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238

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Sources of Additional
Information
For more information on the occu­
pation of m anufacturers’ sales work­
er, write:
Sales and Marketing Executives International,
Career Education Division, 380 Lexing­
ton Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017.
Manufacturer’s Agents National Association,
P.O. Box 16878, Irvine, Cal. 92713.

other m erchandise as well. In addi­
tion to fashion and photographic
work, some models pose for artists or
sculptors, or work in films or televi­
sion.

Places of Employment
A b o u t 8,300 m odels w ere e m ­
ployed in 1976. Clothing m anufac­
tu rers, designers, and w holesalers
employ the largest num ber of m od­
els. In New York C ity’s garm ent dis­

trict, hundreds of firms each employ
one or two p erm a n en t m odels to
show their latest fashion designs to
prospective retail buyers. Many m od­
els work for agencies, however. A d­
v e rtisin g a g e n c ie s, re ta il s to re s ,
m agazines, and p h o to g rap h ers a l­
most always employ agency models
for their fashion articles or advertise­
ments.
Modeling jobs are available in
nearly all urban areas, but most jobs

MODELS
(D.O.T. 297.868 and 961.868)

Nature of the Work
Selling a product always is easier if
an attractive man or woman is shown
using it. In magazine advertisem ents
and television com m ercials, models
can be seen posing with a wide vari­
ety of products, including cars, soft
drinks, and perfume. Most models,
however, are used to show the latest
in fashion designs and cosmetics.
Models usually specialize in either
live or photographic work. Fashion
models generally work before an au­
dience, m odeling the creations of
w ell-k n o w n d esig n ers at fashion
show s. W hile the a n n o u n c e r d e ­
scribes what they are wearing, they
walk past custom ers and photogra­
phers and point out special features
of the design. On some jobs, they
may stop to tell individual custom ers
a garm ent’s price and style number.
Fashion models who work for
clothing designers, m anufacturers,
and distributors are called showroom
or fitting models. When new spring or
fall designs are being shown to pro­
spective buyers, these models are ex­
trem ely busy. During slack tim es,
however, they may have some gener­
al office duties, such as typing or fil­
ing.
Some informal models work in de­
partm ent stores and custom salons
where the pace is more leisurely than
in showroom s. O thers dem onstrate
new products and services at m anu­
facturers’ exhibits and trade shows.
Photographic models usually are
hired to pose for a particular assign­
ment. Although most model clothes
Digitized for cosmetics, they often pose with
and FRASER


Fashion models generally work before an audience.

239

SALES OCCUPATIONS

are in New York City because it is
the center of the fashion industry.
Chicago, D etroit, and Los Angeles
are the oth er cities with many jobs
for models.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The m ost im portant asset for a
model is a distinctive and attractive
physical appearance. Advertisers and
clothing designers hire models who
have the right “ look” for their prod­
uct and a face or style that will be
rem em bered. T o develop an individ­
ual style, some m odels attend a m od­
eling school where they learn to style
their hair, walk and stand gracefully,
pose in front o f a cam era, and apply
m akeup. Those interested in a m od­
eling career should understand the
d istin c tio n betw een th ese schools
and m odeling agencies. T he m ain
b u s in e s s o f s c h o o ls is te a c h in g
classes; they usually do not help the
graduate find work. Agencies, on the
other hand, find and schedule assign­
m ents for their m odels on a com m is­
sion basis, ranging from 10 to 20 per­
cent. Some m odeling agencies also
provide training, but norm ally accept
only the m ost prom ising beginners.
Fem ale models m ust be betw een 5
feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 1/2 inches
tall and weigh 110 to 122 pounds.
Male m odels must be 6 feet tall and
wear a size 40 suit. Size requirem ents
are quite rigid because m anufactur­
ers’ and designers’ samples are stan­
dard and models m ust fit the clothes
w ithout alteration.
Photographic m odels usually are
thinner than fashion m odels because
the cam era adds at least 10 pounds to
a p erson’s appearance. In addition,
they must have fine, regular features
and good teeth, hands, and legs.
Wide set eyes and a long neck are
also essential.
There are no educational require­
ments for models; some have com ­
pleted high school and others have
had college training. C ourses in d ra ­
ma, dancing, art, and fashion design
are useful because they can develop
poise and a sense o f style.
Models should enjoy working with
people and must be able to withstand
the pressures of com petition, tight
schedules, and quick changes. Phys­



ical stam ina is im p o rtan t because
m odels are on their feet most of the
tim e and m ust som etim es assum e
rather awkward positions when pos­
ing for photographers. To look their
best u n d er such pressure, m odels
m ust m aintain excellent health.
M odeling agencies find jobs for
their m odels on a continuous basis.
Usually, they help their models ob­
tain, often w ithout charge, a portfo­
lio o f photographs of themselves in
various styles and poses which the
agency can show to prospective cli­
ents. Some departm ent stores hold
au d itio n s th a t give in ex p erien ced
models a chance to model at a fash­
ion show and perhaps obtain other
jobs if they do well.
In addition, many sales jobs in d e­
partm ent stores provide useful expe­
rience in selecting and coordinating
fashions, experim enting with m ake­
up, an d , o cc asio n ally , m odeling.
Sometimes a model can gain experi­
ence by working in fashion shows
given by local com m unity organiza­
tions.
Modeling can be a stepping stone
to other jobs in the fashion field, such
as staff editor of a fashion magazine,
consultant for a cosm etic firm, or
fashion coordinator for a departm ent
store. Some m odels take courses in
art and design and may becom e fash­
ion illustrators or designers. A few
models who work in television com ­
mercials becom e actors or actresses.

Employment Outlook
Although em ploym ent of models is
expected to increase faster than the
average for all occupations through
the m id-1980’s, com petition for the
available jobs will be keen. The glam ­
our o f modeling attracts many m ore
persons than are needed in the o ccu­
pation. Even though many interested
persons do not m eet the size require­
ments, those who do still outnum ber
available jobs. Experienced m odels
will continue to receive most of the
assignments.
Rising advertising expenditures
and sales o f clothing and accessories
will cause the dem and for both pho­
tographic and fashion models to in­
crease. Most jo b openings, however,
will result from the need to replace
m odels who have left the occupation.

M any m odels have to retire when
they lose their youthful appearance
because most employers prefer youn­
ger models. Others leave the occupa­
tion because their particular “ look”
goes out of style or becomes associat­
ed with an outdated product.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
A m odel’s earnings depend on the
num ber and length of assignments he
or she receives. Although a few top
models earn as much as business
executives, m ost earn far less. A c­
cording to the limited inform ation
available, fashion m odels working
full time for m anufacturers or whole­
salers earned up to $35,000 in 1976,
though only the very best earned the
highest income. Models working re­
tail shows on a steady basis earned
$10,000 to $12,000 outside New
York City; those in New York earned
more.
M odels who work for more than
one em ployer receive a fee for their
work. If they are registered with an
agency, they pay a commission for
the services it provides. In 1976, fe­
male m odels working for m ajor agen­
cies in New York earned $75 to $100
an hour; male models, up to $75 an
hour. M odels in other m ajor cities
earned slightly lower rates. These
rates are misleading, however, be­
cause many models, especially begin­
ners, work only a few hours each
week and spend a great deal of their
time auditioning for prospective cli­
ents. M odels’ income also depends
on the type of work they do, whether
runway or photographic work. The
m ore versatile the model, the greater
the num ber of assignments and the
greater the income he or she may
re c e iv e . A lth o u g h p h o to g ra p h ic
m odeling often pays well, m odels
usually must provide their own ac­
cesso ries, such as wigs and h a ir­
pieces, and pay for their transporta­
tion. Occasionally, a model must buy
a com plete outfit in order to get a
particular job.
Models appearing in television
com m ercials earn at least $145 for a
jo b as an extra, and about $200 per
job as a principal character; they may
also receive additional income if the
com m ercial is rerun. Television m od­
els must be mem bers o f the Am eri­

240

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

can F ederation o f Television and R a­
dio A rtists o r th e S cre en A cto rs
Guild, Inc.
M odels som etim es m ust work u n ­
der uncom fortable conditions, pos­
ing in a swimsuit in the middle of
winter, for example. T he work can
also affect th eir personal lives b e­
cause m odels m ust always look fresh
and well-rested for the cam era and
may have to limit evenings out with
friends. In addition, a fem ale m odel
m ust spend p art o f each night on
beauty care, and som etim es has to
prepare h er clothing and accessories,
polish h er nails, and set her hair for
the next d ay ’s assignments.

Sources of Additional
Information
Em ployers o f m odels such as
magazines and new spapers may be
able to recom m end reputable m odel­
ing agencies. M ore com prehensive
inform ation on training program s for
m odels is available on request from:
United States Office of Education, Division of
Vocational/Technical Education, Wash­
ington, D.C. 20202.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS
AND BROKERS
(D.O.T. 250.358)

Nature of the Work
Real estate agents and brokers rep­
resent property owners in selling or
renting their properties. Brokers who
belong to the National A ssociation o f
R ealtors receive the title, “ R ealtor;”
agents who are m em bers may use the
title, “ R ealtor-A ssociate.”
Brokers are independent business
people who not only sell real estate,
but also rent and m anage properties,
m ake appraisals, and develop new
building projects. In closing sales,
brokers usually arrange for loans to
fin a n c e th e p u rc h a s e s , fo r title
searches, and for m eetings between
buyers and sellers when details o f the
transaction are agreed upon and the
new owners take possession. Brokers
also m anage their own offices, adver­
tise p FRASER
Digitized for ro p e rtie s, an d h an d le o th e r


business m atters. Some com bine o th ­
er types of work, such as selling in­
surance or practicing law, with their
real estate business.
Real estate agents generally are
independent sales workers who co n ­
tract their services with a licensed
broker. Ways o f doing business have
changed in the last 10 years o r so,
and today, relatively few agents work
as employees o f a broker or realty
firm.
Agents show and sell real estate,
handle rental properties, and obtain
“ listings” (ow ner agreem ents to
place properties for sale with the
firm ). Because obtaining listings is
such an im portant job duty, agents
may spend m uch time on the tele­
phone exploring leads gathered from
advertisem ents and personal c o n ­
tacts. W hen listing property for sale,
agents m ake com parisons with simi­
lar property being sold to determ ine
its fair m arket value. They also an ­
swer inquiries about properties over
the telephone and interview potential
buyers about their needs.
A w orker who sells real estate or
handles rental properties often m ust
leave the office to call on prospects
and drive them to inspect available
properties. W hen a num ber o f houses
are for sale o r rent in a new develop­
m ent, the agent may operate from a
model unit.
Most real estate agents and brok­
ers sell residential property. A few,
usually in large firms, specialize in
c o m m e rc ia l, in d u stria l, o r o th e r
types o f real estate. Each specialty
requires knowledge o f that particular
type of property and clientele. Sell­
ing or leasing business property, for
example, requires an understanding
o f leasing practices, business trends,
and location needs. Agents who sell
or lease industrial properties m ust
know about transportation, utilities,
and labor supply. To sell residential
properties, the agent m ust know the
location o f schools, churches, shop­
ping facilities, and public transporta­
tion. Familiarity with tax rates and
insurance coverages also is im por­
tant.

Places of Employment
About 450,000 persons sold real
estate full tim e in 1976; many others
sold on a part-tim e basis. The num ­

ber o f people licensed to sell totaled
about 1.5 million in 1976, according
to the National Association o f Real
Estate License Law Officials.
Most real estate firms are relative­
ly small; indeed, some brokers o p er­
ate a one-person business. Some
large firms have several hundred real
estate agents operating out of many
branch offices. Most sales workers,
however, work in firms with no m ore
than 5 to 10 other agents. A growing
num ber o f brokers, currently about 1
in 5, have en tered into franchise
agreem ents with national or regional
real estate organizations. Under this
type o f arrangem ent, similar to many
fast-food restaurant operations, the
broker pays a fee in exchange for the
privilege of using the m ore widely
known nam e o f the parent organiza­
tion. Although franchised brokers of­
ten receive help in training salespeo­
ple and in running their offices, they
bear the ultim ate responsibility for
the success or failure of the firm.
Real estate is sold in all areas, but
em ploym ent is concentrated in large
urban areas and in smaller but rapid­
ly growing communities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Real estate agents and brokers
must be licensed in every State and in
the District o f Columbia. All States
require prospective agents to be a
high school graduate, be at least 18
years old, and pass a written test. T he
exam ination—m ore com prehensive
for brokers than for agents—includes
questions on basic real estate trans­
actions and on laws affecting the sale
o f property. Most States require can ­
didates for the general sales license
to com plete 30 hours o f classroom
in stru ctio n and those seeking the
b r o k e r ’s licen se to co m p le te 90
hours o f formal training in addition
to a specified am ount of experience
in selling real estate (generally 1 to 3
years). Some States waive the experi­
ence requirem ents for the b ro k er’s
license for applicants who have a
bachelor’s degree in real estate. State
licenses usually can be renewed an­
nually w ithout reexam ination.
As real estate transactions have
becom e m ore complex, many of the

SALES OCCUPATIONS

241

m em ory for nam es and faces and
business details such as taxes, zoning
regulations, and local land-use laws.
Young men and women interested
in beginning jobs as real estate agents
often apply in their own com m uni­
ties, where their knowledge o f local
neighborhoods is an advantage. The
beginner usually learns the practical
aspects o f the job under the direction
o f an experienced agent.
Many firms offer formal training
program s for both beginners and ex­
perienced agents. About 360 univer­
sities, colleges, and junior colleges
offer courses in real estate. At some,
a student can earn an associate’s or
b ac h elo r’s degree with a m ajor in
real estate; several offer advanced
d e g re e s. M any lo cal re al e s ta te
boards th at are mem bers of the N a­
tional Association o f Realtors spon­
sor courses covering the fundam en­
tals and legal aspects o f the field.
Advanced courses in appraisal, m ort­
gage financing, and property devel­
opm ent and m anagem ent also are
available through various N ational
Association affiliates.
Trained and experienced agents
can advance in many large firms to
sales or general manager. Persons
who have received their broker’s li­
cense may open their own offices.
Training and experience in estim at­
ing property value can lead to work
as a real estate appraiser, and people
familiar with operating and m aintain­
ing rental properties may specialize
in property m anagement. Those who
gain general experience in real es­
tate, and a thorough knowledge of
business conditions and property val­
ues in th eir localities, may e n te r
m ortgage financing o r real estate
counseling.

Employment Outlook

Most real estate sales workers work for small establishments.

large firms have turned to college
graduates to fill sales positions. A
large num ber o f agents have some
college training and the num ber of
college graduates selling real estate
has risen substantially in recent
years. However, personality traits are
fully as im portant as academ ic back­



ground. Brokers look for applicants
who possess such characteristics as a
pleasant personality, honesty, and a
neat appearance. M aturity, tact, and
enthusiasm for the jo b are required
in order to m otivate prospective cus­
tom ers in this keenly com petitive
field. Agents also should have a good

Em ployment of real estate agents
and brokers is expected to rise faster
than the average for all occupations
in order to satisfy a growing dem and
for housing and other properties. In
addition to opportunities that result
from this growth, many openings will
occur each year as workers die, re­
tire, or leave for other reasons. Re­
placem ent needs are high because a
relatively large num ber o f people
transfer to other work after a short
time selling real estate.

242

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

The favorable outlook for em ploy­
m ent in this field will stem primarily
from in creased dem and for hom e
purchases and rental units. Shifts in
the age distribution o f the population
over the next decade will result in a
larger num ber o f young adults with
careers and family responsibilities.
This is the m ost geographically m o­
bile group in our society and the one
that traditionally m akes the bulk of
hom e purchases. As their incom es
rise, these families also can be ex­
pected to purchase larger hom es and
vacation properties. During periods
o f declining econom ic activity and
tight credit, the volume of sales and
the resulting dem and for salesworkers may decline. During these peri­
ods, the num ber o f persons seeking
sales positions may outnum ber open­
ings. O ver the long run, however, the
outlook for salespeople is excellent.
Many jo b opportunities should o c­
cur for both college graduates and
m atu re w o rkers tran sferrin g from
other kinds o f saleswork. This field
will rem ain highly com petitive and
p ro s p e c ts will be b e st fo r w elltrained, am bitious people who enjoy
selling. T he proportion of part-tim e
real estate agents has declined in re­
cent years as brokers have dem anded
g re a te r skill an d p ro fessio n alism
from those selling real estate. This
decline is expected to continue as
agents need more specialized knowl­
edge to handle real estate transac­
tions.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Commissions on sales are the main
source o f earnings—very few real
estate agents work for a salary. The
rate o f commission varies according
to the type of property and its value;
the percentage paid on the sale of
farm and com m ercial properties or
unim proved land usually is higher
than th at paid for selling a home.
Commissions may be divided
among several agents in a real estate
firm. T he person who obtains the
listing often receives a part when the
property is sold; the broker who
m akes the sale either gets the rest of
the commission or shares it with the
agent who handles the transaction.
Although an ag en t’s share varies
greatly from one firm to another,



often it is about half of the total
am ount received by the firm.
Earnings of full-time real estate
agents averaged about $13,700 a
year in 1976, according to estim ates
based on a survey conduct by the
National Association of Realtors;
agents working fewer than 30 hours a
week averaged $3,400. Many experi­
e n c e d r e a l e s t a t e a g e n ts e a r n
$40,000 a year o r more. A ccording
to the same survey estim ates, real es­
tate brokers earned about $27,000 a
year in 1976. Full-time agents earn
one and one-half times as m uch and
brokers earn nearly three times as
much as average earnings for all nonsupervisory workers in private indus­
try, except farming.
Income usually increases as an
agent gains experience, but individ­
ual ability, econom ic conditions, and
the type and location o f the property
also affect earnings. Sales w orkers
who are active in com m unity organi­
zations and local real estate boards
can broaden their contacts and in­
crease their earnings. A beginner’s
earnings often are irregular because
a few weeks or even m onths may go
by w ithout a sale. A lthough som e
brokers allow an agent a drawing ac­
count against future earnings, this
practice is not usual with new em ­
ployees. T he beg in n er, th e re fo re ,
should have enough money to live on
until commissions increase.
Brokers provide office space, but
agents generally furnish their own
automobiles. Agents and brokers of­
ten work in the evenings and during
weekends to suit the convenience of
custom ers. Som e firm s, especially
the large ones, furnish group life,
health, and accident insurance.

Sources of Additional
Information
Details on licensing requirem ents
for real estate agents and brokers are
available from m ost local real estate
organizations or from the real estate
commission or board located in each
State capital. Many States can fur­
nish m anuals helpful to applicants
who are preparing for the required
written examinations.
For m ore inform ation about o p ­
portunities in real estate work, as
well as a list o f colleges and universi­

ties offering courses in this field, con­
tact:
National Association of Realtors, 430 N.
Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611.

RETAIL TRADE SALES
WORKERS
(D.O.T. 260. through 290.877)

Nature of the Work
The success o f any retail business
depends largely on its sales workers.
C ourteous and efficient service from
behind the counter or on the sales
floor does m uch to satisfy custom ers
and build a store’s reputation. Even
though contact with custom ers is a
part of all sales jobs, the duties, skills,
and responsibilities o f sales workers
are as different as the kinds of m er­
chandise they sell.
In selling items such as furniture,
electrical appliances, or clothing, the
sales w orker’s primary job is to cre­
ate an interest in the m erchandise.
The sales w orker may answer ques­
tions about the construction of an
article, dem onstrate its use, and show
various models and colors. In some
stores, special knowledge or skills
may be needed to sell the m erchan­
dise. In a pet shop, for example, the
sales w orker should know about the
care and feeding of animals. People
who sell standardized articles, such
as many items in hardware and drug­
stores, often do little more than take
paym ents and wrap custom ers’ p u r­
chases. (In superm arkets and some
drugstores, cashiers wrap or bag p u r­
chases, receive paym ents, and m ake
change. See statem ent elsewhere in
the Handbook on cashiers.)
In addition to selling, most retail
sales w orkers m ake out sales or
charge slips, receive cash payments,
and give change and receipts. They
also handle returns and exchanges of
m erchandise and keep their work
areas neat. In small stores, they may
help order m erchandise, stock
shelves or racks, m ark price tags,
take inventory, and prepare displays.
(R oute drivers, who sell bread, milk,
and other products directly to cus-

SALES OCCUPATIONS

tom ers on a regular route, are dis­
cussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Places of Employment
In 1976, m ore than 2.7 million
sales w orkers were em ployed in retail
businesses. They worked in stores
ranging from the small drug or gro­
cery store employing one part-tim e
sales clerk to the giant departm ent
sto re th a t has h u n d re d s o f sales
workers. They also worked for doorto-door sales com panies and mail-or­
der houses. The largest em ployers of
retail trade sales w orkers are depart­
m ent stores and those selling general
m erchandise, apparel and accesso­
ries, and food.
Although sales jobs are found in
almost every com m unity, most sales
workers are em ployed in large cities
and nearby suburban areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Employers generally prefer high
school graduates for sales jobs.
Those without a high school diploma
can also find jobs, although the work
perm it requirem ent com plicates the
process for those under 18 years o f
age.
Thousands of high schools across
the country have distributive educa­




243

tion programs. Generally consisting
o f a cooperative arrangem ent b e ­
tween school and business com m uni­
ty, these program s allow students to
work part time at local stores while
taking courses in merchandising, ac­
counting, and other aspects o f retail­
ing. The experience and education
gained can improve o n e’s prospects
for perm anent employment.
Many distributive education p ro ­
grams cater to adult and continuing
education. In addition, one federally
funded project called “ 70,001” fo­
cuses on the needs of disadvantaged
youth and high school dropouts. O p­
erating out o f school districts and
colleges across the Nation, “ 70,001 ”
com bines full-time em ploym ent with
part-tim e instruction after hours.
Many high school and colleges
have a chapter of Distributive E duca­
tion Clubs of A m erica (D E C A ), a
service organization dedicated to the
goals o f distributive education and
good citizenship. DECA m em bers—
students and faculty—run their local
chapter, elect officers, and plan and
participate in activities on the local,
State, and national levels.
Persons interested in sales jobs
should apply to the personnel offices
o f large retail stores, where they are
likely to be interviewed and, in some
cases, given an aptitude test. Em ­

ployers prefer those who enjoy work­
ing with people and have the tact to
d eal w ith d iffe re n t p erso n alities.
Among other desirable characteris­
tics are an interest in sales work, a
pleasant personality, a neat appear­
ance, and the ability to com m unicate
clearly. P rospective sales w orkers
should also be willing to stand for
long periods.
In many small stores, an experi­
enced em ployee or the proprietor in­
structs newly hired sales personnel in
making out sales slips and operating
the cash register. In larger stores,
training program s are likely to be
more formal and to include special­
ized training in selling certain prod­
ucts.
Inexperienced sales workers in de­
p artm en t stores typically begin in
housewares, notions, and other de­
partm ents where a custom er needs
little assistance. As they gain experi­
ence and seniority, they move to po­
sitions o f greater responsibility. Sell­
in g “ b ig t i c k e t ” ite m s — la r g e
appliances, furniture, rugs, and the
lik e — u su a lly re q u ir e s th e m o st
knowledge o f the product and the
g re a te st tale n t for persuasion. In
these departm ents one finds the most
experienced—and the highest paid—
sales workers.
Retail selling remains one of the
few fields in which able employees
may advance to executive jobs re­
gardless of educational background.
Although large retail businesses gen­
erally hire college graduates as m an­
agem ent trainees, this is not the only
way to move into jobs at the m anage­
m ent level. Some sales workers are
prom oted to jobs as buyers, depart­
m ent m anagers, or store managers.
Others, particularly in large stores,
may advance to administrative work
in areas such as personnel or adver­
tising. O pp o rtu n ities for adv an ce­
m ent are lim ited in sm all sto res
where one person, often the owner,
does m ost managerial work. Retail
selling experience may be an asset in
qualifying for sales work with whole­
salers or m anufacturers.

Employment Outlook
Retail trade selling will continue to
be an excellent source of job oppor­
tunities for high school graduates
even though em ploym ent is expected

244

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

to increase m ore slowly than the av­
erage for all occupations through the
m id-1980’s. In addition to full-time
jobs, there will be m any opportuni­
ties for part-tim e w orkers, as well as
for tem porary w orkers during peak
selling periods such as the C hristm as
season. Prospects are expected to be
good because retail selling is a large
o c c u p a tio n and tu rn o v e r is high.
M ost openings will o ccur as experi­
enced full- and part-tim e sales w ork­
ers leave their jobs.
Rising sales volum e and longer
store hours will increase the need for
sales workers. Sales em ploym ent will
increase m ore slowly than the vol­
um e o f sales, how ever, as self-ser­
v ic e — a lre a d y th e r u le in m o st
foodstores—is extended to drug, va­
riety, and o ther kinds o f stores. At
the sam e time, rising incom e levels
may increase the dem and for “ big
tick et” item s, such as television sets,
th a t re q u ire th e sales w o rk e r to
spend a good deal o f tim e with each
custom er.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1977, the starting wage for m ost
retail sales positions n o t covered by
union contracts was the Federal
minimum wage, $2.30 an hour. Ex­
em p ted w ere em p lo y ees o f chain
firm s o r in d ep en d en t stores doing
less than $250,000 w orth o f business
per year. In stores where it applies,
the m inimum wage covers part-tim e
and tem porary as well as full-time
em ployees.
Stores in m ajor cities usually are
covered by union contracts. Most
agreem ents provide for a progressive
pay scale based upon experience and
length o f em ploym ent. Straight
hourly wages ranged from $2.30 for a
beginning full-time clerk to $4.37 for
an experienced full-time clerk in
1977.
In addition to their salary, some
sales w orkers receive com m issions—
that is, a percentage o f the sales they
make. Still others are paid a straight
com m ission alone. Those paid only
by commission may find their earn ­
ings g re atly a ffe c te d by ups and
downs in the economy. Earnings are
likely to be highest in jobs that re­
quire special skill in dealing with cus­
tom FRASER
Digitized for ers or technical knowledge o f the


m erchandise sold. Among the high­
est paid are people who sell autom o­
biles, m ajor appliances, and furni­
ture. O n the average, retail trad e
sales workers earn about as m uch as
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming.
Sales workers in many retail stores
may buy m erchandise at a discount,
often from 10 to 25 percent below
regular prices. This privilege som e­
times is extended to the em ployee’s
family. Some stores, especially the
large ones, pay all or part o f the cost
of such em ployee benefits as life in­
surance, health insurance, and a p en ­
sion.
Many full-time sales workers have
a 5-day, 40-hour week, although in
some stores the standard workweek
is longer. Because Saturday is a busy
day in retailing, employees usually
work th at day and have a weekday
off. Longer than norm al hours may
be scheduled before Christmas and
during other peak periods, and em ­
ployees who work overtim e receive
additional pay or an equal am ount of
time off during slack periods. Some,
especially those em ployed by stores
in suburban shopping centers, regu­
larly work one evening or m ore a
week.
Part-tim e sales workers generally
work during the sto re’s peak hours o f
business—daytim e rush hours, eve­
nings, and weekends.
Sales workers in retail trade usual­
ly work in clean, well-lighted places,
and many stores are air-conditioned.
Some jobs, however, require work
outside the store. A kitchen equip­
m ent sales w orker may visit prospec­
tive custom ers at their homes, for exa m p le , to h e lp th e m p la n
renovations, and a u sed-car sales
worker may spend m uch time at an
outdoor lot.

Sources of Additional
Information
Inform ation about careers in retail
sales is available from:
The National Retail Merchants Association,
100 W. 31st St., New York, N.Y. 10001.

Additional inform ation on careers
in retailing may be obtained from the
p erso n n el offices o f local sto res;
from State m erchants’ associations;
or from local unions of the Retail
Clerks International Association.

Inform ation on distributive educa­
tion program s may be obtained from
your State employm ent service or by
writing to:
United States Office of Education, Division of
Vocational/Technical Education, Wash­
ington, D.C. 20202.

For inform ation about a “ 70,001”
program in your area, write:
“ 70,001” Limited, Robscott Building, 151
Chestnut Hill Rd., Newark, Del. 19711.

ROUTE DRIVERS
(D.O.T. 292.358)

Nature of the Work
Many industries sell their goods
and services through the route driv­
ers who deliver their products. In
fact, these w orkers som etim es are
know n as driver-sales w orkers o r
route-sales workers. Through their
selling ability, route drivers increase
sales to existing custom ers and gain
additional business by finding new
custom ers w ithin th eir territo ries.
Also, because route drivers are the
custom er’s contact with the com pa­
ny, their reaction to complaints and
requests for special service can m ake
the difference between getting a larg­
er order or losing a custom er.
R oute drivers’ duties vary accord­
ing to the industry in which they are
em ployed, w hether they have a retail
or wholesale route, and the policies
of their particular company. But, the
following specific examples provide a
general picture of the job.
On a typical day, drycleaning route
drivers begin by picking up cleaned
garm ents at the processing plant.
Usually they load their own trucks,
carefully arranging the racks of
clothes, draperies, and other items in
the order in which they will be deliv­
ered. As they make their deliveries,
they also pick up item s custom ers
want cleaned. Drivers tag these items
so that they can be returned to the
right ow ner. Sometimes, they note
the type of stains to be removed or
special processes, such as w a te r­
proofing, th a t custom ers may re ­
quest. A fter delivering the clean gar­

245

SALES OCCUPATIONS

ments, drivers give each custom er an
itemized bill and collect the money
due. Periodically, they stop at homes
along their routes to try to sell their
com pany’s services.
Many laundries rent linens, towels,
work clothes, and other items to
businesses. Laundry route drivers
service these establishm ents on a
regular basis, replacing soiled items
with freshly laundered ones. These
route drivers keep a record of what
they provide and m ust m ake certain
that stock rented out is eventually
returned. Although they som etimes
solicit new business from the smaller
establishm ents in their territory, the
larger ones are contacted by other
sales w orkers in their com pany.
W holesale bakery route drivers de­
liver bread, cakes, rolls, and other
baked goods to grocery stores. Be­
fore starting on th eir routes, they
check to see w hether the proper vari­
ety and quantity o f products have
b een lo ad ed . D ep en d in g on how
many item s each store stocks, a driv­
er may visit from 10 to 50 grocery
stores each day. At each stop along
the route, drivers carry the orders of
bread and o ther baked goods into the
store and arrange them on the dis­
play racks. Together with the store
o w n er o r m an ag er, b ak e ry ro u te
drivers check the m erchandise deliv­
ered and prepare a bill. They also
credit the store for the value of the
stale items left over from the previ­
ous delivery.
Bakery route drivers pay close a t­
tention to the items th at are selling
well o r sitting on the shelves so that
they can estim ate the am ount and
variety o f baked goods that will be
sold by the grocery stores. This helps
the bakery plan its nightly produc­
tion. From time to tim e, the drivers
visit grocers along the route who are
not custom ers and try to get orders
from them.
Vending m achine route drivers
make certain that the m achines in
factories, schools, and other build­
ings on their routes are stocked with
m erchandise and are in good work­
ing o rd er. At each location, they
check the items remaining in the m a­
chines and remove the money that
has been deposited in the cash boxes.
Drivers also check each vending m a­
chine to see
 that m erchandise and


change are dispensed properly, and
m ake m inor adjustm ents to m achines
th at are broken. In addition, they
clean m achines and replace stock.
R oute drivers keep records o f the
m erchandise they place in each m a­
chine and the m oney they remove.
They may try to find new locations
fo r vending m ach in es by visiting
stores, factories, and other business­
es along their routes.

Places of Employment
A bout 200,000 route drivers
worked for a wide variety of busi­
nesses in 1976. Most were employed
in laundries, dairies, bakeries, and
firms that distribute food and bever­
ages. Because these are located in
small towns as well as in large cities,
route driver jobs exist in all parts o f
the country.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Route drivers m ust be good driv­
ers, and they also m ust be able to sell.
To get people to buy, they m ust
know their product or service th o r­
oughly and be able to convince o th ­
ers to give them a try. O ther im por­
t a n t s a le s q u a lif ic a tio n s a re a
pleasant voice, an ability to speak
well, and a neat appearance. They
also need self-confidence, initiative,
and tact.
Route drivers must be able to work
w ithout direct supervision, do simple
arithm etic, and write legibly. In m ost
States, a route driver is required to
have a chauffeur’s license, which is a
com m ercial driving permit. Inform a­
tion on this license can be obtained
from S tate m otor vehicle d e p a rt­
ments. R oute drivers who handle a
great deal o f money may have to be
bonded.
Most em ployers prefer their route
drivers to be high school graduates.
A good driving record is im portant.
Most com panies give their new
employees on-the-job training which
varies in length and thoroughness.
Many large com panies also have
classes in sales techniques.
School-and-work program s in re ­
tail and wholesale m erchandising are
helpful to a person interested in en ­
tering this occupation. High school

courses in sales techniques, public
speaking, driver training, bookkeep­
ing, and business arithm etic also are
helpful. Valuable experience can be
gained by working as a sales clerk in
a store o r by taking some other type
of selling job.
Some people enter this occupation
as route driver helpers (D.O.T.
292.887). Helpers assist drivers with
loading and unloading the truck and
may relieve them of some of the
driving. W hen openings occur, help­
ers may be prom oted to drivers. The
dairy and vending m achine indus­
tries, however, generally do not em ­
ploy helpers.
Route drivers may be prom oted to
route or sales supervisor, but these
jobs are relatively scarce. Advance­
m ent usually is lim ited to moving
from a retail to a wholesale route,
where earnings generally are higher.
However, some drivers obtain better
paying sales jobs as a result of their
experience in route selling.

Employment Outlook
The total num ber of route drivers
is expected to change little through
the m id-1980’s. Some openings for
new workers will arise, however, as
experienced route drivers transfer to
other fields of work, retire, or die.
Applicants with sales experience and
good driving records have the best
chance o f being hired.
Most job opportunities will be in
wholesale routes. Since most route
driver jobs currently are in wholesale
routes, openings due to turnover will
be higher on these routes than in
retail ones. In addition, employment
of retail route drivers is expected to
continue to decline, further limiting
opportunities.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Most route drivers receive a mini­
mum salary plus a percent of the
sales they make. Thus, earnings are
strongly affected by an individual’s
selling ability, initiative, and the rela­
tionship he or she establishes with
custom ers. W holesale route drivers
who m ake deliveries to stores usually
earn m ore than those who make de­
liveries to homes.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

246

Retail route drivers in the dairy
industry em ployed in large cities had
estim ated weekly earnings, including
commissions, o f $268 in 1976. Those
on wholesale routes earned $320 per
week. R oute drivers in the baking
and beverage industries were paid
weekly wages averaging $180 plus
commissions, according to inform a­
tion from a limited num ber o f union
contracts.
T he num ber o f hours worked by
route drivers varies. Some work only
about 30 hours a week; others may
work 60 hours or m ore depending
upon w hether they have well-estab­
lished routes or are trying to build up
new ones, and how am bitious they
are. T he num ber o f hours w orked
may be limited by a union contract,
a lth o u g h m any c o n tra c ts m erely
specify the earliest hour that work
m ay begin and th e latest quitting
time. T he hours also may vary with
the season. During the spring-clean­
ing season, for exam ple, drycleaning
ro u te drivers may w ork ab o u t 60
hours a week, but in w inter they may
work less than 30 hours.
M any com panies require route
drivers to wear uniforms. Some employers pay for the uniform s and for
keeping them clean. For many route
drivers, th e fact th a t they do not
work u nder close supervision is an
attractive part o f the job. W ithin ce r­
tain broad limits, they decide how
rapidly they will work and where and
when they will have a lunch or rest
period. A less desirable characteris­
tic is th at route drivers have to m ake
deliveries in bad w eather and do a
great deal o f lifting, carrying, and
walking. They also may have to work
unusual hours. For exam ple, drivers
who have retail milk routes generally
start to work very early in the m orn­
ing.
Many route drivers, particularly
those who deliver bakery and dairy
products, are m em bers of the Inter­
national B rotherhood o f Team sters,
C h a u ffe u rs , W a re h o u se m e n an d
Helpers o f America. Some belong to
the unions which represent the plantworkers o f their employers.

employers, such as bakeries, laundry
and linen supply co m panies, and
vending m achine com panies, or the
local office of the State em ploym ent
service.

SECURITIES SALES
WORKERS
(D.O.T. 251.258)

Nature of the Work
W hen investors want to buy or sell
stocks, bonds, or shares in m utual
funds, they call on securities sales
workers to put the “ m arket m achin­
ery” into operation. Both the individ­
ual who invests a few hundred dollars
and the large institution with millions
to invest need such services. O ften
these w orkers are called registered
representatives, account executives, o r
customers' brokers.
In initiating “ buy” or “ sell” trans­
actions, securities sales workers relay
orders through their firm s’ offices to
the floor o f a securities exchange.
W hen the security is traded in the
o v e r-th e -c o u n te r m a rk e t in stead ,
they send the order to the firm ’s tra d ­
ing departm ent. In either case, the
sales w orker prom ptly notifies the

custom er of the com pleted transac­
tion and the final price.
In addition, they provide many re­
lated services for their custom ers.
They may explain to new investors
the m eaning of stock m arket term s
and trading practices; offer the client
com plete financial counseling; devise
an individual financial portfolio in­
cluding securities, life insurance, and
other investm ents for the custom er;
and advise on the purchase or sale of
a particular security. Some individ­
uals may p re fer long-term invest­
m ents designed for eith er cap ital
grow th o r incom e over the years;
others might want to invest in short­
term securities th at hopefully will
rise in price quickly. Securities sales
w orkers furnish inform ation about
the advantages and disadvantages of
each type o f investm ent based on
each person’s objectives. They also
supply the latest stock and bond q u o ­
tations on any security in which the
investor is interested, as well as infor­
m ation on the activities and financial
positions of the corporations these
securities represent.
Securities sales workers may serve
all types of custom ers or they may
specialize in one type only, such as
institutional investors. They also may
specialize in handling only certain
kinds o f securities such as m utual
funds. Some handle the sale of “ new

Sources of Additional
Information
For details on route driver em ploy­


m ent o p p o rtu
http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/n itie s, c o n ta c t local
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Beginning securities sales workers spend much of their time searching for customers.

247

SALES OCCUPATIONS

issues,” such as corporation securi­
ties issued for plant expansion funds.
Beginning securities sales workers
spend m uch of their tim e searching
for custom ers. Once they have estab­
lished a clientele, however, they put
m ore effort into servicing existing ac­
cou n ts and less into seeking new
ones.

Places of Employment
A bout 90,000 persons sold securi­
ties full tim e in 1976. It is estim ated
that an additional 100,000 persons
sold securities less th an full time.
These include partners and branch
office m anagers in securities firms,
insurance agents and brokers offer­
ing securities to their custom ers, and
p art-tim e m utual fund re p resen ta­
tives.
Securities sales w orkers are em ­
ployed by brokerage firm s, invest­
m ent bankers, and m utual funds in
all p arts o f the co untry. M any of
these firms are very small. M ost sales
workers, however, work for a small
num ber o f large firms with main of­
fices in big cities (especially in New
Y ork) or the approxim ately 6,000
branch offices in oth er areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Because a securities sales w orker
m ust be well inform ed about eco ­
nomic conditions and trends, a col­
lege education is increasingly im por­
t a n t , e s p e c i a l l y in th e l a r g e r
securities firms. This is not true, how­
ever, for part-tim e work selling m u­
tual funds. Although em ployers sel­
dom re q u ire sp ecialized training,
courses in business adm inistration,
econom ics, and finance are helpful.
Almost all States require persons
who sell securities to be licensed.
State licensing requirem ents may in­
clude passing an exam ination and
furnishing a personal bond. In addi­
tion, sales workers usually m ust reg­
ister as representatives o f their firms
according to regulations of the secu­
rities exchanges where they do busi­
ness o r the National Association of
S ecu rities D ealers, Inc. (N A S D ).
Before beginners can qualify as regis­
tered representatives, they must pass
the Securities and Exchange C om ­

m ission’s General Securities Exami­


nation, or exam inations prepared by
the exchanges or the NASD. These
tests m easure the prospective rep re­
sentative’s knowledge of the securi­
ties business. C haracter investiga­
tio n s also are re q u ire d . B efore
securities sales workers can sell in­
surance, they must be licensed by the
State in which they live.
Most em ployers provide training
to help sales w orkers m eet the re­
quirem ents for registration. In m em ­
ber firms o f all m ajor exchanges the
training period is at least 4 m onths.
Trainees in large firms may receive
classro o m in stru c tio n in sec u rity
analysis and effective speaking, take
courses offered by schools of busi­
ness and other institutions and asso­
ciations, and undergo a period o f onthe-job training. In small firms, and
in m utual funds and insurance com ­
panies, training program s may be
brief and informal. Beginners read
assigned m aterials and watch other
sales workers transact business.
Many em ployers consider person­
ality traits as im portant as academ ic
training. Employers seek applicants
who are well groom ed, able to m oti­
vate people, and ambitious. Because
m aturity and the ability to work in­
dependently also are im portant, a
growing num ber of employers prefer
to hire those who have achieved suc­
cess in other jobs. Successful sales or
managerial experience is very helpful
to an applicant.
The principal form o f ad v an ce­
m ent for securities sales workers is
an increase in the num ber and the
size o f the accounts they handle. Al­
though beginners usually service the
a c c o u n ts o f in dividual in v esto rs,
ev en tu ally they may handle very
large accounts such as those of banks
and pen sio n funds. Som e e x p e ri­
enced sales workers advance to posi­
tions as branch office managers, who
supervise the w ork o f o th er sales
workers while executing “ buy” and
“ sell” orders for their own custom ­
ers. A few representatives may b e­
com e partners in their firms or do
adm inistrative work.

Employment Outlook
The num ber o f securities sales
workers is expected to grow about as
fast as the average for all occupations

through the m id-1980’s as invest­
m ent in securities continues to in­
crease. In addition to jobs resulting
from growth, several thousand sales
workers will be needed annually to
re p la ce those who die, re tire , or
transfer to other jobs. Replacem ent
needs are relatively large, due to the
com petitive nature o f the occu p a­
tion. Many sales workers leave their
jobs each year because they are un­
able to establish a successful clien­
tele.
Em ploym ent of securities sales
workers is expected to expand as
econom ic growth and rising personal
incomes increase the funds available
for investment. Grow th in the num ­
ber o f institutional investors will be
particularly strong as more people
purchase insurance; participate in
pension plans; and contribute to the
endow m ent funds o f colleges and
other nonprofit institutions. In addi­
tion, m ore workers will be needed to
sell securities issued by new and ex­
panding corporations and by State
and local g o v ern m en ts financing
public improvements.
The dem and for securities sales
workers fluctuates as the economy
expands and contracts. Thus, in an
econom ic downturn, the num ber of
persons seeking jobs may exceed the
num ber of openings—sometimes by
a great deal. Over the long run, how­
ever, job opportunities for securities
sales workers are expected to be fa­
vorable. D uring severe slum ps in
m arket activity, job prospects and in­
com e stability will be greater for
sales workers who are qualified to
provide their clients with com plete
financial services than for those who
rely strictly on com m issions from
stock transactions.
M ature individuals with successful
work experience should find many
job opportunities. Dem and will be
strongest for well-rounded persons
who are willing to learn all aspects of
the securities business. Those seek­
ing part-tim e work will be limited to
selling shares in mutual funds.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Trainees usually are paid a salary
until they m eet licensing and regis­
tration requirem ents. After registra­
tion, a few firms continue to pay a

248

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

salary until the new representative’s
com m issions in cre ase to a sta te d
am ount. T he salaries paid during
training usually range from $650 to
$850 a m onth; th ose w orking for
large secu rities firm s may receive
higher salaries.
A fter candidates are licensed and
registered, their earnings depend on
com m issions from the sale o r p u r­
chase o f stocks and bonds, life insur­
ance, or oth er securities for custom ­
ers. Com mission earnings are likely
to be high when there is m uch buying
and selling, and lower when there is a
slump in m arket activity. M ost firms
provide sales w orkers with a steady
incom e by paying a “ draw against
co m m issio n ” —th a t is, a m inim um
salary b ase d on th e com m issions
which they can be expected to earn.
A few firms pay sales workers only
salary and bonuses th at usually are
determ ined by the volum e o f com pa­
ny business.
Earnings o f full-time, experienced
securities sales w orkers who service
individual investors averaged about
$25,000 a year in 1976, according to
the limited data available. Those who
service institutional accounts earned
about $44,000. Full-tim e securities
sales w orkers earn ab o ut three times
as m uch as average earnings for nonsupervisory workers in private indus­
try, except farming.
Securities sales w orkers usually
work in offices where there is m uch
activity. In large offices, for exam ­
ple, rows o f sales w orkers sit at desks
in front o f “ quote bo ards” that co n ­
tin u ally flash in fo rm atio n on th e
prices o f securities transactions. Al­
though established sales workers usu­
ally work the same hours as others in
the business com m unity, beginners
who are seeking custom ers may work
longer. Some sales w orkers accom ­
m odate custom ers by m eeting with
them in the evenings or on weekends.

Sources of Additional
Information
F urther inform ation concerning a
career as a securities sales w orker is
available from:
Securities Industry Association, 20 Broad St.,
New York, N.Y. 10005. (There is a $1
charge for
 this material.)


C areer inform ation also may be
obtained from the personnel dep art­
m ent o f individual securities firms.

TRAVEL AGENTS
(D.O.T. 242.368)

Nature of the Work
Making travel arrangem ents can
be frustrating and tim e consuming.
Many travelers, therefore, seek the
assistance o f travel agents—special­
ists who have the inform ation and
ability to m ake the best possible trav­
el a rra n g e m e n ts, co n sid erin g th e
tastes, budgets, and dem ands o f the
custom er.
C onsider the contrast betw een a
corporate executive planning a busi­
ness trip and a family o f four on a
restricted budget, both w anting to
visit the Virgin Islands. The execu­
tive might want first-class air trans­
portation, a luxurious suite upon a r­
rival, and the use o f a limousine. The
agent would m ake the p ro p e r a r­
rangem ents, and perhaps send the
bill to the executive’s company. O n
th e o th e r h an d , th e trav e l ag e n t
would advise the family about less
expensive sum m er rates and special
air fares. The agent would discuss the
wide range o f hotel costs and facili­
ties and would try to arrange the
m ost econom ical trip for that p ar­
ticular family. The agent would also
inform the family o f the island’s cli­
m ate, arrange for a car rental o r es­
corted sightseeing excursions, and
suggest local tourist attractions, as
well as places to dine. For interna­
tional travel, the agent would provide
both the family and the executive
with inform ation on custom s regula­
tions, required papers (passports, vi­
sas, and certificates o f vaccination)
and the m ost recen t currency ex ­
change rates.
In making such arrangem ents,
travel agents consult fare schedules
published by regulatory bodies, such
as the Civil A eronautics Board and
the International Air T ransport Asso­
ciation. They also refer to guides and
fact sheets for hotel ratings and other
to u ris t in fo rm a tio n . M any tra v e l

agents base reco m m en d atio n s on
their own travel experience.
Travel agents in business for them ­
selves also must do considerable p ro ­
m otional work. They may give slide
or movie presentations to social and
special interest groups, arrange ad­
vertising displays, and m eet w ith
business m anagers to suggest com pa­
ny-sponsored trips.

Places of Employment
In 1976, about 15,000 persons in
over 6,000 independent agencies
worked as travel agents throughout
the U nited States.
Though travel agents work in ev­
ery part o f the country, they are co n ­
centrated in m ajor population cen ­
t e r s , w h e r e th e b e s t b u s in e s s
opportunities exist. A bout one-half
o f all travel agencies are located in
large cities; one-third in suburban
areas, and one-fifth in small towns
and rural areas.
Roughly one-fourth o f all travel
agents are self-employed. Generally,
these persons gained experience and
recognition by working in an estab­
lished travel agency before going into
business for themselves.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Students can prepare for careers as
travel agents by working part time or
during sum m ers as reservation clerks
or receptionists in travel agencies. As
they becom e more experienced, they
may en ter either a formal or informal
training program given by the
agency, take on greater responsibil­
ities, and eventually assume the full
workload of a travel agent. Experi­
ence as an airline ticket clerk also is
a good background for a travel agent.
Several hom e-study courses p ro ­
vide a basic understanding o f the
travel industry. An advanced course,
leading to the designation of C erti­
fied Travel Counselor, is offered by
th e In s titu te o f C e rtifie d T rav el
Agents to foster professionalism in
the travel industry. This course is of­
fe re d only to e x p e rien ce d trav el
agents.
Although few college courses re­
late directly to the travel industry, a
college education is sometimes p re­
ferred by employers. A student p re ­
paring for a career as a travel agent

249

SALES OCCUPATIONS

should study geography, foreign lan­
guages, and history. A ccounting and
business m anagem ent would also be
im p o rta n t fo r th o se a n tic ip a tin g
starting their own travel agencies.
Broad travel experience is another
im portant qualification for a career
as a travel agent. T he ability to speak
o f personal experiences frequently
helps to influence custom ers’ travel
plans.
As a sales representative, the trav­
el agent m ust have a pleasant person­
ality and m uch patience. Agents of­
ten m ust dem onstrate their efficiency
and responsibility to hard-to-please
custom ers.
Travel agents who anticipate start­
ing their own agencies m ust gain for­
mal conference approval before they
can receive commissions. C onferenc­
es are simply organizations o f air­
lines, shiplines or rail lines; the Inter­
national Air T ransport Association,
for example, is the conference o f in­
ternational airlines. T o gain confer­
ence approval, the ow ner of an agen­
cy must show th at the agency is in
operation and financially sound. In
addition, the agency m ust generally
employ at least one experienced trav­
el agent who can arrange foreign and
dom estic travel, as well as hotel, re­
sort, and sightseeing accom m oda­
tions.
Since conference approval can
take up to a year o r m ore to obtain,
most self-employed agents m ake very
little profit in their first year. Their
income generally is limited to com ­
missions from hotels and tour opera­




tors and to the nominal fees that they
may charge for making com plicated
arrangem ents. For those considering
starting their own agency, the Am eri­
can Society o f Travel Agents sug­
gests a minimum o f $20,000 in w ork­
ing capital, or enough to carry the
agency through a profitless first year.
C urrently, there are no Federal
licensing requirem ents for travel
agents. However, because of pending
legislation, the licensing o f travel
agents may becom e required by sev­
eral States in the near future.

Employment Outlook
Although the travel industry is ex­
pected to expand rapidly, com peti­
tion for openings in travel agencies is
expected to be keen through the mid1980’s. Even now, the num ber o f
people seeking work as travel agents
is m uch greater than the num ber o f
jobs available. M oreover, since the
industry generally is very sensitive to
the fluctuations of the econom y, opportunites at any given time depend
heavily upon w hether or not people
can afford to travel. For exam ple,
trav el spending d ec rea sed signifi­
cantly during the 1973-74 A rab oil
em bargo, when the price o f gasoline
increased rapidly.
Despite econom ic fluctuations,
spending on travel is expected to
increase significantly through the
m id-1980’s.
Rapidly
increasing
travel-related expenditures (m ainly
for air transportation and lodging)
reflect A m ericans’ rising incomes
and increasing emphasis on leisure

time activities. More people are ex­
pected to travel—and do so more fre­
quently—than in the past, and more
travel agents will be needed to han­
dle this extra business.
Travel should increase because
earlier retirem ent and longer vaca­
tions qive people m ore free time. The
use of larger, more efficient planes,
especially for trips to other countries,
has brought air transportation within
the budget of many Americans. By
chartering an airplane and booking a
large num ber o f rooms at its destina­
tion, a group can save substantially
over the cost of individual arrange­
ments. G roup tours, therefore, have
made international travel possible for
many who otherwise could not afford
it.
In addition, the United States hosts
more and more foreign visitors each
year. A m erican travel agents often
organize tours for these visitors.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings o f travel agents who own
their own agencies depend mainly
upon commissions received from air­
lines and other carriers, tour opera­
tors, and lodging places. Commiss io n s fo r d o m e s tic tr a v e l
arrangem ents range from 5 to 10 p er­
cent; for cruises, about 10 percent;
for hotels, sightseeing tours, and car
rentals, 10 percent; and for interna­
tional travel, about 7 percent. W hen
travel agents arrange individual plans
that require several connections and
lodging reservations, they generally
charge the custom er a service fee to
cover the time and expense involved
in m aking the arrangem ents. F or
m any services, how ever, com m is­
sions constitute the agent’s only com ­
pensation.
During the first year or two, while
awaiting conference approval and
the paym ent of commissions, selfem ployed travel agents generally
have very low earnings. Even estab­
lished agents experience less profit­
able years during periods of econom ­
ic downturn.
Experience, sales ability, and the
size of the agency determ ine the sal­
ary of an employee in a travel agen­
cy. Salaries o f travel agents generally
ranged from $9,000 to $14,000 a
year in 1976. Salaried agents usually

250

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

have standard fringe benefits—pen­
sion plans, insurance coverage, paid
vacations—that self-em ployed agents
must provide for themselves.
Travel agents frequently travel at
substantially red u ced rates. Som e­
times a hotel or resort will offer a
travel agent a free holiday.
Travel agents do not, however,
spend m ost of their time traveling
and vacationing. M ost o f the agent’s
tim e is spent behind a desk confer­
ring with custom ers, com pleting n ec­
essary p ap er w ork, and contacting
airlines and hotels for travel arrange­
ments. M any agents, especially those
who are self-em ployed, frequently
work overtim e.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further inform ation on a ca­
reer as a travel agent, contact:
American Society of Travel Agents, 360 Lex­
ington Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017.

WHOLESALE TRADE
SALES WORKERS

w orkers seldom urge custom ers to
p u rc h ase any p a rtic u la r p ro d u c t,
since they handle a large num ber o f
items. Instead, they offer prom pt, d e ­
pendable service so buyers will b e­
come regular custom ers.
W holesale sales workers perform
many im portant services for retailers,
such as checking the sto re’s stock
and ordering items that will be
needed before the next visit. Some
wholesale sales workers help store
personnel im prove and update sys­
tems for ordering and inventory. In
addition, they often advise retailers
about advertising, pricing, and a r­
ranging w indow and c o u n te r d is­
plays. A sales w orker who handles
specialized products, such as air-con­
ditioning equipm ent, may give tech ­
nical assistance on installation and
m aintenance.
Sales w o rk ers do som e re c o rd ­
keeping and attend to other details.
They m ust forw ard orders to their
w holesale houses, p re p are re p o rts
and expense acco u n ts, plan w ork
schedules, draw up lists o f prospects,
make appointm ents, and study litera­
ture relating to their products. Some
collect m oney for their companies.

Places of Employment
(D .O .T. 260. through 289.458)

Nature of the Work
Sales w orkers in wholesale trade
play an im portant role in moving
goods from the factory to the co n ­
sum er. E ach sales w orker may rep re­
sen t a w h o lesaler th a t d istrib u tes
h u n d re d s o f sim ilar p ro d u c ts. A
wholesale drug com pany, for exam ­
ple, may stock its w arehouse with
many brands o f drugs, soap, and cos­
m etics to supply stores that sell di­
rectly to the consum er. Likewise, a
wholesale building m aterials distribu­
tor sells hardw are and construction
m aterials to builders who would o th ­
erwise have to deal with many m anu­
facturers.
At regular intervals, sales workers
visit buyers for retail, industrial, and
com m ercial firms, as well as buyers
for institutions such as schools and
hospitals. They show sam ples, pic­
tures, o r catalogs th at list the items
 com pany stocks. Sales
which th eir


A bout 808,000 persons were em ­
ployed as wholesale sales workers in
1976. W holesale houses usually are
located in cities, but sales workers
may be assigned territories in any
part o f the country. Their territory
may cover a small section o f a city
having many retail stores and indus­
trial users; in less populated regions it
may cover half a State or more.
Firms selling m achinery and build­
ing m aterials to industrial and busi­
ness users are leading employers of
wholesale sales workers. O ther large
em ployers are com panies th at sell
food products. W holesalers dealing
in drugs, dry goods and apparel, m o­
tor vehicle equipm ent, and electrical
appliances employ many sales w ork­
ers as well.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The background a sales w orker
needs depends mainly upon the prod­
uct line and the m arket. Selling c e r­
tain p ro d u c ts re q u ire s e x ten siv e

technical training. Drug wholesalers,
for example, must know the nam es
and characteristics o f the pharm a­
ceutical products they sell. A back­
g ro u n d in ch em istry , biology, o r
pharm acy would prove useful, if not
indispensable. In other product lines,
such as food, familiarity with m anu­
facturers and brands becomes m uch
m o re im p o rta n t th a n kn o w led g e
about the product itself.
Product knowledge is not enough,
however, when the sales person has
to stim ulate dem and. Those selling
electrical machinery to industrial
firms, for example, m ust have the
technical training necessary to dis­
cuss th eir products. But they also
m ust understand how custom ers op­
erate, w hat equipm ent they need,
and how they might use their m a­
chines in new ways. The greater this
understanding, the m ore m achinery
they will sell.
Most wholesale sales workers en ­
ter their occupation via one of two
ro u te s—w orking up the ladder or
transferring in with the appropriate
background. High school graduates
may begin a career with a wholesale
firm in a nonselling job or may be
hired as a sales trainee. In eith er
case, beginners usually work in sev­
eral kinds of nonselling jobs before
being assigned to sales. They may
start in the stockroom or shipping
departm ent to becom e familiar with
the thousands of items the wholesaler
carries. L ater they may learn the
prices o f articles and discount rates
for goods sold in quantities. Next,
they are likely to work on “ inside”
sales, writing telephone orders. L at­
er, as they accom pany an experi­
enced sales worker on calls, trainees
com e to know some o f the firm ’s cus­
tom ers. The time spent in these ini­
tial jobs varies among companies, but
usually it take 2 years or longer to
prepare trainees for outside selling.
As professionalism grows in w hole­
sale trade and as products becom e
in c re a sin g ly c o m p lex , m o re an d
m ore college graduates e n te r the
sales force directly out o f school.
C om petent sales workers also trans­
fer from m anufacturing and retail
trade sales positions. Their experi­
ence with a particular product line
gives them an advantage over the
new com ers to the field.

251

SALES OCCUPATIONS

Sales trainees in very large whole­
sale firms participate in formal train­
ing p rogram s th a t co m bine class­
room instruction with short rotations
in v ario u s n o n sellin g jo b s. M ost
firms, however, have no formal pro­
gram. T heir trainees learn by observ­
ing and trying the different aspects of
the work. As they becom e familiar
with custom ers and procedures, they
gradually take on the full responsibil­
ity o f the job.
Sales workers som etim es can aug­
m ent th eir on-the-job training with
outside programs. W hile only a few
colleges offer co u rses relevant to
wholesale distribution, the num ber is
expected to increase. T rade associ­
ations sponsor training program s to
fill this need. Vendors, too, hold ses­
sions, usually to instruct sales people
how best to sell a particular product
line.
Experienced sales workers who
have leadership qualities and sales
ability may advance to supervisor,
sales m anager, or oth er executive
positions.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment opportunities for
sales workers in wholesale trade are
expected to be good for those with
product knowledge and selling abil­
ity. In addition to new positions cre­
ated by growth, many openings will
stem from turnover, which is fairly
high in this occupation. A person’s
success in selling greatly depends on
his or her ability to locate new cus­
tom ers and persuade them to buy. A
num ber o f new sales w orkers find
they are not suited to the com petitive
nature o f selling and leave the occu­
pation.
The num ber o f wholesale sales
workers is expected to grow about as




fast as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Businesses
and institutions will require a wide
variety of products for their own use
and for eventual resale. Although
many large purchasers and others
who require highly specialized prod­
ucts will buy directly from m anufac­
turers, the m ajority o f transactions
will involve the wholesale distributor.
As chain stores and other large
firms centralize purchasing activities,
the value of the sales m ade to indi­
vidual custom ers becom es larger and
com petition for sales corresponding­
ly greater. W holesalers can be ex­
pected to m eet this com petition by
em phasizing custom er services and
in creasin g th e size o f th e ir sales
forces.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to limited inform ation,
most beginning sales workers earned
around $9,500 a year in 1976. Expe­
rienced sales workers earned consid­
erably more. Since commissions of­
ten m ake up a large proportion of the
sales w orker’s incom e, earnings vary
widely in this occupation. They also
depend on the sales w orker’s experi­
ence and seniority, as well as on the
product line. M edian earnings o f the
lowest paid sales w orkers in 1976
varied from $12,000 in autom ative
parts and supplies to $18,400 in p a­
per and paper products distribution.
M edian earnings of the highest paid
sales workers ranged from $20,400
in b ev e rag e d is trib u tio n to o v er
$80,000 in paper and paper p ro d ­
ucts.
Com pensation plans differ am ong
firms. Many employers pay a salary
plus a percentage commission on
sales; others pay a straight com m is­

sion or straight salary. Some include
a bonus. Although most wholesale
sales w o rk ers have steady, yearround work, sales (and commissions)
vary because dem and for some prod­
u c ts —fo r exam ple, a ir-c o n d itio n ­
ing—is greater during certain sea­
sons. To provide sales workers with a
steady incom e, many com panies pay
e x p e rie n c e d p erso n n el a “ d ra w ”
against annual com m issions. M ost
com panies furnish cars or allowances
for cars and reim bursem ents for cer­
tain expenses on the road.
Sales workers often have long, ir­
regular work hours. Although they
call on custom ers during business
hours, they may travel at night or on
w eekends to m eet th eir schedule.
However, most sales workers seldom
are away from home for more than a
few days at a time. They may spend
evenings writing reports and orders,
may carry heavy catalogs and sample
cases, and be on their feet for long
periods.
Depending on length o f service,
most sales workers have a 2- to 4week paid vacation. Many are cov­
ered by company benefits, including
health and life insurance and retire­
m ent pensions.

Sources of Additional
Information
Inform ation on jobs in wholesale
selling may be obtained directly from
local wholesale houses or from asso­
ciations of wholesalers in many of the
larger cities. If no local association is
available, write to:
National Association of Wholesaler-Distribu­
tors, 1725 K St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.
Sales and Marketing Executives International,
Career Education Division, 380 Lexing­
ton Ave., New York, N Y. 10017.

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS
Construction craft workers repre­
sen t the larg est g roup of skilled
workers in the N ation’s labor force.
A ltogether, there were 3.3 million
employed in 1976—about 3 out of
every 10 skilled workers.
The more than two dozen skilled
construction trades vary greatly in
size. Several major trades—carpen­
te r, p a in te r, o p e ra tin g e n g in e e r,
plumber, and electrician—each had
more than 200,000 workers; carpen­
ters alone num bered m ore than 1
million, about one-third of all con­
struction craft workers. In contrast,
only a few thousand each were em ­
ployed in trades such as marble set­
ter, terrazzo worker, and stonem a­
son.

What are the Construction
Trades?
W orkers in the construction trades
build, repair, and m odernize homes
and all kinds of buildings. They also

Construction occupations, 1976


252


work on a variety of other structures,
including highways, airports, and
missile launching pads.
C onstruction work may be divided
into three categories: structural, fin­
ishing, and m echanical. In general,
each trade falls in one of these cate­
gories: Structural work: C arpenter,
o p e ra tin g e n g in ee r (c o n stru c tio n
m ach in e ry o p e r a to r), b ric k la y e r,
iron worker, cem ent mason, stone­
m ason, and boilerm aker. Finishing
work: Lather, plasterer, marble set­
ter, terrazzo worker, painter, paperhanger, glazier, roofer, floor cover­
ing installer, and insulation worker.
Mechanical work-. Plum ber, pipefit­
ter, construction electrician, sheetmetal worker, elevator constructor,
and millwright.
M ost construction trades are d e­
scrib e d ind iv id u ally la te r in this
c h a p te r. B o ile rm a k e rs and m ill­
wrights are described elsewhere in
the Handbook.

Places of Employment
Most jobs are with contractors in
the construction industry. The vast
majority of construction contractors
are small—generally employing few­
er than 10 people. A few large con­
tra c to rs , ho w ev er, em ploy th o u ­
s a n d s . L arg e n u m b e rs of
construction trade workers are em ­
ployed in other industries, such as
mining and m anufacturing, mainly to
do m aintenance and repair work.
Chemical m anufacturers, for exam ­
ple, need plumbers and pipefitters to
maintain the complex pipe networks
in their processing plants. G overn­
m ent agencies employ construction
trade workers to m aintain highways,
buildings, and sanitation systems.
Many construction trade workers
are self-employed and contract with
homeowners and businesses for small
jobs. Self-employment is most com ­
mon in paperhanging, painting, and
floor covering work, but it also is
found in other trades.
Employment in the construction
trades is distributed geographically in
much the same way as the N ation’s
population. Thus, the highest co n ­
centration generally is in industrial­
ized and highly populated areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most training authorities recom ­
mend formal apprenticeship training
as the best way to acquire the all­
ro u n d skills in th e c o n s tru c tio n
tra d e s. A p p re n tic e sh ip is a p r e ­
scribed period of on-the-job training,
supplem ented by related classroom
instruction that is designed to famil­
iarize apprentices with the m aterials,
tools, and principles of their trade.
Form al apprenticeship agreem ents
are registered with a State appren­
ticeship agency or the U.S. D epart­
m ent of L abor’s Bureau of A ppren­
ticeship and Training.

253

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

Although apprenticeship provides
the most thorough training, many
people acquire construction skills in­
formally by working as laborers and
helpers and observing experienced
craft workers. Some acquire skills by
attending vocational or trade schools
or by taking correspondence school
courses.
Apprentices generally must be at
least 18 years old ahd in good phys­
ical condition. A high school or voca­
tional school education, or its equiva l e n t , i n c l u d i n g c o u r s e s in
m athem atics and mechanical draw­
ing, is desirable. Courses in construc­
tion trades, such as carpentry and
electricity, also are recom m ended.
Often, applicants are given tests to
determ ine their aptitudes. For some
trades, manual dexterity, mechanical
aptitude, and an eye for proper align­
ment of materials are im portant.
The formal apprenticeship agree­
ment generally calls for 3 to 4 years
of on-the-job training and 144 hours
or more of related classroom instruc­
tion each year. On the job, most in­
struction is given by a particular craft
w orker to whom the apprentice is
assigned.
Classroom
instruction
varies
among the construction trades, but
usually includes courses such as his­
tory of the trade, characteristics of
materials, shop m athem atics, and ba­
sic principles of engineering.
In most communities, the appren­
ticeship p rogram s are su p e r v ise d by
jo in t a p p re n tic e s h ip c o m m itte e s
composed of local employers and lo­
cal union representatives. The com ­
mittee determ ines the need for ap­
p re n tic e s in the co m m u n ity and
establishes m inimum standards of
education, experience, and training.
W henever an employer cannot pro­
vide all-round instruction or relative­
ly continuous employm ent, the com ­
m ittee transfers the apprentice to
another employer. W here specializa­
tion by contractors is extensive—for
instance, in electrical work—custom ­
arily the com m ittee rotates appren­
tices among several contractors at in­
tervals of about 6 months.
In areas where these committees
have not been established, the ap ­
prenticeship agreem ent is solely be­
tween the apprentice and the em ­
em ployer group. Many
ployer or


people have received valuable train­
ing under these program s but they
have some disadvantages. No com ­
m ittee is available to supervise the
training offered and settle differenc­
es over the terms and conditions of
training. W hat the apprentice learns
depends largely on the em ployer’s
business prospects and policies. If the
employer lacks continuous work or
does only a restricted type of work,
the apprentice cannot develop all­
round skills.
In many localities, craft workers—
most commonly electricians and
plum bers—are required to have a
license to work at their trade. To
qualify for these licenses, they must
pass an examination to dem onstrate
a broad knowledge of the job and of
State and local regulations.
C onstruction trades craft workers
may advance in a num ber of ways.
Many become supervisors. In most
localities, small jobs are run by
“ working supervisors” who work at
the trade along with members of
their crews. On larger jobs, the su­
pervisors do only supervisory work.
Craft workers also can become esti­
mators for contractors. In these jobs,
they estim ate m aterial requirem ents
and labor costs to enable the con­
tractor to bid on a particular project.
Some craft workers advance to jobs
as superintendents on large projects.
Others becom e instructors in trade

and vocational schools or sales repre­
sentatives for building supply com pa­
nies. A large num ber of craft workers
have b eco m e c o n tra c to rs in the
homebuilding field.
Starting a small contract construc­
tion business is easier than starting a
small business in many other indus­
tries. Only a m oderate financial in­
vestment usually is needed, and it is
possible to conduct a fairly substan­
tial business from o n e’s home. How­
ever, the contract construction field
is very com petitive, and the rate of
business failure is high among small
contractors.

Employment Outlook
Employment in the construction
trades is expected to increase faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to em ploym ent grow th, many job
openings will result each year from
the n eed to re p la ce ex p e rien ce d
workers who transfer to other fields
of work, retire, or die.
However, since construction ac­
tivity is sensitive to changes in the
N a tio n ’s econom y, the num ber of
openings may fluctuate sharply from
year to year.
Over the long run, construction ac­
tivity is expected to grow substantial­
ly. The anticipated increases in popu­
la tio n an d h o u s e h o ld s , and th e

Employment growth and replacement needs will
create large numbers of job openings in the
construction occupations
Selected construction occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)
Carpenters

Construction laborers
Operating engineers
(construction machinery)
Painters and paperhangers

Plumbers and pipefitters
0
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

10

20

30

40

H

50

60

70

Growth B B Replacement

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

254

relatively low level of housing con­
struction in the early 1970’s, are ex­
pected to create strong pressure for
new housing. Among other factors
that will stimulate construction ac­
tivity are higher levels of personal
income and a rise in spending for
new industrial plants and equipm ent.
Also, there will be a growing demand
fo r a lte ra tio n and m o d ern izatio n
work on existing structures, as well as
for m aintenance and repair work on
highway systems, dams, bridges, and
similar projects.
The increase in em ploym ent is not
expected to be as great as the expan­
sion in construction activity. C ontin­
ued technological developm ents in
c o n s tru c tio n m e th o d s, to o ls and
equipm ent, and m aterials will raise
output per worker. O ne im portant
developm ent is the growing use of
prefabricated units at the job site.
For exam ple, preassem bled outside
walls and partitions can be lifted into
place in one operation.
The rates of em ploym ent growth
will differ among the various con­
struction trades. Employment growth
is expected to be fastest for cem ent
masons and for insulation workers.
T rades th a t will have the slowest
growth rates are plasterers and sheetmetal workers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Average hourly wage rates of
unionized workers in the construc­
tion trades are about twice the hourly
wage rate for nonsupervisory and
production workers in private indus­
try, except farming. Wage rates for
apprentices usually start at 50 p er­
cent of the rate paid to experienced
workers and increase at 6-month to
1-year intervals until the full rates are
achieved upon the com pletion of
training. The following table shows
union hourly averages for selected
co n stru ctio n trades in large cities
surveyed in 1976.
Hourly rate
Plumbers............................................ $10.47
Electricians.........................................
10.33
Bricklayers.........................................
9.91
Carpenters..........................................
9.84
Plasterers............................................
9.48

Painters...............................................
9.24


Unemployed rates: Construction and all industries,
average 1948-76
Percent
20

.

15

Except for a few trades such as
electricians, elevator constructors,
p lu m b ers and p ip e fitte rs , yearly
earnings for ex perienced w orkers
and their apprentices generally are
lower than hourly rates would indi­
cate because the num ber of hours
that they work a year can be adverse­
ly affected by poor weather and fluc­
tuations in construction activity.
Traditionally, winter is the slack
period for construction activity, p ar­
ticularly in co ld er regions. Some
workers, such as laborers and roof­
e rs , m ay n o t w o rk fo r s e v e ra l
months. However, not only cold but
also rain may slow — even sto p —
work on a construction project. Also,
because the construction trades are
so dependent on one another—p ar­
ticularly on large projects—work d e­
lays or strikes in one trade can delay
or stop the work of another. The ac­
com panying chart shows that the un­
em ploym ent rate in the construction
industry is about twice that of w ork­
ers as a whole.
C onstruction work frequently re ­
quires prolonged standing, bending,
stooping, and working in cram ped
q u a rte rs. E xposure to w eath er is
common since much of the work is
done o u td o o rs or in partially e n ­
closed structures. Many people p re­
fer construction work because it p er­
mits them to be outdoors.
Because construction workers may
need to work with sharp tools, amidst

the clutter of m aterials, while stand­
ing on tem perary scaffolding, and in
bad weather, they are more prone to
injury than workers in other jobs. In­
deed, the construction industry has
the highest injury and illness rate of
all industries. However, em ployers
increasingly are placing an emphasis
on safe working conditions and are
stressing safe work habits—practices
that reduce the risk of injuries.
The construction trades offer espe­
cially good opportunities for young
people who are not planning to go to
college, but who are willing to spend
several years in learning a skilled oc­
cupation. Construction workers can
find job opportunities in all parts of
the country. Their hourly wage rates
generally are much higher than those
of m ost other m anual workers. As
previously noted, construction trade
w orkers with business ability have
greater opportunities to open their
own businesses than workers in m ost
other skilled occupations.
A large proportion of construction
workers are members of trade unions
affiliated with the Building and C on­
struction Trades D epartm ent of the
AFL-CIO.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about opportunities
for apprenticeship or other training
can be obtained from local construe-

255

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

tion firms and em ployer associations,
the local office of the State employ­
ment service or State apprenticeship
agency, or the local office of the Bu­
reau of Apprenticeship and Training,
U.S. D epartm ent of Labor. Many ap­
prenticeship program s are supervised
by local union-m anagem ent com m it­
tees. In these instances, an appren­
tice applicant may apply directly to
the coordinator of the com m ittee.
For additional inform ation on jobs
in the construction trades, contact:
American Federation of Labor and Congress
of Industrial Organizations, Building and
Construction Trades Department, 815
16th St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20006.
Associated General Contractors of America,
Inc., 1957 E St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.
National Association of Home Builders, 15th
and M Sts. NW., Washington, D.C.
20005.

For the names of labor organiza­
tions and trad e asso ciatio n s c o n ­
cerned with specific trades, see the
discussions o f individual building
trades that follow.

BRICKLAYERS,
STONEMASONS, AND
MARBLE SETTERS

durable surfaces. M arble setters, like
stonem asons, work mostly on highcost buildings. The marble they use
usually is cut and polished before it is
sent to the job site.
In putting up a wall, bricklayers
first build the corners at each end o f
the wall, using plumblines and a lev­
el. A line then is stretched from co r­
ner to corner as a guide for each
course or layer of brick. Bricklayers
spread a bed of m ortar (cem ent mix­
tu re ) w ith a trow el (a flat m etal
tool), place the brick on the m ortar
bed, and then tap it into place. As
blueprints specify, they cut bricks
w ith a h am m er and chisel to fit
around windows, doors, and other
openings. M ortar joints are finished
with jointing tools to leave a neat and
uniform appearance. Bricklayers also
may weld metal supports for bricks.
Bricklayers are assisted by hod
carriers, or helpers, who supply them
with bricks and other m aterials, mix
m ortar, and set up and move scaf­
folding. (See the statem ent on con­
struction laborers that appears else­
where in the Handbook.)
Stonemasons often work from a set
of drawings in which each stone has
been num bered for identification.
H elpers may locate and bring the
prenum bered stones to the masons.
A derrick operator using a hoist may

be needed to lift large pieces into
place.
When building a stone wall, m a­
sons set the first layer of stones into a
shallow bed of m ortar. They align the
stones with plum blines and levels,
and tap them into position with a
wood mallet. Masons build the wall
by alternating layers of m ortar and
stone. As the work progresses, they
fill the joints betw een stones with
m ortar using a pointed metal tool to
smooth the m ortar to an attractive
finish. To hold stones in place, stone­
masons sometimes position pieces of
metal within the wall by welding or
bolting them together. A fter posi­
tioning the rocks, they cover the m et­
al with m ortar. Finally, for a clean
appearance, masons wash the stone
with a mild acid solution to remove
dirt and dry mortar.
When setting stone floors, masons
trowel a thin layer of m ortar over the
surface. They then hand set the stone
in the m ortar, leaving the surface of
the stone exposed. To finish, workers
trowel the joints and wash the stone.
To cut stone into various shapes
and sizes, masons find the grain of
each piece of stone and use a special
ham m er to strike it along a predeter­
mined line. Valuable pieces often are
cut with a saw th at has a special
blade.

(D.O.T. 861.381 and .781)

Nature of the Work
B rick lay e rs, s to n e m a so n s, and
marble setters work in closely related
trad es, each producing attractiv e,
durable surfaces. Bricklayers build
walls, partitions, fireplaces, and oth­
e r s tru c tu re s w ith b ric k , c in d e r
block, and other masonry materials.
They also install firebrick linings in
industrial furnaces.
Stonemasons build stone walls as
well as set stone exteriors and floors.
They work with two types of stone—
natural cut, such as m arble, granite,
and lim estone; and artificial stone
made from cem ent, m arble chips, or
o th er m asonry m aterials. Because
sto n e is ex p e n siv e , sto n e m a so n s
work mostly on high-cost buildings,
such as offices, hotels, and churches.
Marble setters install marble which
 decorative and highly
provides very


About 1 out of 7 bricklayers, stonemasons, and marble setters is self-employed.

256

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Setting m arble is very m uch like
setting stone. M arble setters prepare
a fine m ixture o f cem ent, sand, and
w ater—called m o rtar—then trowel a
thin layer o f it onto the surface. For
floors and for walls where the hold­
ing strength o f m ortar alone is suffi­
cient, setters—following instructions
from blueprints—often hand set each
m arble piece into the m ortar, leaving
the face o f the m arble exposed. For
heavy pieces, w orkers em ploy a hoist
to lift and position the m arble. To
secure heavy pieces on walls, setters
use bolts in addition to m ortar. O nce
the m arble pieces are positioned and
secured, setters m o rtar and trowel
the joints and clean the m arble’s sur­
face.
In addition to construction work,
m arble setters do repair work. They
fill and cover holes and cracks in
m arble with m ortar p repared and fin­
ished to look like the m arble. They
also p o lish an d re p la c e m a rb le .
W hen pieces are too large, setters cut
them to size using a special saw.
Bricklayers, stonem asons, and
m arble
setters
prim arily
use
handtools—including trowels, brick
and stone ham m ers, wood o r rubber
mallets, and chisels. For exacting
cuts o f brick, stone, o r m arble, they
use high-powered electric saws
equipped with special cutting blades.

Places of Employment
A bout 175,000 bricklayers, stone­
m asons, and m arble setters were em ­
ployed in 1976; m ost were bricklay­
ers. W o rk ers in th ese crafts w ere
em ployed primarily by special trade,
building, o r general contractors. A
relatively small num ber o f bricklay­
ers work for governm ent agencies or
businesses th a t do th eir own c o n ­
struction and alteration.
W orkers in these trades are em ­
ployed throughout the country, but
are c o n c e n tra te d in m etro p o lita n
areas. In cities th at are too small to
have a dem and for full-time stonem a­
sons o r m arble setters, bricklayers
will install stone o r m arble as a side­
line.
A bout 1 out o f 7 bricklayers,
stonem asons, and m arble setters is
self-em ployed—a proportion higher
than th at in m ost building crafts.
Many o f the
 self-em ployed specialize


in contracting on small jobs such as
patios, walks, and fireplaces.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
M ost bricklayers as well as some
stonem asons and m arble setters pick
up their skills informally by working
as helpers or hod carriers and by
observing and learning from experi­
enced workers. The rem ainder learn
their skills through apprenticeship,
which provides the m ost thorough
training.
Individuals who learn the trade in­
formally usually becom e bricklayers.
They start with carrying m aterials,
moving scaffolds, and mixing m ortar.
However, it takes several m onths to a
year before they are taught to spread
m o rtar and lay brick. They begin
with simple patterns and progress to
m ore com plex designs. Learning to
set stone or m arble m ight take sever­
al years.
A pprenticeships for bricklayers,
stonem asons, and m arble setters usu­
ally are sponsored by local unionm anagem ent com m ittees. T he a p ­
p re n tic e s h ip p ro g ra m re q u ire s 3
years o f on-the-job training, in addi­
tion to 144 hours o f classroom in­
struction each year in subjects such
as blueprint reading, m athem atics,
layout work, and sketching. A ppren­
tices learn the general applications o f
brick, stone, and marble.
A pprentices start by carrying m a­
terials and mixing m ortar. W ithin 2
or 3 m onths, they learn to align, lay,
and clean brick. A pprentices eventu­
ally learn to work w ith stone and
m arble. A fter apprenticeship, they
usually specialize in one of the three
trades.
Applicants for apprenticeships
must be at least 17 years old. A p­
p r e n tic e a n d h e lp e r a p p lic a n ts
should be in good physical condition.
A high school o r vocational school
e d u c a tio n is p r e f e r a b le , as a re
courses in m athem atics, m echanical
drawing, and shop.
Experienced w orkers can advance
to supervisory positions o r becom e
estim ators. They also can open co n ­
tracting businesses o f their own.

Employment Outlook
Em ploym ent of bricklayers is ex­
pected to increase about as fast as

th e a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to the jo b openings that result from
em ploym ent growth, many openings
will arise as experienced bricklayers
retire, die, or leave the occupation
for other reasons.
As population and business growth
create a need for new homes, facto ­
ries, offices, and other structures, the
dem and for bricklayers will grow.
Stim ulating this growth will be the
increasing use o f brick for decorative
work on building fronts and in lob­
bies and foyers. The use o f brick,
particularly for interior load-bearing
walls, is growing and will add to over­
all em ploym ent needs.
Over the long run, job openings for
bricklayers are expected to be plenti­
ful; however, the num ber of openings
may fluctuate from year to year be­
cause em ploym ent in this trade is
sensitive to ups and downs in co n ­
struction activity. For any given year,
opportunities usually are best during
the spring and sum m er when co n ­
struction activity picks up.
Em ploym ent o f stonem asons and
m arble setters is not expected to
change significantly through the mid1980’s. Stone and m arble have lost
popularity as building materials be­
cause they have becom e m uch m ore
expensive th a n m aterials such as
brick and concrete. Nevertheless, a
small num ber o f jobs will becom e
available due to the need to replace
stonem asons and m arble setters who
retire, die, or leave the occupations.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Hourly wage rates were $9.90 for
bricklayers, $10.05 for stonem asons,
and $9.60 for marble setters, accord­
ing to a 1976 survey o f union wage
rates in m etropolitan areas. These
rates are about twice the average
wage o f nonsupervisory and produc­
tion workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming. However, yearly ea rn ­
ings fo r w o rk ers in th ese tra d e s
generally are lower than hourly rates
would indicate because the annual
num ber o f hours they work can be
adversely affected by poor w eather
and fluctuations in construction ac­
tivity.
In each trade, apprentices start at
about 50 percent of the wage rate

257

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

paid to experienced workers. The
rate increases as they gain experi­
ence.
The work of bricklayers, stonem a­
sons, and marble setters sometimes is
strenuous because it involves m oder­
ately heavy lifting and prolonged
standing and stooping. Most of the
work is perform ed outdoors.
A large proportion of bricklayers,
stonemasons, and marble setters are
members of the Bricklayers, Masons
and Plasterers’ International Union
of America.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about apprenticeships
or other work opportunities in these
trades, contact local bricklaying,
stonemasonry, or marble setting con­
tractors; a local of the union listed
above; a local joint union-m anage­
m ent apprenticeship com m ittee; or
the nearest office o f the State em ­
ploym ent service or State appren­
ticeship agency.
For general information about the
work of either bricklayers or stone­
masons, contact:
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied
Craftsmen, International Masonry Ap­
prenticeship Trust, 815 15th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20005.

In fo rm atio n ab o u t the work of
bricklayers also may be obtained
from:
Associated General Contractors of America,
Inc., 1957 E St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.
Brick Institute of America, 1750 Old Meadow
Rd„ McLean, Va. 22101.

CARPENTERS
(D.O.T. 860.281 through .781)

Nature of the Work
C arpenters, the largest group of
building tra d e s w o rk ers, are em ­
ployed in almost every type of con­
struction activity. Their work is com ­
m o n ly d iv id e d in to tw o b ro a d
categories—“ rough” carpentry and
“ finish” carpentry. Skilled carpen­
ters are able to do both types of

work.


C arpenters build according to in­
structions obtained from supervisors,
blueprints, or both. In rough work,
they erect the wood fram ework in
buildings, including subfloors, parti­
tions, floor joists, and rafters. In addi­
tion, they install heavy timbers used
in the building o f docks, railroad
trestles, and similar heavy installa­
tions. Rough carpentry also includes
the building of forms to enclose con­
crete until it is hardened, the making
of chutes for pouring concrete, and
the erecting of scaffolds and tem po­
rary buildings on the construction
site. In all cases, carpenters must use
m aterials and building techniques
that conform to local building codes.
In finish work, which begins after
the rough work is com plete, carpen­
ters install molding, wood paneling,
cabinets, window sash, door frames,
doors, and hardw are and com plete
other finish work. Finish carpentry
also includes building stairs and lay­
ing floors. C arpenters who do finish
work m ust consider the appearance
as well as the structural accuracy o f
the work. For example, they use a
m itre-box saw to cut m oldings so
joints will not be noticed, and hide
nails or screws with putty for a neat
appearance.
As part of their job, carpenters
also saw, fit, and assemble plywood,
wallboard, and other materials. They
use nails, bolts, wood screws, or glue
to fasten materials. They may also
install linoleum, asphalt tile, and
similar soft floor coverings. C arpen­
ters use handtools such as ham m ers,
saws, chisels, planes, and power tools
such as portable power saws, drills,
and rivet guns.
Because of the wide scope of work
in the trade, carpenters tend to con­
centrate on only one type of work.
For example, some carpenters spe­
cialize in erecting new houses; others
specialize in laying hardwood floors.
Specialization is m ore com m on in
large m etropolitan areas; in smaller
com m unities and in rural areas, car­
penters ordinarily do all types of ca r­
pentry and also may install glass, put
in insulation, and paint.

