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Help and FAQs - Occupation Information


  1. What is an Occupation Profile and how do I use it?
  2. Where can I find important information about occupations?
  3. How do I use the occupational keyword search?
  4. Do occupation and industry trend information take outsourcing into consideration?
  5. What is the Occupational Information Network or O*NET?
  6. How are occupations regulated by states?
  7. What are job families?
  8. What does the number of job openings mean?
  9. What should I do if I can't find the job family for the occupation I am looking for?
  10. What are the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes?
  11. What are career clusters?
  12. What does the wage data mean?
  13. How can I find the fastest-growing and highest-paying occupations and industries?
  14. What is included and excluded in wage data estimates?
  15. Why does the source for some of CareerOneStop's data say the data are a few years old? Is there more recent data?
  16. What is the source of the wage data? How is wage data gathered? How often is the wage data updated?
  17. How are the employment trend data collected?
  18. What are the levels of education and training information? How are occupations matched to education and training information?
  19. What is the difference between short-term on-the-job training, moderate-term on-the-job training, and long-term on-the-job training?
  20. What does the Education and Training level "Postsecondary Vocational Training" mean?
  21. What is the source of the education and training data?


  1. What is an Occupation Profile and how do I use it?
    Occupation Profiles can be customized to show different combinations of information about a specific occupation or occupations. The profile is useful to people exploring career choices, making education and training decisions, looking for wage information, and finding other related resources. To create a profile, select the link for all profile options or check the boxes in front of profile options you want to include on the Occupation Profile page. Continue through the other selections to create the profile. It is possible to update the profile and find related content at the top of each profile.

  2. Where can I find important information about occupations?
    Use Occupation Information to find important information about the following:
    • Detailed descriptions and data about a specific occupation or occupations in the Occupation Profile.
    • Lists of occupations that are the fastest-growing and the highest-paying.
    • Lists of occupations that have the most openings, largest employment, and declining employment.
    • Options to compare wages by occupation or area and get occupation and industry trends.


  3. How do I use the occupational keyword search?
    You need to enter the first three characters of an occupation in the keyword box to perform a search. No search results will be returned if less than three characters are entered in the keyword box. Matches are made on the beginning of words. For example, the keyword search "ART" would match "ARTIST" and "TEACHER, ART", but would not match "CARTOONIST".

  4. Do occupation and industry trend information take outsourcing into consideration?
    The model used to produce the occupation and industry trends data does include outsourcing. The data reflects current outsourcing (in the current employment data) and any expected trends (trends analysis built into the model of estimation). However, the model is limited by the interpretation of the current data and assumptions about trends made at the time the data is produced. Recent economic indicators will not be reflected in this data. For more details about this, refer to an article about projections data and models in the Labor Market Review.

  5. What is the Occupational Information Network or O*NET?
    O*NET is a comprehensive database of work attributes and job characteristics. O*NET replaced the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) as the primary source of this occupation information. O*NET includes a set of standard occupation codes similar to, but more detailed than, the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC). O*NET also provides a wide array of resources including resources jobseekers can use to assess their career path and write resumes and employers can use to write job descriptions. For more information about O*NET, refer to the O*NET website.

  6. How are occupations regulated by states?
    There are three main types of state occupational regulation: registration, certification, and licensure. Please note that the different terms are often used interchangeably from state to state or from occupation to occupation. The Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR) uses the following definitions:
    • Registration The least restrictive form of occupational regulation, usually taking the form of requiring individuals to file their names, addresses, and qualifications with a government agency before practicing the occupation. This may include posting a bond or filing a fee.
    • Certification The state grants title protection to persons with certifications. Uncertified individuals may practice the same or similar job duties, but specialized titles are reserved only for individuals who have the related certification.
    • Licensure The most restrictive form of professional and occupational regulation. Under licensure laws, it is illegal for a person to practice a profession without first meeting state standards.
    For more information about licensed occupations in the U.S. or Canada, contact The Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR).

  7. What are job families?
    Job families are the way CareerOneStop groups occupations. CareerOneStop's job families are the same as the 23 major occupation groups of the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC). CareerOneStop excludes the military job family, because there are no available wage and occupation trend data for the occupation in this group. For more information about job families, refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics SOC webpage.

  8. What does the number of job openings mean?
    Trends data includes an estimate for the number of expected yearly job openings. The estimate for job openings includes both turnover that results from people who leave the occupation (e.g. quit, retire, death) and new jobs that are created.

  9. What should I do if I can't find the job family for the occupation I am looking for?
    Use the Keyword Search box to quickly find the occupation you are looking for. Type a keyword or keywords and select Search. Pick from the list of relevant occupation results.

  10. What are the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes?
    The Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes are a standard set of codes used to classify occupations. More than 820 occupations are grouped into broad occupations, major groups, and minor groups according to job duties, skills, education, and experience. The use of SOC codes simplifies the process that federal, state, and other agencies use to report information about occupations to each other. For more information about SOC codes, refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics SOC webpage.

