Career Action Blog

Helping Your Job Seekers Use 2018-2019 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)

The 2018-2019 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) continues its long tradition as the go-to resource for job seekers, career changers, students, and anyone seeking reliable career information for decision making and planning. The OOH is free and is financed by U.S taxpayers through the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Now entirely online, the OOH includes information about 575 detailed occupations in 325 occupational profiles, covering about 4 out of 5 jobs in our economy. Each profile features new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  projections, along with details on the job outlook, work activities, wages, education and training requirements, and more. In addition, the wage information in the OOH is now updated annually. 

Select profiles in the OOH include career videos produced by U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop. Links to videos appear on the Summary tab of profiles to the right of the Quick Facts box. 

Take a few minutes to become familiar with the OOH, and then be sure to share its wealth of facts and insights with job seekers and others you assist and serve.

Navigating the OOH Homepage

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

  • Occupation Group Search. The OOH is broken into clusters of similar occupations. To find an occupation, browse the occupational group of interest on the left 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 sorted by clicking the arrows at the top of each column.
  • Occupation Finder. The occupation finder (located toward the top of the homepage) makes it easy to search for occupations by entry-level education, on-the-job training requirements, projected number of new jobs, projected employment growth rate, median pay, or a combination of these characteristics. 
  • Search Box. You may also search for occupations by entering a title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top right side of the homepage.
  • A–Z Index Search. You may use the alphabetical index to look for an occupation. 
  • Browse Occupations. Clicking on these buttons takes you 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 to click on and explore.
  • Question Mark (?). Certain terms in the profiles have question marks next to them. You can click on the question mark to read the definition of a term or about the section.

How OOH Profiles Are Organized

Each occupational profile in the OOH is made up of nine tabs, as follows.

1. Summary Page

Quick-facts table; this feature summarizes key information about the occupation, including the following:

  • Median pay
  • Entry-level education
  • Work experience in a related occupation
  • On-the-job training
  • Number of jobs 
  • Job outlook
  • Employment change

2. What They Do

  • Definition of the occupation
  • Typical duties
  • Specialties within the occupation

3. Work Environment

  • Number of jobs 
  • 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)

5. Pay

  • Median annual or hourly wages: top 10 percent in wages earned, bottom 10 percent in wages earned, and wages earned in top-employing industries
  • Chart showing median annual or hourly wages in the occupation in comparison with median annual or hourly wage for all occupations
  • Work schedules
  • 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
  • Chart showing projected rate of employment growth in the occupation in comparison with the projected rate of growth for all occupations
  • Job prospects, including expected level of competition and 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. State and Area Data

  • Links to sources for employment, wages, and projections data by state and area

8. 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

9. More Info

  • List of associations, organizations, and government agencies that provide career information for specific occupations
  • Links to O*NET, which provides comprehensive information on key characteristics of workers and occupations

"With the OOH, you and your job hunters can learn valuable occupational information to make career and education choices and changes," state the career editor-experts at Career Action Resources, creator of Layoff-to-Employment Action Planner (LEAP) and Your Employment Search (YES), which are employment / reemployment guides used in workforce programs across the nation.

"By familiarizing yourself with the features of the OOH, you will be in a position to quickly and effectively help those you serve with important job and career decisions and direction," the Career Action Resources editors said. 


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