Places of Employment
About 1,010,000 carpenters were
employed in 1976, of whom about

one in five was self-employed. Most
carpenters work for contractors and
hom ebuilders who construct new
buildings and other structures or who
alter, remodel, or repair buildings;
some carpenters alternate between
wage em ploym ent for contractors
and self-employment on small jobs.
Most other carpenters work for gov­
ernm ent agencies, utility companies,
m anufacturing firms, or other large
organizations.
C arpenters work throughout the
country and, because of their versa­
tility, are m uch less co n cen trated
geographically than any other co n ­
struction occupation.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most training authorities recom ­
mend the com pletion of an appren­
ticeship program as the best way to
learn carpentry. A large num ber of
workers in this trade, however, have
acquired their skills informally (for
example, by working as carpenters’
helpers).
The
apprenticeship
program ,
sponsored by the local joint com m it­
tee of contractors and unions, usually
consists o f 4 years o f on-th e-jo b
training, in addition to a minimum of
144 hours of related classroom in­
struction each year. On the job, ap­
prentices learn elem entary structural
design and become familiar with the
common systems of frame and con­
crete form construction. They also
learn to use the tools, m achines,
e q u ip m e n t, and m a te ria ls o f th e
trade. In addition, they learn the
many carpentry techniques, such as
laying out, form building, fram ing,
finishing, and welding.
Apprentices receive classroom in­
struction in drafting and blueprint
re a d in g , m a th e m a tic s for lay o u t
work, and the use o f woodworking
machines. Both in the classroom and
on the job they learn the relationship
betw een c a rp en try and the o th er
building trades, because the work of
the ca rp en ter is basic to the co n ­
struction process.
O th e r inform al o n -th e-jo b p ro ­
grams are provided by local contrac­
tors and usually are shorter and less
thorough than apprenticeships. The

258

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

physical condition, a good sense of
balance, and lack of fear of working
on high structures are im portant as­
sets. A pplicants should also have
manual dexterity and the ability to
solve arithm etic problem s quickly
and a c cu ra te ly . In ad d itio n , they
should be able to work closely with
others. Required tests, designed to
help m easure an applicant’s aptitude
for carpentry, are given by local joint
com m ittees.
C arpenters may advance to c a r­
penter supervisors or to general con­
stru c tio n su p erv iso rs. C a rp e n te rs
usually have g reater opportunities
than most other construction w ork­
ers to becom e general construction
supervisors since they are involved
with the entire construction process.
Some carpenters are able to become
contractors and employ others.

Employment Outlook

Over 1 million workers are employed as carpenters.

degree o f training and supervision in
these program s depends principally
on the size o f the contractor. A small
contractor who specializes in homebuilding may provide training in only
one area—for example, rough fram ­
ing. In contrast, a large general con­
tractor may provide training in sever­
al areas.
Persons interested in carpentry
should obtain the all-round training

given in apprenticeship programs.


C arpenters with such training will be
in much greater dem and and will
have b e tte r o p p o rtu n itie s for a d ­
vancem ent than those who can do
only the relatively sim ple, routine
types of carpentry.
Apprenticeship applicants general­
ly must be at least 17 years old. A
high school or vocational school ed u ­
cation is desirable, as are courses in
carpentry, shop, m echanical draw ­
ing, and general m athem atics. Good

Job opportunities for carpenters
should be plentiful over the long run.
Because o f the large num ber of peo ­
ple employed in this field, replace­
m ent needs are high. Besides the job
openings that result from the need to
replace carpenters who retire, die, or
leave th e ir job for o th er reasons,
many openings will be created by
em ploym ent growth.
Em ploym ent of carpenters is ex­
pected to grow about as fast as the
average for all occupations through
the mid-1980’s. Population and busi­
ness growth will lead to a dem and for
m ore houses and o th er structures,
thus increasing the dem and for c a r­
penters. More carpenters also will be
needed for alteration and m ain te­
nance work. However, because co n ­
struction activity is sensitive to ups
and downs in the econom y, the num ­
ber of jo b openings may fluctuate
greatly from year to year.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to a survey of m etropol­
itan areas in 1976, union wage rates
for c a rp e n te rs averaged $9.85 an
hour, or about twice the average rate
for production and nonsupervisory
workers in private industry, except
farming. Annual earnings, however,
may not be as high as the hourly rates
would indicate, because carpenters
lose som e w orktim e due to p o o r

259

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

w eather and occasional unem ploy­
ment between jobs.
Hourly wage rates for apprentices
usually start at about 50 percent of
the rate paid to experienced carpen­
ters and increase by about 5 percent
at 6-month intervals.
As in other building trades, the
carpenter’s work is active and som e­
tim es stre n u o u s, b u t e x c ep tio n al
physical strength is not required.
However, prolonged standing, as well
as climbing and squatting, often are
necessary . C a rp e n te rs risk injury
from slips or falls, from contact with
sharp or rough m aterials, and from
the use of sharp tools and power
equipm ent. Many people like c a r­
pentry because they can work out­
doors.
A large proportion o f carpenters
are mem bers of the United Brother­
hood of C arpenters and Joiners of
America.

Sources of Additional
information
For information about carpentry
apprenticeships or other work oppor­
tunities in this trade, contact local
carpentry contractors, a local of the
union m entioned above, a local joint
unio n -m an ag em en t apprenticeship
com m ittee, or the nearest office of
th e S tate em p lo y m ent service or
State apprenticeship agency.
For general inform ation on ap­
prenticeship in this trade, contact:
Associated General Contractors of America,
Inc., 1957 E St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners
of America, 101 Constitution Ave. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20005.

CEMENT MASONS AND
TERRAZZO WORKERS
(D.O.T. 844.884, 852.884, and
861.781)

Nature of the Work
Cem ent masons mix, pour, and fin­
ish concrete for many types of con­
s tru c tio n p ro je c ts. T h e p ro je c ts
range from finishing o f small jobs,

such as patios and floors, to work on


huge dam s and miles of co n crete
highways. On small projects, a m a­
son, assisted by one or two helpers,
may do all of the masonry work; on
large projects, a crew of several m a­
sons and many helpers may be em ­
ployed. Among other tasks, cem ent
masons may color concrete surfaces,
expose aggregate in walls and side­
walks, or fabricate concrete beams,
columns, and panels.
Terrazzo workers create attractive
walkways, floors, patios, and panels
by exposing marble chips and other
fine aggregates on the surface of fin­
ished concrete. However, much of
the prelim in ary work o f terrazzo
workers is the same as that for ce­
ment masons.
In preparing a site for pouring con­
crete, cem ent masons make sure the
forms for molding the concrete are
set for the desired pitch and depth
and are properly aligned. Masons di­
rect the pouring of the concrete and
supervise laborers who use shovels or
special rakes to place and spread the
c o n c r e te . M asons th e n g u id e a
“ straightedge” (a long, straight piece
of wood or similarly shaped piece of
metal) back and forth across the top
o f the form s to level the freshly
poured concrete and to show low
spots, where concrete is added and
leveled again.
Immediately after leveling the ce­
ment, masons carefully press a “ d ar­
by” (a long, straight 1 inch by 4 inch
piece of wood with sm ooth, rounded
edges and a handle) with sweeping
motions over the surface of the con­
crete, forcing heavy particles under
and smoothing the top.
After darbying, masons wait until
heavy particles in the cem ent settle
to the bottom and excess water
works its way to the surface. When
the excess water evaporates and the
concrete is firm but workable, m a­
sons com plete their work.
Finishers first press an edger gently
between the forms and the concrete,
and guide it carefully along the edge
and the surface. This produces
slightly rounded edges and helps p re­
vent them from chipping or cracking.
For joints, finishers use a flat tool
that has a smooth ridge protruding
from the center. At specified m ark­
ings, workers make joints or grooves

that help prevent unsightly cracks on
the surface.
Next, finishers rub a float—a small
and smooth, rectangular piece of
wood—over the entire surface, care­
fully avoiding edges and joints. Float­
ing em beds the h ea v ie r m aterial
deeper into the concrete, removes
most im perfections, and brings the
lighter m aterial—m ortar—to the sur­
face.
As the final step, masons sweep the
m ortar with a trowel (a flat, metal
tool) back and forth over the surface
to create a smooth finish. On some
jobs, electrically powered trowels
may be used.
Masons also produce other finish­
es. For a coarse, non-skid finish, m a­
sons brush the surface with a broom
or stiff bristled brush. For a pebble­
like finish, they embed gravel chips
into the surface, leaving the tops of
the chips exposed. They wash any
excess cem en t from the exposed
chips with a mild acid solution for a
n eat ap p e ara n ce. For color, they
sprinkle on a dye which they brush
and trowel into the surface.
For concrete surfaces, such as col­
umns, ceilings, and wall panels, that
will remain exposed after forms are
stripped, concrete finishers locate
and correct any defects. First, they
chisel away high spots and loose ce­
m ent and smooth them out with a
rubbing brick. They then fill the de­
fects with a rich cem ent mixture, and
either float or trowel a smooth, uni­
form finish.
Some cem ent masons specialize in
laying a mastic coat (a fine asphalt
mixture) over concrete, particularly
in buildings where sound-insulated or
acid-resistant floors are specified.
Cem ent masons must know their
m aterials and be familiar with var­
ious chemical additives which speed
or slow the setting time. Because of
the effects of heat, cold, and wind on
the drying time of cem ent, masons
must be able to recognize by sight
and touch what is occurring in the
cem ent mixture so that they can p re­
vent structural defects.
A ttractive, m arble-chipped terraz­
zo requires three layers of materials.
First, either cem ent masons or ter­
razzo w orkers build a solid, level
concrete foundation that is 3 inches
to 4 inches deep.

260

After the forms are removed from
the foundation, workers apply a 1
inch deep mixture of sandy concrete.
When this layer becomes tacky, terrazzo workers partially embed metal
dividing strip s into the c o n c re te
wherever there is to be a joint or
change of color in the terrazzo. Be­
fore this layer dries, workers make
sure the tops of the strips are level
with one another. The ferrule strips
become a network of rigid dividers
for te rra z z o p an els, allow ing for
unique design and color variation be­
tween panels. They also help prevent
cracks from developing in the fin­
ished terrazzo.
For the final layer, terrazzo work­
ers blend a fine co n crete m ixture
which may be color dyed. They pour
this mixture into each o f the panels,
then hand trowel each panel until
level with the tops o f the ferrule
strips. W hile the m ixture is w et,
workers toss marble chips of various
colors into each of the panels. To
completely embed the marble chips,

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

workers roll a lightweight roller over
the entire surface.
When the terrazzo is thoroughly
dry, workers grind it with a terrazzo
grinder(som ew hat like a disc-type
floor polisher, only much heavier).
The surface is ground until even with
the top of the ferrule strips. Pits and
holes are filled and steel troweled for
a sm ooth, level surface. When the
surface is dry, terrazzo workers
clean, polish, and seal it for a rich,
lustrous finish.

Places of Employment
About 71,000 cem ent masons and
terrazzo workers were employed in
1976. C em ent masons work for gen­
eral contractors who construct entire
projects, such as highways or large
buildings, and for contractors who do
only concrete work. Some masons
install composition resilient floors for
specialty floor contractors. A small
number o f masons are employed by
municipal public works departm ents,
public utilities, and m anufacturing
firms that do their own construction

Cement masons must know their materials and be familiar with various chemical

http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/ additives that speed or slow the setting time.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

work. Most terrazzo workers work
for special trade contractors who in­
stall decorative floors and wall p an­
els.
One out of 10 cem ent masons and
terrazzo workers is self-employed,
about the same proportion as in o th ­
er building trades. Most masons spe­
cialize in small jobs, such as drive­
ways, sidew alks, and patios; m ost
terrazzo workers, in floors.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Cem ent masons and terrazzo
workers learn their trade either
through on-the-job training as help­
ers or through 2-year or 3-year ap­
prenticeship program s. About onethird of all cem ent masons worked as
construction laborers before becom ­
ing cem ent masons.
On-the-job training programs, al­
most all of which are available to ce­
ment mason trainees, provide infor­
mal in stru ctio n from experien ced
workers. Helpers learn to handle the
tools, equipm ent, machines, and m a­
terials of the trade. They begin with
simple tasks, such as spreading and
using a s tra ig h te d g e on fre sh ly
poured concrete. As they advance,
assignments become more complex,
and usually within a year helpers are
doing finishing work.
Two-year and 3-year apprentice­
ship programs, usually sponsored by
local union-contractor agreem ents,
also provide on-the-job training in
addition to 144 hours of classroom
instruction each year. In the class­
ro o m , a p p re n tic e s learn ap p lied
m athem atics, blueprint reading, and
safety. Three-year apprentices re­
ceive special instruction in layout
work and estimating.
When hiring helpers and appren­
tices, employers prefer high school
graduates who are at least 18 years
old, in good physical condition, and
lic e n s e d to d riv e . H igh s c h o o l
courses in shop m ath em atics and
b lu e p rin t re ad in g o r m e c h a n ic a l
draw ing provide a h elpful b a c k ­
ground.
Experienced cem ent masons or
terrazzo workers may advance to su­
pervisors or contract estim ators, or
may open concrete contracting busi­
nesses.

261

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

Employment Outlook
Employment of cem ent masons
and terrazzo workers is expected to
grow much faster than the average
for all occupations through the mid1980’s. As population and the econ­
omy grow , m ore m asons will be
needed to help build apartm ents, of­
fices, factories, and other structures.
The g re ater use o f con crete as a
building material also will add to the
d em an d fo r th ese w o rk ers. P re ­
stressed concrete columns, for exam­
ple, are being used increasingly in
place of steel co lu m n s for large
buildings. Besides the job openings
c re a te d by e m p lo y m e n t g ro w th ,
many openings will arise as experi­
enced masons retire, die, or transfer
to other fields of work. For terrazzo
workers, most, if not all, openings
will arise from replacem ent needs.
While the employm ent outlook is
expected to be favorable over the
long run, the num ber of job openings
may fluctuate from year to year be­
cause construction activity is sensi­
tive to ups and downs in the econ­
omy.,

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Union cem ent masons and terraz­
zo workers in m etropolitan areas had
estimated average wages of $9.35 an
hour in 1976, about twice the aver­
age wage for nonsupervisory and
production workers in private indus­
try, except farming. Union masons
generally have higher wage rates
than nonunion masons. Apprentices
usually start at 50 to 60 percent of
the rate paid to experienced cem ent
masons or terrazzo workers.
Annual earnings for cem ent ma­
sons, terrazzo workers, and appren­
tices generally are lower than hourly
rates would indicate because the an­
nual num ber of hours they work can
be adversely affected by poor weath­
er and fluctuations in construction
activity.
Cem ent masons usually receive
premium pay for hours worked in
excess of the regularly scheduled
workday or workweek. They often
work overtim e, because once con­
crete has been poured the job must
be completed.
Mason or terrazzo work is active

and strenuous. Since most finishing is


done on floors or at ground level,
workers must stoop, bend, and kneel.
Because some jobs are outdoors,
worktime is lost due to rain and
freezing weather. In some cases,
however, concrete and terrazzo can
be poured year round by using
heated, tem porary shelters made o f
sheet plastic.
A large proportion o f cem ent m a­
sons and terrazzo workers are union
members. They belong either to the
O perative P la sterers’ and C em ent
M asons’ International Association of
the United States and Canada, or to
the Bricklayers, Masons and Plaster­
ers’ International Union of America.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about apprentice­
ships and work opportunities, con­
tact local cem ent finishing contrac­
to rs; lo cals o f unions previously
m entioned; a local joint union-m an­
agem ent apprenticeship com m ittee;
or the nearest office of the State em ­
ploym ent service or apprenticeship
agency.
For general information about ce­
m ent masons and terrazzo workers,
contact:
Associated General Contractors of America,
Inc., 1957 E St. NW„ Washington, D.C.
20006.
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied
Craftsmen, 815 15th St. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20005.
Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Mason In­
ternational Association of the United
States and Canada, 1125 17th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

CONSTRUCTION
LABORERS
(D.O.T. 801.887, 809.887, 842.887,
844.887, 850.887, 851.887,
852.887, 853.887, 859.884 and
.887, 860.884 and .887, 861.884
and .887, 862.884 and .887,
865.887, 866.887, 869.887, and
892.883)

Nature of the Work
Construction laborers work on all
types of construction projects—
houses, highways, dams, airports,

missile sites. They are usually the
first workers to arrive on a construc­
tion project—assisting in site prepa­
ration— and the last to leave. L abor­
ers under the direction of other trade
workers provide much of the routine
physical labor on construction and
demolition projects. They erect and
dismantle scaffolding, set braces to
support the sides of excavations, and
clean up rubble and debris. Laborers
also help unload and deliver m ateri­
als, m achinery, and equipm ent to
carpenters, masons, and other co n ­
struction workers.
On alteration and m odernization
jobs, laborers tear out the existing
work. They perform most of the
work done by wrecking and salvage
crews during the demolition of build­
ings.
When concrete is mixed at the
worksite, laborers unload and handle
materials and fill mixers with ingredi­
ents. W hether the concrete is mixed
on-site or hauled in by truck, labor­
ers pour and spread the concrete and
spade or vibrate it to prevent air
pockets. In highway paving, laborers
clean the right-of-w ay, grade and
help prepare the site, and set the
form s into which wet concrete is
poured. They cover new pavem ent
with straw, burlap, or other materials
to keep it from drying too rapidly.
Some construction laborers have
job titles that indicate the kinds of
work they do. Bricklayers’ tenders
and plasterers’ tenders, both com ­
monly known as hod carriers, help
bricklayers and plasterers by mixing
and supplying m aterials, setting up
and moving portable scaffolding, and
providing many other services. Hod
carriers m ust be fam iliar with the
work of bricklayers and plasterers
and know the m aterials and tools
they use. Some hod carriers also help
cem ent masons.
A nother group of laborers, pipelayers, lay sewer and o th er large,
nonmetal pipe and seal connections
with concrete and other materials.
Recent years have seen much
m echanization of the laborers’ tasks.
Thus, in their traditional work, labor­
ers now may operate such things as
motorized lifts and ditch-diggers of
the “ w alk-behind” variety, various
kinds of small mechanical hoists, as

262

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Recent years have seen much mechani­
zation of the laborers’ tasks.

well as laser beam equipm ent to align
and grade ditches and tunnels.
Although some construction labor­
ers’jobs require few skills, many jobs
require training and experience, as
well as a broad knowledge of con­
struction methods, materials, and op­
erations. Rock blasting, rock drilling,
and tunnel construction are exam ­
ples of work in which “ know-how” is
important. Laborers who work with
explosives drill holes in rock, handle
explosives, and set charges. They
must know the effects of different
explosive charges under varying rock
c o n d itio n s to p re v en t injury and
property dam age. L aborers do al­
most all the work in the boring and
mining of a tunnel, including opera­
tions that would be handled by work­
ers in o th er trades if the job were
located above ground.

Places of Employment
About 71 5,000 construction labor­
ers were employed in 1976. Most of
them worked for construction con­
tracto rs, for State and city public
works and highway departm ents, and
for public utility companies.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Little formal training is needed to

Digitized fora job as a construction laborer.
get FRASER


Generally, applicants must be at least
18 years old and in good physical
condition. Most new employees
transfer from other occupations,
such as truckdriver, farm laborer, or
janitor.
Beginners’ jobs are usually of the
simplest type, such as unloading
trucks and digging ditches. As w ork­
ers gain experience, job assignments
become m ore complex.
Many tasks require skills too com ­
plex for on-the-job training. As a re ­
sult, contractors and unions have es­
ta b lis h e d 4- to 8 -w e e k fo rm a l
training program s in many States to
teach basic construction concepts,
safety practices, and machinery o p ­
eration.
After several years of experience
and training, many laborers advance
to craft jobs, such as carpenter,
bricklayer, or cem ent mason.

Employment Outlook
Em ploym ent of construction la ­
borers is expected to grow about as
fast as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to openings created by occupational
growth, job openings will result from
the need to replace workers who re ­
tire, die, or leave the occupation for
other reasons. On the average, tens
of thousands of job openings will b e­
come available each year. Because
em ploym ent of laborers is sensitive
to the ups and downs in construction
activity, however, the annual num ber
of openings may fluctuate.
Over the long run, growth in popu­
lation and economic activity will spur
construction. Laborers will be need­
ed to m eet the dem and for moving
m aterials, mixing and pouring co n ­
crete, and helping craft workers, p ar­
ticularly on large projects such as
dams, highways, high rise buildings,
and bridges.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Union wage rates for construction
laborers averaged $7.50 an hour in
1976, com pared with $4.87 an hour
for production and nonsupervisory
workers in private industry, except
farming.
Annual earnings for construction
laborers generally are lower than
hourly rates would indicate because

the annual num ber of hours they
work can be adversely affected by
poor w eather and fluctuations in
construction.
Construction work is physically
strenuous, since it requires frequent
bending, stooping, and heavy lifting.
Much of the work is perform ed o u t­
doors. Many construction laborers
are m em bers of the Laborers’ Inter­
national Union of North America.

Sources of Additional
Information
For inform ation about work op ­
portunities, contact local building or
construction contractors, a local of
the L aborers’ International Union of
North Am erica, or the local office of
the State em ploym ent service.
For general information about the
work of construction laborers, co n ­
tact:
Laborers’ International Union o f North Amer­
ica, 905 16th St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.
Laborers’-Associated General Contractors’
Education and Training Program, 1730
Rhode Island Ave., Suite 909, Washing­
ton, D.C. 20036.

DRYWALL INSTALLERS
AND FINISHERS
(D.O.T. 840.887 and 842.884)

Nature of the Work
Developed as a substitute for wet
plaster, drywall consists of a thin wall
of plaster sandwiched between two
pieces o f heavy paper. It is used to ­
day for walls and ceilings of m ost
new hom es because it saves both
time and money com pared to tradi­
tional construction using plaster.
Two
new
occupations
have
em erged in response to the w ide­
spread use of this construction m ate­
rial: drywall installers and drywall
finishers. Installers fasten drywall
p a n e ls to th e fra m e w o rk in sid e
houses and other buildings. Finishers
do touchup work to get the panels in
shape for painting.
Drywall panels are m anufactured
in standard sizes—for example, 4 feet
by 12 feet. Thus, installers must mea-

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

263

A fter the dryw all has been in ­
stalled, finishers fill joints between
panels with a quick-drying paste.
Using the wide, flat tip of a special
knife, and brushlike strokes, they
spread the paste into and along each
side of the joint. Before the paste
dries, w orkers use their knives to
press a perforated paper tape into the
paste and to scrap e away excess
paste. W hen the first application of
paste is dry, finishers apply another
to fill any depressions and to make a
sm o o th su rfa c e . N ail and screw
heads also are covered with this com ­
pound. Finishers sand these patched
areas to make them as smooth as the
rest of the wall surface. They also
repair nicks and cracks caused by the
installation of air-conditioning vents
and o th er fixtures. Some finishers
specialize in sanding, taping, or re­
pair work.

Places of Employment
About 45,000 persons worked as
drywall installers and finishers in
1976. Most worked for contractors
that specialize in drywall construc­
tion; others worked for contractors
that do all kinds of construction.
Installers and finishers are em ­
ployed throughout the country, but
are concentrated in urban areas. In
many small towns, carpenters install
drywall and painters finish it.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

High school courses in carpentry provide a helpful background for drywall work.

sure and cut some pieces to fit in
small spaces, such as above and be­
low windows. They also saw holes in
the panels for electric outlets, airco n d itio n in g units, and plum bing.
After m aking these alterations, in­
stallers apply glue to the wooden
framework, press the panels against
it, and nail them down. An installer
usually is assisted by a helper be­
cause large panels are too heavy and
cum bersome for one person to han­
dle.
Some installers specialize in hang­
Digitized fordrywall panels on metal fram e­
ing FRASER


work in offices, schools, and other
large buildings. Following plans that
indicate the location of rooms and
hallways, they saw m etal rods and
channels to size, bolt them together
to make floor-to-ceiling frames, and
a tta c h th e dryw all pan els to th e
frames with screws. The workers also
erect suspended ceilings. They hang
metal bands from wires that are em ­
bedded in the concrete ceiling. The
installers run the bands horizontally
across the room, crisscrossing them
to form rectangular spaces for the
ceiling panels.

Persons who becom e drywall in­
stallers or finishers usually start as
helpers and learn most of their skills
on the job. Some employers, in coop­
eratio n with unions, offer special
programs which supplem ent on-thejob training with a few hours of class­
room instruction each week. Each
program lasts about 2 years.
Installer helpers start by carrying
m aterials, holding panels, and clean­
ing up debris. Within a few weeks,
they are taught to m easure, cut, and
install panels. Eventually, they be­
come experienced installers, capable
of working quickly and without help.
Finish helpers begin with taping
joints and touching up nail holes and
scratches. They soon learn to install
corner guards and to conceal open­
ings around pipes. N ear the end of

264

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

their training, they learn to estim ate
costs of installing and finishing drywall.
Employers prefer high school
graduates who are in good physical
condition, but applicants with less
education frequently are hired. High
school or trade school courses in
carp en try provide a helpful b ack ­
ground for drywall work. Installers
must be good at simple arithm etic.
After qualifying as an installer or
finisher, a person who has leadership
ability may become a supervisor
within a few years. Some workers
start their own drywall contracting
businesses.

Employment Outlook
Employment of drywall workers is
expected to grow much faster than
the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s due to an
increase in construction activity. Be­
sides the workers hired to fill open­
ings arising from this increased de­
mand, many will be hired to replace
those who retire, die, or take jobs in
o th e r o c c u p a tio n s. B ecause c o n ­
stru ctio n activity flu ctuates, how ­
ever, the num ber o f new w orkers
needed may vary greatly from year to
year.
Most job openings will be in m et­
ropolitan areas. Building contractors
in small cities may not have enough
business to hire full-tim e dryw all
workers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to limited inform ation,
d ry w a ll in s ta lle rs a n d fin is h e rs
earned from $6.50 to $9 an hour in
1976. By com parison, all nonsupervisory and production workers in pri­
vate industry, except farming, aver­
aged $4.87 an hour.
Many contractors pay installers
and finishers according to the
am ount o f work they com plete—for
example, from 3 to 5 cents for each
square foot of panel installed. In a
day, the average drywall worker in­
stalls 35 to 40 panels, each 4 feet by
12 feet.
A 40-hour week is standard for
installers and finishers, but they
sometimes work longer. Those who
Digitized forpaid hourly rates receive prem i­
are FRASER


um pay for overtim e. Unlike many
construction workers, installers and
finishers work indoors and do not
lose time and pay when the w eather
is bad.
As in other construction trades,
drywall work sometimes is strenuous.
Installers and finishers spend most o f
the day on their feet, either standing,
bending, stooping, or squatting. In­
stallers have to lift and m aneuver
heavy panels. H azards include the
possibility of falls from ladders and
injuries from power tools.
Some installers are m em bers of the
United B rotherhood of C arpenters
and Joiners of Am erica, and some
finishers are mem bers of the Interna­
tional B rotherhood o f Painters and
Allied Trades.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about job qualifications
and training program s, write to:
International Association o f Wall and Ceiling
Contractors/Gypsum Drywall Contrac­
tors International, 1711 Connecticut Ave.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20009.
National Joint Painting, Decorating, and Drywall Apprenticeship and Training Com­
mittee, 1709 New York Ave. NW., Wash­
ington, D.C. 2006.

ELECTRICIANS
(CONSTRUCTION)
(D.O.T. 821.381, 824.281, and
829.281 and .381)

Nature of the Work
Heating, lighting, power, air-con­
ditioning, and refrigeration com po­
nents all operate through electrical
systems that are assembled, installed,
and wired by construction electri­
cians. These workers also install elec­
trical m achinery, electronic equip­
m ent and controls, and signal and
com m unications systems. (M ainte­
nance electricians, who usually m ain­
tain the electrical systems installed
by construction electricians, are dis­
cussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)
C onstruction electricians follow
blueprints and specifications for
most installations. To install wiring in
factories and offices, they may bend,
fit, and fasten conduit (pipe or tu b ­

ing) inside partitions, walls, or other
concealed areas. W orkers also fasten
to the wall small metal boxes that will
h ouse e le c tric a l d ev ices such as
switches.
To com plete circuits between o u t­
lets and switches, they then pull insu­
lated wires or cables through the
c o n d u it. T hey w ork ca refu lly to
avoid damaging any wires or cables.
In lighter construction, such as hous­
ing, plastic-covered wire usually is
used rather than conduit. In any case,
electricians connect the wiring to cir­
cuit breakers, transform ers, or other
co m ponents. W ires are jo in ed by
twisting ends together with pliers and
covering the ends with special plastic
c o n n e c to rs . W hen a d d itio n a l
strength is desired, they may use an
electric “ soldering gun” to melt m et­
al onto the twisted wires then cover
them with durable, electrical tape.
When the wiring is finished, they test
the circuits for proper connections
and grounding.
For safety, electricians follow N a­
tional Electrical Code specifications
and p ro c e d u re s and, in ad d itio n ,
m ust com ply with requirem ents of
State, county, and m unicipal electri­
cal codes.
Electricians generally furnish their
own tools, including screwdrivers,
pliers, knives, and hacksaws. E m ­
ployers furnish heavier tools, such as
pipe threaders, conduit benders, and
most test m eters and power tools.

Places of Employment
Most of the 260,000 construction
e l e c t r i c i a n s e m p lo y e d in 1 976
w orked for electrical co n tra cto rs.
M any o th e rs w ere self-em plo y ed
co n tra c to rs. C o n stru ctio n e le c tri­
cians are employed throughout the
country, but are concentrated in in­
dustrialized and urban areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
M ost training authorities recom ­
mend the com pletion o f a 4-year ap­
prenticeship program as the best way
to learn the electrical trade. C om ­
p ared to m ost o th e r co n stru c tio n
trades, electricians have a higher p er­
centage of apprentice-trained w ork­
ers. However, some people learn the
trade informally by working for many

265

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

To obtain a license, which is neces­
sary for employm ent in some cities,
an electrician must pass an examina­
tio n w hich re q u ire s a th o ro u g h
knowledge of the craft and of State
and local building codes.
Experienced construction electri­
cians can advance to supervisors, su­
perintendents, or contract estim ators
for contractors on construction jobs.
M any electrician s sta rt their own
contracting businesses. In most large
urban areas, a contractor must have
an electrical co ntractor’s license.

Employment Outlook

A 4-year apprenticeship program is the best way to learn the electrician trade.

years as electricians’ helpers. Many
helpers gain additional knowledge
through trade school or correspon­
dence courses, or through special
training in the Armed Forces.
Apprenticeship
programs
are
sponsored through and supervised by
local u n io n -m an ag em en t com m it­
tees. These program s provide 144
hours of classroom instruction each
year in addition to com prehensive
on-the-job training. In the classroom,
apprentices learn blueprint reading,
electrical theory, electronics, m athe­
matics, and safety and first-aid prac­
tices. On the job, under the supervi­
sion o f e x p e rie n c e d e le c tric ia n s,
apprentices must dem onstrate mas­
tery of electrical principles. At first,
apprentices drill holes, set anchors,
and set up conduit. In time and with
experience, they m easure, bend, and
install conduit, as well as install, con­
nect, and test wiring. They also learn
to set up and draw diagrams for en­
tire electrical systems.
Beginners who are not apprentices
Digitized forpick up the trade informally in a
can FRASER


variety of ways. For example, some
begin working in m anufacturing
plants piecing together electrical
com ponents. Others start in m ainte­
nance where they learn about circuit
breakers, fuses, switches, and other
electrical devices. Later, they change
jobs and broaden their knowledge by
working as helpers for experienced
electricians. While learning to install
conduit, connect wires, and test cir­
cuits, helpers are also taught good
safety practices.
All applicants should be in good
health and have at least average
physical strength. Good color vision
is im p o rtan t because w orkers fre ­
quently m ust identify electrical wires
by color. Also im portant are agility
and dexterity. Applicants for appren­
tice positions m ust be at least 1 8
years old and usually m ust be a high
school or vocational school graduate
with 1 year of algebra. Courses in
electricity, electronics, m echanical
drawing, science, and shop provide a
good background.

Employment of construction elec­
tricians is expected to increase faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. As popula­
tion and the econom y grow, m ore
electricians will be needed to install
electrical fixtures and wiring in new
and renovated hom es, offices, and
other buildings. In addition to jobs
c r e a te d by em p lo y m e n t g ro w th ,
many openings will arise as experi­
en c ed e le c tric ia n s re tire , die, or
leave the occupation for other rea­
sons.
While em ploym ent in this field is
expected to grow over the long run, it
may fluctuate from year to year due
to ups and downs in construction
activity. When construction jobs are
not available, however, electricians
may be able to transfer to other types
of electrical work. For example, they
may find jobs as m aintenance electri­
cians in factories or as electricians in
shipbuilding or aircraft m anufactur­
ing.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to a survey of m etropol­
itan areas, union wage rates for elec­
tricians averaged $10.33 an hour in
1976. This was about twice the aver­
age wage of nonsupervisory and p ro ­
duction workers in private industry,
except farming. Because the seasonal
nature of construction work affects
electricians less than workers in most
building trades, their annual earnings
also tend to be higher.
A pprentice wage rates start at
from 40 to 50 percent of the rate
paid to experienced electricians and
increase periodically.

266

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Construction electricians are not
required to have great physical
strength, but they frequently must
stand for long periods and work in
cramped quarters. Because much of
their work is indoors, electricians are
less exposed to unfavorable weather
than are most other construction
workers. They risk electrical shock,
falls from ladders and scaffolds, and
blows from falling objects. However,
safety practices have helped to re­
duce the injury rate.
A large proportion of construction
electricians are members of the In­
ternational Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about electrician ap ­
prenticeships or other work opportu­
nities in this trade, contact local elec­
trical contractors; a local chapter of
the National Electrical C ontractors
Association; a local union of the In­
ternational Brotherhood of Electrical
W orkers; a local union-m anagem ent
a p p ren ticesh ip co m m ittee; or the
nearest office of the State em ploy­
ment service or State apprenticeship
agency. Some local em ploym ent ser­
vice offices screen applicants and
give aptitude tests.
For general information about the
work of electricians, contact:
International Brotherhood of Electrical Work­
ers, 1125 15th St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20005.
National Electrical Contractors Association,
7315 Wisconsin Ave. NW., Washington,
D.C. 20014.
National Joint Apprenticeship and Training
Committee for the Electrical Industry,
9700 E. George Palmer Hwy., Lanham,
Md. 20801.

ELEVATOR
CONSTRUCTORS
(D.O.T. 825.381 and 829.281 )

Nature of the Work
Elevator constructors, also called
elevator m echanics, assemble and in­
stall elevators, escalators, and similar
 new buildings, they in­
equipment. In


stall equipm ent during construction.
In older buildings, they replace earli­
er installations with new equipm ent.
Once the equipm ent is in service,
they m aintain and repair it. Installa­
tion or repair work usually is p er­
formed by small crews consisting of
skilled e le v a to r c o n stru c to rs and
their helpers.
When installing a new elevator,
mechanics first prepare the elevator
shaft—a vertical opening that passes
through the floors of a building and
allows the elevator to move up and
down. They remove any obstructions
such as wood or metal crossm embers
and, at the bottom of the shaft, they
may erect forms, then mix and pour
concrete for a foundation.
So the elevator will move up and
down safely and smoothly, workers
erect a strong steel frame within the
shaft. For the frame, they bolt heavy
steel guide rails to the walls along the
shaft as well as to the steel supports
fastened to the walls around the shaft
at each floor.
To install electrical wires and con­
trols, m echanics secure special metal
tubing to the shaft’s walls, running it
from floor to floor. W orkers then
pull plastic-covered electrical wires
through the tubing, which helps pro­
tect the wires. Next, they install cir­
cuit breakers and switches—usually
at each floor and at the main control
panel. Finally w orkers fasten the
wires to the switches and test for
proper connections.
Next, m echanics assemble the ele­
vator car at the bottom of each shaft.
“ Footings” of the car frame are set
into the grooves of the heavy steel
guide rails; the frame parts are bolted
or welded together. W orkers then in­
stall the c a r’s platform , walls, ceiling,
and doors.
For each elevator, workers install a
hoist. This giant, electrically pow ­
ered spool simultaneously winds and
unwinds a heavy steel cable that con­
nects the elevator car at one end to
its counterw eight at the other. As a
result, the car and its counterw eight
move in opposite directions to assist
in each o th e r’s m ovem ent. While the
hoist winds the cable from one side,
pulling the car upward, it also un­
winds the cable on the other side,
causing th e c o u n terw eig h t to d e ­
scend. As the w eight descends, it

helps to pull the c a r swiftly and
smoothly upward.
With the car assem bled and the
hoist installed, workers connect the
necessary electrical wires to the car.
These will carry signal instructions
for the c a r’s operation.
Next, at the elevator entrances on
each floor, m echanics bolt metal
door fram es to the concrete, metal,
or wood ceilings, floors, and walls.
The frames support the grooved m et­
al tracks along which the doors open
and close. A fter setting the doors in
the frames, workers connect and test
the wires that help to operate the
doors.
Finally, after the connections have
been tested, the cables secured, and
the guide rails greased, the entire
system is checked for proper op era­
tion.
Elevator constructors employ simi­
lar work techniques when construct­
ing esc a la to rs. T hese ele c tric a lly
pow ered stairs rotate around huge
oval tracks that run from floor to
floor. Unlike elevators, which run ac­
cording to specific signals, escalators
ru n c o n tin u o u sly . C o n se q u e n tly ,
while elevators need sophisticated
circuits and many wires, escalators
only need one electric wire. W orkers
sim ply c o n n e c t th e w ire from a
switch to the m otor that drives the
giant bicycle-like chain and rotates
the stairs.
Alteration work is similar to new
installation because all elevator
equipm ent except the old rail, car
frame, platform , and counterw eight
is generally replaced. Elevator m e­
chanics inspect elevator and escala­
to r in stallatio n s p erio d ically an d ,
when necessary, adjust cables and lu­
bricate or replace parts.
Alteration work on elevators is im­
portant because of the rapid rate of
innovation and im provem ent in ele­
vator engineering.
To install and repair m odern eleva­
tors, m ost of which are electrically
c o n tro lle d , e le v a to r c o n s tru c to rs
must have a working knowledge of
electricity, electronics, and hydrau­
lics. They also must be able to repair
electric m otors as well as control and
signal systems. Because of the variety
of their work, they use many differ­
ent handtools, power tools, and test­
ing m eters and gauges.

267

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

knowledge and skill. For example,
electrical wiring requires a knowl­
edge of local and national electrical
codes and of electrical theory. Later
on, trainees learn to test elevators
and adjust them for maximum per­
formance. In the classroom, trainees
learn electrical and electronic th e­
ory, m ath em atics, applicatio n s of
physics, and safety techniques.
Generally, training advancem ent
depends upon the trainee’s ability
and level of experience. The average
trainee usually qualifies as a helper
after 6 months of experience and
usually becomes a fully qualified ele­
vator c o n stru c to r w ithin 4 years.
Some States and cities require eleva­
tor constructors to pass a licensing
examination.
Applicants for trainee positions
must be at least 18 years old and
have a high school or vocational
school education; courses in electric­
ity, m athem atics, and physics can
provide a useful background. Appli­
cants also must pass an aptitude test
before training begins. Good physical
condition and a high degree of m e­
chanical aptitude are im portant.
Some constructors advance to jobs
as supervisors or elevator inspectors.
A relatively small num ber go into the
elevator contracting business.

Employment Outlook

Growth in the number of high-rise buildings will increase demand for elevator construc­
tors.

Places of Employment
Most of the estim ated 20,000 ele­
vator constructors in 1976 were em ­
ployed by elevator m anufacturers to
do installation, m odernization, and
repair work. Some are employed in­
stead by small, local contractors who
specialize in elevator m aintenance
and repair. Still others work for gov­
ernment agencies or business estab­
lishments that do their own elevator
 and repair.
m aintenance


Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Almost all elevator constructors
learn their skills through on-the-job
training supplem ented by classroom
instruction. On the job, trainees are
assigned initially to experienced ele­
vator m echanics. Beginning tasks in­
clude carrying m aterials and tools,
bolting rails to walls, and assembling
cab parts. Eventually, tasks become
more com plex and require greater

Employment in this small occupa­
tion is expected to increase faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Growth in
the num ber of high-rise apartm ent
and commercial buildings will create
job openings in elevator con stru c­
tion, as will the need to replace expe­
rienced workers who retire, die, or
stop working for other reasons. The
total num ber of job openings will be
lim ited, how ever, because o f the
relatively small size of the occupa­
tion.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, union elevator construc­
tors in m etropolitan areas had esti­
mated average wages of $10.30 an
hour or twice the average wage paid
to production and nonsupervisory
workers in private industry, except
farming. Hourly wage rates for train­

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

268

ees start at about 50 percent of the
rate paid to experienced elevator m e­
chanics and increase periodically.
Unlike most other construction
trades, elevator contructors usually
work year round. When construction
of new buildings declines, the con­
struction of new elevators and esca­
lators declines, but the dem and for
the repair and m aintenance of older
elevators and escalators increases.
Elevator construction involves lift­
ing and carrying heavy equipm ent
and parts, but this is usually done by
helpers. Most of the work takes place
indoors and at great heights. W ork­
ers are exposed to the dangers of falls
and electrical shocks.
Most elevator constructors are
members of the International Union
of Elevator Constructors.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further details about work op­
portunities as a helper in this trade,
contact elevator m anufacturers, ele­
vator construction or m aintenance
firms, or a local of the union m en­
tioned above. In addition, the local
office of the State employm ent ser­
vice may have information about op­
portunities in this trade.
For general information about the
work of elevator constructors, con­
tact:
International Union of Elevator Constructors,
5565 Sterrett Place, Clark Bldg., Suite
332, Columbia, Md. 21044.

FLOOR COVERING
INSTALLERS
(D.O.T. 299.381 and 864.781)

Nature of the Work
Floor covering installers (also
called floor covering mechanics) in­
stall and replace carpet or resilient
floor covering m aterials such as tile,
linoleum , and vinyl sheets. These
workers install coverings over floors
made of wood, co ncrete, or other
materials. They generally specialize
in either carpet or resilient floor cov­
ering installation, although some do

both types.


Before putting down resilient cov­
ering, such as vinyl tile, installers first
inspect the floor to be sure that it is
firm, dry, smooth, and free of dust or
dirt. Some floors have to be prepared
for covering. For example, installers
may sand a rough or painted floor
and fill cracks and indentations. An
extremely uneven floor may be resur­
faced with wood or other materials.
On newly poured concrete floors
or floors laid over earthw ork, install­
ers test for moisture content. If the
moisture is too great, they may sug­
gest postponing installation of floor
covering or recom m end a covering
technique suited to the floor’s condi­
tion.
R esilient-flooring installers m ea­
sure and mark off the floor according
to a plan. The plan may be architec­
tural drawings that specify every d e­
tail of the covering design, or a sim­
p le , v e r b a l d e s c r ip tio n by th e
customer. When the plan is com plet­
ed, installers, often assisted by ap ­
prentices or helpers, cut, fit, and glue
the flooring into place. It must be
carefully fit, p articu larly at d o o r
openings, along irregular wall surfac­
es, and around fixtures, such as col­
umns or pipes. Installers must take
special care also in cutting out and
setting in decorative designs. After
the flooring is in place, they may run
a roller over it to insure good adhe­
sion.
C arpet installers, like the installers
of resilient coverings, first inspect the
floor to determ ine its condition.
Then they plan the layout after al­
lowing for expected traffic patterns
so th at best ap p earan ce and long
wear will be obtained.
For wall-to-wall carpet, installers
lay underlaym ent—a 1/2 to 1 inch
thick, foam rubber pad—that is cut
slightly smaller than the entire floor.
Next, they roll out, m easure, mark,
and cut the carpet, allowing for 3 to 4
inches of extra carpet on each side.
This provides some leeway for mis­
takes. W orkers then lay the carpet
and stretch it to fit evenly against the
floor and snugly against each wall
and door threshold. With the carpet
stretched, the excess around the p e­
rim eter is cut to fit the room precise­
ly. To hold the carpet in place, w ork­
ers either tack or tape each edge of
the carpet to the floor.

For precut and seamed carpet, in­
stallers simply lay a foam rubber pad
on the floor and roll the carpet over
the slightly smaller pad. To hold the
pad and carpet in place, installers
may apply tape that has adhesive on
both sides to the bottom edges of the
carpet.

Places of Employment
An estim ated 85,000 floor cover­
ing installers were employed in 1976.
A bout four-fifths worked primarily
with carpet, and the rem ainder with
resilient flooring.
Most installers worked for flooring
contractors. Many others worked for
retailers of floor covering and home
alteration and repair contractors.
About 1 out of 4 floor covering in­
stallers was self-employed, a higher
proportion than the average for all
building trades.
Installers are employed throughout
the Nation, but most are concentrat­
ed in urban areas that have high lev­
els of construction activity.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The vast majority of floor covering
installers learn their trades inform al­
ly on the job by working as helpers to
experienced installers. Most others
learn through formal apprenticeship
programs, which include on-the-job
training as well as related classroom
instruction.
Informal training program s usually
are sponsored by individual contrac­
tors and generally take about 1 1/2
years. Helpers begin with simple as­
signments. Helpers on resilient floor­
ing jobs carry m aterials and tools,
prepare floors for the tile, and help
with its installation. C arpet helpers
install tackless stripping and padding,
and help stretch newly installed ca r­
pet. With experience, helpers in ei­
ther trade take on more difficult as­
s ig n m e n ts , su c h as m e a s u r in g ,
cutting, and fitting the materials to
be installed.
Some co ntractor-sponsored p ro ­
grams and apprenticeship programs
provide com prehensive training that
co v ers b o th c a rp e t and re silie n t
flooring work.
A pplicants for helper or appren­
tice jobs should be at least 16 years

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

269

tw een $6.25 and $9 per hour in
1976. Starting wage rates for appren­
tices and other trainees usually are
about half of the experienced work­
e r’s rate.
Most installers are paid by the
hour. In some shops, part of the pay
may be in bonuses. In others, install­
ers receive a monthly salary or are
paid acco rd in g to the am ount o f
work they do.
Installers generally work regular
daytim e hours. P articular circu m ­
stances, however, such as installing a
floor in a store or office, may require
work during evenings or weekends.
Unlike many construction w ork­
ers, floor covering installers usually
do not lose time due to w eather co n ­
ditions. During the winter, most work
is done in heated buildings. The jobs
are not hazardous, but installers may
get injuries from lifting heavy m ateri­
als or from working in a kneeling po­
sition for long periods. Most injuries
can be avoided if proper work proce­
dures are followed.
Many floor covering installers be­
long to unions, including the United
B rotherhood of C arpenters and Join­
ers o f Am erica, and the International
B rotherhood of Painters and Allied
Trades.
old, m echanically inclined, and li­
censed to drive. A high school educa­
tion is preferred, though not neces­
sary. C ourses in general m athem atics
and shop may provide a helpful back­
ground.
Floor covering installers may ad­
vance to supervisors or installation
m anagers for large floor laying firms.
Some installers becom e salespersons
or estim ators. Installers also may go
into business for themselves.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment o f floor covering in­
stallers is expected to increase about
as fast as the average for all occupa­
tions through the m id-1980’s. In ad ­
dition to jo b openings resulting from
em ploym ent growth, many openings
will arise as experienced installers re­
tire, die, or leave the occupation for
other reasons.
Em ployment of floor covering in­
stallers is expected to increase m ain­
ly because of
 the expected expansion


in construction and the more wide­
spread use of resilient floor coverings
and carpeting. In many new build­
ings, plywood will continue to re ­
place hardwood floors, thus m aking
wall-to-wall carpet or resilient floors
a necessity . C a rp e t and re silien t
flooring also will continue to be used
e x te n siv e ly in re n o v a tio n w o rk .
M oreover, versatile m aterials and
colorful patterns will contribute to
the growing dem and for floor cover­
ings.
Most job opportunities will be for
carpet installers and workers who
can install both carpet and resilient
flooring. Fewer opportunities will
arise for workers who can install only
resilient flooring because this is a
relatively small field.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about apprenticeships
or work opportunities, contact local
flooring contractors or retailers; lo­
cals o f the unions previously m en­
tioned; or the nearest office of the
State apprenticeship agency or the
State em ploym ent service.
For general inform ation about the
work o f floor covering installers,
contact:
Carpet and Rug Institute, P.O. Box 2048,
Dalton, Ga. 30720.
Resilient Floor Covering Institute, 1030 15th
St. NW., Suite 350, Washington, D.C.
20005.

GLAZIERS
Earnings and Working
Conditions
Inform ation from a limited num ber
of firms indicates that experienced
floor covering installers earned b e­

(D.O.T. 865.781)

Nature of the Work
C onstruction glaziers cut and in­
stall all types of building glass. For

270

some jobs, the glass is precut and
ready to install. For other jobs, glass
must be cut before being installed.
To prepare the glass for cutting,
glaziers measure and mark the glass
to fit the window opening, then rest
the glass either on edge or flat against
a carpeted table. To help the cutting
tool move smoothly across the glass,
workers sometimes brush on a thin
layer of oil along the line of the
intended cut.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Glaziers cut glass with a special
tool that has a very hard metal wheel
about 1/6 inch in diam eter. Using a
“ straightedge” as a guide, the glazier
presses the c u tte r’s wheel firmly to
the glass, guiding and rolling it care­
fully over the surface. This creates a
cut on and just below the surface.
Immediately after cutting, the glazier
presses on the small end, thereby
causing the glass to break cleanly
along the cut.

Digitized The popularity of glass in building design will stimulate the demand for glaziers.
for FRASER


Glaziers may need the help o f a
crane when installing a large, heavy
piece of glass. In all cases, however,
since there is a risk of shattering the
glass, glaziers use their hands to
guide the glass carefully to the open­
ing and to position the glass precisely
in its frame.
Glaziers secure glass in an opening
with materials such as putty, rubber
gaskets, m etal clips, and m etal or
wood m olding. W hen using putty,
which is similar to very soft taffy,
workers first spread it neatly against
and around the edges of the molding
on the inside of the opening. Next,
they install the glass. With it pressed
against the putty on the inside m old­
ing, workers then screw or nail o u t­
side molding that loosely holds the
glass in place. To hold it firmly, they
pack the space between the molding
and the glass with putty, then trim
any excess putty with a putty knife.
Glaziers sometimes use a rubber
gasket—a very heavy molded rubber
hose with a split running its length—
to secure glass. They first glue the
gasket around the perim eter within
the opening, then set the glass into
the split side of the gasket, causing it
to clamp to the edges of the glass and
hold it firmly in place.
When metal clips and molding are
used to secure glass, glaziers first
secure the molding, then force
springlike metal clips between the
glass and the molding. The clips exert
pressure on the molding and the
glass, thereby keeping it firmly in
place.
Glaziers also install glass doors,
mirrors, and steel sash.
In addition to handtools such as
glasscutters and putty knives, glaziers
use power tools, such as cutters and
grinders.

Places of Employment
About 10,000 persons worked as
construction glaziers in 1976. M ost
worked for glazing contractors en ­
gaged in new c o n stru c tio n , a lte r­
ation, and repair. Others worked for
governm ent agencies or businesses
that do their own construction work.
Glaziers work throughout the
country, but jobs are concentrated in
m etropolitan areas. G laziers o c c a ­
sionally may travel to work for a day

271

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

or two in small outlying towns where
few people, if any, are equipped and
qualified to install glass in com m er­
cial buildings such as stores.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The m ajority of construction gla­
ziers learn the trade through a 4-year
a p p r e n tic e s h ip p ro g ra m . O th e rs
learn the trade informally, on the job,
by assisting experienced workers.
A pprenticeship program s, usually
sponsored by local union-m anage­
m ent com m ittees, consist o f on-thejob training as well as 144 hours of
classro o m in s tru c tio n e a c h year.
Some apprenticeship program s also
require a com prehensive hom e study
course.
On the job, apprentices learn to
use the tools and equipm ent of the
trade; handle, m easure, cut, and in­
stall glass; cut and fit moldings; and
install and balance glass doors. In the
classroom , they are taught m athe­
m atics, b lu ep rin t reading, general
construction techniques, safety prac­
tices, and first-aid.
Those who learn this trade infor­
mally usually start by carrying glass
and cleaning up debris in large glass
shops. They often have the opportu­
nity to practice their cutting tech ­
niques on discarded glass. A fter a
year or so, they may have an oppor­
tunity to cut glass for a job. Eventual­
ly, helpers assist experienced w ork­
ers on a sim ple in s ta lla tio n jo b .
Learning the trade this way may take
considerably longer than through ap­
prenticeship.
Applicants for apprenticeships or
helper positions should be in good
physical condition and licensed to
drive. Persons applying for helper
positions will find that employers
prefer high school or vocational
school graduates. A pplicants for ap­
p ren ticesh ip s m ust be at least 18
years old and have a high school di­
plom a or its equivalent. Courses in
general m athem atics, blueprint read­
ing o r m echanical drawing, general
co n stru c tio n , and shop provide a
helpful background.
Glaziers who have leadership abil­
ity may advance to supervisory jobs.
Some glaziers becom e contractors.



Employment Outlook
Em ploym ent o f construction gla­
ziers is expected to increase faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Besides the
jo b s re su ltin g fro m e m p lo y m e n t
growth, many openings will arise as
experienced glaziers retire, die, or
leave the occupation for other re a­
sons. The num ber o f openings may
fluctuate from year to year, however,
because em ploym ent in this trade is
sensitive to changes in construction
activity.
Over the long run, population and
business growth will create a rising
dem and for new residential and com ­
m ercial buildings, such as a p a rt­
m ents, offices, and stores. Since glass
will continue to be popular in build­
ing design, the dem and for glaziers to
install and rep lace glass also will
grow.
Em ploym ent opportunities should
be greatest in m etropolitan areas,
where m ost glazing contractors are
located.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, union construction gla­
ziers in m etropolitan areas had esti­
m ated average wages o f $9.25 an
hour, o r ab o u t tw ice the average
hourly wage for production or nonsupervisory workers in private indus­
tries, ex c ep t farm ing. A p p ren tice
wage rates usually start at 50 percent
o f the rate paid to experienced gla­
ziers and increase periodically. Y ear­
ly earnings of glaziers and apprentic­
es, how ever, generally are slightly
lower than hourly rates would indi­
cate because the annual num ber o f
hours they work can be adversely af­
fected by poor w eather and fluctu­
ations in construction activity.
Glaziers may be injured by glass
edges or cutting tools, falls from scaf­
folds, or from lifting glass. To reduce
injuries, employers and unions em ­
phasize safety training.
M any glaziers em ployed in co n ­
struction are m em bers o f the Interna­
tional B rotherhood o f Painters and
Allied Trades.

Sources of Additional
Information
For m ore inform ation about gla­
zier apprenticeships or work oppor­
tunities, contact local glazing or gen­
e ra l c o n tra c to rs ; a lo cal o f th e
International Brotherhood of Paint­
ers and Allied Trades; a local joint
union-m anagem ent apprenticesh ip
agency; or the nearest office of the
State em ploym ent service or State
apprenticeship agency.
For general inform ation about the
work of glaziers, contact:
International Brotherhood of Painters and Al­
lied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20006.

INSULATION WORKERS
(D.O.T. 863.381, .781, and .884)

Nature of the Work
Properly insulated homes and
buildings reduce fuel costs by p re­
venting excessive loss o f cool air on
warm days and hot air on cold days.
M eat storage room s, steam pipes,
and boilers are other examples where
the wasteful transfer of heat to or
from the space inside can be mini­
m ized by insulation. Selecting the
proper m aterial and m ethod of instal­
lation is the responsibility of insula­
tion workers.
In su la tio n w o rk e rs—som etim es
called applicators—may paste, wire,
tape, or spray insulation to an appro­
p ria te su rfa ce. W hen coverin g a
steam pipe, for example, insulation
workers may cut a tube of insulation
to the necessary length, stretch it
open along a cu t w hich runs the
length o f the tube, and then slip it
over the pipe. To secure the insula­
tion they wrap and fasten wire bands
around it, tape it, or wrap a cover of
tar paper, cloth, or canvas over it and
then sew or staple the cover in place.
C are is required to cover joints com ­
pletely.
W hen covering a wall or other flat
surface, workers may use a hose to
spray foam insulation onto a wire
mesh. The wire mesh provides a
rough surface to which the foam can
cling and adds strength to the fin­

272

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

ished wall. If desired, workers apply a
final coat for a finished appearance.
In some places, such as attics
which do not require either wire
mesh for adhesion or a final coat for
appearance, applicators use a com ­
pressor to “ blow-in” the insulation.
“ Blowing-in” insulation is a simple
task. The worker fills the machine
with shredded fiberglass insulation,
allows the com pressor to force the
insulation through a hose, and con­
trols the direction and flow of the
insulation until the required am ount
is installed.
Insulation workers use common
h a n d to o ls—trow els, brushes, scis­
sors, sewing equipm ent, and stapling
g u n s . P o w e r s a w s , as w e ll as
handtools, are used to cut and fit in­
sulating materials.
Com pressors for “ blowing-in” or
for “ spraying-on” insulation also
may be used. In using these tools,
applicators may have to bend or
squat while working on ladders or on
scaffolds in dimly lit and sometimes
very dusty areas.

Places of Employment
About 30,000 insulation workers
w e re e m p lo y e d in 1 9 7 6 . M o st
worked for insulation contractors.
Others were employed to alter and
m a in ta in in s u la te d p ip e w o rk in
chemical factories, petroleum refin­
eries, power plants, and similar struc­
tures which have extensive steam in­
stallations for pow er, heating, and
cooling. Some large firms which have
cold-storage facilities also em ploy
these workers for m aintenance and
repair.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Almost all insulation workers learn
their trade through either informal
on-the-job training or a formal 4-year
“ im provership” program ; both of
these program s stress conservation
and safety. A trainee in an informal
on-the-job program , usually provided
by and paid for by an insulation
contractor, is assigned to an experi­
enced insulation worker for instruc­
tion and supervision. A trainee be­
gins w ith sim p le ta s k s, su ch as
“ blow ing-in” insulation, supplying
 aterial to experienced
insulation m


w orkers, or holding the m ateria l
while they fasten it in place. In about
6 to 8 months, assignments becom e
more complex, and within a year a
trainee usually learns to m easure,
cut, fit, and install various types o f
in su la tio n . W ith e x p e rie n c e , th e
tra in e e receiv es less su p erv isio n ,
more responsibility, and higher pay.
Trainees who receive informal in­
struction usually learn to specialize
in only three or four types of installa­
tion. In contrast, trainees in 4-year
“ im p ro v e rsh ip ” p ro g ra m s—m uch
like the apprenticeship programs of
o th er tra d e s—receive in-depth in­
struction in almost all phases of insu­
lation work. The in-depth instruction
is provided by and paid for by a joint
com m ittee of local insulation co n ­
tractors and the local union of insula­
tion a p p lic a to rs . T h e c o m m itte e
determ ines the need for “ improverships,” screens and tests applicants,
and ensures the availability of proper
training programs. Programs consist
of on-the-job training as well as class­
room instruction, and trainees must
pass practical and w ritten tests to
d e m o n stra te a know ledge o f the
trade.
For entry jobs, insulation contrac­
tors p re fe r high school grad u ates
who are in good physical condition
and licensed to drive. High school
courses in blueprint reading, shop
math, and general construction p ro ­
vide a helpful background.
A p p lic a n ts s e e k in g 4 -y e a r
“ im provership” positions must have
a high school diploma or its equiv­
alent, and be at least 18 years old.
Application can be made through lo­
cal co n tracto rs, unions, or a jo in t
com m ittee.
Skilled insulation workers may ad ­
vance to supervisor, shop superinten­
dent, or insulation contract estim a­
to r, o r m ay o p en an in su la tio n
contracting business.

Employment Outlook
Employment of insulation workers
is expected to grow m uch faster than
the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to jobs from em ploym ent growth,
several hundred openings will arise
annually from the need to replace
workers who transfer to other o ccu­
pations, retire, or die.

More workers will be needed to install
energy-saving Insulation in homes and
businesses.

More workers will be needed to
install energy-saving insulation in
new hom es and businesses. Insula­
tion for boilers and pipes in new fac­
to ries and pow er p lants also will
stimulate em ploym ent growth. M ore­
over, old buildings that need extra
insulation to save fuel will add to em ­
ploym ent requirem ents.
Employment opportunities will be
best in m etropolitan areas, w here
most insulation contractors are locat­
ed. In small towns much of the insu­
lation work is done by persons in o th ­
er trades, such as heating and airconditioning installers, carp en ters,
and drywall installers, rather than by
insulation workers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Union insulation workers in m etro­
politan areas had estim ated average
wages o f $9.75 an hour in 1976,
slightly higher than the average for
all union building trades w orkers.
A pprentice wage rates start ab out
half the rate paid to experien ced
workers and increase periodically.
According to limited inform ation,
experienced nonunion insulation
workers earn from $200 to $300 per
week. Nonunion trainees earn from
$120 to $140 per week.
Insulation workers spend most of
the w orkday on th e ir feet, eith er
s ta n d in g , b e n d in g , sto o p in g , o r

273

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

squatting. Sometimes they work from
ladders or in tight spaces. Removing
old insulation before installing new
m aterials is often dusty and dirty.
Tearing out asbestos—at one time
the most common form of insulation
but rarely used today—can be very
dangerous to the w orkers’ health un­
less they follow proper safeguards.
A large proportion of the workers
in this trade are members of the
International Association of Heat
and Frost Insulators and Asbestos
Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about insulation
workers’ improvership programs or
other work opportunities in this
trade, contact a local insulation con­
tractor; a local of the union m en­
tioned above; or the nearest office of
the S tate em p lo y m ent service or
State apprenticeship agency.

IRONWORKERS
(D.O.T. 801.281, .381, .781, .884;
809.381, .781, .884; and 869.883)

Nature of the Work

tors to hoist each steel part into prop­
er position. W orkers often push, pull,
or pry beam s and girders for lastsecond positioning before tem porar­
ily bolting them in place.
To permanently connect a steel
mem ber, ironworkers measure for
correct alignment, using plumb bobs,
levels, and measuring tapes. They
remove tem porary bolts if necessary,
then jockey the steel beam or girder
into position, using winches, hoists,
and jacks. When the m em ber is cor­
rectly aligned, workers bolt, rivet, or
weld it to others for final fastening.
R i g g e r s a n d m a c h i n e mo v e r s
(D.O.T. 869.883) set up and rig the
hoisting equipm ent used to erect and
dism antle stru ctu ra l steel fram es.
T hese skilled w o rk ers also m ove
heavy construction m achinery and
e q u ip m e n t. T hey study the size,
shape, and weight of the object to be
m oved, choose lines and cables to
support its weight, and select points
of attachm ent that will provide a safe
and secure hold on the load. Next,
they hook or bolt one or more cables
to both the hoisting equipm ent and
the item to be moved. W orkers then
direct the load into position by giving
hand signals and other directions to
the hoisting m achine operator. In
many instances, riggers build p lat­
forms or containers on the job to

Ironworkers erect steel framework
and other metal parts in buildings,
bridges, and other structures. They
also rig heavy construction m achin­
ery (prepare it for moving) and deliv­
er the machinery to new sites. In ad­
dition, ironworkers make alterations,
such as installing steel stairs or add­
ing window guards to buildings, and
do repair work, such as replacing
metal bridge parts.
Ironworkers comprise four related
trad es—structural ironw orkers, rig­
gers and m achine movers, ornam ent­
al ironworkers, and reinforcing iron­
w o rk e rs. M any iro n w o rk e rs are
skilled in two of these trades or more.
Structural ironworkers (D.O.T.
809.381 ) erect, align, and fasten the
steel fram ew ork of bridges, build­
ings, and o th er stru ctures such as
storage tanks. They also install floor
decking and the doors and frames of
bank vaults. Ironworkers follow blue­
print specifications in erecting steel
 They direct crane opera­
framework.
Ironworkers often work at great heights.


move unusually shaped materials and
m a c h in e s. T his w ork re q u ire s a
know ledge o f hoisting eq u ip m en t
and lifting devices.
Ornamental ironworkers (D.O.T.
809.381) install metal stairways, catwalks, floor gratings, ladders, and
window fram es. They also install
lam pposts, fences, and decorative
ironwork. In addition, they work with
prefabricated aluminum, brass, and
bronze items. Examples are recently
developed ornam ental building fa­
cades that are bolted or welded to a
building.
Since other workers cut and shape
most of the ornam ental metal away
from the co n stru c tio n site, o rn a ­
m ental ironw orkers spend most of
their time fitting, aligning, and as­
sembling. On the job, workers make
sure ornam ental pieces fit correctly
and hold firmly. W orkers hacksaw
oversized pieces to size and som e­
times m ust drill holes. For secure
connections, they rivet or weld the
metals.
Reinforcing ironworkers (D.O.T.
801.884) set steel rods or bars in
concrete forms to reinforce the co n ­
crete. They place the steel bars on
suitable supports in the co n c rete
form, then tie the bars together by
wrapping and twisting wire around
them. W orkers follow supervisory in­
structions or blueprint specifications
to make sure the reinforcing rods are
positioned properly. Some concrete
is re in fo rce d with a coarse m esh
m ade o f welded wire. W hen using
mesh, ironworkers measure the sur­
face to be covered, cut and bend the
mesh to the desired shape, and place
it over the area to be reinforced.
W hile a co n crete crew pours the
slab, ironworkers use hooked rods to
position the wire mesh in the freshly
poured mixture.

Places of Employment
About 71,000 structural and orna­
m ental ironworkers were employed
in 1976. T housands o f additional
workers were em ployed as riggers,
m achine m overs, and reinforcin g
ironworkers.
M ost of these w orkers are em ­
ployed by general c o n tra c to rs on
large building projects, steel erection
contractors, or ornam ental iron co n ­
tractors. Many are employed by large

274

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

steel companies or their subsidiaries
e n g a g e d in th e c o n s tru c tio n o f
bridges, dams, and large buildings.
Some work for governm ent agencies,
public utilities, or large industrial
firms that do their own construction
work. Very few are self-employed.
Ironworkers work in all parts of
the country, but they are concentrat­
ed in m etropolitan areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most training authorities recom ­
mend the completion o f an appren­
ticeship as the best way to learn these
trades. Some people, however, learn
these trades informally by working as
helpers to experienced ironworkers.
Apprenticeship program s, many of
which are sponsored by local unioncontractor agreem ents, usually con­
sist of 3 years of on-the-job training
and a minimum of 144 hours a year
of classroom instruction in subjects
such as drafting, blueprint reading,
and m athem atics applicable to layout
work. A pprentices learn ornam ental
a sse m b lin g , re in fo rc in g , rigging,
structural erecting, and welding.
Those who learn the trade infor­
mally usually start by moving m ateri­
als—hauling rods and disposing of
debris. W ithin a short period they
can set reinforcing rods. Eventually,
they do o rn a m e n tal o r stru c tu ra l
work.
Applicants for apprenticeship or
helper positions generally must be at
least 18 years old and have a high
school or vocational school educa­
tion; courses in general m athem atics
and m echanical drawing provide a
helpful background.
Since materials used in ironwork­
ing tra d e s are heavy and bulky,
above-average physical strength is
necessary. Agility and a good sense
of balance also are required in order
to work at great heights and on nar­
row footings.
Experienced ironworkers can ad­
vance to supervisory positions. A
small num ber go into the ironwork­
ing business.

Employment Outlook
Employment of ironworkers is ex­
pected to increase much faster than
 e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
th e a v e ra g


through the m id-1980’s. Growth in
construction activity will increase the
dem and for these workers. Besides
jo b s re su ltin g from e m p lo y m e n t
growth, m any openings will result
from the need to replace experienced
ironw orkers who transfer to o th er
fields of w ork, retire, or die. The
num ber o f job openings may fluctu­
ate from year to year, however, be­
cause construction activity is sensi­
tive to changes in the economy.
Em ployment in all ironworking
occupations is expected to increase
over the long run. The growing use of
structural steel in buildings will cre­
ate a need for more structural iron­
workers. Work opportunities for o r­
n am en ta l iro n w o rk e rs will re su lt
from the growing popularity of o rn a­
mental panels for large buildings, and
of metal frames to hold large glass
installations. More riggers and m a­
chine movers will be needed to han­
dle the increasing am ount of heavy
construction m achinery. The grow­
ing dem and for prestressed concrete
will create additional job opportuni­
ties for reinforcing ironworkers.
Job openings for ironworkers usu­
ally are m ore abundant during the
early spring when the w eather warms
up and the level of construction ac­
tivity increases.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Union structural and reinforcing
ironworkers in m etropolitan areas
earned estim ated average wages of
$10 an hour in 1976, or about twice
the average wage of nonsupervisory
and production workers in private in­
dustry, except farming. A pprentices
start at 60 percent of the hourly rate
paid to experienced workers. They
receive increases as they gain experi­
en ce. A n n u a l e a rn in g s for th ese
workers, however, are generally low­
er than hourly wages would indicate
because the annual num ber of hours
they work can be adversely affected
by poor w eather and fluctuations in
construction activity.
Ironworkers often work at great
heights, som etimes walking on mere 1
foot wide girders 20 floors or more
above the ground. Although many o f
these workers risk injury from falls,
safety devices such as nets, safety

belts, and scaffolding have helped
prevent accidents.
Ironwork can involve considerable
travel because dem and may be insuf­
ficient to keep local crews continual­
ly employed.
Many workers in these trades are
members of the International Associ­
ation of Bridge, Structural and O rna­
mental Iron W orkers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For more information on appren­
ticeships or other work opportuni­
ties, contact local general con trac­
tors; a local of the union m entioned
above; a local joint union-m anage­
m ent apprenticeship com m ittee; or
the nearest office of the State em ­
ploym ent service or apprenticeship
agency.
For general information about
ironworkers, contact:
Associated General Contractors of America,
Inc., 1957 E St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.

LATHERS
(D.O.T. 842.781)

Nature of the Work
W hat makes cem ent cling to a
ceiling? Lath does. If properly in­
stalled, lath creates a firm support to
which wet cem ent, plaster, or stucco
will hold fast to form ceilings and
walls. The one who installs lath is
called a lather.
U ntil the last cen tu ry , lath was
m ade exclusively o f w ood. Since
then, m etal and gypsum have re ­
placed wood because of their versa­
tility, stren g th , and fire proofing
properties. Metal lath comes in dif­
ferent forms, but it is usually wire
mesh. Gypsum lath com es in 1/2 inch
thick sheets, ranging from 1 1/4 feet
by 4 feet to 4 feet by 8 feet.
Each type of lath holds cem ent,
plaster, or stucco in a particular way.
For example, wet plaster penetrates
openings in the lath and is held in
place m echanically. W hen applied to
gypsum lath, however, chemicals in
the wet plaster react with other

275

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

chemicals on the lath ’s surface,
bonding the materials together.
Lathers use various methods of
installation depending on the pur­
pose of the job, the kind of building,
and the type of lath specified. On
walls and ceilings, lathers usually
clip, nail, screw, staple, or wire-tie
the lath directly to the building’s
framework. On cinder block or m a­
sonry walls, it is necessary to build a
light metal or wood fram e, called fur­
ring, onto the building’s structure.
Then they attach the lath to the fur­
ring. While installing lath, workers
cut openings in it for electrical out­
lets and water pipes.
Lathers install a special wire mesh
reinforcem ent on inside angles and

corners or walls to prevent cracking.


lar spaces. These spaces can serve to
hold either ceiling panels or lath to
which plaster is applied.
To do their work, lathers use drills,
hammers, hacksaws, shears, wirecutters, hatchets, stapling machines, and
pow er-actuated fastening devices.

Places of Employment
Most
lathers—who
num bered
about 20,000 in 1976—work for
lathing and plastering contractors on
new residential, com m ercial, or in­
dustrial construction. They also work
on m o d e rn iz a tio n and a lte ra tio n
jobs. A relatively small num ber of
lathers are em ployed outside the
construction industry; for example,
some make the lath backing for plas­
ter display materials or scenery.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

On outside or exposed corners, they
attach a corner support that provides
protection and strength.
Sometimes lathers install two lay­
ers of lath. For example, when stucco
(a mixture of portland cem ent and
sand) is to be applied over a wood
fram ework, workers may install two
layers of wire mesh, separated by a
layer of felt, to serve as a base for the
stucco.
In ornam ental work or curved sur­
face work, workers build a frame ap ­
proximating the desired shape, and
then attach the lath to the frame.
Lathers also install suspended ceil­
ings. They wire-tie m etal bands to
rods or wires attached to the struc­
ture above. Installers run the metal
bands horizontally across the room,
crisscrossing them to form rectangu­

Most training authorities recom ­
mend apprenticeship as the best way
to learn lathing. However, many lath­
ers, particularly in small com m uni­
ties, have acquired their skills infor­
m a lly by w o rk in g as h e l p e r s ,
observing or being taught by experi­
enced lathers.
Apprenticeship programs usually
last a minimum of 2 years, and are
usually sponsored by various local
joint labor-m anagem ent committees.
All programs include on-the-job
training; some also include classroom
instruction. On the job, under the
guidance of an experienced worker,
apprentices learn to use the tools and
materials of the trade. Initially, they
work on simple tasks, such as nailing
gypsum lath to wall partitions. After
gaining experience, they advance to
more complex jobs, such as installing
wire mesh on curved surfaces. Class­
room instruction includes applied
m a th e m a tic s , b lu e p rin t re a d in g ,
sketching, estimating, basic welding,
and safety.
Informal on-the-job training p ro ­
vides only the essential knowledge
needed by trainees. They start with
easy jobs such as carrying materials
or holding lath in place while experi­
enced w orkers secure it. Trainees
soon learn to clip, nail, staple, and
wire-tie the lath—first, to walls and
later, to floors and ceilings.

276

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Generally, applicants for appren­
tice or helper should be at least 16
years old, in good physical condition,
and licensed to drive. Apprenticeship
applicants are usually required to
have a high school or vocational
school education, or the equivalent.
Courses in general m athem atics and
m echanical drawing can provide a
helpful background. A ptitude tests
often are given to determ ine manual
dexterity and mechanical ability.
Some experienced lathers may be­
com e supervisors. O thers may be
able to start their own lath contract­
ing business.

Employment Outlook
Employment of lathers is expected
to grow about as fast as the average
for all occupations through the mid1980’s. In addition to growth, addi­
tional jobs will result from the need
to replace workers who retire, die, or
leave the occupation for other rea­
sons. Because the num ber of lathers
is small, however, there will be rela­
tively few job openings annually.
Growth in population and business
activity are expected to stimulate the
construction of new, and the renova­
tion o f old, buildings. As a result,
more lathers will be needed to con­
struct some of the more expensive
new buildings, to re n o v ate o ld er
buildings, and to fill the demand for
lath and plaster on curved surfaces
where drywall is not a practical sub­
stitute.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, union lathers in m etropol­
itan areas had estim ated average
wages of $9.80 an hour. This is about
twice the average wage of nonsupervisory and production workers in pri­
vate industry, except farming. A p­
prentices start at about 50 percent of
the wage rate paid to experienced
lathers and receive more as they gain
experience. However, yearly ea rn ­
ings for lathers and apprentices gen­
erally are lower than hourly rates
would indicate because the annual
number of hours that they work can
be adversely affected by poor w eath­
er and fluctuations in construction

activity.


Although lathers’ work is not
strenuous, it does require standing,
squatting, or working overhead for
long periods. W orkers can be injured
by falls from scaffolds or by cuts
from various working materials or
tools.
A large proportion of lathers are
members of The W ood, Wire and
Metal Lathers International Union.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about lathers’ ap ­
prenticeships or other work opportu­
nities in the trade, contact a local
lathing or plastering contractor; a lo­
cal of the W ood, W ire and M etal
Lathers International Union; a local
joint labor-m anagem ent apprentice­
ship com m ittee; or the nearest office
of the State em ploym ent service or
apprenticeship agency.
For general information about the
work of lathers, contact:
International Association of Wall and Ceiling
Contractors, Gypsum Drywall Contrac­
tors International, 1711 Connecticut Ave.
NW„ Washington, D.C. 20009.
National Lathing Industries Joint Apprentice­
ship Program, 815 16th St. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20006.

OPERATING ENGINEERS
(CONSTRUCTION
MACHINERY OPERATORS)
(D.O.T. 850.782 through .883,
851.782 and .883, 852.883,
853.782 and .883, and 859.782 and
.883)

Nature of the Work
Lifting a quarter-ton pane of glass
by crane and positioning it into an 8foot by 10-foot window opening 10
stories above the ground requires
co n sid erab le skill. A t the c r a n e ’s
controls is an operating engineer.
O perating engineers also work the
controls o f bulldozers, trench exca­
vators, paving machines, and many
other types of construction m achin­
ery. Some workers know how to o p ­
erate several kinds of machines; o th ­
ers, only a few. Because the skills and
training required vary, operating e n ­
gineers usually are classified by ei­

ther the type or the capacity of m a­
chines they operate.
Heavy machines are usually com ­
plex and difficult to operate. A large
crane, for example, requires a high
degree o f skill. O perators must accu­
rately judge distances and heights
and push or pull a num ber of buttons,
levers, and pedals in proper sequence
while picking up and delivering m a­
terials. T hese co n tro ls ro ta te the
crane, raise and lower its boom and
loadline, or open and close attach ­
ments such as steel-toothed buckets
for lifting dirt or clamps for lifting
m aterials. At times, operators may
not see either the pickup or delivery
point and must follow the hand or
flag signals of another worker.
Medium-sized equipm ent, on the
other hand, usually requires less skill
to operate. Bulldozer operators, for
example, generally handle fewer co n ­
trols than crane operators, and since
th e “ d o z e r ” o p e r a to r w o rk s at
ground level, estimating distances is
less of a problem.
Operating a bulldozer is somewhat
like driving a car and can be a rela­
tively simple task. The huge “ blade”
attached to the front can be raised or
lowered by pushing a button or by
pushing or pulling a lever. To clear
land, a bulldozer o p e ra to r simply
lowers the blade to the ground, shifts
to forward gear and presses a pedal
for p o w e r, causing th e blad e to
scrape and level the ground. The op­
erator will back up and repeat the
process until the land is cleared.
Of the three weight classifications,
light equipm ent such as an air com ­
pressor is the easiest to operate and,
therefore, requires the least skill.
Before starting an air com pressor
(a diesel engine that takes in air and
forces it through a narrow hose), the
operator checks for tight hose co n ­
nections and may manually pump air
through the com pressor to check for
leaks. The operator also makes sure
the com pressor has fuel and water.
The operator then starts the air com ­
pressor and allows it to build suffi­
cient pressure to run special “ a ir”
tools. While the com pressor is ru n ­
n in g , th e o p e r a to r p e r io d ic a lly
checks fuel, water, and pressure lev­
els. At the end of the work day, the
o p erato r turns the com pressor off
and “ bleeds-off” pressure in the air

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

277

hose by opening an air pressure re­
lease valve. This allows for easy en­
gine starting the next time it is to be
used.
Operating engineer helpers, some­
times called “ oilers,” make sure the
machines have gas and oil and are
properly lu b rica te d . H elpers also
make minor repairs and adjustments.
E x p e rie n c e d o p e r a to r s who are
working alone also perform these
tasks. M ajor repairs, however, usual­
ly are made by heavy-equipment m e­
chanics.

Places of Employment
Approximately 600,000 operating
engineers were employed in 1976.
An estim ated 290,000 operated ex­
cavating, grading, and road m achin­
ery; about 130,000 worked as bull­
dozer operators; and nearly 165,000
operated other construction m achin­
ery , in c lu d in g c r a n e s , d e rric k s ,
hoists, air compressors, trench-pipe
layers, and dredges.
Most operating engineers work for
contractors in highway, dam, airport,
and other large-scale construction
projects. Others work for utility com ­
panies, m an u fa ctu rers, and o th er
business firms that do their own con­
struction work, as well as State and
local highway and public works de­
partments. Some operating engineers
are employed in factories and mines
to operate cranes, hoists, and other
power-driven m achinery. Less than
one-tenth o f all operating engineers
are self-employed, a smaller propor­
tion than in most building trades.
Operating engineers are employed
in every section of the country, both
in large cities and in small towns.
Some work on highways and dams
being built in remote locations.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Although in years past, some oper­
ating engineers have learned their
skills on the job without formal in­
struction, employers today prefer in­
dividuals with some formal training.
Most training authorities recommend
com pletion of a 3-year formal ap­
prenticeship as the best way to be­
come an operating engineer. Since
apprentices learn to operate a variety
Digitizedmachines, they have better job op­
of for FRASER


Operating engineers must judge distances accurately and handle controls precisely.

portunities. Less extensive training is
availab le th ro u g h sp ecial heavyequipm ent training schools.
The apprenticeship program, usu­
ally sponsored through a union-m an­
agem ent com m ittee but also avail­
able in the Armed Forces, consists o f
at least 3 years of on-the-job training,
as well as 144 hours a year of related
classroom instruction.
Under the supervision of experi­
enced operating engineers, appren­
tices work as oilers or as helpers. Ini­
tial tasks include cleaning, greasing,
re p airin g , and startin g m achines.
Within a year, apprentices usually
are given the opportunity to perform
simple m achine operations, such as
light lifts with a crane. In time, they
receive less supervision and more re ­
sponsibility. In the classroom , a p ­
prentices receive instruction in en ­
gine o p e ra tio n and re p air, cable
splicing, hydraulics, welding, and
safety and first aid.
A num ber of private schools offer
instruction in the operation of c e r­
tain types of construction equipm ent.
Persons considering enrolling in any
school, w hether public or private,
that offers training for an operating
engineer career should contact co n ­
struction employers in their area to
determ ine the school’s perform ance
in producing suitably trained condidates.

For apprentice jobs, employers
prefer to hire high school or voca­
tional school graduates who are at
least 18 years old. Courses in driver
education and autom obile mechanics
provide a helpful background. Expe­
rience in operating tractors and other
farm machinery also is helpful.
Operating engineers who have
leadership ability may become super­
visors, but o p p o rtu n ities are few.
Some operating engineers start their
own excavating and grading business.

Employment Outlook
Job opportunities for operating en­
gineers should be fairly plentiful over
the long run. Employment in this oc­
cupation is expected to grow faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Population
and business growth will lead to the
construction of more factories, mass
tra n s it system s, office buildings,
pow erplants, and o th er structures,
thereby increasing the dem and for
operating engineers. More operating
engineers also will be needed in other
areas, such as m aintenance on high­
ways and materials m ovem ent in fac­
tories and mines.
Besides the job openings created
by em ploym ent growth, many open­
ings will arise as experienced operat­
ing engineers retire, die, or leave the

278

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

occupation for o ther reasons. Jobs
should be easiest to find during
spring and summer since construc­
tion picks up as the weather becomes
warmer. However, because construc­
tion activity is sensitive to ups and
downs in the economy, the num ber
of job openings may fluctuate from
year to year.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Wage rates for operating engineers
vary according to the m achine oper­
ated. According to 1976 estimates of
union wages in m etropolitan areas,
hourly rates for crane operators aver­
aged $9.90; for bulldozer operators,
$9.55; and for air com pressor opera­
tors, $8.65. These rates are about
twice as much as the average for all
n o n s u p e rv is o ry a n d p ro d u c tio n
workers in private industry, except
farming. Annual earnings, however,
generally are lower than hourly wage
rates would indicate because the an­
nual num ber of hours worked can be
adversely affected by poor weather
and fluctuations in construction ac­
tivity. Hourly wage rates for appren­
tices start at about 70 percent of the
full rate paid to experienced workers
and increase periodically.
O p e ra tin g en g in eers w ork o u t­
doors; co n seq u en tly , they usually
work steadily during the w arm er
months and experience slow periods
during the colder months. Time also
may be lost due to rain or snow. O p­
erating some machines, particularly
bulldozers and some types of scrap­
ers, is physically tiring because the
constant movem ent of the m achine
shakes or jolts o perators and may
subject them to high noise levels.
Many operating engineers are
members o f the International Union
of Operating Engineers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further information about ap­
prenticeships or work opportunities
in this occupation, contact a local of
the International Union of Operating
Engineers; a local joint apprentice­
ship com m ittee; or the nearest office
 apprenticeship agency.
of the State


In addition, the local office of the
State em ploym ent service may p ro ­
vide inform ation about apprentice­
ship and other program s that provide
training opportunities.
For general information about the
work of operating engineers, contact:
Associated General Contractors of America,
Inc., 1957 E St. NW„ Washington, D.C.
20006.
International Union of Operating Engineers
1125 17th St. NW„ Washington, D.C.
20036.

PAINTERS AND
PAPERHANGERS
(D.O.T. 840.381, .781 and .844,
and 841.78 1)

Nature of the Work
Painting and paperhanging are
s e p a ra te , skilled tra d e s alth o u g h
some people do both types of work.
Painters apply paint varnish, and o th ­
er finishes to decorate and protect
building surfaces. Paperhangers cov­
er walls and ceilings of rooms with
decorative w allpaper, fabric, vinyl,
or similar materials.
Painters sand or scrape away old
paint from the surface to be painted
so that paint will adhere properly. If
the paint is difficult to remove, they
loosen it with special materials or
equipm ent before sanding. They also
remove grease, fill nail holes and
cracks, sandpaper rough spots, and
brush off dust. When painting new
surfaces, they cover them with a
primer or sealer to make a suitable
surface for the finish coat.
P ainters must be skilled in h an ­
dling brushes and o th e r painting
tools so th at they can apply paint
thoroughly, uniformly, and rapidly to
any type of surface such as wood,
concrete, metal, masonry, plastic, or
drywall. They must be able to mix
paints and m atch co lo rs, using a
knowledge of paint composition and
color harmony. They also must know
the characteristics of common types
of paints and finishes from the stand­
points of durability, suitability, and
ease of handling and application.

Painters often use rollers or spray
guns instead of brushes. Rollers are
used on even surfaces such as walls
and ceilings. Spray guns are used on
surfaces that are difficult to paint
with a brush, such as cinder block
and metal fencing. Both rollers and
spray guns perm it faster painting.
Painters also erect scaffolding, in­
cluding “ swing sta g e s” (scaffolds
suspended by ropes or cables a t­
tached to roof hooks) and “ bosun
chairs” (a device som ewhat like a
child’s swing), which they use when
working on tall buildings and similar
structures.
Generally, painters only paint.
Paperhangers, however, both paint
and hang wallpaper. As a result,
paperhangers require more training
and additional skills.
The first step in paperhanging is to
prepare the surface to be covered.
Paperhangers apply “ sizing,” a m ate­
rial that seals the surface and enables
the paper to stick better. In redeco­
rating, they may have to remove old
p a p e r by w etting it w ith w aterso ak ed sponges o r —if th e re are
many layers—by steaming. Frequent­
ly, it is necessary for paperhangers to
patch holes with plaster.
After carefully positioning the p at­
terns to m atch at the ceiling and
baseb o ard , paperhangers m easure
the area to be covered and cut a
length o f w allpaper from the roll.
They then apply paste to the strip of
p a p e r, p lace it on the w all, and
smooth it by hand or with a brush.
They cut and fit edges at the ceiling
and base, and smooth seams between
strips with a roller or other special
tool. They inspect the paper for air
bubbles and other im perfections in
the work. Air bubbles are removed
by smoothing the paper strip toward
the outer edges. W hen working with
wall coverings other than paper, such
as fabric or vinyl, paperhangers fol­
low the same general procedure.

