Occupational Outlook Handbook

2010-11 Edition

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS website

http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Summary

Career information is provided for anyone considering pursuing a new career or changing careers, or planning for their future.  The handbook provides the reader with things to consider regarding occupations, from what training or education would be necessary to what one might earn in the occupation.  The handbook also paints a realistic picture of what the occupations entail and the outlooks for the different occupations.

Contents

The home page of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (tabbed under “Publications” on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website) gives an overview of the contents of the Handbook.  Links on the page include job search tips, information about the job market in each state, and frequently asked questions.  Tips for using the Occupational Outlook Handbook are found on the home page as well, including information about the Search box on each page and the A-Z Index.  The home page additionally gives a link to a Spanish version of the Handbook.

The site is well organized.  On the left side of each screen is the same list, including, on the top of the page, a link to the Home page, the Index, an Overview of the 2008-18 Projections, and on the bottom of the page, other links, such as a Teacher’s Guide and How to Order a Copy of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  At the top right of each page is a search engine for BLS.gov.  Considering the purpose for which this is used, the handbook is mostly text, which is appropriate.

The content is very thorough and objective.  Included on the top of each career page is an overview of the contents of the page.  Sources for additional information regarding the career are listed and linked at the bottom of the page as well.  For example, the page on the career of Librarian, after a lengthy description of what the work entails, included also is education and training requirements, the job outlook, and earnings for different types of librarians, with links to more information on the different types of librarians.

The Frequently Asked Questions include many questions and answers, with an additional link that allows one to send a question that one did not find answered.  On this day, the FAQ page was last modified on February 5, 2010.

The Teacher’s Guide includes information helpful to the teacher such as the format of each occupational description, with an explanation of what would be found in each subsection of the format.  This will help the teacher guide the students through use of the descriptions in that the descriptions follow the same format.  Additional links are provided to aid the teachers.  On this day, the Teacher’s Guide page was last modified on May 17, 2010.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is well organized, user friendly, and has a wealth of information provided by a credible source, a government agency.  The user is not distracted by advertisements and can find a number of helpful links for even more information.

While a Contact Us option is at the bottom of each page, clicking on this feature brings one to an almost overwhelming list of categories for contacts within the BLS.  Luckily, if one scrolls down to the bottom of the list, one will find an email for a general Request for Information!

Best Features

The format for each occupation description is a definite strength.  As well, the format is explained and subsections within the format described in the Teacher’s Guide.  This is found within the handbook at http://www.bls.gov/oco/teachers_guide.htm.

The additional support provided extends this resource.  One link provided reaches out to the states individually, with detailed information about occupations within each state and the states’ projections in regards to occupations.  Kentucky’s specific occupational outlook can be found through http://www.workforcekentucky.ky.gov.

One source noted for teachers within the BLS is the BLS kids’ page.  The information regarding different occupations is sorted in respect to where kids’ interests may fall.  Also, the language is more kid-friendly; and pictures are used, which will keep the interest of a child more.  This can be found at http://www.bls.gov/k12/index.htm.

Overall Rating

I would rate this as a 5 out of 5 for the quantity of material, having a Spanish version, a version more fitting to children, and numerous links for additional information on every page.

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