  11. What are career clusters?
    The U.S. Department of Education has established 16 Career Clusters that reflect a new direction for education. Each cluster consists of all entry-level through professional-level occupations in a broad industry area. Each cluster includes both the academic and technical skills and knowledge needed for further education and careers. Clusters provide an ideal organizing tool to assist educators, counselors and parents in their work with students to identify their interests and future goals. For more information, visit the Career Clusters website.

  12. What does the wage data mean?
    Wage data provided for occupations is given in a hourly wage rate, an annual salary amount, or both. Occupation wage data is usually provided at the following percentiles: 10, 25, 50, 75, and 90. The dollar value given at a percentile shows a wage distribution for that occupation. These data can be interpreted as follows:
    • At the 10th percentile, ten percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 90 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.
    • At the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.
    • At the 50 percentile (also referred to as the median), 50 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 50 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.
    • At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.
    • At the 90th percentile, 90 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 10 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.


  13. How can I find the fastest-growing and highest-paying occupations and industries?
    America's CareerOneStop lists the fastest-growing and highest-paying occupations. It also provides information about the fastest-growing industries. Use the links below to access the following:

  14. What is included and excluded in wage data estimates?
    Wage estimates include base rate, cost-of-living allowances, guaranteed pay, hazardous-duty pay, incentive pay (e.g. commissions and production bonuses), and on-call pay. Wage estimates do not include back pay, jury duty pay, overtime pay, severance pay, shift differentials, nonproduction bonuses, and tuition reimbursements.

  15. Why does the source for some of CareerOneStop's data say the data are a few years old? Is there more recent data?
    An extensive data gathering process involving high data standards ensures that data estimates are accurate, while protecting the privacy of the participants who provide the data. As a result of this process, there is a lag in time between when the data is gathered and when it is released. CareerOneStop is updated with the newest data as it is released and provides the most recent data available.

  16. What is the source of the wage data? How is wage data gathered? How often is the wage data updated?
    Wage data are collected by each state through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at the U.S. Department of Labor. National wage estimates are developed by BLS. State and national occupation infomation is classified using the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) system. Wage data are updated on CareerOneStop annually. For more detailed information about the program or the survey refer to the OES webpage.

  17. How are the employment trend data collected?
    Occupations included in the employment projections generally reflect the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is used to gather occupational employment data. Some occupations are not identified separately in this classification but are included in aggregate categories. The national employment projections data include employment in both primary and secondary jobs. The state employment projections data include employment in primary jobs only. National employment numbers are rounded to the nearest 100; the majority of state employment numbers are rounded to the nearest 10. The percent change displayed on America's Career InfoNet was calculated on the unrounded numbers. In some cases this may result in a discrepancy between the employment numbers and the percent change. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides more detailed information on this data collection.

  18. What are the levels of education and training information? How are occupations matched to education and training information?
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) education and training classification system consists of three categories of information assigned to each occupation. The categories are 1) typical education needed for entry, 2) commonly required work experience in a related occupation, and 3) typical on-the-job training needed to obtain competency in the occupation.

    Typical education needed for entry

    This category best describes the typical level of education that most workers need to enter the occupation. Occupations are assigned one of the following eight education levels:
    • Doctoral or professional degree
    • Master's degree
    • Bachelor's degree
    • Associate's degree
    • Postsecondary non-degree award
    • Some college, no degree
    • High school diploma or equivalent
    • Less than high school

    Work experience in a related occupation

    This category best describes work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for other, more formal types of training or education. Occupations are assigned one of the following four categories that deal with length of time spent gaining related work experience:
    • More than 5 years
    • 1 to 5 years
    • Less than 1 year
    • None

    Typical on-the-job-training needed to obtain competency in the occupation

    This category encompasses any additional training or preparation that is typically needed, once employed in an occupation, to attain competency in the skills needed in that occupation. Training is occupation-specific rather than job-specific; skills learned can be transferred to another job in the same occupation. Occupations are assigned one of the following six training categories:
    • Internship/residency
    • Apprenticeship
    • Long-term on-the-job training
    • Moderate-term on-the-job training
    • Short-term on-the-job training
    • None
    For more detailed information about the education and training levels, refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

  19. What is the difference between short-term on-the-job training, moderate-term on-the-job training, and long-term on-the-job training?
    Short-term on-the-job training is where the worker develops the needed skills after a brief demonstration of job duties or up to one month of paid on-the-job experience or instruction. Moderate-term on-the-job training involves one to twelve months of combined paid on-the-job experience and informal training. In long-term on-the-job training, workers receive instruction for more than one year while employed in an occupation.

  20. What does the Education and Training level "Postsecondary Vocational Training" mean?
    This refers to vocational (occupation-based) school training above and beyond the high school level, which may also require passing an examination after completing the training.

  21. What is the source of the education and training data?
    The typical education and training level data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Office of Employment Projections, while the typical instructional program level data is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.


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