Places of Employment
About 410,000 painters and
15,000 paperhangers were employed
in 1976. Many worked for contrac­
tors engaged in new construction, re­
p air, a lte ra tio n , or m odernizatio n
work. Hotels, office buildings, ship­
yards, m anufacturing firms, schools,

279

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

od of training nor related classroom
instruction. Under the direction of
experienced painters, trainees carry
supplies, erect scaffolds, and do o th ­
er simple tasks while they learn about
the different kinds of paint and paint­
ing equipm ent. Within a short time,
tra in e e s learn to p re p a re m etal,
wood, and other surfaces for paint­
ing; to mix paints; and to paint with a
brush, roller, and sprayer. Near the
end of their training, they learn deco­
rating concepts, color coordination,
and cost-estimating techniques.
Applicants for apprentice or
helper jobs generally must be at least
16 years old and in good physical
condition. A high school or vocation­
al school education is preferred, al­
though not essen tial. C o u rses in
chemistry and general shop are use­
ful. Applicants should have manual
dexterity and a good color sense.
They cannot be allergic to fum es
from paint or other m aterials used in
these trades.
Painters and paperhangers may ad­
vance to jobs as cost estimators for
painting and decorating contractors.
Some may become superintendents
on large contract painting jobs, or
they may establish their own painting
and decorating businesses.
Painters make up one of the largest building trades.

and other organizations that own or
manage extensive property holdings
also em ployed m aintenance painters.
A high proportion of workers in
these trades are in business for them ­
selves. A b o u t o n e -fo u rth o f the
painters and more than half of the
paperhangers are self-employed. In
com parison, only o n e-tenth of all
building trades workers are self-em­
ployed.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Opportunities to learn painting
and paperhanging range from formal
apprenticeship to informal, on-thejob instruction.
M ost training authorities recom ­
mend the com pletion of a formal ap­
prenticeship as the best way to be­
com e a p a in te r or p a p e rh a n g e r.
However, apprenticeship opportuni­
Digitized for are very limited, and new work­
ties FRASER


ers generally begin as helpers to ex­
p e r i e n c e d p a i n t e r s . V e ry few
informal training program s exist for
paperhanger trainees because there
are very few paperhangers and most
work alone. As a result, a larger p er­
centage o f paperhangers than paint­
ers are trained through apprentice­
ship.
The apprenticeship for painters
and paperhangers generally consists
of 3 years of on-the-job training, in
addition to 144 hours of related
classroom instruction each year. A p­
prentices receive instruction in sub­
jects such as color harmony; use of
tools; surface preparation; cost esti­
mating; paint mixing and m atching;
and safety. They also learn the rela­
tionship between painting and paper­
hanging and the work perform ed by
the other building trades.
On-the-job instruction, unlike the
apprenticeship, has neither a set peri­

Employment Outlook
Employment of painters is expect­
ed to grow about as fast as the aver­
age for all occupations through the
m id-1980’s. Replacem ent needs will
c r e a te m o re jo b o p e n in g s th a n
growth. Many new workers will be
hired to replace experienced painters
who retire, die, or leave their jobs for
other reasons. The num ber of job
openings, however, may vary greatly
from year to year as well as within
any given year because the demand
for painters is sensitive to flu ctu ­
ations in construction activity caused
by econom ic and seasonal co n d i­
tions.
Over the long run, population and
business growth will create a rising
dem and for new houses and buildings
and m ore workers will be needed to
paint these structures. Additional
workers also will be hired to repaint
existing structures.
Employment of paperhangers is
expected to increase much faster

280

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. The demand
for these workers should be stim ulat­
ed by the rising popularity of wallpa­
per and more durable wall coverings
such as vinyl. Since this is a relatively
small trade, however, job openings
for paperhangers will be far less nu­
merous than those for painters.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Based on a survey of m etropolitan
areas, union hourly rates for painters
and paperhangers averaged about
$9.25 in 1976. In com parison, the
average rate for experienced union
workers in all union building trades
was $9.47 an hour while production
workers in m anufacturing as a whole
averaged $4.87 an hour. Annual in­
comes for some painters, particularly
those on outside jobs, may not be as
high as hourly rates would indicate
because some worktime is lost due to
bad w eather and occasional unem ­
ployment between jobs.
Hourly wage rates for apprentices
usually start at 50 percent of the rate
paid to experienced workers and in­
crease periodically until the full rate
of pay is reached at the com pletion
of apprenticeship.
P ainters and paperhangers m ust
stand for long periods. Their jobs
also require a considerable am ount
of climbing and bending. A painter
must have strong arms because much
of the work is done with arms raised
overhead. Painters and paperhangers
risk injury from slips or falls off lad­
ders and scaffolds. However, the in­
jury rate for employees of painting,
paperhanging, and decorating con­
tractors in the construction industry
has been significantly lower than the
average for contract construction as
a whole.
A large proportion of painters and
paperhangers are members of the
International B rotherhood of Paint­
ers and A llied T rades. A few are
members o f other unions.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about painting and
paperhanging apprenticeships or oth­

er work opportunities in these trades,


contact local painting and decorating
contractors; a local o f the Interna­
tional B rotherhood of Painters and
Allied Trades; a local joint unionm anagem ent apprenticeship com m it­
tee; or the nearest office of the State
apprenticeship agency or State em ­
ployment service.
For general inform ation about the
work of painters and paperhangers,
contact:
International Brotherhood o f Painters and Al­
lied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20006.
Painting and Decorating Contractors Associ­
ation of America, 7223 Lee Hwy., Falls
Church, Va. 22046.
National Joint Painting, Decorating, and Drywall Finishing Apprenticeship and Train­
ing Committee, 1709 New York Ave.
NW., Suite 110, Washington, D.C. 20006.

PLASTERERS
(D.O.T. 842.381 and .781)

Nature of the Work
Plasterers finish interior walls and
ceilings with plaster coatings that
form fire-resistant and relatively
soundproof surfaces; they apply du­
rable cem ent plasters or stucco to
exterior surfaces. Plasterers also cast
ornam ental designs in plaster.
To interior surfaces such as cinder
block or gypsum lath, plasterers ap ­
ply two coats of plaster. The first or
“ brow n” coat is a heavy, brown mix­
ture; the second or “ finish” coat a
thin, pasty plaster. However, when
the foundation consists of metal lath
(a supportive wire m esh), plasterers
apply a preparatory coat to the lath.
When applying a preparatory or
“ scratch” coat, plasterers either
spray or use a trowel (a flat, 4 inch by
10 inch, metal plate with a handle)
and wavelike motions to spread a
thick, gritty plaster into and over the
metal lath. Before the plaster on the
lath dries, workers scratch its already
uneven surface with a rakelike tool,
producing ridges so the “ brow n”
coat will cling tightly.
For the first or “ brow n” coat—
whether applied to a scratch coat,
cinder block or gypsum lath—w ork­
ers prepare a thick, but smooth plas­

ter. W orkers either spray or trowel
this mixture onto the surface, push­
ing plaster into cracks and holes, and
then smoothing the plaster to an even
surface for finishing.
For the finish coat, plasterers p re­
pare a thin plaster of very fine gran­
ules. They usually hand trowel this
m ix tu re v ery q u ic k ly o n to th e
“ brow n” coat to produce a very thin,
very sm ooth finish for a ceiling or
wall.
P lasterers create decorative su r­
faces as well. For example, while the
final coat is still m oist, they press
firm ly against the surface with a
brush and use a circular hand motion
to create decorative swirls.
For exterior work, plasterers apply
a scratch coat to wire lath in the
same way that they plaster interior
surfaces. To the exterior scratch
coat, workers usually apply a gritty
mixture of white cem ent and sand—
called stucco—to produce a durable
final coat. As an alternative, they
plaster an extra heavy mixture over
the scratch coat, then em bed marble
or gravel chips about halfway into
the m ixture, thus achieving a uni­
form, pebble like surface.
Plasterers sometimes do complex
decorative and ornam ental work. For
example, they may mold intricate
designs for the walls and ceilings of
public buildings. To make these d e­
signs, plasterers mix a special plaster,
pour it into a mold, and allow time
fo r drying. W hen th ese are d ry ,

Plastering requires considerable stand­
ing, stooping, and lifting.

281

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

workers remove the molded plaster
and paste it to the desired surface.
Plasterers who do this work must fol­
low blueprints and o ther specifica­
tions furnished by architects.
Plasterers use many special tools.
They hold the plaster mixture on a
hawk (a light metal plate with a
handle) and apply the wet mixture
with a trowel. Smoothing and finish­
ing are done with straightedges, beve le d g e s, ro d s, flo a ts , and o th e r
handtools. They also may use spray
m achines to apply plaster on both
base and finish coats.

Places of Employment
Plasterers—who num bered about
24,000 in 1976—worked mostly on
new construction and alteration
work, particularly where special ar­
chitectural and lighting effects were
part of the job. Some plasterers re­
paired older buildings.
About 1 out of every 5 plasterers
was self-employed.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most training authorities recom ­
mend completion of an apprentice­
ship as the best way to learn plaster­
ing. However, many people learn the
trade by working as helpers or labor­
ers, observing and being taught by
experienced plasterers.
A p p ren ticesh ip program s, spon­
sored by local joint com m ittees of
co n tra c to rs and unions, generally
consist of 3 or 4 years of on-the-job
training, in addition to at least 144
hours of annual classroom instruc­
tion in drafting, blueprint reading,
and m athem atics for layout work.
Training is extensive. In class, ap­
prentices start with a history of the
trades and the industry. They also
learn about the uses of plaster, costs,
and many other concepts. On the
job, they learn about lath bases, plas­
ter m ixes, m ethods o f plastering,
blueprint reading, and safety. Train­
ees follow the directions of and re­
ceive assistance from experienced
plasterers.
Those who learn the trade infor­
mally as helpers gain only the ba­
sics— mixing and applying plasters.
 start by carrying m ateri­
They usually


als, setting up scaffolds, and mixing
plaster. In a short time, they learn—
through trial and erro r—to apply the
scratch and brown coats. Learning to
apply the finish coat takes consider­
ably longer.
Applicants for apprentice or
helper jobs generally must be at least
17 years old, in good physical condi­
tion, and have manual dexterity. A p­
plicants who have a high school or
vocational school education are pre­
ferred. Courses in general m athem at­
ics, m echanical drawing, and shop
provide a useful background.
Plasterers may advance to supervi­
sor, superintendent, or estim ator for
plastering co n tracto rs, or may b e­
come self-employed.

Employment Outlook
Little change is expected in the
em ploym ent of plasterers through
the m id-1980’s. Nevertheless, a rela­
tively small num ber o f job openings
will result from the need to replace
experienced workers who retire, die,
or transfer to other occupations.
The use of drywall materials in
place of plaster has reduced the d e­
mand for plasterers in recent years.
N e v e rth e le ss, p la s te re rs still are
needed for renovating older build­
ings that have plaster walls. Plaster is
also used in some of the more expen­
sive new buildings and on curved sur­
faces where drywall m aterials are not
practical.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Union wage rates for plasterers in
m etropolitan areas averaged $9.48
an hour in 1976. This is about twice
the average wage of nonsupervisory
and production workers in private in­
dustry, except farming. A pprentice
wage rates start at about half the rate
paid to experienced plasterers and
increase periodically. However, year­
ly earnings for plasterers and appren­
tices are generally lower than hourly
rates would indicate because the an ­
nual num ber of hours that they work
can be adversely affected by poor
weather and fluctuations in construc­
tion activity.
Plastering requires considerable
standing, stooping, and lifting. Plas­

terers work outdoors when applying
stucco but most jobs are indoors.
A large proportion of plasterers
are m em bers of unions. They are
represented by either the Operative
Plasterers’ and C em ent M asons’ In­
ternational Association of the United
States and Canada, or the Bricklay­
ers, Masons and Plasterers’ Interna­
tional Union of America.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about apprentice­
ships or other work opportunities,
contact local plastering contractors;
locals of the unions previously m en­
tioned; a local joint union-m anage­
m ent apprenticeship com m ittee; or
the nearest office o f the State ap­
prenticeship agency or the State em ­
ployment service.
For general information about the
work of plasterers, contact:
Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers’ Interna­
tional Union of America, 815 15th St.
NW„ Washington, D.C. 20005.
International Association of Wall and Ceiling
Contractors/Gypsum Drywall Contrac­
tors International, 1711 Connecticut
Ave., NW., Washington, D.C. 20009.
Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ In­
ternational Association o f the United
States and Canada, 1 125 17th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

PLUMBERS AND
PIPEFITTERS
(D.O.T. 862.381)

Nature of the Work
Plumbers and pipefitters install
pipe systems that carry water, steam,
air, or other liquids or gases. They
also alter and repair existing pipe
systems and install plumbing fixtures,
appliances, and heating and refrig­
eration units.
Although plumbing and pipefitting
are som etimes considered a single
trade, workers can specialize in ei­
th er craft. Plum bers install w ater,
gas, and waste disposal systems in
homes, schools, factories, and other
buildings. Pipefitters, on the other
hand, install both high- and low-pres­

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

282

su re p ip es th a t c a rry hot w a te r,
steam, and other liquids and gases for
use in industrial processes. For exam ­
ple, pipefitters install the com plex
pipe system s in oil refineries and
chemical processing plants.
In each o f these trades, installation
techniques are similar because they
all involve pipes, faucets, and valves,
and problem s encountered in one
trade are similar to those in another.
Most pipes are copper, cast iron,
or some other metal; others may be
plastic, glass, or other non-metallic
m aterial. While some iron pipes
com e ready to install, other metal or
plastic pipes may have to be “ fitted ”
for the job. To fit pipes, workers may
have to m easure, bend, cut, and
thread pipes, then bolt, braze, glue,
screw, solder, or weld them together.
For exacting cuts, workers use a
pipecutter. This tool has a long han­
dle and two very sharp, 1- to 2-inch,
steel-cutting wheels. W orkers sepa­
rate the w heels’ edges, set the pipe
b e tw e e n th e m , th e n tig h te n th e
wheels against the pipe. Tightening
causes the sharp edges o f the wheels
to cut just into the p ip e’s surface on
opposite sides. Using the handle for
leverage, w orkers ro ta te the tool,
causing the steel wheels to cu t a
groove in an exact line around the
pipe. To cu t entirely through the
pipe, workers repeatedly tighten the
wheels and rotate the tool around the
pipe.
To prepare pipes that will be
screw ed to g e th e r, w orkers so m e­
times must thread pipes. Threads are
the grooves th at spiral around the
ends of pipes either on the outside or
the inside.
W orkers thread pipes with a pipethreader, a tool similar to the pipecutter. The pipethreader has one or
more steel cutting dies (like rows of
teeth) pitched at an angle. W orkers
fasten this tool to the end of a pipe.
As they rotate the threader around
the pipe, the dies’ pitched angle and
sharp edges cause the threader to
m ove along as it shaves a groove
around the pipe.
W orkers also may bend pipes to fit
around obstructions. To bend a pipe,
workers fasten it securely within a
bending device at or near the point of
the intended bend, then apply pres­

sure to one end of the pipe.


When the pipes and other pieces
are ready, workers install and con­
nect them according to the instruc­
tions on blueprints. They may have
to drill holes in ceilings, floors, and
walls, or hang steel supports from
ceilings to position the pipes proper­
tyAfter setting the pipes in place,
workers connect them . They insert
the end o f a pipe into the slightly
larger end of a valve or properly
shaped connector. W orkers then
may use wrenches to screw threaded
pipes tightly together, or may glue,
solder, or weld connections to p re­
vent leaks. To connect large pipes,
such as those in buildings or industri­
al plants, workers bolt together the
raised collars on the ends of pipes
and valves.
Some plumbers and pipefitters
specialize in gas, steam , or sprinkler
fitting. Gasfitters install and m aintain
the fittings and extensions that co n ­
n ect gasline m ains with the lines
leading to hom es. S team fitters as­
semble and install steam or hot w ater
systems for com m ercial and industri­
al uses. Sprinkler fitters install and
m aintain the piping for fire extin­
guishing systems.

Plumbers and pipefitters use
wrenches, ream ers, drills, braces and
bits, ham m ers, chisels, saws, and o th ­
er handtools. Power machines often
are used to cut, bend, and thread
pipes. H and-operated hydraulic pipe
benders also are used. In addition,
plumbers and pipefitters use gas or
acetylene torches and welding, sol­
dering, and brazing equipm ent.

Places of Employment
Most plum bers and p ipefitters—
who n u m b ered ab o u t 385,000 in
1976—work for plumbing and pipe­
fitting contractors engaged in new
c o n s tru c tio n a c tiv ity , and w o rk
mainly at the construction site. A
substantial proportion of plum bers
are self-employed or work for plum b­
ing contractors doing repair, alter­
ation, or m odernization work. Some
plum bers install and m aintain pipe
systems for governm ent agencies and
public utilities, and some work on the
construction of ships and aircraft.
Others do m aintenance work in in­
dustrial and com m ercial buildings.
P ip efitters, in p artic u la r, are em ­
ployed as m aintenance personnel in
the petroleum , chem ical, and food-

Plumbing is one of the highest paying building trades.

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

processing industries where m anu­
facturing operations include the pro­
cessing of liquids and gases through
pipes.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

283

go into business for themselves. As
they expand their activities, they may
employ o th er workers and becom e
contractors. In most localities, con­
tractors are required to obtain a m as­
ter plum ber’s license.

nual earnings of w orkers in these
fields are among the highest in the
building trades because plum bing
and pipefitting are affected less by
bad weather and fluctuations in con­
struction activity than are most other
building trades.
Plumbing and pipefitting work is
Employment Outlook
active and sometimes strenuous.
Employment of plumbers and These workers frequently must stand
pipefitters is expected to grow faster for long periods and occasionally
than the average for all occupations work in cram ped or uncom fortable
through the m id-1980’s. Thousands positions. They risk the danger of
of job openings are expected because falls from ladders, cuts from sharp
of em ploym ent growth and the need tools, and burns from hot pipes. The
to replace plumbers and pipefitters injury rate for employees of plum b­
who retire, die, or stop working for ing, heating, and air-conditioning
contractors in the construction in­
other reasons.
Employment is expected to grow dustry has been about the same as
mainly as a result of the anticipated the average for contract construction
increase in construction activity. as a whole, but higher than the aver­
Furtherm ore, plumbing will become age for manufacturing.
Many plumbers and pipefitters are
more im portant in many types of
members of the United Association
construction. For example, a larger
proportion of homes will have air- of Journeymen and Apprentices of
conditioning equipm ent, solar heat­ the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Indus­
ing devices, and appliances such as try of the United States and Canada.
washing m achines and kitchen waste- Some plumbers and pipefitters who
disposal equipm ent. Chem ical and are contractors are members of the
petroleum refineries and coal gasifi­ N ational A ssociation of Plumbingca tio n an d n u c le a r p o w e rp lan ts, Heating-Cooling Contractors.
which use pipe extensively in their
Sources of Additional
processing activities, are expected to
Information
expand, thus creating additional jobs
for plumbers and pipefitters. M ainte­
For information about apprentice­
nance, repair, and modernization of ships or work opportunities in these
existing plumbing or piping systems trades, contact local plumbing, heat­
also will create em ploym ent opportu­ ing, and air-conditioning contractors;
nities.
a lo cal o f th e unio n m en tio n e d
Employment growth is expected to above; a local joint union-m anage­
be fairly steady in the years ahead m ent apprenticehip com m ittee; or
since plum bing and pipefitting are the nearest office of the State em ­
less sensitive to ups and downs in ploym ent service or State ap p ren ­
construction activity than are most ticeship agency.
other building trades.
For general information about the
work of plumbers, pipefitters, and
sprinkler fitters, contact:
Earnings and Working

Apprenticeship is the best way for
plumbers or pipefitters to learn all
aspects of these trades. A large num ­
ber of people, however, learn plum b­
ing and pipefitting by working for
several years as helpers to experi­
enced plumbers and pipefitters, and
observing and receiving instruction
from them.
Most apprenticeship programs for
plum bers and pipefitters are spon­
sored th ro u g h u n io n-m anagem ent
agreements and usually consist of 5
years of on-the-job training, in addi­
tion to at least 216 hours annually of
related classroom instruction. Sub­
jects include drafting and blueprint
reading, m athem atics applicable to
layout w ork, applied physics and
chemistry, and local building codes
and regulations.
On the job, helpers and apprentic­
es begin with simple tasks such as
carrying m aterials and cleaning up
debris. In a short time they learn to
measure and cut pipe, and later to
bend, th read , and connect it. The
m ost difficult form o f connecting
pipe is welding. This is taught toward
the end of training. In the final phase
of training, helpers and apprentices
may learn to estimate costs.
Applicants for apprentice or help­
er jobs generally are required to be at
least 16 years old and in good phys­
ical condition. A high school or voca­
tional school education generally is
recom m ended. Courses in chemistry,
gen eral m ath em atics, m echanical
drawing, physics, and shop are help­
Conditions
ful. Applicants may be given tests to
determine whether they have the me­
According to a survey of m etropol­
chanical aptitude required in these itan a re a s, union wage ra te s for
trades. To obtain a p lu m b e r’s or plumbers and for pipefitters in 1976
pipefitter’s license, which some com ­ averaged $10.40 an hour, or about
m unities require, individuals must twice the average wage for nonsuperpass a special examination to dem on­ visory and production workers in pri­
strate knowledge of the trade and of vate industry, except farming. A p­
the local plumbing codes.
prentice wage rates start at 40 to 50
Some plumbers and pipefitters percent o f the rate paid to experi­
may becom e supervisors for plum b­ enced plumbers or pipefitters and in­
ing and pipefitting contractors. Many crease as they gain experience. A n­



National Association of Plumbing-HeatingCooling Contractors, 1016 20th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.
National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Con­
trol Association, P.O. Box 719, Mt. Kisco
N.Y. 10549.
United Association of Journeymen and Ap­
prentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting
Industry of the United States and Canada,
901 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20001.

284

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

ROOFERS
(D.O.T. 804.281, 843.844, and
866.381 )

Nature of the Work
A leaky roof can cause damage to
ceilings, walls, and furnishings. To
keep out water, roofers apply m ateri­
als such as asphalt, felt, shingles,
slate, and tile to the roofs of build­
ings. These workers also w aterproof
walls and floors.
Roofers work with various kinds of
roofing. To apply com position roof­
ing, such as tar-and-gravel, roofers
first m easure, cut, and place strips of
tarred felt over the entire surface.
Next, they pour hot tar from a bucket
and mop the tar over the felt and
seams to seal them and make the sur­
face watertight. They repeat the first
two steps to build up the thickness of
the tar. For the last coat, they use a
broom like device to spread a hot
mixture of thick tar over the surface.
Finally, they add gravel, which sticks
firmly to the tar.
When applying asphalt shingles,
another type of composition roofing,
roofers first lay, cut, and tack threefoot strips o f roofing felt lengthwise
over the entire roof. Then, starting
from the bottom edge, they overlap
and nail succeeding rows of asphalt
shingles. W orkers measure and cut
the felt and shingles to fit around
corners, pipes, and chimneys. W her­
ever two ro o f su rfaces in te rse c t,
roofers cem ent or nail flashing (strips
of felt or m etal) over the joints to
make them watertight.

A roofer’s work may be especially hot dur­
 ing summer.


Roofers also use m etal, tile, and
slate. They build metal roofs by sol­
dering to g e th e r m etal sheets and
nailing them over the wood sheath­
ing. To install tile and slate roofs,
they place a covering o f felt over the
wood sheathing, punch holes in the
slate or tile, and nail it to the sheath­
ing. Each row of slate or tile overlaps
the preceding row. Finally, roofers
cover exposed nailheads with cem ent
to prevent rust and w ater leakage.
They use handtools such as h am ­
mers, roofing knives, mops, and calk­
ing guns.
Some roofers also w aterproof and
dam pproof masonry and concrete
walls and floors. To prepare surfaces
for waterproofing, they ham m er and
chisel away rough spots or remove
them with a rubbing brick before
brushing on a coat of liquid w ater­
proofing com pound. They also may
paint or spray surfaces with a w ater­
proofing material or nail w aterproof­
ing fabric to surfaces. When dam p­
proofing, they usually spray a coating
of tar or asphalt on interior or exteri­
or surfaces.

w aterproof depends upon the em ­
ployer.
The apprenticeship program gen­
erally consists of a minimum of 1,400
hours of on-the-job training annually,
in addition to 144 hours of classroom
instruction in subjects such as blue­
print reading, m athem atics, and safe­
ty. On-the-job training for apprentic­
es is sim ilar to th a t for help ers,
except that the apprenticeship p ro ­
gram is broader and more structured.
For exam ple, apprentices work on
specific areas of roofing for specified
periods. They also learn to dam pproof and waterproof.
For those interested in becoming
roofers, a high school education or
its equivalent is helpful, as are
courses in mechancial drawing and
basic mathem atics. Good physical
condition and a good sense of bal­
ance also are im portant assets. Appli­
cants for apprenticeship program s
must be at least 18 years old.
Roofers may advance to supervisor
or to superintendent for a roofing
contractor. Also, they may enter
business for themselves and hire o th ­
er roofers.

Places of Employment
A bout 90,000 roofers were em ­
ployed in 1976. M ost w orked for
roofing contractors on construction
or repair jobs. Some worked for busi­
nesses and governm ent agencies that
do their own construction and repair
work. A few roofers were self-em­
ployed.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A 3 -y e a r a p p r e n tic e s h ip p r o ­
gram— usually sponsored by a local
u n io n -m a n a g e m e n t c o m m itte e —
generally provides the most thorough
training for this trade. However, the
m ajority o f ro o fers acq u ire th eir
skills informally by working as help­
ers for experienced roofers.
Helpers learn the trade on the job.
They start by carrying equipm ent
and m aterial and by erecting scaf­
folds. Within 2 or 3 months they are
taught to m easure, cut, and fit roof­
ing m aterials such as felt. Soon, they
are able to lay asphalt shingles. After
a year or so, they learn to lay and fit
tile, and eventually slate. W hether or
not helpers learn to dam pproof or

Employment Outlook
Employment of roofers is expected
to increase faster than the average
for all occupations through the mid1980’s. More roofers will be needed
due to the longrun increase in co n ­
struction activity. New construction
and repairs on existing roofs will p ro ­
vide most of the work opportunities.
D am pproofing and w aterproofing,
however, will provide an increasing
proportion of roofers’ work. Besides
the job openings resulting from em ­
ploym ent growth, some openings will
arise from the need to replace experi­
enced roofers who retire, die, or stop
working for other reasons. Because
construction activity fluctuates, how­
ever, job openings may be plentiful in
some years, scarce in others. Jobs
should be easiest to find d u rin g
spring and sum m er since roofing
work picks up as the w eather b e­
comes warmer.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, union roofers in m etro­
politan areas had estim ated average

285

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

wages of $9.30 an hour, or about
twice the average hourly rate paid to
nonsupervisory or production work­
ers in private industry, except farm­
ing. Yearly earnings for roofers and
apprentices, however, generally are
lower than hourly rates would indi­
cate because the annual num ber of
hours they work can be adversely af­
fected by poor w eather and fluctu­
ations in construction activity.
Apprentices usually start at 65 per­
cent of the skilled ro ofer’s pay rate
and receive increases periodically.
Roofers’ work is sometimes strenu­
ous. It involves a lot of standing, as
well as climbing, bending, and squat­
ting. Roofers risk injuries from slips
or falls from scaffolds or roofs, and
may have to be outdoors in all types
of weather, particularly when making
repairs. The work may be especially
hot during the summer months.
Many roofers are members of the
United Slate, Tile and Composition
Roofers, Damp and W aterproof
W orkers Association.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about roofing ap­
prenticeships or work opportunities
in this trade, contact local roofing
contractors; a local of the union pre­
viously m e n tio n e d ; a local jo in t
union-m anagem ent apprenticeship
committee; or the nearest office of
the S tate em p lo y m ent service or
State apprenticeship agency.
For information about the work of
roofers, contact:
National Roofing Contractors Association,
1515 N. Harlem Ave., Oak Park, 11 .
1
60302.

SHEET-METAL WORKERS
(D.O.T. 804.281 and .884)

Nature of the Work
Sheet-metal workers fabricate and
install sheet-m etal ducts for air-con­
ditioning, heating, and ventilating
systems; flat metal for kitchen walls
and counters; and stam ped metal for
 siding. Some w orkers
roofing and


Some sheet-metal workers specialize in shopwork.

specialize in either shopwork or o n ­
site installation; others do both.
Sheet-m etal workers fabricate
much of the metal at the shop. W ork­
ing from b lu ep rin t specifications,
they m easure, cut, bend, shape, and
fasten m ost of the pieces that will be
used on the job. Tapes are used for
measuring; hand shears, hack saws,
and power saws for cutting; and spe­
cially designed, heavy steel presses
for cutting, bending, and shaping.
Once the metal is m easured and cut,
workers then bolt, cem ent, rivet, sol­
der, or weld the seams and joints to ­
gether to form ducts, pipes, tubes,
and other items.
A t the co n stru c tio n site, sheetmetal workers usually just assemble
and install pieces fabricated at the
shop. Sometimes, however, workers
make parts by hand at the worksite,

using ham m ers, shears, and drills.
W orkers install ducts, pipes, and
tubes by joining them end to end and
hanging them with m etal braces se­
cured to a ceiling or a wall. To hold
the pieces together, workers som e­
times bolt, glue, or solder the con­
nections.
Molded and pressed sheet-metals,
such as roofing and siding, usually
are m easured and cut on the job.
After securing the first panel in
place, workers interlock and fasten
the grooved edge of the next panel
into the grooved edge of the first.
They nail the free edge of the panel
to the structure. This two-step p ro­
cess is repeated for each additional
panel. Finally, at joints, along c o r­
ners, and around windows and doors,
workers fasten m achine-m ade m old­
ing for a neat, finished effect.

286

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Places of Employment
Sheet-m etal workers in the con­
struction industry—who num bered
about 65,000 in 1976—are employed
mainly by contractors who specialize
in heating, refrigeration, and air-con­
ditioning equipm ent, and by general
co n tracto rs engaged in residential,
industrial, and com m ercial building.
A dditional sheet-m etal workers are
employed by governm ent agencies or
businesses th at do th eir own co n ­
struction and alteration work. Very
few are self-employed.
Sheet-metal workers are employed
throughout the country, but jobs are
concentrated in m etropolitan areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Many sheet-m etal workers have
acquired their skills by working as
helpers, observing and being taught
by experienced workers. The m ajor­
ity, however, have learned through
apprenticeship, which provides the
most thorough training.
The apprenticeship program usual­
ly consists of 4 years o f on-the-job
training, in addition to related class­
room instruction. On the jo b , ap ­
prentices learn to use the tools, m a­
chines, equipm ent, and m aterials of
the trade. In the first 2 years, they
learn to m easure, cut, bend, fabri­
cate, and install sheet-m etal. They
begin with duct work and gradually
advance to fab ricatin g decorative
pieces. Toward the end of their train­
ing, they learn to use m aterials such
as plastics and acoustical tile, which
may be substituted for metal on some
jobs. C lassroom instruction covers
subjects such as drafting, blueprint
reading, m athem atics, and first-aid.
Safety is stressed throughout the pro­
gram. In addition, apprentices learn
the relationship between sheet-metal
work and o ther construction work.
W orkers who pick up the trade
informally usually begin by carrying
metal and cleaning up debris in a
metal shop. While there, they learn
about m aterials and their costs as
well as tools and their uses. Then, as
employers permit, helpers learn to
set switches and operate levers on

machines that bend or cut metal. In


time, helpers leave the shop and go
out on the job to learn installation.
Applicants for jobs as apprentices
or helpers should be in good physical
condition and have m echanical apti­
tude. Apprentices should have a high
school or vocational school educa­
tio n o r e q u i v a l e n t e d u c a t i o n .
Courses in m athem atics, m echanical
drawing, and shop provide a helpful
background for learning the trade.
Sheet-m etal workers in construc­
tion may advance to supervisory jobs
or may go into the contracting busi­
ness.

Employment Outlook
Employment of sheet-metal w ork­
ers in construction is expected to in­
crease about as fast as the average
for all occupations through the mid1980’s. In addition to jobs from em ­
ployment growth, many openings will
arise as experienced workers retire,
die, or leave work for other reasons.
As population and business grow,
more sheet-metal workers will be
needed to install air-conditioning and
heating duct work and other sheetmetal products in new houses, stores,
offices, and other buildings. The d e­
mand for air-conditioning systems in
older buildings also will boost em ­
ployment growth.
Athough em ploym ent is expected
to increase over the long run, job
openings may fluctuate from year to
year due to ups and downs in con­
struction activity. W hen construction
activity is depressed, jobs for sheetmetal workers may be available in
other industries.

shops doing fabricating and layout
work.
W hen installing gutters and sky­
lights, they work high above ground.
When installing ventilation and airconditioning systems, they may work
in awkward and cram ped positions.
Sheet-m etal w orkers risk cuts and
burns from materials and tools. The
injury rate for workers in this trade is
higher than the average for all co n ­
struction workers.
A large proportion of sheet-m etal
workers are members of the Sheet
Metal W orkers’ International Associ­
ation.

Sources of Additional
Information
For more information about ap­
prenticeships or other work opportu­
nities, contact local sheet-metal co n ­
tractors or heating, refrigeration, or
air-conditioning contractors; a local
of the union m entioned above; a lo­
cal joint union-m anagem ent appren­
ticeship committee; or the nearest of­
fice of the State em ploym ent service
or apprenticeship agency.
For general information about
sheet-metal workers, contact:
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contrac­
tors’ National Association, Inc., 8224 Old
Courthouse Rd., Tyson’s Comer, Vienna,
Va. 22180.

TILESETTERS
(D.O.T. 861.781)

Nature of the Work
Earnings and Working
Conditions
Union sheet-m etal workers in m et­
ropolitan areas had estim ated aver­
age wages of $ 10.10 an hour in 1976.
This is about twice the average for
p r o d u c tio n an d n o n s u p e rv is o ry
workers in private industry, except
farm ing. S h eet-m e ta l a p p re n tic e s
generally start at 45 percent of the
rate paid to experienced workers and
receive periodic pay raises.
Many sheet-m etal workers spend
considerable time at the construction
site, working either indoors or o u t­
d o o rs. O th e rs w ork p rim arily in

In ancient Egypt and Rome, tile
was used for the design and construc­
tion of mosaics—an art form using
small, decorative ceram ic squares.
Today, in a fashion similar to th at of
the ancient artists, tilesetters apply
tile to floors, walls, and ceilings.
To set tile, which ranges in size
from 1/2 inch to 6 inches square,
workers in this trade use either ce­
m ent or mastic (a very sticky paste).
When using cem ent, tilesetters first
m ust tack a support of screenlike
mesh to the floor, wall, or ceiling.
They mix a coarse cem ent, spread it
onto the screen with a trowel, and,

CONSTRUCTION OCCUPATIONS

287

cem ent mixture. They then scrape
the surface with a rubber-edged de­
vice called a squeegee. This action
safely removes grout from the face of
the tiles, forces it into the joints, and
removes any excess. Before the grout
dries, workers wash the surface with
water.

Places of Employment
Tilesetters—who num bered about
36,000 in 1976—are employed
mainly in nonresidential construction
projects, such as schools, hospitals,
and public and com m ercial build­
ings. A significant proportion of tile­
setters— about one out of five—are
self-employed.
Tilesetters are employed through­
out the country but are found largely
in the more populated urban areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

About 1 out of 5 tilesetters is self-employed.

with a rakelike device, scratch the
surface of the wet cem ent. After the
cem ent has dried workers trowel on a
richer coat of cem en t, working it
back and forth in sweeping motions
until it is smooth and even.
When using mastic to set tile, tilesetters need a flat, solid surface such
as dryw all or c o n c re te . W orkers
spread the mastic with a tooth-edged
metal trowel to create tiny ridges in
the mastic. When the tile is set onto
the ridges, it creates a suction that
helps hold the tile.
Since tile is o f v arious colors,
shapes, and sizes, workers sometimes
prearrange the tiles on a dry floor
 a specified design. This
according to


allows workers to examine the p at­
tern and make any necessary chang­
es.
W hether or not the tiles are prear­
ranged, tile setters place each tile
onto the cem ent or m astic. Some
tiles are cut with either a m achine
saw or a special cutting tool so they
can fit into corners and around pipes,
tubs, and wash basins. Once the tile is
placed, tilesetters gently tap the sur­
face of the tiles with a small block of
wood so that all the tiles rest evenly
and flatly.
When the cem ent or the mastic has
“ set” behind the tile, tilesetters use a
rubber trowel to cover the tile and
the joints with grout—a very fine

Most training authorities recom ­
mend the completion of a 3-year ap­
prenticeship program as the best way
to learn tilesetting. A substantial p ro­
portion of tilesetters, however, ac­
quire their skills informally by work­
ing as helpers and being taught by
experienced workers.
The apprenticeship program gen­
erally consists of on-the-job training
and related classroom instruction in
subjects such as blueprint reading,
layout work, and basic mathematics.
Apprentices begin by learning the
names of tools and how to use them.
Within a short time they are taught to
mix and apply cem ent, then to apply
mastic. Later, they learn to cut tile
and install it.
Those who learn informally gener­
ally receive less thorough training.
T hey s ta rt by c a rry in g su p p lies,
cleaning work areas, and washing off
the finished tile. Depending on the
em p lo y er, a h elp er may learn to
spread cem ent or mastic. Eventually,
a helper is taught to cut and set tile.
When hiring apprentices or help­
ers, em ployers usually prefer high
school or vocational school gradu­
ates who have had courses in general
m athem atics, m echanical drawing,
and shop. Good physical condition,
manual dexterity, and a good sense

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

288

of color harmony also are im portant
assets.
Skilled tilesetters may become su­
pervisors or start their own contract­
ing businesses.

houses and apartm ents also will spur
em ploym ent in this trade.

Employment Outlook

According to 1976 estimates o f
union wages in m etropolitan areas,
hourly rates for tilesetters averaged
$9.35, or about twice the hourly rate
paid to nonsupervisory and produc­
tion workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming. Hourly wage rates for
apprentices start at about 50 to 60
p ercen t o f the rate paid to union
workers and increase periodically.
Since tilesetters work mostly in­
doors, the annual num ber of hours
they work generally is higher than
some of the other contruction crafts.
This difference may be reflected in
added annual earnings.
The principal unions organizing
these workers are the International
Union of Bricklayers and Allied
Craftsm en; and the International As­

Em ploym ent o f tilesetters is ex­
pected to increase about as fast as
th e a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-1980’s. While em ­
ployment growth will provide some
new job opportunities, most will re­
sult from the need to replace tileset­
ters who retire, die, or leave the oc­
cupation for other reasons. Because
tilesetters is a small occupation, how­
ever, there will be relatively few job
openings annually.
Population and business growth is
expected to cause an increase in the
construction of houses and other
buildings, thus increasing the d e ­
m and fo r tile s e tte rs . T he tre n d
toward two tile bathroom s or more in




Earnings and Working
Conditions

sociation of Marble, Slate and Stone
Polishers, Rubbers and Sawyers, Tile
and M arble S e tte rs ’ H elpers and
Marble Mosaic and Terrazzo W ork­
ers’ Helpers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about apprenticeship or
other work opportunities in this
trade, contact local tile setting co n ­
tractors; locals of the unions previ­
ously mentioned; or the nearest of­
fice of the State em ploym ent service
or State apprenticeship agency.
For general information about the
work of tilesetters, contact:
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied
Craftsmen, International Masonry Ap­
prenticeship Trust, 815 15th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20005.
Tile Contractors’ Association of America,
Inc., 112 North Alfred St., Alexandria,
Va. 22314.

OCCUPATIONS IN TRANSPORTATION ACTIVITIES
The transportation industries offer
a wide range of career opportunities.
Jobs in air, rail, highway, and water
transportation vary from those that
require little education to technical
and administrative positions that re­
quire at least a college degree.

Although this field includes a vari­
ety of jobs, almost half of the workers
provide tran sp o rta tio n , by driving
buses and trucks, flying aircraft, or
operating trains and ships. The rest
of the workers in this industry pro­
vide the countless support services

Occupations in transportation activities, 1976




that are needed. For example, some
employees deal directly with custom ­
ers—flight attendants and reserva­
tion agents assist passengers and rail­
ro a d s ta tio n a g e n ts a rra n g e to
transport cargo for businesses. O ther
workers, such as airplane mechanics,
truck m echanics, and railroad shopworkers are needed to keep transpor­
tation equipm ent in good working
condition.
As o u r econom y ex p a n d s and
population grows, dem and for freight
and passenger service will rise, and
more transportation workers will be
needed. Employment trends will vary
among the different modes of trans­
portation, however. Employment in
most air and highway transportation
jobs will increase, while employm ent
in the m erchant m arine and m ost
jobs within the railroad industry will
decline. Even in most declining occu­
pations, however, new workers will
be hired to replace those who retire,
die, or transfer to other fields.
The transportation occupations
m entioned in this introduction, as
well as many more, are described in
detail in the following sections.

289

AIR TRANSPORTATION OCCUPATIONS

Air transportation offers excellent
opportunities for persons of varying
skills, training, and experience.
Working conditions generally are
good and the pay is fairly high. Many
employees have an opportunity to
travel, either on the job or because
they are entitled to fly at reduced
fares on most airlines.
Through the m id-1980’s, em ploy­
m ent in air transportation occupa­
tions as a whole is expected to grow
as the num ber of planes increases. In
addition to job openings created by
growth, many new em ployees will be
hired to replace those who retire, die,
or stop working for o ther reasons.
The individual statem ents that fol­
low describe the occupations most
closely associated with flying: air­
plane pilots, flight attendants, air­
plane m echanics, air traffic control­
lers, and re se rv a tio n , tick et, and
passenger agents.

AIR TRAFFIC
CONTROLLERS
( D.O.T. 193.168)

Nature of the Work
Air traffic controllers are the
guardians of the airways. C ontrollers
keep track of planes flying within
their assigned area, giving pilots in­
structions that will keep the planes
separated. Their immediate concern
is safety, but within this framework,
controllers must direct planes effi­
ciently to m inim ize delays. Som e
regulate airport traffic; others regu­
late flights between airports.
From the control tower, airport
traffic controllers can see the planes
that are on the ground and in the air
nearby. Planes that are farther away
or at a higher altitude show up on the
radar screen. As planes approach an
airport, pilots radio ahead to inform

Keen competition is expected for the relatively small
number of openings in air transportation occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


290


H I

Growth BM !l Replacement
M

the tower of their presence and re­
quest permission to land. If the way is
clear, controllers direct the pilots to
a runway; if the airport is busy, co n ­
trollers fit the plane into a traffic p at­
tern with other aircraft waiting to
land. They also provide pilots with
information about conditions at the
a irp o rt, such as the w eather, the
speed and direction of the wind, and
the visibility. C ontrollers constantly
observe the planes under their direc­
tion, and if a controller notices that
two planes are on a collision course,
one of the pilots will be instructed to
turn or change altitude.
A similar procedure is used for
takeoffs. If necessary, a tem porary
break in traffic is arranged, the plane
is instructed to depart, and a control­
ler observes it on radar to guide the
pilot around other planes.
After each plane departs, airport
traffic controllers notify the enroute
controllers who will be next to take
charge. There are 25 enroute control
centers located around the country.
Enroute controllers work in team s of
two or three. Because airplanes gen­
erally fly along specially designated
routes, each team is assigned a ce r­
tain am ount of airspace along one of
these routes. A team , for example,
might be responsible for all planes
that are betw een 30 to 100 miles
north of the airport and flying at an
altitude between 6,000 and 18,000
feet.
When a plane enters a team ’s air­
space, one controller com m unicates
with the pilots by radio and follows
the plane’s flight path on radar. The
remaining team mem bers prepare for
other planes about to enter their area
by com m unicating with neighboring
control towers and adjacent centers,
and organizing flight plans coming
over teletype machines and com put­
er displays. These plans were filed by
pilots and provide controllers with
information such as when a plane will
enter the team ’s airspace and at what
altitude.
Enroute controllers also warn pi­
lots about nearby planes, bad w eath­
er conditions, and other possible haz­
ards. If two planes are on a collision
course they will be directed around
each other. Or if a pilot wants to

291

AIR TRANSPORTATION OCCUPATIONS

Controllers coordinate flight activities to prevent accidents and expedite takeoffs and
landings.

tals of the airway system, Federal avi­
a tio n r e g u la tio n s , c o n tr o lle r
equipm ent, and aircraft perform ance
c h a ra c te ristic s. T hey receive a p ­
proxim ately 16 weeks of intensive
training, including practice on simu­
lators, at the FAA Academy in O kla­
hom a City. It usually takes 2 to 3
years of progressively more respon­
sible work experience to become a
fully qualified controller. Each year,
controllers must pass a physical ex­
amination; they must pass a job per­
form ance exam ination twice each
year.
Controllers can transfer to jobs at
different locations and advance to
supervisory positions. Some advance
to more responsible managem ent
jobs in air traffic control and a few to
top administrative jobs in the FAA.

Employment Outlook
change altitude in search of better
flying conditions, the controller will
check to determ ine th at no other
planes will be along the proposed
path during the altitude change.
As the flight progresses, the team
responsible for the aircraft notifies
the next team that will be in charge.
Through this coordination, one team
after another watches over the plane
until it safely arrives at its destina­
tion.
C ontrollers usually have several
planes under their control at one
time, and often have to make quick
decisions about completely different
activities. For example, an airport
controller might be directing a plane
on its landing approach, and at the
same time be providing pilots just
entering the airport’s airspace with
information about conditions at the
airport. While instructing these pi­
lots, the controller also would be ob­
serving other planes in the vicinity,
such as those in a holding pattern
waiting for permission to land, to d e­
termine th at they remain well sepa­
rated.

Places of Employment
The sole employer of civilian air
traffic controllers is the Federal Avi­
ation Administration (FA A ). About
21,000 persons worked as air traffic
 1976, mostly at major
controllers in


airports and air route traffic control
centers located near large cities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Air traffic controller trainees are
selected through the competitive
Federal Civil Service System. Appli­
cants m ust be less than 31 years old
and must pass a written test that m ea­
sures their ability to learn and p er­
form the controller’s duties. In addi­
tion, applicants must have 3 years of
general work experience or 4 years
of college, or a com bination of both.
Applicants with sufficient experience
as military controllers, pilots, or navi­
gators may be hired without taking
the written test. Applicants must be
in excellent health and have vision
correctable to 20/20.
Potential controllers should be a r­
ticu late, since directions to pilots
must be given quickly and clearly. A
quick and retentive memory also is
im portant because controllers co n ­
stantly receive inform ation about the
planes under their direction which
they must immediately grasp, inter­
pret, and rem em ber for a short peri­
od. A decisive personality is an asset,
since controllers often have to make
rapid decisions.
Successful applicants receive a
com bination of on-the-job and for­
mal training to learn the fundam en­

Employment of air traffic control­
lers is expected to increase faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to openings resulting from growth,
many others will arise as experienced
controllers retire, die, or leave the
occupation for other reasons. C om ­
p etition for jobs should be keen,
how ever, because the num ber of
qualified applicants is expected to be
m uch g reater than the num ber of
openings.
As th e n u m b er o f a irc ra ft in ­
creases, the skyways will becom e
more congested and more controllers
will be needed. Also, to prevent col­
lisions, the FAA has created spaces
near certain airports and above cer­
tain altitudes which require all pilots
to receive directions from air traffic
controllers. If, as expected, the num ­
ber and size of these spaces are ex­
panded, additional controllers will be
needed despite the g reater use of
new, autom ated control equipm ent.
College graduates who have civil­
ian or military experience as control­
lers, pilots, or navigators, will have
the best em ploym ent opportunities.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976 controller trainees earned
$11,500 a year; the average earnings
for all controllers was $22,300 a

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

292

year, or over twice the average for all
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming. Depending
on length of service, they receive 13
to 26 days of paid vacation and 13
days of paid sick leave each year, life
insurance, health benefits, and, due
to the stress involved in the work, a
m ore lib era l re tire m e n t program
than other Federal employees.
C ontrollers work a basic 40-hour
week; however, they may work addi­
tional hours for which they receive
overtime pay or equal time off. Be­
cause c o n tro l tow ers and cen ters
must be operated 24 hours a day, 7
days a week, controllers are assigned
to night and weekend shifts on a ro ­
tating basis.
Air traffic controllers sometimes
work under great stress. They must
keep track of several planes at the
same time and make certain all pilots
receive correct instructions.
Many controllers belong to the
Professional Air Traffic Controllers
Organization.

Sources of Additional
Information
A pam phlet providing general in­
formation about controllers and in­
structions for submitting applications
is available from any U.S. Civil Ser­
vice C om m ission Job Inform ation
C enter. Look under U.S. G overn­
ment, Civil Service Commission, in
your telephone book to obtain a local
Job Inform ation C en ter telephone
num ber and call for a copy of A n­
nouncem ent 418. If there is no listing
in your telephone book, dial the tollfree num ber 800-555-1212 and re­
quest the toll-free num ber of the U.S.
Civil Service Commission Job Infor­
mation C enter for your location.

AIRPLANE MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 621.281)

Nature of the Work
Today most travelers hardly think
twice about flying thousands of feet
above the ground. The confidence
travelers have in airplanes is a tribute

to the m echanics who m aintain them.


Airplane mechanics perform sched­
uled m aintenance, m ake repairs, and
complete inspections required by the
F ed eral A viation A d m in istra tio n
(FAA).
In order to keep planes in top op­
erating condition, many m echanics
specialize in scheduled m aintenance.
Using a schedule that is based on the
n um ber o f flight h o u rs, ca le n d ar
days, or a com bination of these fac­
tors, the planes are inspected and
necessary m aintenance is perform ed.
M ec h an ics may exam ine engines
through specially designed openings,
working from ladders or scaffolds, or
use hoists or lifts to remove the entire
engine from the planes. M echanics
may take engines apart, measure the
parts for wear with delicate instru­
m ents, ch eck for invisible cracks
with X-ray and m agnetic inspection
equipm ent, and replace worn parts.
They also may re p air sheet-m etal
surfaces, m easure the tension of co n ­
trol cables, or check for rust, distor­
tion, and cracks in parts of fuselages
and wings. After making repairs, m e­
chanics test the equipm ent to make
sure the repairs were made properly.
Some m echanics specialize in re ­
pair work and use the pilot’s descrip­
tion o f a problem to find and fix
faulty equipm ent. For example, d u r­
ing the pre-flight check of the air­
plane, a pilot may discover that the
gas gauge does not work. To solve
the problem , m echanics may check
the electrical connections, replace
the g au g e, o r use e le c tric a l te s t
equipm ent to make sure no wires are
broken or shorted. They work as fast
as safety permits so that the plane
can be put back into service quickly.
M echanics may work on many
types of airplanes, on one type o f
plane, or they may specialize in
working on one section of the plane,
such as engines or electrical systems.
At small airports, m echanics usually
make all kinds of inspections and
repairs on many different types o f
aircraft.

Places of Employment
About 110,000 airplane m echan­
ics were employed in 1976, not in­
cluding about 30,000 who worked in
aircraft m anufacturing firms assem ­
b lin g a ir p l a n e s . O v e r o n e - h a lf

worked for airlines and about onethird worked for the Federal G overn­
ment. The rest were general aviation
m echanics, m ost of whom worked
for small repair shops or com panies
th a t o p e ra te th e ir own p lanes to
transport executives and cargo.
Most airline m echanics work near
large cities at the airlines’ main stops.
Many employees of the Federal G ov­
ernm ent are civilians em ployed by
the military and work at large mili­
tary bases. Others work for the FAA,
many in the headquarters at Oklahama City. Mechanics for small repair
shops work at airports in every part
of the country.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The majority of m echanics who
work on civilian aircraft are licensed
by the FAA as “ airfram e m echan­
ic s,” “ pow erplant m ech an ics,” or
“ aircraft inspectors.” Airframe m e­
chanics are qualified to work on the
fuselage, wings, landing gear, and
other structural parts of the plane,
w hile p o w e rp la n t m ech a n ics are
qualified only for work on the en­
gine. C o m b in a tio n airfra m e -a n d powerplant mechanics can work on
any part of the plane, and those with
an inspector’s license can certify in­
spection work com pleted by o ther
m echanics. U nlicensed m echanics
are supervised by those with licenses.
At least 18 months of work experi­
ence are required for an FAA air­
fram e or pow erplant license; for a
com bined license, at least 30 months
of experience working with both en­
gines and airframes are required. To
obtain an inspector’s license, a m e­
chanic m ust have held an airframeand-powerplant license for at least 3
years. Applicants for all licenses also
must pass written and oral tests and
give practical dem onstrations of their
ability to do the work authorized by
the license.
Most mechanics learn their job in
the Arm ed Forces or in trade schools
certified by the FAA. C ourses in
these trade schools last about 2 years
and provide training with the tools
and equipm ent m echanics will use on
the job. A ttendance at such schools
may be used as a substitute for work
e x p e rien ce when applying for an

293

AIR TRANSPORTATION OCCUPATIONS

high school graduates who are in
good physical condition. Experience
in autom otive repair or other m e­
chanical work is helpful.
Courses in m athem atics, physics,
chemistry, and m echanical drawing
are helpful for all prospective m e­
chanics because knowledge of the
principles involved in the operation
of an aircraft often is necessary in
order to learn how to make repairs.
A ircraft m echanics must be able to
do detailed work and have the
strength to lift heavy parts and tools.
Agility is im portant for the reaching
and climbing that are necessary to
the job. Aircraft m echanics must be
willing to work in high places, such as
on the top of wings and fuselages on
large jet planes.
As aircraft m echanics gain experi­
ence, they can advance to more re­
sponsible jobs. O p p o rtu n ities are
best for those who have an airframeand-powerplant license, as well as an
aircraft inspector’s license. The ave­
nue of advancem ent usually is m e­
chanic to head m echanic (or crew
chief), to inspector, to head inspec­
to r, to shop supervisor. In airline
com panies, a few supervisors may
advance to executive positions. With
additional business training, some
may open their own repair shops.

Employment Outlook

The confidence travelers have in airplanes is a tribute to the mechanics who maintain
them.

FAA license. However, these schools
do not g uarantee students jobs or
FAA licenses. People who were air­
craft m echanics in the Arm ed Forces
usually have earned credit towards
the work experience and other re­
Digitizedquirem ents of the license. They usu­
for FRASER


ally attend a shorter program at one
of the trade schools to learn the m a­
terial specific to civilian aircraft, b e­
fore taking the licensing test.
A few people becom e m echanics
through on-the-job training. For
these trainee jobs, employers prefer

The num ber of aircraft m echanics
is expected to increase faster than
the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to jobs resulting from growth, many
job openings will result from the
need to replace m echanics who
transfer to other fields of work, re­
tire, or die. However, job opportuni­
ties in general aviation, airline com ­
panies, and the Federal Governm ent
will differ.
Job opportunities in general avi­
ation are expected to be good. The
num ber of aircraft used by com pa­
nies for executive transportation is
expected to grow rapidly, thus in­
creasing the dem and for m echanics.
Since wages in small companies fre­
quently are low, there is less com pe­
tition for jobs than in the airlines.
Also, some additional jobs will be­
com e available as experienced m e­
chanics leave for better paying jobs

294

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

with airlines or large private com pa­
nies. Although employers in general
aviation prefer applicants with an airfram e-and-pow erplant license from
the FAA, some trainee jobs are avail­
able.
In contrast with general aviation,
com petition for airline jobs will be
keen because the high wages attract
more qualified applicants than there
are jobs available. A growing popula­
tion and rising incomes are expected
to increase the dem and for airline
tran sportation and, as airlines add
more planes to m eet this dem and,
m ore m ech a n ics will be n eed ed .
However, the introduction of larger
planes, com bined with the re cen t
slowdown in air traffic, has led to a
tem porary decrease in the need for
airline mechanics. T herefore, in the
near future, many of the new jobs
will be taken by experienced airline
m echanics now on furlough.
Little change in the num ber of
m echanics employed by the Federal
G overnm ent is expected. O pportuni­
ties will fluctuate with changes in d e­
fense spending.

Earnings and Workings
Conditions
In 1976, annual earnings of airline
m echanics averaged $23,061, about
2 1/2 times the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private industry,
ex cep t farm ing. As an ad d itio n al
benefit, airline m echanics and their
immediate families receive reduced
fare tran sp o rtatio n with their own
and most other airlines.
M echanics usually work in hangars
or in other indoor areas. However,
when repairs must be m ade quickly,
they may work outdoors. M echanics
sometimes must stand or lie in awk­
ward positions when making repairs.
Work areas are noisy when engines
are being tested.
M echanics employed by most m a­
jo r airlines are co v ered by union
agreem ents. The principal unions in
this field are the International Asso­
ciation of M achinists and A erospace
W orkers and the Transport W orkers
Union of America. Some m echanics
are represented by the International
B rotherhood of T eam sters, C hauf­
feurs, W arehousemen and Helpers of

America.


Sources of Additional
Information
For general inform ation about air­
plane m echanics, write to:
Aviation Maintenance Foundation, P.O. Box
739, Basin, Wyo. 82410.

Inform ation about jobs in a p ar­
ticular airline may be obtained by
writing to the personnel m anager of
the company. For addresses of airline
com panies, write to:
Air Transport Association of America, 1709
New York Ave. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.

For information on jobs in a p ar­
ticular area, contact employers at lo­
cal airports or local offices of the
State em ploym ent service.

AIRPLANE PILOTS
(D.O.T. 196.168, .228, .268, and
.283)

Nature of the Work
Pilots are skilled, highly trained
professionals who fly planes to carry
out a wide variety of tasks. Although
most pilots transport passengers and
cargo, many others perform tasks
such as crop dusting, inspecting
power lines, and taking photographs.
Except on small aircraft, two pilots
usually are needed to fly the plane.
Generally, the most experienced pi­
lot (called captain by the airlines) is
in com m and and supervises any o th ­
er crew mem bers on board. The co ­
pilot assists in com m unicating with
air traffic controllers, monitoring the
instrum ents, and flying the plane.
Most large airliners have a third pilot
in the cockpit who serves as flight
engineer. The flight engineer assists
the other pilots by m onitoring and
operating many of the instrum ents,
making m inor inflight repairs, and
looking out for other aircraft.
Before departure, pilots plan their
flights carefully. They confer with
dispatchers and w eather forecasters
to find out about w eather conditions
on route and at their destination.
Based on this inform ation, they
choose a route, altitude, and speed
that will give a fast, safe, and smooth

flight. It is the responsibility of the
pilot in com m and to inform air traffic
control of the flight plan so that the
flight can be coordinated with other
air traffic.
Before taking off, pilots thorough­
ly check their planes to determ ine
th a t the engines, co n tro ls, in stru ­
m ents, and o th er com ponents are
working properly. They also m ake
sure that baggage or cargo has been
loaded correctly.
Takeoff and landing are the most
difficult parts of the flight and re­
quire close coordination between the
pilot and copilot. For example, as the
plane accelerates for takeoff, the pi­
lot concentrates on the runway while
the copilot scans the instrum ent p an ­
el. The pilots already have calculated
the speed they must attain to becom e
airborne, taking into account the alti­
tude of the airport, the weight of the
plane, and the speed and direction of
the wind. The m om ent the plane
reaches this speed, the copilot in­
forms the pilot who then pulls back
on the controls to raise the nose of
the plane.
Unless the w eather is bad, the ac­
tual flight is relatively easy. Pilots
steer the plane along their planned
route, and radio their position, air
speed, and other flight details to the
air traffic control stations they pass
along the way. They continuously
scan the instrum ent panel to check
their fuel and the condition of their
engines. Pilots may request a change
in altitude or route if circum stances
dictate. For example, if the w eather
briefing led the pilots to expect a
sm oother ride than is being experi­
enced, they may ask air traffic co n ­
trol if pilots flying at other altitudes
have reported better conditions. If
so, they may request a change. This
procedure also may be used to find a
stronger tailwind or a weaker h ead­
wind to save fuel and increase speed.
If visibility is poor, pilots must rely
completely on their instrum ents.
Using the readings on the altim eter,
they know how high above ground
they are and can fly safely over
m ountains and other obstacles. A
special navigation radio gives pilots
information which, with the help of
special maps, tells them their exact
position. O ther, very sophisticated

AIR TRANSPORTATION OCCUPATIONS

295

planes for air taxi companies, usually
flying passengers to or from lightly
traveled airports not serviced by the
airlines. Others worked for a variety
of businesses performing tasks such
as crop dusting, inspecting pipelines,
or conducting sightseeing trips. Fed­
eral, S tate, and local governm ents
also employed pilots.
Most pilots work at the major air­
ports located close to cities. In fact,
over one-third of all pilots work near
seven m etropolitan areas—Los A n­
geles, San Francisco, New York, Dallas-Fort W orth, Chicago, Miami, and
Atlanta.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Before takeoffs, pilots make sure all equipment is working properly.

equipm ent provides directions to a
point just above the end of a runway
and enables pilots to land completely
“ blind.”
Once on the ground, pilots must
complete records on their flight for
their com pany and the Federal Avi­
ation Adm inistration (FA A ).
Airline pilots have the services of
large support staffs and consequently
perform few nonflying duties. Pilots
employed by businesses that use their
own aircraft, however, usually are
the businesses’ only experts on flying
and consequently have many other
duties. For example, since pilots un­
derstand the requirem ents for a bal­
anced plane, the business pilot loads
the plane and handles all passenger
luggage. While the plane is being re­
fueled, the business pilot stays with it
to assure that the job is done proper­
ly. O ther nonflying responsibilities
include keeping records, scheduling
Digitizedflights and major m aintenance, and
for FRASER


perform ing minor m aintenance and
repair work on their planes. Some
pilots are instructors and spend much
of their tim e giving flying lessons.
They teach their students the princi­
ples of flight in ground school classes
and dem onstrate how to operate the
aircraft in “ dual-controlled” planes.
A few specially train ed pilots are
“ evaluators” or “ check pilots.” They
fly with each airline pilot and copilot
at least twice a year to make sure that
they are proficient.

Places of Employment
About
83,000 civilian pilots
worked full time in 1976. About onehalf worked for the airlines. Much o f
the rem ainder worked as flight in­
structors at local airports or for large
businesses th at use their own a ir­
planes to fly company cargo and ex­
ecu tiv es. Som e p ilo ts flew sm all

All pilots who are paid to transport
passengers or cargo must have at
least a commercial pilot’s license
from the FAA. To qualify for this
license, applicants must be at least 18
years old and have at least 250 hours
of flight experience. They also must
pass a strict physical examination to
make sure that they are in good
health, have 20/20 vision with or
without glasses, good hearing, and no
physical handicaps that prevent
quick reactions. Applicants must
pass a written test that includes ques­
tions on the principles of safe flight,
n av ig atio n te c h n iq u e s, and FAA
regulations; and dem onstrate their
flying ability to FAA examiners.
In addition to a com m ercial li­
cense, pilots who want to fly in bad
weather must be licensed by the FAA
to fly by instrum ents. Pilots may
qualify for this license by having 40
hours of experience flying by instru­
ments, passing a written examination
on procedures and FAA regulations
covering instrum ent flying, and dem ­
onstrating their ability to fly by in­
struments.
Airline pilots must fulfill additional
requirem ents. They must pass FAA
written and flight examinations to
earn a flight engineer’s license. C ap­
tains must have an airline transport
pilot’s license. Applicants for this li­
cense must be at least 23 years old
and have a minimum of 1,500 hours
of flying experience during the previ­
ous 8 years, including night and in­
strum ent flying.

296

All licenses are valid as long as a to 10 years, flight engineers advance
pilot can pass the required physical according to seniority to co-pilot
examinations and the periodic tests and, after 10 to 20 years, to captain.
of flying skills dem anded by govern­ Seniority also determ ines which pi­
lots get the more uesirable routes. In
ment regulations.
Flying can be learned in military or non-airline jobs, copilots may a d ­
civilian flying schools. Either kind of vance to pilot and, in large com pa­
training satisfies the flight experience nies, to chief pilot in charge of air­
requirem ents for licensing, but per­ craft scheduling, m aintenance, and
sons serving in the A rm ed Forces flight procedures.
have the opportunity to gain the sub­
stantial ex perience on je t aircraft
Employment Outlook
that is preferred by airlines and many
businesses.
Em ployment of pilots is expected
Pilots hired by airlines must be to increase faster than the average
high school graduates; however, for all occupations through the midmost airlines require 2 years of col­ 1980’s. In addition to the jobs from
lege and prefer to hire college gradu­ em ploym ent growth, openings will
ates. Because pilots must be able to result as experienced pilots die or
make quick decisions and accurate retire. Com petition for job openings
jud g m en ts under p ressure, airline should be keen, however, because
com panies give all applicants psy­ the num ber of qualified pilots seek­
chological tests and reject those who ing jobs is expected to exceed the
do not pass.
num ber o f openings.
New airline pilots usually start as
More than half the openings for
flight engineers. Although airlines fa­ pilots will occur outside the airlines.
vor applicants who already have a Businesses are expected to operate
flight en g in eer’s license, they may an increasing num ber of planes and
train those who have only the com ­ employ m ore pilots to fly executives
m ercial license. All new pilots re­
and cargo to locations that the sched­
ceive sev eral w eeks o f intensive
uled airlines do not service. M ore
training in simulators and classrooms
flight instructors also will be needed
before being assigned to a flight.
tb train new pilots.
Com panies other than airlines gen­
The expected growth in airline
erally do not require as much flying
passenger and cargo traffic will cre­
experience. However, a com m ercial
ate a need for m ore airliners and
pilot’s license is required and com pa­
more pilots to fly them . The short
nies prefer applicants who have ex­
term outlook, however, is poor. The
perience in the type of plane they will
recent slowdown in air travel com ­
be flying. New em ployees generally
bined with the introduction of bigger
start as copilots.
planes has caused a tem porary d e ­
Advancem ent for all pilots gener­
crease in the need for airline pilots.
ally is limited to other flying jobs.
Therefore, many of the new jobs that
Many pilots start as flight instructors,
building up their flying hours while do develop will be taken by experi­
they teach. As they becom e more ex­ enced airline pilots now on furlough.
Recent college graduates who
perienced, these pilots occasionally
have experience flying large, multimay have the opportunity to fly char­
ter planes and perhaps get jobs with engine aircraft and who have a com ­
small air transportation firms such as m ercial p ilo t’s license and a flight
air taxi companies. Some advance to en g in eer’s license can expect first
business flying jobs. Only a small consideration for jobs with the m ajor
num ber get flight engineer jobs with airlines. Businesses generally have
the airlines because the airlines p re­ fewer formal education and experi­
fer pilots who have been trained in en ce re q u ire m e n ts th a n airlin es.
However, these com panies prefer ap ­
the military.
plicants with flying experience in the
In the airlines, advancem ent usual­
ly depends on seniority provisions es­ type of plane they will be flying on
the job.
tablished by
 union contracts. After 5


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings of airline pilots are
among the highest in the Nation. In
1976, the average salary for airline
pilots was $46,253 a year. Starting
salaries for flight engineers averaged
$9,000 a year, while some senior
captains on the largest aircraft
earned more than $80,000. Earnings
depend on factors such as the type,
size, and speed of the planes, and the
num ber of hours and miles flown.
Extra pay is given for night and inter­
n atio n al flights. As an ad d itio n al
benefit, pilots and their im m ediate
families usually are entitled to a lim­
ited am ount of reduced fare tran s­
portation on their own and other air­
lines.
Earnings of business pilots ranged
from $10,000 for copilots on small
planes to $45,000 for chief pilots of
com panies with large jets. Most busi­
ness pilots flying single-engine planes
m ade from $14,200 to $19,000 a
year while salaries of those flying jets
ranged from $16,500 to $29,500.
Most flight instructors made between
$7,000 and $16,000 a year while an­
nual salaries for air taxi pilots ranged
from $12,000 to $17,000.
By law, airline pilots cannot fly
more than 85 hours a month. Most
airline pilots actually fly less than 70
hours a month and, although they
have additional nonflying duty hours,
usually only work 16 days a m onth.
However, the majority of flights in­
volve layovers away from hom e.
When pilots are away from home, the
airlines provide hotel accom m oda­
tions and an allowance for expenses.
Airlines operate flights at all hours of
the day and night, so work schedules
often are irregular. Pilots with little
seniority may be assigned night or
early morning flights.
Pilots em ployed outside the air­
lines often have irregular schedules;
they may fly 30 hours one month and
90 hours the next. Since these pilots
frequently have many nonflying re­
sponsibilities, they have m uch less
free time than airline pilots. With the
exception of business pilots, most pi­
lots em ployed outside the airlines do
not rem ain away from hom e over­
night. They may work odd hours,

297

AIR TRANSPORTATION OCCUPATIONS

however. Instructors, for example,
often give lessons at night or on
weekends.
Although flying does not involve
much physical effort, the mental
stress of being responsible for a safe
flight, no m atter what the weather,
can be very tiring. Particularly during
takeoff and landing, pilots must be
alert and ready to act if something
goes wrong.
Most airline pilots are members of
the Air Line Pilots Association, In­
ternational. Those employed by one
major airline are members of the Al­
lied Pilots Association.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about job opportuni­
ties in a particular airline, and the
qualifications required, may be ob­
tained by writing to the personnel
manager of the airline. Addresses of
airline companies are available in the
booklet The People o f the Airlines.
For a copy, write to:
Public Relations Department, Air Transport
Association of America, 1709 New York
Ave. NW„ Washington, D.C. 20006.

For information about the duties,
as well as the physical and education­
al req u irem en ts for airline pilots,
contact:

Before each flight, attendants see
that the passenger cabin is in order.
They check that supplies such as
food, beverages, blankets, and read­
ing m aterial are adequate, and that
first aid kits and o th er em ergency
equipm ent are aboard. As passengers
come aboard, attendants greet them ,
check their tickets, and assist them
by hanging up coats and stowing
small pieces o f luggage under the
seats.
Before the plane takes off, atten­
dants use the public address system
to instruct passengers in the use of
em ergency equipm ent and check to
see that all passengers have their seat
belts fastened. In the air, they answer
questions about the flight, distribute
magazines and pillows, and help care
for small children, elderly persons,
and handicapped persons. On many
flights, they serve cocktails and p re­
cooked meals.
One of the most im portant func­
tions of attendants is to assist passen­
gers in the rare event o f an em ergen­
cy. T hese range from a disabled
engine, where passengers must be re­
a ssu re d , to e m erg en cy lan d in g s,
where attendants evacuate the plane,
opening doors and inflating em ergen­

cy slides. A ttendants also must be
prepared to adm inister first aid to
passengers who become ill during the
flight.

Places of Employment
About 42,000 flight attendants
worked for the airlines in 1976. Most
attendants are stationed in major
cities at the airlines’ main bases;
nearly three-fifths work near C hica­
go, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New
York, and San Francisco. Airliners
generally carry 1 to 10 flight atten ­
dants, depending on the num ber of
seats on the plane and the proportion
of economy to first-class passengers.
Large aircraft like the Boeing 747
may have as many as 16 flight atten ­
dants.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The airlines place great stress on
the hiring of poised, tactful, and re­
sourceful people. In particular, appli­
cants should be able to talk com fort­
ably w ith s tra n g e rs . As a ru le ,
applicants must be at least 19 years
old. They must be in excellent health

Air Line Pilots Association, International,
1625 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20036.

For information about job oppor­
tunities in companies other than air­
lines, consult the classified section of
aviation trade magazines and apply
to companies that operate aircraft at
local airports.

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
(D.O.T. 352.878)

Nature of the Work
Flight attendants (also called stew­
ardesses and stew ards) are aboard
alm ost all co m m ercial passenger
planes to help make the passengers’
flight safe, com fortable, and enjoy­
able.



Most airlines provide a 5-week training course for newly hired attendants.

298

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

and have good vision. Vision may be
corrected with contact lenses or, on
m ost airlines, with glasses. A ppli­
cants also must speak clearly.
Applicants must be high school
graduates. Those having 2 years of
college, nurses’ training, or experi­
ence in dealing with the public are
preferred. Flight attendants for inter­
national airlines generally must be
able to speak an appropriate foreign
language fluently.
Most large airlines give newly
hired flight attendants about 5 weeks
of training in their own schools.
T ransportation to the training cen­
ters and an allowance while in train­
ing may be provided. Trainees are
taught how to react to em ergencies,
including instruction on evacuating
an airplane, operating an oxygen sys­
tem, and giving first aid. A ttendants
also are taught flight regulations and
duties, and company operations and
policies. Additional courses in pass­
port and customs regulations are giv­
en to trainees for the international
ro u tes. T ow ards th e end o f th eir
train in g , stu d en ts go on p ra ctice
flights. The few airlines that do not
operate schools generally send new
employees to the school of another
airline.
After completing their training,
flight attendants are assigned to one
of their airline’s main bases. New
attendants usually fill in on extra
flights or replace attendants who are
sick or on vacation. Because assign­
ments are based on seniority, experi­
enced atten d an ts usually get their
choice of base and flights.
O pportunities for advancem ent
are lim ited. However, some atte n ­
dants may advance to flight service
instructor, custom er service director,
instructor, or recruiting representa­
tive.

Employment Outlook
Employment of flight attendants is
expected to grow much faster than
th e a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to growth, openings will occur be­
cause of the need to replace experi­
enced attendants who retire, die, or
transfer to other occupations.



Increases in p o pulation and in ­
come are expected to increase the
num ber of airline passengers. To' deal
with this growth, airlines usually en ­
large their capacity by increasing the
num ber and size of planes in opera­
tion. Since the Federal Aviation A d­
ministration safety rules require one
attendant for every 50 seats, more
flight attendants will be needed. Job
opportunities may vary from year to
year, however, because air travel is
sensitive to ups and downs in the
economy.
Because the job is attractive and
offers a chance to travel, many peo­
ple are interested in becoming flight
atten d an ts. A pplicants can expect
keen com petition for any available
jobs because the num ber of appli­
cants is expected to exceed the num ­
ber of openings. Applicants with 2
years of college and experience in
dealing with the public have the best
chance of being hired.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
The average monthly earnings of
all flight attendants were $1,042 in
1976. According to a num ber o f
union contracts, salaries of most b e­
ginning flight attendants on domestic
flights ranged from $690 to $780 a
month, while those on international
flights earned from $830 to $980. As
an additional benefit, flight a tte n ­
dants and their im m ediate families
are entitled to reduced fare transpor­
tation on their own and most other
airlines.
Since airlines operate around the
clock 365 days a year, attendants
may work at night, on holidays, and
on weekends. They usually fly no
more than 80 hours a month, but
they may devote up to 35 hours a
month on the ground duties involved
in preparing their planes for flights.
As a result of variations in scheduling
and limitations on flying time, many
attendants have 15 days or more off
each m onth. A ttendants may be
away from their hom e bases about
one-third of the time or more. W hen
they are away from hom e, the air­
lines provide hotel accom m odations
and an allowance for meal expenses.

Flight attendants have the oppor­
tunity to m eet interesting people and
see new places. The com bination of
free time and discount air fares p ro­
vides su b sta n tia l o p p o rtu n ity for
travel. However, the work can be
stren u o u s and trying. Many sh o rt
flights require speedy service if all
passengers are to be served. Poor
weather can make it difficult to serve
drinks and meals. A ttendants stand
during much of the flight and must
remain pleasant and efficient regard­
less of how tired they may be.
Most flight attendants are m em ­
bers of either the Transport W orkers
Union of America or the Association
of Flight Attendants.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about job opportuni­
ties in a particular airline and the
qualifications required may be ob ­
tained by writing to the personnel
manager of the company. Addresses
of companies are available from:
Air Transport Association of America, 1709
New York Ave. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.

RESERVATION, TICKET,
AND PASSENGER AGENTS
(D.O.T. 912.368 and 919.368)

Nature of the Work
In any company, the attitude with
which employees deal with the public
and the quality of the service they
provide often make the difference
between a satisfied or dissatisfied
custom er. In airline companies, this
im portant personal contact with the
public is provided by reservation,
ticket, and passenger agents. These
em ployees reserve seats, sell tickets,
and help passengers board planes.
Reservation agents work at large
central offices and give custom ers
information on flight schedules and
fares over the telephone. After find­
ing out where a custom er wants to
go, when, and from which airport he

299

AIR TRANSPORTATION OCCUPATIONS

or she wants to leave, agents check to
find out if a seat is available. Com ­
puters are used to keep track of flight
space information so that agents at
all reservation offices can quickly
find this out.
If the plane is full, the agent may
suggest an alternate flight or check
with other airlines flying to the same
destination. If the custom er makes a
reservation, the agent types his or her
name and other information into the
com puter to prepare a ticket and
reserve the space.
Ticket agents work in the airlines’
downtown ticket offices or at air­
ports. In addition to answering ques­
tions ab out schedules and making
reservations, these agents fill out the
ticket forms with the flight number,
p assenger’s nam e and destination,
and other necessary information. At
airports and a few downtown offices
they also tag passengers’ luggage for
shipment on the plane.
Passenger agents work only at air­
ports and may spend much of their
time helping ticket agents give infor­
m ation, prepare tickets, and check
baggage. How ever, they also help
p a s s e n g e rs b o ard p la n e s. T h ese
agents may use the public address
system to tell passengers when and

where to board. At the gates, agents
collect tickets and, on some flights,
assign seats as well. Passenger agents
also keep records of passengers on
each plane and assist custom ers with
problem s such as lost or dam aged
baggage.
During holidays and other busy
periods, ticket and passenger agents
especially may find the work hectic
due to the large num ber of passen­
gers who must be rapidly accom m o­
dated.

Places of Employment
About 51,000 reservation, ticket,
and passenger agents were employed
in 1976. Most worked in downtown
ticket and reservation offices and at
large m etropolitan airports where
most airline passenger business origi­
nates. Some are employed in smaller
comm unities served by airlines.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Because reservation, ticket, and
passenger agents must deal directly
with the public, airlines have strict
hiring standards concerning appear­


Computers are used to keep track of flight reservation information.


ance, personality, and education. A
good speaking voice is essential be­
cause these employees frequently use
the telephone or public address sys­
tems. High school graduation gener­
ally is required, and some college
training is preferred.
New employees begin as reserva­
tion or ticket agents. They usually
receive about a week of classroom
instruction to learn how to use the
flight schedule book and the com put­
er to get information on flights and
make ticket reservations. They also
learn how to handle custom ers cour­
teously. After com pleting the class­
room instruction, new employees re­
c e iv e o n - th e - jo b tra in in g fro m
experienced workers. About 3 weeks
of experience are needed before an
employee is able to handle the job
without close supervision.
A dvancem ent opportunities are
limited. Reservation and ticket
agents may become passenger
agents; passenger agents may ad ­
vance to supervisory positions. A few
eventually may become city and dis­
trict managers for airline ticket offic­
es.

Employment Outlook
Employment of reservation, ticket,
and passenger agents is expected to
grow faster than the average for all
occupations through the m id-1980’s.
In addition to jobs that result from
growth, many openings will arise as
experienced workers retire, die, or
transfer to other jobs. O pportunities
for em ploym ent may fluctuate from
year to year, however, since the num ­
ber of airline passengers varies with
ups and downs in the economy. A p­
plicants may find considerable com ­
petition for openings because a large
num ber of people are attracted to
airline jobs.
M ore agents will be needed b e­
cause of the anticipated increase in
airline passengers. Although airlines
are installing m achines to process
reservations, keep records, and p er­
form other routine tasks, machines
cannot replace the personal contact
that is an im portant part of a reserva­
tion, ticket, or passenger agent’s job.

300

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Passenger agents had estimated
weekly earnings of $322 in 1976,
according to a survey of 21 airlines.
Ticket agents averaged $311 a week
while reservation agents averaged
$294. These earnings ranged from
about one-third to one-half more
than the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming. As an added benefit,
agents and their immediate families
are entitled to reduced fare air trans­
portation with their own and many
other airlines.
Agents generally work 40 hours a




week. Airlines operate flights at all
hours of the day and night, however,
and work schedules are irregular.
Agents with little seniority may work
nights and weekends.
Many agents belong to labor
unions. Four unions cover most o f
the organized agents: the In tern a­
tional Air Line Employees Associ­
ation; the Transport W orkers Union
of America; the B rotherhood of Rail­
way and Steamship Clerks, Freight
Handlers, Express and Station Em ­
ployees; and the International Broth­
erh o o d o f T e a m ste rs, C h affeu rs,
W a re h o u s e m e n an d H e lp e rs o f
America.

Sources of Additional
Information
For a pam phlet describing the du­
ties of reservation, ticket, and pas­
senger agents, write to:
Air Line Employees Association, 5600 S. Cen­
tral Ave., Chicago, 111. 60638.

Inform ation about jobs in a p ar­
ticular airline may be obtained by
writing to the personnel manager of
the company. Addresses of com pa­
nies are available from:
Air Transport Association of America, 1709
New York Ave. NW., Washington, D.C.
20006.

MERCHANT MARINE OCCUPATIONS

The A m erican m erchant m arine is
a vital link in the N ation’s transporta­
tion system. It transports A m erica’s
products abroad and, in turn, brings
im ports from the rest o f the world. In
time o f war, it carries troops, arms,
and supplies to com bat areas. Seafar­
ing em ploym ent offers a variety of
interesting and rewarding careers as
well as travel and adventure.
A bout 46,500 officers and sailors
worked aboard U.S. oceangoing ves­
sels during 1976. The work aboard
ships is divided am ong the deck, en­
gine, and steward departm ents. The
deck d epartm ent is responsible for
navigation, m aintenance of the hull
and deck equipm ent, and the super­
vision o f loading, u nloading, and
storing o f cargo. Personnel in the en­
gine departm ent operate and m ain­
tain the m achinery th at propels the
vessel. T h e ste w a rd ’s d ep a rtm e n t
feeds the crew and m aintains living
and recreation areas.
Due to higher labor and shipbuild­
ing costs the U.S. m erc h an t fleet
finds it difficult to com pete in the
w orld shipping m ark et. To insure
that our country m aintains its ability
to transport essential cargo, the Gov­
ernm ent subsidizes the wages paid
Am erican crews and in 1970 passed
a law to subsidize the construction of
30 new ships annually over a 10-year
period. The num ber o f ships built,
ho w ev er, is e x p e c te d to be only
slightly m ore than the num ber o f old­
er ones taken out o f service. T here­
fore, the size o f the U.S. m erchant
fleet probably will not grow signifi­
cantly.
Em ployment o f officers is expect­
ed to increase slowly through the
m id -1 9 8 0 ’s. O p p o rtu n ities will be
best for graduates o f m aritim e union



training program s. Em ploym ent o f
sailors, on the other hand, is expect­
ed to decline because new ships are
equipped with laborsaving innova­
tio n s su ch as a u to m a te d enginerooms.

MERCHANT MARINE
OFFICERS
Nature of the Work
Every ship has jobs of such im por­
tance to its safe operation that the
persons doing them are identified as
having special responsibilities. These
persons are the ships officers.
In com m and o f every oceangoing
vessel is the captain or master
(D.O.T. 197.168) who is the ship­
ow ner’s sole representative. The cap­
tain has com plete authority and re ­
sponsibility for the ship’s operation
and the safety o f the crew, passen­
gers, cargo, and vessel.
In addition, while in port, the cap­
tain may serve as the shipow ner’s
agent in conferring with custom offi­
cials, and in some case may act as
paym aster for the ship. Although not
technically m em bers o f a specific d e ­
partm ent, captains generally are as­
sociated with the deck departm ent,
from whose ranks they have been
prom oted.
Deck Department. Deck officers o r
“ m ates,” as they are traditionally
called, direct m ovem ent of the ship
and m aintenance o f the deck and
hull. They m aintain the authorized
speed and course; plot the vessel’s
position; post lookouts for other
ships; record inform ation in the
“ log” o f the voyage; and immediately

notify the captain of any unusual
occurrences. To comply with coast
guard regulations for ensuring the
safe and efficient operation of ships,
deck officers must be familiar with
m odern navigational equipm ent,
such as sonar, radar, and radio direc­
tional finders.
The chief mate {D.O.T. 197.133),
also known as the first m ate or chief
officer, is the captain’s key assistant
in assigning duties to the deck crew
and m aintaining order and discipline.
The chief m ate also plans and super­
vises the loading and unloading of
cargo, and assists the captain in tak ­
ing the ship in and out of port. On
some ships, the chief m ate also may
be in charge of first-aid treatm ent.
By tradition, the second mate
(D.O.T. 197.133) is the navigation
officer. The second m ate sees that
the ship is provided with the neces­
sary navigation charts and that navi­
g a tio n e q u ip m e n t is m a in ta in e d
properly.
Third mates (D.O.T. 197.133), the
most junior-rated deck officers act as
signal officers and are in charge of all
signaling equipm ent. They also assist
in the supervision o f cargo loading
and unloading. The third m ate fre­
quently inspects lifesaving eq u ip ­
m ent to be sure it is ready for use in
fire, shipw reck, or other em ergen­
cies.
Engine Department. M arine en g i­
neers operate and m aintain all en­
gines and m achinery aboard ship.
The chief engineer (D.O.T. 197.130)
supervises the engine departm ent,
and is responsible for the efficient
operation o f engines and other m e­
chanical equipm ent. The chief engi­
neer oversees the operation of the
main pow erplant and auxiliary equip­
m ent while the vessel is underway
and keeps records of equipm ent p er­
form ance and fuel consumption.
The first assistant engineer (D.O.T.
197.130) supervises engineroom p er­
sonnel and directs operations such as
starting, stopping, and controlling
the speed o f the main engines. The
first assistant engineer also oversees
and inspects the lubrication of en­
gines, pum ps, generators, and other
m achinery and, with the chief engi­
neer, directs all types of repairs.
301

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OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

signed to improve the medical care
aboard freighters and tankers and fa­
cilitate U.S. Public H ealth Service
clearance when a ship arrives in port.
All passenger ships m ust carry li­
censed doctors and nurses.

Places of Employment
A bout 13,300 officers were em ­
ployed aboard U.S. oceangoing ves­
sels during 1976. Deck officers and
engineering officers accounted for
m ore than four-fifths o f the total, and
radio officers m ade up most o f the
rem ainder. Due to long vacations
and other breaks in service such as
those resulting from illness there are
about two officers em ployed for ev­
ery job on a ship.
About two-thirds of the officers
were aboard freighters and most of
the rem ainder were aboard tankers.
Only a small percentage were on
passenger vessels.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

The captain has complete authority and responsibility for the ship’s operation.

