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  • Writer's pictureAllison Styffe

OOH, ahh — it's the Occupational Outlook Handbook!

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

“My dad doesn’t want me to become an archaeologist," a student said as we talked about her future hopes and goals.

“Why is that?” I asked.

“He thinks it’s a dying profession…”

I could understand where he was coming from — after all, we tend to think careers focused on the future, not the past, are the ones that are growing. But was her dad right? Should she consider a different career path? When asking these types of questions, we need to rely on data, not our gut instincts. So to find an answer, we pulled up one of my favorite career exploration resources: the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).

The OOH offers information on the hundreds of occupations that make up the majority of jobs in the United States. Click on or search for a career, and you’ll get information on the duties, work environment, education/training needed, median pay, and the job outlook over the coming decade for that occupation. Basically this means you can see what the occupation is all about, what it takes to get there, and whether it's growing (this indicates job safety in the future).

Look up anthropologists and archaeologists, for example, and you might be surprised to find that this field is estimated to grow, not only a little but by 10% in the next 10 years (which is faster than average). Turns out that it's far from a dying profession!

So, why are we sharing this with you? Because we think you should be a career archaeologist of sorts and do a little digging! Uncovering the data before pursuing an occupation is just plain smart, and the OOH is a great place to start.

If you already know of a few occupations you're interested in, go right ahead and search for them. If you're at the beginning of your career exploration journey, though, you can use the OOH as a tool to help you narrow down occupations based on what's important to you using the Occupation Finder tab. For example, let's say you're interested in earning an associate's degree and hope to make $60K-$80K in a field that is projected to grow faster than average. Here's what you'll see:

I don't know about you, but I've never met a nuclear medicine technologist before! Click on the occupation title, and you'll find out what they do (you can even watch a video) and whether you might be a good fit for the field. In fact, under the "How to Become One" tab, you'll find a list of important qualities that professionals within the occupation possess; if that list describes some of your strengths, it might be a career worth considering.

So there you go! Another tool in your career exploration tool bag to OOH and ahh over ;) If you have further questions about career exploration, contact your College & Career Counselor!

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