, ORS data will reflect these 
revised concepts. For more information see www.bls.gov/ors/ors_improvements_09142017.htm. 

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Last Modified Date: November 29, 2017