The second assistant engineer
(D.O.T. 197.130) has charge of the
boiler and associated equipm ent
such as the w ater-feed system and
pum ps. T he second assistant engi­
neer also m akes sure proper steam
pressure and oil and w ater tem pera­
tures are m aintained and supervises
the cleaning o f boilers.
The
third assistant engineer
(D.O.T. 197.130) supervises the op­
eration and m aintenance o f the lubri­
cation system and a variety o f other
engineroom equipm ent. Some third
assistant engineers are responsible
for the electrical and refrigeration
systems aboard ships.
Other officers. A ship keeps con­
tact with the shore and other vessels
th ro u g h its
 radio o ffic er (D .O .T .


193.282), who also m aintains radio
equipm ent. These officers send and
receive messages by voice or M orse
code. They periodically receive and
record time signals, w eather reports,
position reports, and other inform a­
tion. Radio officers also may m ain­
tain depth recording equipm ent and
electronic navigation equipm ent.
Some freighters and all passenger
vessels
carry
pursers
(D.O.T.
197.168). The purser or staff officer
does the extensive paperw ork that is
required before a ship enters o r
leaves a port. They prepare payrolls
and assist passengers as required. In
recent years, the Staff Officers Asso­
ciation has established a program to
train pursers to act also as physician’s
assistants. T his in stru c tio n is d e ­

Applicants for an officer’s license
in the deck or engineering dep art­
m ents o f oceangoing vessels m ust
m eet c e rta in legal re q u ire m e n ts.
C aptains, chief and second m ates,
and chief and first assistant engineers
m ust be at least 21 years old. T he
minimum age for third mates, third
assistant engineers, and radio op era­
tors is 19. In addition, applicants
m ust present proof o f U.S. citizen­
ship and obtain a U.S. Public H ealth
Service certificate attesting to their
vision, color perception, and general
physical condition.
Besides legal and medical require­
ments, candidates m ust also have at
least 3 years o f appropriate sea expe­
rience o r be a graduate o f an ap­
proved training program . Deck offi­
c e r c a n d id a te s m u st pass C o a st
G uard examinations that require ex­
tensive knowledge of navigation, c a r­
go handling, and deck departm ent
operations. M arine engineering offi­
cer candidates must dem onstrate indepth knowledge of propulsion sys­
tem s, electricity, plumbing and steam
fitting, m etal shaping and assembly,
and ship structure. To advance to

303

MERCHANT MARINE OCCUPATIONS

higher ratings, officers must pass pro­
gressively more difficult exam ina­
tions.
For a Coast Guard license as a
radio officer, applicants must have a
first or second-class radiotelegraph
op erator’s license issued by the Fed­
eral C om m unications Commission.
For a license to serve as the sole ra­
dio operator aboard a cargo vessel,
the C o ast G uard also req u ires 6
months of radio experience at sea.
Unlike most professions, no educa­
tion requirem ents have been estab­
lished for officers. A sailor with 3
years’ experience in the deck or en­
gine departm ent may apply for either
a third m ate’s license or for a third
assistant e n g in e e r’s license. H ow­
ever, because of the com plex m a­
chinery, and navigational and elec­
tronic equipm ent on modern ships,
formal training usually is needed to
pass the Coast G u ard ’s examination
for these licenses.
The fastest and surest way to be­
co m e a w e ll- tr a in e d o ff ic e r is
through an established training pro­
gram. Such programs are available at
the U.S. M erchant M arine Academy
at Kings Point, N.Y., and at six State
m erchant marine academies: Cali­
fornia M aritime Academ y, Vallejo,
Calif.; G reat Lakes M aritina Acad­
emy Traverse City, Michigan; Maine
Maritime Academy, Castine, Maine;
M assachusetts M aritim e Academ y,
Hy an n is, M a s s .; T e x a s M a r it im e
Academy, Galveston, Tex.; and State
University of New York M aritim e
College, Fort Schuyler, New York,
N.Y. A bout 500 students graduate
each year from these schools; about
one-half are trained as deck officers
and on e-h alf as m arine engineers.
Admission to the U.S. M erchant M a­
rine Academy is through nomination
by a m em ber of Congress, whereas
entrance to the other academies is
made through written application di­
rectly to the school.
Most of the academ ies offer 4-year
programs in nautical science or m a­
rin e e n g in e e rin g , w h ich in clu d e
courses such as navigation, m athe­
matics, electronics, propulsion sys­
tems, electrical engineering, naval
architecture, languages, history, and
shipping m an
 ag em en t, as well as


p ractical experience at sea. A fter
C o a s t G u a rd e x a m in a tio n s a re
passed, licenses are issued for either
third mate or third assistant engineer.
In addition, graduates may receive
commissions as ensigns in the U.S.
Naval Reserve.
Because of their thorough ground­
ing in theory and its practical appli­
cation, academ y graduates are in the
best position to move up to m aster
and ch ief en g in eer ratings. T heir
w ell-rounded education also helps
qualify them for shoreside jobs such
as marine superintendent, operating
manager, design engineers, naval a r­
chitects, or shipping executive.
The U.S. M erchant Marine A cad­
emy now selects about 15 percent of
the approximately 250 persons who
enter the academy each year to be
trained as “ o m n ico m p eten t” offi­
cers. They are taught both naviga­
tional and technical skills so they can
work in either the deck or engine
departm ent. G raduates of the U.S.
M erchant Marine Academy have an
obligation to serve a minimum of 3
years as officers in the m erchant m a­
rine or in the military service of the
United States.
A num ber of trade unions in the
maritime industry provide officer
training. These unions include the
International Organization of M as­
ters, M ates and Pilots; the Seafarers’
In te r n a tio n a l U n io n o f N o r th A m er­
ica; the B rotherhood of Marine Offi­
cers; and the National Marine Engi­
n e e r s ’ B e n e f ic i a l A s s o c i a ti o n
(M EBA). However due to a crowded
job m arket in recent years, all but the
M EBA-operated Calhoon Engineer­
ing School in Baltimore, Md., have
restricted training program s to u p ­
grading o f officers already licensed.
The Calhoon School, which produc­
es about 90 graduates every year, of­
fers a third assistant engineer’s li­
cense. The program consists of both
classroom instruction and sea experi­
ence and provides free room, board,
medical care, and text books in addi­
tion to a m onthly grant. Trainees
must agree to serve at least 3 years in
the m erchant marine after the 3-year
training period.

A dvancem ent for deck and engine
officers is along well-defined lines
and depends primarily upon speci­
fied sea experience, passing a Coast
Guard exam ination, and leadership
ability. Deck officers start as third
mates. After 1 year’s sea service they
are eligible to take a second m ate
examination. A second mate may ap­
ply for a chief m ate’s license after 1
year of sea service. Officers in the
engine d e p a rtm e n t sta rt as th ird
assistant engineers. After 1 year of
service, they may apply for a second
assistant’s license and finally a chief
engineer’s license.

Employment Outlook
Em ploym ent of ship’s officers is
expected to increase m ore slowly
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s.
Since World War II, the num ber of
vessels in our m erchant marine has
declined steadily as the owners of
American ships have registered them
outside the country. The transfers
occurred because ships registered in
th e U n ite d S ta te s m u st em p lo y
A m erican crew s an d , because of
their higher wages, cost about twice
as much to operate as ships regis­
tered abroad and manned with for­
eign crews. The incentive of obtain­
ing g re a te r p ro fits by lo w erin g
operating costs prom pted many own­
ers to register their ships outside the
U.S.
Little further decline in the num ­
ber of ships is expected, however,
because the Federal G overnm ent has
taken steps to insure that ships regis­
tered in the U.S. and operated by
A m erican crew s are available to
transport essential cargo. To m ain­
tain this capability, the G overnm ent
pays the difference in wages if U.S.
crews are used, and helps pay for the
c o n stru c tio n or p u rc h ase of new
ships. Some job openings will occur
as a result of the need to replace ex­
perienced workers who retire, die or
tak e sh o re sid e em p lo y m en t. R e ­
placem ent needs are relatively high
because ships’ officers are somewhat
older, on the average, than workers
in other occupations and the liberal

304

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

pension plans offered by the m er­
ch an t m arin e industry encourage
early retirem ent. Also, some officers
find they prefer the stability of shoreside employment.
Job opportunities are expected to
become more favorable in the 1980’s
than in the near future as the balance
between the supply and dem and for
officers becomes more favorable.
Since maritime unions control a
majority o f jobs, graduates from
union training programs have the
best opportunities to obtain jobs
aboard ocean-going vessels. H ow­
ever, graduates of m erchant marine
academies who cannot find jobs on
m erchant ships generally have little
trouble finding jobs in related fields.
For exam ple, train ed officers are
needed on oceanographic research
vessels, on vessels that carry supplies
to offshore oil drilling rigs, and on
dredges operated by the Army Corps
of Engineers. Others find jobs with
the maritime industry.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings of officers depend upon
their rank and the type of ship.
Wages are highest on large ships. The
accompanying
tabulation
shows
monthly base wages for officers
aboard an average freighter in 1976.
Additional payments for overtime or
for assuming extra responsibilities
generally average about 50 percent
of base pay. For example, a second
mate with a monthly base pay of
$1,278 may regularly earn about
$ 1,917 each month.

Base
pay 1
Captain................................................ $3,717
Chief engineer......................................
3,158
First assistant engineer........................
1,888
First mate...........................................
1,802
Radio officer......................................
1,604
Second assistant engineer...................
1,338
Second mate..........................................
1,278
Third assistant engineer...................
1,202
Third m ate.........................................
1,147
Purser.....................................................
1,055
1 East Coast wages in June, 1976 aboard a
12,000-17,000
 power ton single screw ship.


Officers and their dependents en ­
joy substantial pension and welfare
benefits. V acations range from 90 to
180 days a year. Officers with 20
years of service have the option of a
monthly pension of $325 or 37 1/2
percent of their m onthly rate of pay.
Those who have 25 years of service
are eligible for $425 a month or 50
percent o f their monthly rate. Offi­
cers forced to retire prem aturely due
to a perm anent disability receive p ar­
tial pensions. Com prehensive m edi­
cal care and hospitalization are p ro ­
vided for officers and their families
th ro u g h em p lo y er o r union p r o ­
grams.
The workweek aboard ship is con­
siderably different from the w ork­
week on shore. At sea, most officers
are required to work 7 days a week.
G enerally, they work two 4 -hour
w atches (shifts) during every 24hour period and have 8 hours off b e­
tw een each w atch. Some officers
work 8 hours a day, Monday through
Friday. All officers are paid overtime
for work over 40 h o u rs a w eek.
When the ship is in port, the basic
w o rk w e e k is 40 h o u r s fo r a ll
crewmembers.
The duties aboard ship are hazard­
ous com pared to other industries. At
sea, there is always the possibility o f
injuries from falls or the danger of
fire, collision, or sinking.
Almost 90 percent of all officers
belong to maritime unions. The two
largest are the International Organi­
zation of Masters, Mates and Pilots,
representing deck officers, and the
National Marine Engineers’ Benefi­
cial A ssociation, representing engi­
neering officers. The Brotherhood of
Marine Officers represents deck and
engine officers on some ships. The
Staff O fficers A ssociation and the
M arine S taff O fficers A ssociation
re p resen ts pursers ab o ard certain
freighters. Radio officers are repre­
sented by the Am erican Radio Asso­
c ia tio n a n d th e R ad io O ffic e rs
Union. In addition, a num ber of in­
dependent unions organize officers
on tankers. O fficers’ unions may re ­
q u ire in itia tio n fe e s as high as
$4,000.

Sources of Additional
Information
For general information about
m erchant marine officer’s jobs, write
to:
Office of Maritime Manpower, Maritime Ad­
ministration, U.S. Department of Com­
merce, Washington, D.C. 20235.

Inform ation about job openings,
qualifications for em ploym ent, wage
scales, and other particulars is avail­
able from local m aritim e o fficers’
unions. If no maritime union is listed
in the local telephone directory, co n ­
tact:
International Organization of Masters, Mates
and Pilots, 39 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
10006.
National Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Associ­
ation, 17 Battery PI., New York, N.Y.
10004.

MERCHANT MARINE
SAILORS
Nature of the Work
Oil from Saudi Arabia, aluminum
ore from Surinam, and cars from Ja­
pan, as well as countless other im­
ported com m odities, provide m uch
of the energy and raw m aterials that
our econom y requires and the fin­
ished products that individuals enjoy.
Yet these cargoes are so routinely
tra n s p o r te d ac ro ss th o u sa n d s o f
miles of ocean that our dependence
on m erchant ships—and sailors—for
their delivery in frequently taken for
granted.
Sailors make up most of a m er­
chant ship’s crew and do most of the
manual labor. Em ployment is along
craft lines with varying skill levels.
Each worker is assigned to one of the
following departm ents: deck, en ­
gine, or stew ard’s.
Deck Departm ent. Ordinary seamen
(D.O.T. 91 1.887), the entry rating in
the deck departm ent, scrub decks,
coil and splice ropes, paint, clean
personnel quarters, and do other
general m aintenance work. They also
may relieve able seamen who steer
the ship and act as lookouts.

305

MERCHANT MARINE OCCUPATIONS

911.884) , who maintain the ship’s
decks under the supervision of the
boatswain. They determ ine the con­
dition of bilges (com partm ents in the
bottom of the hull) and dQ general
m aintenance work.
Some vessels carry a ship's carpen­
ter (D .O .T. 860.281) who secures
cargo hatches and ports, and braces
(shores) cargo. The carpenter also
may operate winches that hoist and
drop the anchor and do other general
repair w ork on the ship’s wooden
parts.

Experience in the Coast Guard or Navy provides a good background for most merchant
marine jobs.

Able seamen (D.O.T. 911.884)
make up about one-fifth of all sailors.
They m ust have a thorough knowl­
edge of all parts o f the ship and be
able to handle all g ear and deck
equipm ent. They act as quarterm as­
ters to steer the ship. Usually, they
each take 2-hour turns at the wheel,
and also serve as lookouts to watch
for o ther ships.
Able seam en also are responsible
for rigging, repairing, and stowing
cargo-handling and other gear. They
must be able to tie com m on knots
and handle mooring lines when the
ship is docking or departing. In addi­
tion to their m ore skilled tasks, they
do general deck m aintenance work




similar to that done by ordinary sea­
men.
The boatswain (D.O.T. 911.131),
or bosun, is the highest ranking able
seaman. As boss of the deck crew,
the boatswain relays the deck offi­
cers’ orders and sees that these o r­
ders are carried out. The boatswain
assists the chief m ate in assigning
work to crew m em bers and directs
general m aintenance operations such
as cleaning decks and polishing m et­
alwork. W hen the ship docks or an ­
chors, the boatswain supervises the
deck crew in handling the lines used
for mooring.
Some cargo vessels carry one to
three deck utility hands (D.O.T.

Engine Departm ent. The engineering
staff consists of workers who have a
variety o f occupational specialties re­
quiring varying degrees o f skill from
the rating o f w iper to specialized
skilled jobs such as refrigerator engi­
neer. Wipers (D.O.T. 699.887) keep
th e e n g in e ro o m a n d m a c h in e ry
clean. M ost cargo vessels carry two
o r th re e w ip ers. O ilers (D .O .T .
91 1 .8 8 4 ) lu b r ic a te m e c h a n ic a l
e q u ip m e n t. T h ey m ak e re g u la r
rounds of ship machinery to check
oil flow and pressures. Oilers also
may help overhaul and repair m a­
chinery. Firers-watertenders (D.O.T.
9 5 1 .8 8 5 ) ch e ck and regulate the
am ount of w ater in the boilers, in­
spect gauges, and regulate fuel flow
to keep steam pressure constan t.
They also check the operation of
evaporators and condensers, which
are used to convert salt water to fresh
water.
The ship's electrician (D.O.T.
825.281) repairs and m aintains elec­
trical equipm ent, such as generators
and m otors. E lectricians also test
wiring for short circuits and remove
an d re p la c e fuses and d efectiv e
lights.
C ertain types of ships require
workers who have special skills, such
as refrigeration engineers (D.O.T.
950.782) who maintain proper tem ­
p eratu res in refrigerator co m p art­
ments for perishable cargoes such as
m eat and vegetables.
Stew ard’s Department. The chief
steward (D.O.T. 350.138) supervises
the preparation and serving of meals
and the upkeep of living quarters

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

306

aboard ship. The chief cook (D.O.T.
315.131) and assistant cooks prepare
meals. T he chief cook also supervises
the oth er galley (sh ip ’s kitchen)
workers and is responsible for keep­
ing the galley clean and orderly. Util­
ity hands (D.O.T. 318.887) and mess
attendants (D .O .T . 3 50.878) com ­
plete the crew in the stew ard’s d e­
partm ent. These beginning jobs re­
quire little skill. Utility hands carry
food supplies from th e sto rero o m
and iceboxes, p re p a re vegetables,
wash cooking utensils, and scour gal­
ley equipm ent. Mess attendants set
tab les, serve m eals, clea n tab les,
wash dishes, and care fo r living q u ar­
ters.
Due to the greater use of prepack­
aged foods and sm aller crew sizes,
m any new ships have reduced the
num ber o f workers in the stew ard’s
departm ent. For exam ple, the chief
cook and chief stew ard are replaced
by a c o m b in a tio n c h ie f ste w a rd /
cook.
Because of the ever-present d an ­
ger of fire at sea, able seam en m ust
be familiar with fire prevention and
control m ethods. They participate in
periodic boat drills and are trained in
a ll o p e r a t i o n s c o n n e c t e d w ith
launching lifeboats and liferafts.

Places of Employment
A b o u t 33,200 sailors w ere em ­
ployed aboard U.S. oceangoing ves­
sels during 1976. Due to long vaca­
tions and o ther breaks in duty, such
as illness, the num ber o f em ployed
sailors is about one and a half times
the num ber o f jobs on ships. Nearly
two-thirds of the jobs were aboard
freighters, and m ost o f the rem ainder
were aboard tankers. Only a small
percentage were on passenger ships.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Although not required, previous
sea experience in the C oast G uard or
Navy is a useful background for en ­
tering the m erchant m arine. A ppli­
cants m ust obtain a d o c to r’s certifi­
cate specifying they are in excellent
health and then m ust obtain a letter




from a shipping com pany statin g
that, if qualified, they will be hired if
a job becom es available. In addition,
applicants m ust register with the U.S.
Coast G uard and acquire from it uni­
versal identification papers called a
m erchant m ariner’s docum ent. The
docum ent, however, does not guar­
antee a job. It m erely qualifies a p e r­
son to be considered for a job when
the supply o f regular w orkers has
been exhausted. To get a job, a p er­
son must be present at the hiring hall
when the opening becom es available.
Hiring halls are located in the chief
ports o f the country. They are o p er­
ated by unions for com m ercial ves­
sels and by the Navy’s Military Sealift
C om m and (M SC ) for governm entoperated ships. In m ost ports along
the A tlantic and G ulf C oasts and
G reat Lakes, the N ational M aritim e
Union and the Seafarers’ Internation­
al Union o perate hiring halls. The
Sailors’ Union o f the Pacific operates
hiring halls in many ports o f the W est
Coast. MSC em ploym ent offices are
located at Brooklyn, N.Y.; New O r­
leans, La.; and Oakland, Calif.
Jobseekers are given shipping
cards when they register at the hiring
hall. The shipping com panies send
job orders to the hiring hall, and
sailors who have been unem ployed
the longest get first preference on
any jobs for which they are qualified.
Inexperienced applicants are expect­
ed to have difficulty getting jobs b e­
cause the n um ber o f experienced
workers already greatly exceeds the
num ber o f job openings. Applicants
must be present at the hall when jobs
are announced and may lose their
places if they are not present or have
turned down three job offers.
A sailor advances in the deck and
engine departm ents by serving a des­
ignated period in a rating, and by
su cc essfu lly c o m p le tin g a C o a st
G uard exam in atio n th a t tests th e
ability to use and m aintain equip­
ment. For example, after serving a
minimum of 1 year, aboard an ocean
going vessel an ordinary seaman may
apply to the C oast G uard for limited
endorsem ent as an able seaman. For
full endorsem ent, applicants must be

at least 19 years of age and pass an
exam ination to test their knowledge
o f seam anship and ability to carry
out all the duties required of able
seamen. Able seamen who have su­
p ervisory ability m ay advance to
boatswain after years of service.
Most training program s in the in­
dustry are designed to help experi­
enced w orkers upgrade their ratings.
However, the Seafarers’ Internation­
al Union of N orth Am erica operates
the Harry Lundeberg School for sea­
manship at Piney Point, Md. that ac­
cepts a limited num ber o f young p eo ­
ple who have no sea experience and
trains them in general seam anship
skills. Upgrading courses for sailors
are offered by the Seafarers’ Union,
th e N a tio n a l M aritim e U nion o f
Am erica, and a num ber of other o r­
ganizations.
A dvancem ent to higher positions
in the stew ard’s departm ent is by
recom m endation of the chief steward
to the captain. A mess attendant or
utility hand can advance to third
cook, to cook-baker, to chief cook,
and finally to chief steward.
A small num ber o f persons who
show exceptional ability are selected
for self-study, union sponsored p ro ­
grams, which enable unlicensed sail­
ors to advance to the licensed ranks
as either third m ate or third assistant
engineer.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment of m erchant sailors is
expected to decline through the mid1980’s. Some job openings, however,
will arise each year due to the need
to replace experienced sailors who
retire, die, or quit the sea for o ther
reasons. Com petition for these posi­
tions is expected to be keen because
the num ber of people seeking jobs as
sailors probably will exceed the num ­
ber of openings. Most openings will
be filled by experienced sailors who
are unem ployed; very few inexperi­
enced applicants are expected to get
jobs.
Em ployment opportunities in the
U.S. M erchant M arine are directly
related to the num ber of ships—and
to the num ber of sailors required to
operate each ship. A fter World W ar

307

MERCHANT MARINE OCCUPATIONS

II this country possessed the largest
m erchant marine fleet ever assem­
bled. Since then, however, the num ­
ber has declined steadily as some
owners transferred their ship’s regis­
tration outside the country. These
transfers occurred because ships reg­
istered in the United States must em ­
ploy Am erican crews and, because of
higher wages, cost about twice as
much to operate as ships registered
ab ro ad and m anned with foreign
crews. The incentive of obtaining
greater profits by lowering operating
costs prom pted many owners to reg­
ister their ships outside the U.S.
Little further decline in the num ­
ber of ships is expected, however,
because the Federal G overnm ent has
taken steps to insure that ships regis­
tered in the United States and oper­
ated by American crews are available
to transport essential cargo. To m ain­
tain this capability, the Governm ent
pays the difference in wages to a
company if they use American crews,
and helps pay for the construction or
purchase of new ships.
The num ber of ships is expected to
remain about the same because the
number of new ships entering service
should about equal those being re­
tired. However, em ploym ent of sail­
ors is expected to decline because

new ships are operated with smaller
crews. For example, vessels generally
carry a crew of twelve sailors in the
e n g in ee rin g d e p a rtm e n t, w hereas
new ships only carry four: three deck
engine m echanics and one wiper.
Deck engine m echanics replace oil­
ers, firer-w atertenders, and electri­
cians. O lder freighters and tankers
custom arily employ three ordinary
seamen, whereas their job has been
eliminated on new ships. In addition
m echanization of tasks has elim inat­
ed jobs for some carpenters and the
use of prepackaged food and smaller
crew sizes have reduced the num ber
of cooks and stewards.
E m ploym ent o p p o rtu n itie s may
improve if the Governm ent m andates
that a fixed proportion of im ported
oil or exported grains is to be carried
in A m eric an sh ip s— a m ove th a t
would require more American ships.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Crew m em bers of Am erican m er­
chant ships enjoy excellent pay and
fringe benefits. Earnings depend on
job assignments and type of vessel.
Basic monthly pay for a cross section
of ratings on a typical freighter in
1976 is shown in the accompanying
tabulation:

Typical crew aboard a modern automated dry-cargo ship




Base
pay 1
Electrician.......................................... $1,117
Chief steward.....................................
950
Carpenter...........................................
874
Cook/Baker........................................
822
807
Deck utility hand..............................
Able seaman.......................................
723
Firer-watertender..............................
723
Oiler....................................................
723
Ordinary seaman...............................
564
Mess attendant/utility hand.............
560
1 East Coast wages in June, 1976 aboard a
12,000-17,000 power ton single screw ship.

Monthly wages are supplem ented
by premium pay for overtim e and
other factors. On the average, prem i­
um earnings are equal to about 50
percent of base wages. For example,
an oiler with a monthly base pay of
$723 regularly earns about $1,084
each month.
Liberal employer-financed fringe
benefits are provided. Vacations
range from 90 to 180 days a year.
Sailors may retire on pensions after
20 years of service. Sailors and their
dependents are covered by com pre­
hensive medical care and hospitaliza­
tion programs.
The workweek aboard ship is con­
siderably different from the w ork­
week on shore. At sea, most sailors
are required to work 7 days a week.
G enerally, they work two 4-hour
w atches (shifts) during every 24hour period and have 8 hours off be­
tween each watch. Some sailors are
day workers. They work 8 hours a
day, M onday through Friday. All
sailors are paid overtim e for work
over 40 hours a week. When the ship
is in port, the basic workweek is 40
hours for all crewmembers.
A person working in the engineroom must be able to withstand high
tem peratures while a deck w orker
must adapt to both bitter cold and
the hot sun. At sea, there is always
the possibility of injuries from falls or
the danger of fire, collision, or sink­
ing.
Accom m odations
for
sailors
aboard U.S. vessels are generally
good, but not luxurious. Meals are
served in a messroom, which often
doubles as a recreation room where
the crew can read, write letters, play
cards, and socialize. Crewmembers

308

generally share quarters aboard older
ships and have little privacy, but
most new ships have single-berth
rooms. Many sailors find the work
aboard ship routine and boring.
Sailors are represented by a num ­
ber of labor organizations; the two
largest are the N ational M aritim e
Union of America and the Seafarers’
International Union of North A m er­
ica.




OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Sources of Additional
Information
For general inform ation about
m erchant marine sailors’ jobs, write
to:
Office of Maritime Manpower, Maritime Ad­
ministration, U.S. Department of Com­
merce, Washington, D.C. 20235.

Inform ation about job openings,
qualifications for employment, wage

scales, and other particulars is avail­
able from local maritime unions. If
no maritime union is listed in the lo­
cal telephone directory, contact:
National Maritime Union of America, 36 Sev­
enth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10011.
Seafarers’ International Union of North Amer­
ica, 675 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
11232.

RAILROAD OCCUPATIONS

People, food, and industrial m ate­
rials all m ove along th e 200,0 0 0
miles o f railroad lines th at crisscross
the N ation. In 1976, the railroads
provided jobs for about 531,000 peo­
ple. R ailroad jobs are found in all
States except Hawaii, and in com m u­
nities o f all sizes.
Large num bers o f railroad workers
are em ployed at term inal points
where the railroads m aintain control
offices, freight yards, and m ainte­
nance and repair shops. Chicago, the
hub of the N ation’s railroad system,
has m ore railroad w orkers than any
other area, but many also are em ­
ployed in o r near New Y ork, Los A n­
geles, P h ila d e lp h ia , M in n eap o lis,
Pittsburgh, and D etroit.
Railroad workers can be divided
into four main groups: O perating
employees; station and office w ork­
ers; equipm ent m aintenance w ork­
ers; and property m aintenance w ork­
ers.
Operating employees m ake up al­
most one-third of all railroad w ork­

ers. This group includes locom otive
engineers, conductors, and brake o p ­
erators. W hether on the road or at
term inals and railroad yards, they
work together as traincrews. Some
o th er em ployees in this group are
hostlers, who p rep are locom otives
for the traincrew s, and sw itchtenders, who throw track switches w ith­
in railroad yards.
O ne-fourth of all railroad workers
are station and office employees, who
direct train m ovem ents and handle
the railroads’ business affairs. Profes­
sionals such as m anagers, account­
ants, statisticians, and systems an a­
lysts do adm inistrative and planning
work, while clerks handle business
transactions, keep records, and p re ­
pare statistics. Agents m anage the
business affairs o f the railroad sta­
tions. Telegraphers and telephoners
pass on instructions to traincrew s
and help agents with clerical work.
M ore than one-fifth o f all railroad
em ployees are equipm ent m a in te­
nance workers, who service and re ­

Technological innovations will restrain growth of
railroad occupations; limited openings will result from
replacement needs
Selected railroad occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in hundreds)




p a ir lo c o m o tiv e s an d ca rs. T his
group includes car repairers, m achin­
ists, electrical workers, sheet-metal
w orkers, boilerm akers, and b lack­
smiths.
Property maintenance workers,
who m ake up about one-sixth of all
railroad employees, build and repair
tracks, tunnels, signal equipm ent,
and o th er railroad property. Trackworkers repair tracks and roadbeds.
Bridge and building w orkers c o n ­
stru ct and repair bridges, tunnels,
and o th er structures along the rightof-way. Signal w orkers install and
service the railroads’ vast network of
signals, including highway-crossing
protection devices.
Discussions of the work, training,
outlook, and earnings for some m ajor
occupations in railroads are present­
ed in the statem ents that follow. In­
fo rm a tio n on em ploym ent also is
available in the statem ent on occupa­
tions in the railroad industry else­
where in the Handbook. Details about
specific jobs may be obtained from
local railroad offices. General infor­
m ation on the industry is available
from:
Association of American Railroads, American
Railroads Building, 1920 L St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

BRAKE OPERATORS
(D.O.T. 910.364 and .884)

Nature of the Work
Brake operators play a pivotal role
in making locomotives and cars into
trains. W orking with engineers and
under the direction o f conductors,
they do the physical work involved in
adding and removing cars at railroad
stations and assembling and disas­
sembling trains in railroad yards.
All passenger and m ost freight
traincrew s include two road brake
o p e ra to rs—one in the locom otive
with the engineer and another in the
caboose with the conductor. A few
small freight trains need only one in
the locom otive. Before departu re,
road b ra k e o p e ra to rs inspect the
train to m ake sure that all couplers
309

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

310

and airhoses are fastened, that hand­
brakes on all the cars are released,
and that the airbrakes are function­
ing correctly. While underway they
regularly look for smoke, sparks, and
other signs of sticking brakes, over­

h e a te d axle b e a rin g s, and o th e r
faulty equipm ent. They may make
minor repairs to airhoses and co u ­
plers. In case of unexpected stops,
brake o p erato rs set out signals to
protect both ends of the train.


Yard brake operators help assemble and disassemble trains in railroad yards.


When freight trains approach an
industrial site, the brake operator in
the locomotive jum ps off the moving
train and runs ahead to switch the
train to the proper track. The brake
operators uncouple cars that are to
be delivered and couple those that
are to be picked up.
On passenger trains, brake o p era­
tors regulate car lighting and tem per­
ature, and help the conductor collect
tickets and assist passengers.
Yard brake operators (also known
as yard couplers or helpers) help as­
semble and disassemble trains in rail­
road yards, according to instructions
from yard conductors. They use hand
signals or two-way radios to signal
engineers where to move cars. Rail­
road cars generally are not pushed
very far by the engine, but instead
are allowed to roll to their destina­
tion in the yard. Brake operators un­
couple the cars and throw trac k
sw itches to route them to certain
tracks if they are to be unloaded, or
to an outgoing train if their final des­
tination is fu rth e r down the line.
They may ride a car, operating the
handbrake to regulate its speed.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
On most railroads, beginning
brake operators make several trips
with conductors and experienced op­
erators to become familiar with the
job. Their names are then put on the
“ extra bo ard ” and they are given as­
signments to substitute for workers
who are absent for vacations, illness,
or other reasons. On some railroads,
however, new brake operators first
are given several days of training, in­
cluding instruction on signaling, co u ­
pling and uncoupling cars, throwing
s w itc h e s , an d b o a r d in g m o v in g
equipm ent. Following this training
period, these brake operators accom ­
pany experienced crews for several
trips before being placed on the “ ex­
tra b o ard .” It usually takes several
years before brake operators acquire
enough seniority to get regular as­
signments.
Employers prefer applicants who
are high school graduates or the
equivalent. Good eyesight and h ear­
ing are essential. M echanical ap ti­

RAILROAD OCCUPATIONS

tude is helpful. Physical stamina is
necessary to board moving trains,
throw switches, and operate hand­
brakes. Most employers require that
applicants pass physical exam ina­
tions.
With sufficient seniority, brake op­
e ra to rs may beco m e co n d u cto rs.
These jobs are always filled by pro­
moting experienced brake operators
who have qualified by passing written
and oral tests on signals, brake sys­
tems, timetables, operating rules, and
other subjects. Some com panies re­
quire that these tests be passed with­
in the first few years o f the brake
o p erato r’s em ploym ent. Since pro­
motions on almost all railroads are
controlled by seniority rules, brake
operato rs usually wait at least 10
years before becoming conductors.
Advancem ent is limited by the num ­
ber of conductor jobs, and there are
many m ore brake o p erato rs than
conductors. A few brake operators in
freight service move to passenger
service, usually considered more de­
sirable because it is less strenuous.

Employment Outlook
Employment of brake operators—
who n u m b ere d n early 6 5 ,000 in
1976 — is n o t ex p ected to change
through th e m id -1 9 8 0 ’s. Em ploy­
ment is expected to increase in the
short run, however, as an improving
economy leads to more freight traf­
fic. Although many of the available
openings will be taken by experi­
enced brake operators now on fur­
lough, some jobs will be available for
new workers. Openings also will de­
velop as experienced brake operators
retire, die, advance to jobs as con­
ductors, or transfer to other work.
Even though total em ploym ent of
brake operators is not expected to
change in the long run, the num ber
of those in road service will increase
since more trains will be needed to
haul the additional freight volume
created by growth in population and
industry. Employment gains will be
m oderated, however, by innovations
that make it possible to move freight
more efficiently. For example, trains
will be able to carry more freight as
the railroads continue to replace
older freight cars with larger, better

designed ones.


311

The num ber of yard brake opera­
tors is expected to decrease, prim ar­
ily due to the installation of autom at­
ic classificatio n system s in m ore
yards. In an autom atic classification
yard, cars are braked and routed by
electronic controls. Fewer brake op­
erators are needed in these yards,
mainly to connect airhoses, uncouple
cars, and retrieve m isrouted ones.
Yard em ploym ent also will be affect­
ed by the new freight cars, which
take as much time to route as older
ones but carry more freight.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, brake operators had aver­
age m onthly earnings of $1,206 in
yard service, $1,523 in freight ser­
vice, and $1,637 in passenger ser­
vice. T h ese earnings w ere ab o u t
twice as much as the average for all
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming.
Yard brake operators usually work
a scheduled 40-hour week and re ­
ceive prem ium pay for overtim e.
Road brake operators are paid ac­
cording to miles traveled or hours
worked, whichever is greater. Brake
operators often work nights, w eek­
ends, and holidays.
M ost freight trains are unsched­
uled so few road brake operators
have scheduled assignments. Instead,
their nam es are placed on a list and
when their turn comes they are as­
signed the next train, usually on short
notice and often at odd hours. Since
freight and passenger brake opera­
tors often work on trains that operate
between terminals that are hundreds
of miles apart, they may spend sever­
al nights a week away from home.
Brake o p erato rs assigned to extra
board work have less steady work,
m ore irre g u la r h o u rs, and low er
earnings than those with regular jobs.
Most brake operators are mem bers
of the United Transportation Union.

CONDUCTORS
(D.O.T. 198.168)

Nature of the Work
C onductors are in charge of train
and yard crews. They are responsible

for the safe and punctual delivery of
cargo and passengers and the accu­
rate assembly of trains.
Before a train leaves the terminal,
the conductor receives instructions
on the train ’s route, timetable, and
cargo from the dispatcher, and dis­
cusses these with the engineer. On
many trains conductors can receive
additional information by radio while
underway. This may include inform a­
tion about track conditions ahead, or
instructions to pull off at the next
siding to let another train pass.
During runs, conductors use twoway radios to contact engineers.
They pass on instructions received
from dispatchers and remind engi­
neers of stops, reported track condi­
tions, and the p re sen ce o f o th e r
trains. C onductors regularly receive
information from brake operators on
the condition of the cars. If a prob­
lem occurs, conductors arrange ei­
ther for repairs while underway or
for removal of the defective car at
the nearest station or siding. They
inform dispatchers o f this develop­
m ent using radio or wayside te le ­
phones.
On freight trains, the conductor
keeps records of each ca r’s contents
and destination, and sees that cars
are added and removed at the proper
points along the route. On a passen­
ger train, conductors collect tickets
and fares, and answer passengers’
questions concerning timetables and
train rules. At stops they signal engi­
neers when to leave.
Yard conductors supervise the
crews that assemble and disassemble
trains. They receive instructions
from yardmasters concerning where
to move the cars o f newly arrived
trains. Some cars will be sent to
special tracks for unloading, while
the rest will be moved to other tracks
to be made into trains going to differ­
ent cities. C onductors tell engineers
where to move cars while brake op­
erators are told which cars to couple
and uncouple and which switches to
throw to divert the locom otive or
cars to the proper track. In yards that
have au to m atic classification sys­
tems, conductors may use electrical
controls to operate the track switch­
es th a t ro u te cars to the c o rre c t
track.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

312

more freight as the railroads contin­
ue to replace older freight cars with
larger, better designed ones.
Employment of yard conductors,
on the other hand, is not expected to
change. Continued m odernization of
yards, especially the addition of au to ­
matic classification systems, will im­
prove yard efficiency. Yard em ploy­
m ent also will be affected by the new
freight cars which take as much time
to route as older ones but carry more
freight.

Earnings and Working
Conditions

Conductors receive instructions by radio while underway.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Jobs as conductors always are
filled from the ranks of experienced
brake operators who have passed
tests covering signals, timetables, op­
erating rules, and related subjects.
Until perm an en t positions becom e
available, new conductors are put on
the “ extra bo ard ,” where they substi­
tute for experienced conductors who
are absent because of illness, vaca­
tions, or other reasons. On most rail­
roads, conductors on the extra board
may work as brake operators if there
are not enough conductor runs avail­
able for them that m onth. Seniority
almost always is the main factor in
determ ining prom otion from brake
operator to conductor and from the
extra board to a perm anent position.
Most railroads m aintain separate
seniority lists for road service and
yard service conductors; conductors
usually remain in one type of service
for their entire careers. On some

roads, however, conductors start in


the yards, then move to freight ser­
vice, and finally to passenger service.
Some conductors advance to m an­
agerial positions such as trainm aster
or yardmaster.

Employment Outlook
Employment of conductors—who
num bered about 35,900 in 1976—is
expected to grow m ore slowly than
the average for all occupations Most
job openings will result from the
need to replace conductors who are
prom oted, or who retire or die.
The transportation requirem ents
of the country will increase as growth
in population and industry creates a
dem and for more consum er and in­
dustrial products. This will result in
an increase in em ploym ent of road
service conductors, since more trains
will be needed to haul the additional
freight volum e. H ow ever, em ploy­
m ent growth will be m oderated by
innovations that make it possible to
move freight m ore efficiently. For
example, trains will be able to carry

In 1976, conductors had average
monthly earnings of $1,489 in yard
service, $1,626 in passenger road
service, and $1,829 in freight road
service. These earnings were m ore
than double the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private indus­
try, except farming.
Yard conductors usually work a
scheduled 40-hour week and receive
premium pay for overtime. Road
conductors are paid according to
miles traveled or hours worked,
whichever is greater. C onductors of­
ten work nights, weekends, and holi­
days.
M ost freight trains are unsched­
uled so few road conductors have
scheduled assignments. Instead, their
names are placed on a list and when
their turn comes they are assigned
the next train, usually on short notice
and often at odd hours. Since road
service conductors often work on
trains that operate between stations
that are hundreds of miles apart, they
may spend several nights a week
away from home. C onductors on the
extra board frequently work less than
40 hours a week as conductors and,
therefore, earn less than those who
have regular jobs.
Many conductors are mem bers of
the United Transportation Union.

LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 910.383)

Nature of the Work
E ngineers are am ong the m ost
skilled em ployees on the railroad.

313

RAILROAD OCCUPATIONS

They must have a thorough knowl­
edge of the signal systems, yards, and
term inals along their route and be
constantly aw are o f the condition
and makeup of the train. Trains react
differently to acceleration, braking,
and curves, depending on the num ­
ber of cars, the ratio of empty to
loaded cars, or the am ount of slack in
the train. M isjudgment by the engi­
neer of these or many other factors
can lead to whiplash injuries to pas­
sengers and crew m em bers, damaged
cargo, broken couplers, or even de­
railment.
Engineers operate locomotives in
passenger, freight, and yard services.
Road service engineers transport car­
go and passengers between stations,
while yard engineers move cars with­
in yards to assemble or disassemble
trains. Most engineers run diesel lo­
comotives; a few run electrics.
Engineers operate the throttle to
start and accelerate the train and use
airbrakes to slow and stop it. They
also watch gauges and m eters that
measure speed, fuel, battery charge,
and air pressure in the brake lines.
Both on the road and in the yard,
they watch for signals that indicate
track obstructions and speed limits.



Before and after each run, engi­
neers ch eck locom otives for m e­
chanical problem s. M inor ad ju st­
m ents are m ade on the spot, but
major defects are reported to the en ­
gine shop supervisor.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Openings in engineer jobs on the
majority of railroads are filled by
training and prom oting engineer
helpers according to seniority rules.
Some railroads, though, train appli­
cants directly as engineers. A few
train brake operators.
Helpers ride in locomotives with
engineers and assist them by inspect­
ing locomotives, watching for signals
and track obstructions, and m onitor­
ing gauges. New helpers receive onthe-job training lasting up to 6 weeks
during which time they learn their
duties and railroad rules and regula­
tions. They are then assigned as engi­
neer helpers on regular jobs.
Railroads prefer that applicants for
helper and engineer positions have a
high school education and be at least
21 years old. Applicants must have
good hearing, eyesight, and color vi­
sion. G ood eye-hand coordination,

m anual dexterity, and m echanical
aptitude also are required.
Helpers are placed in training p ro ­
grams for engineer jobs within 1 year
follow ing th eir initial hiring date.
These program s, and those for engi­
neer trainees and brake operators,
include classroom and on-the-job
training in locom otive o p eratio n .
Many program s include extensive
training on simulators. At the end of
the training period, the potential en­
gineers take qualifying tests covering
locomotive equipm ent, airbrake sys­
tems, fuel econom y, train handling
techniques, and operating rules and
regulations.
As engineers are needed, newly
trained engineers or qualified helpers
who have the longest seniority are
placed on the engineers’ “ extra
board.” Extra board engineers who
do not have regular assignments sub­
stitute for regular engineers who are
absent because of vacation, illness,
or other reasons. Extra board engi­
neers frequently have to wait a num ­
ber of years before accum ulating
enough seniority to get a regular as­
signment. Seniority rules also may
determ ine the engineers’ type of ser­
vice; for instance, from a first regular
assignment in yard service, they may
move to road service.
Engineers take periodic physical
examinations to determ ine fitness to
operate locomotives. They must have
keen eyesight and hearing. Those
who fail to m eet the physical stan­
dards are restricted to yard service.

Employment Outlook
I

Em ploym ent of locom otive engi­
neers—who num bered about 33,300
in 1976 — is e x p e c te d to in crease
more slowly than the average for all
occupations through the mid-1980’s.
Most job openings will arise from the
need to replace engineers who retire
or die.
The need for transportation servic­
es will increase as growth in popula­
tion and industry creates a dem and
for m ore consum er and industrial
products. This will result in an in­
crease in em ploym ent of road service
engineers, since more trains will be
needed to haul the additional freight
volume. However, this em ploym ent

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

314

growth will be m oderated by innova­
tions that make it possible to move
freight m ore efficiently. For exam ­
ple, trains will be able to carry more
freight as the railroads continue to
replace older freight cars with larger,
better designed ones.
Employment of yard engineers, on
the other hand, is not expected to
change. C ontinued m odernization of
yards, especially the addition of auto­
matic classification systems that elec­
tronically route cars to the proper
track, will improve yard efficiency.
Yard em ploym ent also will be affect­
ed by the new freight cars, which
take as much time to route as older
ones but carry more freight.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
The earnings of engineers depend
on the size of the locomotive and
type of service. In 1976, monthly
earnings of engineers averaged
$1,634 in yard service, $2,008 in pas­
senger service, and $2,080 in freight
service. E ngineers ea rn ed two to
three times as much as the average
for all nonsupervisory workers in pri­
vate industry, except farming.
Yard engineers work 5 days or
more a week, depending on the rail­
road. Their hours are scheduled and
they receive premium pay for work­
ing more than 8 hours in any day.
Road service engineers are paid by
m iles tra v e le d or h o u rs w o rk ed ,
whichever is greater. Many railroads
place a maximum on the num ber of
miles a road service engineer can
cover per month. Those who reach
the limit are replaced by extra board
engineers for the rest o f the month.
Engineers often work nights, week­
ends, and holidays at regular pay.
Most freight trains are unsched­
uled so few road en g in eers have
scheduled assignments. Instead, their
names are placed on a list and when
their turn com es they are assigned
the next train, usually on short notice
and often at odd hours. Since those
in road service may deliver cargo or
passengers to a distant station one
day and not return until the next,
they may spend several days a week
away from home. Engineers assigned
Digitized theFRASER board have less steady
to for extra


work, more irregular hours, and low­
er earnings than those with regular
jobs.
Most engineers are mem bers of the
B rotherhood o f Locom otive Engi­
neers; some are m em bers of the U nit­
ed Transportation Union.

SHOP TRADES
Nature of the Work
Every railroad em ploys its own
workers to maintain, repair, and re ­
build railroad cars, locomotives, and
other equipm ent. In 1976, there were
over 72,600 workers in the six princi­
pal shop trades—about 38,300 car
repairers, 16,300 machinists, 10,900
electrical workers, 4,500 sheet-metal
w orkers, 1,400 boilerm akers, and
1,100 b lack sm ith s. T hese skilled
craft workers are employed in rail­
road yards, term inals, and engine
houses, as well as in major car and
locomotive repair facilities.
Car repairers (D .O .T . 622.381 )
keep freight and passenger cars, tank

cars, and some sections of locom o­
tives in good ru n n in g co n d itio n .
Some repairers specialize in visually
examining cars and locomotives ev­
ery time they enter yards. They in­
spect parts such as wheels, brake as­
semblies, and couplers, looking for
defects that might lead to accidents
or delays. They may make minor re­
pairs on the spot, but defective cars
usually are fixed on special tracks by
other car repairers. These repairs in­
clude straightening ladders on freight
cars, fixing leaks in car roofs, chang­
ing wheels, and replacing couplers.
Some car repairers work in special
yards rebuilding old or badly dam ­
aged cars. They also may convert
standard cars received from m anu­
facturers into custom -built ones for
specialized purposes.
The o th er shop w orkers are in­
volved primarily with servicing loco­
m o tiv e s. L o co m o tiv e s are o v e r­
hauled on a regular basis and each
craft plays a role in the inspection
and repair of defective or damaged
locomotives.
Although a few machinists use
metal cutting and forming tools to
repair parts of locomotives, most do
m echanical work on engines. During
overhauls,
machinists
(D.O.T.

Some repairers rebuild old or badly damaged cars or convert standard cars into
custom-built ones for specialized purposes.

RAILROAD OCCUPATIONS

600.280) examine valves, transm is­
sions, fuel lines, and other com po­
nents for dam age or wear. During
major overhauls they may strip the
engine completely. Exterior com po­
nents, such as wheels and axles, also
are inspected and any defective or
worn parts are replaced.
During these overhauls, electrical
workers (D.O.T. 721.381) repair or
install new wiring and inspect the
generator and electric motors in the
engine. They also maintain air-condi­
tioning systems and the cooling sys­
tem s in re frig e ra tio n cars. Some
maintain the wiring in railroad build­
ings.
Machinists and electrical workers
also examine engines that have m e­
c h a n ic a l o r e le c tric a l p ro b lem s.
Much o f this work is done in the
shop, b u t if a lo com otive breaks
down up the track, a team consisting
of a skilled machinist and an electri­
cal worker is sent to the site to a t­
tem pt to repair it on the spot.
Sheet-metal
workers
(D.O.T.
804.281) and boilermakers (D.O.T.
805.281) repair sheet-m etal sections
of locomotives and the pipes and
tubes in locomotive engines. They
also work on other equipm ent made
of steel plates such as stationary boil­
ers and tanks. Blacksmiths (D.O.T.
610.381) repair locom otive frames
and other heavy metal parts. More
inform ation on m achinists, electri­
c ia n s, b o ile r m a k e r s, an d b la c k sm ith s

can be found elsewhere in the Hand­
book.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Although apprenticeship training
is the most common way to enter
shop trades, some helpers and labor­
ers are upgraded to these jobs. Ap­
prenticeships last 3 to 4 years, de­
pending on how much previous work
experience the apprentice has.
Most apprentices are between 18
and 21 years of age, although some
are older at the start of their training.
On some roads, ap p ren tice appli­
cants m ust pass m athem atical and
mechanical aptitude tests.
Applicants who have had shop
training in high schools or vocational



315

schools are preferred by most rail­
roads. A utom obile repair and m a­
chining courses are useful for m a­
chinists. C ourses in electricity and
physics will help applicants who want
jobs as electrical workers.
Some workers in the shop trades
advance to supervisory positions.

Employment Outlook
Employment of shop trades work­
ers is expected to decline through the
m id-1980’s as shop efficiency contin­
ues to increase and as older railroad
cars are replaced with new ones that
are m ore durable and m ore easily
m aintained. However, job openings
will develop for new apprentices or
helpers as experienced workers re ­
tire, die, or transfer to other fields of
work.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, hourly earnings averaged
$7.00 for electrical workers, $6.98
for boilerm akers, $6.94 for m achin­
ists, $6.87 for blacksmiths, $6.90 for
car repairers, and $6.96 for sheetm etal w orkers. M ost shopw orkers
have a 40-hour workweek and re ­
ceive premium pay for overtime.
Shopwork is active and strenuous,
involving stooping, climbing, and lift­
ing. In addition, much of the work of
car repairers is done outdoors in all
kinds of weather. O ther workers face
noisy shop conditions.
Most shopworkers are union m em ­
bers. Among the unions in this field
are: B rotherhood of Railway C ar­
men of the United States and C an­
ada; International Association of M a­
chinists and A ero sp ace W orkers;
International B rotherhood of Electri­
cal W orkers; Sheet M etal W orkers’
In tern atio n al A ssociation; In tern a­
tional Brotherhood of Boilermakers,
Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forg­
ers and Helpers; Transport W orkers
Union of America; and the Interna­
tional Brotherhood of Firemen and
Oilers. Several of these unions nego­
tiate labor-m anagem ent agreem ents
through the Railway Em ployes’ D e­
partm ent of the AFL-CIO.

SIGNAL DEPARTMENT
WORKERS
(D.O.T. 822.281 and .884)

Nature of the Work
Railroad signal workers install, re­
pair, and maintain the train control,
com m unication, and signaling sys­
tems that direct train movement and
assure safety. T hese include gate
crossings and signal lights, as well as
system s th a t o p e ra te signals and
throw switches by rem ote control.
The work usually consists of either
general m aintenance o f the signal
systems or installation and major re­
pair.
Signal installers work in crews,
usually consisting of at least five
workers. They install new equipm ent
and make major repairs. They do
mostly construction work that in­
cludes digging holes and ditches,
hoisting poles, and mixing and pour­
ing concrete to m ake foundations.
They also assemble the control and
com m unications devices, make the
electrical connections, and perform
the extensive testing that is required
to assure th at new signal systems
work properly.
Individual signal maintainers are
assigned a section of track and are
responsible for keeping gate cross­
ings, signals, and other control devic­
es within their section in good o p er­
ating condition. They periodically
inspect and repair or replace wires,
lights, and switches. They may have
to climb poles to reach signals and
som etim es work near high voltage
wires. Signal m aintainers and install­
ers must have a thorough knowledge
of electricity and electronics.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
New em ployees usually are as­
signed as h elp ers to in sta lla tio n
crews. After a 60- to 90-day proba­
tionary period, helpers are eligible to
advance to assistants. Some railroads
hire applicants directly as assistants.
After 2 to 4 years, which may include
classroom instruction, qualified assis­
tants are prom oted to signal installer
or m aintainer. Assistants usually ad-

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

316

ings for new workers will arise as ex­
p erie n ced w orkers re tire , die, or
transfer to other fields.
Signal workers will continue to be
needed to repair the existing stock of
equipm ent as well as install and
maintain the new signal and train
control systems that are planned for
the future. Em ploym ent is not ex­
pected to grow, however, since many
new signal systems, which have fewer
moving parts, require less m ainte­
nance. Em ployment also will be af­
fected as the railroads continue to
close some sections of track that are
unprofitable or are m ade unneces­
sary as the installation of improved
train control systems enables ra il­
roads to use less track.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Signal maintainer carefully checks lights.

vance to signal in staller, though,
since openings in the more desirable
m ain ten an ce positions usually are
filled by sen io r signal in stalle rs.
These prom otions and assignments
are made on the basis of seniority,
provided ability is sufficient.
When hiring helpers or assistants,
railroads prefer applicants who are
high school or vocational school
graduates. Courses in blueprint read­
ing, electricity, and electronics pro­
vide a helpful background. A ppli­
cants also should be capable of doing
heavy work.
Both signal installers and maintainers may be prom oted to signal in­
spector or technician. Technicians
assist installers with com plicated sys­
tems while inspectors check the work
of both installers and m aintainers.
Some installers and m aintainers be­
come gang supervisors and a few ad­
vance to higher supervisory posi­
tions.

Employment Outlook
Employment of signal departm ent
workers—who
num bered
about
11,500 in 1976—is not expected to
change significantly through the midDigitized1980’s. Nevertheless, some job open­
for FRASER


In 1976, signal installers and m ain­
ta in e rs av e ra g e d $6.77 an h o u r,
about two-fifths more than the aver­
age for all nonsupervisory workers in
private industry, except farming. As­
sistants averaged $5.85 an hour and
helpers $5.74 an hour. Most signal
workers have a 40-hour week and
receive premium pay for overtime.
Since they work over large sec­
tions of track, installers usually live
away from hom e during the w ork­
week, frequently in camp cars p ro ­
vided by the company. M aintainers
usually live at home and service sig­
nals over a limited stretch of track.
However, they must make repairs re ­
gardless of w eather conditions or
time of day.
M ost signal installers and m ain­
tainers are members of the B rother­
hood of Railroad Signalmen.

for railroad cars to transport their
product. When loaded cars are deliv­
ered to a station, the agent inspects
the m erchandise for damage and in­
forms the recipient that the goods are
ready for unloading. Agents prepare
custom er bills and m ust be knowl­
edgeable about the complex railroad
billing procedure. Agents also may
pass on train orders and other m es­
sages to train crews. At larger sta­
tions, many of these tasks may be
done by clerks, telephoners, and o th ­
ers who are under the agent’s super­
vision.
At passenger stations, agents su­
pervise and coordinate the activities
of workers who sell tickets and check
baggage. At major freight and pas­
senger stations, the agent’s duties are
primarily administrative and supervi­
sory.
Some agents, sometimes called
mobile agents, service several small
stations that get little business. They
travel from station to station, open­
ing each only long enough to transact
the business at hand.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Station agents rise from the ranks
of other railroad occupations. With
sufficient seniority and ability, tele­
phoners, telegraphers, tower o p era­
tors, and clerks may be prom oted to
agents in small stations and may ad­
vance to larger stations as they gain
additional seniority. Agents also may
be prom oted to m anagerial positions
such as supervisory agent or auditor.

Employment Outlook

STATION AGENTS
(D.O.T. 21 1.468. and 910.138)

Nature of the Work
Station agents are the custom ers’
contact with the railroad. Most
agents work in small freight stations.
They take orders from com panies
that need cargo shipped and arrange

Employment of station agents—
w ho n u m b e re d a b o u t 7 ,0 0 0 in
1 9 7 6 — is e x p e c t e d to d e c li n e
through the m id-1980’s as more cus­
tom er orders and billing are handled
at large, centrally located stations,
and as an in c re a sin g n u m b er o f
smaller stations are serviced by m o­
bile agents. N evertheless, a limited
num ber of jobs will arise from the
need to replace experienced agents
who retire, die, or stop working for
other reasons.

317

RAILROAD OCCUPATIONS

Earnings and Working
Conditions
The earnings of station agents
vary. In 1976, agents in small stations
averaged $6.75 an hour, while agents
in major stations averaged $8.21 an
hour. A 40-hour workweek is stan­
dard, and time and one-half is paid
for overtime.
Station agents are members of the
Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and
Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers,
Express and Station Employees.

TELEGRAPHERS,
TELEPHONERS, AND
TOWER OPERATORS
(D.O.T. 236.588 and 910.782)

Nature of the Work
The movements of trains on many
sections of track are directed from
central locations. Switches are
thrown by remote control and crews
are contacted by radio. W here this
centralized control has not been put
into effect, however, trains are con­
trolled by telegraphers, telephoners,
and tower operators.
Tower operators work in towers
located in railroad yards or at major
junctions on the outskirts of cities.
Following instructions given by dis­
patchers and yardmasters, they route
train traffic by operating controls
th a t a c tiv a te sig n als and throw
sw itches on the tra c k below . By
throwing switches, a tower operator
in a yard can route trains to other
yards within the city, onto industrial
tracks to pick up or deliver cars, or to
a main track leaving the city. Once a
train is outside the city, a tower op­
erator directs it from the main track
to tracks leading to other cities. By
controlling signals, tow er operators
also can pass on instructions to train
crews. For example, if a yard is full,
the yardm aster will instruct a tower
op erato r to signal an approaching
train to wait outside the city, rather
than have it block streets while wait­
ing its turn at the entrance to the
yard.



Telegraphers
and
telephoners
work in yards and stations. They re­
ceive orders on train m ovem ent from
dispatchers and pass this information
on to train crews, either verbally or
in written instructions. These orders
may include inform ation on a train ’s
route or directives to m aintain lower
speed limits because of poor track
conditions. Those at stations assist
station agents in taking orders and
billing customers.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Jobs as telegraphers, telephoners,
and tower operators are filled from
the ranks of clerical workers accord­
ing to seniority provisions. It takes
several years for a newly hired clerk
to acquire sufficient seniority to ad­
vance to one of these positions.
New telegraphers, telephoners,
and tower operators receive on-thejob training that covers operating
rules, train orders, and station opera­
tions. On most roads, trainees must
pass examinations on train operating
rules and dem onstrate their ability to
use the equipm ent before they can
qualify. Newly qualified workers usu­
ally are assigned to the “ extra bo ard ”
to work as substitutes for telegra­
phers, telephoners, and tower opera­
tors who are absent due to vacations,
illness, or other reasons. After gain­
ing enough seniority, they generally
can bid for regular assignments.
Telegraphers, telephoners, and
tow er operators should be respon­
sible and alert. In addition, tower op­
erators should be capable of organizin g t h o u g h t s a n d a c t i o n s in
em ergency or pressure situations.
Good hearing and eyesight, including
normal color vision, are required.
A few telegraphers, telephoners,
and tower operators advance to posi­
tions as station agent or train dis­
patcher.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment of telegraphers, tele­
phoners, and tower operators—who
num bered about 10,200 in 1976—is
expected to decline through the mid1980’s. Nevertheless, a small num ber
of clerks will be prom oted to replace

experienced workers who retire, die,
or change occupations.
Em ployment in these fields will
continue to decline as technological
developm ents increase worker p ro ­
ductivity through the wider use of
m echanized yard operations, central­
ized traffic control, and other au to ­
matic signaling and control systems.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, hourly earnings for teleg­
raphers, telephoners, and tower op­
erators averaged $6.57, about onethird more than the average for all
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farm ing. A 40-hour
week is standard, and time and onehalf is paid for overtime.
Most telegraphers, telephoners,
and tower operators are members of
the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline
and Steamship Clerks, Freight H an­
dlers, Express and Station Employ­
ees.

TRACK WORKERS
(D.O.T. 182.168, 859.883, 869.887,
and 910.782)

Nature of the Work
A major factor limiting train speed
is the quality of the track. Many loco­
motives are capable of pulling hun­
dreds of cars at speeds as fast as 75
miles an hour, but train speed must
drop sharply on poorly m aintained
track to avoid accidents. Preventing
track deterioration and the accom pa­
nying loss in railroad efficiency is the
job of track workers, who service,
repair, and replace railroad track and
roadway.
Most track workers are members
of large, heavily m echanized travel­
ing crews which do scheduled p re­
ventive m aintenance and major re­
pair work over hundreds of miles of
track. Many of these workers operate
heavy m achinery, such as bulldozers,
cranes, and machines which they use
to lay rail, replace ties, or clean bal­
last. Others use power tools to drive
and pull spikes, cut rails, and tighten

318

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

tinue to close some sections of track
that are unprofitable or are made un­
necessary as the installation of im­
proved train control systems enables
railroads to use less track. Despite
this lack of growth, new track w ork­
ers will be needed each year to re­
place experienced workers who re­
t i r e , d ie , o r t r a n s f e r to o t h e r
occupations. Most job openings will
be in traveling crews.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Track workers laying rail.

bolts. Handtools, such as picks and
shovels, are used less frequently.
Section crews, which are smaller
and less m echanized than the travel­
ing ones, do less extensive repairs.
They are assigned a smaller section
of track to keep in condition between
the major overhauls of the traveling
crews. Section workers regularly in­
spect the track and roadway, and re­
p a ir o r r e p la c e m a lfu n c tio n in g
switches, weak ties, cracked rails,
washouts, and other defects.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most track workers learn their
skills through on-the-job training that
lasts about 2 years. M achine-operat­
ing jobs are assigned to qualified
workers by seniority.
Railroads prefer applicants who
can read, write, and do heavy work.
Applicants may be required to pass
physical examinations.




Some track workers who have the
necessary seniority and other qualifi­
cations may advance to gang or sec­
tion supervisor, then to positions
such as track supervisor.

Employment Outlook
Employment of track workers—
who n u m b e re d a b o u t 5 6 ,2 0 0 in
1976—is not ex p e cted to change
through the m id-1980’s. But em ploy­
ment is expected to increase in the
short run as funds for track renova­
tion become available through gov­
ernm ent action.
Railroads are expected to upgrade
much of the right-of-way in an effort
to increase efficiency, and the speed
and extent of this renovation will
determ ine the need for additional
workers. Over the long run, however,
increased productivity of track w ork­
e rs— as m achines do m ore o f the
work — will m o d erate em ploym ent
needs. In addition, railroads will con­

In 1976, track workers averaged
$5.89 an hour, slightly more than the
average for all nonsupervisory w ork­
ers in private industry, except farm ­
ing. Equipm ent operators and help­
e r s a v e r a g e d $ 6 .1 6 a n d c re w
supervisors averaged $6.54 an hour.
A 40-hour w orkw eek is stand ard ,
and premium rates are paid for over­
time. Some track workers, especially
those working on traveling crews on
th e n o rth e r n ra ilro a d s , are f u r ­
loughed during the winter months.
Track workers on traveling crews
may have to com m ute long distances
to reach the worksite. Many, how­
ever, live in camp cars or trailers p ro­
vided by the railroads. W orkers on
section crews sometimes have to p er­
form em ergency repairs at night d u r­
ing bad w eather conditions. T rack
workers have strenuous and active
jobs. The tools they use are fairly
heavy and they often work in bent
and stooped positions.
Most track workers are members
of the B rotherhood of M aintenance
of Way Employees.

INTERCITY BUSDRIVERS
(D.O.T. 913.363 and 913.463)

Nature of the Work

DRIVING OCCUPATIONS

Nearly 2.5 million truck, bus, and
taxi drivers moved passengers and
goods over highways and city streets
in 1976. Some drivers are behind the
wheel practically all their working
time. Others also spend part of their
time loading and unloading goods,
making pickups and deliveries, and
collecting money. Route drivers do
some selling as well as driving. For
this reason route drivers are dis­
cussed in the chapter on sales occu­
pations elsewhere in the Handbook.
The individual sections that follow
c o v e r l o n g - d is ta n c e an d lo c a l
truckdrivers, intercity and local busdrivers, parking attendants, and taxi
drivers. Not covered are school busdrivers, chauffeurs, am bulance driv­
ers, or employees for whom driving is
only incidental to their regular du­
ties.
Employment of long-distance and
local truckdrivers is expected to ex­

pand through the m id-1980’s as more
and more freight is moved by trucks.
Employment of busdrivers also is ex­
pected to increase as intercity pas­
senger travel continues to grow and
as cities expand their transit systems.
Em ployment in other driving occu­
pations is not expected to change
much, but many new employees will
be hired to replace those who retire,
die, or stop working for other rea­
sons.
Driving jobs offer excellent oppor­
tunities for persons who are not plan­
ning to attend college. The pay for
most drivers is relatively high, and
working conditions are fairly good.
Many persons also will enjoy the
freedom from close supervision and
the frequent contact with people that
are c h a rac te ristic of m ost driving
jobs.

Most openings in driving occupations result from
replacement needs
Selected driving occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)
Local transit bus drivers

Intercity bus drivers

Local truck drivers

Long-distance truck drivers

40
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




H

60

80

Growth H i Replacement

In many smaller towns and cities,
buses provide the only public trans­
portation to other comm unities. In
large cities, they are an alternative to
railroad and airline transportation
and, in many cases, provide more fre­
quent service.
When busdrivers report to the ter­
minal or garage, they are assigned
buses and pick up tickets, re p o rt
blanks, and other items needed for
their trips. They inspect their buses
carefully to make sure the brakes,
steering mechanism, windshield wip­
ers, lights, and mirrors work proper­
ly. They also check the fuel, oil, wa­
ter, and tires, and make certain that
the buses are carrying safety equip­
ment, such as fire extinguishers, firstaid kits, and emergency reflectors.
Drivers move the buses to loading
platforms where they take on passen­
gers. They collect fares—tickets usu­
ally—as passengers board the buses
and may use the buses’ public ad­
dress system to announce the desti­
nation, route, time o f arrival, and
o th er inform ation concerning the
trips.
Drivers’ routes vary. On local runs,
drivers stop at many small towns only
a few miles apart. On express runs,
however, they may stop only at major
cities after several hours of driving.
Although drivers must always be
alert in preventing accidents, they
must be especially careful in fastmoving highway traffic. They m ast
operate the bus at safe speeds while
trying to keep schedules, and often
must cope with adverse road condi­
tions.
Before arriving at m ajor terminals,
they announce the stop and the
scheduled departure time. At some
small stations, drivers stop only if
they see passengers waiting or if they
have been told to pick up or deliver
freight. Drivers also regulate lighting,
heating, and air-conditioning equip­
m ent for the passengers’ com fort. In
an emergency, they are required to
change flat tires.
319

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Bus driver checks oil before starting run.

Upon arriving at their final desti­
nations, drivers may unload or super­
vise the unloading of baggage and
freight. They p re p are rep o rts for
their em ployers on m ileage, tim e,
and fares, as required by the U.S.
D epartm ent of Transportation. They
also re p o rt any rep airs the buses
need before being used again.
At times, drivers operate chartered
buses. In these cases, they pick up a
group of people, take them to the
group’s destination, and remain with
them until they are ready to return.
These trips frequently require drivers
to remain away from home one night
or more.

Places of Employment
Over 25,000 intercity busdrivers
were employed by about 950 bus
companies in 1976. Some work out
of terminals located in some of the
small com m unities served by buses,
but most work out of m ajor terminals
in large cities.




Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Intercity busdrivers must m eet
qualifications established by the U.S.
D epartm ent of Transportation. Driv­
ers must be at least 21 years old and
be able to read, w rite, and speak
English well enough to com m unicate
with passengers and to com plete re ­
ports. T hey also m ust have good
hearing, at least 20/40 vision in each
eye with or without glasses, and n o r­
mal use o f their arm s and legs. In
addition, they must take com prehen­
sive written examinations which test
their knowledge of D epartm ent o f
Transportation and State m otor vehi­
cle regulations, as well as a driving
test in the type of bus they will o p er­
ate. Most States require that drivers
have a chauffeur’s license, which is a
com m ercial driving permit.
Many intercity bus com panies
have considerably higher re q u ire ­
ments. M ost prefer applicants who
are at least 25 years of age; some

prefer applicants who have bus or
truckdriving experience. One large
company requires applicants to have
20/20 vision with or without glasses.
Since they represent their com pa­
nies in dealing with passengers, busdrivers must be courteous and tact­
fu l. An ev en te m p e r a m e n t an d
em o tio n al stability are im p o rtan t
qualifications, because driving buses
in heavy, fast-m oving traffic and
dealing with passengers can be a
strain.
Most intercity bus companies co n ­
duct training programs for new driv­
ers. These programs, which usually
last from 2 to 8 weeks, include both
classroom and driving instruction. In
the classroom, trainees learn about
rules of the company and the U.S.
D epartm ent of Transportation, about
State and municipal driving regula­
tions, and about safe driving practic­
es. They also learn how to determ ine
ticket prices and how to keep rec­
ords. In addition, new em ployees
learn to deal courteously with pas­
sengers.
Trainees spend considerable time
learning and practicing driving skills.
Courses are set up and trainees prac­
tice turns, zig-zag m aneuvers, back­
ing up, and driving into narrow lanes.
A good deal of practice is necessary
b e fo r e tr a in e e s ca n a d a p t their au to ­
mobile driving skills to these larger
vehicles. Trainees ride with regular
drivers to observe safe driving prac­
tices and other aspects of the job.
They also make trial runs, without
passengers, to improve their driving
skills. After completing the training,
which includes final driving and w rit­
ten examinations, new drivers begin
a “ break in” period. During this peri­
od, they make regularly scheduled
trips with passengers, accom panied
by an experienced driver. The expe­
rienced driver gives helpful tips, an­
swers questions, and determ ines that
the new driver is performing satisfac­
torily.
New drivers start out on the “ extra
board,” which is a list of drivers who
are given tem porary assignments.
While on this list, they may substitute
for regular drivers who are ill or on
vacation, or they may drive c h a r­
tered buses. Extra drivers may have
to wait several years before they have

321

DRIVING OCCUPATIONS

enough seniority to get a regular as­
signment.
Opportunities for prom otion gen­
erally are lim ited, p articu larly in
small companies. For most drivers,
advancem ent consists of receiving
b etter driving assignm ents in the
form of higher earnings or a more
leisurely route. Experienced drivers
may be prom oted to jobs as dispatch­
ers, supervisors, or term inal m anag­
ers.

Employment Outlook
E m p lo y m e n t o f in te rc ity busdrivers is expected to increase about
as fast as the average for all occupa­
tions through the m id-1980’s. Addi­
tional openings will become available
each year because of the need to re­
place experienced drivers who retire,
die, or transfer to other occupations.
Since many qualified persons are at­
tracted to this relatively high paying
job, applicants can expect stiff com ­
petition for the openings that arise.
Applicants in excellent physical con­
dition who have good driving records
stand the best chance of being hired.
A growing population is expected
to lead to a m oderate increase in bus
travel. However, should government
energy policies make gasoline for au­
tomobiles very expensive or difficult
to obtain, many persons may ride
buses ra th e r than drive their own
cars, thus increasing the dem and for
intercity busdrivers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Drivers employed by large inter­
city bus companies had estim ated an­
nual average earnings of $16,100 in
1976, a b o u t th re e -q u a rte rs m ore
than the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming. The wages of intercity
busdrivers typically are com puted on
a mileage basis, but short runs may
be on an hourly rate. Most regular
drivers are guaranteed a minimum
num ber of miles or hours per pay
period. For work on other than regu­
lar assignm ents they receive addi­
tional pay, customarily at premium
rates.



Since intercity buses operate at all
hours of the day and every day of the
year, drivers may work nights and
weekends. Extra drivers may be on
call at all hours and may be required
to report for work on very short
notice. Drivers on some long routes
have to remain away from home
overnight. Driving schedules may
range from 6 to 10 hours a day and
from 3-1/2 to 6 days a week. How­
ever, U.S. D epartm ent of T ranspor­
tation regulations specify that inter­
city drivers shall not drive more than
10 hours without having at least 8
hours off, and shall not drive at all
after being on duty for 15 hours.
Driving an intercity bus usually is
not physically difficult, but it is tiring
and requires steady nerves. The busdriver is given a great deal of in­
dependence on the job, and is solely
responsible for the safety of the pas­
sengers and bus. Many drivers like
working w ithout direct supervision
and take pride in assuming these re­
sponsibilities. Some also enjoy the
opportunity to travel and to m eet the
public.
Most intercity busdrivers belong to
the Am algam ated Transit Union.
The Brotherhood of Railroad T rain­
men, and the International B rother­
h o o d o f T e a m ste rs, C h a u ffe u rs,
W a re h o u s e m e n an d H e lp e rs o f
America (Ind.) also have organized
these workers in some areas of the
country.

Sources of Additonal
Information
For further information on job o p ­
portunities in this field, contact inter­
city bus com panies or the local office
of the State em ploym ent service.

LOCAL TRANSIT
BUSDRIVERS
(D.O.T. 913.363 and 913.463)

Nature of the Work
Local transit busdrivers relieve
millions o f Americans of the bother
of fighting city traffic every day.

These drivers follow definite time
schedules and routes over city and
suburban streets, to provide passen­
gers with an alternative to autom o­
bile driving and even ownership.
The workday for local busdrivers
begins when they report to the term i­
nal or garage to which they are as­
signed. Large cities have several ga­
rages while a small city may have
only one. At the garage, drivers are
given tra n sfe r and refu n d form s.
Some are assigned buses and drive
them to the start of their run. Others
go to designated intersections and re­
lieve drivers who are going off duty.
Drivers inspect the inside and outside
of the buses and check the tires,
brakes, windshield wipers, and lights
before starting their runs. Those who
work for small bus companies also
may check the water, oil, and fuel.
On most runs, drivers pick up and
discharge passengers at lo catio n s
marked with a bus stop sign. As pas­
sengers board the bus, drivers make
sure the correct cash fare, token, or
ticket is placed in the fare box. They
also collect or issue transfers. Drivers
often answer questions about sched­
ules, routes, and transfer points, and
sometimes call out the name of the
street at each bus stop.
A busdriver’s day is run by the
clock, as they must pay special atten ­
tion to their com plicated schedules.
A lthough drivers may run late in
heavier than average traffic, they
avoid letting light traffic put them
ahead of schedule so that they do not
miss passengers.
Busdrivers especially must be alert
to the traffic around them. Since
sudden stops or swerves will jar
standing passengers, drivers try to
anticipate traffic developm ents, not
react to them.
At the end of the day, busdrivers
turn in trip sheets which usually in­
clude a record of fares received, trips
made, and any significant delays in
schedule. They also turn in a report
on the m echanical condition of the
bus that day. In case of an accident,
drivers must make out a report de­
scribing exactly what happened be­
fore and after the event and obtain
the nam es, add resses, and phone
numbers of persons on the bus.

322

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

More local busdrivers will be needed to relieve traffic congestion.

At times, drivers operate chartered
b u ses— buses arran g ed for in a d ­
vance by an organization or group. In
these cases, they pick up a group of
people, take them to their destina­
tion, and remain with them until they
are ready to return.

Places of Employment
A b o u t 8 1,000 lo cal b u sd riv ers
were em ployed in 1976. About fourfifths w orked for publicly ow ned
transit systems. Most o f the rem ain­
der worked for privately owned tran ­
sit lines; a small num ber worked for
sightseeing co m panies. M ost busdrivers work in large cities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Applicants for busdriver positions
should be at
 least 21 years old, be of


average height and weight, be in
good h ea lth , and have good e y e­
sight—with or without glasses. Most
employers require applicants to pass
a physical examination and a written
test that determ ines if they are capa­
ble of following the often complex
schedules busdrivers use. Although
ed u c atio n al re q u irem en ts are not
high, many employers prefer appli­
cants who have a high school educa­
tion or its equivalent. A relaxed p er­
s o n a lity 's im portant since drivers
face many m inor aggravations each
day due to traffic congestion, bad
weather, and the many different p er­
sonalities they must deal with.
A m otor vehicle o p erato r’s license
is a basic requirem ent. A good driv­
ing record is essential because the
busdriver is responsible for passenger
safety. M o st S ta tes re q u ire busdrivers to have a chauffeur’s license,

which is a com m ercial driving p er­
mit.
Most local transit com panies co n ­
duct training courses that may last
several weeks and include both class­
room and “ behind-the-w heel” driv­
ing instruction. In the classroom ,
trainees learn com pany rules, safety
regulations, and safe driving practic­
es. They also learn how to keep rec­
ords and how to deal tactfully and
courteously with passengers. Actual
driving instruction may begin with
several hours o f in stru ctio n on a
training course, but trainees quickly
advance to practice on city streets.
Because a busdriver is seated above
other traffic, defensive driving—see­
ing and avoiding possible traffic d an ­
gers ahead of tim e—has much p o ten­
tial and is stressed. T rain ees are
assigned to a particular garage, and
must memorize and drive each of the
runs based at this garage b efo re
graduating. They also take several
trips with passengers while su p er­
vised by an experienced driver. At
the end of the course, trainees may
have to pass a written examination
and a driving examination.
Most drivers have regularly sched­
uled runs. New drivers, however, of­
ten are placed on an “ ex tra” list to
substitute for regular drivers who are
ill or on vacation. New drivers also
may be assigned to make extra trips
during m orning and evening rush
hours. They remain on the extra list
until they have enough seniority to
get a regular run. This may take sev­
eral months or more than a year.
The different runs are assigned on
the basis of length of service, or
seniority. Therefore, as drivers devel­
op seniority they can choose runs
they prefer, such as those that lead to
overtim e, or that have little traffic.
Opportunities for prom otions gen­
erally are limited, although experi­
enced drivers may advance to jobs
such as instructor, supervisor or dis­
patcher. Supervisors patrol the bus
routes and check whether drivers are
on schedule. If a schedule becomes
impossible to m eet due to heavy traf­
fic, a blocked street, or some other
problem , the supervisor may reroute
buses. Dispatchers work in the transit
system ’s main office and organize the
day to day bus operation by coordi­

323

DRIVING OCCUPATIONS

nating all activity. They assign buses
to drivers, determ ine that drivers are
available for all runs, call extra list
drivers to substitute if experienced
drivers will be out, and keep a record
of the drivers and buses that were
assigned to each run. A few drivers
advance to m anagem ent positions.
Promotion in publicly owned bus sys­
tems is usually by competitive civil
service examination.

Employment Outlook
Employment of local busdrivers is
expected to increase about as fast as
the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition,
many job openings will result from
the need to replace drivers who
transfer to other occupations, retire,
or die.
The increased use of privately
owned autom obiles in cities and the
population shift to the suburbs—
where most people drive their own
cars—has caused a decline in bus
passengers and driver employment.
However, in urban areas, the auto­
mobile now is recognized as the main
source of air pollution and traffic
congestion. As part of the effort to
reduce the num ber of cars used by
com m uters, many cities are trying to
improve local bus service. Some now
have com m uter buses with reserved
seats. In addition, express lanes re­
served for buses on city streets, more
convenient routes, and more com ­
fortable buses reflect the impact of
Federal, State, and local government
interest in providing better bus ser­
vice. Im proved bus service will re­
quire more drivers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to a survey of union
contracts in 67 large cities, local busdrivers averaged $6.53 an hour in
1976, about one-third m ore than the
average for all nonsupervisory work­
ers in private industry, except farm ­
ing. Hourly wages were highest in the
larger cities. Wage scales for begin­
ning drivers were generally 10 to 20
cents an hour less.
The workweek for regular drivers
usually consists of any 5 days during



the week; Saturdays and Sundays are
counted as regular workdays. Some
drivers have to work evenings and
after midnight. To accom m odate the
dem ands of com m uter travel, many
local busdrivers have to work “ split
shifts.” For example, a driver may
work from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., go
hom e, and then return to work from
3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Drivers may receive
extra pay for split shifts.
Driving a bus is not physically
strenuous, but busdrivers may suffer
nervous strain from m aneuvering a
large vehicle through heavy traffic
while dealing with passengers. How­
ever, local busdrivers enjoy steady
year-round em ploym ent, and work
without close supervision.
Most local busdrivers are mem bers
of the Am algam ated Transit Union.
Drivers in New York City and several
other large cities belong to the Trans­
port W orkers Union of America. The
United Transportation Union and the
International Brotherhood of T eam ­
sters, C h au ffeu rs, W arehousem en
and H elpers of A m erica also have
organized some local busdrivers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For fu rth e r inform ation on em ­
ployment opportunities, contact a lo­
cal transit system or the local office
of the State em ploym ent service.

When local truckdrivers arrive at
the term inal or warehouse, they re­
ceive assignments from the dispatch­
er to m ake deliveries, pickups, or
both. They also get delivery forms
and ch eck the condition of th eir
trucks. Before the drivers arrive for
w ork, m aterial handlers generally
have loaded the trucks and arranged
the items in order of delivery to mini­
mize handling of merchandise.
At the custom er’s place of busi­
ness, drivers generally load or unload
the m erchandise. If there are heavy
loads such as machinery, or if there
are many deliveries to make during
the day, drivers may have helpers.
Drivers of moving vans usually have
crews of helpers to assist in loading
and unloading household or office
furniture.
Drivers get custom ers to sign re­
ceipts for the goods, and may receive
money for the material delivered. At
the end of the day, they turn in re­
ceipts, money, and records of the de­
liveries made. They also report w hat­
ever repairs the trucks need before
being used again.
The work of these drivers varies,
depending on the product they trans­
port. Produce truckers, on the one
hand, pick up a loaded truck in the
early morning and spend the rest of
the day delivering the pro d u ct to
many different grocery stores. The
day for a driver of a lum ber truck, on
the other hand, consists of several
round trips between the lumber yard
and one construction site or more.

Places of Employment

LOCAL TRUCKDRIVERS
(D.O.T. 900.883, 902.883, 903.883,
906.883, and 909.883)

Nature of the Work
Although goods from near and far
may begin their trip to custom ers by
trucks, trains, ships, or planes, final
deliveries almost always are made by
truck. Local truckdrivers move
goods from terminals and w arehous­
es to factories, stores, and homes in
the area. They are skilled drivers who
can m aneuver trucks into tight p ark­
ing spaces, through narrow alleys,
and up to loading platforms.

About 1.6 million people worked
as local truckdrivers in 1976, mostly
in and around large cities. Some
drivers are needed in almost all com ­
munities, however.
Most local drivers work for busi­
nesses which deliver their own prod­
ucts and goods—such as departm ent
stores, foodstores, and lumber yards.
Many others are employed by truck­
ing companies. Some work for Fed­
eral, S tate and local governm en t
agencies.
A large num ber of local truckdriv­
ers are ow ner-operators. Drivers who
own one or two trucks account for a
sizable proportion o f the local forhire trucking industry.

324

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

About 1.6 million people worked as local truckdrivers in 1976.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Qualifications for local truckdriv­
ers vary c o n sid erab ly , depending
upon the type of truck and the nature
of the em ployer’s business. In most
S tates, ho w ev er, ap p lica n ts m ust
have a chauffeur’s license, which is a
commercial driving permit. Inform a­
tion on how to get this license can be
obtained from State m otor vehicle
departm ents. Applicants may have to
pass a general physical examination,
a w ritten ex am in atio n on driving
regulations,
and a driving test. They


should have good hearing and at least
20/40 vision, with or without glasses,
be able to lift heavy objects, and be
in good health.
Em ployers prefer applicants with
some previous experience driving a
truck. A person may obtain such ex­
perience by working as a truckdrive r’s helper. Employers also give con­
s id e ra tio n to d riv in g e x p e rie n c e
gained in the Arm ed Forces. Many
drivers sta rt out as dock w orkers,
loading and unloading freight. They
get a general idea of the trucking o p ­
eration and their work may give them
th e o p p o rtu n ity to m ove tru c k s

around the yard. When a need for a
truckdriver develops, a capable dock
worker may be prom oted.
Since drivers often deal directly
with the com pany’s custom ers, the
ability to get along well with people is
im portant. Employers also look for
responsible, self-m otivated individ­
uals, since drivers work with little
supervision. Many employers will not
hire applicants who have bad driving
records.
Training given to new drivers usu­
ally is informal, and may consist only
of a few hours instruction from an
ex p erien ced driver, som etim es on
the new em ployee’s own time. New
drivers also may ride with and ob ­
serve ex p e rien ce d d riv ers b efo re
being assigned their own runs. A ddi­
tional training may be given if they
are to drive a special type of truck.
Some com panies give 1 to 2 days of
classroom instruction which covers
general duties, the efficient o p era­
tion and loading of a truck, com pany
policies, and the preparation of deliv­
ery forms and company records.
Although most new employees are
assigned immediately to regular driv­
ing jobs, some start as extra drivers
and do the work of regular drivers
who are ill or on vacation. They re­
ceive a regular assignment when an
opening occurs.
Local truckdrivers may advance to
dispatcher, m anager, or to traffic
w ork—for example, planning deliv­
ery schedules. H owever, relatively
few of these jobs are available. For
the m ost part, a local truckd riv er
may advance to driving heavy or spe­
cial types of trucks or by transferring
to long-distance truckdriving. Local
drivers working for com panies that
also em ploy long-distance drivers
have the best chances of advancing
to these positions. Experienced driv­
ers who have business ability can be­
com e o w n e r-o p erato rs when they
have enough money to purchase a
truck.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment of local truckdrivers
is expected to increase faster than
the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to the job openings from growth,

325

DRIVING OCCUPATIONS

thousands of openings will result
from the need to replace experienced
drivers who transfer to other occupa­
tions, retire, or die. Job openings
may vary from year to year, however,
since the num ber of drivers needed
fluctuates with general business con­
ditions. Applicants with good driving
re co rd s have th e b est chan ce o f
being hired.
The rise in total business activity
anticipated in the years ahead will
increase the am ount of freight to be
distributed. Since trucks carry virtu­
ally all local freight, employm ent of
drivers will grow.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
On the average, union wage scales
w e re $ 7 .2 2 an h o u r fo r lo c a l
truckdrivers and $6.59 an hour for
helpers in 1976, according to a sur­
vey in 70 large cities. This is about
1 1/2 times as much as the average
for all nonsupervisory workers in pri­
vate industry, except farming.
As a rule, local truckdrivers are
paid by the hour and receive extra
pay for working overtim e, usually
after 40 hours. Some drivers are
guaranteed minimum daily or weekly
earn in g s. L ocal tru c k d riv e rs fr e ­
quently work 48 hours or more a
week. Night or early morning work is
sometimes necessary, particularly for
drivers handling foodstuffs for chain
grocery stores, produce markets, or
bakeries. M ost drivers deliver over
regular routes, although some may
be assigned differen t routes each
day.
Truckdriving has become less
physically dem anding because most
trucks now have more comfortable
seating, b etter ventilation, and im­
proved cab designs, but when drivers
make many deliveries during a day,
their work can be exhausting. M ore­
over, driving in heavy traffic can
cau se n e rv o u s s tra in . L o cal
truckdrivers, however, do have cer­
tain work advantages. Employment is
steady and, unlike long-distance driv­
ers, they usually work during the day
and return home in the evening.
Many local truckdrivers are mem­
bers of the In tern ational B rother­
h for FRASER
Digitized o o d o f T e a m ste rs , C h a u ffe u rs,


may last for days, or even weeks at a
time.
In most cases, dispatchers tell
long-distance drivers when to report
for work and where to take the truck.
Although many drivers work during
the day, night travel is common and
frequently preferred because roads
Sources of Additional
are less crowded and trips take less
Information
time.
Information on truck driver train­
When the drivers report for work,
ing schools and on career opportuni­ the trucks already have been loaded
ties in the trucking industry may be and serviced with fuel and oil. But,
obtained from:
before moving from the term inal,
American Trucking Associations, Inc., 1616 P
drivers inspect the trucks to make
St. NW„ Washington, D.C. 20036.
sure they will operate safely. For
For details on truck driver em ploy­ example, they make sure the brakes,
m ent o p p o rtu n itie s, c o n ta c t local windshield wipers, and lights are
trucking com panies or the local of­ working and that a fire extinguisher,
fice of the State em ploym ent service. flares, and other safety equipm ent
have been loaded. M irrors are adjust­
ed so that both sides of the truck are
visible from the driver’s seat. Drivers
also m ake sure the cargo has been
LONG-DISTANCE
loaded properly and will not shift af­
ter the trip has begun. If some equip­
TRUCKDRIVERS
m ent does not work, or is missing, or
(D.O.T. 903.883, 904.883, 905.883, if the cargo is not loaded properly,
drivers report the problem to the dis­
and 909.883)
patcher for correction.
Once they are on the road, drivers
Nature of the Work
must be alert not only to prevent
At all hours of the day and night accidents, but also to drive their
big trucks travel along turnpikes and trucks efficiently. Because of the
highw ays carrying goods betw een tru ck ’s size, drivers sit higher than
terminals that are hundreds, or even the cars, pickups, or vans surround­
thousands of miles apart. Behind the ing them , and have the advantage of
wheel are the top professional driv­ being able to see far down the road.
ers. They drive the largest and most They seek traffic lanes th at allow
expensive equipm ent and receive the them to move at a steady speed, and
highest wages of all drivers.
when going downhill they may in­
T h e ru n s o f lo n g -d is ta n c e
crease speed slightly to gain m om en­
truckdrivers vary widely. Some driv­ tum for a hill ahead.
ers have short “ turnarounds” . They
To avoid the drowsiness caused by
deliver a load to a nearby city, pick traveling for hours, drivers may stop
up another loaded trailer, and drive it to eat, refuel, and relax during a run.
back to their home base the same After they have reached their desti­
day. O thers are assigned runs that
nation and have parked at the un­
take an entire day to com plete, and
loading platform , drivers com plete
they remain away from home over­
reports about the trip and the condi­
night. O ften on these longer runs,
tion of the truck. Both are required
drivers are assigned loads going to
other cities rather than back to their by the U.S. D epartm ent of T ranspor­
hom e bases, and may continue to tation. If they have had an accident
haul loads from city to city for as during the trip, a detailed report of
long as a w eek b e fo re re tu rn in g the incident is required.
Long-distance truckdrivers spend
home. Some com panies use two driv­
most of their working time behind
ers on very long runs. One drives
while the other sleeps in a berth b e­ the wheel. Drivers hauling some spe­
hind the cab. These “ sleeper” runs cialty cargo, though, often load or

W a re h o u s e m e n an d H e lp e rs o f
A m e r ic a ( I n d .) . S o m e lo c a l
truckdrivers employed by com panies
outside th e tru ck in g industry are
members of unions that represent the
plantworkers of their employers.

326

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

which own and operate trucks to de­
liver th eir products. A significant
num ber of drivers are ow ner-opera­
tors. These drivers own their trucks
and either operate independently or
lease their services and their trucks
to a trucking company.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

A significant number of drivers are owner-operators.

unload their trucks, since they may
be the only individuals at the destina­
tion fam iliar with this procedure.
Auto transport drivers, for example,
drive and position the cars on the
racks and remove them at the final
destination. Gasoline tank truckdrivers attach the hoses and operate the
pump on their truck to transfer the
gasoline to the gas station’s storage
tank. When picking up or delivering
furn itu re, drivers o f long-distance
moving vans hire local labor, which
they supervise, to help them load or
unload the van.




Places of Employment
An estim ated 467,0 0 0 long-dis­
ta n c e d riv e rs w ere em p lo y ed in
1976. Most live near large cities and
m a n u fa c tu rin g c e n te rs th a t have
many truck term inals. Drivers who
specialize in transporting agricultural
products or minerals may live in rural
areas.
A large p ro p o rtio n o f long-dis­
tance truckdrivers work for trucking
com panies that offer transportation
service to bu sin esses in g en e ral.
M any o th e rs work fo r com panies
such as fu rn itu re m a n u fa c tu re rs,

The U.S. D epartm ent of Transpor­
tation establishes minimum qualifica­
tions for long-distance truckdrivers
who are engaged in interstate com ­
merce. A driver must be at least 21
years old and pass a physical exam i­
nation which the em ployer usually
pays for. Good hearing, 20/40 vision
with or without glasses, norm al use of
arms and legs (unless a waiver is ob ­
tained), and normal blood pressure
are the main physical requirem ents.
To be hired, drivers must have a
good driving record and must pass a
road test to show they can operate a
vehicle o f the type and size they will
drive in regular service. In addition,
they must take a written examination
on the M otor C arrier Safety Regula­
tions o f th e U.S. D e p a rtm e n t o f
T r a n s p o r ta tio n . In m o st S ta te s ,
truckdrivers also must have a chauf­
feur’s license, which is a com m ercial
driving permit.
The hiring standards at many
trucking operations are higher than
those described. Many firms require
that new drivers be at least 25 years
old. Others specify height and weight
limitations. Some com panies employ
only applicants who have had several
years’ experience driving trucks long
distances.
Driver-training courses are a desir­
able m ethod of preparing for tru ck ­
driving jobs. Most training authori­
ties and employers recom m end high
school driver-training courses. In ad­
dition, a high school course in au to ­
motive m echanics helps drivers make
m inor roadside repairs.
Many truckdrivers start out as
dock workers, loading and unloading
freight. As they gain experience in
the general trucking operation, they
may advance to local truckdriving

327

DRIVING OCCUPATIONS

jobs. Local drivers with good driving ability and enough money to buy a
records may be offered jobs as long­ truck may become an owner-operator.
distance drivers.
A small number of private and
Employment Outlook
public technical-vocational schools
offer truckdriving courses. Students
Employment
of
long-distance
learn to inspect the trucks and
freight, to drive large vehicles in truckdrivers is expected to increase
crowded areas and in highway traffic, more slowly than the average for all
and to comply with Federal, State, occupations through the m id-1980’s.
and local regulations. Completion of In addition to jobs from em ploym ent
a course, however, does not assure a growth, thousands of openings will
job. Even graduates of these schools be created in this large occupation as
experienced drivers retire, die, or
who do get truckdriving jobs often
transfer to other fields of work. Job
start as local drivers. After gaining
opportunities may vary from year to
experience on these smaller trucks
year, however, because the am ount
and proving their ability, they may
of freight moved by trucks fluctuates
advance to long-distance truckdriv­
with ups and downs in the economy.
ing. Persons interested in attending
Since driver earnings are high and no
one of these schools should check
form al training is required, ap p li­
with local tru ck in g com panies to
cants can expect to face strong com ­
make sure the school’s training is ac­ petition for available jobs.
ceptable.
The general econom ic growth of
New drivers usually are given a the Nation is expected to increase
brief explanation of company policy the am ount of freight that will be
and are taught how to prepare the carried long distances by truck, thus
various forms used on the job. They increasing the dem and for drivers.
also receive a small am ount of driv­ But the dem and for drivers is expect­
ing in stru ctio n and p ractice on a ed to increase more slowly than the
training course to learn how to ma­ grow th in freig h t b ec au se larg e r
neuver these larger trucks. They then trucks should increase the am ount of
make one or more training trips un­ freight each driver can haul.
der the supervision of an instructor
or an experienced driver.
Earnings and Working
Drivers for large trucking com pa­
Conditions
nies frequently start on the “ extra
board,” bidding for runs on the basis
Based on limited inform ation, driv­
of seniority as vacancies occur. (The ers em ployed by large trucking com ­
extra board is a list of drivers, as­ panies had annual average earnings
signed in rotation, who substitute for of about $ 17,700 in 1976, about dou­
drivers who have scheduled runs or ble the average of all nonsupervisory
who m ake the many unscheduled workers in private industry, except
trips.) Drivers for smaller companies farming. Pay rates are fairly uniform
are more likely to be assigned regular because this field is highly unionized,
routes right away.
and union co n tracts generally are
O pportunities for prom otion in m aster agreem ents covering all em ­
this occupation are limited. A few ployers within a multi-State region.
drivers may advance to jobs as safety However, the earnings of individual
supervisor, driver supervisor, and drivers vary, depending on mileage
dispatcher. However, such jobs often driven, num ber of hours worked, and
type of truck.
are unattractive to long-distance
Some companies outside the
truckdrivers, since the starting pay
usually is less than the pay for driv­ trucking industry, such as bakeries
ing. Although most drivers can only and dairies, may pay drivers who
expect to advance to driving runs work for them on the same basis as
that provide increased earnings or they pay their other em ployees—a
p re ferred sch ed u les and w orking monthly, weekly, or daily wage. G en­
conditions, a driver who has business erally, such a wage is for a specified




num ber of hours, and, if drivers work
additional hours, they receive extra
pay.
Trucking com panies engaged in in­
terstate com m erce are subject to the
U.S. D epartm ent of Transportation
rules governing hours of work and
other matters. These regulations lim­
it the hours drivers may work and
assure a reasonable am ount of time
for rest. For example, a driver cannot
be on duty for more than 60 hours in
any 7-day period, and cannot drive
more than 10 hours without being off
duty at least 8 hours. Many drivers,
particularly on very long runs, work
fairly close to the maximum hours
permitted. A workweek of at least 50
hours is very common.
Long-distance truckdrivers often
must spend time away from home. In
such instances, the com pany p ro ­
vides lodging either in a com pany
dormitory or a hotel or motel.
The physical strain o f long-dis­
tance driving has been reduced by
m ore co m fo rtab le seating, b e tte r
ventilation, and im proved cab d e­
sign. Better highways and more strin­
gent safety regulations have m ade
trucking safer. However, the noise
and vibration of the truck and the
nervous strain of sustained driving
are tiring.
Most long-distance drivers are
members of the International B roth­
erhood of T eam sters, C hauffeurs,
W a re h o u s e m e n an d H e lp e rs o f
America (Ind.). Some drivers outside
the trucking industry belong to the
unions that represent plant employ­
ees of the companies for which they
work.

Sources of Additional
Information
Inform ation on truckdriver train ­
ing schools and career opportunities
in the trucking industry may be ob­
tained from:
American Trucking Associations, Inc., 1616 P
St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.

Additional details on truckdriver
em ploym ent opportunities may be
obtained from local trucking com pa­
nies or local offices o f the State em ­
ployment service.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

328

PARKING ATTENDANTS

Places of Employment

(D .O .T .915.878)

About 40,000 parking attendants
were em ployed in 1976. Parking a t­
tendants work in facilities ranging
from small outdoor lots to large park­
ing garages. Most of these are in u r­
ban areas. Parking lots and garages
usually are co m m ercial estab lish ­
ments and often are part of city, re­
gional, or national chains. Although
many restaurants, hotels, and stores
maintain their own lots, it is also a
com m on practice to rent parking
space for their custom ers in com m er­
cial garages. Many cities own and op­
erate th e ir own lots in dow ntown
areas.
More than a third of all parking
attendants work part time, usually
during the busy afternoon rush
hours, in the evening, and on week­
ends. Most part-tim e attendants are
students.

Nature of the Work
Parking attendants park custom ­
ers’ cars and collect paym ent for the
time they are left on the lot or in the
garage. A ttendants m eet incoming
cars and record their time of arrival
on num bered claim checks. One part
of the check is placed on the c a r’s
windshield and the other is given to
the driver to reclaim his or her car.
In lots where cars are parked
bum per to bum per, parking a tte n ­
dants may ask custom ers when they
expect to return so their cars will be
more readily accessible when they
need them.
A ttendants usually drive the cars
to and from vacant spaces, but at
some facilities they tell drivers where
to park. Attendants working in m ulti­
level garages may be assigned to only
one level, but the usual practice is for
attendants to work all levels.
Some parking lots require custom ­
ers to pay when entering the lot and
usually charge a flat fee for the day
or evening. O thers charge by the
hour and attendants must determ ine
the co rrect am ount owed by each
customer. In large establishments, a
cashier, rather than an attendant, will
collect payments. Slack periods are
com m on at most parking facilities.
H ow ever, a tte n d a n ts may be r e ­
quired to perform routine m ainte­
nance jo b s such as cleaning and
sweeping the lot.

More than a third of all parking attendants
work part time.



Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Although there are no specific
educational requirem ents for parking
attendants, employers prefer high
school graduates. Parking attendants
must have a valid driver’s license, be
able to drive a car with a standard
transmission, and have good eyesight
and peripheral vision. Applicants
with experience driving many differ­
ent types of cars are preferred. A t­
tendants must also be able to keep
records o f claim tickets, com pute
parking charges, and make change.
A ttendants should be in good
physical condition because the work
involves long periods o f standing and
can be tiring when many cars must be
moved in a hurry. Parking attendants
should be neat, tactful, and courte­
ous when dealing with the public.
Most parking attendants are
trained on the job. Beginners may
“ ride” with an experienced worker
for a few hours or days to become
fam iliar with the work. Many em ­
ployers also provide on-the-job train­
ing program s that review proper driv­
ing techniques and explain com pany
policy on recordkeeping procedures
and dam age claims. These courses
usually include tips on how to m ain­
tain good custom er relations.

Some attendants becom e m anag­
ers of parking facilities. An excep­
tional attendant eventually may be­
c o m e a s u p e r v is o r o f s e v e r a l
facilities. Supervisors regularly visit
the parking facilities they oversee to
check the work of managers, the ap­
pearance of the facilities, and the
neatness of the attendants.
S tu d en ts in tere ste d in m an ag e­
m ent jobs in the parking industry
should consider taking part-tim e or
summer jobs as attendants, because
even large com panies want their em ­
ployees to have first-hand experience
with the business.

Employment Outlook
Employment of parking attendants
is expected to grow more slowly than
the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s as the trend
to self-parking systems continues.
Parking owners prefer the self-park
method because it is less costly and
because most custom ers prefer to
park their own cars rather than wait
for a busy attendant.
Although em ploym ent growth is
expected to be slow, turnover in this
occupation, especially among new
workers, is higher than average. The
need to replace these workers and
those who retire or die will create
additional job openings each year.
Part-tim e and evening work will be
available. Most job opportunities will
be in large com m ercial parking facili­
ties in urban areas.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Most parking attendants are paid
the minimum wage. The Federal
minimum was $2.20 - $2.30 an hour
in 1976, but some cities and States
have their own minimum wage laws
which establish higher rates. Experi­
enced attendants who have taken on
additional responsibility may earn
higher salaries. Nearly all attendants
receive tips in addition to wages that
add substantially to th eir incom e.
M any p ark in g a tte n d a n ts receiv e
fringe benefits such as life, health,
and disability in su ran c e; pensio n
plans; paid vacations; a C hristm as
bonus; and profit sharing. Some com ­
panies furnish uniforms.

329

DRIVING OCCUPATIONS

Attendants often work long hours.
A 10-hour day and work at nights, on
weekends, and on holidays are not
unusual. In addition, many atte n ­
dants spend much time outdoors in
all kinds of weather and constantly
breathe autom obile exhaust fumes.
In some com panies, attendants are
responsible for any damage they do
to custom ers’ cars.
The principal union organizing
parking attendants is the Internation­
al Brotherhood of Team sters, C hauf­
feurs, W arehousem en, and Helpers
of America.

Sources of Additional
information
For general information about the
parking industry and parking atten­
dants in particular, write:
National Parking Association, 1101 17th St.
NW„ Washington, D.C. 20036.

TAXICAB DRIVERS
( D.O.T. 913.363)

Nature of the Work
In practically all communities,
taxicabs are an essential part of the
public transportation system. Unlike
buses and subways, which run on
fixed routes and schedules, taxis of­
fer individualized service. They pick
up passengers at any location and
drive them directly to their destina­
tion.
Most taxicab drivers either work
directly for a cab company or rent
their cabs from a company. Others
own their taxicabs and operate in­
dependently. W hether they are em ­
ployees, renters, or owners, cab driv­
ers have the same duties.
Cab drivers get many of their pas­
sengers by radio dispatching since
customers often call cab companies,
giving inform ation on where they
want to be picked up and what their
destination is. A dispatcher at the
company then uses a two way radio
to pass this information on to a cab
driver who is near the custom er. Be­
cause this is an efficient method of
getting passengers, cab drivers who
own their own cabs often pay a cab



com pany for using its dispatching
service. Between radio calls, or just
because they prefer it, drivers may
cruise busy areas and watch for po­
tential custom ers. Drivers also may
wait at hotels, bus term inals, and o th ­
er places where they expect business
to be good.
Because cab drivers either rent
their cabs or are paid on a commis­
sion basis, the more business they
get, the higher their earnings. T here­
fore, experienced drivers often plan
their entire day. They know that dif­
ferent parts of the city will have po­
tential custom ers at different times of
the day. They may cruise the busi­
ness district during rush hour and the
shopping centers in the afternoon.
Smart drivers also keep informed on
where crowds are likely to gather.
For example, drivers may go to the
airport the evening a convention is
coming to town, drop by the station
when a train is scheduled to arrive, or
stop at the stadium at the end of a
ball game.
Occasionally, drivers may help
passengers in and out of the cab and
may handle their luggage. In some
comm unities, drivers regularly trans­
port handicapped children to and
from school. Cab drivers also may
provide sightseeing tours for out-oftown visitors and may pick up and
deliver packages. In small com pa­
nies, drivers often are responsible for
keeping their cabs clean.
By law, drivers have to keep rec­
ords of such basic facts as the date,
tim e, and place p assengers w ere
picked up and their destination, time
of arrival, and fare. Knowing where a
driver was during th e day serves
many purposes, including protecting
the driver from mistaken identifica­
tion in case of a custom er com plaint.

Places of Employment
In 1976, about 94,000 taxicab
drivers worked full time in the taxi­
cab industry. Although taxicab driv­
ers are employed in all but the smalle s t c i t i e s , e m p l o y m e n t is
concentrated in large m etropolitan
areas. A bout one-fifth of all full-time
taxi drivers work in New York City.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Taxi drivers usually must have a
State-issued chauffeur’s license and a
special taxicab o p erato r’s license is­
sued by the local police, safety de­
partm ent, or Public Utilities C om ­
mission. Requirem ents for a taxicab
o p erato r license vary from city to
city, but applicants generally must be
in good health, have a good driving
record, and not have been convicted
of a serious crime.
In most large communities, appli­
cants for a taxi driver’s license must
pass a written examination on taxi­
cab and traffic regulations. The ex­
amination usually includes questions
on the geography of the community,
such as the location of im portant
streets and buildings, and questions
on local taxicab regulations. These
may include regulations concerning
lost articles, the num ber of passen­
gers allowed in a cab, the pick-up
and delivery of packages, and zoning
or m eter rules.
Since the procedure required to
get a taxicab license may seem com ­
plicated, applicants are advised to
first visit cab com panies for which
they would like to work. Most com ­
panies will explain what is required in
order to get a license and how to go
about getting one. Some will also
help applicants prepare for the ex­
amination.
Although there are no minimum
education requirem ents, many com ­
panies prefer applicants who have at
least an eighth-grade education. A p­
plicants also must be able to write
legibly in o rd e r to co m p lete the
forms drivers are required to fill out.
B ecause o f au tom obile insuran ce
regulations, a large num ber of taxi­
cab com panies hire only applicants
who are at least 21, and in some
cases, 25 years old. In some States,
however, com panies may hire appli­
cants who are only 18.
People interested in a job as a
taxicab driver should enjoy driving
and like meeting people. Tact and
courtesy are im portant. A relaxed
personality also is an asset, since
drivers deal with heavy city traffic
most of the day. To be successful,

330

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

drivers also need to be capable of
motivating themselves, since their
earnings depend directly on their
ability and hard work.
Opportunities for advancem ent
are limited by the small num ber of
supervisory positions. Prom otion to
the job of dispatcher is often the only
possibility. Some drivers, however,
have becom e road supervisors, ga­
rag e s u p e r in te n d e n ts , o r claim s
agents. A few develop administrative
skills and advance to managerial po­
sitions in the company. To increase
their incom e, many drivers buy and
operate their own cabs.

Employment Outlook
O pportunities for em ploym ent
should be excellent through the mid1980’s. Although em ploym ent of
taxicab drivers is expected to d e ­
cline, the high turnover of employed
drivers should create many jobs.
Many taxicab drivers are tem po­
rary employees. Some are working to
earn money until they finish school
or until they find the job they want;
others work to earn money for a spe­
cial purpose, such as a vacation. Af­




ter a period of weeks or m onths,
w henever th ese d riv ers have o b ­
tained other jobs or paid their bills,
they quit. As a result, there usually
are many taxicab driving jobs avail­
able.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, a private survey reported
that taxi drivers averaged $3.40 an
hour, including tips. Drivers working
directly for a com pany are paid a
percentage—usually between 40 and
50 percent—of their fares for the
day. These drivers also may be guar­
anteed a certain minimum income if
fares are low one day. Information
from several union contracts indicat­
ed that these guarantees ranged from
$14 to $18.50 a day in 1976. O ther
taxi drivers rent their cabs from a
company by the day for a set fee, and
keep any receipts above the cab ren t­
al and gasoline expenses. In addition,
drivers frequently receive tips rang­
ing from 10 to 20 percent of the fare.
Many full-time drivers start work
between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. to be

available for passengers going to
work, and quit after the evening rush
of passengers returning home. D ur­
ing the day they may rest for several
hours. O th er drivers work nights,
starting between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.,
and some work on Saturdays, Sun­
days, and holidays.
Taxi drivers in many of the large
cities belong to labor unions, particu­
larly those drivers who work for the
large taxicab companies. Most driv­
ers are mem bers of the International
B rotherhood of Team sters, C hauf­
feurs, W arehousemen and Helpers of
America. Other unions to which cab
drivers belong include the Seafarers’
International Union of North A m er­
ica and the Brotherhood of Railway
A irlin e a n d S te a m s h ip C le rk s ,
Freight Handlers Express and Station
Employees.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further information on job op­
portunities in this field, contact local
cab com panies or the local office of
the State em ploym ent service.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS
The efforts of our scientific and
technical work force result in im­
provements in many areas of Am eri­
can life. New products and increased
productivity, greater defense capa­
bilities, en v iro n m en tal pro tectio n ,
and advances in health care are ex­
amples of the achievements of scien­
tists, engineers, and technicians.
About 2.5 million people (nearly
one-quarter of all professional work­
ers) were engineers, scientists, or
other scientific and technical work­
ers in 1976.

Engineers
Engineers play a prom inent role in
bringing scientific progress into our
everyday lives. They use scientific
and m athem atical principles to de­
sign and produce new and improved
products and to solve practical tech­
nical problems such as ways of im­
proving autom obile engines to in­
crease gas mileage. Most engineers
work in private industry—primarily

in industries m anufacturing m achin­
ery, electrical equipm ent, and a ir­
craft, and in firms providing engi­
neering and architectural services.
Engineers usually specialize in one
of the branches of engineering. (The
Handbook discusses 12 of these
branches.) Many engineers further
specialize in an industry such as the
m otor vehicle industry.
Engineers design, develop, and test
equipm ent; work in the production
departm ents of m anufacturing firms;
and sell technical products and p ro ­
vide technical assistance to industrial
custom ers. Some work in supervisory
an d m a n a g e m e n t jo b s in w hich
k n o w led g e o f e n g in e e rin g is r e ­
quired.

Scientists
Scientists seek knowledge of n a­
tu re an d o f th e p h y sic a l w o rld
through observation, study, and ex­
perim entation. Some scientists devel­
op new products and processes from

Scientific and technical occupations, 1976




scientific discoveries. The largest
group of scientists study the scientific
principles of the physical world; this
group includes chemists, physicists,
and environm ental scientists. More
than half of all physical scientists are
chemists. Most chemists work in pri­
vate industry; about one-half are in
chem ical m anufacturing. A quarter
of all physical scientists are physi­
cists. Most physicists work in colleg­
es and u n iversities, teach in g and
doing research, and in private indus­
try—mostly in com panies that m anu­
facture aerospace and defense-relat­
ed products.
Environmental scientists study the
earth, its oceans, and its atm osphere.
Their work increases understanding
of our planet and helps in controlling
pollution, discovering and develop­
ing natural resources, and in weather
prediction. This group includes ge­
ologists, m eteorologists, and ocean­
ographers. The largest environm en­
tal science o cc u p atio n is th a t of
geologist. M ost geologists work in
petroleum extraction industries and
in colleges and universities.
Life scientists study life processes
and living organisms, from the largest
animals to the smallest microbes.
The majority teach or do research in
colleges and universities. Biological
scientists are the largest group of life
scientists. Medical scientists has been
the fastest growing group within the
life sciences over the past two dec­
ades.
M athem aticians and statisticians
also are considered natural scientists.
Some m athem aticians devote all
their time to theoretical research,
while others apply m athem atical
principles to practical problems.
Both m ath em atician s and sta tisti­
cians work to quantify solutions to
problem s in science, m anagem ent,
and engineering. Statisticians collect,
analyze, and interpret the num erical
331

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

332

results of surveys, quality control
tests, or economic and business re­
search programs. In doing so, they
assist managers and adm inistrators in
making decisions.

Conservationists
Conservationists protect, develop,
and manage natural resources such
as forests, rangelands, wildlife, soil,
and water. By protecting and con­
serving these assets now, conserva­
tionists help assure that future needs
will be met.
Foresters help insure that the N a­
tio n ’s fo re sts are used p ro p e rly .
Through the forester’s m anagem ent
and research efforts, forests can con­
tinually m eet many com peting uses
such as lum ber p roduction, re c re ­
ation, and support of wildlife. Forest­
ers often are assisted by forestry
technicians, sometimes called forest­
ry aides.
Range managers determ ine how
rangeland can best support livestock
grazing while still conserving it for
other uses such as wildlife grazing
and recreation.
Soil conservationists provide farm ­
ers, ranchers, and others with techni­
cal assistance and advice on how to
conserve soil and water resources.

Other Scientific and Technical
Personnel
More than 900,000 workers in oth­
er scientific and technical occupa­
tions assist scientists and engineers.
These persons work as engineering
and science technicians, broadcast
technicians, drafters, and surveyors.
E ngineering and science tech n i­
cian jobs are more practical and lim­
ited in scope than those of engineers
and s c ie n tis ts . T he m o re highly
skilled jo b s, how ever, require the
ability to analyze and solve engineer­
ing and science problem s and to pre­
pare re p o rts on tests and ex p e ri­
ments.
Technicians who work in research
and developm ent set up complex
laboratory equipm ent and help de­
sign scientific in stru m ents. Those
who work in production jobs test and
inspect products and act as a liaison
between engineering and production
dep FRASER
Digitized forartm en ts. O thers sell technical


products, install complex equipm ent,
and provide technical services to in­
dustrial custom ers.
Broadcast technicians ensure the
technical quality of radio and televi­
sion b ro a d casts by o perating and
m aintaining sound recorders, televi­
sion cam eras, video tape recorders,
and other electronic equipm ent.
D rafters prepare detailed drawings
which show dimensions, m aterial re ­
quirem ents, and other specifications
for engineers, architects, and design­
ers.
Surveyors measure construction
sites, establish official land bound­
aries, assist in setting land valuations,
and collect information for maps and
charts.

Training
A bachelor’s degree is usually
needed to enter scientific and engi­
neering jobs. H ow ever, increasing
em phasis is being p laced on a d ­
vanced degrees in some fields, espe­
cially in m athem atics, physics, and
the life sciences. For some occupa­
tions, such as astronom er, a doctor­
ate is required for full professional
status. A bachelor’s degree is suffi­
cient for entry into most engineering
jobs, and some senior engineering
technicians with less than a bache­
lor’s degree are occasionally prom ot­
ed to engineering jobs.

Undergraduate training for scien­
tists and engineers includes courses
in their m ajor field and in related
science areas, including m athem at­
ics. Courses in statistics and com put­
er programming are becoming more
im portant. Students are usually re­
quired to take courses in English and
a foreign language, as well.
In graduate school, students usual­
ly take courses in their major area of
study, as well as courses in m athe­
matics and related sciences. R equire­
m ents for the m aster’s or d o c to r’s
degree vary by institution, but usual­
ly include a thesis, which is a report
of the results of the student’s own
original research. Students who want
to specialize in a particular area of
study should selec t th e ir schools
carefully. For exam ple, those who
plan to become biomedical engineers
or biochemists and work in m edicine
should study at a university affiliated
with a hospital. Those who want to
be agricultural scientists can get the
most practical training at State uni­
versities that have agricultural ex­
perim ent stations.
Technicians acquire training in
many ways. Some com plete on-thejob training programs, take formal
courses part time while working, or
obtain training in the Armed Forces.
Many employers, however, seek
graduates of specialized training pro-

The number of openings in scientific and engineering
occupations varies greatly by occupational group
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)
Engineers
Engineering and science
technicians
Drafters
Life scientists
Physical scientists
Mathematics occupations
Environmental scientists
Conservation occupations
50
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

60

Replacement

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS

grams. One- to four-year training
programs are offered in postsecon­
dary sch o o ls—tech n ical institutes,
junior and community colleges, area
vocational tech n ical schools, and
colleges and universities.

Outlook
Opportunities in scientific and
technical occupations are expected
to expand through the m id-1980’s. In
the past, growth in these occupations
has been related to an expanding
economy and to increased R&D ex­




penditures, especially by the Federal
G overnm ent. Both governm ent and
industry are expected to increase
their R&D expenditures through the
m id -1 9 8 0 ’s although they will in ­
crease them more slowly than during
the 1960’s. If the rate of economic
growth and actual R&D levels and
p a tte rn s differ significantly from
those assumed, the outlook in many
occupations would be altered.
Scientists, engineers, and other sci­
entific and technical workers will be
needed to develop new technologies
and b e tte r p ro d u cts. In ad d itio n ,

333

many technically trained people will
be required to solve urgent problems
such as air, water, and noise pollu­
tion, to develop new sources of en er­
gy, and to com bat disease.
T he fo llo w in g se c tio n s o f th e
Handbook provide detailed inform a­
tion for 4 conservation occupations,
12 engineering specialties, 13 scien­
tific occupations including life, phys­
ical, environm ental, and m athem at­
ical scientists, and 4 related scientific
and technical occupations.

CONSERVATION OCCUPATIONS

Forests, rangelands, wildlife, soil,
and water are im portant natural re­
sources. C onservationists protect,
develop, and manage these resources
to assure th at future needs will be
met.
Persons interested in a career in
conservation must have specialized
training. Foresters, range managers,
and soil conservationists generally
need bachelor’s degrees in their
fields. Technical school is usually
required for positions as forestry
technicians. In addition to technical
knowledge and skills, conservation­
ists must have a sincere interest in
the environm ent and the desire to
protect it. They should enjoy dealing
with others and like public service,
since they often work with people in
the com m unity. Flexibility also is
im portant, since a conservationist
may work in a remote camping area
one w eek, speak to a com m unity
group the next, and fight a forest or
brush fire the next.

This section describes four conser­
vation occupations—forester, forest­
ry technician, range m anager, and
soil conservationist.

FORESTERS
( D.O.T. 040.081)

Nature of the Work
F o rests are a vital n a tu ra l r e ­
source. They can be used repeatedly
without being destroyed—if properly
managed. The condition of our envi­
ronm ent has become a major nation­
al concern, and foresters play an im­
p o r ta n t ro le in p r o te c tin g th a t
environm ent by ensuring that our
forests are properly used. Foresters
manage, develop, and protect these
lands and their resources—tim ber,
water, wildlife, forage, and recrea­
tional areas.

Employment of conservationists, 1976 (in thousands)

Foresters

ll
i

Forestry technicians

Range managers

a

|

I

Soil conservationists

10

334



Federal

15

Hi

20

State and local

Places of Employment
About 25,000 persons worked as
foresters in 1976. Nearly 2 out o f 5
worked in private industry, mainly
for pulp and paper, lum ber, logging,
and milling companies. About onefourth worked for the Federal Gov­
ernm ent, primarily in the Forest Ser­
vice of the D epartm ent of Agricul­
ture. The rem ainder worked for State
and local governments, colleges and
universities, or consulting firms or
were self-employed, either as consul­
tants or forest owners.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

About half of all conservationists are employed by
Federal, State, and local governments

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Foresters plan and supervise the
cutting and planting of trees. They
also protect the trees from fire,
harmful insects, and disease. Forest­
ers may be responsible for other du­
ties ranging from wildlife protection
and w atershed m anagem ent to the
d e v e lo p m e n t and su p e rv isio n o f
camps, parks and grazing lands.
Foresters also do research, provide
forestry information to forest owners
and to the general public (called
extension work), and teach at colleg­
es and universities.
Foresters often specialize in one
area of work, such as tim ber m anage­
ment, outdoor recreation, or forest
economics. Some of these areas are
recognized as distinct professions.

25

HI

Other

A bachelor’s degree with a major
in forestry is the m inimum educa­
tional requirem ent for those desiring
p ro fe ssio n a l c a re e rs in fo re s try .
However, due to keen job com peti­
tion and the increasingly complex na­
ture of the forester’s work, em ploy­
e rs p r e f e r g r a d u a te s w ho h o ld
advanced degrees. C ertain jobs such
as teaching and research require ad­
vanced degrees.
Education in forestry leading to a
bachelor’s or higher degree was of­
fered in 1976 by 50 colleges and uni­
versities, of which 43 were accredit­
ed by th e S o ciety o f A m e ric a n
Foresters. Curriculum s stress the lib­
eral arts and com m unications skills
as well as technical forestry subjects.

CONSERVATION OCCUPATIONS

335

ness. Many foresters work their way
up to top managerial positions within
their companies.

Earnings and Working
Conditions

The average starting salary for for­
esters in 1976 was $10,000 a year,
Employment Outlook
while experienced foresters averaged
Employment requirem ents for for­ over $18,000, according to the limit­
esters are expected to grow about as ed data available.
In private industry, starting forest­
fast as the average for all occupations
ers averaged $10,300 a year in 1976
through the m id-1980’s. In recen t
years, however, the num ber of p er­ and the overall average salary was
sons earning degrees in forestry has $17,700, according to the limited
e x c e e d e d o c c u p a tio n a l r e q u ir e ­ data available.
Graduates entering the Federal
ments, creating com petition for jobs.
Governm ent as foresters in 1977
If the num ber of degrees granted
each year remains at present levels, with just a bachelor’s degree started
com petition is expected to persist at $9,303 a year. However, because
throughout the period. O pportunities of keen com petition, most foresters
will be better for those who can offer hired by the Federal Governm ent
an employer either an advanced d e­ either held a m aster’s degree or had
gree or several years’ experience.
some experience, and generally
The country will need more forest­ started at $1 1,523 a year. Ph. D .’s
ers in the future to ensure an increas­ generally started at $14,097 or
ing output of forest products. Em ­ $17,056 a year. The median annual
ploym ent also may increase as we salary in 1977 for federally employed
Foresters spend considerable time out­
become more aware o f the need to foresters exceeded $20,000.
doors in all kinds of weather.
conserve and replenish our forest re­
In local government, foresters gen­
sources, and to improve the environ­ erally began at about $10,700 a year
mental quality of our forest lands.
in 1976, while their median annual
Private owners of timberland may salary was $15,400. State govern­
Most programs also include courses
in forest economics and business ad­ well employ more foresters as they ments paid about $9,200 annually to
ministration to supplem ent the stu­ recognize the need for—and the start in 1976, and State median sala­
den t’s scientific and technical knowl­ higher profitability of—improved ries were $15,400 per year. College
edge.
M a n y c o lle g e s r e q u i r e forestry and logging practices. The professors generally started at about
students to spend one summer in a forest products industry will require $ 11,000 annually in 1976, while their
field camp operated by the college. additional foresters to apply new median salary was over $20,000 per
All schools encourage summer jobs techniques for using the entire forest year. Many faculty foresters supple­
crop, to develop m ethods of growing m ent their regular salaries with in­
that give firsth an d e x p e r ie n c e in for­
superior trees in a shorter period of come from lecturing, consulting, and
est or conservation work.
time, and to do research in the fields writing.
In addition to meeting the intellec­
of plant genetics and fertilization.
Many experienced foresters ad ­
tual dem ands of forestry, foresters
Em ployment of foresters will prob­
m ust enjoy w orking outd o o rs, be ably continue to grow faster in pri­ vance to jobs which require them to
physically hardy, and be willing to vate industry than in the Federal spend most of their time in an office.
move, often to rem ote places. Forest­ G overnm ent where budget lim ita­ H ow ever, the b eginning fo re ste r
ers should also be able to work well tions may restrain growth. State gov­ spends considerable time outdoors in
with people and be able to express ernm ent agencies will probably hire all kinds of w eather, sometimes in
themselves clearly.
more foresters through Federal-State rem ote areas. F oresters may also
Forestry graduates usually work cooperative program s for fire co n ­ work extra hours on emergency duty,
under the supervision of experienced trol, protection against insects and as in firefighting or search and rescue
foresters. After gaining experience, disease, recreation, and technical as­ missions.
they may advance to more respon­ sistance to owners of forest lands.
sible positions. In the Federal Gov­
The expected rapid increase in the
Sources of Additional
ern m en t, an ex p erien ced forester em ploym ent of forestry technicians
Information
may supervise an entire forest area, will reduce the am ount of time spent
General information about the for­
and may advance to regional forest by foresters in perform ing routine
estry profession, lists of reading m a­
supervisor or to a top administrative tasks, but the forester will have to
position. In private industry, forest­ devote m ore and more time to super­ terials, and lists of schools offering
ers start by learning the practical and visory work and to the general m an­ education in forestry are available
from:
agem ent o f the forest.
adm FRASER
Digitized for inistrative aspects of the busi­


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

336

Society of American Foresters, 5400 Grosvenor Lane, Washington, D.C. 20014.
National Forest Products Association, 1619
Massachusetts Ave., NW., Washington,
D.C. 20036.

General career information is also
available from:
American Forest Institute, 1619 Massachu­
setts Ave. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.
American Forestry Association, 1319 18th St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.

For details on forestry careers in
the Forest Service, contact:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Ser­
vice, Washington, D.C. 20250.

FORESTRY TECHNICIANS
(D.O.T. 441.137 through 441.887)

Nature of the Work
Forestry technicians, sometimes
called forestry aides in entry level
positions, assist foresters in the care
and m anagem ent of forest lands and
their resources. (See statem ent on
foresters earlier in this chapter.)
Forestry technicians help estimate
present and potential tim ber produc­
tion in a certain area. If new roads
are needed to make the timber acces­
sible for cutting and removal, techni­
cians may supervise the surveying
and road building crews. After the
tim ber has been cut, they measure
the logs to determ ine how much lum­
ber the trees will yield and then assist
in the sale o f the timber.
Technicians work on many forest
im provem ent projects. They inspect
trees for disease and other problems,
and record their findings. On w ater­
shed projects, they work to prevent
flood dam age and soil erosion and
seek ways to increase the quality of
water in the forest.
Forestry technicians also help to
prevent and control fires. They give
fire prevention information to people
using the forest and lead firefighting
crews if a fire occurs. After fires are
extinguished, they take inventory of
burned areas and supervise the plant­
ing of new trees and shrubs to restore
the forest.



Forestry technician measuring the diameter of a tree.

Recreational use of the forest has
increased greatly. Technicians m ain­
tain forest areas for hunting, cam p­
ing, hiking, and o th er recreational
activities. They also explain forest
regulations and policies to visitors
and enforce these rules.

Places of Employment
About 11,000 persons worked
year round as forestry technicians in
1976. Nearly the same num ber found
tem porary em ploym ent—primarily
w ith F e d e ra l and S ta te G o v e rn ­

m ents— during the summer or in the
spring and fall fire seasons.
Nearly half the year-round total
worked in private industry, mainly
for logging, lumber, and paper com ­
panies. R e fo re sta tio n p ro je c ts of
m ining, oil, and ra ilro a d c o m p a ­
nies— as well as em ploym ent in tree
n u rs e rie s —a c c o u n te d fo r the r e ­
m ainder of the w orkers in private
em ploym ent. The Federal G overn­
ment employed about 3,700 full-time
forestry technicians in 1976, prim ar­
ily in the Forest Service of the U.S.
D epartm ent of A griculture, while an­

337

CONSERVATION OCCUPATIONS

other 2,200 worked for State govern­
ments.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most persons qualify for beginning
jobs as forestry technicians by com ­
pleting a specialized course of study
in a 1- o r 2-year p ostsecondary
school or through work experience
on firefighting crews, in tree nurser­
ies, or in recreation work.
Because of keen job competition
at the present time, opportunities for
employment are better for those with
postseco n d ary school training. In
1976, about 80 technical institutes,
junior or com m unity colleges, and
universities offered forestry techni­
cian training, of which 53 are recog­
nized by the Society of Am erican
Foresters.
Most forestry technician schools
require graduates to com plete gener­
al education courses such as m athe­
matics and English, forestry-related
courses including biology and b o t­
any, and specialized forest technol­
ogy courses such as land surveying,
tree identification, aerial photograph
interpretation, and tim ber harvest­
ing. To gain practical experience,
students may be required to work in
a forest or camp op erated by the
school.
Enthusiasm for outdoor work,
physical stamina, and the ability to
carry out tasks with and without di­
rect supervision are essential for suc­
cess in this field. Technicians should
be able to work with survey crews,
users of the forest lands, forest own­
ers, and foresters. They must express
them selves clearly when talking to
others and when making written re­
ports.
Forestry technicians generally be­
gin work as trainees or in relatively
routine positions under the direct su­
pervision o f an experienced techni­
cian or forester. As technicians gain
experience, they are given more re­
sponsibility, and often move into su­
pervisory positions. Some te c h n i­
cians obtain b ac h elo r’s degrees in
forestry and are prom oted to the for­
ester level.



Employment Outlook
Growth in em ploym ent of forestry
technicians is expected to be faster
than the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. Private in­
dustry should continue to provide a
high proportion of these jobs.
Environm ental concern, a rising
demand for forest products and in­
creased use of technology in the for­
est industry are expected to stimulate
dem and for more technicians each
year. Trained technicians will be re­
quired to operate specialized and ef­
ficient laborsaving m achines and to
help apply sophisticated scientific
m e th o d s to fo re st m a n a g e m e n t.
T echnicians will also increasingly
perform many of the more routine
jobs done by foresters.
Despite this expected growth, keen
com petition for jobs is anticipated.
C urrently, the num ber of persons
seeking em ploym ent as forestry tech ­
nicians greatly exceeds the jobs avail­
able. Unless the num ber of graduates
o f forestry technician schools d e ­
clines substantially in the future, this
keen com petition for jobs is expected
to continue. Those offering special­
ized forestry technician training and
some practical experience may have
better opportunities.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Starting salaries of forestry techni­
cians ranged from $7,500 to $10,000
a year in 1976, according to the lim­
ited data available; experienced fo r­
estry te c h n ic ia n s av erag ed ab o u t
$12,300.
In the Federal G overnm ent, forest­
ry technicians started at $8,316 or
$9,303 a year in 1977 depending on
education and experience. E xperi­
enced fo restry tech n ician s in the
Federal G overnm ent averaged b e ­
tween $12,000 and $13,000 annual­
lyForestry technicians spend consid­
erable time outdoors in all kinds of
weather, sometimes in remote areas.
In em ergencies, such as fighting fires
and controlling floods, forestry tech ­
nicians work many extra hours. Cli­
m atic conditions often limit year-

round field work, and firefighting
jobs are limited to the fire season.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about a career in the
Federal G overnm ent as a forestry
technician is available from:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Ser­
vice, Washington, D.C. 20250.

For a list of schools recognized by
the Society of American Foresters
offering training in the field write to:
Society of American Foresters, 5400 Grosvenor Lane, Washington, D.C. 20014.

RANGE MANAGERS
(D.O.T. 040.081)

Nature of Work
Rangelands cover more than 1 bil­
lion acres of the United States, m ost­
ly in the W estern States and Alaska.
They contain many natural resourc­
es: grass and shrubs for animal graz­
ing, habitats for livestock and wild­
life, w ater from vast w atersh ed s,
facilities for water sports and other
kinds o f re cre atio n , and valuable
m i n e r a l a n d e n e r g y re s o u r c e s .
Rangelands also serve as areas for
scientific study of the environm ent.
Range managers, sometimes called
range scientists, range ecologists, or
range conservationists, m anage, im­
prove, and protect range resources to
maximize their use without incurring
ecological destruction. For example,
range managers determ ine the n um­
ber and kind of animals to be grazed,
the grazing system to be used, and
the best season for grazing in order to
yield a high production of livestock.
At the same time, they must conserve
soil and vegetation for other uses
such as wildlife habitat, outdoor rec­
reation, and timber production.
Range m anagers restore and im­
prove rangelands through techniques
such as controlled burning, reseed­
ing, and biological, chem ical, or m e­
c h a n ic a l c o n tro l o f u n d e s ira b le
plants. For example, selected rangelands with natural sagebrush vegeta-

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

338

Range managers may spend considerable time away from home working outdoors in
remote parts of the range.

tion may be plowed and reseeded
with a more productive grass. Range
m anagers also determ ine the need
for and carry out range conservation
and developm ent such as providing
for animal watering facilities, erosion
control, and fire prevention.
Not all of the range m anager’s time
is spent outdoors. Office work is not
unusual. The range m anager may
consult with other conservation spe­
cialists, prepare written reports, and
perform certain adm inistrative d u ­
ties.
Because of the multiple use of
rangelands, range managers often
work in such closely related fields as
wildlife and watershed m anagem ent,
forest m anagem ent, and recreation.

Places of Employment
A bout 3,000 persons worked as
range managers in 1976. The m ajor­
ity worked for the Federal G overn­
ment, principally for the Forest Ser­
vice an d th e Soil C o n s e rv a tio n
Service of the D epartm ent of Agri­
culture and the Bureau o f Land M an­
agem ent o f the D epartm ent of the
Interior. Range m anagers in State
governments are employed in game
and fish d e p a rtm e n ts, S tate land
agencies, and extension services.
An increasing num ber of range
managers are working for private in­
dustry. Coal
 and oil com panies em ­


ploy range managers to help restore
the ecological balance to mined out
areas. Banks and real estate firms
employ them to help increase the
revenue from th e ir landholdings.
Other range managers work for pri­
vate consulting firms and large live­
stock ranches.
Some range m anagers with a d ­
vanced d egrees teac h and do r e ­
search at colleges and universities.
O thers work overseas with U nited
States and United Nations agencies
and with foreign governments.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree with a major
in range m anagem ent or range sci­
ence is the usual minimum educa­
tional requirem ent for range m anag­
ers. In the Federal G overnm ent, a
degree in a closely related field, such
as agronom y or forestry, including
courses in range m anagem ent and
range science, may also be accepted.
Graduate degrees in range m anage­
me n t are g e n e rally re q u ire d fo r
teaching and research positions, and
may be helpful for advancem ent in
other jobs.
In 1976, about 20 colleges and
universities had degree programs in
range m anagem ent or range science.

A num ber of other schools offered
course work in range m anagem ent.
A degree in range m anagem ent
requires a basic knowledge of biol­
ogy, chem istry, physics, m athem at­
ics, and com m unication skills. Spe­
c ia liz e d c o u rse s c o m b i n e p la n t,
animal, and soil sciences with princi­
ples of ecology and resource m an­
agement. Desirable electives include
economics, com puter science, forest­
ry, wildlife, and recreation.
Federal Governm ent agencies, pri­
marily the Forest Service, the Soil
C onservation Service, and the Bu­
reau o f L and M a n a g em en t, h ire
some college students for sum m er
jobs in range management. This ex­
perience may b e tte r qualify these
students for jobs when they graduate.
Besides having a love for the out­
doors, range m anagers should be
able to write and speak effectively
and work with others. They should
have the ability to work alone or un­
der direct supervision. Good physical
health and stamina also are im por­
tant.

Employment Outlook
Employment of range managers is
expected to grow faster than the av­
erage for all occupations through the
m i d - 1 9 8 0 ’s. J o b o p p o r t u n i t i e s
throughout this period are expected
to be good for persons with degrees
in range m anagem ent or range sci­
ence. Also, some jobs may be filled
by persons with degrees in related
fields who have had some range m an­
agement courses.
An increasing dem and for m eat
and other rangeland products should
stimulate the need for more range
managers. Since the am ount of
rangeland is generally fixed, range
managers will be needed to increase
the output of range^Snds while p ro ­
te c tin g th e ir e c o lo g ic al b a la n c e .
Also, more range m anagers will be
needed as the num ber of large live­
stock ranches increases.
As oil and coal exploration accel­
erates, private industry will probably
require many more range specialists
to rehabilitate ecologically disturbed
areas.
The use of rangelands for other
purposes such as wildlife protection

339

CONSERVATION OCCUPATIONS

and recreation could create addition­
al needs for range managers. Federal
hiring for these activities depends
heavily upon legislation concerning
the m anagem ent of range resources.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In the Federal Governm ent, range
managers with the bachelor’s degree
started at either $9,303 or $ 1 1,523 in
1977, depending on their college
grades. Those having 1 or 2 years of
graduate work began at $1 1,523 or
$14,097; persons with Ph. D. degrees
started at either $14,097 or $17,056
a year. Range managers with the
Federal G overnm ent averaged about
$20,000 a year in 1977.
Salaries for range managers who
work for State governments and pri­
vate com panies are about the same
as those paid by the Federal Govern­
ment, according to limited data.
Range managers may spend con­
sid e ra b le t i me away from ho me
working outdoors in rem ote parts of
the range.

servation of soil and water. They help
farm ers and other land managers d e­
velop program s that make the most
productive use of land without dam ­
aging it. Soil co n se rv atio n ists do
most of their work in the field. If a
farm er is experiencing an erosion
problem , the conservationist will visit
the farm, find the source of the prob­
lem, and develop a program to com ­
bat the erosion. For example, if the
erosion is caused by water runoff on

sloped fields, the conservationist may
recom m end ways to terrace the land,
or construct pathways for the runoff
that do not remove soil. If erosion
results from wind, the conservation­
ist may recom m end growing hedges
in places th a t will provide wi nd­
b reak s or may suggest im proved
methods of farming, such as leaving
the wheat or corn stalks on the field
after harvesting to provide ground
cover.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about a career as a
range m anager as well as a list of
schools offering training is available
from:
Society for Range Management, 2760 W. 5th
Ave. Denver, Col. 80204.

For information about career op­
portunities in the Federal G overn­
ment, contact:
Bureau of Land Management, Denver Service
Center, Federal Center Building 50, Den­
ver, Col. 80255.
Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agricul­
ture, Washington, DC. 20250.
Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.

SOIL CONSERVATIONISTS
(D.O.T. 040.081)

Nature of the Work
Soil conservationists provide tech­
nical assistance to farm ers, ranchers,
and FRASER
Digitized forothers concerned with the con­


Soil conservationist provides farmer with technical assistance.

340

In many areas of the country—par­
ticularly in the W est—rainfall is in­
sufficient to perm it the growing of
crops. M uch of this land, however,
can be made suitable for grazing live­
stock if proper w ater conservation
techniques are used. Soil conserva­
tionists inspect rangeland and recom ­
mend to range managers areas where
ponds can be constructed to provide
water for livestock. They also recom ­
mend solutions to problem s of overgrazing, such as seeding grassland or
placing salt licks in u n d erg razed
areas to keep the livestock away
from areas th a t have been overgrazed. In this m anner they can dis­
tribute herds so that the concentra­
tion of animals in any one area does
not exceed the replaceable food sup­
ply.
Soil conservationists pay close at­
tention to w eather patterns in order
to be aw are of conservation p ro b ­
lems before they arise. During the
winter months, they make periodic
snowmobile or ski patrols into the
R o ck ies an d o th e r m o u n ta in o u s
areas of the West to m easure snow­
fall. This enables them to predict the
spring and summer w ater runoff. In
years when the snowfall is light, they
alert range managers and farmers to
possible water shortages, and devel­
op ap p ro p riate w ater conservation
measures.
In addition to working with indi­
vidual farm ers and ra n ch ers, soil
conservationists are assigned to work
as technical advisors to Soil and W a­
ter Conservation Districts when solv­
ing areawide land m anagem ent prob­
lems. A Soil and W ater Conservation
District is made up of a group of indi­
viduals within a county who are con­
cern ed w ith, and responsible for,
conservation problem s within th at
county. Soil conservationists working
with Conservation Districts prepare
maps of the district or parts of the
district, depicting p articu lar p ro b ­
lems of soil and water conservation.
They then use the maps to develop a
conservation program for the entire
area, w hether it is only a few farms
and FRASER
Digitized for ranches or an entire watershed.


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Places of Employment
An estim ated 7,500 soil conserva­
tio n ists w ere em p lo y ed in 1976,
mostly by the Federal G overnm ent in
the U.S. D epartm ent o f A griculture’s
Soil C onservation Service or in the
D epartm ent of the Interior’s Bureau
of Indian Affairs. Soil conservation­
ists employed by the D epartm ent o f
Agriculture work as advisors for Soil
and W ater Conservation Districts in
almost every county in the country.
Those em ployed by the Bureau o f
Indian Affairs generally work near or
on Indian reservations, most of which
are located in the W estern States. In
addition to those who work for the
Federal G overnm ent, others are em ­
ployed by State and local govern­
ments, and some teach at colleges
and universities.
O ther soil conservationists are em ­
ployed by rural banks, in su ran ce
firms, and mortgage com panies that
make loans for agricultural lands. A
few also work for public utilities, and
lum ber and p aper com panies th at
have large holdings of forested lands.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Very few colleges and universities
offer degrees with a major in soil
conservation. M ost soil co n se rv a­
tionists, especially those em ployed
by the Soil C onservation Service,
have degrees in agronomy. A few soil
conservationists have degrees in re ­
lated fields of the natural resource
sciences, such as wildlife biology,
forestry, and agricultural education.
Programs of study generally must in­
clude 30 sem ester hours in natural
resources or agriculture, including at
least 3 hours in soils.
A background in agricultural engi­
neering is very helpful to soil conser­
vationists, and courses in cartogra­
phy, or mapm aking, also are helpful.
Soil conservationists m ust be able to
com m unicate well with people, since
much of their work deals with ed u ­
cating farm ers and ranchers in sound
conservation practices. Also, they
must be able to prepare written re ­

ports and plans of program s to p re­
sent to farm ers, range managers, and
Soil and W ater C onservation Dis­
tricts.
O pportunities for advancem ent
are somewhat limited. However, co n ­
servationists working at the county
level may advance to the State level.
Also, soil conservationists can trans­
fer to related occupations such as
farm m anagem ent advisor or land ap ­
praiser. Those with advanced d e ­
grees may find teaching opportuni­
ties in colleges and universities.

Employment Outlook
Employment of soil conservation­
ists is expected to increase about as
fast as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to em ploym ent growth, several hun­
dred openings will occur each year
from the need to replace conserva­
tionists who die, retire, or transfer to
o th e r o c c u p a tio n s. F or ex am p le,
even though em ploym ent of conser­
vationists in the Soil C onservation
Service has not increased over the
past decade, the D epartm ent of Agri­
culture has hired, on the average,
about 400 new conservationists each
year.
Employment growth will occur in
banks, public utilities, and other o r­
ganizations that make loans on agri­
cultural lands or that have large hold­
ings of farm or ranch lands. Many of
these organizations are adding co n ­
servationists to their staffs to help
preserve the value of farmlands on
which they hold m ortgages or to help
them comply with recent conserva­
tion and anti-pollution laws. In addi­
tion, as concern for the environm ent
and interest in conserving the p ro ­
ductivity o f agricultural lands in ­
creases, a larger num ber of colleges
should add soil conservation majors
to th e ir d eg ree p ro g ra m s, w hich
would increase the dem and for soil
conservationists to fill teaching posi­
tions. However, because this is a very
attractive job choice for many p eo ­
ple, com petition for jobs as soil co n ­
servationists may make it difficult to
find jobs in this field.

341

CONSERVATION OCCUPATIONS

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Soil conservationists who had a
b a c h e lo r’s d eg ree and w ere em ­
ployed by the Federal Governm ent
received $9,303 a year in 1977. Ad­
vancement to $1 1,523 could be ex­
pected after 1 year of satisfactory
service. Those who had outstanding
records in college, or who had a mas­
te r’s degree, started at $1 1,523 and
could advance to $14,097 after 1
year. Further advancem ent depends




upon the individual’s ability to a c ­
cept greater responsibility. Earnings
of well-qualified Federal soil conser­
vationists with several years’ experi­
ence range from $17,056 to $28,725
a year.
Because soil conservationists do
most of their work in the field, this
may be an ideal career for a person
who enjoys working outdoors. Usual­
ly during periods of bad weather they
work in their offices, but occasional­
ly they have to work outdoors in in­
clem ent weather.

Sources of Additonal
Information
Additional information on em ploy­
m ent as a soil conservationist may be
obtained from the U.S. Civil Service
C o m m issio n , W a s h in g to n , D .C .
20415; Employment Division, Office
o f P ersonnel, U.S. D epartm ent of
A g r ic u ltu r e , W a s h in g to n , D .C .
20250; or any office of the D epart­
m ent’s Soil Conservation Service.

342

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

ENGINEERS

The work of engineers affects our
lives in thousands o f different ways.
Their past accom plishm ents have en­
abled us to drive safer autom obiles,
reach the moon, and even prolong
life through special m achinery. Fu­
ture accom plishm ents could help us
in crease energy supplies, develop
more pollution-free powerplants, and
aid m edical scien c e’s fight against
disease.
In 1976, more than 1.1 million
persons were employed as engineers,
the second largest professional occu­
pation, exceeded only by teachers.
Most engineers specialize in one of
the more than 25 specialties recog­
nized by professional societies. W ith­
in the m ajor branches are over 85
minor subdivisions. Structural, envi­
ronm ental, hydraulic, and highway
engineering, for example, are subdi­
visions o f civil engineering. E ngi­
neers also may specialize in the engi­
neering problem s o f one industry,
such as m otor vehicles, or in a par­
ticular field of technology, such as
propulsion or guidance systems. This
section, which contains an overall
discussion o f engineering, is followed
by separate statem ents on 12 branch­
es of the profession—aerospace, ag­
ric u ltu r a l, b io m e d ic a l, c e ra m ic ,
chemical, civil, electrical, industrial,
m ech an ical, m etallurgical, m ining,
and petroleum engineering.

Nature of the Work
Engineers apply the theories and
principles o f science and m athem at­
ics to practical technical problem s.
Often their work is the link between
a scientific discovery and its useful
ap p licatio n . E ngineers design m a­
chinery, products, systems, and pro­
cesses for efficient and econom ical
perform ance. They develop electric
power, w ater supply, and waste dis­
 to m eet the problem s
posal systems


of urban living. They design industri­
al m achinery and equipm ent used to
m anufacture goods; and heating, airconditioning, and ventilation equip­
m ent for m ore com fortable living.
E ngineers also d ev elo p scien tific
equipm ent to probe outer space and
the ocean depths, design defense and
w eap o n s system s fo r th e A rm ed
Forces, and design, plan, and super­
vise the construction of buildings,
highways, and rapid transit systems.
They design and develop consum er
products such as autom obiles, televi­
sion sets, and refrigerators, and sys­
tems for control and autom ation of
m anufacturing, business, and m an­
agement processes.
Engineers must consider many fac­
tors in developing a new product. For
example, in developing new devices
to reduce autom obile exhaust emis­
sions, engineers must determ ine the
general way the device will work, d e­
sign and test all com ponents, and fit
them together in an integrated plan.
They m ust then evaluate the overall
effectiveness of the new device, as
well as its cost and reliability. These
factors apply to most products, in­
cluding those as different as medical
eq u ip m en t, ele c tro n ic co m p u ters,
and industrial machinery.
In addition to design and develop­
ment, many engineers work in test­
ing, production, operation, or m ain­
te n a n c e . T h ey s u p e rv is e th e
operation of production processes,
determ ine the causes o f breakdowns,
and perform tests on newly m anufac­
tured products to ensure that quality
standards are m aintained. They also
estim ate the time needed to com ­
plete engineering projects and their
cost. Still others are in administrative
and m anagem ent jobs where an engi­
neering background is necessary, or
in sales where they discuss the tech ­
nical aspects of a product and assist
in planning its installation or use.

(See statem en t on m a n u fa c tu re rs’
salesworkers elsewhere in the Hand­
book.) Engineers with considerable
education or experience som etimes
work as consultants. Some with ad­
vanced degrees teach in the engi­
neering schools of colleges and uni­
versities.
Engineers within each of the
branches may apply their specialized
knowledge to many fields. Electrical
engineers, for example, work in
m edicine, com puters, missile guid­
ance, or electric power distribution.
Because engineering problem s are
usually complex, the work in some
fields cu ts acro ss the tra d itio n a l
branches. Using a team approach to
solve problem s, en g in eers in one
field often work closely with special­
ists in other scientific, engineering,
and business occupations.

Places of Employment
More than half o f all engineers
work in m anufacturing industries—
mostly in the electrical and electron­
ic equipm ent, aircraft and parts, m a­
chinery, chemicals, scientific instru­
m ents, prim ary m etals, fab ricated
m etal products, and m otor vehicle
industries. Over 340,000 were em ­
ployed in nonm anufacturing indus­
tries in 1976, primarily in construc­
tion, public utilities, engineering and
architectural services, and business
and m anagem ent consulting services.
Federal, State, and local govern­
ments employed about 150,000 engi­
neers. Over half of these worked for
the Federal G overnm ent, mainly in
the D epartm ents of Defense, Interi­
or, Agriculture, T ransportation, and
in th e N a tio n al A e ro n a u tic s and
Space A dm inistration. M ost en g i­
neers in State and local governm ent
agencies worked in highway and pub­
lic works departm ents.
C o lle g e s and u n iv e rs itie s e m ­
ployed about 45,000 engineers in re­
search and teaching jobs, and a small
n u m b er w orked for n o n p ro fit re ­
search organizations.
Engineers are em ployed in every
State, in small and large cities and in
rural areas. Some branches of engi­
neering are concentrated in particu­
lar industries and geographic areas,

ENGINEERS

as discussed in the statem ents later in
this chapter.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree in engineering
is the generally accepted educational
requirem ent for beginning engineer­
ing jobs. College graduates trained in
one of the natural sciences or m athe­
matics also may qualify for some be­
ginning jobs. E xperienced te c h n i­
c ia n s w ith s o m e e n g i n e e r i n g
education are occasionally able to
advance to some types of engineering
jobs.
Many colleges recently have estab­
lished 2- or 4-year programs leading
to degrees in engineering technology.
These programs prepare students for
practical design and production work
rather than for jobs that require more
theoretical scientific and m athem at­
ical knowledge. G raduates of 4-year
en g in eerin g tech n o lo g y program s
may get jobs sim ilar to those o b ­
tained by engineering bachelor’s de­
gree graduates. However, the status
of those with the engineering tech­
nology degree is still not clear. Some
em ployers regard them as having
skills somewhere between those of a
technician and an engineer.
G raduate training is being em pha­
sized for an increasing num ber of
jobs; it is essential for most beginning
teaching and research positions, and
is desirable for advancem ent. Some
specialties, such as nuclear engineer­
ing, are taught mainly at the graduate
level.
About 250 colleges and universi­
ties offer a bachelor’s degree in engi­
neering, and over 50 colleges offer a
b a c h e lo r’s d eg ree in engineering
technology. A lthough program s in
the larger branches of engineering
are offered in most of these institu­
tio n s, som e sm all sp ec ia lties are
taught in only a very few. Therefore,
students desiring specialized training
should investigate curriculum s b e­
fore selecting a college. Admissions
requirem ents for undergraduate en­
gineering schools usually include
high sch o o l co u rses in advanced
m athem atics and the physical scienc­
es.



343

In a typical 4-year curriculum , the
first 2 years are spent studying basic
sciences—m athem atics,
physics,
ch em istry , in tro d u c to ry en g in e e r­
ing—and the hum anities, social sci­
ences, and English. The 3ast2 years
are devoted, for the m ost part, to
sp e c ia liz e d e n g in e e rin g c o u rse s.
Some programs offer a general engi­
neering curriculum , perm itting the
stu d e n t to choose a specialty in
graduate school or acquire it on the
job.
Some engineering curriculum s re ­
quire more than 4 years to com plete.
A num ber of colleges and universi­
ties now offer 5-year m aster’s degree
programs. In addition, several engi­
neering schools have formal arrange­
m en ts w ith lib e ra l a rts co lleg e s
whereby a student spends 3 years in a
liberal arts college studying pre-engi­
neering subjects and 2 years in an
engineering school and receives a
bachelor’s degree from each.
Some schools have 5- or even 6year cooperative plans where stu ­
dents c o o rd in a te classroom study
and practical work experience. In ad ­
dition to gaining useful experience,
students can finance part of their
education. Because o f the need to
keep up with rapid advances in tech ­
nology, en g in eers o ften co n tin u e
their education throughout their c a ­
reers.
All 50 States and the District of
Columbia require licensing for engi­
neers whose work may affect life,
health, o r property, or who offer
their services to the public. In 1976,
there were over 300,000 registered
engineers. Generally, registration re ­
quirem ents include a degree from an
a c c re d ite d e n g in ee rin g school, 4
years of relevant work experience,
and the passing of a State exam ina­
tion.
Engineering graduates usually b e­
gin work under the supervision of ex­
perienced engineers. Some com pa­
n ie s h a v e s p e c ia l p ro g ra m s to
acquaint new engineers with special
industrial practices and to determ ine
the specialties for which they are best
suited. Experienced engineers may
advance to positions of greater re ­
sp o n sib ility and som e e n g in e e rs
move to m anagem ent or adm inistra­
tive positions after several years o f
engineering. Some engineers obtain

graduate degrees in business adm in­
istration to improve their advance­
m ent opportunities, while still others
obtain law degrees and become p at­
ent attorneys. Many high level execu­
tives in private industry began their
careers as engineers.
Engineers should be able to work
as part of a team and should have
creativity, an analytical mind, and a
capacity for detail. They should be
able to express their ideas well orally
and in writing.

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities for en­
gineers are ex p e cted to be good
through the m id-1980’s in most spe­
cialities. In addition there may be
som e o p p o r tu n itie s fo r c o lle g e
graduates from related fields in cer­
tain engineering jobs.
Employment requirem ents for en­
gineers are expected to grow slightly
faster than the average for all occu­
p a tio n s th ro u g h th e m id -1 9 8 0 ’s.
Much of this growth will stem from
industrial expansion to m eet the de­
mand for more goods and services.
More engineers will be needed in the
design and construction of factories,
utility systems, office buildings, and
transportation systems, as well as in
the developm ent and m anufacture of
defense-related products, scientific
instrum ents, industrial m achinery,
chemical products, and m otor vehi­
cles.
Engineers will be required in ener­
g y -r e la te d a c tiv itie s d e v e lo p in g
sources of energy as well as designing
energy-saving systems for autom o­
biles, hom es, and o th er buildings.
E ngineers also will be needed to
solve environm ental problems.
The level of expenditures in some
of these areas, particularly defense,
however, has fluctuated in the past,
affecting the requirem ents for engi­
neers, and may do so in the future.
The outlook for engineers given here
is based on the assumption that de­
fense spending will increase from its
1976 level but will still be lower than
the peak levels of the 1960’s. If, how­
ever, defense activity is higher or
lower than the level assumed, the de­
mand for engineers will be higher or

344

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

lower than now expected. F urther, if
the d em and for th eir specialty d e­
clines, engineers may lose their jobs.
This can be a particular problem for
older engineers, who may face diffi­
culties in finding oth er engineering
jobs. These difficulties can be m ini­
mized by selection o f a career in one
of the m ore stable industries and en ­
gineering specialties, and by continu­
ing education to keep up on the lat­
est technological developm ents.
Despite these problem s, over the
long run the num ber o f people seek­
ing jobs as engineers is expected to
be in balance with the num ber of job
openings.
(T he outlook for various branches
is discussed in the sep arate sta te ­
m ents later in this section.)

Earnings and Working
Conditions
A ccording to the College P lace­
m ent Council, engineering graduates
with a b ach elo r’s degree and no ex­
perience were offered average start­
ing salaries o f $14,800 a year in pri­
vate industry in 1976; those with a
m aster’s degree and no experience,
alm ost $ 1 6 ,500 a year; and those
with a Ph. D., over $21,000. Starting
offers for those with the bachelor’s
degree vary by branch as shown in
the accom panying table.

Starting salaries for engineers,
by branch, 1976
Average starting
salaries

Branch
Aeronautical engineering.....
Chemical engineering...........
Civil engineering...................
Electrical engineering...........
Industrial engineering...........
Mechanical engineering.......
Metallurgical engineering.....

$ 14,268
16,212
13,764
14,448
14,568
14,964
15,600

In th e F e d e ra l G o v e rn m e n t in
1977, engineers with a bachelor’s d e ­
gree and no experience could start at
$9,303 o r $11,523 a year, depending
on their college records. Those with
a m a s te r ’s d eg ree co u ld s ta rt a t
$11,523 or $14,097. Those having a
Ph. D. degree could begin at $17,056
or $20,442. The average salary for
experienced engineers in the Federal
G overnm ent was about $25,900 in
1977.
For a 9-m onth academ ic college
year in 1976, faculty m em bers with 5
years’ experience beyond the bache­
lo r’s degree received about $15,150;
those with 18 to 20 years experience
beyond th e b a c h e lo r’s degree r e ­
ceived ab o u t $21,150. (See s ta te ­
m ent on college and university teach ­
ers elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Engineers can expect an increase
in earnings as they gain experience.
A ccording to an Engineering M an­

Growth and replacement needs are expected to provide
many job openings for engineers
Selected engineering occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)

pow er Commission survey, the aver­
age salary for engineers with 20 years
o f experience was $26,000 in 1976.
Some in m anagem ent positions had
m uch higher earnings.
Many engineers work indoors in
offices and re searc h lab o rato ries.
O thers, however, spend time in m ore
active w ork—in a factory or mine, at
a construction site, or some o th er
outdoor location.

Sources of Additional
Information
G eneral inform ation on engineer­
ing ca re e rs—including engineering
sc h o o l re q u ire m e n ts , c o u rse s o f
stu d y , an d s a la rie s —is a v a ila b le
from:
Engineers’ Council for Professional Develop­
ment, 345 E. 47th St., New York, N.Y.
10017.
Engineering Manpower Commission of Engi­
neers Joint Council, 345 E. 47th St., New
York, N.Y. 10017.
National Society of Professional Engineers,
2029 K St. NW„ W ashington, D C.
20006.

For inform ation about graduate
study, contact:
American Society for Engineering Education,
One Dupont Circle, Suite 400, Washing­
ton, D.C. 20036.

Societies representing the individ­
ual branches of the engineering p ro ­
fession are listed later in this chapter.
Each can provide inform ation about
c a re e rs in th e p a rtic u la r b ra n ch .
M any o th e r engineering organiza­
tions are listed in the following publi­
cations available in m ost libraries or
from the publisher:
Directory o f Engineering Societies, published
by Engineers Joint Council, 345 E. 47th
St., New York, N.Y. 10017.
Scientific and Technical Societies of the United
States and Canada, published by the Na­
tional Academy of Sciences, National Re­
search Council, 2101 Constitution Ave.,
NW., Washington, D.C. 20418.

Some engineers are mem bers of
labor unions. Inform ation on engi­
neering unions is available from:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




H I

Growth

Replacement

International Federation of Professional and
Technical Engineers, 1126 16th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

ENGINEERS

345

AEROSPACE ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 002.081)

Nature of the Work
A erospace engineers design, de­
velop, test, and help produce com ­
m ercial and military aircraft, mis­
siles, and spacecraft. They play an
important role in advancing the state
of technology in co m m ercial avi­
ation, defense systems, and space ex­
ploration.
Aerospace engineers often special­
ize in an area of work like structural
design, navigational guidance and
control, instrum entation and com ­
munication, or production methods.
They also may specialize in one type
of aerospace product such as passen­
ger planes, helicopters, satellites, or
rockets.

Places of Employment
About 50,000 aerospace engineers
were employed in 1976, mainly in
the aircraft and parts industry. Some
w orked fo r F ed eral G o v e rn m en t
ag en cies, p rim arily th e N atio n al
Aeronautics and Space Administra­
tion and the D epartm ent of Defense.
A few worked for com m ercial air­
lines, consulting firms, and colleges
and universities.

Employment Outlook
E m ploym ent o f aerospace engi­
neers is expected to grow more slow­
ly than the average for all occupa­
tio n s th r o u g h th e m i d - 1 9 8 0 ’s.
Employment of aerospace engineers
is largely determ ined by the level of
Federal expenditures on defense and
space programs: in the past, rapid
changes in spending levels have usu­
ally been accom panied by sharp em ­
ployment fluctuations. Expenditures
for the space program are expected
to increase only slightly from 1976 to
the m id-1980’s, while defense spend­
ing will probably increase m oderate­
ly. Although few jobs will be created
by employm ent growth, many work­
ers will be required to fill openings
created by deaths, retirem ents, and




Aerospace engineer checking out part of a spacecraft.

transfers o f workers to other occupa­
tions. (See introductory section of
this chapter for discussion of training
requirem ents and earnings. See also
statem ent on aircraft, missile, and
spacecraft m anufacturing elsewhere
in the Handbook.)

Sources of Additional
Information
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astro­
nautics, Inc., 1290 Avenue of the Amer­
icas, New York, N.Y. 10019.

AGRICULTURAL
ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 013.081)

Nature of the Work
Agricultural engineers design m a­
chinery and equipm ent, and develop

methods to improve efficiency in the
production, processing, and distribu­
tion of food and other agricultural
products. They also are concerned
with the conservation and m anage­
m ent of energy, soil, and water re­
sources. Agricultural engineers work
in research and developm ent, p ro ­
duction, sales, or management.

Places of Employment
Most of the 12,000 agricultural
engineers employed in 1976 worked
for m an u factu rers o f farm eq u ip ­
ment, electric utility companies, and
distributors of farm equipm ent and
supplies. Some worked for engineer­
ing consultants who supply services
to farm ers and farm -related indus­
tries; others were independent co n ­
sultants.
About 450 agricultural engineers
are employed in the Federal G overn­
ment, mostly in the D epartm ent of

346

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Agriculture; some are employed in
colleges and universitites; and a few
work in State and local governments.

Employment Outlook
Employment of agricultural engi­
neers is expected to grow faster than
th e a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-1980’s. Increasing
dem and for ag ricultural products,
m odernization of farm operations,
increasing emphasis on conservation
of resources, and the use of agricul­
tural products and wastes as industri­
al raw m aterials should provide addi­
tional o p p ortunities for engineers.
(See introductory part o f this section
for information on training require­
ments and earnings. See also state­
ment on agriculture elsewhere in the
Handbook.)

Sources of Additional
Information
American Society of Agricultural Engineers,
2950 Niles Rd„ St. Joseph, Mich. 49085.

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS
Nature of the Work
B iom edical en g in eers use engi­
neering principles to solve medical
and health-related problem s. Many
do research, along with life scientists,
chemists, and members of the medi­
cal profession, on the engineering as­
pects of th e biological systems of
man and animals. Some design and
develop medical instrum ents and de­
vices including artificial hearts and
kidneys, lasers for surgery, and pace­
makers th at regulate the heartbeat.
O th er biom edical engineers adapt
com puters to medical science, and
design and build systems to m odern­
ize laboratory, hospital, and clinical
procedures. Most engineers in this
field require a sound background in
one of the major engineering disci­
plines (m echanical, electrical, indus­
trial, or chem ical) in addition to spe­
cialized biomedical training.



Many biomedical engineers are involved in research.

Places of Employment
There were about 3,000 biom edi­
cal engineers in 1976. Most teach
and do research in colleges and uni­
versities. Some work for the Federal
G overnm ent, prim arily in the N a­
tional A eronautics and Space A d­
ministration, or in State agencies. An
increasing num ber work in private
industry developing new devices,
techniques, and systems for im prov­
ing health care. Some work in sales
positions.

Employment Outlook
Em ploym ent of biom edical engi­
neers is expected to grow faster than
the a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-19 8 0 ’s, but the actu ­
al num ber of openings is not likely to
be very large. Those who have ad ­
vanced degrees will be in demand to
teach and to fill jobs resulting from
increased expenditures for m edical
research. Increased research funds
could also create new positions in
instrum entation and systems for the
delivery o f health services. (See in­
troductory part of this chapter for
information on training requirem ents
and earnings.)

Sources of Additional
Information
Alliance for Engineering in Medicine and Biol­
ogy, Suite 404, 4405 East-West Highway,
Bethesda, Md. 20014.
Biomedical Engineering Society, P.O. Box
2399, Culver City, Calif. 90230.

CERAMIC ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 006.081)

Nature of the Work
Ceramic engineers develop new
ceramic materials and m ethods for
making ceramic materials into useful
products. Although to some, the
word ceram ics m eans pottery, c e ­
ramics actually include all nonm etallic, inorganic m aterials which require
the use of high tem perature in their
processing. Thus, ceram ic engineers
work on diverse products such as
glassw are, h ea t-resistan t m aterials
for furnaces, electronic com ponents,
and nuclear reactors. They also de­
sign and supervise the construction
of plants and equipm ent to m anufac­
ture these products.
C eram ic engineers generally spe­
cialize in one product or m ore—for

347

ENGINEERS

CHEMICAL ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 008.081)

Nature of the Work

Most ceramic engineers are employed in the stone, clay, and glass industry.

exam ple, p ro d u cts o f refracto ries
(fire-a n d h e a t-re s is ta n t m aterials
such as firebrick); whitewares (por­
celain and china dinnerw are or high
voltage electrical insulators); struc­
tural m aterials (such as brick, tile
and terra cotta); electronic ceramics
(ferrites for memory systems and mi­
crowave devices); protective and re­
fractory coatings for metals; glass;
abrasives; cem ent technology; or fuel
elements for atomic energy.

Places of Employment
About 12,000 ceram ic engineers
were employed in 1976, mostly in the
stone, clay, and glass industry. O th­
ers work in industries that produce or
use ceramic products such as the iron
and steel, electrical equipm ent, aero­
sp ac e, and ch e m ic als in d u stries.
Some are in colleges and universities,
independent research organizations,
and the Federal Governm ent.

Employment Outlook
Employment of ceram ic engineers
is expected
 to grow faster than the


average for all occupations through
the m id-1980’s. Programs related to
nuclear energy, electronics, defense,
and medical science will provide job
opportunities for ceram ic engineers.
Additional ceram ic engineers will be
required to improve and adapt tradi­
tio n al ceram ic p ro d u c ts, such as
w hitew ares and abrasives, to new
uses. The developm ent of filters and
catalytic surfaces to reduce pollu­
tion, and the developm ent of ceram ic
materials for energy conversion and
conservation, should create addition­
al openings for ceram ic engineers.
(See introductory part of this section
for inform ation on training require­
ments and earnings.)

Sources of Additional
Information
American Ceramic Society, 65 Ceramic Dr.,
Columbus, Ohio 43214.

Chemical engineers are involved in
many phases of the production of
chem icals and chem ical products.
They design equipm ent and chemical
plants as well as determ ine m ethods
of manufacturing the product. Often,
they design and operate pilot plants
to test their work and develop chem i­
cal processes such as those to remove
chem ical contam inants from waste
m ateria ls. B ecause the d u ties o f
chemical engineers cut across many
fields, these professionals must have
a working knowledge of chemistry,
physics, and mechanical and electri­
cal engineering.
This branch of engineering is so
diversified and complex that chem i­
cal engineers frequently specialize in
a particular operation such as oxida­
tion or polymerization. Others spe­
cialize in a particular area such as
pollution control or in the produc­
tion of a specific product like plastics
or rubber.

Places of Employment
Most of the 50,000 chemical engi­
neers working in 1976 were in m anu­
facturing industries, primarily those
producing chemicals, petroleum , and
related products. Some worked in
government agencies or taught and
did research in colleges and universi­
ties. A small num ber worked for in­
dependent research institutes and en­
g in eerin g co nsulting firm s, or as
independent consulting engineers.

Employment Outlook
E m ploym ent o f chem ical e n g i­
neers is expected to grow about as
fast as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. A major fac­
tor underlying this growth is industry
expansion—the chemicals industry in
particular.
The growing complexity and au to ­
mation o f chemical processes will re­
quire additional chemical engineers

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

348

for Federal, State, and local govern­
m ent agencies or in the construction
industry. Many work for consulting
engineering and architectural firms
or as independent consulting engi­
neers. Others work for public utili­
ties, railroads, educational institu ­
tions, and m anufacturing industries.
Civil engineers work in all parts of
the country, usually in or near m ajor
industrial and com m ercial centers.
They often work at construction
sites, sometimes in rem ote areas or in
foreign countries. In some jobs, they
must often move from place to place
to work on different projects.

Employment Outlook

Chemical engineer checks production instructions at chemical plant.

to design, build, and m aintain the
n ecessary plan ts and eq u ip m en t.
C h em ical en g in ee rs also will be
needed to solve problem s dealing
with environm ental protection, d e­
velopment o f synthetic fuels, and the
design and developm ent of nuclear
reactors. In addition, developm ent of
new chemicals used in the m anufac­
ture of consum er goods, such as plas­
tics and synthetic fibers, probably
will create additional openings. (See
introductory part of this section for
information on training requirem ents
and earnings. See also the statem ent
on chemists and the industrial chem i­
cal industry elsewhere in the Hand­
book.)

Sources of Additional
Information
American Institute of Chemical Engineers,
345 East 47th St., New York, N.Y.
10017.



CIVIL ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 005.081)

Nature of the Work
Civil engineers, who work in the
oldest branch of the engineering p ro ­
fession, design and supervise the co n ­
struction of roads, harbors, airports,
tunnels, bridges, w ater supply and
sewage systems, and buildings. M ajor
specialties within civil engineering
are stru ctu ra l, hydraulic, environ­
mental (sanitary), transportation (in ­
cluding highways and railways), geo­
technical, and soil mechanics.
Many civil engineers are in super­
visory or ad m in istrativ e positions
ranging from supervisor of a c o n ­
struction site to city engineer to toplevel executive. O thers teach in col­
leges and universities or work as co n ­
sultants.

Places of Employment
About 155,000 civil engineers
were em ployed in 1976. Most work

Em ployment of civil engineers is
expected to increase about as fast as
th e a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-1980’s. Job oppor­
tunities will result from the growing
needs for housing, industrial build­
ings, e le c tr ic p o w e r g e n e ra tin g
plants, and tran sp o rtatio n systems
created by a growing population and
an expanding economy. Work relat­
ed to solving problem s of environ­
mental pollution and energy self-suf­
ficiency will also require additional
civil engineers.
Many civil engineers also will be
needed each year to replace those
who retire, die, or transfer to other
occupations. (See introductory part
of this section for information on
training requirem ents and earnings.)

Sources of Additional
Information
American Society of Civil Engineers, 345 E.
47th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 003.081, .151, and .187)

Nature of the Work
Electrical engineers design, devel­
op, test, and supervise the m anufac­
tu re o f e le c tric a l and e le c tro n ic
equipm ent. E lectric equipm ent in-

349

ENGINEERS

Most civil engineers work for construction companies and Federal, State, and local
governments.



eludes power generating and trans­
mission equipm ent used by electric
m o to rs, m ach in ery c o n tro ls, and
lighting and wiring in buildings, and
in autom obiles and aircraft. E lec­
tro n ic e q u ip m en t in clu d es ra d a r,
com puters, com m unications equip­
ment, missile guidance systems, and
consum er goods such as televisions
and stereos.
Electrical engineers generally spe­
cialize in a major area—such as inte­
grated circuits, com puters, electrical
equipm ent m anufacturing, com m u­
n ic a tio n s , o r p o w e r d istrib u tin g
equipm ent—or in a subdivision of
these areas—m icrowave com m uni­
cation or aviation electronic systems,
for example. Electrical engineers de­
sign new products and specify their
uses and write perform ance require­
m ents and m aintenance schedules.
They also test equipm ent, solve o p er­
ating problem s, and estim ate the
time and cost of engineering proj­
ects. B esides em p lo y m en t in re ­
search, developm ent, and design,
many are in manufacturing, adminis­
tration and m anagem ent, technical
sales, or college teaching.

Places of Employment
Electrical engineering is the largest
b ra n ch o f the p ro fessio n . A b o u t
300,000 electrical engineers were
employed in 1976, mainly by m anu­
facturers of electrical and electronic
equipm ent, aircraft and parts, busi­
ness machines, and professional and
scientific equipm ent. Many work for
telep h o n e, telegraph, and electric
light and power com panies. Large
num bers are em ployed by govern­
ment agencies and by colleges and
universities. O thers work for co n ­
struction firms, for engineering co n ­
sultants, or as independent consult­
ing engineers.

Employment Outlook
E m ploym ent of ele c tric a l en g i­
neers is expected to increase about as
fast as average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Although in­
creased dem and for com puters, com ­
m unications, and military electronics

350

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

op wage and salary adm inistration
systems and job evaluation programs.
Because the work is closely related,
many industrial engineers move into
m anagem ent positions.

Places of Employment

Electrical engineer developing specialized electrical equipment.

is expected to be the m ajor contribu­
tor to this growth, dem and for elec­
tr ic a l a n d e le c tr o n ic c o n s u m e r
goods, along with increased research
and d evelopm ent in new types of
power generation, should create ad­
ditional jobs. Many electrical engi­
neers also will be needed to replace
personnel who retire, die, or transfer
to other fields of work.
The long-range outlook for electri­
cal engineers is based on the assum p­
tion th a t defense spending in the
m id -1 9 8 0 ’s will increase from the
1976 level, but will still be som ewhat
lower than the peak level of the late
1960’s. If defense activity is higher or
lower than the projected level, the
demand for electrical engineers will
be higher or lower than now expect­
ed.
(See introductory part of this sec­
tion for inform ation on training re­
quirem ents and earnings. See also
statem ent on electronics m anufac­
turing elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Sources of Additional
Information
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers/United States Activities Board,
2029 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
20006.



INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERS

A b o u t 200,0 0 0 in d u strial e n g i­
neers were employed in 1976; more
than two-thirds worked in m anufac­
turing industries. Because their skills
can be used in alm ost any type of
company, they are m ore widely dis­
tributed am ong industries than are
those in other branches of engineer­
ing. For example, some work for in­
surance companies, banks, construc­
tion and mining firm s, and public
utilities. H ospitals, retail organiza­
tions, and other large business firms
em ploy industrial engineers to im ­
prove operating efficiency. Still o th ­
ers work for governm ent agencies
and colleges and universities. A few
are in d e p e n d e n t co n su ltin g e n g i­
neers.

(D.O.T. 012.081, .168, and .188)

Employment Outlook
Nature of the Work
Industrial engineers determ ine the
most effective ways for an organiza­
tion to use the basic factors of p ro ­
duction— people, machines, and m a­
terials. They are m ore co n cern ed
with people and m ethods of business
organization than are engineers in
other specialties who generally are
c o n c e rn e d m ore w ith p a r tic u la r
products or processes, such as m et­
als, power, or mechanics.
To solve organizational, pro d u c­
tion, and related problem s most effi­
ciently, industrial engineers design
data processing systems and apply
m athem atical concepts (operations
research techniques). They also d e­
velop m anagem ent control systems
to aid in financial planning and cost
analysis, design production planning
and control systems to coordinate a c ­
tivities and control product quality,
and design or im prove systems for
the physical distribution of goods and
services. Industrial engineers also
c o n d u c t p la n t lo c a tio n su rv e y s,
where they look for the best com bi­
nation of sources of raw m aterials,
transportation, and taxes, and devel­

E m ploym ent o f in d u strial en g i­
neers is expected to grow faster than
th e a v e ra g e fo r all o c c u p a tio n s
through the m id-1980’s. The increas­
ing com plexity of industrial o p era­
tions and the expansion of autom ated
p r o c e s s e s , a lo n g w ith in d u s try
growth, are factors contributing to
em ploym ent growth. Increased re c­
ognition of the im portance of scien­
tific m anagem ent and safety engi­
n e e rin g in re d u c in g c o s ts a n d
increasing productivity, and the need
to solve en vironm ental problem s,
should create additional opportuni­
ties.
Additional num bers of industrial
engineers will be required each year
to replace those who retire, die, or
transfer to other occupations. (See
introductory part of this section for
information on training requirem ents
and earnings.)

Sources of Additional
Information
American Institute of Industrial Engineers,
Inc., 25 Technology Park/Atlanta, Norcross, Ga. 30092.

ENGINEERS

351

Employment Outlook
Employment of m echanical engi­
neers is expected to increase about as
fast as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. The growing
demand for industrial m achinery and
m achine tools and the increasing
com plexity of industrial m achinery
and processes will be major factors
supporting increased em ploym ent
opportunities. M echanical engineers
will be needed to develop new energy
systems and to help solve environ­
mental pollution problems.
Large numbers of m echanical en­
gineers also will be required each
year to replace those who retire, die,
or tran sfer to o th e r occu p atio n s.
(See introductory part of this section
for information on training require­
ments and earnings. See also state­
ment on occupations in the atomic
energy field elsewhere in the Hand­
book.)

Sources of Additional
Information

Industrial engineer reviewing film of production process to check for problems.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 007.081, .151, .168, and
.187)

Nature of the Work
M ech an ical en g in eers are c o n ­
cerned with the production, trans­
mission, and use of power. They de­
sign and develop pow er-producing
machines such as internal com bus­
tion engines, steam and gas turbines,
and jet and rocket engines. They also
design and develop power-using m a­
chines such as refrigeration and airconditioning equipm ent, elevators,
machine tools, printing presses, and
steel rolling mills.
The work of m echanical engineers
varies by industry and function since
many specialties have developed
within the field. Specialties included
are m otor vehicles, m arine equip­

m ent, energy conversion system s,


heating, ventilating and air-condi­
tioning, in stru m en tatio n , and m a­
chines fo r sp ecialized in d u stries,
such as petroleum , rubber and plas­
tics, and construction.
Large num bers of m echanical en ­
gineers do research, test, and design
work. M any are adm inistrators or
managers, while others work in m ain­
tenance, technical sales, and produc­
tion operations. Some teach in col­
leges and universities or work as
consultants.

Places of Employment
About 200,000 m echanical engi­
neers were em ployed in 1976. A l­
most three-fourths were employed in
m anufacturing—mainly in the prim a­
ry and fabricated metals, machinery,
transportation equipm ent, and elec­
trical equipm ent industries. O thers
w orked for go v ern m en t agencies,
educational institutions, and consult­
ing engineering firms.

The American Society o f Mechanical Engi­
neers, 345 E. 47th St., New York, N.Y.
10017.

METALLURGICAL
ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 01 1.081)

Nature of the Work
Metallurgical engineers develop
methods to process and convert m et­
als into useful p roducts. M ost of
these engineers generally work in
one of the three main branches of
m etallurgy—extractive or chemical,
physical, and m echanical. Extractive
metallurgists are concerned with ex­
tracting metals from ores, and refin­
ing and alloying them to obtain use­
ful metal. Physical metallurgists deal
with the nature, structure, and phys­
ical properties of m etals and their
alloys, and with m ethods of convert­
ing refined metals into final products.
M ech an ical m etallurgists develop
methods to work and shape metals

352

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

MINING ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 010.081 and .187)

Nature of the Work

Metallurgical engineers study the physical properties of metal.

such as casting, forging, rolling, and
drawing. Scientists working in this
field are known as metallurgists or
materials scientists, but the distinc­
tion between scientists and engineers
in this field is small.

working industries to develop new
metals and alloys as well as to adapt
current ones to new needs. For ex­
ample, com m unications equipm ent,
com puters, and spacecraft require
lightweight metals of high purity. As
the supply of high-grade ores dim in­
ishes, m ore m etallurgical engineers
will be required to develop new ways
of recycling solid waste materials in
addition to processing low-grade ores
now re g a rd e d as u n p ro fita b le to
mine. M etallurgical engineers also
will be needed to solve problems as­
sociated with the efficient use of n u ­
clear energy. (See introductory part
of this section for inform ation on
training requirem ents and earnings.
Also see statem ent on the iron and
steel industry elsewhere in the Hand­
book.)

Places of Employment
The m etalworking industries—pri­
marily the iron and steel and nonferrous m etals in d u stries — em ployed
o v e r o n e - h a lf o f th e e s tim a te d
17,000 m etallurgical and m aterials
engineers in 1976. Metallurgical en­
gineers also work in industries that
m an u factu re m achinery, electrical
equipm ent, and aircraft and parts,
and in the mining industry. Some
work for governm ent agencies and
colleges and universities.

Employment Outlook
Employment of metallurgical and
materials engineers is expected to
grow faster than the average for all
occupations through the m id-1980’s.
An increasing num ber o f these engi­
 needed by the m etal­
neers will be


.

Sources of Additional
Information

The Metallurgical Society of the American
Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Pe­
troleum Engineers, 345 E. 47th St., New
York, N.Y. 10017.
American Society for Metals, Metals Park,
Ohio 44073.

Mining engineers find, extract, and
prepare minerals for m anufacturing
industries to use. They design the
layouts of open pit and underground
mines, supervise the construction of
mine shafts and tunnels in u n d er­
ground operations, and devise m eth­
ods for transporting minerals to p ro ­
cessing plants. Mining engineers are
responsible for the econom ic and ef­
ficient operation of mines and mine
safety, including ventilation, w ater
supply, power, com m unications, and
equipm ent m aintenance. Some m in­
ing engineers work with geologists
and metallurgical engineers to locate
and appraise new ore deposits. O th ­
ers develop new mining equipm ent
or direct mineral processing o p era­
tions, which involve separating m in­
erals from the dirt, rocks, and other
m aterials they are mixed with. M in­
ing engineers frequently specialize in
the mining of one specific mineral
such as coal or copper.
With increased emphasis on p ro ­
tecting the environm ent, many m in­
ing engineers have been working to
solve problem s related to mined-land
reclam ation and water and air pollu­
tion.

Places of Employment
A b o u t 6 ,000 m ining en g in e e rs
were employed in 1976. Most work
in the mining industry. Some work
for firms that produce equipm ent for
the m ining industry, while o th ers
work in colleges and universities, in
governm ent agencies, or as indepen­
dent consultants.
Mining engineers are usually em ­
ployed at the location of mineral d e­
posits, often near small com m unities.
However, those in research, teach ­
ing, m anagem ent, consulting, or sales
often are located in large m etropoli­
tan areas.

Employment Outlook
Employment of mining engineers
is expected to increase faster than

353

ENGINEERS

PETROLEUM ENGINEERS
(D.O.T. 010.081)

Nature of the Work
Petroleum engineers are mainly in­
volved in exploring and drilling for
and p ro d u cin g oil and gas. They
work to achieve the maximum profit­
able recovery of oil and gas from a
petroleum reservoir by determ ining
and developing the best and most ef­
ficient production methods.
Since only a small proportion of
the oil and gas in a reservoir will flow
out under natural forces, petroleum
engineers develop and use various ar­
tificial recovery m ethods such as
flooding the oil field with water to
force the oil to the surface. Even
when using the best recovery m eth­
ods, about half the oil is still left in
the ground. Petroleum engineers’ re­
search and developm ent efforts to in­
crease the proportion of oil recov­
ered in each reservoir can make a
significant contribution to increasing
available energy resources.

Places of Employment

Mining engineers are responsible for the efficient operation of mines and mine safety.

the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Efforts to
attain energy self-sufficiency should
spur the dem and for coal, and there­
fore for mining engineers in the coal
industry. The increase in dem and for
coal will depend, to a great extent, on
the availability and price of other do­
mestic energy sources such as petro­
leum, natural gas, and nuclear ener­
gy. More technologically advanced
mining systems and further enforce­
ment of mine health and safety regu­
lations also will increase the need for
mining engineers. In addition, explo­
ration for all other minerals is also
increasing. Easily mined deposits are
being depleted, creating a need for
engineers to devise m ore efficient
methods for mining low-grade ores.
Employment
 opportunities also will


arise as new alloys and new uses for
metals increase the dem and for less
widely used ores. Recovery of metals
from the sea and the developm ent of
oil shale deposits could present m a­
jo r challenges to the mining engi­
neer. (See introductory part of this
section for inform ation on training
requirem ents and earnings. See also
statem ent on mining elsewhere in the
Handbook.)

Sources of Additional
Information
The Society of Mining Engineers of the Ameri­
can Institute of Mining, Metallurgical,
and Petroleum Engineers, 540 Arapeen
Dr.—Research Park, Salt Lake City, Utah
84108.

About 20,000 petroleum engineers
were employed in 1976, mostly in the
petroleum industry and closely allied
fields. Their employers include not
only the major oil companies, but
also the hundreds of smaller indepen­
dent oil exploration and production
companies. They also work for com ­
panies that produce drilling equip­
m ent and supplies. Some petroleum
engineers work in banks and other
fin an c ial in stitu tio n s w hich n eed
their knowledge of the economic val­
ue of oil and gas properties. A small
num ber work for engineering co n ­
sulting firms or as independent con­
sulting engineers, and for the Federal
and State governments.
The petroleum engineer’s work is
concentrated in places where oil and
gas are found. Almost three-fourths
of all petroleum engineers are em ­
ployed in the oil-producing States of
T exas, O klahom a, Louisiana, and
California. There are many A m eri­
can p etro leu m engineers w orking
overseas in oil-producing countries.

354

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Employment Outlook
The em ploym ent of petroleum en­
gineers is expected to grow faster
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Econom ic
expansion will re q u ire increasin g
supplies o f petroleum and natural
gas, even with energy conservation
measures. With efforts to attain en er­
gy self-sufficiency, and high p etro le­
um prices, increasingly sophisticated
and expensive recovery m ethods will
be used. Also, new sources of oil
such as oil shale and new offshore oil
sources may be developed. All of
these factors will contribute to in­
creasing dem and for petroleum engi­
neers. (See introductory part of this
section for inform ation on training
requirem ents and earnings.)

Sources of Additional
Information
Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME,
6200 North Central Expressway, Dallas,
Tex. 75206.

Petroleum engineers discuss problem with drilling supervisor.




ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS

E nvironm ental scientists help us
u n d e rsta n d o u r n a tu ra l e n v iro n ­
m ent—the earth, its atm osphere, and
the oceans. These scientists, som e­
times known as earth scientists, are
concerned with the history, com posi­
tio n , an d c h a ra c te ris tic s o f the
earth ’s surface, interior, and atm o­
sphere. Some do basic research to
increase scientific knowledge, while
others do applied research , using
know ledge gained from basic re ­
search to help solve practical prob­
lems. Geologists, for example, may
explore for new sources of oil and
other m inerals, while many m eteo­
rologists forecast the weather. Envi­
ronm ental scientists also play an im­
portant role in solving environm ental
pollution problem s. Many environ­
m ental scientists teach in colleges
and universities.
This chapter discusses four envi­
ronmental science occupations—ge­
ologists, geophysicists, m eteorolo­
gists, and oceanographers.

quakes. An im portant application of
geologists’ work is locating oil and
other minerals.
Geologists use many tools and in­
strum ents such as ham m ers, chisels,
levels, transits (m ounted telescopes
used to measure angles), gravity m e­
ters, cam eras, compasses, and seis­
m ographs (instrum ents that record
the intensity and duration of earth ­
quakes and ea rth trem o rs). They
may evaluate information from pho­
tographs taken from aircraft and sat­
ellites and use com puters to record
and analyze data.
Geologists also examine chemical
and physical properties of specimens
in laboratories under controlled tem ­
p eratu re and p ressure. They may
study fossil remains o f animal and

vegetable life or experim ent with the
flow of water and oil through rocks.
Laboratory equipm ent used by ge­
ologists includes com plex in s tru ­
ments such as the X-ray diffractom ­
eter, which determ ines the structure
of minerals, and the petrographic mi­
cro sco p e, used for close study of
rock formations.
B esides locating re so u rces and
working in laboratories, geologists
also are called on to advise construc­
tion com panies and governm ental
agencies on the suitability of certain
locations for constructing buildings,
dams, or highways. Some geologists
administer and manage research and
exploration programs. Others teach
and work on research projects in col­
leges and universities.
Geologists usually specialize in one
or a combination o f three general
a re a s—earth m aterials, earth p ro ­
cesses, and earth history.
Economic geologists locate earth
materials such as minerals and solid
fuels. Petroleum geologists search for
and recover oil and natural gas.
Some petroleum geologists work
near drilling sites and others corre-

GEOLOGISTS
(D.O.T. 024.081)

Nature of the Work
G eo lo g ists study th e s tru c tu re ,
c o m p o sitio n , and h isto ry o f the
earth ’s crust. By examining surface
rocks and drilling to recover rock
cores, they determ ine the types and
d istrib u tio n o f rocks ben eath the
e a rth ’s surface. They also identify
rocks and minerals, conduct geologi­
cal surveys, draw m aps, take m ea­
surements, and record data. Geologi­
cal research helps to determ ine the
structure and history of the earth and
may result in significant advances
such as the ability to predict earth­



Geologist examining surface rocks.
355

356

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

late petroleum related geologic infor­
mation for entire regions. Engineer­
ing geologists determ ine suitable sites
for the construction o f roads, air­
fields, tunnels, dams, and other struc­
tures. T hey d ecid e, fo r exam ple,
whether underground rocks will bear
the weight of a building or whether a
proposed stru ctu re may be in an
e a rth q u a k e -p ro n e a re a . M in era l­
ogists analyze and classify minerals
and p recio u s stones according to
co m p o sitio n and stru c tu re . G eo­
chemists study the chemical com po­
sition and changes in minerals and
rocks to understand the distribution
and m igration of elem ents in the
earth ’s crust.
Geologists concerned with earth
processes study land forms and their
rock masses, sedim entary deposits
(m atter deposited by water or wind)
and eruptive forces such as volca­
noes. Volcanologists study active and
inactive volcanoes, and lava flows
and other eruptive activity. Geomor­
phologists exam ine landform s and
those forces, such as erosion and gla­
ciation, which cause them to change.
O ther geologists are primarily con­
cerned with earth history. Paleontolo­
gists study plant and animal fossils to
trace the evolution and developm ent
of past life. Geochronologists deter­
mine the age of rocks and land forms
by the radioactive decay of their ele­
ments. Stratigraphers study the distri­
bution and arrangem ent of sedim en­
tary rock layers by examining their
fossil and mineral content.
Many geologists specialize in new
fields that require knowledge of an­
other science as well. Astrogeologists
study geological conditions on other
planets. Geological oceanographers
study the sedim entary and other rock
on the ocean floor and continental
shelf. (See statem ents on oceanogra­
phers and mining elsewhere in the
Handbook.)

Places of Employment
More than 34,000 people worked
as geologists in 1976. More than
three-fifths of all geologists work in
private industry. Most industrial ge­
ologists work for petroleum com pa­

nies. Geologists also work for mining


and quarrying companies. (See state­
ments on the mining and petroleum
industries elsew here in the H and­
book.) Some are employed by con­
struction firms. Others are indepen­
d e n t c o n su lta n ts to industry and
government.
The Federal G overnm ent employs
over 2,000 geologists. Two-thirds
work for the D epartm ent of the Inte­
rior in the U.S. Geological Survey,
the Bureau of Mines, and the Bureau
of Reclamation. State agencies also
employ geologists, some working on
surveys in cooperation with the U.S.
Geological Survey.
Colleges and universities employ
about 9,500 geologists. Some work
for nonprofit research institutions
and museums.
Em ployment of geologists is con­
centrated in those States with large
oil and m ineral deposits. Almost twothirds work in five States: Texas,
California, Louisiana, Colorado, and
O klahom a. Some are em ployed by
American firms overseas for varying
periods of time.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree in geology or
a related field is adequate for entry
into some geology jobs. An advanced
degree is helpful for promotion in
most types of work, and is essential
for college teaching and many re ­
search positions.
About 300 colleges and universi­
ties offer a bachelor’s degree in geol­
ogy. U ndergraduate students devote
about one-fourth of their time to ge­
ology courses, including physical,
s tru c tu ra l and h isto rical geology,
m ineralogy, petrology, and inverte­
brate paleontology, about one-third
of their time taking m athem atics, re ­
lated sciences—such as physics and
chem istry—and engineering; and the
rem ainder on general academic sub­
jects.
More than 160 universities award
advanced degrees in geology. G radu­
ate students take advanced courses
in geology and sp ecialize in one
branch of the science.
Students planning careers in explo­
ration geology should like the o u t­

doors, and must have physical stam ­
ina.
Geologists usually begin their ca­
reers in field exploration or as re­
sea rch assistan ts in la b o ra to rie s .
With experience, they can be p ro ­
m oted to project leader, program
m anager, or other m anagem ent and
research positions.

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities in geol­
ogy are expected to be good for those
with degrees in geology or in a relat­
ed science with courses in geology.
The em ploym ent of geologists is ex­
pected to grow faster than the aver­
age for all occupations through the
mid-1980’s. This growth will create
many new openings each year. Many
additional openings will be created
each year by geologists who retire,
die, or leave the occupation.
Increased prices for petroleum and
the necessity to locate new sources of
other minerals as older sources be­
com e exhausted will stim ulate d o ­
mestic exploration activities and re­
quire m any ad d itio n al geologists.
A dditional geologists also will be
needed to discover new resources
and their potential uses. For exam ­
ple, geologists will help determ ine
the feasibility of using geotherm al
energy (steam from the ea rth ’s interi­
or) to generate electricity. Geologists
are needed to devise techniques for
exploring deeper within the ea rth ’s
crust and to develop more efficient
methods of mining resources. They
also are needed to develop adequate
w ater supplies and waste disposal
m ethods, and to do site evaluation
for construction activities.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Geologists have relatively high
salaries, with average earnings over
twice those of nonsupervisory w ork­
ers in private industry, except farm ­
ing.
According to a survey done by the
College Placem ent C ouncil, in early
1977 graduates with bachelor’s d e­
grees in other physical and earth sci­
ences received average starting of­
fers of $13,300 a year. G raduates

357

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS

with m aster’s degrees in geology and
related geological sciences received
average starting offers of $14,900
per year.
In the Federal G overnm ent in
1977, geologists having a bachelor’s
degree could begin at $9,303 or
$1 1,523 a year, depending on their
college records. Those having a mas­
te r’s degree could start at $1 1,523 or
$14,097 a year; those having the Ph.
D. degree at $17,056 or $20,442. In
1977, the average salary for geolo­
gists employed in the Federal Gov­
ernm ent was over $25,000 a year.
Conditions of work vary. Explora­
tion geologists often work overseas.
Geologists travel to remote sites by
helicopter and jeep, and cover large
areas by fo o t, o fte n w orking in
teams. Geologists in mining som e­
times work underground. When not
working outdoors, they are in com ­
fortable, well-lighted, well-ventilated
offices and laboratories.

Geophysicists usually specialize in
1 of 3 general phases of the science—
solid earth, fluid earth, and upper
atm osphere. Some may also study
other planets.
Solid earth geophysicists search for
oil and mineral deposits, map the
e a r th ’s su rfa ce, and study e a r th ­
quakes. Exploration geophysicists use
seismic prospecting techniques to lo­
cate oil and mineral deposits. They
send sound waves into the earth and
record the echoes bouncing off the
rock layers below to determ ine if
conditions are favorable for the ac­
cum ulation of oil.
Seismologists study the ea rth ’s in­
terior and earth vibrations caused by
ea rth q u ak es and m anm ade explo­
sions. They explore for oil and m iner­
als, study underground detection of
nuclear explosions, and provide in­

form ation for use in constru ctin g
bridges, dams, and buildings. For ex­
ample, in constructing a dam, seis­
mologists determ ine where bedrock
(so lid ro c k b e n e a th th e so il) is
closest to the surface so the best dam
site can be selected. They use explo­
sives o r o th e r m ethods to c reate
sound waves that reflect off bedrock;
the time it takes for the shock wave
to return to the surface indicates the
depth of bedrock. Seismologists also
seek to understand the causes of
earth q u ak es so th at one day they
might be predicted.
Geodesists study the size, shape,
and gravitational field of the earth
and o th er planets. T heir principal
task is precise m easurem ent of the
ea rth ’s surface. With the aid of satel­
lites, geodesists determ ine the posi­
tions, elevations, and distances be-

Sources of Additional
Information
General information on training
and career opportunities for geolo­
gists is available from:
American Geological Institute, 5205 Leesburg
Pike, Falls Church, Va. 22041.

For information on Federal Gov­
ernm ent careers, contact:
Interagency Board of U.S. Civil Service Exam­
iners for Washington, D.C., 1900 E St.
NW„ Washington, D.C. 20415.

GEOPHYSICISTS
(D.O.T. 024.081)

Nature of the Work
Geophysicists study the com posi­
tion and physical aspects of the earth
and its electric, magnetic, and gravi­
tatio n al fields. G eo p hysicists use
highly complex instrum ents such as
the m agnetom eter which m easures
variations in the e a rth ’s m agnetic
field, and the gravim eter which m ea­
sures m inute variations in gravita­
tional attraction. They often use sat­
ellites to conduct tests from outer
space and com puters to collect and

analyze data.


Some geophysicists work in research laboratories.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

358

tw e e n p o in ts on th e e a r th , an d
m easure the intensity and direction
o f gravitational attraction.
Hydrologists are concerned with
the fluid earth. They may study the
distribution, circulation, and physical
properties of underground and sur­
face w aters, including glaciers, snow,
and perm afrost. They also may study
rainfall and its rate o f infiltration into
soil. Some are concerned with w ater
supplies, irrig atio n , flood co n tro l,
and soil erosion. (See statem ent on
o ce an o g rap h ers, som etim es classi­
fied as geophysical scientists, else­
where in the Handbook.)
Geophysicists also study the atm o­
sphere, investigate the e a rth ’s m ag­
netic and electric fields, and com ­
pare its o u ter atm osphere with those
o f o th e r planets. G eom agneticians
stu d y th e e a r th ’s m ag n etic field.
Paleomagneticians learn about past
m agnetic fields from rocks o r lava
flows. Planetologists study the com ­
p o s itio n an d a tm o s p h e re o f th e
m oon, planets, and o th er bodies in
the solar system. They gather data
from geophysical instrum ents placed
on in terp lan etary space probes o r
from equipm ent used by astronauts
during the Apollo missions. M eteo­
rologists som etim es are classified as
geophysical scientists. (S ee s ta te ­
m ent on m eteorologists elsew here in
the Handbook.)

Places of Employment
A bout 12,000 people worked as
geophysicists in 1976. M ost work in
private industry, chiefly for p etrole­
um and natural gas com panies. (See
statem ent on the mining and p etrole­
um industry elsewhere in the Hand­
book.) O thers are in mining com pa­
n ies, e x p lo ra tio n an d c o n su ltin g
firms, and research institutes. A few
a re in d e p e n d e n t c o n s u lta n ts and
some do geophysical prospecting on
a fee o r co ntract basis.
Geophysicists are em ployed in
many southw estern and western
States, and in those on the G ulf
Coast, where large oil and natural gas
fields are located. Som e geophysi­
cists are em p lo y ed by A m eric an
firms overseas for varying periods o f
time.



A lm ost 2,300 geophysicists, g e­
odesists, and hydrologists worked for
F e d e ra l G o v e rn m e n t ag en cies in
1976, m ainly the U.S. G eological
Survey; the N ational O ceanic and
A tm o s p h e ric A d m in is tr a tio n
(N O A A ); and the Defense D epart­
ment. O ther geophysicists work for
colleges and universities, State gov­
ernm ents, and nonprofit research in­
stitutions.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree in geophysics
o r a geophysical specialty is suffi­
cient for most beginning jobs in geo­
physics. A bachelor’s degree in a re ­
lated field o f science o r engineering
also is adequate preparation, provid­
ed the person has courses in geophys­
ics, physics, geology, m athem atics,
chemistry, and engineering.
Geophysicists doing research o r
supervising exploration activities
should have graduate training in geo­
physics or a related science. Those
planning to teach in colleges or do
basic research should acquire a Ph.
D. degree.
About 50 colleges and universities
award the bachelor’s degree in geo­
physics. O th e r p rogram s offering
training for beginning geophysicists
include geophysical technology, geo­
physical engineering, engineering geology, petroleum geology, and geod­
esy.
M ore than 60 universities grant the
m aster’s and Ph. D. degree in geo­
physics. C andidates with a bachelor’s
degree which includes courses in ge­
ology, m athem atics, physics, engi­
neering, or a com bination o f these
subjects can be adm itted.
Geophysicists often work as part o f
a team. They should be curious, an a­
lytical, and able to com m unicate ef­
fectively.
Most new geophysicists begin their
careers doing field m apping o r explo­
ration. Some assist senior geophysi­
cists in research laboratories. W ith
ex p e rien ce , geophysicists can a d ­
vance to jobs such as project leader
o r program m anager, or other m an­
agem ent and research jobs.

Employment Outlook
Em ploym ent opportunities are ex­
pected to be very good for graduates
with a degree in geophysics or a re­
lated field, though few openings are
expected. Nevertheless, the num ber
o f people qualified to enter the field
may fall short o f requirem ents if p re­
sent trends in the num ber obtaining
geophysics training continue.
Em ployment o f geophysicists is ex­
pected to grow faster than the aver­
age for all occupations through the
m id-1980’s. As know n deposits of
petroleum and other minerals are de­
pleted, petroleum and mining com ­
panies over the next decade will need
increasing num bers o f geophysicists
who can use sophisticated electronic
techniques to find less acessible fuel
and mineral deposits.
In addition, geophysicists with ad­
vanced training will be needed to do
research on radioactivity and cosmic
and solar radiation and to investigate
the use of geotherm al power (steam
from the ea rth ’s interior) as a source
o f energy to generate electricity.
Federal agencies are expected to
hire m ore geophysicists for new and
expanding programs. Through the
m id-1980’s, jobs will depend heavily
on funds for research and develop­
m ent in earth sciences as the G overn­
m ent su p p o rts energy research in
b o th e sta b lish e d an d a lte rn a tiv e
sources. The Governm ent also may
fund research to locate more natural
resources and to prevent env iro n ­
mental dam age through better land
use.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Geophysicists have relatively high
salaries, with average earnings m ore
than twice those of nonsupervisory
workers in private industry, except
farming.
A ccording to a survey done by the
College Placem ent Council, in early
1977 graduates with bachelor’s d e­
grees in other physical and earth sci­
ences received average starting of­
fers o f $13,300 a year. G raduates
with m aster’s degrees in geology and
related geological sciences received
average starting offers o f $14,900
per year.

359

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS

In the Federal G overnm ent in
1977, geophysicists having a bache­
lo r’s degree could begin at $9,303 or
$11,523 a year, depending on their
college records. G eophysicists hav­
ing a m aster’s degree could start at
$11,523 o r $14,841 a year; those
having a Ph. D. degree, at $17,056 or
$20,442. In 1977, the average salary
for geophysicists em ployed by the
F e d e ra l G o v e rn m e n t w as a b o u t
$24,500 a year.
Many geophysicists work outdoors
and m ust be willing to travel for
extended periods of time. Some work
at research stations in rem ote areas,
or aboard ships and aircraft equipped
with sophisticated geophysical equip­
m ent. W hen not in the field, geo­
ph y sicists w ork in m o d ern , wellequipped, well-lighted laboratories
and offices.

Sources of Additional
Information
G eneral inform ation on career op­
portunities, training, and earnings for
geophysicists is available from:

areas not directly related to w eather
forecasting such as understanding
and solving air pollution problem s
and studying trends in the e a rth ’s cli­
m ate.
M eteorologists who specialize in
forecasting the w eather, known p ro ­
fessionally as synoptic meteorologists,
are the largest group o f specialists.
They study current w eather inform a­
tion, such as air pressure, tem pera­
ture, humidity, and wind velocity, in
order to m ake short-range and longrange predictions. Their data com e
from w eather satellites and observers
in many parts o f the world. Although
som e forecasters still prepare and
analyze w eath er m aps, m ost d a ta
now are p lo tte d and analyzed by
com puters.
Some m eteorologists are engaged
in basic and applied research. For
e x a m p le , p h ysica l m eteo ro lo g ists
study the chem ical and electrical
properties o f the atm osphere. They
do research on the effect of the a t­
m osphere on transm ission o f light,
sound, and radio waves, as well as

study factors affecting formation of
clouds, rain, snow, and other w eather
phenom ena. O ther m eteorologists,
known as clim atologists, study cli­
matic trends and analyze past rec­
ords on wind, rainfall, sunshine, and
tem perature to determ ine the gener­
al pattern of w eather that makes up
an area’s climate. These studies are
useful in planning heating and cool­
ing systems, designing buildings, and
aiding in effective land utilization.
O ther m eteorologists apply their
knowledge in the study of the rela­
tionship between w eather and specif­
ic hum an activities, biological p ro c­
esses, and agricultural and industrial
operations. For example, they may
make w eather forecasts for individ­
ual companies, or may work on p ro b ­
lems such as smoke control and air
pollution abatem ent.
About one-third of all civilian m et­
eorologists work primarily in w eather
forecasting, and another one-third
work in research and development.
Almost one-fifth of all civilian me-

American Geophysical Union, 1909 K St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20006.
Society of Exploration Geophysicists, P.O.
Box 3098, Tulsa, Okla. 74101.

For inform ation on Federal Gov­
ernm ent careers, contact:
Interagency Board of U.S. Civil Service Exam­
iners for Washington, D.C., 1900 E St.,
NW., Washington, D.C. 20415.

METEOROLOGISTS
(D.O.T. 025.088)

Nature of the Work
M eteorology is the study o f the a t­
m osphere, which is the air that sur­
rounds the earth. M eteorologists d e­
scrib e an d try to u n d e rsta n d the
a tm o sp h e re ’s physical ch a rac te ris­
tics, m otions, and processes, and d e­
term ine the way the behavior o f the
atm osphere affects the rest o f our
p h y sic a l e n v iro n m e n t. T h e b e st
known application o f this knowledge
is in understanding and forecasting
th e w e a th e r. M e te o ro lo g ic a l r e ­
search is also applied in many other




Meteorologist sending weather balloon aloft.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

360

teorologists are in administrative or
managem ent positions.
Some m eteorologists teach or do
r e s e a r c h — fre q u e n tly co m b in in g
both activities—in colleges and uni­
versities. In colleges without separate
d ep artm en ts of m eteorology, they
may teach geography, m athem atics,
physics, chem istry, or geology, as
well as meteorology.

Places of Employment
About 5,500 persons worked as
meteorologists in 1976. In addition to
these civilian m eteorologists, thou­
sands o f m em bers o f the A rm ed
Forces did forecasting and other m e­
teorological work.
The largest em ployer of civilian
meteorologists was the National O ce­
anic and A tm ospheric A dm inistra­
tion (N O A A ), w here over 1,800
worked at stations in all parts of the
United States and in a small num ber
of foreign areas. The D epartm ent of
Defense employed over 200 civilian
meteorologists.
Almost
2,000
m eteorologists
worked for private industry. C om ­
m ercial airlines em ployed several
hundred to forecast w eather along
flight routes and to brief pilots on
a tm o s p h e ric c o n d itio n s . O th e rs
worked for private w eather consult­
ing firms, for com panies that design
and m anufacture meteorological in­
stru m en ts, and for firm s in a e ro ­
space, insurance, engineering, utili­
ties, radio and television, and other
industries.
C o lle g e s and u n iv e rsitie s e m ­
ployed over 1,300 meteorologists in
research and teaching. A few worked
for State and local governments and
for nonprofit organizations.
Although meteorologists work in
all parts o f the country, nearly onefifth live in just two States—C alifor­
nia and Maryland. Almost one-tenth
o f all m eteorologists work in the
W ashington, D.C. area.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree with a major
in meteorology is the usual minimum
requirem ent for beginning jobs in
weather forecasting. However, a
bachelor’s degree in a related science



or engineering, along with some
courses in m eteorology, is acceptable
for some jobs. For example, the Fed­
eral G overnm ent’s minimum require­
ment for beginning jobs is a bache­
lor’s degree with at least 20 sem ester
hours of study in m eteorology and
courses in physics and m athem atics,
including calculus. H ow ever, e m ­
ployers prefer to hire those with an
advanced degree, and an advanced
degree is increasingly necessary for
advancem ent.
For research and college teaching
and for many top-level positions in
other m eteorological activities, an
advanced degree, preferably in m ete­
orology, is essential. However, p eo ­
ple with graduate degrees in other
sciences also may qualify if they have
advanced courses in m eteorology,
physics, m athem atics, and chemistry.
In 1976, 44 colleges and universi­
ties offered a b ach elo r’s degree in
meteorology or atm ospheric science;
59 schools offered advanced degrees.
Many other institutions offered some
courses in meteorology.
The Arm ed Services give and sup­
port m eteorological training, both
undergraduate education for enlisted
personnel and advanced study for of­
ficers.
NOAA has a program under which
some of its meteorologists attend col­
lege fo r ad v an ced o r specialized
training. College students can obtain
summer jobs with this agency or en ­
roll in its cooperative education pro­
gram in which they work at NOAA
part of the year and attend school
part of the year. In addition to help­
ing students finance their education,
this program gives them experience
valuable for finding a job when they
graduate.
Beginning meteorologists often
start in jobs involving routine data
collection, com putation, or analysis.
Experienced m eteorologists may ad ­
vance in academ ic rank or to various
supervisory or administrative jobs. A
few very well qualified m eteorolo­
gists with a background in science,
engineering, and business adm inis­
tra tio n m ay e sta b lish th e ir ow n
weather consulting services.

Employment Outlook
Job opportunities for m eteorolo­
gists should be favorable through the
m id-1980’s. Although the num ber of
openings created by growth in the
occupation and replacem ent needs is
not expected to be large, the num ber
of persons obtaining degrees in m ete­
orology also is small. If trends in the
num ber of degrees granted continue,
the num ber of people seeking entry
to the field will about equal require­
ments.
Employment in the field, as a
whole, is expected to increase about
as fast as the average for all occupa­
tions. Employment o f m eteorologists
in industry and in w eather consulting
firms is expected to grow as private
industry realizes the im portance of
m eteorology to understanding and
preventing air pollution. Many com ­
panies are also recognizing the value
of having their own w eather forecast­
ing and m e te o ro lo g ic a l se rv ic e s
which can be tailored to fit th eir
needs. T here also should be some
openings in radio and television as
stations increasingly rely on th eir
own m eteorologists to prepare and
deliver their weather reports. Colleg­
es and universities will offer some job
oppo rtu n ities, especially for those
with advanced degrees. The em ploy­
m ent of civilian m eteorologists by
the Federal G overnm ent is not ex­
p e c te d to grow sig n ifican tly , a l­
though there will be openings creat­
ed by replacem ent needs.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Meteorologists have relatively high
earnings; their salaries are about
twice the average for nonsupervisory
workers in private industry, except
farming.
In 1977, meteorologists in the Fed­
eral G overnm ent with a b achelo r’s
degree and no experience received
starting salaries of $9,303 or $ 11,523
a year, depending on their college
grades. Those with a m aster’s degree
could start at $1 1,523 or $14,097,
and those with the Ph. D. degree at
$17,056 or $20,442. The average sal­
ary for m eteorologists em ployed by

361

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS

th e F e d e r a l G o v e r n m e n t w as
$24,500 in 1977.
Airline m eteorologists’ salaries
ranged from about $16,000 to
$24,000 a year in 1976, depending
on experience. (See Statem ent on
O ccupations in Civil Aviation else­
where in the Handbook.)
Jobs in w eather stations, which are
operated around the clock 7 days a
week, often involve nightwork and
rotating shifts. M ost stations are at
airports or in or near cities; some are
in isolated and rem ote areas. M eteo­
rologists in sm aller w eather stations
generally work alone; in larger ones,
they work as part o f a team .

Sources of Additional
information
G eneral inform ation on career op­
portunities in m eteorology is avail­
able from:
American Meteorological Society, 45 Beacon
St., Boston, Mass. 02108.
American Geophysical Union, 1909 K St.
N W , Washington, D.C. 20006.

For facts about jo b opportunities
with the NOAA N ational W eather
Service and its student cooperative
education program , contact:
Personnel Operations Branch, AD 41, Nation­
al Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra­
tion, 6001 Executive Blvd., Rockville,
Md. 20852.

OCEANOGRAPHERS
(D.O.T. 024.081 and 041.081)

Nature of the Work
O c e a n s c o v e r m o re th a n tw othirds o f the e a rth ’s surface and are a
source o f valuable foods, fossil fuels,
and minerals. They also influence the
w eather, serve as a “ highway” for
transportation, and offer many kinds
o f recreatio n . O ceanographers use
th e p rin c ip le s an d te c h n iq u e s o f
natural science, m athem atics, and
engineering to study oceans—their
m ovem ents, physical properties, and
plant and animal life. T heir research
n o t only ex ten d s b asic scien tific
know ledge, but also helps develop




p ra c tic a l m ethods for fo recastin g
w eather, developing fisheries, mining
ocean resources, and improving n a­
tional defense.
Most oceanographers test their
ideas about the ocean by m aking
observations and conducting experi­
m ents at sea. They may study and
collect d ata on ocean tides, currents,
and o th e r phenom ena. They may
study undersea m ountain ranges and
valleys, oceanic interactions with the
atm osphere, and layers o f sedim ent
on and beneath the ocean floor.
M any oceanographers work p ri­
marily in laboratories on land where,
for example, they m easure, dissect,
and photograph fish. They also study
sea specim ens and plankton (floating
m icro sco p ic p lants and anim als).
M uch o f their work entails identify­
ing, cataloging, and analyzing differ­
ent kinds of sea life and minerals. At
o th er laboratories, oceanographers
plot maps or use com puters to test
theories about the ocean. For exam ­
ple, they may study and test the th e­
ory of continental drift, which states
that the continents were once joined
together, have drifted to new posi­
tions, and continue to drift, causing
the sea floor to spread in places. To
present the results of their studies,
oceanographers prepare charts, ta ­
bulations, and reports, and write p a­
pers for scientific journals.
O ceanographers explore and study
the ocean with surface ships, aircraft,
a n d v a rio u s ty p e s o f u n d e r w a te r
craft. They use specialized in stru ­
m ents to m easure and record the
findings o f th eir explorations and
studies. Special cam eras equipped
with strong lights are used to photo­
graph m arine life and th e o ce an
floor. Sounding devices are used to
m easure, map, and locate ocean m a­
terials.
Most oceanographers specialize in
one branch of the science. Biological
oceanographers (m arine biologists)
study plant and animal life in the
ocean . T he biological o ce a n o g ra ­
p h er’s research has practical applica­
tions in im proving and controlling
com m ercial and sport fishing and in
determ ining the effects of pollution
on m arine life. Physical oceanogra­
phers (physicists and geophysicists)
study the physical properties of the

ocean. T heir research on the rela­
tionships between the sea and the at­
m osphere may lead to more accurate
prediction of the weather. Geological
oceanographers (m arine geologists)
study the ocean ’s underw ater m oun­
tain ranges, rocks, and sedim ents.
Locating regions where minerals, oil,
and gas might be found under the
ocean floor is an application of their
work. Chemical oceanographers in­
vestigate the chemical com position
o f ocean w ater and sediments as well
as chem ical reactio n s in the sea.
Oceanographic engineers and elec­
tronic specialists design and build in­
stru m e n ts fo r o c e a n o g ra p h ic re ­
search and operations. They also lay
ca b le s and su pervise u n d erw ater
construction.
Many other scientists also work on
problem s related to oceans, but are
counted in other scientific fields such
as biology, chemistry, or geology.

Places of Employment
A bout 2,700 persons worked as
oceanographers in 1976. About onehalf worked in colleges and universi­
ties, and m ore than one-fourth for
th e F ed eral G overnm ent. F ederal
agencies employing substantial num ­
bers of oceanographers include the
Navy and the National Oceanic and
A tm o s p h e ric A d m in is tr a tio n
(N O A A ). Som e o c e a n o g ra p h e rs
work in private industry; a few work
for fishery laboratories of State and
local governments.
Most oceanographers work in
States th at border on the ocean, al­
though there are some oceanogra­
p h e rs e m p lo y ed in alm o st every
State. F our out of 10 oceanographers
work in just three States—California,
M aryland, and Virginia.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The m inimum requirem ent for be­
ginning professional jobs in oceanog­
raphy is a bachelor’s degree with a
m ajo r in o ce an o g ra p h y , biology,
earth o r physical sciences, m athe­
m atics, or engineering. H ow ever,
most jobs in research, teaching, and
high-level positions in m ost o th er
types o f oceanographic work require
graduate training in oceanography or

362

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

with techniques used to obtain
oceanographic information. Univer­
sities having oceanographic research
facilities along our coasts offer sum ­
mer courses for both graduate and
undergraduate students. O ceanogra­
phers should have the curiosity need­
ed to do research and the patience to
c o llec t d ata and co n d u c t e x p e ri­
ments.
Beginning oceanographers with
the bachelor’s degree usually start as
research or laboratory assistants, or
in jobs involving routine data collec­
tion, com putation, or analysis. Most
beginning o cean o g rap h ers receive
on-the-job training. The extent of the
training varies with the background
and needs of the individual.
Experienced oceanographers often
direct surveys and research programs
or advance to administrative or su­
pervisory jobs in research laborato­
ries.

Employment Outlook

Four out of ten oceanographers work in just three States— California, Maryland, and
Virginia.

a basic science, and a doctoral d e­
gree is often preferred or required
for many oceanography positions.
About 35 colleges and universities
offered undergraduate degrees in
oceanography or marine sciences in
1976. However, undergraduate train­
ing in a basic science and a strong
interest in oceanography may be ade­
quate p reparation for some begin­
ning jobs and is the preferred back­
g ro u n d fo r g ra d u a te tra in in g in
oceanography.
College courses needed to prepare
for graduate study in oceanography
include m athem atics, physics, chem ­
istry, geophysics, geology, m eteorol­



ogy, and biology. In general, students
should specialize in the particular
science that is closest to their area of
oceanographic interest. For example,
s tu d e n ts in te re s te d in c h e m ic a l
oceanography could obtain a degree
in chemistry.
In 1976, about 65 colleges offered
advanced degrees in oceanography
and marine sciences. In graduate
schools, students take advanced
courses in oceanography and in basic
sciences.
G raduate students usually work
part of the time aboard ship, where
they do oceanographic research and
become familiar with the sea and

Persons seeking jobs in oceanogra­
phy may face com petition through
the m id-1980’s. Those with a Ph. D.
degree should have more favorable
em ploym ent opportunities than o th ­
ers, while those with less education
may find o p p o rtu n ities lim ited to
routine analytical work as research
assistants or tech n ician s. Persons
who com bine knowledge of other sci­
entific or engineering fields with
oceanographic studies should have
b etter em ploym ent prospects than
others whose knowledge is limited to
oceanography.
Employment of oceanographers is
expected to grow about as fast as the
average for all occupations. This
growth will result from increased
awareness of the need for ocean re­
search for understanding and co n ­
trolling pollution, for recovering off­
shore oil and other natural resources,
and for national defense. However,
growth in em ploym ent may not be
rapid enough to create enough open­
ings for all those expected to seek
entry into this relatively small field.
Since the Federal G overnm ent fi­
n a n c e s m o st o c e a n o g ra p h ic r e ­
search, a large increase in Federal
spending in oceanography could im­
prove em ploym ent prospects.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Oceanographers have relatively
high earnings. Their average salaries
were more than twice the average
received by nonsupervisory workers
in private industry, except farming.
In 1977, oceanographers in the
Federal G overnm ent with a bache­
lor’s degree received starting salaries
of $9,303 or $ 1 1,523 a year, depend­
ing on their college grades. Those
with a m aster’s degree could start at
$ 1 1,523 or $ 14,097; and those with a
Ph. D. degree at $ 17,056 or $20,442.
The average salary for experienced
oceanographers in the Federal Gov­
ernment in 1977 was about $23,800
a year.
Oceanographers in educational in­
stitutions generally receive the same
salaries as o ther faculty mem bers.
(See statem ent on College and Uni­




r
versity T eachers elsew here in the
Handbook.) In addition to regular
salaries, many earn extra incom e
from consulting, lecturing, and writ­
ing.
O c ean o g ra p h ers engaged in r e ­
search that requires sea voyages are
fre q u e n tly aw ay from hom e fo r
weeks or m onths at a time. Som e­
times they live and work in cram ped
quarters. People who like the sea and
oceanographic research often find
these voyages satisfying and do not
consider the time spent at sea a dis­
advantage of their work.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about careers in
oceanography, contact:
Dr. C. Schelske, Secretary, American Society
of Limnology and Oceanography, Great
Lakes Research Division, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109.

363

Federal G overnm ent career infor­
mation is available from any regional
office of the U.S. Civil Service C om ­
mission or from:
U.S. Civil Service Commission, Washington
Area Office, 1900 E St. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20415.

The booklet, Training and Careers
in Marine Science, is available for fif­
ty cents from:
International Oceanographic Foundation,
3979 Rickenbacker Causeway, Virginia
Key, Miami, Fla. 33149.

Som e in fo rm a tio n on o c e a n o ­
graphic specialties is available from
p ro fessio n al so cieties listed e lse ­
where in the ^Handbook. (See state­
ments on Geologists, Geophysicists,
Life Scientists, M eteorologists, and
Chemists.)

LIFE SCIENCE OCCUPATIONS

They usually report the results of
their research in scientific journals or
before scientific groups.
Som e biochem ists com bine r e ­
search with teaching in colleges and
universities. A few work in industrial
production and testing activities.

Places of Employment
Life scientists study living orga­
nisms and their life processes. They
are concerned with the origin and
preservation of life, from the largest
animal to the smallest living cell. The
num ber and variety of plants and ani­
mals is so large, and their processes
so varied and complex, that life sci­
entists usually work in one of the
three broad areas—agriculture, biol­
ogy, or medicine.
Life scientists teach, perform basic
research to expand knowledge of liv­
ing thing s, and apply know ledge
gained from research to the solution
o f practical problem s. New drugs,
special v arieties o f plants, and a
cleaner environm ent result from the
work of life scientists.
This chapter discusses life scien­
tists as a group. It also contains sepa­
rate statem ents on biochemists and
soil scientists.

velop chemical com pounds for pest
control.
More than 3 out of 4 biochemists
work in basic and applied research
activities. The distinction between
basic and applied research is often
one of degree and biochemists may
do both types. Most, however, are in
basic research. The few doing strictly
applied research use the results of
basic research to solve practical
problems. For example, knowledge
of how an organism forms a horm one
is used to synthesize and produce
horm ones on a mass scale.
Laboratory
research
involves
weighing, filtering, distilling, drying,
and culturing (growing m icroorga­
nisms). Some experim ents also re ­
quire the designing and constructing
of laboratory apparatus or the use of
radioactive tracers. Biochemists use
a variety of instrum ents, including
electron m icroscopes and centrifug­
es, and they may devise new instru­
m ents and tech n iq u e s as needed.

BIOCHEMISTS
(D.O.T. 041.081)

Nature of the Work
B iochem ists study the chem ical
composition and behavior of living
things. Since life is based on complex
ch em ical co m b in atio n s and re a c ­
tions, the work of biochemists is vital
for an understanding of rep ro d u c­
tion, growth, and heredity. Biochem ­
ists also may study the effects of
food, horm ones, or drugs on various
organisms.
The m ethods and techniques of
biochemistry are applied in areas
such as medicine, nutrition, and agri­
cu lture. F or instance, biochem ists
may investigate causes and cures for
diseases, identify the nutrients neces­
sary to m aintain good health, or de­
364



Many biochemists work in basic and ap­
plied research activities.

A bout 12,700 biochem ists were
em ployed in the U nited States in
1976. A bout one-half are em ployed
in colleges and universities; over onefourth work in private industry, pri­
marily in com panies m anufacturing
drugs, insecticides, and cosm etics;
some work for nonprofit research in­
stitutes and foundations; and others
for Federal, State, and local govern­
m ent agencies. M ost governm en t
biochemists do health and agricultur­
al research for Federal agencies. A
few self-em ployed biochem ists are
consultants to industry and govern­
ment.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The minimum educational require­
m ent for many beginning jobs as a
biochemist, especially in research or
teaching, is an advanced degree. A
Ph. D. degree is a virtual necessity
for persons who hope to contribute
significantly to biochem ical research
and advance to many m anagem ent
and administrative jobs. A bachelor’s
degree with a major in biochemistry
or chemistry, or with a major in biol­
ogy and a minor in chemistry, may
qualify some persons for entry jobs as
research assistants or technicians.
More than 100 schools award the
bachelor’s degree in biochem istry,
and nearly all colleges and universi­
ties offer a major in biology or chem ­
istry. P ersons planning careers as
biochemists should take undergrad­
uate courses in chem istry, biology,
b io c h e m is try , m a th e m a tic s , an d
physics.
About 150 colleges and universi­
ties offer graduate degrees in bio­
chemistry. G raduate students gener­
ally are required to have a bachelor’s
degree in biochem istry, biology, or
chemistry. Many graduate program s
emphasize one specialty in biochem-

365

LIFE SCIENCE OCCUPATIONS

istry because of the facilities or the
research being done at that particu­
lar school. G ra d u ate train in g re ­
quires actual research in addition to
advanced science courses so students
should select their schools carefully.
For the doctoral degree, the student
does intensive research and a thesis
in one field of biochemistry.
Persons planning careers as bio­
chemists should be able to work in­
dependently or as p art of a team .
Precision, keen powers of observa­
tion, and m echanical aptitude also
are im portant. Biochem ists should
have analytical abilities and curious
minds, as well as patience and perse­
verance to complete hundreds of ex­
periments necessary to solve a single
problem . They should also express
themselves clearly when writing and
speaking to com m unicate the find­
ings of their research effectively.
G raduates with advanced degrees
may begin their careers as teachers
or researchers in colleges or universi­
ties. In private industry, most begin
in research jobs and with experience
may advance to positions in which
they plan and supervise research.
New graduates with a bachelor’s
degree usually start work as research
assistants or technicians. These jobs
in private industry often involve test­
ing and analysis. In the drug industry,
for example, research assistants ana­
lyze the ingredients of a product to
verify and maintain its purity or qual­
ity.

Employment Outlook
Job opportunities for biochemists
with advanced degrees should be fa­
vorable through the m id-1980’s. The
em ploym ent of biochem ists is ex­
pected to grow about as fast as the
average for all occupations during
this p erio d . Some ad d itio n al jo b
openings will result each year as bio­
chem ists retire, die, or transfer to
other occupations. The outlook for
biochemists is based on the assump­
tion that research and developm ent
expenditures in biochemistry and re­
lated sciences, primarily by the Fed­
e ra l G o v e rn m e n t, will in c re a s e
through the m id-1980’s, although at
a slower rate than during the 1960’s.
If actual expenditures differ signifi­
 those assumed, the out­
cantly from


look for biochem ists would be al­
tered.
The anticipated growth in this field
should result from the effort to find
cures for cancer, heart disease, and
other diseases, and from public con­
cern with environm ental protection.
Biochem ists will also be needed in
the drug and other industries and in
hospitals and health centers. Colleg­
es and universities may need addi­
tional teachers as biochem istry en ­
rollments continue to increase.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Average earnings of biochemists
were about twice the average for all
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming. According to
a 1976 survey by th e A m erican
Chemical Society, salaries for experi­
enced biochemists averaged $18,000
for those with a bachelor’s degree;
$ 19,000 for those with a m aster’s d e­
gree; and $26,000 for those with a
Ph. D.
Starting salaries of biochemists
employed in colleges and universities
are com parable to those for other
faculty m embers. (See statem ent on
college and university teachers else­
where in the Handbook.)
Biochemists in research and devel­
opm ent do most of their work in a
laboratory, but they also may write,
lecture, and do library research.

Sources of Additional
Information
For general information on careers
in biochemistry, contact:
American Society of Biological Chemists,
9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md.
20014.

LIFE SCIENTISTS
(D.O.T. 040.081, 041.081, 041.168,
04 1 .1 8 1 ,0 4 1 .2 8 1 )

Nature of the Work
Life scientists, who study all as­
pects of living organisms, emphasize
the relationship of animals and plants
to their environm ent.

About one-third of all life scien­
tists are prim arily involved in re ­
search and developm ent. Many co n ­
duct basic research to increase our
knowledge of living organisms which
can be applied in m edicine, in in­
creasing crop yields, and in im prov­
ing the natural environm ent. When
working in laboratories, life scientists
must be familiar with research tech ­
n iq u e s an d c o m p le x la b o ra to ry
equipm ent such as electron m icro­
scopes. Knowledge of com puters also
is useful in conducting experim ents.
N ot all research, how ever, is p e r­
formed in laboratories. For example,
a botanist who explores the volcanic
Alaskan valleys to see what plants
grow there also is doing research.
About one-third o f all life scien­
tists teach in colleges or universities;
many also do independent research.
A lm ost one-fifth work in m anage­
ment or administration ranging from
planning and administering programs
for testing foods and drugs to direct­
ing activities at zoos or botanical gar­
dens. Some life scientists work as
consultants to business firms or to
government in their areas of special­
ization. O thers write for technical
p u b lic a tio n s or te s t and in sp ect
foods, drugs, and o th er products.
Some work in technical sales and ser­
vices jobs for industrial com panies
w here, for exam ple, they d em o n ­
strate the proper use of new chem i­
cals or technical products.
Scientists in many life science
areas often call themselves biologists.
However, the majority are classified
by the type of organism they study or
by the specific activity they perform .
Botanists deal primarily with plants
and their environm ent. Some study
all aspects of plant life, while others
work in specific areas such as identi­
fying and classifying plants or study­
ing the structure of plants and plant
cells. O ther botanists concentrate on
causes and cures of plant diseases.
Agronomists, who are concerned
with the mass developm ent of plants,
improve the quality and yield of
crops, such as corn, wheat, and co t­
ton, by developing new growth m eth­
ods or by controlling diseases, pests,
and weeds. They also analyze soils to
determ ine ways of increasing acreage
yields and decreasing soil erosion.

366

H orticulturists work with o rch ard
and garden plants such as fruit and
nut trees, vegetables, and flowers.
They seek to improve plant culture
m ethods fo r the b eau tificatio n of
communities, homes, parks, and o th ­
er areas as well as for increasing crop
quality and yields.
Zoologists study various aspects of
animal life—its origin, behavior, and
life processes. Some conduct experi­
m ental studies with live animals in
controlled or natural surroundings
while others dissect animals to study
the structure of their parts. Zoolo­
gists are usually identified by the ani­
mal group stu d ied —ornithologists
(birds), entomologists (insects), and
mammalogists (m am m als).
Animal husbandry specialists do re­
search on the breeding, feeding, and
diseases of dom estic farm animals.
Veterinarians study diseases and ab­
normal functioning in animals. (See
statem ent on veterinarians elsewhere
in the Handbook.)
Anatomists study the structure of
organisms, from cell structure to the
formation of tissues and organs.
Many specialize in human anatomy.
scope. Medical microbiologists are
Research methods may entail dissec­
concerned with the relationship b e­
tions or the use of electron m icro­
tween bacteria and disease or the ef­
scopes.
fect of antibiotics on bacteria. O ther
Some life scientists apply their spe­
microbiologists may specialize in soil
cialized knowledge across a num ber
bacteriology (effect o f m icroorga­
of areas, and may be classified by the
nisms on soil fertility), virology (vi­
functions perform ed. Ecologists, for
ruses), or immunology (m echanism s
example, study the relationship be­
tween organisms and their environ­ that fight infections).
N utritionists exam ine the bodily
ments, particularly the effects of en­
processes through which food is uti­
v iro n m e n ta l in flu e n c e s su ch as
rainfall, tem perature, and altitude on lized and transform ed into energy.
organisms. For exam ple, ecologists They learn how vitamins, minerals,
extract samples of plankton (m icro­ proteins, and other nutrients build
scopic plants and animals) from bod­ and repair tissues.
Pharmacologists conduct tests on
ies of water to determ ine the effects
animals such as rats, guinea pigs, and
of pollution, and m easure the radio­
monkeys to determ ine the effects of
active content of fish.
drugs, gases, poisons, dusts, and o th ­
Embryologists study the develop­
ment of an animal from a fertilized er substances on the functioning of
egg through the hatching process or tissues and organs. They may devel­
gestation period. They investigate op new or improved drugs and m edi­
the causes of healthy and abnorm al cines.
Pathologists specialize in the ef­
developm ent in animals.
Microbiologists are life scientists fects of diseases, parasites, and in­
who investigate the growth and char­ sects on hum an cells, tissues, and o r­
acteristics o f m icroscopic organisms gans. O thers may investigate genetic
such as bacteria, viruses, and molds. variations caused by drugs.
Biochemists and biological oceanog­
They isolate and grow organisms for
raphers, who are also life scientists,
close exam
ination u n d er a m icro­


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

are included in separate statem ents
elsewhere in the Handbook.

Places of Employment
An estim ated 205,000 persons
worked as life scientists in 1976. Al­
most 40,000 were agricultural scien­
tists, about 100,000 were biological
scientists, and about 65,000 were
medical scientists.
Colleges and universities employ
nearly three-fifths of all life scien­
tists, in both teaching and research
jobs. Medical schools and hospitals
also employ large num bers of m edi­
cal investigators. Sizable num bers of
specialists in agronomy, horticulture,
animal husbandry, entom ology, and
related areas work for State agricul­
tural colleges and agricultural experi­
m ent stations.
About
18,000
life
scientists
worked for the Federal G overnm ent
in 1976. Of these, over half worked
for the D epartm ent of Agriculture,
with large num bers also in the D e­
partm ent of the Interior, and in the
N ational Institutes o f Health. State
and local go v ern m en ts com b in ed

367

LIFE SCIENCE OCCUPATIONS

employed about 22,000 life scien­
tists.
Approximately 40,000 life scien­
tists w o rk ed in p riv ate in d u stry ,
mostly in the pharm aceutical, indus­
trial chemical, and food processing
in d u stries in 1976. A b o u t 6,000
worked for nonprofit research o r­
ganizations and foundations; a few
were self-employed.
Life scientists are distributed fairly
evenly throughout the United States,
but employm ent is cencentrated in
some m etropolitan areas—for exam ­
ple, nearly 6 percent of all agricultur­
al and biological scientists work in
the Washington, D.C., m etropolitan
area. Life science teachers are con­
centrated in communities with large
universities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Persons seeking a career in the life
sciences should plan to obtain an
advanced degree. The Ph. D. degree
generally is required for college
teaching, for independent research,
and for many administrative jobs. A
m aster’s degree is sufficient for some
jobs in applied research and college
teaching. A health science degree is
necessary for some jobs in medical
research (See section on health
occupations elsewhere in the Hand­
book.)
The bachelor’s degree is adequate
preparation for some beginning jobs,
but prom otions often are limited for
those who hold no higher degree.
New graduates with a bachelor’s de­
gree can start their careers in testing
and inspecting jobs, or become tech­
nical sales and service representa­
tives. They also may becom e ad ­
vanced technicians, particularly in
medical research or, with courses in
e d u c atio n , a high school biology
teacher. (See statem ent on second­
ary school teachers elsewhere in the
Handbook.)
Most colleges and universities of­
fer life science curriculum s. How­
ever, different schools may em pha­
size only certain areas of life science.
For exam ple, liberal arts colleges
may emphasize the biological scienc­
es, while many State universities and
land-grant colleges offer programs in
 science.
agricultural


Students seeking careers in the life
sciences should obtain the broadest
possible undergraduate background
in biology and other sciences.
Courses taken should include biol­
ogy, chemistry, physics, and m athe­
matics.
Many colleges and universities
confer advanced degrees in the life
sciences. Requirem ents for advanced
degrees usually include field work
and laboratory research as well as
classroom studies and preparation of
a thesis.
Prospective life scientists should
be able to work independently or as
part of a team and must be able to
com m unicate their findings in clear
and concise language, both orally
and in writing. Some life scientists,
such as those conducting field re ­
search in rem ote areas, must have
good physical stamina.
Life scientists who have advanced
degrees usually begin in research or
teaching jobs. With experience, they
may advance to jobs such as supervi­
sors of research programs.

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities for life
scientists are expected to be good for
those with advanced degrees through
the m id-1980’s, but those with lesser
degrees may experience com petition
for available jobs. However, a life
science degree also is useful for entry
to occupations related to life science
such as laboratory technology and
the health care occupations. Employ­
ment in the life sciences is expected
to increase faster than the average
for all occupations over this period.
In addition, some openings will occur
as life scientists retire, die, or transfer
to other occupations.
Em ployment in the life sciences
will grow as a result of increased
interest in preserving the natural en ­
vironm ent and a continuing interest
in m edical research. E m ploym ent
opportunities in industry and govern­
m ent should grow as environm ental
research and developm ent increases
and new laws and standards pro tect­
ing the environm ent are enacted. A d­
ditional life science teachers will be
needed if college and university en ­
rollments increase as expected.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Life scientists receive relatively
high salaries; their average earnings
are more than twice those of nonsupervisory workers in private industry,
except farming.
Beginning salary offers in private
industry in 1976 averaged $10,900 a
year for bachelor’s degree recipients
in agricultural science and $10,200 a
year for bachelor’s degree recipients
in biological science.
In the Federal Governm ent in
1977, life scientists having a bache­
lor’s degree could begin at $9,303 or
$1 1,523 a year, depending on their
college records. Life scientists having
the m aster’s degree could start at
$11,523 or $14,097, depending on
their academic records or work expe­
rience. Those having the Ph. D. de­
gree co u ld begin at $ 1 7 ,0 5 6 or
$20,442 a year. Agricultural and bio­
logical scientists in the Federal Gov­
ernm ent averaged $21,600 a year.
Earnings of all life scientists aver­
aged about $20,300 a year in 1976,
according to the limited data avail­
able. Life scientists who have the
M.D. degree generally earn m ore
than other life scientists but less than
physicians in private practice.
Most life scientists work in welllighted, well-ventilated, and clean
laboratories. Some jobs, however, re­
quire working outdoors under ex­
trem e w e ath er c o n d itio n s, doing
strenuous physical labor.

Sources of Additional
Information
General information on careers in
the life sciences is available from:
American Institute of Biological Sciences,
1401 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va.
22209.
American Society for Horticultural Science,
National Center for American Horticul­
ture, Mt. Vernon, Va. 22121.
American Physiological Society, Education
Office, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda,
Md. 20014.

Special information on Federal
G overnm ent careers is available
from:
U.S. Civil Service Commission, Washington
Area Office, 1900 E St. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20415.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

368

SOIL SCIENTISTS
(D.O.T. 040.081)

Nature of the Work
Because soil is one of our most
valuable resources, it must be used
wisely. Soil scientists help to accom ­
plish this by studying the physical,
chemical, biological, and behavioral
characteristics of soils. A large part
of their job is categorizing soils ac­
cording to a national classification
system. To do this, a soil scientist
investigates the soils at various places
within an area, often taking samples
to analyze in the laboratory. Once
the soils in an area have been classi­
fied, the soil scientist prepares a map,
usually based on aerial photographs,
which shows soil types throughout
the area as well as landscape fea­
tures, such as streams or hills, and
physical features, such as roads or
property boundaries.
Because different types of soil are
better suited for some uses than oth­
ers, soil type maps are invaluable
tools for urban and regional planners
concerned with land use. A planner
who may wish to locate large build­
ings, such as factories or apartm ent
buildings, on a secure base would
look for firm soils containing clay. In
contrast, sandy soils drain much bet­
ter than clays, and thus are better
suited for uses th a t require good
drainage, such as farming. In addi­
tion, a small but increasing num ber
of States require certified soil scien­
tists to examine soils and determ ine
their drainage capacities before issu­
ing building permits for lots on which
residences using septic systems are to
be built.
Besides the many soil scientists
who are employed mapping soils,
some conduct research into the
chemical and biological properties of
soils to determ ine their agricultural
uses. With the assistance of agricul­
tural technicians, they set up experi­
ments in which they grow crops in
different types of soils to determ ine
which are most productive for cer­
tain crops. They also may test the
effects of fertilizers on various types
of soils to develop fertilizers adapted
to particular soils and to find ways to
improve less
 productive soils. O ther


soil scientists, who have backgrounds
in the biological sciences, may inves­
tigate the presence of organic m ateri­
als in soils and study the effects o f
these organisms on plant growth.
In recent years, mounting concern
over the quality of water has led to
research into the causes of pollution
and it has been found that sedim ent,
or soil runoff, is responsible for much
of the problem . Many States, in an
effort to comply with Federal anti­
pollution laws, now employ soil sci­
entists to inspect large highway and
building sites where vegetation has
been stripped away, and agricultural
lands where fertilizers have been ap ­
plied, to make sure proper erosion
control m ethods have been followed.

Places of Employment
An estim ated 2,500 soil scientists
were em ployed in 1976. Soil scien­
tists work all over the country, in
every State and nearly every county.
More than half were em ployed by the
Soil Conservation Service of the U.S.
D ep artm en t of A griculture. Some
w orked for o th er agencies of the
Federal G overnm ent, State agricul­
tural experim ent stations, and colleg­
es of agriculture. O thers were em ­
ployed in a wide range o f o th e r
public and private institutions, in­
cluding fertilizer com panies, private
re se a rc h la b o ra to rie s , in su ra n c e
com panies, banks and other lending
agencies, real estate firms, land ap ­
praisal boards, State conservation
departm ents, and farm m anagem ent
agencies. A few are in d ep en d e n t
consultants, and others work for con­
sulting firms. In addition, some soil
scientists worked in foreign countries
as research leaders, consultants, and
agricultural managers.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Training in a college or university
is im portant in obtaining em ploy­
ment as a soil scientist. For Federal
em ploym ent, the minimum qualifica­
tion for entrance is a bachelor’s d e­
gree with a major in soil science or in
a closely related field of study, with
30 sem ester hours of course work in
the biological, physical, and earth
sciences, including a minimum of 12

sem ester hours in soils. For students
interested in working in the Soil C on­
servation Service, one o f the best
courses of study is agronom y, the
study of how plants and soils interact.
Also, a major in agriculture may en ­
able an applicant to find em ploym ent
with the Soil Conservation Service.
In addition, courses in chemistry and
c a rto g ra p h y , or m ap m ak in g , are
helpful to people interested in this
career, and are required by some em ­
ployers. Soil scientists often m ust
write reports decribing their work
and thus need some writing skills.
Soil scientists who have been
trained in both field work and labora­
tory research may have the edge in
obtaining the best jobs, and an ad­
vanced degree—especially a d o cto r­
ate degree—may be needed to ad ­
vance to the more responsible and
better paying research jobs. Also, a
strong background in chemistry may
be necessary for obtaining research
positions.
Many colleges and universities of­
fer fellowships and assistantships for
graduate training, or employ gradu­
ate students for part-tim e teaching or
research.
A few States now require certifica­
tion of soil scientists who inspect soil
conditions prior to construction ac­
tivities. One such certification p ro ­
gram requires candidates for certifi­
cation to have a bachelor’s degree
and 3 years of experience as a soil
scientist, or a m aster’s degree and 2
years of experience. In addition, can ­
didates must com plete a written ex­
a m in a tio n , d e m o n s tr a tin g th e ir
knowledge of soil science.
Soil scientists often can transfer to
related occupations such as land ap­
praiser or farm m anagem ent advisor.

Employment Outlook
One of the major objectives of the
Soil Conservation Service is to com ­
plete the soil classification survey of
all rural lands in the United States.
This program includes soil classifica­
tion and soil interpretation for use by
agriculturists, engineers, and landuse planners. Although the num ber
of soil scientists working on this proj­
ect has not changed over the past
decade, about 100 openings arise

LIFE SCIENCE OCCUPATIONS

369

k ee p p a c e w ith th e n u m b e r o f
jobseekers in this field.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
The incomes of soil scientists de­
pend upon their education, profes­
sional ex p e rien ce , and individual
abilities. The entrance salary in the
Federal service for graduates having
a B.S. degree was $9,303 in 1977.
They may expect advancem ent to
$1 1,523 after 1 year of satisfactory
perform ance. Those who had o u t­
standing records in college, or a m as­
te r’s degree, started at $1 1,523, and
could advance to $14,097 after 1
year. F u rth e r p rom otion depends
upon the individual’s ability to do
high quality work and to accept re­
sponsibility. Earnings of well-quali­
fied Federal soil scientists with sever­
al years o f experience ranged from
$17,046 to $28,725 a year.
Soil scientists generally spend
much of their time doing field work,
which requires them to travel within
their area—usually within a county.
During inclem ent weather they gen­
erally work in an office, preparing
maps and writing reports. R esearch­
ers spend much of their time doing
experim ents in fields and greenhous­
es.

Sources of Additional
Information

Most soil scientists work for the Federal Government, State experimental stations, and
colleges of agriculture.

each year to replace those scientists
who retire, die, or leave the Soil C on­
servation Service for other reasons.
In addition, some employment
growth may be expected in State and
local governm ent agencies as con­
cern for pollution and destruction of
our soil resources increases. Employ­




ment growth also is expected in the
private secto r of the econom y, in
businesses such as fertilizer m anufac­
turers, and with lending institutions
that make loans for farm lands, such
as banks, mortagage com panies, and
life insurance com panies. However,
openings for soil scientists may not

Additional information may be ob­
tained from the U.S. Civil Service
C o m m issio n , W a s h in g to n , D .C .
20415; U.S. D epartm ent of Agricul­
ture, Office of Personnel, W ashing­
ton, D.C. 20250; any office of the
D epartm ent’s Soil Conservation Ser­
vice; any college of agriculture; the
American Society of Agronomy, 677
S. Segoe Rd., Madison, Wis. 5371 1;
or the Soil Society o f America, 677
S. Segoe Rd., Madison, Wis. 5371 1.
See also statem ents on chemists
and life scientists elsewhere in the
Handbook.

MATHEMATICS OCCUPATIONS

M athem atics is both a science and
a tool essential for many kinds of
work. As a tool, m athem atics is nec­
essary for u n d erstan d in g and ex ­
pressing ideas in science, engineer­
ing, an d , in cre asin g ly , in hum an
affairs. The application of m athem at­
ical techniques in these Fields has in­
creased greatly because of the wide­
sp re a d use o f c o m p u te rs, w hich
enable m athem aticians to solve com ­
plex problems rapidly and efficiently.
As a result, persons trained in m athe­
matics are employed in all sectors of
the economy including private indus­
try, governm ent, and colleges and
universities.
Persons considering careers in
m athem atics should be able to con­
cen trate for long periods of time.
They should enjoy working indepen­
dently with ideas and solving prob­
lems, and must be able to present
their findings in written reports.
This section describes two occupa­
tio n s— m ath em atician and statisti­
cian. A statem en t on actuaries, a
closely related m athem atics occupa­
tion, is discussed in the section on
insurance occupations. Entrance into
any of these fields requires college
training in m athem atics. For many
types of work, graduate education is
necessary.
Many other workers in the natural
and social sciences and in data pro­
cessing use m athem atics extensively,
alth o u g h th ey are n o t p rim arily
m athem aticians. These occupations
are discussed elsewhere in the Hand­
book, as are jobs for high school
m athem atics teachers, covered in the
s ta te m e n t on s e c o n d a ry s c h o o l
teachers.

370



MATHEMATICIANS
(D.O.T. 020.088)

Nature of the Work
M athem aticians work with one of
the oldest and most vital of all scienc­
es. M athem aticians today are e n ­
gaged in a wide variety of activities,

ranging from the creatio n of new
theories to the translation of scientif­
ic and m anagerial pro b lem s into
m athem atical terms.
M athem atical work falls into two
broad classes:
theoretical (p ure)
m athem atics; and applied m athem at­
ics. However, these classes are not
sharply defined and often overlap.
T h e o re tic a l m ath em atician s a d ­
vance m athem atical science by de­
veloping new principles and new re­
la tio n s h ip s b e tw e e n e x is tin g
principles of mathem atics. Although
they seek to increase basic knowl­
edge without necessarily considering
its practical use, this pure and ab­
stract know ledge has been instru ­
mental in producing many scientific
and engineering achievements. For

Mathematicians should have a good knowledge of computer programming since most
complex mathematical computation is done by computer.

MATHEMATICS OCCUPATIONS

example, in 1854 Bernard Riemann
invented a seem ingly im practical
non-Euclidian geometry that was to
become part of Albert Einstein’s the­
ory of relativity. Years later, this the­
ory contributed to the creation of
atomic power.
M athematicians in applied work
use mathem atics to develop theories,
techniques, and approaches to solve
practical problems in business, gov­
ernment, engineering, and the natu­
ral and social sciences. Their work
ranges from analysis of the m athe­
matical aspects of launching earth
satellites to studies of the effects of
new drugs on disease.
Much work in applied m athem at­
ics, however, is carried on by persons
other than m athematicians. In fact,
the num ber of workers who depend
upon mathem atical expertise is many
times greater than the num ber actu­
ally designated as m athematicians.

Places of Employment
About 38,000 persons worked as
mathematicians in 1976. Roughly
three-fourths of all mathem aticians
worked in colleges and universities.
Most were teachers; some worked
mainly in research and developm ent
with few or no teaching duties.
Most
other
m athem aticians
worked in private industry and gov­
ernment. In the private sector, major
employers were the aerospace, com ­
m unications, machinery, and electri­
cal equipm ent industries. The D e­
p a r tm e n t o f D e f e n s e a n d th e
National A eronautics and Space Ad­
m inistration employed most of the
mathem aticians working in the Fed­
eral Governm ent.
M athem aticians work in all States,
but are concentrated in those with
large industrial areas and large col­
lege and u n iv ersity en ro llm e n ts.
Nearly half of the total are employed
in seven S ta te s —C alifo rn ia, New
York, M assachusetts, Pennsylvania,
Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey.
Of the total, one-fourth live in three
metropolitan areas—New York City;
Washington, D.C.; and Los AngelesLong Beach, California.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
An advanced degree is the basic

 for beginning teaching
requirem ent


371

jobs, as well as for most research
positions. In most colleges and uni­
versities, the Ph. D. degree is neces­
sary for full faculty status.
Although the bachelor’s degree
may be adequate preparation for
some jobs in private industry and
governm ent, em ployers usually re ­
quire an advanced degree. Those
bachelor’s degree holders who find
jobs usually assist senior m athem ati­
cians by perform ing com putations
and solving less advanced problems
in applied m athem atics. However,
a d v a n c e m e n t o fte n d e p e n d s on
achieving an advanced degree. O ther
bachelor’s degree holders work as re­
search or teaching assistants in col­
leges and universities while studying
for an advanced degree.
The b ach elo r’s degree in m athe­
matics is offered by most colleges
an d u n iv e rs itie s .
M a th e m a tic s
courses usually required for a degree
are analytical geom etry, calculus,
d ifferen tial eq u atio n s, probability
and statistics, m athem atical analysis,
and m odern algebra. A prospective
college m athem atics student should
take as many m athem atics courses as
possible while still enrolled in high
school.
More than 400 colleges and uni­
versities have program s leading to
the m aster’s degree in mathem atics;
about 150 also offer the Ph. D. In
graduate school, students build upon
the basic knowledge acquired in ear­
lier studies. They usually co ncen­
trate on a specific field of m athem at­
ics, such as algebra, m athem atical
analysis, or geometry, by conducting
r e s e a r c h a n d ta k in g a d v a n c e d
courses.
For work in applied m athem atics,
training in the field in which the
m athem atics will be used is very im ­
p o rtan t. Fields in w hich applied
m athem atics is used extensively in­
clude physics, engineering, and o p ­
erations research; of increasing im ­
portance are business and industrial
m anagem ent, econom ics, statistics,
chemistry and life sciences, and the
behavioral sciences.
M athem aticians should have a
good knowledge of com puter p ro ­
g ra m m in g s in c e m o st c o m p le x
m athem atical com putation is done
by com puter.

M athem aticians need good reason­
ing ability, persistence, and the abil­
ity to apply basic principles to new
types of problem s. They must be
able to com m unicate well with others
since they often m ust listen to a
nonm athem atician describe a prob­
lem in general term s, and check and
recheck to make sure they u nder­
stand the m athem atical solution that
is needed.

Employment Outlook
Employment of m athem aticians is
expected to increase more slowly
than the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Although
the num ber of degrees granted in
m athem atics each year is expected to
decline, the num ber of people seek­
ing em ploym ent is expected to ex­
ceed job openings. As a result, per­
s o n s s e e k i n g e m p l o y m e n t as
m athem aticians are likely to face
keen com petition throughout the pe­
riod.
Theoretical m athem aticians, who
have traditionally found jobs in col­
leges and universities, are expected
to experience the most difficulty in
finding employm ent because colleges
and universities are not expected to
increase their em ploym ent of m athe­
maticians much, if any, beyond p re­
sent levels.
Holders of advanced degrees in
applied m athem atics should have the
le a st d iffic u lty in fin d in g sa tisfa c to r y

employment. Although some limited
opportunities may be available to
theoretical m athem aticians in nonacadem ic areas, most employers will
seek applied m athem aticians who are
cap ab le o f applying th eir special
m athem atical skills to practical prob­
lems. Private industry and govern­
m ental agencies will need applied
m athem aticians for work in op era­
tions research, num erical analysis,
com puter systems programming, ap­
plied m athem atical physics, m arket
research and com m ercial surveys,
and as consultants in industrial labo­
ratories. Work in applied m athem at­
ics requires both a high degree of
m a th e m a tic a l c o m p e te n c e and a
knowledge of the field of application.
Although m athem atician jobs may
be difficult to obtain, college gradu­
ates with degrees in m athem atics

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

372

should find their background helpful
for careers in other areas. Many jobs
rely heavily on the application of
mathematical theories and methods.
Mathematics majors are likely to find
openings in statistics, actuarial work,
c o m p u te r p ro g ra m m in g , system s
analysis, econom ics, engineering,
and physical and life sciences. Em­
p lo y m e n t o p p o r tu n itie s in these
fields will probably be best for those
who combine a major in mathematics
with a minor in one of these subjects.
New graduates may also find open­
ings as high school m a th em atics
teachers after completing profession­
al education courses and other re­
quirements for a State teaching cer­
tificate. (See statement on secondary
school te a c h e rs elsew here in the
Handbook.)

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In 1976, mathematicians earned
average salaries over twice as high as
the average for nonsupervisory work­
ers in private industry, except farm­
ing. Starting salaries for mathemati­
c ia n s w ith a b a c h e l o r ’s d e g r e e
ave rage d a b o u t $ 1 1 ,5 0 0 a year.
Those with a master’s degree could
start at a b o u t $ 1 4,300 annually.
Salaries for new graduates having the
Ph. D., most of whom had some ex­
perience, averaged over $20,000.
In the Federal Government in
1977, mathematicians having the
bachelor’s degree and no experience
could start at either $9,303 or
$1 1,523 a year, depending on their
college records. Those with the mas­
ter’s degree could start at $14,097 or
$17,056; and persons having the Ph.
D. deg ree could begin at eith e r
$17,056 or $20,442. The average sal­
ary for all mathematicians in the Fed­
eral Government was about $23,100
in ,1977.
Salaries paid to college and univer­
sity mathematics teachers are com ­
parable to those for other faculty
members. (See statement on college
and university teachers elsewhere in
the Handbook.)

Sources of Additional
Information
Several

brochures are available


that give facts about the field of


mathem atics, including career o p ­
portunitie s, professional training,
and colleges and universities with de­
gree programs.
Seeking Employment in the M athe­
matical Sciences is available for 50
cents from:
American Mathematical Society, P.O. Box
6248, Providence, R.I. 02940.

P r o fe s s io n a l O p p o r tu n itie s in
M athematics (50 cents) and Guide
Book to Departments in the M athe­
matical Sciences ($3.00) are provid­
ed by:
Mathematical Association of America, 1225
Connecticut Ave. NW., Washington, D.C.
20036.

For specific information on c a ­
reers in applied mathematics, c o n ­
tact:
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathemat­
ics, 33 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
19103.

For F ederal G overnm ent career
information, contact any regional of­
fice of the U.S. Civil Service C om ­
mission or:
Interagency Board of U.S. Civil Service Exam­
iners, 1900 E St. NW., Washington, D.C.
20415.

group of people or things by survey­
ing a small portion, called a sample,
rather than the whole group. For ex­
ample, television rating services ask
only a few thousand families, rather
than all viewers, what programs they
watch to determine the size of the
audience. Statisticians decide where
to get the data, determine the type
and size of the sample group, and
develop the survey questionnaire or
reporting form. They also prepare
instructions for workers who will ta­
bulate the returns. Statisticians who
design experiments prepare m athe­
matical models to test a particular
theory. Those in analytical work in­
terpret collected data and summarize
their findings in tables, charts, and
written reports. Some statisticians,
called mathematical statisticians, use
mathematical theory to design and
improve statistical methods.
Because the field of statistics has
such a wide application, it sometimes
is difficult to distinguish statisticians
from specialists in other fields who
use statistics. For example, a statisti­
cian working with data on economic
con d itio n s may have the title of
economist.

Places of Employment

STATISTICIANS
( D.O.T. 020.188)

Nature of the Work
Statistics are numbers that help d e­
scribe th e c h a ra c te ris tic s of the
world and its inhabitants. Statisti­
cians devise, carry out, and interpret
the numerical results of surveys and
experiments. In doing so, they apply
their knowledge of statistical m eth­
ods to a particular subject area, such
as economics, human behavior, natu­
ral science, or engineering. They may
use statistical techniques to predict
population growth or economic co n ­
ditions, develop quality control tests
for manufactured products, or help
business managers and government
officials make decisions and evaluate
the results of new programs.
Often statisticians are able to ob­
tain ac curate information about a

Approximately 24,000 persons
worked as statisticians in 1976.
About two out of three statisticians
were in private industry, primarily in
m anufacturing, public utilities, fi­
nance, and insurance com panies.
Roughly one-eighth worked for the
Federal G overnm ent, primarily in
the D e p a r t m e n t s o f C o m m e r c e ;
Health, Education, and Welfare; Ag­
r i c u l t u r e ; an d D e f e n s e . O t h e r s
worked in State and local govern­
ment and colleges and universities.
Although statisticians work in all
parts of the country, most are in
metropolitan areas, and about onefourth work in three areas—New
York City; Washington, D.C.; and
Los Angeles-Long Beach, California.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree with a major
in statistics or m athem atics is the
minimum educational requirem ent
for many beginning jobs in statistics.
For other beginning statistical jobs,

MATHEMATICS OCCUPATIONS

373

Statisticians devise, carry out, and interpret the numerical results of surveys and
experiments.

however, a bachelor’s degree with a
major in an applied field such as eco­
nomics or natural science and a mi­
nor in statistics is preferable. A
graduate degree in mathematics or
statistics is essential for college and
university teaching. Most mathemat­
ical sta tis tic ia n s have at least a
b ac h e lo r’s degree in m athem atics
and an advanced degree in statistics.
About 145 colleges and universi­
ties offered statistics as a concentra­
tion for a bachelor’s degree in 1976.
Many schools also offer either a de­
gree in mathematics or a sufficient
num ber of courses in statistics to
qualify graduates for beginning posi­
tions. Required subjects for statistics
majors include mathematics through
differential and integral calculus, sta­
tistical methods, and probability the­
ory. Courses in computer uses and
techniques, if not required, are high­
ly recommended. For quality control
positions, training in engineering or a
physical or biological science and in
the application of statistical methods
to manufacturing processes is desir­



able. For many m arket research,
business analysis, and forecasting
jobs, courses in economics and busi­
ness administration are helpful.
Over 100 colleges and universities
offered graduate degrees in statistics
in 1976, and many other schools
offered one or two graduate level
statistics courses. Acceptance into
graduate programs does not require
an undergraduate degree in statistics
although a good mathematics back­
ground is essential.
Beginning statisticians who have
only the bachelor’s degree often
spend much of their time performing
routine work under the supervision
of an
experienced
statistician.
Through experience, they may a d ­
vance to positions of greater techni­
cal and supervisory responsibility.
However, opportunities for prom o­
tion are best for those with advanced
degrees.

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities for p er­
sons who combine training in statis­

tics with knowledge of a field of ap­
p l i c a t i o n a r e e x p e c t e d to be
favorable through the m id-1980’s.
B esides the fa s te r th an a v e rag e
growth expected in this field, addi­
tional statisticians will be needed to
replace those who die, retire, or
transfer to other occupations.
Private industry will require in­
creasing numbers of statisticians for
quality control in m anufacturing.
Statisticians with a knowledge of en­
gineering and the physical sciences
will find jobs working with scientists
and engineers in research and devel­
opm ent. Business firms will rely
more heavily than in the past on stat­
isticians to forecast sales, analyze
business conditions, modernize ac­
counting procedures, and help solve
management problems.
Many fields such as law and history
are discovering the usefulness of sta­
tistics. As the use of statistics ex­
pands into new areas, more statisti­
cians will be needed to apply their
special knowledge.
Federal, State, and local govern­
ment agencies will need statisticians
for existing and new programs in
fields such as social security, health,
and education. Colleges and univer­
sities will employ others to teach a
growing number of students, as the
broader use of statistical methods
makes such courses increasingly im­
portant to persons majoring in fields
other than mathematics and statis­
tics.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In the Federal Government in
1977, statisticians who had the
bachelor’s degree and no experience
could start at either $9,303 or
$1 1,523 a year, depending on their
college grades. Beginning statisti­
cians with the m aster’s degree could
start at $14,097 or $17,056. Those
with th e Ph. D. c o u ld begin at
$17,056 or $20,442. The average an­
nual salary for statisticians in the
Federal Government was $24,000 in
1977.
Salaries in private industry were
comparable to those in the Federal
Government, according to the limit­
ed data available.

374

Statisticians employed by colleges
and universities generally receive
salaries comparable to those paid
other faculty members. (See state­
ment on college and university teach­
ers.) In addition to their regular sala­
ries, s ta tis tic ia n s in e d u c a tio n a l
institutions sometimes earn extra in­
come from outside research projects,
consulting, and writing.




OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Sources of Additional
Information

Interagency Board of U.S. Civil Service Exam­
iners for Washington, D.C., 1900 E St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20414.

For information about career o p ­
portunities in statistics, contact:

For information on a career as a
mathematical statistician, contact:

American Statistical Association, 806 15th St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20005.

Facts on Federal Government jobs
are available from:

Institute of Mathematical Statistics, 1367 Lau­
rel St., San Carlos, Calif. 94070.

PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS

Physical scientists investigate the
structure and com position of the
earth and the universe. Four phys­
ical science o c c u p a tio n s are d e ­
scribed in this section: astronomers,
chemists, food scientists, and physi­
cists. Astronomers study the nature
of the universe and the celestial bod­
ies, while chemists examine the com ­
position and interaction of substanc­
es in the world around us. Food
scientists search for better ways to
commercially process and preserve
food. Physicists study the nuclear
structure of matter and its relation­
ship to energy. A knowledge of the
physical sciences is also required by
engineers, environmental scientists,
and life scientists; these occupations
are described in separate sections
elsewhere in the Handbook.
Many physical scientists perform
research directed toward increasing
our knowledge of the universe. Phys­
ical scientists also employ the results
of research in the development of
new products and production pro­
cesses. Some physical scientists
teach in colleges and universities.
Others, particularly chemists and
food scientists, work in production
and sales-related activities in indus­
try.
Many high level jobs in the phys­
ical sciences require graduate educa­
tion and often a Ph. D. degree.

system. A s tr o n o m e r s —som etim es
called astrophysicists—use the princi­
ples of physics and mathematics to
study and determine the behavior of
matter and energy in distant galaxies.
One application of the information
they gain is to prove or disprove
theories of the nature of matter and
energy such as Einstein’s theory of
relativity.
To make observations of the uni­
verse, astronom ers use large tele­
scopes, radiotelescopes, and other
instruments that can detect electro­
m a g n e tic ra d ia tio n from d is ta n t
sources. Astronomers of today spend
little time visually observing stars
through telescopes because p hoto­
graphic and electronic light-detect­

ing equipment is more effective with
dim or distant stars, and galaxies. By
using spectroscopes to analyze light
from stars astronom ers can d e te r­
mine their chemical composition.
A s tro n o m e r s also use r a d io t e le ­
scopes and other electronic means to
observe radio waves, X-rays, and
cosmic rays. Electronic computers
are used to analyze data and to solve
com plex m a th e m a tic a l eq u a tio n s
that astronomers develop to repre­
sent various theories. Computers also
are useful for processing astronomi­
cal data to calculate orbits of aster­
oids or comets, guide spacecraft, and
work o u t tables for navigational
handbooks.
Astronomers usually specialize in
one of the many branches of the
science such as instruments and tech­
niques, the sun, the solar system, and
the evolution and interiors of stars.
Astronomers who work on obser­
vational programs begin their studies
by deciding what stars or other ob­
jects to observe and the methods and
instruments to use. They may need to

ASTRONOMERS
(D .O .T.021.088)

Nature of the Work
Astronomers seek answers to ques­
tions about the fundamental nature
of the universe, such as its origin and
history and the evolution of our solar



Almost all astronomers do research or teach.
375

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

376

design optical measuring devices to
attach to the telescope to make the
required measurements. After com ­
pleting their observations, they ana­
lyze the results, present them in pre­
cise numerical form, and explain
them on the basis of some theory.
Astromomers usually spend relative­
ly little time in actual observation
and relatively more time in analyzing
the large quantities of data that ob­
servatory facilities collect.
Some astronomers concentrate on
theoretical problems and seldom visit
observatories. They formulate theo­
ries or mathematical models to ex­
plain observations made earlier by
other astronomers. These astrono­
mers develop m athem atical e q u a ­
tions using the laws of physics to
com pute, for example, theoretical
models of how stars change as their
nuclear energy sources become ex­
hausted.
A lm ost all a s tro n o m e rs do r e ­
search or teach; those in colleges and
universities often do both. In schools
that do not have separate d ep a rt­
ments of astronomy or only small en­
rollments in the subject, they often
teac h courses in m ath em atics or
physics as well as astronomy. Some
a s tro n o m e rs ad m in is te r re s e a rc h
p ro g ra m s, d e v e lo p a n d design a s tr o ­

nomical instruments, and do consult­
ing work.

Places of Employment
Astronomy is the smallest physical
science; only 2,000 persons worked
as astronom ers in 1976. Most as­
tronomers work in colleges and uni­
versities. Some work in observatories
operated by universities, nonprofit
organizations, and the Federal Gov­
ernment.
T he F e d e r a l G o v e r n m e n t e m ­
ployed almost 600 astronomers and
s p a c e s c i e n t i s t s in 1976. M o s t
worked for the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration. Others
worked for the Department of De­
fense, mainly at the U.S. Naval O b­
servatory and the U.S. Naval R e­
s e a r c h L a b o r a t o r y . A few
astronomers worked for firms in the
aerospace field, or in museums and

planetariums.


Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The usual requirement for a job in
astronomy is a Ph. D. degree. Per­
sons with less education may qualify
for some jobs; however, high-level
positions in teaching and research
and advancement in most areas are
open only to those with the doctor­
ate.
Many students who undertake
graduate study in astronomy have a
bachelor’s degree in astronomy. In
1976, about 50 colleges and universi­
ties had program s leading to the
b a c h e l o r ’s deg ree in astro n o m y .
However, students with a bachelor’s
degree in physics, or in mathematics
with a physics minor, usually can
qualify for graduate programs in as­
tronomy.
About 55 universities offer the Ph.
D. degree in astronomy. These pro­
grams include advanced courses in
astronomy, physics, and mathem at­
ics. Some schools require that gradu­
ate students spend several months
working at an observatory. In most
institutions, the work program lead­
ing to the doctorate is flexible and
allows students to take courses in
their own particular area of interest.
Persons planning careers in astron­
omy should have imagination and an
inquisitive mind. Perseverance and
the ability to concentrate on detail
and to work independently also are
important.
New graduates with a bachelor’s or
master’s degree in astronomy usually
begin as assistants in observatories,
planetariums, large departments of
astronomy in colleges and universi­
ties, Government agencies, or indus­
try. Some work as research assistants
while studying toward advanced d e ­
grees. New graduates with the d oc­
torate can qualify for teaching and
research jobs in colleges and univer­
sities and for research jobs in Gov­
ernment and industry.

Employment Outlook
Persons seeking positions as as­
tronomers will face keen competition
for the few available openings ex­
pected through the mid-1980’s. Em ­

ployment of astronomers is expected
to grow slowly, if at all, because the
funds available for basic research in
astronomy, which come mainly from
the Federal Government, are not ex­
pected to increase enough to create
many new positions. Most openings
will occur as replacements for those
who die or retire. Since astronomy is
such a small profession, there will be
few openings needed for re p la c e ­
ments. There will be keen competi­
tion for these openings because the
number of degrees granted in astron­
omy probably will continue to ex­
ceed available openings.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Astronomers have relatively high
salaries, with average earnings more
than twice the average earnings for
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming.
In the Federal Government in
1977, astronomers holding the Ph. D.
degree could begin at $17,056 or
$20,442 depending on their college
record. Those having the bachelor’s
degree could start at $9,303 or
$1 1,523; with the m aster’s degree at
$1 1,523 or $14,097. The average
annual salary for astronomers and
space scientists in the Federal Gov­
ernment was about $25,100 in 1977.
A stronom ers teaching in colleges
and universities received salaries
equivalent to those of other faculty
members. (See statement on college
and university teachers elsewhere in
the Handbook.)
Most astronomers spend most of
their time working in offices or class­
rooms, although astronom ers who
make observations may need to trav­
el to the observing facility and fre­
quently work at night.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information on careers in as­
tronom y and on schools offering
training in the field, contact:
American Astronomical Society, 211 FitzRandolph Rd., Princeton, N.J. 08540.

PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS

CHEMISTS
(D.O.T. 022.081, .168, .181,
and.281)

Nature of the Work
The clothes we wear, the foods we
eat, the houses in which we live—in
fact most things that help make our
lives better, from medical care to a
cleaner environment—result, in part,
from the work done by chemists.
Chemists search for and put into
practical use new knowledge about
substances. They develop new com­
pounds, such as rocket fuel; improve
foods; and create clothing that is
chemically treated against flamma­
bility, soil, and wrinkles.
Over one-half of all chemists work
in research and development. In ba­
sic research, chemists investigate the
properties and composition of matter
and the laws that govern the combi­
nation of elements. Basic research
often has practical uses. For exam­
ple, synthetic rubber and plastics
have resulted from research on small
molecules uniting to form larger ones

377

(polym erization). In research and
development, new products are cre­
ated or improved. The process of d e ­
veloping a product begins with de­
scriptions of the characteristics it
should have. If similar products exist,
chemists test samples to determine
their ingredients. If no such product
exists, experimentation with various
substances yields a product with the
required specifications.
Nearly one-fifth of all chemists
work in production and inspection.
In production, chemists prepare in­
structions (batch sheets) for plant
workers that specify the kind and
amount of ingredients to use and the
exact mixing time for each stage in
the process. At each step, samples
are tested for quality control to meet
industry and government standards.
Records and reports show results of
tests.
Others work as marketing or sales
representatives to obtain technical
knowledge of products sold. A num ­
ber of chemists teach in colleges and
universities. Some chemists are con­

Many modern products, including plastics and other synthetics, have resulted from

research in chemistry.


sultants to private industry and to
government agencies.
Chemists often specialize in one of
the subfields of chemistry. Analytical
chemists determine the structure,
composition, and nature of substanc­
es, and develop new techniques. An
outstanding example was the analysis
of moon rocks by an international
team of analytical chemists. Organic
chem ists at one time studied the
chemistry of only living things, but
this area has been broadened to in­
clude all carbon compounds. When
combined with other elements, car­
bon forms a vast number of substanc­
es. Many modern commercial prod­
ucts, including plastics and o ther
synthetics, have resulted from the
work of organic chemists. Inorganic
ch em ists study c o m p o u n d s o th e r
than carbon. They may, for example,
develop materials to use in solid state
e le c tr o n ic c o m p o n e n ts . P hysical
chem ists study energy transform a­
tions to find new and better energy
s o u r c e s . In c re a s in g ly , h o w e v e r,
chemists consider themselves m em ­
bers of new specialties that include
two of the preceding fields or more.
Biochemists, often considered as ei­
ther chemists or life scientists, are
discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.
Som e ch em ists specialize in the
chemistry of foods. (See statement
on food scientists elsewhere in the
Handbook.)

Places of Employment
Nearly 150,000 persons worked as
chemists in 1976. About three-fifths
of all chemists work in private indus­
try, almost one-half of them in the
chem ical m anufacturing industry.
M ost o th e rs work for com panies
manufacturing food, scientific instru­
ments, petroleum, paper, and electri­
cal equipment.
C o lle g e s and u n iv e rs itie s e m ­
ployed 25,000 chemists in 1976. An
equal number worked for State and
local g o v e r n m e n ts , p rim arily in
health and agriculture, and for Fed­
eral agencies, chiefly the Department
of Defense; Health, Education, and
Welfare; Agriculture; and Interior.
Smaller num bers worked for n o n ­
profit research organizations.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

378

Chemists are employed in all parts
of the country, but they are concen­
trated in large industrial areas. Near­
ly one-fifth of all chemists were lo­
cated in four metropolitan areas—
New York, Chicago, Philadelphia,
and Newark. About half worked in
six States—New York, New Jersey,
California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and
Illinois.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A bachelor’s degree with a major
in chemistry or a related discipline is
sufficient for many beginning jobs as
a chemist. However, graduate train­
ing is required for many research and
college teaching positions. Beginning
chemists should have a broad back­
ground in chemistry, with good labo­
ratory skills.
About 1,175 colleges and universi­
ties offer a b a c h e l o r ’s degree in
chemistry. In addition to required
courses in analytical, inorganic, or­
ganic, and physical chemistry, under­
graduates usually study mathematics
and physics.
More than 350 colleges and uni­
versities award advanced degrees in
chemistry. In graduate school, stu­
dents generally specialize in a par­
tic u la r s u b fie ld o f c h e m is tr y .

R e­

q u ire m e n ts for the m a s t e r ’s and
doctor’s degree usually include a the­
sis based on independent research.
Students planning careers as
chemists should enjoy studying sci­
ence and mathematics, and should
like working with their hands build­
ing scientific apparatus and perform­
ing experiments. Perseverance and
the ability to concentrate on detail
and to work independently are essen­
tial. Other desirable assets include
an inquisitive mind, and imagination.
Chemists also should have good eye­
sight and eye-hand coordination.
Graduates with the bachelor’s de­
gree generally begin their careers in
government or industry by analyzing
or testing products, working in tech­
nical sales or service, or assisting sen­
ior chemists in research and develop­
ment laboratories. Many employers
have special training and orientation
programs which are concerned with
the special knowledge needed for the

employer’s type of work. Candidates


for an advanced degree often teach
or do research in colleges and univer­
sities while working toward advanced
degrees.
Beginning chemists with the mas­
ter’s degree can usually go into ap ­
plied research in government or pri­
vate industry. They also may qualify
for teaching positions in 2-year col­
leges and some universities.
The Ph. D. generally is required
for basic research, for teaching in
colleges and universities, and for a d ­
vancem ent to many administrative
positions.

Employment Outlook
Employment
opportunities
in
chemistry are expected to be good
for graduates at all degree levels
through the mid-1980’s. The employ­
ment of chemists is expected to grow
about as fast as the average for all
occupations during this period; thou­
sands of new jobs will be created
each year. In addition, several thou­
sand openings will result each year as
chemists retire, die, or transfer to
other occupations.
This outlook for chemists is based
on the assumption that research and
development expenditures of govern­
m ent and in d u stry will in c re a s e
th rou gh th e m id - 1 9 8 0 ’s, a lth o u g h at
a slower rate than during the 1960’s.
If actual expenditures differ signifi­
cantly from those assumed, the out­
look for chemists would be altered.
Approximately three-fourths of to ­
tal employment is expected to be in
private industry, primarily in the d e ­
velopment of new products. In addi­
tion, industrial companies and gov­
ernment agencies will need chemists
to help solve problems related to e n ­
ergy shortages, pollution control, and
health care. Some also will work in
Federal, State, and local crime labo­
ratories.
Little growth in college and uni­
versity employment is expected, and
competition for teaching positions
will be keen. (See statement on col­
lege and university teachers else­
where in the Handbook.)
Some graduates will find openings
in high school teaching after com ­
p letin g p ro fe s s io n a l e d u c a tio n
courses and other requirements for a
State teaching certificate. They usu­

ally are then regarded as teachers
rather than chemists. (See statement
on secondary school teachers else­
where in the Handbook.)

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings of chemists averaged
more than twice as much as those of
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming. According to
the A m eric an C h em ical Society,
salaries of experienced chemists hav­
ing a b a c h e lo r ’s degree averaged
$21,200 a year in 1976; for those
with a m aster’s degree, $22,100; and
for those with a Ph. D., $25,800.
Private industry paid chemists with
the bachelor’s degree starting sala­
ries averaging $1 1,500 a year in
1976,; those with the m aster’s de­
gree, $13,600; and those with the
Ph. D„ $18,700.
In colleges and universities, the av­
erage salary of those with the mas­
t e r ’s degree was $ 17,000 and of
those with the Ph. D., $21,000. In
addition, many experienced chemists
in educational institutions supple­
ment their regular salaries with in­
come from consulting, lecturing, and
writing.
Depending on a person’s college
record, the annual starting salary in
the Federal Government in 1977 for
an inexperienced chemist with a
bachelor’s degree was either $9,303
or $1 1,523. Those who had 2 years
of graduate study could begin at
$14,097 a year. Chemists having the
Ph. D. degree could start at $17,056
or $20,442. The average salary for all
chemists in the Federal Government
in 1977 was $19,900 a year.
Chemists usually work in modern,
well-equipped, and well-lighted labo­
ratories, offices, or classrooms. Some
hazard is involved in handling poten­
tially explosive or highly caustic
chemicals. However, when safety
regulations are followed, health haz­
ards are negligible.

Sources of Additional
Information
General information on career op­
portunities and earnings for chemists
is available from:

PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS

379

American Chemical Society, 1155 16th St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.

involved in developing and improv­
ing packaging and storage methods.
Food scientists in production pre­
p a r e p r o d u c t i o n s p e c if ic a t i o n s ,
s c h e d u le p ro c e s s in g o p e r a t i o n s ,
maintain proper temperature and hu­
midity in storage areas, and supervise
sanitation operations, including the
efficient and economical disposal of
wastes. To increase efficiency, they
advise management on the purchase
of equipment and recommend new
sources of materials.
Some food scientists apply their
knowledge in areas such as market
research, advertising, and technical
sales. Others teach in colleges and
universities.

Manufacturing Chemists Association, 1825
Connecticut Ave. NW., Washington, D.C.
20009.

For specific information on Feder­
al Government careers, contact:
Interagency Board of U.S. Civil Service Exam­
iners for Washington, D.C., 1900 E St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20415.

For additional sources of informa­
tion, see statements on biochemists,
chemical engineers, food scientists,
and the industrial chemical industry.
Information on chemical technicians
may be found in the statement on
engineering and science technicians.

Places of Employment

FOOD SCIENTISTS
(D.O.T. 022.081,040.081, and
041.081)

Nature of the Work
In the past, consumers processed
most food in the home, but today
industry processes almost all foods.
A key worker involved in the devel­
opment and processing of the large
variety of foods available today is the
food scientist or food technologist.
Food scientists investigate the
chemical, physical, and biological
nature of food and apply this knowl­
edge to processing, preserving, pack­
aging, distributing, and storing an
ad e q u a te , nutritious, wholesom e,
and economical food supply. About
three-fifths of all scientists in food
processing work in research and de­
velopment. Others work in quality
assurance laboratories or in produc­
tion or processing areas of food
plants. Some teach or do basic re­
search in colleges and universities.
Food scientists in basic research
study the structure and composition
of food and the changes it undergoes
in storage and processing. For exam­
ple, they may develop new sources of
proteins, study the effects of process­
ing on microorganisms, or search for
factors that affect the flavor, texture,
or appearance of foods. Food scien­
tists who work in applied research
and development create new foods



Food scientists conduct tests to identify
bacterial cultures.

About 7,000 persons worked as
food scientists in 1976. Food scien­
tists work in all sectors of the food
industry and in every State. The
types of products and processes with
which they work may depend on the
locality. For example, in Maine and
Idaho they work with potato process­
ing; in the Midwest, with cereal prod­
ucts and meatpacking; and in Florida
and California, with citrus fruits and
vegetables.
Some food scientists do research
for Federal agencies such as the
Food and Drug Administration and
the Departments of Agriculture and
Defense; others work in State regula­
tory agencies. A few work for private
consulting firms and international or­
ganizations such as the United N a­
tions. Some teach or do research in
colleges and universities. (See state­
ment on college and university teach­
ers elsewhere in the Handbook.)

and develop new processing m eth­
ods. They also seek to improve exist­
ing foods by making them more nu­
tritious and enhancing their flavor,
color, and texture.
Food scientists insure that each
product will retain its characteristics
and nutritive value during storage.
They also conduct chemical and mi­
crobiological tests to see that prod­
ucts meet industry and government
standards, and they may determine
the nutritive contents of products in
order to comply with Federal nutri­
tional labeling requirements.
In quality control laboratories,
food scientists check raw ingredients
for freshness, maturity, or suitability
for processing. They may use m a­
chines th at test for tenderness by
finding the amount of force neces­
sary to puncture the item. Periodical­
Training, Other Qualifications,
ly, they inspect processing line o p ­
and Advancement
erations to insure conformance with
government and industry standards.
A bachelor’s degree with a major
F or ex a m p le , scientists test p r o ­ in food science, or in one of the
cessed foods for sugar, starch, p ro ­ physical or life sciences such as
tein, fat, vitamin, and mineral con­ chemistry and biology, is the usual
tent. T hey make sure that, afte r minimum requirement for beginning
processing, various enzymes are in­ jobs in food science. An advanced
active and microbial levels are ade­ degree is necessary for many jobs,
quately low so that the food will not particularly research and college
spoil during storage or present a safe­ teaching and for some management
ty hazard. Other food scientists are level jobs in industry.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

380

About 60 colleges and universities
offered programs leading to the
bachelor’s degree in food science in
1976. Undergraduate students m a­
joring in food science usually take
courses in physics, chemistry, m athe­
matics, biology, the social sciences
and humanities, and business admin­
istration, as well as a variety of food
science co u rses. Food scien ce
courses cover areas such as preserva­
tion, processing, sanitation, and m ar­
keting of foods.
Most of the colleges and universi­
ties that provide undergraduate food
scien c e p ro g ra m s also offer a d ­
vanced degrees. Graduate students
usually specialize in a particular area
of food science. Requirements for
the master’s or doctor’s degree vary
by institution, but usually include ex­
tensive laboratory work and a thesis.
People planning careers as food
scientists should have analytical
minds and like details and technical
work. Food scientists must be able to
express their ideas clearly to others.
Food scientists with a bachelor’s
degree might start work as quality
assurance chemists or as assistant
production managers. After gaining
experience, they can advance to
more responsible management jobs.
A food scientist might also begin as a
junior food chemist in a research and
development laboratory of a food
company, and be promoted to sec­
tion head or another research m an­
agement position.
People who have m aster’s degrees
may begin as senior food chemists in
a research and development labora­
tory. Those who have th e P h . D. de­
gree usually begin their careers doing
basic research or teaching.

Employment Outlook
Employment of food scientists is
expected to grow about as fast as the
average for all occupations through
the mid-1980’s. Most openings will
result from the need to replace those
who die, retire, or transfer to other
fields, although some openings will
arise from employment growth.
Employment is expected to grow
as the food industry responds to the
challenge of providing wholesome
and economical foods that can meet



changing consumer preferences and
food standards. In addition, both pri­
vate households and food service in­
stitutions that supply customers such
as airlines and restaurants will d e ­
mand a greater quantity of processed
convenience foods.
Employment opportunities should
generally be favorable through the
mid-1980’s for food scientists with
degrees in food science. Opportuni­
ties may not be as good for scientists
with degrees in related fields such as
chemistry or biology. Food scientists
with advanced degrees are expected
to have more favorable opportunities
than those with only a bachelor’s d e ­
gree.
An increasing number of food sci­
entists are expected to find jobs in
research and product development.
In recent years, expenditures for re ­
search and development in the food
industry have increased moderately
and probably will continue to rise.
Through research, new foods are
being produced from modifications
of wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans.
For ex a m p le , food scientists are
working to improve “ m eat” products
made from vegetable proteins. There
will be an increased need for food
scientists in quality control and pro­
duction because of the complexity of
products and processes and the ap ­
plication of higher processing stan­
dards and new government regula­
tions.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Food scientists had relatively high
earnings in 1976, twice as high as the
average for all nonsupervisory work­
ers in private industry, except farm ­
ing. Food scientists with the bache­
lo r ’s degree had average starting
salaries of about $11,300 a year in
1976. Those with a m aster’s degree
started at about $13,500, and those
with the Ph. D. d egree at a b o u t
$17,400.
In the Federal Government in
1977, food scientists with a bache­
lor’s degree could start at $9,303 or
$11,523 a year, depending on their
college grades. Those with a m aster’s
degree could start at $ 1 1,523 or
$14,097, and those with the Ph. D.
degree could begin at $17,056 or

$20,442. The average salary for ex­
perienced food scientists in the Fed­
eral Government was about $21,500
a year in 1977.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information on careers in food
science, contact:
Institute of Food Technologists, Suite 2120,
221 North LaSalle St., Chicago, 1 1
1.
60601.

PHYSICISTS
(D.O.T. 023.081 and.088)

Nature of the Work
The flight of astronauts through
space, the probing of ocean depths,
or even the safety of the family car
depend on research by physicists.
Through systematic observation and
experimentation, physicists describe
in mathematical terms the structure
of the universe and interaction of
matter and energy. Physicists devel­
op theories that describe the funda­
mental forces and laws of nature.
Determining such basic laws govern­
ing phenomena such as gravity, elec­
tromagnetism, and nuclear interac­
t i o n l e a d s to d i s c o v e r i e s a n d
innovations. For instance, the devel­
opment of irradiation therapy equipm e n t w hich d e s tro y s h a rm fu l
growths in humans without damaging
o th e r tissues re sulted from w hat
physicists know about nuclear radi­
ation. Physicists have contributed to
scientific progress in recent years in
areas such as nuclear energy, elec­
tronics, communications, aerospace,
and medical instrumentation.
The majority of all physicists work
in research and development. Some
do basic research to increase scientif­
ic knowledge. For example, they in­
vestigate the fundamentals of nuclear
structure and the forces between nu­
cleons (n u c le a r dyn am ics). The
equipment that physicists design for
their basic research can often be ap­
plied to other areas. For example,
lasers (devices that amplify light and

PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS

381

and large college and university en­
rollments. Nearly one-fourth of all
physicists work in four metropolitan
a r e a s —W ashington, D.C.; Boston,
Mass.; New York, N.Y.; and Los A n­
geles-Long Beach, Calif., and more
than one-third are concentrated in
three States—California, New York,
and Massachusetts.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Physicist developing a coating for optical fibers.

emit electromagnetic waves in a nar­
row, intense light beam) are utilized
in surgery; microwave devices are
used for ovens; and m easurem ent
techniques and instruments devel­
oped by physicists can detect and
measure the kind and number of cells
in blood or the amount of mercury or
lead in foods.
Some engineering-oriented physi­
cists do applied research and help
develop new products. For instance,
their knowledge of solid-state physics
led to the development of transistors
and microcircuits used in electronic
equipment that ranges from hearing
aids to missile guidance systems.
Many physicists teach and do re­
search in colleges and universities. A
small num ber work in inspection,
quality control, and other produc­
tion-related jobs in industry. Some
do consulting work.
Most physicists specialize in one
branch or more of the science—ele­
m en tary -p article physics; nuclear
physics; atomic, electron, and m o­
lecular physics; physics of condensed
matter; optics, acoustics, and plasma
physics; and the physics of fluids.
Some specialize in a subdivision of
one of these branches. For example,
within solid-state physics subdivi­
sions include ceramics, crystallogra­
phy, FRASER
Digitized for and semiconductors. However,


since all physics specialties rest on
the same fundamental principles, a
physicist’s work usually overlaps sev­
eral specialties.
Growing numbers of physicists are
specializing in fields combining phys­
ics and a related science—such as
astrophysics, biophysics, chemical
physics, and geophysics. F urther­
more, the practical applications of
physicists’ work have increasingly
merged with engineering.

Places of Employment
About 48,000 people worked as
physicists in 1976. Private industry
employed nearly one out of three
physicists, primarily in com panies
manufacturing chemicals, electrical
equipment, and aircraft and missiles.
Many o thers worked in hospitals,
c o m m e rc ia l la b o ra to rie s , and i n ­
dependent research organizations.
Nearly one-half of all physicists
taught or did research in colleges and
universities; some did both. About
8,000 physicists were employed by
the Federal Government in 1976,
mostly in the Departm ents of D e­
fense and Commerce.
Although physicists are employed
in all parts of the country, their e m ­
ploym ent is greatest in areas that
have heavy industrial concentrations

Graduate training in physics or a
closely related field is almost essen­
tial for most entry level jobs in phys­
ics and for advancement in all types
of work. The doctorate usually is
required for full faculty status at col­
leges and universities and for indus­
trial or government jobs administer­
ing r e s e a r c h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t
programs.
Those having m aster’s degrees
qualify for many research jobs in
private industry and in the Federal
Government. Some work in colleges
and universities, instructing and as­
sisting in research while studying for
their Ph. D.
Those having bachelor’s degrees
qualify for some applied research
and development jobs in private in­
dustry and in the Federal Govern­
ment. Some are employed as re­
sea rch assistants in colleges and
universities while studying for ad­
vanced degrees. Many with a bache­
lo r’s degree in physics apply their
physics training primarily in jobs in
e n g in e e rin g and o t h e r scientific
fields. (See statements on engineers,
geophysicists, programmers, and
systems analysts elsewhere in the
Handbook.)
Over 800 colleges and universities
offer a bachelor’s degree in physics.
In addition,
many
engineering
schools offer a physics major as part
of the general curriculum. The un­
dergraduate program in physics pro­
vides a broad background in the sci­
ence and serves as a base for later
s p e c ia liz atio n e ith e r in g ra d u ate
school or on the job. Some typical
physics courses are mechanics, elec­
tricity and magnetism, optics, ther­
modynamics, and atomic and m o ­
lecular physics. Students also take
courses in chem istry and require
many courses in mathematics.

382

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

About 300 colleges and universi­
ties offer advanced degrees in phys­
ics. In graduate school, the student,
with faculty guidance, usually works
in a specific field. The graduate stu­
dent, especially the candidate for the
Ph. D. degree, spends a large portion
of his or her time in research.
Students planning a career in phys­
ics should have an inquisitive mind,
mathematical ability, and imagina­
tion. They should be able to work on
their own, since physicists, particu­
larly in basic research, often receive
only limited supervision.
Physicists often begin their careers
doing routine laboratory tasks. After
some experience, they are assigned
more com plex tasks and may a d ­
vance to work as project leaders or
research directors. Some work in top
management jobs. Physicists who de­
velop new products frequently form
their own com panies or join new
firms to exploit their own ideas.

Employment Outlook
Employment
opportunities
in
physics are expected to be favorable
through the mid-1980’s for persons
with graduate degrees in physics. Al­
though employment of physicists is
expected to grow more slowly than
the average for all occupations over
the period, fewer physicists are ex­
pected to enter the labor force than
in the past. The number of graduate
degrees awarded annually in physics
has been declining since 1970, and
this trend is expected to continue
through the m id-1980’s. Most job
openings will arise as physicists re­




tire, die, or transfer to other occupa­
tions.
Many physicists work in research
and development (R&D). The antici­
pated rapid increase in R&D expen­
d i t u r e s t h r o u g h th e m i d - 1 9 8 0 ’s
should result in increased require­
ments for physicists. If actual R&D
expenditure levels and patterns were
to differ significantly from those as­
sum ed, how ever, the outlook for
physicists would be altered.
Some physicists with advanced d e­
grees will be needed to teach in col­
leges and universities, but competi­
tion for these jobs is expected to be
keen. The number of teaching jobs is
expected to decline as the number of
physics degrees awarded falls over
the 1976 to 1985 period.
Persons with only a bachelor’s d e ­
gree in physics are expected to face
keen competition for physicist jobs
through the mid-1980’s. Some new
graduates will find employment as
engineers or technicians. Others will
find opportunitie s as high school
physics teachers after completing the
required educational courses and o b ­
taining a State teaching certificate.
However, they are usually regarded
as teachers rather than as physicists.
(See statement on secondary school
teachers elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Physicists have relatively high sala­
ries, with average earnings more than
twice those of nonsupervisory work­
ers in private industry, except farm­
ing. Starting salaries for physicists
who had a bachelor’s degree aver­

aged about $12,600 a year in m anu­
facturing industries in 1976; a mas­
te r’s degree, $13,600; and a Ph. D.,
$19,000.
Depending on their college re c­
ords, physicists with a bachelor’s de­
gree could start in the Federal Gov­
ernment in 1977, at either $9,303 or
$1 1,523 a year. Beginning physicists
having a m aster’s degree could start
at $1 1,523 or $14,097, and those
having the Ph. D. degree could begin
at $ 1 7 ,0 5 6 or $ 2 0 ,4 4 2 . A verage
earnings for all physicists in the Fed­
e r a l G o v e r n m e n t in 1977 w e re
$23,850 a year.
Starting salaries on college and
university faculties for physicists hav­
ing a m a s t e r ’s d e g r e e a v e ra g e d
$10,800 in 1976, and for those hav­
ing the Ph. D., $12,800. (See state­
ment on college and university teach­
ers elsew here in the H andbook.)
Many faculty physicists supplement
their regular incomes by working as
consultants and taking on special re­
search projects.

Sources of Additional
Information
General information on career op­
portunities in physics is available
from:
American Institute of Physics, 335 East 45th
St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

For information on Federal Gov­
ernment careers, contact:
Interagency Board of U.S. Civil Service Exam­
iners for Washington, D.C., 1900 E St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20415.

OTHER SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL
OCCUPATIONS

BROADCAST
TECHNICIANS
(D.O.T. 194.168, .281, .282, and
782; 957.282; and 963.168 through
.887)

Nature of the Work
Broadcast technicians operate and
maintain the electronic equipment
used to record and transmit radio
and television programs. They work
with microphones, sound recorders,
light and sound effects, television
cameras, video tape recorders, and
other equipment.
In the control room , broadcast
technicians operate equipment that
regulates the quality of sounds and
pictures being recorded or b road­
cast. They also operate controls that
switch broadcasts from one camera
or studio to another, from film to live
programming, or from network to lo­




cal programs. By means of hand sig­
nals and, in television, by use of tele­
phone headsets, they give technical
directions to personnel in the studio.
When events outside the studios
are to be broadcast, technicians may
go to the site and set up, test, and
operate the equipment. After the
broadcast, they dismantle the equip­
ment and return it to the station.
As a rule, broadcast technicians in
small stations perform a variety of
duties. In large stations and in net­
works, on the other hand, techni­
cians are more specialized, although
specific job assignments may change
from day to day. Transmitter techni­
cians monitor and log outgoing sig­
nals and are responsible for transmitter o p e ra tio n . Mai nt enanc e
technicians set up, maintain, and re­
pair electronic broadcasting equip­
ment. Audio control technicians regu­
late sound pickup, transmission, and
switching, and video control techni­
cians regulate the quality, brightness,
and contrast of television pictures.

The lighting of television programs is
directed by lighting technicians. For
programs originating outside the stu­
dio,/ieW technicians set up and oper­
ate broadcasting equipment. Record­
ing technicians operate and maintain
sound recording equipment; video re­
cording tech n ic ia n s o p e r a t e and
maintain video tape recording equip­
ment. Sometimes the term “ engi­
neer” is substituted for “ technician.”

Places of Employment
About 22,500 broadcast techni­
cians were employed in radio and
television stations in 1976. Most ra­
dio stations employ fewer than four
technicians, although a few large
ones have more than 10. Nearly all
television stations employ at least 10
broadcast technicians, and those in
large m etro p o litan areas average
about 30. In addition to the techni­
cians, some supervisory personnel,
with job titles such as chief engineer
or director of engineering, work in
engineering departments.
Although broadcast technicians
are employed in every State, most
are located in large metropolitan
areas. The highest paying and most
specialized jobs are concentrated in
New York, Los Angeles, and Wash­
ington, D.C.—the originating centers
for most of the network programs.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A person interested in becoming a
broadcast technician should plan to
get a First Class Radiotelephone O p­
e r a to r License from the F ederal
C o m m u n ic a tio n s C o m m issio n
(F C C ). Federal law requires that
a n y o n e who o p e r a t e s b r o a d c a s t
transm itters in television stations
must hold such a license. The law
also requires that the chief engineer
of a broadcasting station hold a first
class license. The FCC issues a Third
Class O p e ra to r License, too, and
some stations require all their broad­
cast technicians to have one or the
other of these licenses. Applicants
for an FCC license must pass a series
of written examinations. These cover
construction and operation of trans­
mission and receiving equipm ent;
characteristics of electrom agnetic
383

384

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

waves; and regulations and practices,
b o th F e d e r a l and i n t e r n a ti o n a l ,
which govern broadcasting.
Among high school courses, alge­
bra, trigonometry, physics, electron­
ics, and other sciences provide valu­
ab le b a c k g r o u n d fo r p e r s o n s
anticipating careers in this occupa­
tion. Building and operating an am a­
teur radio station also is good train­
ing. Taking an electronics course in a
technical school is still another good
way to acquire the knowledge for be­
coming a broadcast technician. Some
persons gain work experience as tem­
porary employees while filling in for
regular broadcast technicians who
are on vacation.
Many schools give courses espe­
cially designed to prepare the student
for the F C C ’s first class license test.
Technical school or college training
is an advantage for those who hope
to advance to supervisory positions
or to the more specialized jobs in
large stations and in the networks.
Persons with FCC first class licens­
es who get entry jobs are instructed
and advised by the chief engineer or
by o th er experienced technicians
concerning the work procedures of
the station. In small stations, they
may start by operating the transmit­
ter and handling other technical du­
ties, after a brief instruction period.
As they acquire more experience and
skill they are assigned to more re­
sponsible jobs. Those who dem on­
strate a b o v e -av e rag e ability may
move into top-level technical posi­
tions, such as supervisory technician
or chief engineer. A college degree in
engineering is becoming increasingly
important for advancement to super­
visory and executive positions.

Employment Outlook
People seeking beginning jobs as
broadcast technicians face competi­
tion, especially in major metropoli­
tan areas where the number of quali­
fied jobseekers exceeds the number
of openings. Job prospects may be
better in smaller cities for people
with appropriate training in electron­
ics.
Employment of broadcast techni­
cians is expected to increase about as




fast as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. Most job
openings, however, will result from
the need to re p la ce e x p e rien ce d
technicians who retire, die, or trans­
fer to other occupations.
Some new job opportunities for
technicians will arise as new radio
and television stations go on the air.
Demand for broadcast technicians
also will increase as cable television
stations broadcast more of their own
programs. At the same time, techno­
logical developm ents are likely to
limit future demand; such laborsav­
ing technical advances as automatic
programming, autom atic operation
logging, and remote control of trans­
mitters all hold down demand for ad­
ditional technicians.

varied. When rem ote pickups are
m ade, how ever, te c h n ic ia n s may
work out of doors at some distance
from the studios, under less favorable
conditions.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about radiotele­
phone operator’s examinations, and
guides to study for them, write to:
Federal Communications Commission, Wash­
ington, D.C. 20554.

For inform ation on careers for
broadcast technicians, write to:
National Association of Broadcasters, 1771 N
St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1111
16th St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Salaries of beginning technicians
in commerical radio and television
ranged from about $155 to $215 a
week in 1976 and those of experi­
enced technicians from about $200
to $450, according to the limited in­
formation available. As a rule, tech­
nicians’ wages are highest in large
cities and in large stations. Techni­
cians employed by television stations
usually are paid more than those who
work for radio stations because tele­
vision work is generally more com ­
plex. Technicians employed by edu­
c a tio n a l b ro a d c a stin g statio n s
generally earn less than those who
work for commercial stations.
Most technicians in large stations
work a 40-hour week with overtime
pay for additional hours. Some
broadcast technicians in the larger
cities work a 37-hour week. In small
stations, many technicians work 4 to
12 hours of overtime each week.
Evening, night, and weekend work
frequently is necessary since many
stations are on the air as many as 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. Network
technicians may occasionally have to
work continuously for many hours
and under great pressure in order to
meet broadcast deadlines.
T e c h n ic ia n s generally work in ­
doors in pleasant surroundings. The
work is interesting, and the duties are

DRAFTERS
(D.O.T. 001.281, 002.281, 003.281,
005.281, 007.281, 010.281,
014.281, and 017.)

Nature of the Work
When building a space capsule,
television set, or bridge, workers fol­
low drawings that show the exact di­
mensions and specifications of the
entire object and each of its parts.
Workers who draw these plans are
drafters.
Drafters prepare detailed drawings
based on rough sketches, specifica­
tions, and calulations made by scien­
tists, engineers, architects, and d e ­
signers. T hey also c a lc u la te the
strength, quality, quantity, and cost
of materials. Final drawings contain a
detailed view of the object from all
sides as well as specifications for m a­
terials to be used, procedures fol­
lowed, and other information to car­
ry out the job.
In preparing drawings, drafters use
compasses, dividers, protractors, tri­
angles, and other drafting devices.
They also use en ginee ring h a n d ­
books, tables, and calculators to help
solve technical problems.
Drafters are classified according to
the work they do or their level of
responsibility. Senior drafters trans-

385

OTHER SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS

as junior drafters. After gaining expe­
rience, they may advance to check­
ers, detailers, senior drafters, or su­
p e r v i s o r s . S o m e m ay b e c o m e
independent designers. Courses in
engineering and mathematics some­
times enable drafters to transfer to
engineering positions.

Employment Outlook

late an engineer’s or architect’s pre­
liminary plans into design “ layouts”
(scale drawings of the object to be
built). D etailers draw each p art
shown on the layout, and give dimen­
sions, materials, and other informa­
tion to make the drawing clear and
complete. Checkers carefully exam­
ine drawings for errors in computing
or recording dimensions and specifi­
cations. Under the supervision of ex­
perienced drafters, tracers make mi­
nor corrections and trace drawings
for reproduction on paper or plastic
film.
Drafters usually specialize in a par­
ticular field of work, such as m e­
chanical, electrical, electronic, aero­
nautical, structural, or architectural
drafting.

Places of Employment
About 320,000 persons worked as
drafters in 1976—more than 9 out of
10 worked in private industry. Engi­
neering and architectural firms em­
ployed about 3 out of the 10. Other
major employers included the fabri­
cated metals, electrical equipment,
machinery, and construction indus­
tries.
About 20,000 drafters worked for
F ederal, State, and local govern­
ments in 1976. Most drafters in the
Federal Government worked for the
Defense Department; those in State
and local governments were mainly
in highway and public works depart­
ments. A n o th e r several thousand
drafters worked for colleges and uni­
versities and nonprofit organizations.




Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Persons interested in becoming
drafters can acquire the necessary
training in technical institutes, junior
and community colleges, extension
divisions of universities, and voca­
tional and technical high schools.
Some persons receive training and
experience in the A rm ed Forces.
Others qualify through on-the-job
training program s com bined with
part-time schooling or 3- to 4-year
apprenticeship programs.
Training for a career in drafting,
whether in a high school or posthigh
sch o o l p r o g r a m , sh o u ld in clu d e
courses in mathematics, physical sci­
en c es, m e c h a n ic a l d raw ing, an d
drafting. Shop practices and shop
skills also are helpful since many
higher level drafting jobs require
knowledge of manufacturing or con­
struction methods. Many technical
schools offer courses in structural d e­
sign, architectural drawing, and engi­
neering or industrial technology.
Those planning careers in drafting
should be able to do freehand draw­
ings of three-dimensional objects and
also detailed work requiring a high
degree o f accuracy. They should
have good eyesight and manual dex­
terity. In addition, they should be
able to function as part of a team
since they work directly with engi­
neers, architects, and skilled work­
ers. Artistic ability is helpful in some
specialized fields.
High school graduates usually start
out as tracers. Those having posthigh
school technical training may begin

Employment of drafters is expect­
ed to increase faster than the average
for all occupations. This growth,
along with the need to replace those
who retire, die, or move into other
fields of work, should provide favor­
able job opportunities through the
mid-1980’s. Holders of an associate
(2-year) degree in drafting will have
the best prospects. Many large em ­
ployers already require postsecon­
dary technic al education, though
well-qualified high school graduates
who have studied drafting may find
opportunities in some types of jobs.
Employment of drafters is expect­
ed to rise rapidly as a result of the
increasingly complex design p ro b ­
lems of modern products and pro­
cesses. In addition, more support
personnel will be needed as the em ­
ployment of engineers and scientists
grows. Photoreproduction of draw­
ings and expanding use of electronic
drafting equipment and computers,
however, will reduce the need for
less skilled drafters.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In private industry, tracers aver­
aged about $8,400 a year in 1976,
while more experienced drafters av­
eraged between $9,800 and $12,000
a year. S enior d ra fte rs averaged
about $15,300 a year in 1976. On the
average, experienced drafters earn
a b o u t one and o n e-h alf times as
much as the average earnings of nonsupervisory workers in private indus­
try, except farming.
The Federal Government paid
drafters having an associate degree
starting salaries of $8,316 a year in
1977. Those with less education or
experience generally started at
$7,408. The average Federal Gov­

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

386

ernment salary for all drafters was
about $11,000 a year.
Although drafters usually work in
well-lighted
and
well-ventilated
rooms, they often must sit for long
periods of time doing very detailed
work. Occasionally, drafters may
visit other offices or construction
sites to gain first-hand information
about a certain assignment.

Sources of Additional
Information
General information on careers for
drafters is available from:
American Institute for Design and Drafting,
3119 Price Rd., Bartlesville, Okla. 74003.
International Federation of Professional and
Technical Engineers, 1126 16th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

See Sources of Additional Infor­
mation in the statement on engineer­
ing and science technicians else­
where in the Handbook.

ENGINEERING AND
SCIENCE TECHNICIANS
(D.O.T. 002. through 029.)

Nature of the Work
Knowledge of science, m athem at­
ics, industrial machinery, and techni­
cal processes enables engineering
and science technicians to work in all
phases of business and government,
from research and design to m anu­
facturing, sales, and customer ser­
vice. Although their jobs are more
limited in scope and more practically
oriented than those of engineers or
scientists, technicians often apply the
theoretical knowledge developed by
engineers and scientists to actual
situations. Technicians frequently
use complex electronic and mechani­
cal instruments, experimental labora­
tory equipment, and drafting instru­
m e n t s . A l m o s t all t e c h n i c i a n s
described in this statement must be
able to use technical handbooks and
computing devices such as slide rules
and FRASER
Digitized for calculating machines.


In research and development, one
of the largest areas of employment,
technicians set up experiments and
calculate the results using complex
instruments. They also assist engi­
neers and scientists in developing ex­
perimental equipment and models by
making drawings and sketches and,
frequently, by doing routine design
work.
In production, technicians usually
follow the plans and general direc­
tions of engineers and scientists, but
often without close supervision. They
may prepare specifications for m ate­
rials, devise tests to insure product
quality, or study ways to improve the
efficiency of an operation. They of­
ten supervise production workers to
m ake sure they follow prescribed
plans and procedures. As a product is
built, technicians check to see that
specifications are followed, keep en­
gineers and scientists informed as to
progress, and investigate production
problems.
As sales workers or field represen­
tatives for m anufacturers, te c h n i­
cians give advice on installation and
maintenance of complex machinery,
and may write specifications and
technical manuals. (See statement on
technical writers elsewhere in the
Handbook.)
Technicians may work in the fields
of engineering, physical science, or
life science. Within these general
fields, job titles may describe the
level (biological aide or biological
technician), duties (quality control
technician or time study analyst), or
area of work (mechanical, electrical,
or chemical).
As an engineering technician, one
might work in any of the following
areas:
A eronautical T echnology. T e c h n i­
cians in this area work with engineers
and scientists to design and produce
aircraft, rockets, guided missiles, and
spacecraft. Many aid engineers in
preparing design layouts and models
of stru ctu re s, control systems, or
equipment installations by collecting
information, making computations,
and performing laboratory tests. For
example, a technician might estimate
weight factors, centers of gravity,
and other items affecting load capac­

ity of an airplane or missile. Other
technicians prepare or check draw­
ings for technical accuracy, practica­
bility, and economy.
Aeronautical technicians frequent­
ly work as manufacturers’ field ser­
vice representatives, serving as the
link between their company and the
military services, com m ercial air­
lines, and other customers. Techni­
cians also prepare technical informa­
tio n fo r in s tr u c tio n m a n u a ls ,
bulletins, catalogs, and other litera­
ture. (See statements on aerospace
engineers, airplane mechanics, and
occupations in aircraft, missile, and
spacecraft manufacturing elsewhere
in the Handbook.)
Air-Conditioning, Heating, and R e­
frigeration Technology. A ir-condi­
tioning, heating, and refrigeration
te c h n ic ia n s design, m a n u fa c tu re ,
sell, and service equipment to regu­
late interior tem peratures. T echni­
cians in this field often specialize in
one area, such as refrigeration, and
sometimes in a particular type of ac­
tivity, such as research and develop­
ment.
When working for firms that
m a n u fa ctu re te m p e ra tu re -c o n tro l­
ling equipment, technicians generally
work in research and engineering de­
partm ents, where they assist engi­
neers and scientists in the design and
testing of new equipment or produc­
tion methods. For example, a techni­
cian may construct an experimental
model to test its durability and o per­
ating ch a racteristics. T echnicians
also work as sales workers for equip­
ment manufacturers or dealers, and
must be able to supply engineering
firms and other contractors that de­
sign and install systems with informa­
tion on installation, maintenance, op­
erating costs, and the performance
specifications of the equipment. O th ­
er technicians work for contractors,
where they help design and prepare
installation instructions for air-condi­
tioning, heating, or refrigeration sys­
tems. Still others work in customer
service, and are responsible for su­
pervising the installation and mainte­
nance of equipment. (See statement
on refrigeration and air-conditioning
mechanics elsewhere in the Hand­
book. )

OTHER SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS

Civil Engineering Technology. Tech­
nicians in this area assist civil engi­
neers in planning, designing, and
c o n s t r u c ti n g h ig h w ay s, b rid g es,
dams, and other structures. They of­
ten specialize in one area such as
highway or structural technology.
During the planning stage, they esti­
mate costs, prepare specifications for
materials, or participate in surveying,
drafting, or designing. Once c o n ­
struction begins, they assist the con­
tractor or superintendent in scheduling c o n s t r u c t i o n a c t i v i t i e s o r
inspecting the work to assure con­
formance to blueprints and specifica­
tions. (See statements on civil engi­
n eers, d ra fte rs , and su rv ey o rs
elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Electronics Technology. Technicians
in this field develop, manufacture,
and service electronic equipment
and systems. The types of equipment
range from radio, radar, sonar, and
television to industrial and medical




measuring or control devices, naviga­
tional e q u ip m e n t, and e lec tro n ic
computers. Because the field is so
broad, technicians often specialize in
one area such as automatic control
devices or electronic amplifiers. Fur­
th e rm o re , technological a d v a n c e ­
ment is constantly opening up new
areas of work. For example, the d e ­
velopment of printed circuits stimu­
lated the growth of m iniaturized
electronic systems.
When working in design, produc­
tion, or customer service, electronic
technicians use sophisticated m ea­
suring and diagnostic devices to test,
adjust, and repair equip m en t. In
many cases, they must understand
the requirements of the field in which
the electronic device is being used. In
designing equipment for space explo­
ration, for example, they must con­
sider the need for minimum weight
and volume and maximum resistance
to shock, extreme temperature, and
pressure. Some electronics techni­

387

cians also work in technical sales,
while others work in the radio and
television b ro a d c a s tin g industry.
(See statements on broadcast techni­
cians and occupations in radio and
television broadcasting elsewhere in
the Handbook.)
Industrial Production Technology.
T e c h n ician s in this area, usually
called industrial or production tech­
nicians, assist industrial engineers on
problems involving the efficient use
of perso n n el, m aterials, and m a ­
chines to produce goods and servic­
es. They prepare layouts of machin­
ery and equipment, plan the flow of
work, make statistical studies, and
analyze production costs. Industrial
technicians also conduct time and
motion studies (analyze the time and
movements a worker needs to ac­
complish a task) to improve the pro­
duction methods and procedures in
manufacturing plants.
Many industrial technicians a c ­
quire experience that enables them
to qualify for other jobs. For exam­
ple, those specializing in machinery
and production methods may move
into industrial safety. Others, in job
analysis, may set job standards and
interview, test, hire, and train per­
sonnel. Still others may move into
production supervision. (See state­
ments on personnel workers and in­
dustrial engineers elsewhere in the
Handbook.)
Mechanical Technology. Mechanical
technology is a broad term that cov­
ers a large num ber of specialized
fields including automotive technol­
ogy, diesel technology, tool design,
m a c h in e design, and p ro d u c tio n
technology.
Technicians assist engineers in de­
sign and development work by m ak­
ing freehand sketches and rough lay­
outs of pro p o se d m achine ry and
o th e r e q u ip m e n t and parts. This
work re quires know ledge of m e ­
chanical principles involving toler­
ance, stress, strain, friction, and vi­
bration factors. T ec h n ician s also
analyze the costs and practical value
of designs.
In planning and testing experimen­
tal machines and equipment for per­
formance, durability, and efficiency,

388

technicians record data, make com ­
putations, plot graphs, analyze re ­
sults, and write reports. They some­
times recommend design changes to
improve performance. Their job of­
ten requires skill in the use of com ­
plex instrum ents, test equipm ent,
and gauges, as well as in the prepara­
tion and interpretation of drawings.
When a product is ready for pro­
duction, technicians help prepare
layouts and drawings of the assembly
process and of parts to be manufac­
tured. They frequently help estimate
labor costs, equipment life, and plant
space. Some mechanical technicians
test and inspect machines and equip­
ment in manufacturing departments
or work with engineers to eliminate
p ro d u c tio n problem s. O thers are
technical sales workers.
Tool designers are among the bet­
ter known specialists in mechanical
engineering technology. Tool design­
ers prepare sketches of the designs
for cutting tools, jigs, dies, special
fixtures, and other devices used in
mass production. Frequently, they
redesign existing tools to improve
their efficiency. They also make or
supervise others in making detailed
drawings of tools and fixtures.
Machine drafting, with some de­
signing, is another major area often
grouped under mechanical technol­
ogy and is described in the statement
on drafters. (Also see statements on
m echanical engineers, automobile
m e c h a n ic s , m a n u f a c t u r e r s ’ sales
workers, and diesel mechanics else­
where in the Handbook.)
Instrum entation Technology. A uto­
mated manufacturing and industrial
processes, oceanographic and space
exploration, weather forecasting, sat­
ellite communication systems, envi­
ronmental protection, and medical
research have helped to make instru­
mentation technology a fast-growing
field for technicians. They help de­
velop and design complex measuring
and control devices such as those in a
spacecraft that sense and measure
changes in heat or pressure, auto­
matically record data, and make nec­
essary adjustm ents. These te c h n i­
cians have extensive knowledge of
physical sciences as well as electri­
cal-electronic
 and mechanical engi­


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

neering. (See statem ent on instru­
m e n t w o r k e r s e ls e w h e re in th e
Handbook.)
Several areas of opportunity exist
in the physical sciences:
C hem ical technicians work with
chemists and chemical engineers to
develop, sell, and utilize chemical
and related products and equipment.
Most chemical technicians do re ­
search and development, testing, or
other laboratory work. They often
set up and conduct tests on processes
and products being developed or im­
proved. For example, a technician
may examine steel for carbon, phos­
phorus, and sulfur content or test a
lubricating oil by subjecting it to
changing temperatures. The techni­
cian measures reactions, analyzes the
results of experiments, and records
data that will be the basis for deci­
sions and future research.
Chemical technicians in produc­
tion generally put into commercial
operation those products or process­
es developed in research laborato­
ries. They assist in making the final
design, installing equipm ent, and
training and supervising operators on
the production line. Technicians in
quality control test materials, p ro ­
duction processes, and final prod­
ucts to insure that they m eet the
m a n u fa c tu re r’s specifications and
quality standards. Many also work as
tech n ic al sales perso n n el, selling
chemicals or chemical products.
Many chemical technicians use
computers and instruments, such as a
dilatometer (which measures the ex­
pansion of a substance). Because the
field of chemistry is so broad, chemi­
cal technicians frequently specialize
in a particular industry such as food
processing or pharmaceuticals. (See
statements on chemists, chemical e n ­
gineers, and occupations in the in­
dustrial chemical industry elsewhere
in the Handbook.)
Meteorological technicians support
meteorologists in the study of atm o­
spheric conditions. Technicians cali­
brate instruments, observe, record,
and re p o rt m eteorological o c c u r ­
rences, and assist in research projects
and the development of scientific in­
struments.
Geological technicians assist geolo­
gists in evaluating earth processes.

C urrently much research is being
conducted in seismology, petroleum
and mineral exploration, and ecol­
ogy. These technicians install seismographic instrum ents, record m e a ­
surements from these instruments,
assist in field evaluation of e a rth ­
quake damage and surface displace­
ment, or assist geologists in e a rth ­
q u ak e p re d ic tio n re searc h .
In
petroleum and mineral exploration,
they help conduct tests and record
sound wave data to determine the
likelihood of successful drilling, or
use radiation detection instruments
and collect core samples to help ge­
ologists evaluate the economic possi­
bilities of mining a given resource.
Hydrologic technicians gather data
to help hydrologists predict river
stages and water quality levels. They
monitor instruments that measure
water flow, water table levels, or
water quality, and record and ana­
lyze the data obtained. (See state­
m ent on environm e nta l scientists
elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Technician positions in the life sci­
ences generally are classified into
two categories:
Agricultural technicians work with
agricultural scientists in the areas of
food production and processing.
Plant technicians conduct tests and
experiments to improve the yield and
quality of crops, or to increase resist­
ance to disease, insects, or other haz­
ards. Technicians in soil science an a­
lyse t h e c h e m i c a l and p h y s ic a l
properties of various soils to help de­
termine the best uses for these soils.
Animal husbandry technicians work
mainly with the breeding and nutri­
tion of animals. O ther agricultural
technicians are employed in the food
industry as food processing techni­
cians. They work in quality control
or in food science research, helping
food scientists develop better and
more efficient ways of processing
food material for human consum p­
tion. (See statement on food scien­
tists elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Biological technicians work prim ar­
ily in laboratories where they p er­
form tests and experim ents under
controlled conditions. Microbiologi­
cal technicians study microscopic or­

OTHER SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS

ganisms and may be involved in im­
munology or parasitology research.
Laboratory animal technicians study
and report on the reaction of labora­
tory animals to certain physical and
chemical stimuli. They also study and
conduct research to help biologists
develop cures that may be applied to
human diseases. Biochemical techni­
cians assist biochemists in the chemi­
cal analysis of biological substances
(blood, o ther body fluids, foods,
drugs). Most of their work involves
conducting experiments and report­
ing their results to a biochemist. As a
biological technician, one might also
work primarily with insects, studying
insect control, developing new insec­
ticides, or determining how to use
insects to control other insects or un­
desirable plants. (See statements on
life scientists elsewhere in the Hand­
book.)
Technicians also specialize in
fields such as metallurgical (metal),
electrical, and optical technology. In
the atomic energy field, technicians
work with scientists and engineers on
problems of radiation safety, inspec­
tion, and d e c o n ta m in a tio n . (See
s tatem en t on o c c u p a tio n s in the
atomic energy field elsewhere in the
Handbook.) New areas of work in­
clude e n v iro n m e n ta l p r o te c tio n ,
where technicians study the prob­
lems of air and water pollution, and
industrial safety.
P la c e s o f E m p lo y m e n t

Over 585,000 persons worked as
engineering and science technicians
in 1976. Almost 400,000 worked in
engineering fields, about 130,000 in
the physical science occupations,
and about 55,000 in the life sciences.
About two-thirds of all technicians
worked in private industry. In the
manufacturing sector, the largest em­
ployers were the electrical equip­
m ent, ch e m ic a l, m a c h in e ry , and
aerospace industries. In nonm anu­
facturing, large numbers worked in
wholesale and retail trade, communi­
cations, and in engineering and ar­
chitectural firms.
In 1976, the Federal Government
employed about 95,000 technicians,
chiefly as engineering and electron­
ics technicians, equipment special­
ists, biological technicians, ca rto ­



graphic technicians (m apm aking),
m e t e o r o lo g i c a l te c h n i c ia n s , an d
physical science technicians. The
largest number worked for the De­
p artm ent of Defense; most of the
others worked for the Departments
of Transportation, Agriculture, Inte­
rior, and Commerce.
State gov ern m e n t agencies e m ­
ployed nearly 50,000 engineering
and science technicians, and local
governments about 11,500. The re­
mainder worked for colleges and uni­
versities and nonprofit organizations.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Although persons can qualify for
technician jobs through many combi­
nations of work experience and edu­
cation, most employers prefer appli­
cants who have had some specialized
technical training. Specialized train­
ing is available at technical institutes,
junior and community colleges, area
vocational-technical schools, exten­
sion divisions of colleges and univer­
sities, and vocational-technical high
schools. Some engineering and sci­
ence students who have not complet­
ed the bachelor’s degree and others
who have degrees in science and
mathematics also are able to qualify
for technician positions.
Persons also can qualify for techni­
cian jobs by less formal methods.
Workers may learn through on-thejo b train in g , ap p re n tic e s h ip p r o ­
grams, or correspondence schools.
Some qualify on the basis of experi­
ence gained in the Armed Forces.
However, postsecondary training is
becoming increasingly necessary for
ad v a n cem en t to m ore responsible
jobs.
Some o f the types of postsecon­
dary and other schools that provide
technical training are discussed in
the following paragraphs:
Technical Institutes. Technical in­
stitutes offer training to qualify stu­
dents for a job immediately after
graduation with a minimum of onthe-job training. In general, students
receive intensive technical training
but less theory and general education
than in engineering schools or liberal
arts colleges. A few technical insti­

389

tutes and community colleges offer
cooperative programs in which stu­
dents spend part of the time in school
and part in paid employment related
to their studies.
Some technical institutes operate
as regular or extension divisions of
colleges and universities. Other insti­
tutions are operated by States and
municipalities, or by private organi­
zations.
Junior and C om m unity Colleges.
Curriculums in junior and communi­
ty colleges which prepare students
for technician occupations are simi­
lar to those in technical institutes,
but with more emphasis on theory
and liberal arts course work. After
c o m p letin g the 2-year program s,
some graduates qualify for techni­
cian jobs while others continue their
education at 4-year colleges. Most
large community colleges offer 2year technical programs, and many
employers prefer graduates who have
more specialized training.
Area Vocational-Technical Schools.
These postsecondary public institu­
tions serve students from surround­
ing areas and train them for jobs in
the local area. Most of these schools
require a high school degree or its
equivalent for admission.
Other Training. Some large corpo­
rations conduct training programs
and operate private schools to meet
their needs for technically trained
personnel in specific jobs; such train­
ing rarely includes general studies.
Training for some technician occu­
pations, for instance tool designers
and electronic technicians, is avail­
able through formal 2- to 4-year ap­
prenticeship programs. The appren­
tice gets on-the-job training under
the close supervision of an experi­
enced technician and related techni­
cal knowledge in classes, usually af­
ter working hours.
The Armed Forces have trained
many technicians, especially in elec­
tronics. Although military job re ­
quirem ents generally are different
from those in the civilian economy,
military technicians often are able to
find employment with only minimal
additional training.
Technician training also is avail­
able from many private technical and
correspondence schools that often

390

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

specialize in a single field such as
electronics. Some of these schools
are owned and operated by large cor­
porations that have the resources to
provide very up-to-date training in a
technical field.
Those interested in a career as a
technician should have an aptitude
for mathematics and science and en­
joy technical work. An ability to do
detailed work with a high degree of
accuracy is necessary; for design
work, creative talent also is desir­
able. Since technicians are part of a
scientific team, they sometimes must
work under the close supervision of
engineers and scientists as well as
with other technicians and skilled
workers. Some technicans, such as
repair and maintenance technicians,
should be able to deal effectively
with customers requiring their servic­
es.
Engineering and science tech n i­
cians usually begin work as trainees
in routine positions under the direct
supervision of an experienced techni­
cian, scientist, or engineer. As they
gain experience, they receive more
responsibility and carry out a par­
ticular assignment under only gener­
al s u p erv isio n . T e c h n ic ia n s may
eventually move into supervisory po­
sitions. Those who have the ability
and o b tain a d d itio n a l e d u c a tio n
sometimes are promoted to positions
as scientists or engineers.

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities for en­
gineering and science technicians are
expected to be favorable through the
m id -1 9 8 0 ’s. O pportunities will be
best for graduates of postsecondary
school technician training programs.
Besides the openings resulting from
the faster-than-average growth ex­
pected in this field, additional techni­
cians will be needed to replace those
who die, retire, or leave the occupa­
tion.
Industrial expansion and the in­
creasing complexity of modern tech­
nology underlie the anticipated in­
crease in dem and for technicians.
Many will be needed to work with
the growing number of engineers and
scientists in developing, producing,
and distributing new and technically




advanced products. Automation of
industrial processes and growth of
new areas of work such as environ­
mental protection and urban devel­
opment will add to the demand for
technical personnel.
The anticipated growth of research
and development expenditures in in­
dustry and governm ent should in­
crease requirements for technicians.
Because space and defense p ro ­
grams are major factors in the em ­
ployment of technical personnel, ex­
penditures in these areas affect the
demand for technicians. The outlook
for technicians is based on the as­
sumption that defense spending will
increase from the 1976 level by the
mid-1980’s, but will still be slightly
lower than the levels of the late
1960’s. If defense spending should
differ substantially from this level,
the demand for technicians would be
affected accordingly.

Engineers Council for Professional Develop­
ment, 345 East 47th St., New York, N.Y.
10017.

Inform ation on schools offering
te c h n ic ia n p ro g ram s is available
from:
National Association of Trade and Technical
Schools, Accrediting Commission, 2021
L St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.
U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare, Office of Education, Washing­
ton, D.C. 20202.

State depa rtm en ts of education
also have in fo rm atio n a b o u t a p ­
proved technical institutes, junior
colleges, and other educational insti­
tutions within the State offering posthigh school training for specific tech­
nical occupations. Other sources in­
clude:
American Association of Community and Jun­
ior Colleges, Suite 410, 1 Dupont Circle,
Washington, D.C. 20036.
National Home Study Council, 1601 18th St.
NW., Washington, D.C. 20009.

Earnings
In private industry in 1976, aver­
age starting salaries for 2-year gradu­
ates ranged from about $9,000 to
$10,800 a year, while those who did
n o t c o m p l e t e a 2 -y e a r p ro g ra m
earned average starting salaries from
just over $6,400 to about $9,300.
Senior engineering technicians in pri­
vate industry earned average salaries
of about $16,000 a year.
Starting salaries for all technicians
in the Federal Government were
fairly uniform in 1977. A high school
graduate with no experience could
expect $6,572 annually to start. With
an associate degree, the starting sal­
ary was $8,316, and with a bache­
lor’s, $9,303 or $1 1,523. At higher
experience levels, however, differ­
ences in earnings are significant. The
average annual salary for all engi­
neering technicians employed by the
Federal G overnm ent in 1977 was
$17,800; for physical science techni­
cians, $17,100; and for life science
technicians, about $ 1 1,400.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information on careers for en ­
gineering and science technicians
and engineering and technology p ro ­
grams, contact:

SURVEYORS
(D.O.T. 018.188)

Nature of the Work
Before engineers can plan high­
ways or other construction projects,
they need complete and accurate in­
form ation about boundaries, land
features, and other characteristics of
the construction site. Surveyors m ea­
sure construction sites, help establish
official land boundaries, assist in set­
ting land valuations, and collect in­
formation for maps and charts.
Surveyors often work as party
chiefs; that is, they are in charge of a
field party that determines the p re­
cise measurements and locations of
elevations, points, lines, and c o n ­
tours on the earth’s surface, and dis­
tances between points. Surveyors are
directly responsible for the field p ar­
ty’s activity and the accuracy of its
work. They plan the field work, se­
lect survey reference points, and de­
termine the precise location of natu­
ral and m anm ade fe atures of the
survey region. They record the infor­
mation disclosed by the survey, ver­

OTHER SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL OCCUPATIONS

ify the accuracy of the survey data,
and prepare sketches, maps, and re­
ports.
A typical field party is made up of
the party chief and three to six assist­
ants and helpers. Instrument workers
(D.O.T. 018.188) adjust and operate
surveying instruments such as the
theodolite (used to measure altitude)
These workers also compile notes,
sketches, and records of the data ob­
tained from using these instruments.
Chain workers (D.O.T. 018.687) use
a steel tape or surveyor’s chain to
measure distances between surveying
points. Generally chain workers op­
erate in pairs, one holding the tape at
the last established point, and the
other marking an advanced measur­
ing point. Chain workers also may
mark measured points with painted
sta k e s . R od wor ker s (D .O .T .
018.587) use a level rod, range pole,
or other equipment to assist instru­
ment workers in determining eleva­
tions, distances, and directions. They
hold and move the range pole ac­
cording to hand or verbal signals of
the instrument worker to help estab­
lish the exact point of measurement.
Rod workers also may clear brush
from the survey line.
Surveyors often specialize in a par­
ticular type of survey. Besides doing
highway surveys, many perform land
surveys to locate boundaries of a par­
ticular tract of land. They then pre­
pare maps and legal descriptions for
deeds, leases, and other documents.
Surveyors doing topographic surveys
determ ine elevations, depressions,
and contours of an area, and indicate
the location of distinguishing surface
features such as farms, buildings, for­
ests, roads, and rivers. Other special­
ties include mining, pipeline, gravity,
and magnetic surveying.
Several closely related o cc u p a ­
tions are geodesy and photogrammetry. Geodesists m easure immense
areas of land, sea, or space by taking
into account the e a r th ’s curvature
and its geophysical characteristics.
(See statement on geophysicists else­
where in the Handbook.) Photogrammetrists measure and interpret pho­
tographic images to determine the
various physical characteristics of
natural or
manmade features of an


391

troleum and natural gas companies,
and for public utilities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Surveyors doing topographic surveys to
determine elevations, depressions, and
contours of an area.

area. By applying analytical process­
es and mathematical techniques to
photographs obtained from aerial,
space, ground, and underwater loca­
tions, photogrammetrists are able to
make detailed maps of areas that are
inaccessible or difficult to survey by
other methods. Control surveys on
the ground are made to determine
the accuracy of maps derived from
photogrammatic techniques.

Places of Employment
About 52,000 persons worked as
surveyors in 1976. Federal, State,
and local government agencies em ­
ploy about 3 out of every 10 survey­
ors. Among the Federal Government
agencies employing these workers
are the U.S. Geological Survey, the
Bureau of Land M anagem ent, the
Army Corps of Engineers, and the
Forest Service. Most surveyors in
State and local government agencies
work for highway departments and
urban planning and redevelopment
agencies.
A large number of surveyors work
for construction companies and for
engineering and architectural c o n ­
sulting firms. A sizable number either
work for or own firms that conduct
surveys for a fee. Significant numbers
of surveyors also work for crude p e ­

Most persons prepare for survey­
ing work by combining postsecond­
ary school courses in surveying and
extensive on-the-job training. Some
prepare by obtaining a college de­
gree. Junior and community colleges,
technical institutes, and vocational
schools offer 1-, 2-, and 3-year pro­
grams in surveying. A few 4-year col­
leges offer bachelor’s degrees specif­
ically in surveying, while many others
offer several courses in the field.
High school students interested in
pursuing a career in surveying should
take courses in algebra, geometry,
trigonometry, drafting, and mechani­
cal drawing.
High school graduates with no for­
mal training in surveying usually start
as rod workers. After several years of
on-the-job experience and some for­
mal training in surveying, it is possi­
ble to advance to chain worker, in­
strument worker, and finally to party
chief.
Beginners
with
postsecondary
school training in surveying can gen­
erally start as instrument workers.
After gaining experience, they usual­
ly advance to party chief, and may
later seek to become a registered sur­
veyor. In many instances, promotions
to higher level positions are based on
written examinations as well as expe­
rience.
For those interested in a career as
a photogrammetrist, a bachelor’s de­
gree in engineering or the physical
sciences is usually needed. Most photogrammetry technicians have had
som e s p e c ia liz e d p o s ts e c o n d a r y
school training.
All 50 States require licensing or
registration of land surveyors respon­
sible for locating and describing land
b oundaries. R egistration re q u ir e ­
ments are generally quite strict, be­
cause once registered, surveyors can
be held legally responsible for their
work. R equirem ents for licensure
vary among the States but in general
they include a combination of 3 to 8
years’ experience in surveying and

392

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

passing an examination. A few States
now require a bachelor’s degree, em ­
phasizing surveying, as a prerequisite
to licensure.
In 1976, about 23,000 land survey­
ors were re gistered. In addition,
about 13,500 engineers were regis­
tered to do land surveying, primarily
as part of their civil engineering du­
ties; however, these workers are con­
sidered engineers rather than survey­
ors. (See statement on civil engineers
elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Surveyors should have the ability
to visualize and understand objects,
distances, sizes, and other abstract
forms. Also, because surveying mis­
takes can be very costly, surveyors
must perform mathematical calcula­
tions quickly and accurately while
paying close attention to the smallest
detail. Leadership qualities also are
important as surveyors must super­
vise the work of others.
Members of a survey party must be
in good physical condition in order to
work outdoors and carry equipment
over difficult terrain. They also need
good eyesight, c o o rd in a tio n , and
hearing in order to com m unicate
over great distances by hand signals
or voice calls.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment of surveyors is ex­
pected to grow faster than the aver­
age for all occupations through the
mid-1980’s. In addition to the open­
ings resulting from growth, many will
result from the need to replace those




who die, retire, or transfer to other
fields of work.
The rapid development of urban
areas and increased land values
should create jobs for surveyors to
locate boundaries for property rec­
ords. Others will be needed to lay out
streets, shopping centers, housing de­
velopm ents, and recreation areas.
C onstruction and im provem ent o f
the Nation’s roads and highways also
will require many new surveyors.
However, periods of slow construc­
tion activity could limit the demand
for surveyors at those p artic u la r
times.
Continuing expansion of techni­
cian and technology program s in
postsecondary schools will create a
need for more surveying teachers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In the Federal Government in
1977, high school graduates with lit­
tle or no training or experience start­
ed as rod workers or chain workers
with an annual salary of $6,572.
Those with 1 year of related postsec­
o n d a r y t r a i n i n g e a r n e d $ 7 ,4 0 8 .
Those with an associate degree that
included courses in surveying gener­
ally started as instrum ent workers
with an annual salary of $8,316. The
majority of surveyors who worked as
party chiefs in the Federal Govern­
ment earned between $10,000 and
$14,000 per year and some high-lev­

el p o s i t i o n s e a r n e d m o r e t h a n
$ 17,000 per year.
Although salaries in private indus­
try vary by geographic area, limited
data indicate that salaries are gener­
ally comparable to those in Federal
service and are above the average
earnings of nonsupervisory workers
in private industry, except farming.
Surveyors usually work an 8-hour,
5-day week. However, they som e­
times work longer hours during the
summer months when weather con­
ditions are most suitable for survey­
ing. The work of surveyors is active
and sometimes strenuous. They often
stand for long periods and walk long
distances or climb hills with heavy
packs of instruments and equipment.
Because most work is out-of-doors,
surveyors are exposed to all types of
weather. Some duties, such as plan­
ning surveys, preparing reports and
com putations, and drawing maps,
usually are done in an office.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about training and ca­
reer opportunities in surveying is
available from:
American Congress on Surveying and Map­
ping, 210 Little Falls St., Falls Church,
Va. 22046.

G e n e ra l in fo rm a tio n on c a r e e r s in

photogrammetry is available from:
American Society of Photogrammetry, 105
North Virginia Ave., Falls Church, Va.
22046.

MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS
In the technologically advanced
society we live in today, mechanical
equipment of one type or another
touches almost all aspects of our

lives. Transportation equipment such
as cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes
carries both goods and people any­
where in the world. Telephones and

Mechanics and repairers, 1976

Mechanic and repairer occupations offer many career
opportunities to persons who are mechanically inclined
Selected mechanic and repairer occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)
Air conditioning, refrigeration,
and heating mechanics
Automobile mechanics
Industrial machinery
repairers
Instrument repairers

iH i

Maintenance electricians
Television and radio
service technicians

■Si
40

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




Replacement

other communication equipment en­
able messages to be conveyed quick­
ly and efficiently. Household appli­
ances and machinery such as airconditioners make our lives easier
and more comfortable. The approxi­
mately 3 million people who worked
as mechanics and repairers in 1976
performed the vital function of keep­
ing these and other types of machin­
ery running and in good working or­
der.
Of the mechanics and repairers
employed in 1976, more than onethird worked on motor vehicles in
occupations such as automobile m e­
chanic, truck or bus mechanic, and
automobile body repairer. Some oth­
er large occupations—each employ­
ing more than 100,000 w orkers—
were appliance repairer, industrial
m achinery repairer, airplane m e ­
chanic, and television and radio ser­
vice te c h n ic ia n . E m p lo y m e n t in
some occupations, including vending
machine mechanic, electric sign re­
pairer, and locksmith, was relatively
small.
In addition to the nearly 3 million
mechanics and repairers employed in
1976, almost 700,000 people worked
in three related occupations: Main­
tenance electrician, telephone craftworker, and watch repairer. A lto­
gether these 3.7 million maintenance
and r e p a i r w o rk e rs r e p r e s e n t e d
about 1 out of every 3 skilled work­
ers.
Almost one-fourth of the m echan­
ics and repairers worked in manufac­
turing industries—the majority in
plants that produce durable goods
such as steel, automobiles, and air­
craft. About one-fifth worked in re­
tail trade—mainly in firms that sell
and service automobiles, household
appliances, farm im plements, and
other mechanical equipment. Anoth­
er one-fifth worked in shops that ser­
vice such equipment. Most of the re­
393

394

maining m echanics and repairers
worked for transportation, construc­
tion, and public utilities industries,
and all levels of government.
Mechanics and repairers work in
every section of the country, but
most employment opportunities are
in populous and industrialized areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Many mechanics and repairers
learn their skills on the job or
through
apprenticeship
training.
Some acquire basic training or in­
crease their skills in vocational and
technical schools; others take corre­
spondence courses. Training and ex­
perience in the Armed Forces also
may help people prepare for some of
these occupations, including televi­
sion and radio service technician, air­
plane mechanic, and telephone craftworker.
Most employers consider a 3- to 4year apprenticeship, supplemented
each year by at least 144 hours of
related classroom instruction in
courses such as mathematics, phys­
ics, and basic economics, as the best




OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

way to learn skilled maintenance and
repair work. Formal apprenticeship
agreem en ts are registered with a
State apprenticeship agency or the
U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau
of Apprenticeship and Training.
Employers look for applicants who
have mechanical aptitude and like to
work with their hands. Many employ­
ers prefer people whose hobbies or
interests include automobile repair,
model building, or radio and televi­
sion repair. A high school education
often is required, and employers gen­
erally prefer applicants who have had
courses in mathematics, chemistry,
physics, blueprint reading, and m a­
chine shop.
Physical requirements for work in
this field vary greatly among occupa­
tions. For example, telephone lineworkers should be strong and agile to
climb poles, lift heavy equipment,
and work in awkward positions. In­
strument and watch repairers need
patience, finger dexterity, and good
vision.
Many maintenance and repair
workers advance to supervisory jobs;
others to sales or technician jobs.
Some open their own businesses.

Employment Outlook
Employment in maintenance and
repair occupations as a whole is ex­
pected to increase about as fast as
the av e ra g e for all o c c u p a t i o n s
through the mid-1980’s. In addition
to jo b s c r e a t e d by e m p lo y m e n t
growth, many thousands of openings
will arise in this relatively large occu­
pational category as experienced
workers retire, die, or transfer to oth­
er fields.
Many factors are expected to con­
tribute to the growing need for m e­
chanics and repairers, including in­
c r e a s e d d e m a n d fo r h o u s e h o l d
appliances, automobiles, and other
items, and repair of complex machin­
ery in industry.
This chapter includes statements
on many maintenance and repair
occupations. Other maintenance and
repair workers are discussed in other
sections of the Handbook. For exam­
ple, airplane mechanics are discussed
with air transportation occupations
and millwrights with industrial pro­
duction and related occupations.

TELEPHONE CRAFT OCCUPATIONS

More than 1 out of every 3 em ­
ployees in the telephone industry is a
craft w orker who installs, repairs,
and maintains phones, cables, and re­
lated equipment. This chapter dis­
cusses the four groups of telephone
craft occupations: C entral office
c ra ft o c c u p a tio n s , c e n tr a l office
equipm ent installers, line installers
and cable splicers, and telephone in­
stallers and repairers.

CENTRAL OFFICE CRAFT
OCCUPATIONS
Nature of the Work
Telephone companies employed
about 135,000 craft workers in 1976
to maintain and repair the complex
equipment in their central offices.
Most worked as frame wirers, central
office repairers, and trouble locators.

In small telephone companies, ce n ­
tral office craft workers must p e r­
form a variety of jobs, but most spe­
cialize in one of these three areas.
Frame wirers (D.O.T. 822.884)
connect and disconnect wires that
run from telephone lines and cables
to equipment in central offices. This
equipment consists of a frame having
many terminal lugs mounted on it,
each of which is assigned a specific
telephone number. It also contains
one pair of wires for each custom er’s
telephone that is connected to that
central office. To connect a new tele­
phone, the frame wirer solders the
custom er’s pair of wires to a set of
terminal lugs. To disconnect a tele­
phone, a frame wirer melts off the
solder and removes the wires from
the terminal. Frame wirers occasion­
ally change a custom er’s phone num ­
ber. This is done by reconnecting the
custom er’s pair of wires to a different
set of terminal lugs.
Central office repairers (D.O.T.
8 2 2 .2 8 1 ) m ain tain the switching

tra in in g to n ew c e n tra l o ffice c ra ft

Selected telephone craft occupations
Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)
Central office craft
occupations

Central office equipment
installers

v •I-—
Telephone and PBX installers
and repairers
4




Replacement

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Telephone companies give class­
room in s tru c tio n an d on-th e-jo b

Telephone craft occupations will offer relatively few
openings

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

equipm ent that automatically con­
nects lines when customers dial num ­
bers. E lectrom echanical switching
systems contain moving parts that
must be cleaned and oiled periodical­
ly. Also, electronic switching circuits
must be checked occasionally for
breakages.
When customers report trouble
with their telephones, trouble locators
(D.O.T. 822.381) work at special
switchboards to find the source of
the problem. To do this, they com ­
m unicate with telephone installers
and re p airers as they a ttem p t to
make connections from a portable
telephone through the c u sto m er’s
service line to the central office. The
trouble shooter locates the problem
by having the telephone repairer
connect the portable phone at var­
ious places on the custom er’s line un­
til a connection can be made through
to the central office. If the problem is
found to be at the central office, the
trouble locator repeats this proce­
dure with a central office repairer. In
addition, trouble locators must also
test new equipment when it is in­
stalled to make sure installations are
made correctly. They also work with
other employees, such as central of­
fice repairers and cable splicers, who
help find the cause of trouble and
make repairs.

5

employees. In addition, telecommu­
nications equipment manufacturers
often train central office craft work­
ers in the use, maintenance, and re­
pair of equipment that they sell to
telephone companies. Some voca­
tional schools, particularly those in
rural areas served by small indepen­
dent telephone companies, also offer
training to persons interested in be­
coming central office craft workers.
A few people may learn these crafts
through apprenticeship programs de­
signed by State employment agencies
in conjunction with local telephone
com panies. O ften classrooms are
supplied with equipment similar to
that which the trainee will be using
on the job.
395

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

396

Trainee jobs generally are filled by
employees already with the com pa­
ny, such as telephone operators or
line installers. Occasionally workers
are h ired from o utside. Usually,
trainees are assigned to the starting
job of frame wirer, and take basic
courses in telephone com m u n ica­
tions. They gain practical experience
by observing and helping e x p e ri­
enced frame wirers under the direc­
tion of supervisors. With additional
training and experience, a frame wir­
er can advance to central office re­
pairer or trouble locator. Usually it
takes at least 5 years for an inexperi­
enced worker to advance to the top
pay rate in either of these two jobs.
Since electrical wires are usually
color coded, persons who are consid­
ering careers in central office crafts
should not be color blind. They also
should be able to work closely with
others, because teamwork often is es­
sential in solving complex problems.
A basic knowledge of electricity and



tronic switching systems (ESS). As
population grows and becomes more
mobile, a greater demand for tele­
phone installations and removals will
result in em p lo y m en t grow th for
frame wirers, trouble locators, and
central office repairers. Additional
employment growth for trouble loca­
tors and central office repairers will
result from the use of increasingly
complex equipment which requires
more maintenance. Also, newer and
more complex central office equip­
ment will require more testing when
installed, thus increasing the demand
for trouble locators.
In addition to employment growth,
many job openings will arise from the
need to replace experienced workers
who retire, die, or transfer to other
occupations. Retirements and deaths
alone may result in several thousand
openings each year. Although most
job openings are filled by the ad­
vancem ent of operators and other
workers already employed by tele­
phone companies, some trainee posi­
tions as frame wirers should be avail­
able for new employees. Most job
openings will be in m e tro p o lita n
areas.
electronics and telephone training in
the Armed Forces are helpful.
Telephone companies give central
office craft employees continued
training throughout their careers to
keep them abreast of the latest devel­
opments. As new types of equipment
and to o ls and new m a in te n a n c e
methods are introduced, employees
are sent to schools to learn about
them.
Central office craft workers who
have managerial ability can advance
to supervisory positions.

Employment Outlook
Employment in central office craft
occupations is expected to increase
about as fast as the average for all
occupations through the mid-1980’s.
Many new central offices will be built
to meet the expected increase in d e ­
mand for telephone services. Older,
outdated central offices will be re ­
modeled to include improved elec­

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In late 1976, average hourly rates
were $7.24 for trouble locators and
$6.95 for central office repairers. By
comparison, nonsupervisory workers
in all private industries, except farm ­
ing, averaged $4.87 an hour.
Earnings increase considerably
with length of service. Under the
terms of a major union contract in
effect in late 1976, frame wirers
started at $4.68 an hour and could
work up to a maximum of $7.03 an
hour after 4 years. Central office
repairers and trouble locators could
earn a maximum of $8.34 an hour
after 5 years.
Employees in central offices work
in clean and well-lighted surround­
ings. Since the telephone industry
gives continuous service to its cus­
tomers, central offices operate 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. Some
central office craft workers, th ere­
fore, have work schedules that in­
clude shift work and some weekends

TELEPHONE CRAFT OCCUPATIONS

and holiday work for which they re­
ceive extra pay. Central office craft
workers are covered by the same
provisions governing overtime pay,
vacations, holidays, and other bene­
fits that apply to telephone workers
generally.
See the statement on the telephone
industry elsewhere in the Handbook
for sources of additional information
and for general information on fringe
benefits.

CENTRAL OFFICE
EQUIPMENT INSTALLERS
(D.O.T. 822.381 )

Nature of the Work
Central office equipment installers
set up the complex switching and di­
aling equipment used in central offic­
es of telephone com panies. They
may install equipment in new central
offices, add equipment in an expand­
ing office, or replace outdated equip­
ment.
On a job, installers follow blue­
prints, diagrams, and floor plans in
o rd e r to position the eq u ip m e n t
properly and wire it correctly. They
often use hoists to lift heavy items
into place and use handtools, such as
screwdrivers or soldering guns, to
c o n n e c t e q u ip m e n t o n ce it is in
place. Recently developed equ ip ­
ment sometimes comes in preassem­
bled components and often requires
only simple plug-in connections.
After the new equipment has been
put in place, installers connect the
outgoing and incoming telephone
trunklines, often consulting diagrams
to ensure that connections are made
correctly. Once this is completed,
installers then test the system, using
electrical testing equipment, such as
electrical pulse repeaters and ohmmeters, to measure the strength and
consistency of the current flow. If
installers discover that the system is
not functioning properly, they must
check the equipment and all connec­
tions to determ ine the cause, and
then correct
 it.


Places of Employment
About 20,000 installers were em ­
ployed in 1976. M ost worked for
manufacturers of central office quipment. O thers worked directly for
telephone companies or for private
contractors who specialize in largescale installations.
Most central office equipment in­
stallers work in metropolitan areas,
where large central offices are found.
Hundreds of installers may be r e ­
quired to work on large jobs such as
a long-distance toll center in a big
city. O th e r installers are assigned
areas that include several States, and
therefore they must travel frequently
to small towns within their area. In­
stalling equipment in small com m u­
nities often requires only 2 or 3 in­
stallers.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Individuals considering careers as
central office equipment installers
should have good eyesight and, since
electrical wires are generally color
coded, should not be color blind.

They should be able to work with
others, for teamwork often is essen­
tial to solving a complex problem.
A lthough m anufacturers generally
provide all the necessary training to
perform this job, courses in blueprint
reading and electronic theory are
helpful to those interested in this ca­
reer.
New employees attend classes the
first few weeks to learn basic installa­
tion and then begin on-the-job train­
ing. Often trainees will be transport­
ed to the plant where the equipment
is m a n u fa c tu re d to receive th eir
training.
Workers who have several years of
experience may qualify as skilled in­
stallers. Training continues, h o w ­
ever, even after they become skilled;
additional courses are given from
time to time to improve skills and to
teach new techniques in installing
telephone equipment. Also, techno­
logical innovations are constantly re­
sulting in changes in eq u ip m en t.
W hen m anufacturers develop new
equipment, installers must be trained
to install it.

398

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Installers who have managerial
ability can advance to supervisory
positions.

Employment Outlook
Employment of central office
equipment installers is expected to
decline through the mid-1980’s.
However, a few hundred openings
will arise each year to replace experi­
enced installers who transfer to other
work, retire, or die.
Thousands of new central offices
will be constructed in the next dec­
ade. In addition, in older offices ob­
solete m anual and dial switching
e q u ip m e n t will be re p la ced with
more efficient electronic switching
systems (ESS). However, most new
central office eq u ip m e n t will be
m anufactured in com ponents that
come partially assembled, thus great­
ly reducing the time needed for in­
stallation. The greater complexity of
ESS’s will require more testing of
new equipment, but this will not off­
set the time savings resulting from
the use of component parts.
Employment may fluctuate from
year to year, however, because in­
vestment in central office equipment
is subject to changes in business con­
ditions and availability of funds.
Thus, when business is prospering,
installations and m odifications of
ce n tra l offices may o c c u r at an
above-average pace. When the busi­
ness outlook is depressed, there is
less likelihood that new central offic­
es will be built or that existing offices
will be enlarged or modernized.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Under the terms of a major union
contract in effect in late 1976, cover­
ing most central office equipment in­
stallers, starting rates for inexperi­
enced installers ranged from $3.73 to
$4.71 an hour. The contract provid­
ed for periodic increases, and em ­
ployees could reach rates of $7.20 to
$8.34 an hour after 5 years of experi­
ence. Travel and expense allowances
also were provided.
The Communications Workers of
America represents most central of­
fice equipment installers, including




those with the Bell System. The In­
ternational Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers represents some installers
employed by various telephone com ­
panies, by manufacturers supplying
the independent segment of the tele­
phone industry, and by large installa­
tion contractors.
See the statement on the telephone
industry elsewhere in the Handbook
for sources of additional information
and for general information on fringe
benefits.

LINE INSTALLERS AND
CABLE SPLICERS
Nature of the Work
The vast network of wires and c a ­
bles that connect telephone central
offices to each other and to custom­
ers’ telephones and switchboards is
constructed and maintained by line
installers and cable splicers and their
helpers. Telephone companies e m ­
ployed almost 55,000 of these work­
ers in 1976 including about 33,000
cable splicers, 15,000 line installers,
and 7,000 helpers, laborers, and oth­
er workers.
To construct new telephone lines,
line installers (D.O.T. 822.38 1) place
wires and cables that lead from the
central office to customers’ premises.
They use power-driven equipment to
dig holes and set in telephone poles
which support cables. Line installers
climb the poles to attach the cables,
usually leaving the ends free for
cable splicers to connect later. In
cities where telephone lines are be­
low the streets, installers place cables
in underground conduits. On c o n ­
struction jobs, installers work in
crews of two persons or more. A su­
pervisor directs the work of several
crews.
When wires or cables break or a
pole is knocked down, line installers
often are called upon to make em er­
gency repairs. These repairs are most
common in parts of the country that
have h u r r ic a n e s , to r n a d o e s , and
heavy snowfalls. The line crew super­
visor keeps in radio contact with the

central office, which directs the crew
to problem locations on the lines.
Some installers periodically inspect
sections of lines in rural areas and
make minor repairs.
After line installers place cables on
poles or in underground conduits,
cable splicers (D.O.T. 829.381 ) gen­
erally complete the line connections.
Splicers work on poles, on aerial lad­
ders and platforms, in manholes, or
in basements of large buildings. They
connect individual wires within the
cable and rearrange wires when lines
have to be changed. At each splice,
they either wrap insulation around
the wires and seal the joint with a
lead sleeve or cover the splice with
some other type of closure. Usually,
they fill the cable sheathing with
compressed air to keep out moisture.
Splicers also install terminal boxes
that connect customers’ telephones
to outside cables. An innovation in
telephone connecting, these terminal
boxes are often placed in the base­
ments of apartment buildings or o th ­
er buildings containing multiple tele­
phone customers. When a telephone
installer wishes to connect or discon­
nect a custom er’s telephone, it can
be done quickly at the terminal box.
Splicers also maintain and repair
cables. The preventive maintenance
work that they do is extremely im­
portant, because a single defect in a
cable may cause a serious interrup­
tion in service. Many trouble spots
are located through air pressure or
electric tests.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Telephone companies hire inexpe­
rienced workers to train for jobs as
line in s ta lle rs or c a b le sp licers.
Knowledge of the basic principles of
electricity and training in installing
telephone systems with the Armed
Forces are helpful. Physical examina­
tions usually are given to prospective
employees, since some line and cable
work is strenuous, requiring workers
to climb poles and lift heavy cables
and equipment. The ability to distin­
guish colors is necessary because
wires usually are coded by color.
Telephone companies have train­
ing programs for line installers and

TELEPHONE CRAFT OCCUPATIONS

399

able for line and cable workers. In
these cases, employees receive class­
room training in courses such as
mathematics and electronic theory
sponsored by outside agencies, for
example State employment agencies,
while they receive on-the-job train­
ing. Apprenticeships generally last 4
years.
Line installers and cable splicers
continue to receive training through­
out their careers, to qualify for more
difficult assignments and to keep up
with technological changes. Due to
the strenuous nature of the job, most
line installers and cable splicers find
it necessary to transfer to other occu­
pations as they advance in age. Those
having the necessary qualifications
find many additional advancem ent
opportunities in the telephone indus­
try. For example, a line installer, may
be transferred to telephone installer
and later to telephone repairer or
other higher rated job.

Employment Outlook

Telephone com panies hire inexperienced workers to train for jobs as line installers or

cable splicers.

cable splicers that include classroom
instruction as well as on-the-job
training. Classrooms are equipped
with ac tu a l telep h o n e apparatus,
such as p o les, ca b le su p p o rtin g
clamps, and other fixtures to simu­
late working conditions as closely as
possible. Trainees learn to climb
poles and are taught safe working
practices to avoid falls and contact
with power wires. After a short peri­
od of classroom training, some train­
ees are assigned to a crew to work
with experienced line installers and
cable splicers under the supervision
of a line supervisor.
In addition to the training provided
by the telephone companies, some



manufacturers of cable installation
equipm ent also train line installers
and cable splicers in the use of equip­
ment that the manufacturers sell to
telephone companies. Often a tele­
phone company will send its line and
cable workers to the m anufacturer’s
training school. At other times m anu­
facturers send their instructors to the
job site.
Some small independent telephone
companies, particularly those in rural
areas, do not have adequate facilities
to train their employees, Therefore,
they may rely on local vocational and
technical schools to provide class­
room training to craft employees. A
few apprenticeships also are avail­

Employment of cable splicers is
expected to show little or no change
through the mid-1980’s. Technologi­
cal developments such as the tele­
phone splicing van which uses the
truck engine to heat and ventilate
manholes and drive power tools and
equipment will improve the efficien­
cy of splicers, thus limiting the need
for additional workers. Nevertheless,
many job openings will arise due to
the need to repla ce experienced
splicers who retire, die, or transfer to
other occupations.
Little or no change is expected in
the number of line installers because
the increasing use of mechanical im­
provements such as plows that can
dig a trench, lay cable, and cover it in
a single operation have eliminated
much of the heavier physical work of
the line crews and have caused re­
ductions in crew size. Also, satellites
are expected to carry an increasing
volume of telephone traffic, thus
slightly reducing the emphasis on
cable installation. On the other hand,
as urban and suburban areas expand
outward, some employment opportu­
nities for line installers and cable
splicers may be created by the desire
to p lace unsightly cables u n d e r ­

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

400

ground in localities where cables
presently are hung from poles. In ad­
dition, some job openings will occur
as experienced line installers retire,
die, or transfer to other occupations.
Due to the many miles of cable
which must be installed and main­
tained in rural areas, job openings for
line installers and cable splicers may
be easier to find in small cities than in
metropolitan areas.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In late 1975, wage rates of cable
splicers averaged $6.86 an hour, line
installers averaged $6.49, and cable
splicers’ helpers, $5.46. By com pari­
son, nonsupervisory workers in all
private industries, except farming,
averaged $4.87 an hour.
Pay rates for cable splicers and line
installers depend to a considerable
extent upon length of service and
geographic location. For example,
under the terms of a major union
contract in effect in late 1976, new
workers in line construction jobs in
the highest pay-scale cities began at
$4.71 an hour and could reach a
maximum of $8.34 after 5 years of
service. The maximum hourly rate
for cable splicers also was $8.34.
Line installers and cable splicers are
covered by the same contract provi­
sions governing overtime pay, vaca­
tions, holidays, and o ther benefits
that apply to telephone workers gen­
erally.
Line installers and cable splicers
work outdoors. They must do consid­
erable climbing, and often work in
stooped and cramped positions. Safe­
ty s tan d ard s, develo p e d over the
years by telephone companies with
the cooperation of labor unions, have
greatly reduced the hazards of these
occupations. When severe weather
damages telephone lines, line install­
ers and cable splicers may be called
upon to work long and irregular
hours to restore service.
See the statement on the telephone
industry elsewhere in the Handbook
for sources of additional information
and for general information on fringe
benefits.



TELEPHONE AND PBX
INSTALLERS AND
REPAIRERS
Nature of the Work
About 1 in every 3 telephone craft
workers is a telephone installer or
repairer. About 110,000 were em ­
ployed in 1976. They install and ser­
vice telephones and switchboard sys­
tems such as PBX and CENTREX on
custom ers’ property and make re ­
pairs on the equipment when trouble
develops. These workers generally
travel to customers’ homes and offic­
es in trucks equipped with telephone
tools and supplies. When customers
move or request new types of service,
they relocate telephones or m ake
changes on existing equipment. For
example, they may install a switch­
board in an office, or change a twoparty line to a single-party line in a
residence. Installers also may fill a
custom er’s request to add an exten­
sion in another room, or to replace
an old telephone with a new model.
Most installers and repairers special­
ize in one or two of the jobs d e ­
scribed below; however, installers
and repairers employed at small tele­
phone companies may perform all o f
these jobs.
Telephone
installers
(D.O.T.
822.381) install and remove te le ­
phones in homes and business places.
They connect telephones to outside
service wires and sometimes must
climb poles to make these connec­
tions. O ccasionally, especially in
a p a r t m e n t buildings, the service
wires or terminals are in the base­
ment of the building in which the
installation or removal is being done.
Telephone installers are sometimes
called station installers.
PBX installers (D.O.T. 822.381)
perform the same duties as telephone
installers, but they specialize in more
complex telephone system installa­
tions. They connect wires from ter­
minals to switchboards and m ake
tests to ch e c k th eir installations.
Some PBX installers also set up
e q u ip m e n t for m ob ile r a d io t e le ­
phones, data processing equipment,
and telephone switchboard systems
for radio and television broadcasts

that involve receiving phone calls
from the audience.
Telephone
repairers
(D.O.T.
822.281), with the assistance of trou­
ble locators in the central office, lo­
cate trouble on custom ers’ equip­
ment. A repairer finds the source of
the problem by connecting a porta­
ble telephone to the custom er’s tele­
phone cord and then dialing the trou­
ble locator in the central office. If the
proper connection is made, the prob­
lem is in the custom er’s telephone. If
a connection cannot be completed,
the problem is in the service line be­
tween the phone and the central of­
fice, and the repairer repeats this
procedure at various points along the
service line until the problem is lo­
cated. The repairer then makes the
necessary repairs to restore service.
PBX repairers (D.O.T. 822.281),
with the assistance of trouble loca­
tors, locate trouble on custom ers’
PBX, CENTREX, or other complex
telephone systems and make the nec­
essary repairs. They also maintain as­
sociated equipment such as batteries,
relays, and power plants. Some PBX
repairers maintain and repair equip­
ment for radio and television broad­
casts, mobile radiotelephones, and
data processing equipment.
T ra in in g , O th e r Q u a lific a tio n s ,

and Advancement
Telephone companies give new
service workers classroom instruc­
tion in subjects such as mathematics
and electrical and electronic theory.
Trainees supplement their classroom
instruction with on-the-job training.
Often additional training is conduct­
ed in classroom set-ups that simulate
actual working conditions. For exam­
ple, telephone installer trainees are
instructed in classrooms equipped
with telephone poles, lines and ca­
bles, te r m in a l box es, and o t h e r
equipment. They practice installing
telephones and connecting wires just
as they would on the job. After a few
weeks in the classroom, trainees are
assigned to the field for on-the-job
training by experienced workers, of­
ten supervisors.
M any small in d e p e n d e n t t e l e ­
phone companies, especially those
located in rural areas, do not have

TELEPHONE CRAFT OCCUPATIONS

401

the facilities, such as simulated class­
rooms, necessary to train their em­
ployees. Therefore, vocational and
technical schools may provide train­
ing for installers and repairers em­
ployed by telephone companies in
the area. A few installers and repair­
ers may enter apprenticeship p ro ­
grams conducted jointly by State em­
ploym ent agencies and telephone
companies. In these programs a p ­
prentices receive on-the-job training
at the company where they are em­
ployed. At the same time, they re­
ceive classroom instruction from the
State agencies. Generally apprentice­
ships last 4 years.
Because telephone wires usually
are color-coded, applicants must
have good eyesight—no color blind­
ness. P hysical e x a m in a tio n s are
sometimes required since the work
may involve strenuous activity such
as climbing poles. In addition, appli­
cants may have to pass a test de­
signed to determine the applicant’s
aptitude for the job. Often trainees
are chosen from current telephone
company employees, such as opera­
tors or line installers.
Telephone service workers contin­
ue to receive training throughout
their careers to qualify for more re­
sponsible assignments and to keep up
with technical changes. Those who
have managerial ability can advance
to supervisory jobs.

Employment Outlook
Employment of telephone install­
ers and repairers is expected to in­
crease about as fast as the average
for all occupations through the mid1980’s. Most job openings will result
from employment growth, but many
openings will arise from the need to
replace workers who retire, die, or
transfer to other occupations. These
openings usually are filled by work­
ers from other telephone jobs, such
as operators, service representatives,
line installers, or cable splicers, but
some should be available to new em ­
ployees.
Employment will increase due to
the growing demand for telephones
and PBX and CENTREX systems.
E m ploym ent of installers will in­
crease most rapidly in areas where
the population is growing rapidly,
thus FRASER
Digitized for creating a large demand for tele­


Employment of telephone installers will increase most rapidly in areas where the
population is growing rapidly.

phone installations. Also, areas that
have a large influx or outflow of peo­
ple, such as those with military bases
or colleges nearby, will have a rela­
tively large demand for telephone in­
stallations and removals.
On the other hand, technological
improvements may limit the demand
for installers and repairers. For ex­
ample, terminal boxes allow a num ­
ber of installations to be connected
at one central location and make it
unnecessary for installers to climb
telephone poles.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In late 1975, the average hourly
rate for PBX repairers was $7.01,
and the average for telephone and
PBX installers was $6.75. In com ­
parison, nonsupervisory workers in
all private industries, except farming,
had average earnings of $4.87 an
hour.
Earnings increase considerably
with length of service. Under the
terms of a major union contract in

402

effect in late 1976, in one of the
higher pay-scale cities, telephone in­
stallers and repairers earned a start­
ing rate of $4.49 an hour, with peri­
odic pay increases up to a maximum
of $7.63 an hour after 5 years of ser­
vice. Installers and repairers are cov­




OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

ered by the same provisions govern­
ing o v e r t i m e p a y , v a c a t i o n s ,
holidays, and other benefits that ap­
ply to telephone workers generally.
Telephone installers and repairers
work indoors and outdoors in all
kinds of weather. They may work

extra hours when breakdowns occur
in lines or equipment.
(See the statem ent on the tele­
ph o n e industry elsew here in the
Handbook for sources of additional
information and for general informa­
tion on fringe benefits.)

com plete the repairs in the shop.
During the summer when most sys­
tems are off, mechanics service heat­
ing units, replace oil and air filters,
and vacuum-clean vents, ducts, and
other parts of the heating system that
OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS
accumulate soot and ash.
Gas burner mechanics (D.O.T.
637.281 ), also called gas appliance
servicers, have duties similar to those
stall oil, gas, and electric heating of oil burner mechanics. They diag­
AIR-CONDITIONING,
units. After setting the heating unit in nose malfunctions in gas-fueled heat­
REFRIGERATION, AND
place, they install fuel supply lines, ing systems and make necessary re­
HEATING MECHANICS
air ducts, pumps, and other com po­ pairs and adjustm ents. They also
nents. They then connect electrical repair cooking stoves, clothes dryers,
wiring and controls, and check the and hot water heaters. During the
(D.O.T. 637.281 and .381, 862.281
unit for proper operation.
and .381, and 869.281 )
summer, mechanics employed by gas
Oil burner mechanics (D.O.T.
utility companies may inspect and re­
862.281 ) keep oil-fueled heating sys­ pair gas meters.
Nature of the Work
tems in good operating condition.
Air-conditioning,
refrigeration,
During the fall and winter, when the and heating mechanics use a variety
H e a tin g and a i r - c o n d i t i o n i n g
tools,
including
hammers,
equipment makes buildings comfort­ system is needed most, they service of
able for work, study, or play. Refrig­ and adjust oil burners. If a burner is wrenches, metal snips, electric drills,
eration equipment makes it possible not operating properly, mechanics pipe cutters and benders, and acety­
to safely store food, drugs, and other check the thermostat, burner noz­ lene torches. They also use volt­
items. The types of equipment that zles, controls, and other parts to lo­ meters, electronic circuit testers, and
provide these conveniences are com­ cate the problem. Mechanics carry other testing devices.
Cooling and heating systems some­
plex. Air-conditioning, refrigeration, replacement parts in their trucks to
and heating mechanics are the skilled make repairs in the custom er’s home times are installed or repaired by oth­
workers who install, maintain, and or place of business. However, if m a­ er craft workers. For example, on a
repair them. These workers usually jor repairs are necessary, they usually large air-conditioning installation
specialize in one area but often have
the ability to work in several.
Air-conditioning and refrigeration
mechanics (D.O.T. 637.281 and
.381) install and repair equipment
ranging in size from small window
units to large central air-conditioning
or refrigeration systems. When in­
stalling new equipment, they put the
motors, com pressors, evaporators,
and other components in place, fol­
lowing blueprints and design specifi­
cations. They connect duct work, re­
frigerant lines, and other piping and
then connect the equipment to an
electrical power source. After com­
pleting the installation, they charge
the system with r e f r ig e r a n t and
check it for proper operation.
When air-conditioning and refrig­
eration equipment breaks down, m e­
chanics diagnose the cause and make
repairs. W hen looking for defects
they inspect components such as re­
lays and thermostats.
Furnace installers (D.O.T. 862.381
and 869.28 1), also called heating
equipm ent installers, follow blue­
prints or other specifications to in­
Air-conditioning mechanic uses voltmeter to locate equipment breakdown.



403

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

404

job, especially where workers are
covered by union contracts, duct
work might be done by sheet-metal
workers; electrical work by electri­
cians; and installation of piping, con­
densers, and other com ponents by
pipefitters. Appliance servicers often
install and repair window air-condi­
tio n e r s . A d d i t i o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n
abo u t th ese o c c u p a tio n s appe ars
elsewhere in the Handbook.

Places of Employment
Approximately 175,000 persons
worked as air-conditioning, refrig­
eration, and heating mechanics in
1976. Cooling and heating dealers
and contractors employed most airconditioning and refrigeration m e­
chanics and furnace installers. Fuel
oil dealers employed most oil burner
mechanics, and gas utility com pa­
nies, most gas burner mechanics. Ap­
proximately 1 out of 7 mechanics
was self-employed.
Air-conditioning and refrigeration
mechanics and furnace installers
work in all parts of the country.
Generally, the geographic distribu­
tion of these workers is similar to that
of our population. Oil burner m e­
chanics are concentrated in States
where oil is a major heating fuel.
More than half work in Massachu­
setts, New Jersey, New York, Penn­
sylvania, Illinois, and Michigan. Simi­
larly, gas b u rn e r m e c h a n ic s are
concentrated in States where gas is a
m ajor h e a tin g fuel. A lm ost h alf
worked in Texas, California, Ohio,
Michigan, and Illinois.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most air-conditioning, refrigera­
tion, and heating mechanics start as
helpers and acquire their skills by
working for several years with expe­
rienced mechanics. The remainder
learn through apprenticeship.
All new workers in these trades
receive similar on-the-job training,
lasting 4 to 5 years. They begin by
doing simple tasks such as carrying
materials, insulating refrigerant lines,
or cleaning furnaces. Within a year,
they learn to cut, braze, and solder
pipe and tubing; within three, to in­
 and work with sheet m et­
stall fittings


al. By the end of training, they are
capable of checking circuits and in­
stalling burners and pumps.
In addition to on-the-job training,
apprentices must have related class­
room instruction in subjects such as
math, blueprint reading, and basic
construction and engineering c o n ­
cepts.
When hiring helpers or apprentic­
es, em ployers p re fer high school
graduates with mechanical aptitude
who have had courses in mathem at­
ics, physics, electronics, and blue­
print reading. Good physical condi­
tio n also is n e c e s s a r y b e c a u s e
workers sometimes have to lift and
move heavy equipment.
Many high schools and vocational
schools
offer
basic
mechanic
courses, some of which are taught by
members of local firms and organiza­
tions such as the Air-conditioning
and Refrigeration Institute and the
P e tro le u m M a r k e tin g E d u c a tio n
Foundation. These courses may last
from 2 to 3 years.

Employment Outlook
Employment of air-conditioning,
refrigeration, and heating mechanics
is expected to increase much faster
than the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. In addition
to the job openings from employ­
ment growth, many openings will o c ­
cur as experienced mechanics trans­
fer to other fields of work, retire, or
die.
Most openings will be for air-con­
ditioning and refrigeration m echan­
ics. An increase in household forma­
tion and rising p ersonal incom es
should result in a very rapid increase
in the n u m b er o f air-conditioned
homes. Air-conditioning in schools,
factories, and other buildings also is
expected to increase. In addition,
more refrigeration equipment will be
needed in the production, storage,
and marketing of food and other per­
ishables.
Employment of furnace installers
and gas burner mechanics is expect­
ed to follow the growth trends in the
construction of homes and business­
es. Em ployment of oil burner m e­
chanics should also grow as custom­

e rs h a v e t h e i r h e a t i n g s y s te m s
serviced more frequently in order to
conserve oil.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Depending on the area of the
country and the experience of the
worker, hourly rates for skilled airconditioning, refrigeration, and heat­
ing mechanics ranged from about $6
to $10 in 1976, according to limited
information. In comparison, the av­
erage hourly rate for production and
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming, was $4.87.
Mechanics who worked on both airconditioning and heating equipment
frequently had higher rates of pay
than those who worked on only one
type of equipment. Starting rates for
helpers and apprentices are about 55
to 65 percent of those paid to experi­
en c e d w orkers; with e x p e rie n c e ,
rates increase.
Most mechanics work a 40-hour
week. However, during seasonal
peaks they often work overtime or
irregular hours. Air-conditioning and
refrigeration mechanics are busiest
during spring and summer, and heat­
ing mechanics are busiest during fall
and winter. Most employers try to
provide a full workweek the year
round, but they may temporarily re­
duce hours or lay off some m echan­
ics when seasonal peaks end. How­
ever, employment in most shops that
service both air-conditioning and
heating equipm ent is fairly stable
throughout the year.
Mechanics sometimes are required
to work at great heights when install­
ing new equipment. They also may
work in awkward or cramped posi­
tions. Hazards in this trade include
electrical shock, torch burns, and
muscle strains and o th e r injuries
from handling heavy equipment.

Sources of Additional
Information
For more information about em ­
ployment and training opportunities,
contact the local office of the State
employment service or firms that em ­
ploy air-conditioning, refrigeration,
and heating mechanics.

405

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

For pamphlets on career opportu­
nities and training, write to:
Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute,
1815 N. Fort Myer Dr., Arlington, Va.
22209. (The Institute prefers not to re­
ceive individual requests for large quanti­
ties of pamphlets.)

For information about training in
oil heating systems, write to:
Petroleum Marketing Education Foundation,
P. O. Box 111 87, Columbia, S.C. 29211.

For career information about gas
burner mechanics, write to:
American Gas Association, Inc., 1515 Wilson
Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22209.

APPLIANCE REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 637.281, 723.381, 723.844,
and 827.281 )

es usually are repaired in customers’
homes by appliance repairers who
carry their tools and a num ber of
commonly used parts with them in a
truck.
To determine why an appliance is
not working properly, appliance re ­
pairers may operate it to detect un­
usual noises, overheating, or excess
vibration. Repairers also look for
common sources of trouble such as
faulty electrical connections. They
may disassemble the appliance to ex­
amine the mechanical and electrical
parts. To check electric systems, re­
pairers follow wiring diagrams and
use testing devices, such as am m e­
ters, voltmeters, and ohmmeters.
After locating the trouble, the re ­
pairer makes the necessary repairs or
replacements. The repair procedure
varies with the type of appliance and

repair involved. To fix a portable ap­
pliance such as a toaster, the repairer
may replace a defective heating ele­
ment. To fix a major appliance such
as a washer, the repairer may replace
worn bearings, transmission belts, or
gears. To remove old parts and install
new ones, re pairers use com m on
handtools, including screwdrivers,
soldering irons, files, and pliers, and
special tools designed for particular
appliances. Repairers operate the ap­
pliance after completing a repair to
check their work.
Repairers may answer customers’
questions and complaints about ap­
pliances and frequently advise cus­
tomers about the care and use of the
appliance. For example, they may
show the owners the proper loading
of automatic washing machines or
how to arrange dishes in dishwashers.

Nature of the Work
In the past, most household chores
such as cooking and cleaning were
perform ed by hand and often in­
volved a great deal of time and phys­
ical effort. Today, a variety of labors a v in g a p p l i a n c e s m a k e m a n y
household jobs much simpler to do.
Microwave ovens cook in minutes
meals that once took hours to pre­
pare. W a s h e rs and d ry e rs clean
clothes with little physical effort. In­
deed the number of household jobs
machines can do is almost limitless.
Even simple tasks such as cooking a
hamburger or opening a can are done
with appliances made specifically for
those purposes. Servicing these ma­
chines is the job of the appliance re­
pairer.
Appliance repairers usually spe­
cialize in servicing either portable
appliances such as toasters and irons
or major appliances such as refrig­
erators and ranges. In large repair
shops, they may specialize in particu­
lar items such as clothes washers and
dryers or refrigerators and freezers.
Repairers generally do not install ma­
jo r appliances. This job usually is
done by technicians who work for
retail stores.
Portable appliances and major ap­
pliances that are rebuilt for resale are
 shops. Major applianc­
worked on in


Appliance repairer fixing electric range.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

406

Appliance repairers may give cus­
tomers estimates on the cost of re­
pairs and collect the payment for the
repairs. They also may keep records
of parts used and hours worked on
each job.

Places of Employment
About 144,000 people were em ­
ployed as appliance re p a ire rs in
1976. Most repairers work in in­
dependent appliance stores and re­
pair shops. Others worked for service
centers operated by appliance m anu­
facturers, department stores, whole­
salers, and gas and electric utility
companies.
Appliance repairers are employed
in almost every community, but are
concentrated in the more highly
populated States and metropolitan
areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most appliance repairers start as
helpers and acquire their skills
through on-the-job training. The
form of training varies among com ­
panies and usually depends on the
type of appliance repaired by the
company. In some shops that fix por­
table appliances, helpers work on a
single type of appliance, such as vac­
uum cleaners, until they master its
repair. Trainees then move on to
work on a different type of appli­
ance; this process continues until
they can repair a variety of applianc­
es. In other shops, helpers progress
from simple jobs, such as replacing a
switch, to more difficult jobs such as
rewiring an appliance.
In companies that repair major ap­
pliances, beginners usually learn by
helping experienced repairers during
house calls. In other cases, they learn
basic skills by working in the shop
rebuilding used parts such as washing
machine transmissions.
Many helpers receive supplemen­
tal instruction through training semi­
nars that are conducted periodically
by appliance manufacturers. These
seminars usually last 1 or 2 weeks
and deal with the repair of one type
of appliance such as ovens. Up to 3

years of on-the-job training may be


needed to become skilled in all as­
pects of repairing some of the more
complex appliances.
Some large companies such as de­
partm ent store chains have formal
training program s, which include
home study courses and shop classes,
where trainees work with demonstra­
tion appliances and other training
equipment.
Experienced repairers continue to
attend training classes periodically,
and study service manuals to become
familiar with new appliances and the
proper ways to repair them.
Formal training in appliance repair
and related subjects is available from
some vocational schools, technical
schools, and community colleges.
However, graduates of these schools
must gain on-the-job experience to
become fully qualified repairers.
Persons who want to become a p ­
pliance repairers generally must have
a high school diploma. High school
or vocational school courses in elec­
tricity are very helpful, because most
repairs involve work with electrical
equipment. Mechanical aptitude is
also desirable. Appliance repairers
who work in customers’ homes must
be able to get along with people.
Appliance repairers who work in
large shops or service centers may be
promoted to supervisor, assistant ser­
vice manager, or service manager. A
few may advance to managerial posi­
tions such as regional service manag­
er or parts manager for appliance
manufacturers. Preference is given to
those who show ability to get along
with coworkers and customers. Ex­
perienced repairers who have suffi­
cient funds may open their own ap ­
pliance stores or repair shops.

Employment Outlook
Employment of appliance repair­
ers is expected to grow about as fast
as the average for all occupations
through the m id-1980’s. In addition
to the jobs created by growth of this
occupation, many openings will arise
each year from the need to replace
expe rien ce d re pairers who retire,
die, or transfer to other occupations.
The number of appliances in use is
expected to increase very rapidly as a

result of increases in population and
income, and the introduction of new
and improved appliances. Maintain­
ing this large number of appliances
will increase the need for qualified
appliance repairers.
People who enter the occupation
should have steady work because the
appliance repair business is not very
sensitive to changes in economic
conditions.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Hourly earnings of appliance re­
pairers ranged from $4 to $7 in 1976,
based on the limited data available.
The starting rate for inexperienced
trainees was about $3 an hour. The
wide variations in wages reflect dif­
ferences in the repairers’ skill and
experience, geographic location, and
the type of equipment serviced.
Repair shops generally are quiet,
well-lighted, and adequately ventilat­
ed. Working conditions outside the
shop vary considerably. For example,
repairers sometimes work in narrow
spaces and uncomfortable positions
amidst dirt and dust. Those who re­
pair appliances in homes may spend
several hours a day driving, although
the use of 2-way radios has decreased
this time.
Appliance repair work generally is
safe, although accidents are possible
while handling electrical parts or lift­
ing and moving large appliances. In­
experienced workers are shown how
to use tools safely and how to avoid
electric shock.
Appliance repairers usually work
with little or no direct supervision.
This feature of the job appeals to
many people.
Many appliance repairers belong
to the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further information about jobs
in the appliance service field, contact
local appliance repair shops, appli­
ance dealers and utility companies,
or the local office of the State em ­
ployment service.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

407

Information about training p ro ­
grams or work opportunities also is
available from:
Association of Home Appliance Manufactur­
ers, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, 111.
60606.

AUTOMOBILE BODY
REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 807.381 )

Nature of the Work
Every day thousands of motor ve­
hicles are damaged in traffic acci­
dents. Although some are wrecked,
most can be made to look and drive
like new. Automobile body repairers
are the workers who straighten bent
frames, remove dents, and replace
crumpled parts that are beyond re­
pair. Usually, they can fix all types of
vehicles, but most repairers work
mainly on cars and small trucks. A
few specialize in working on large
trucks, buses, or tractor trailors.
When a damaged vehicle is
brought into the shop, body repairers
generally receive instructions from
their supervisors, who have deter­
mined which parts are to be restored
or replaced and how much time the
job should take.
Automobile body repairers use
special machines to align damaged
frames and body sections.
They
chain or clamp the semi-portable
alignment machine to the damaged
metal and apply hydraulic pressure
to straighten it.
Body repairers remove badly dam­
aged sections of body panels with a
p n e u m a t i c m e t a l c u t t i n g gun or
acetylene torch, and weld in new sec­
tions to replace them. Sometimes,
dented sections can be repaired rath­
er than replaced; the repairers push
dents out with a hydraulic jack or
hand prying bar, or knock them out
with a handtool or pneumatic ham­
mer. Small dents and creases can be
smoothed out by holding a small an­
vil against one side of the damaged
area while hammering the opposite
side. Very small pits and dimples are
rem oved with pick ham m ers and
punches.



Body repairers usually work by themselves with only general directions
from supervisors.

Some small dents cannot be
worked out of the metal. Body re­
pairers fix these dents by first filling
them with plastic or solder. Then,
when the filler hardens, they file or
grind it to its original shape and sand
it smooth for painting. In most shops,
automobile painters do the painting.
(These workers are discussed else­
where in the Handbook.) Some
smaller shops employ workers who
do both body repairing and painting.
Body repair work has variety—
each damaged vehicle presents a dif­
ferent problem. Therefore, in addi­
tion to having a broad knowledge of
automobile construction and repair
techniques, repairers must develop
appropriate methods for each job.
Most of these skilled people find
their work challenging and take pride
in being able to restore automobiles.
Body repairers usually work by
themselves with only general direc­
tions from supervisors. In some
shops, they may be assisted by help­
ers. In large shops, body repairers
may specialize in one type of repair,
such as straightening bent frames or
repairing doors or fenders.

Places of Employment
About 174,000 persons worked as
automobile body repairers in 1976.

Most worked for shops that special­
ized in body repairs and painting, and
for automobile and truck dealers.
Other employers included organiza­
tions that maintain their own motor
vehicles, such as trucking companies
and buslines. Motor vehicle m anu­
facturers employed a small number
of these workers.
Automobile body repairers work
in every section of the country, with
jobs in this occupation distributed in
about the same way as population.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most automobile body repairers
learn the trade on the job. They
usually start as helpers and pick up
skills from experienced workers.
Helpers begin by assisting body re­
pairers in tasks such as removing
dam ag e d parts and installing r e ­
paired parts. They gradually learn to
remove small dents and make other
minor repairs, and progress to more
difficult tasks such as straightening
frames. Generally, 3 to 4 years of onthe-job training are needed to be­
come skilled in all aspects of body
repair. Most training authorities rec­
ommend a 3- or 4-year formal ap­
prenticeship program as the best way
to learn the trade, but relatively few

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

408

of these programs are available. Ap­
prenticeship includes both on-thejob and classroom instruction. A p­
prentices spend most of their time
learning on the job, but they also are
expected to attend classes in related
subjects such as mathematics, job
safety procedures, and business man­
agement.
Persons who want to learn this
trade should be in good physical con­
dition and know how to use tools.
Courses in automobile body repair
offered by high schools, vocational
schools, and private trade schools
provide helpful experience, as do
courses in automobile mechanics.
Although completion of high school
generally is not a requirement, many
employers believe graduation indi­
cates that the person has at least
some of the qualities of a good work­
er, such as the ability to see a task
through to its completion. The latter
is especially important as employers
spend a good deal of time and money
on training.
Automobile body repairers must
buy handtools, but employers usually
furnish power tools. The usual pat­
tern is for trainees to accumulate
tools as they gain experience. Many
workers have a few hundred dollars
invested in tools.
An experienced automobile body
repairer with supervisory ability may
advance to shop supervisor. Many
workers open their own body repair
shops. In fact, about one of every
eight automobile body repairers is
self-employed.

Employment Outlook
Employment of automobile body
repairers is expected to increase
about as fast as the average for all
occupations through the mid-1980’s.
E m ploym ent is expected to in­
crease as a result of the rising num ­
ber of m otor vehicles damaged in
traffic. Accidents are expected to in­
crease as the number of motor vehi­
cles grows, even though improved
highways, driver training courses,
lower speed limits, and improved
bumpers and safety features on new
vehicles may slow the rate of in­
crease.
In addition to the job openings
from employment growth, many



openings are expected each year
from the need to replace experienced
repairers who retire or die. Also job
openings will occur as some workers
transfer to other occupations.
Most persons who enter the occu­
pation may expect steady work since
the automobile repair business is not
very sensitive to changes in econom ­
ic conditions.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Body repairers employed by auto­
mobile dealers in 36 large cities had
estimated average hourly earnings of
$8.20 in 1976, about one and threefourths times the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private indus­
try, except farming. Skilled body re ­
pairers usually earn between two and
three times as much as inexperienced
helpers and trainees.
Many body repairers employed by
automobile dealers and repair shops
are paid a commission, usually about
half of the labor cost charged to the
customer. Under this method, earn­
ings depend on the amount of work
assigned to the repairer and how fast
it is completed. Employers frequent­
ly g u a ra n te e their com m issioned
workers a minimum weekly salary.
Helpers and trainees usually receive
an hourly rate until they are skilled
enough to work on com m ission.
Body repairers who work for truck­
ing companies, buslines, and other
organizations that maintain their own
vehicles usually receive an hourly
wage. Most body repairers work 40
to 48 hours a week.
Automobile body shops are noisy
because of the banging of hammers
against metal and the whir of power
tools. Most shops are well-ventilat­
ed, but often they are dusty and have
the odor of paint. Body repairers
often work in awkward or cramped
positions, and much of their work is
strenuous and dirty. Hazards include
cuts from sharp metal edges, burns
from torches and heated metal, and
injuries from power tools.
Many automobile body repairers
are members of unions, including the
International Association of Machin­
ists and Aerospace Workers; the In­
ternational Union, United Autom o­
bile, A e ro s p a c e and A gricultural

Implement Workers of America; the
Sheet Metal Workers’ International
Association; and the International
B rotherhood of Teamsters, C hauf­
feurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of
America (Ind.). Most body repairers
who are union m em bers work for
large automobile dealers, trucking
companies, and buslines.

Sources of Additional
Information
More details about work opportu­
nities may be obtained from local
employers, such as automobile body
repair shops and automobile dealers;
locals of the unions previously m en­
tioned; or the local office of the State
employment service. The State em ­
p lo y m e n t service also may be a
source of information about appren­
ticeship and other programs that pro­
vide training opportunities.
For general information about the
work of automobile body repair
workers, write to:
Automotive Service Industry Association, 230
North Michigan Ave., Chicago, 11 .
1
60601.
Automotive Service Councils Inc., 188 Indus­
trial Dr., Suite 112, Elmhurst, 11 . 60126.
1

AUTOMOBILE MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 620.131 through .381,
.782, and .885; 721.281 and
825.281 )

Nature of the Work
A nyone whose c a r has b ro k e n
down knows how important the auto­
mobile mechanic’s job is. The ability
to make a quick and accurate diag­
nosis is one of the m echanic’s most
valuable skills. It requires good rea­
soning ability as well as a thorough
knowledge of automobiles. In fact,
many mechanics consider diagnosing
“ hard to find” troubles one of their
most challenging and satisfying du­
ties.
When mechanical or electrical
troubles occur, mechanics first get a
description of the symptoms from the
owner or, if they work in a dealer­
ship, the service advisor who wrote

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

the repair order. If the cause of the
trouble is hard to find, the mechanic
may test drive the car or use testing
equipment, such as m otor analyzers,
spark plug testers, or compression
gauges, to locate the problem. Once
the cause of the problem is found,
mechanics make adjustments or re ­
pairs. If a part cannot be fixed, they
replace it.
Most automobile mechanics per­
form a variety of repairs; others spe­
cialize . F o r e x a m p le , a u to m a tic
transmission specialists work on gear
trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps,
and other parts of automatic trans­
missions. Because these are complex
m echanisms, their repair requires
considerable experience and train­
ing, including a knowledge of hy­
draulics. Tune-up mechanics adjust
the ignition timing and valves, and
adjust or replace spark plugs, dis­
tributor points, and other parts to
ensure efficient engine performance.
They often use scientific test equip­
ment to locate malfunctions in fuel
and ignition systems.
Autom obile air-conditioning spe­
cialists install air-conditioners and
service com ponents such as c o m ­
pressors and condensers. Front-end
mechanics align and balance wheels
and repair steering mechanisms and
suspension systems. They frequently
use special alignment equipment and
wheel-balancing machines. Brake
m echanics adjust bra k es, replace
brake linings, repair hydraulic cylin­
ders, and m ake o th e r repairs on
brake systems. Some mechanics spe­
cialize in both brake and front-end
work.
Automobile-radiator
mechanics
clean radiators with caustic solu­
tions, locate and solder leaks, and
install new radiator cores. They also
may repair heaters and air-condition­
ers, and solder leaks in gasoline
tanks. Automobile-glass mechanics
replace broken windshield and win­
dow glass and repair window operat­
ing mechanisms. They install pre­
fo r m e d glass to r e p la c e c u r v e d
windows, and they use window pat­
terns and glass-cutting tools to cut
replacement glass from flat sheets.
In some cases they may repair minor
damage, such as pits, rather than re­
place the window.



409

To prevent breakdowns, most car
owners have their cars checked regu­
larly and parts adjusted, repaired, or
replaced before they go bad. This
responsibility of the mechanic is vital
to safe and tro u b le -fre e driving.
W h e n d o in g p r e v e n tiv e m a i n t e ­
n a n c e , m e c h a n ic s m ay follow a
checklist to be sure they examine all
important parts. The list may include
distributor points, spark plugs, car­
buretor, wheel balance, and other
potentially troublesome items.

Places of Employment
Over 700,000 persons worked as
automobile mechanics in 1976.
Most worked for automobile dealers,
automobile repair shops, and gaso­
line service stations. Others were
employed by Federal, State, and lo­
cal governments, taxicab and auto­
mobile leasing companies, and other
organizations that repair their own
automobiles. Some mechanics also
were employed by automobile m anu­
facturers to make final adjustments
and repairs at the end of the assem­
bly line. A small number of m echan­
ics worked for department stores that
have automobile service facilities.
Most automobile mechanics work
in shops that employ from one to five
mechanics, but some of the largest
shops employ more than 100. G en­
erally, automobile dealer shops em ­
ploy more mechanics than indepen­
dent shops.
A u to m o b il e m e c h a n ic s w o rk in e v ­

ery section o f the country. G e o ­
graphically, employment is distribut­
ed about the same as population.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most automobile mechanics learn
the trade on the job. Beginners usual­
ly start as helpers, lubrication work­
ers, or gasoline station attendants,
and gradually acquire skills by work­
ing with experienced mechanics. Al­
though a beginner can make simple
repairs after a few m onths’ experi­
ence, it usually takes 3 to 4 years to
become familiar with all types of r e ­
pairs. An additional year or two is
necessary to learn a difficult special­
ty, such as automatic transmission re­
pair. In contrast, radiator m echan­

ics, glass m e c h a n ic s , and b ra k e
specialists, who do not need an all­
round knowledge of automobile re­
pair, may learn their jobs in about 2
years.
Most training authorities recom ­
mend a 3- or 4-year formal appren­
ticeship program. These programs in­
clude both on-the-job training and
classroom instruction. On-the-job
training includes instruction in basic
service procedures, such as engine
tune-up, as well as instruction in spe­
cial procedures such as overhauling
transmissions. Classroom instruction
includes courses in related theory
such as mathematics and physics and
other areas such as shop safety prac­
tices and customer relations.
For entry jobs, employers look for
young persons with mechanical apti­
tude and a knowledge of autom o­
biles. Generally, a driver’s license is
required as mechanics occasionally
have to test drive or deliver cars.
W o r k in g on ca rs in the A rm e d
Forces or as a hobby is valuable ex­
perience. Completion of high school
is an advantage in obtaining an entry
job because to most employers it in­
dicates that a young person has at
least some of the traits of a good
worker, such as perseverance and the
ability to learn, and has potential for
advancement. Courses in automobile
repair offered by many high schools,
vocational schools, and private trade
schools also are helpful. In particu­
lar, courses in physical science and
mathematics can help a person better
understand how an automobile oper­
ates.
The usual practice is for mechan­
ics to buy their handtools and begin­
ners a re expe cted to accum ulate
tools as they gain experience. Many
experienced mechanics have several
hundred dollars invested in tools.
Employers furnish power tools, en­
gine analyzers, and other test equip­
ment.
Employers sometimes send experi­
enced mechanics to factory training
centers to learn to repair new models
or to receive special training in sub­
jects such as automatic transmission
or air-conditioning repair. Manufac­
turers also send representatives to lo­
cal shops to conduct short training
sessions. Promising beginners may be
selected by automobile dealers to at-

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

410

Most automobile mechanics learn the trade on the job.

tend fa c to ry -sp o n so re d m echanic
training programs.
Experienced mechanics who have
leadership ability may advance to
shop supervisor or service manager.
Mechanics who like to work with
customers may become service advi­
so rs.

M a n y m e c h a n i c s o p e n th e i r

own repair shops or gasoline service
stations and about 1 out of 7 automo­
bile mechanics is self-employed.

Employment Outlook
Job opportunities for automobile
mechanics will be plentiful in the
years ahead. Because this is a large
occupation, replacement needs are
high. Thus, in addition to openings
that will be created by employment
growth, thousands of job openings
will arise each year due to the need
to replace experienced mechanics
who retire, die, or change jobs.
Em ploym ent of autom obile m e­
chanics is expected to increase about
as fast as the average for all occupa­
tions through the m id-1980’s. The
number of mechanics is expected to
increase because expansion of the
driving age population and consumer
purchasing power will increase the
number of automobiles on the road.



Employment also is expected to grow
because a greater number of autom o­
biles will be equipped with pollution
control and safety devices, air-condi­
tioning, and other features that in­
crease maintenance requirements.
Most persons who enter the occu­
pation may expect steady work be­
cause the automobile repair business
is not much affected by changes in
economic conditions.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Skilled automobile mechanics em ­
ployed by automobile dealers in 36
cities had estimated average hourly
earnings of $7.76 in 1976, about twothirds more than the average for all
nonsupervisory workers in private in­
dustry, except farming.
Many experienced mechanics em ­
ployed by automobile dealers and in­
d e p e n d en t repair shops receive a
commission, usually about half the
labor cost charged to the customer.
Under this method, weekly earnings
depend on the amount of work com ­
pleted by the mechanic. Employers
frequently guarantee commissioned
mechanics a minimum weekly salary.

Skilled mechanics usually earn be­
tween two and three times as much
as inexperienced helpers and train­
ees.
Most mechanics work between 40
and 48 hours a week, but many work
even longer hours during busy peri­
ods. Mechanics paid by the hour
frequently receive overtime rates for
hours over 40 a week.
G en erally , m ech a n ics work in ­
doors. Modern automobile repair
shops are well ventilated, lighted,
and heated, but older shops may not
have these advantages.
Mechanics frequently work with
dirty and greasy parts, and in awk­
ward positions. Many of the autom o­
bile parts and tools that they must lift
are heavy. Minor cuts and bruises are
common, but serious accidents can
be avoided by keeping the shop clean
and orderly and observing other safe­
ty practices.
Some mechanics are members of
labor unions.
Among the unions
organizing these workers are the In­
ternational Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers; the Interna­
tional Union, United Autom obile,
Aerospace and Agricultural Imple­
ment Workers of America; the Sheet
Metal Workers’ International Associ­
ation; and the International Brother­
h o o d o f T e a m s te rs , C h a u ff e u rs ,
W a r e h o u s e m e n a n d H e lp e rs of
America (Ind.).

Sources of Additional
Information
For more details about work op­
portunities, contact local employers
such as automobile dealers and re­
pair shops; locals of the unions previ­
ously mentioned; or the local office
of the State em ploym ent service.
The State employment service also
may have information about appren­
ticeship and other programs that pro­
vide training opportunities.
For general information about the
work of automobile mechanics, write
to:
Automotive Service Industry Association, 230
North Michigan Ave., Chicago, 1 1
1.
60601.
Automotive Service Councils, Inc., 188 Indus­
trial Dr., Suite 112, Elmhurst, 1 1 60126.
1.
National Automobile Dealers Association,
2000 K St. NW„ Washington, D.C.
20006.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

BOAT-ENGINE
MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 623.281 and 625.281 )

Nature of the Work
Boat engines have many things in
common with automobile engines,
including unannounced breakdowns.
A reliable engine is particularly es­
sential in boating. Breakdowns far
from shore can leave a boater strand­
ed for hours—a frustrating and po­
tentially dangerous predicam ent if
the weather turns bad.
To minimize the possibility of
breakdowns, engine manufacturers
recommend periodic inspections of
engines by qualified mechanics to
have engines examined and repaired
and worn or defective parts replaced.
Also, at periodic intervals the me­
chanic may replace ignition points,
adjust valves, and clean the carburet­
or. After completing these tasks, the
engine will be run to check for other
needed adjustments. Routine mainte­
nance jobs normally make up most of
the mechanic’s workload.
When breakdowns occur, mechan­
ics diagnose the cause and repair
faulty parts. A quick and accurate
diagnosis—one of the m ech a n ic’s

41 1

most valuable skills—requires prob­
lem-solving ability as well as a thor­
ough knowledge of the engine’s o p ­
eration. Some jobs require only the
replacement of a single item, such as
a fuel pump, and may be completed
in less than an hour. In contrast,
tearing down and reassembling an
engine to replace worn valves, bear­
ings, or piston rings may take a day
or more.
Mechanics may specialize in either
o u tb o a rd or inboard engines, a l­
though many repair both. Most small
boats have portable gasoline-fueled
outboard engines. Larger craft such
as cabin cruisers and com m ercial
fishing boats are powered by inboard
engines (located inside the boat) and
are similar to automobile engines.
Some inboards burn diesel fuel rath­
er than gasoline.
In large shops, mechanics usually
work only on engines and other run­
ning gear. In small shops they also
may patch and paint hulls and repair
steering mechanisms, lights, and oth­
er boat equipment, such as refrigera­
tors, two-way radios, and depth find­
ers. In addition, they may repair
enginecycles, mini-bikes, snowm o­
biles, lawnmowers, and other m a­
chines which have small gasoline en­
gines that are similar to outboard
engines.

Mechanic
 removes outboard engine to perform more extensive repairs.


Mechanics use common handtools
such as screwdrivers and wrenches;
power and machine tools, including
drills and grinders; and hoists to lift
engines and boats. Engine analyzers,
compression gauges, and other test­
ing devices help mechanics locate
faulty parts. Mechanics refer to ser­
vice manuals for assistance in assem­
bling and repairing engines.

Places of Employment
Most of the 15,000 full-time boatengine mechanics employed in 1976
worked in the shops of boat dealers
and marinas. The next largest area of
employment was in boat manufactur­
ing plants where mechanics are em ­
ployed to make final adjustments and
repairs at the end of assembly lines.
A sm a ll n u m b e r o f m e c h a n i c s
worked for boat rental firms. Mari­
nas operated by Federal, State, and
local governm ents also em ployed
mechanics.
Dealer and marina shops typically
employ one to three mechanics; few
employ more than 10. Some small
dealers and marinas do not employ
mechanics; owners do the repair
work or send it to larger shops.
Boat-engine mechanics work in ev­
ery State, but employment is concen­
trated along coastal areas in Florida,
Texas, New York, California, Louisi­
ana, Washington, and New Jersey,
and near the numerous lakes and riv­
ers in Michigan, Minnesota, Wiscon­
sin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Mis­
souri. Mechanics who specialize in
outboard engines work in all areas.
Those who specialize in inboard en­
gines generally work near oceans,
bays, and large lakes.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Boat-engine mechanics learn the
trade on the job. At first, trainees
clean boats and engines and do other
odd jobs. Then, under the guidance
of experienced mechanics, trainees
learn to do other routine mechanical
tasks such as replacing ignition
points and spark plugs. As trainees
gain experience, they progress to
more difficult tasks such as diagnos­
ing the cause of breakdowns and
overhauling engines. Generally, an

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

412

inexperienced beginner needs 2 to 3
years on the job to become skilled in
repairing both outboard and inboard
gasoline engines. A capable m echan­
ic can learn to repair diesels in an
additional year or two.
Employers sometimes send train­
ees and mechanics to factory-spon­
sored c o u rses for 1 to 2 weeks.
Trainees learn the fundamentals of
engine repair. Mechanics upgrade
their skills and learn to repair new
models.
In the past few years, several
schools around the country have be­
gun to offer formal training courses
in marine engine repair and mainte­
nance.
When hiring trainees, employers
look for persons who have mechani­
cal aptitude, are in good physical
condition, and have an interest in
boating. High school graduates are
preferred, but many employers will
hire people with less education. High
school courses in small engine repair,
a u t o m o b i le m e c h a n ic s , m a c h in e
shop, and science are helpful. Before
graduating, a person may be able to
get a sum m er job as a m echanic
trainee.
Mechanics usually are required to
furnish their own handtools. Begin­
ners are e x p e cted to accum ulate
tools as they gain experience. Many
experienced mechanics have several
hundred dollars invested in tools.
Employers provide power tools and
test equipment.
Mechanics with leadership ability
can advance to supervisory positions
such as shop supervisor or service
manager. Some boat-engine m echan­
ics transfer to jobs as automobile m e­
chanics. Others may become sales
representatives. Mechanics who have
the necessary capital may open their
own dealerships or marinas.

Employment Outlook
Employment of boat-engine m e­
chanics is expected to grow about as
fast the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. In addition
to new positions, a few hundred
openings will arise each year as expe­
rienced m echanics retire, die, or
transfer to other occupations.
Em ploym ent is expe cted to in­
crease due to
 the growth in the num ­


ber of boats. The number of boats is
expected to increase at about the
same rate as the economy as a whole.
As population grows, and people
have more time for recreation, boat­
ing, like other leisure activities, will
probably expand.
Employment opportunities will be
particularly favorable for mechanics
who have a knowledge of electricity
and electronics. Electrical appliances
are becoming more common on
boats, and many new boats have twoway radios and depth finders.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to a nationwide survey
of boat dealers and marinas, estimat­
ed hourly earnings of experienced
mechanics ranged from about $3.50
to $9.75 in 1976. Experienced m e­
chanics generally earned two to three
times as much as trainees.
Most mechanics are paid an hourly
rate or weekly salary. Others are paid
a percentage—usually 50 percent—
of the labor charge for each repair
job. If mechanics are paid on a
percentage basis, their weekly earn­
ings depend on the amount of work
they are assigned and on the length
of time they take to complete it.
Boating activity increases sharply
as the weather grows warmer. C on­
sequently, many m echanics work
more than 40 hours a week in spring
and summer. During the peak sea­
son, some mechanics may work 7
days a week. However, in the winter,
they may work less than 40 hours a
week; a relatively small number are
laid off. In Northern States, some of
the winter slack is taken up by repair
work on snowmobiles.
The work is not hazardous, but
mechanics sometimes suffer cuts,
bruises, and other minor injuries.
Shop working conditions vary from
clean and spacious to dingy and
cramped. All shops are noisy when
engines are being tested. Mechanics
occasionally must work in awkward
positions to adjust or replace parts.
For many mechanics, however, these
disadvantages are more than com ­
pensated for by the variety of assign­
ments and the satisfaction that comes
from solving problems. Moreover,
mechanics may enjoy working near
water recreation areas.

Sources of Additional
Information
For details about training or work
opportunities, contact local boat
dealers and marinas or local State
employment offices.

BOWLING-PIN-MACHINE
MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 829.281 )

Nature of the Work
An important piece of machinery
in the modern bowling center is the
autom atic pinsetter. It returns the
ball to the bowler, clears the fallen
pins from the alley, and resets pins
for the next roll. When this complex
machine fails to work properly, the
game is held up and the bowling ce n ­
ter may lose customers. Keeping pinsetters running properly is the job of
bowling-pin-machine (or automatic
pinsetter) mechanics.
When a pinsetter breaks or mal­
functions, mechanics must quickly
find the cause of the trouble and
make repairs or adjustments so that
bowlers will not be inconvenienced
and annoyed. They refer to trouble­
shooting manuals and diagrams of
e le c tric a l circ u its to guide th e ir
work. To fix the pinsetter, mechanics
will repair, replace, or adjust broken
mechanical or electrical parts such as
gears, bearings, and motors.
Mechanics regularly service pinsetters to keep them operating prop­
erly. They inspect the machines for
faulty parts and wiring, and also
clean, lubricate, and adjust the gears,
motors, and other moving parts.
Mechanics use many different
types of tools, such as wrenches,
screwdrivers, hammers, soldering
irons, portable hoists, and lubricating
guns, to repair and service the parts.
They use ohmmeters, voltmeters,
and other devices to test electrical
circuits, relays, transform ers, and
motors.
Mechanics often supervise one or
more assistant mechanics or pinchasers. Mechanics train these workers to
locate and correct minor problems

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

413

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Bowling-pin-machine mechanics spend much of their time inspecting and adjusting
machines to prevent breakdowns.

such as pin-jams, by demonstrating
how the machines operate and by
disassembling the machine and ex­
plaining the function of the parts.
Assistant mechanics or the pinchasers maintain the pinsetters when the
mechanic is off duty.
In some bowling centers, mechan­
ics perform other maintenance such
as polishing lanes, reconditioning
pins, and repairing seats and tables.
Mechanics do some clerical work.
They order replacem ent parts and
keep an inventory of parts in stock.
They also may keep records of pinsetter m alfu n c tio n s and estim ate
 costs.
maintenance


Places of Employment
About 5,800 bowling-pin-machine
mechanics were employed in 1976.
Almost all worked in bowling ce n ­
ters. A small number were employed
by manufacturers of automatic pinsetters to install the machines and
service those in bowling centers that
do not employ full-time mechanics.
Bowling-pin-machine mechanics
are employed in every State, but em ­
ployment is concentrated in heavily
p o pulated areas, where there are
many bowling centers.

Generally, there are no education
or experience requirements for a job
as a pinsetter mechanic. Some em ­
ployers, however, prefer to hire ap­
plicants who are high school gradu­
a t e s a n d w ho h a v e c o m p l e t e d
courses in electricity, blueprint read­
ing, shop math, and machine repair.
Pinsetter mechanics usually begin
work as assistant mechanics and are
trained informally on the job. Train­
ees learn about the pinsetter’s opera­
tion and maintenance by observing
head mechanics and working on the
m achines under their supervision.
Trainees are taught how to lubricate
and clean pinsetters and to perform
o th e r p rev en tiv e m a in te n a n c e .
Trainees also learn to diagnose and
re p a ir various kinds of m ach in e
breakdowns. Usually, 1 to 2 years of
on-the-job training and experience
are needed to acquire m echanics’
skills.
A few mechanic trainees are sent
to training courses conducted by pin­
setter manufacturers. To take these
training courses, a mechanic must
work at a bowling center. The bowl­
ing center usually pays the tuition for
the courses.
The courses, which last 2 to 4
weeks, include classroom lectures
and shop work with demonstration
machines. Trainees study the struc­
ture and operation of machines made
by the firm operating the school, and
learn to locate typical sources of
trouble. They learn to perform pre­
ventive maintenance, to read wiring
diagrams, and to use the tools of the
tra d e . A fter a tte n d in g fa c to ry
schools, trainees usually need several
months of on-the-job experience to
qualify as mechanics.
People who want to become bowl­
ing-pin machine mechanics should
have good eyesight (including nor­
mal color vision), good eye-hand co­
o rd in a tio n , and average physical
strength. They also should have m e­
chanical ability and like to work with
their hands. Because speed often is
required in repairing pinsetters, abil­
ity to work under pressure also is im­
portant.
Advancement opportunities for
pinsetter mechanics are extremely

414

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

limited. Some mechanics become
managers or owners of bowling es­
tablishments. Those who work for
manufacturers may advance to ser­
vice manager.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment of bowling-pin-machine mechanics is expected to grow
more slowly than the average for all
occupations through the mid-1980’s.
The demand for bowling facilities is
likely to grow as the population in­
creases. The growth in bowling facili­
ties will be slower than in past years,
however, so only a few new openings
for pinsetter mechanics should oc­
cur. Most job openings will arise be­
cause of the need to replace experi­
enced mechanics who retire, die, or
leave the occupation for other rea­
sons. However, because this occupa­
tion is very small, only a limited num ­
b e r o f o p e n i n g s w ill b e c o m e
available.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Hourly earnings in 1976 ranged
from $3 for mechanic trainees up to
$5.50 for head mechanics, according
to the limited information available.
Mechanics work in a long, relative­
ly narrow corrid o r at the end of
bowling lanes where the automatic
pinsetters are located. The work area
has space for a workbench and usual­
ly is well lighted and well ventilated,
but quite noisy when the lanes are
operating. When making repairs and
adjustm ents, mechanics frequently
have to climb and balance on the
framework of the pinsetter, and to
sto o p , k n ee l, c r o u c h , and craw l
around the machines. Those who in­
stall and service machines for m anu­
facturers must travel to the various
bowling centers in their region.
The job generally is not dangerous
but workers are subject to common
shop hazards, such as electrical
shock, cuts, falls, and bruises.
Some mechanics and trainees em ­
ployed in large metropolitan areas
are members of unions, usually the
Service E m p lo y ees I n t e r n a tio n a l
Union or the International Brother­
h o o d o f T e a m s te rs , C h a u ff e u rs ,
W a r e h o u s e m e n , an d H e lp e rs of

America (Ind.)


Sources of Additional
Information
People who want further informa­
tion about training or work opportu­
nities in this trade should contact
bowling centers in their area, the lo­
cal bowling proprietors’ association,
or locals of the unions previously
mentioned. The local office of the
State employment service is another
source of information about employ­
ment and training opportunities.

BUSINESS MACHINE
REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 633.281 )

Nature of the Work
Business machine repairers main­
tain and repair the machines that are
used to speed the paperwork in busi­
ness and government. These include
typewriters, adding and calculating
machines, cash registers, dictating
machines, postage meters, and dupli­
c a tin g a n d c o p y in g e q u i p m e n t .
(Technicians who work on computer
equipment are discussed in a sepa­
ra te s t a t e m e n t e ls e w h e re in the
Handbook.)
Business machine repairers (often
called field engineers or customer
engineers) make regular vists for pre­
ventive maintenance to the offices
and stores of customers in their as­
signed area. The frequency of these
service calls depends upon the type
of equipment being serviced. For ex­
ample, an electric typewriter may re­
quire preventive maintenance only
three or four times a year, while a
m o re c o m p l e x c o p i e r p r o b a b ly
would require more frequent atten­
tion. During these calls, the engineer
inspects the m achine for unusual
wear and replaces any worn or bro­
ken p a r ts . T h e n the m a c h in e is
cleaned, oiled, and adjusted to insure
peak operating efficiency and to pre­
vent future breakdowns. The engi­
neer also may advise machine opera­
tors how to operate the equipment
more efficiently and how to spot a
problem in its early stages.

Despite frequent maintenance,
business machines do occasionally
malfunction. When a field engineer is
notified by the supervisor of a break­
down, he or she will make a prompt
service call to that customer. The en­
gineer determines the cause of the
malfunction by talking to the opera­
to r and exam ining the m ach in e .
Once the problem has been isolated,
repairs can be made. Minor repairs
generally can be made on the spot;
for more serious repairs, however,
the entire machine or a component
of the machine will be taken to the
repair shop where a specialist will
work on it.
Business machine repairers gener­
ally specialize in one type of m a­
chine. Those employed by manufac­
turing companies or dealers usually
are familiar only with the brand pro­
duced or sold by their employer. Re­
pairers who work for small indepen­
dent repair shops must be able to
work on equipment from several dif­
ferent manufacturers.
Repairers use common handtools,
such as screwdrivers, pliers, and
wrenches, as well as other tools espe­
cially designed to fit certain kinds of
business machines. In addition, they
use meters and other types of test
equipment to check for malfunctions
in e l e c tr o n i c circuits.

Places of Employment
About 58,000 people worked as
business machine repairers in 1976.
About three-fourths of them worked
mainly on typewriters, calculators
and adding machines, and copiers
and duplicators. Most of the rest ser­
viced accounting-bookkeeping m a ­
chines, cash registers, and postage
and m ailing e q u ip m e n t. A small
number repaired dictating machines.
About 8 of 10 repairers worked for
business machine manufacturers,
dealers, and repair shops. The re­
mainder worked for large organiza­
tions that had enough machines to
justify full-time repairers.
Business machine repairers work
throughout the country. Even rela­
tively small c o m m u n itie s usually
have at least one or two repair shops.
Most repairers, however, work in
large cities.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

415

Business machine repair is cleaner and lighter than the work in most mechanical
trades.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
The amount of formal education
required for entry jobs as business
machine repairers varies widely
among employers. Some employers
hire applicants with a high school
education, while many others require
at least 1 year of technical training in
basic electricity or electronics. Em­
ployers agree, however, that elec­
tro n ic s tra in in g re c e iv e d in the
Armed Forces is valuable.
Applicants for entry jobs may have
to pass tests that measure mechanical
aptitude, knowledge of electricity or
electronics, manual dexterity, and
general intelligence. Good eyesight,
including color vision, is needed to
inspect and work on small, delicate
parts. Persons considering this type
of work also should have good hear­
ing in order to detect malfunctions
revealed by sound.
Employers seek applicants who

have a pleasant, cooperative manner.


Because most machine servicing is
done in customers’ offices, the ability
to work without interrupting the of­
fice routine is very important. A neat
appearance and ability to converse
effectively are essential.
Some employers require that busi­
ness machine repairers be bonded.
Applicants for these jobs must be
honest and trustworthy because they
sometimes are exposed to large sums
of m oney and o ther valuables in
banks and offices. In addition, these
workers must be able to work with­
out direct supervision. They must be
able to set up a maintenance sched­
ule for their custom ers’ equipment
and arrange their own schedule so
that they can meet service deadlines
and also handle emergency repairs.
Trainees who work in a manufac­
tu re r’s branch office or for a fran­
chised dealer usually attend a school
s p o n s o r e d by the m a n u f a c t u r e r .
T r a in i n g p r o g r a m s a t c o m p a n y
schools usually last several weeks to

several months, depending on the
type of machine the repairer will ser­
vice. Trainees then receive from 1 to
3 years of practical experience and
on-the-job training before they be­
come fully qualified repairers. These
workers generally learn to service
only the com pany’s line of equip­
ment.
Training offered by independent
repair shops usually is less formal.
Trainees generally complete a selfstudy course coupled with on-the-job
training under the supervision of an
experienced repairer. Because small
repair shops usually d o n ’t specialize
in the more sophisticated types of
equipm ent, their repairers are ex­
pected to be familiar with the more
c o m m o n m a c h in e s p ro d u c e d by
many manufacturers. For example,
business machine repairers in small
shops should be able to repair several
different makes of typewriters, add­
ing machines, and calculators.
Wherever they work, business m a­
chine re pairers frequently attend
training seminars sponsored by busi­
ness equipm ent manufacturers for
special instruction in new business
machine developments. Also, busi­
ness machine repairers are encour­
aged to b r o a d e n th e ir te c h n ic a l
knowledge during nonworking hours.
Many companies pay the repairer’s
tuition for work-related courses in
college and technical schools.
Business machine repairers may
move into sales positions for greater
earnings. Repairers who show m an­
agement abilities also may advance
to service manager or supervisor. Ex­
perienced repairers sometimes open
their own repair shops; those who
work in manufacturers’ branch offic­
es sometimes become independent
dealers or buy sales franchises from
the company.

Employment Outlook
Employment of business machine
repairers is expected to grow faster
than the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. In addition
to jobs from employment growth,
many openings will arise as experi­
enced repairers retire, die, or change
occupations.
Employment opportunities for
qualified beginners are good. Busi­

416

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

ness and government will buy more
machines to handle the growing vol­
ume of paperwork and more people
will be trained to maintain and repair
these m achines. In re c e n t years,
many technical changes have o c ­
curred in business machines. Elec­
tronic calculating machines have re­
p la c e d m e c h a n i c a l m o d e ls , fo r
example, and electronic cash regis­
ters are replacing mechanical regis­
ters. Because of the greater use of
such equipment, opportunities will
be particularly favorable for repair­
ers who have training in electronics;
within several years training in basic
electronics may even become a pre­
requisite for business machine repair
jobs.
Business machine repairers work
year round and have steadier em ­
ployment than many other skilled
workers. Office machines must be
m a in ta in e d , even when business
slackens, since records must be kept,
correspondence carried on, and sta­
tistical reports prepared.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Information from a limited number
of employers in 1976 indicated that
trainees earned from $150 to $200 a
week, depending on their level of
training. For example, people who
have previous electronics training in
the Armed Forces or civilian techni­
cal schools generally receive some­
what higher beginning wages than
high school graduates.
Experienced repairers generally
earned from $200 to $280 a week.
Earnings usually were highest for
those who repaired electronic busi­
ness machines and complex duplicat­
ing and copying equipment. Repair­
ers who prepare themselves to work
on more than one type of equipment
can increase their earnings by about
20 percent. Specialists earned sala­
ries ranging between $220 and $310
a week in 1976, according to the lim­
ited information available.
Servicing business machines is
cleaner and less strenuous than the
work in most other mechanical
trades. Repairers generally wear
business clothes and do most of their
work in the custom er’s office. Inju­
Digitized forare uncommon.
ries FRASER


Repairers generally use their own
cars to travel to their customers’ of­
fices and are reimbursed on a mile­
age basis. Employers usually pay for
all tools and other equipment.

Sources of Additional
Information
For more details about job oppor­
tunities, contact local firms that sell
and service business machines and
the local office of the State employ­
ment service.
The State department of education
in your State capital can furnish in­
formation about approved technical
institutes, junior colleges, and other
institutions offering postsecondary
training in basic electronics. Addi­
tio n a l i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e s e
schools is available from:
U S. Office of Education, Division of Vocational/Technical Education, Washington,
DC. 20202.

COMPUTER SERVICE
TECHNICIANS
( D.O.T. 828.281)

Nature of the Work
Computer systems play a vital role
in our lives. They help us make tele­
phone calls, receive paychecks on
time, and reserve tickets for travel,
hotels, and entertainment. In busi­
ness and industry, computer systems
perform a wide variety of complicat­
ed tasks—from maintaining business
records to controlling manufacturing
processes.
A computer system is the combi­
nation of a computer and computerrelated machines, such as magnetic
tape readers and high speed printers.
Keeping this intricate set of machines
in good working order is the job of
the computer service technician.
At regular intervals, computer ser­
vice technicians (often called field
engineers or cu sto m er engineers)
service machines or systems to keep
them operating efficiently. They rou­
tinely adjust, oil, and clean mechani­
cal and e le c tro m e c h a n ic a l parts.
They also check electronic equip­
ment for loose connections and d e­
fective components or circuits.

When computer equipment breaks
down technicians must find the cause
of the failure and make repairs. De­
termining where in the system the
malfunction has occurred is the most
difficult part of the technician’s job,
and as computer systems have grown
larger and more complex, the poten­
tial for malfunctions also has grown.
The problem can be in the central
processing unit itself, in one of the
peripheral machines, such as a read­
er or a printer, or in the cables con­
necting these machines. Technicians
use several kinds to test equipment,
including voltm eters, o h m m eters,
and oscilloscopes to check for elec­
tronic failures. They also run special
diagnostic programs that help pin­
point certain malfunctions. Although
it may take several hours to locate a
problem, fixing the equipment may
take just a few minutes. For repair
jobs such as replacing a faulty circuit
board, soldering a broken co nne c­
tion, or repairing a mechanical part,
t e c h n i c i a n s use a v a r ie ty o f
handtools, including needle-nosed
pliers, wirestrippers, and soldering
equipment. The employer supplies
tools and test equipment, but techni­
cians are responsible for keeping
them in good working order.
Computer technicians often help
install new equipment. They lay ca­
bles, hook up electrical connections
between machines, thoroughly test
the new equipment, and correct any
problems before the customer uses
the machine.
Some technicians specialize in
maintaining a particular computer
model or system, or in doing a cer­
tain type of repair. For example,
some technicians are experts in cor­
recting problems caused by errors in
the c o m p u t e r ’s internal p ro g ra m ­
ming.
Besides knowing how to use spe­
cialized tools and test equipm ent,
computer technicians must be famil­
iar with technical and repair manuals
for each piece of equipment. They
also must keep up with the technical
information and revised maintenance
p ro c e d u re s issued periodically by
computer manufacturers.
Technicians keep a record of pre­
ventive maintenance and repairs on
each machine they service. In addi­
tion, they fill out time and expense

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

417

systems and to make emergency re­
pairs. In some cases, more than one
technician will share an account, and
service different parts of a system. In
other cases, an experienced techni­
cian may be assigned to work full
time at a client’s installation in order
to maintain all phases of that opera­
tion. Technicians who work for a na­
tionwide organization must som e­
times tran sfer to an o th e r city or
State.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Some technicians specialize in maintaining a particular computer model or system.

reports, keep parts inventories, and
order parts.
Although technicians spend most
of their time working on machines,
they work with people also. They
listen to customers’ complaints, an­
swer questions, and sometimes offer
technical advice on ways to keep
equipment in good condition. Expe­
rienced technicians often help train
new technicians and sometimes have
limited supervisory duties.

Places of Employment
In 1976, about 50,000 persons
worked as computer service techni­
cians. Most were employed by firms
 maintenance services
that provide


for a fee and by manufacturers of
computer equipment. A small num ­
ber were employed directly by o r­
ganizations that have a large com put­
er installation.
Com puter technicians generally
work out of regional offices located
in major urban centers, where com ­
puter equipment is concentrated. For
example, about one-fourth of these
workers are employed in one of these
major cities: New York City; Phila­
delphia; Washington, D.C.; Chicago;
and Los Angeles. Most are assigned
to several clients, depending on the
technician’s specialty and the type of
e q u ip m en t the user has. W orkers
with several accounts must travel
from place to place to maintain these

Most employers require applicants
for technician trainee jobs to have 1
to 2 years’ post-high school training
in basic electronics or electrical engi­
neering. This training may be from a
public or private vocational school, a
college, or a junior college. Basic
electronics training offered by the
Armed Forces is excellent prepara­
tion for technician trainees.
A high school student interested in
becoming a computer service techni­
cian should take courses in mathe­
m atics and physics. High school
courses in electronics and computer
programming also are helpful. Hob­
bies that involve electronics, such as
operating ham or CB radios or build­
ing stereo equipment, also provide
valuable experience.
Besides technical training, appli­
cants for trainee jobs must have good
close vision and normal color per­
ception to work with small parts and
color-coded wiring. Normal hearing
is needed since some breakdowns are
diagnosed by sound. Because techni­
cians usually handle jobs alone, they
must have the initiative to work with­
out close supervision. Also important
are a pleasant personality and neat
appearance, since the work involves
frequent contact with customers. A n­
other important asset for the success­
ful technician is patience, because
some malfunctions occur infrequent­
ly and are very difficult to pinpoint.
Applicants must pass a physical ex­
amination and, in some cases, get a
security clearance.
Trainees usually attend company
training centers for 3 to 6 months to
learn elementary computer theory,
computer math, and circuitry theory
and to further their study of electron­
ics. Classroom work is accompanied

418

by practical training in operating
com puter equipm ent, doing basic
maintenance, and using test equip­
ment to locate malfunctions.
In addition to formal instruction,
trainees must complete 6 months to 2
years of on-the-job training. At first
they work closely with experienced
technicians, learning to maintain
card readers, printers, and other m a­
chines that are relatively simple, but
that have the basic mechanical and
electronic features of a large com ­
puter system. As trainees gain experi­
ence they work on more complex
equipment.
Because manufacturers continual­
ly redesign equipment and develop
new uses for computers, experienced
technicians frequently must attend
training sessions to keep up with
these changes and to broaden their
technical skills. Many technicians
take advanced training to specialize
in a particular computer system or
type of repair. Instruction also may
include programming, systems analy­
sis, and other subjects that improve
the technician’s general knowledge
of the computer field.
Experienced technicians with ad­
vanced training may become special­
ists or “ troubleshooters” who help
technicians throughout their territo­
ry diag n o se difficult p r o b le m s . They
also may work with engineers in de­
signing equipm ent and developing
m a in te n a n c e pro c ed u re s. T e c h n i­
cians with leadership ability may be­
come supervisors or service manag­
ers.
Most com puter equipm ent o per­
ates on the same basic principles, but
machines built by different com pa­
nies may be unique in design and
construction. For this reason, techni­
cians may find it difficult to transfer
between companies that mantain dif­
ferent brands of equipment. Because
of the pressing need for experienced
technicians, however, many opportu­
nities exist for well-qualified workers
to transfer to other firms that handle
the same type of computer hardware.
Training and experience in com ­
puter maintenance may also qualify a
technician for a job in programming,
m anagem ent, or eq uipm ent sales.
(See statements on Programmers and
Digitized ffice M a c h in e an d C o m p u t e r
O for FRASER


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

M a n u f a c tu rin g e ls e w h e re in th e
Handbook.)

Employment Outlook
Employment of computer techni­
cians is expected to grow much faster
than the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. As the N a­
tion’s economy expands, more com ­
puter equipm ent will be used and
more technicians will be needed to
install and maintain it. Business, gov­
ernment, and other organizations will
buy, lease, or rent additional equip­
ment to manage vast amounts of in­
form ation, control m anufacturing
processes, and aid in scientific re­
search. The development of new uses
for computers in fields such as edu­
cation, medicine, and traffic control
also will spur demand.
Because most technicians are
young, relatively few openings will
stem from deaths and retirements.
Most job openings will result from
rising demand for the services of
computer service technicians. Most
openings will occur in metropolitan
areas.
The rising demand for computer
technicians is related to the growing
number of computers in operation
and the geographic distribution of
these computers. Continued reduc­
tions in the size and cost of computer
hardware will bring the com puter
within reach of a rapidly increasing
number of small organizations. As
more and more of these small sys­
tems are installed, the am ount of
time technicians must spend travel­
ing between clients also will increase.
Downturns in the economy will
tend to have a less negative effect on
job openings for computer service
technicians than for most o cc upa­
tions because even when business is
declining firms will continue to use
computers for accounting and other
data processing.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Average weekly earnings of com ­
p u te r service tec h n ic ia n train e es
ranged from about $180 to $200 a
week in 1976, according to a private
survey of firms engaged in computer
maintenance. Experienced workers
earned about $235 a week, while

senior technicians, those with 8-10
years’ experience, earned between
$250 and $285. Highly skilled spe­
cialists averaged from $310 to $340 a
week.
Because computer installations
generally run around the clock,
working time lost during a computer
breakdown can be very expensive.
For this reason, technicians must be
available to make emergency repairs
at any time, day or night. Although
the normal workweek is 40 hours,
overtime is standard. The method of
assigning overtime varies by employ­
er. Some technicians are on call 24
hours a day. Others work rotating
shifts—days 1 week, nights the next.
However it is implemented, com put­
er technicians can expect substantial
amounts of overtime; in many cases,
annual overtime pay can be as much
as 20 percen t of base salary. For
most technicians, travel is local and
they usually are not away from home
overnight. Employers pay for travel,
including reimbursement for job-re­
lated uses of the technician’s car, as
well as work-related education ex­
penses.
Although some bending and lifting
is necessary, the com puter techni­
cian’s job is not strenuous. Work haz­
ards are limited mainly to burns and
electrical shock, and can be avoided
if safety practices are followed.

Sources of Additional
Information
For general information on careers
in computer maintenance, contact
the personnel department of com put­
er m a n u f a c t u r e r s and c o m p u t e r
maintenance firms in your area. The
State d ep a rtm en t of education in
your State capital can furnish infor­
mation about approved technical in­
stitutes, junior colleges, and other in­
stitu tio n s offering p o s ts e c o n d a ry
training in basic electronics. Addi­
ti o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e s e
schools is available from:
U.S. Office of Education, Division of Vocational/Technical Education, Washington,
DC. 20202.

The State employment service of­
fice in your area may also be able to
provide information about local job
opportunities.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

419

DIESEL MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 625.281 )

Nature of the Work
Diesel engines are stronger and
thus last longer than gasoline en­
gines. In addition, they use fuel more
efficiently than gasoline engines be­
cause the higher compression ratios
found in diesel engines convert a
higher percentage of the fuel into
power. Because of their greater dura­
bility and efficiency, diesel engines
are used to power most of the Na­
tion’s heavy vehicles and equipment.
Diesel mechanics repair and main­
tain diesel engines that power trans­
portation equipment, such as heavy
trucks, buses, boats, and locom o­
tives; and construction equipment,
such as bulldozers and cranes. They
also service diesel farm tractors and a
variety o f o th e r d ie s e l-p o w e re d
equipment, such as compressors and
pumps used in oil well drilling and in
irrigation.
Before making repairs, diesel me­
chanics may use devices such as dy­
namometers to inspect and test en­
gine components to determine why
an engine is not operating properly.
After locating the trouble, they re­
pair or replace defective parts and
make adjustments. Preventive main­
tenance—avoiding trouble before it
starts—is another major responsibil­
ity. For example, they may periodi­
cally inspect, test, and adjust engine
parts such as fan belts and fuel filters.
Many mechanics make all types of
diesel engine repairs. Others special­
ize, in rebuilding engines, for exam­
ple, or in repairing fuel injection sys­
tems, turbochargers, cylinder heads,
or starting systems. Some also repair
large natural gas engines used to
power generators and other industri­
al equipment. In addition to main­
taining and repairing engines, diesel
mechanics may work on other parts
of diesel-powered equipment, such
as brakes and transmissions.
Most workers who maintain and
repair diesel engines are not called
diesel mechanics. Instead, their job
titles usually indicate the type of die­
sel equipment they repair. For exam­
ple, workers who maintain and repair

diesel tru ck s or buses are called


Diesel mechanics repair and maintain a variety of diesel-powered equipment.

truck or bus mechanics and those
who work on diesel farm tractors are
called farm equipm ent mechanics.
Many of these occupations are dis­
cussed elsewhere in the Handbook.
(See statements on truck mechanics,
bus mechanics, automobile m echan­
ics, and farm equipment mechanics.)
Diesel mechanics use pliers,
wrenches, screwdrivers, and other
common handtools as well as special
tools, such as valve refacers and pis­
ton pin-fitting machines. In addition,
they may use complex testing equip­
m ent, such as a d y nam om eter to
measure engine power, and special
fuel injection testing equipment. M e­
chanics also may use machine tools
to make replacement parts. They use
powered hoists and other equipment
for lifting and moving heavy parts.

Places of Employment
About 100,000 persons worked as
diesel mechanics in 1976. Many
worked for distributors and dealers
that sell diesel engines, farm and
construction equipment, and trucks.
Others were employed by buslines,
construction firms, and government
agencies such as State highway d e ­

partments. Some mechanics worked
for diesel engine manufacturers and
independent repair shops that spe­
cialize in diesels.
Because diesel engines are used
throughout the country, diesel m e­
chanics are employed in almost every
town and city. However, those who
work for trucking companies and
buslines are em ployed mainly in
large cities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Diesel mechanics learn their skills
in several different ways. Many begin
by repairing gasoline-powered auto­
mobiles, trucks, and buses. They usu­
ally start as helpers to experienced
gasoline engine mechanics, becom ­
ing skilled in all types of repairs in 3
or 4 years. If the garage or business
they work for uses or repairs diesel
e q u ip m e n t, they re c e iv e several
months of additional training in ser­
vicing this equipment. While learning
to fix engines on the job, many find it
helpful to take courses in diesel
equipment maintenance offered by
vocational, trade, and c o rre s p o n ­
dence schools.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

420

A few mechanics learn their trade
through formal apprenticeship pro­
grams. These programs, which gener­
ally last 4 years, give trainees a com ­
bination of classroom training and
practical experience. The classroom
instruction usually covers blueprint
reading, hydraulics, welding, and
other subjects related to diesel re­
pair.
Still another method of entry is
through full-time attendance at trade
or technical schools that offer train­
ing in diesel engine maintenance and
repair. These programs generally last
from several months to 2 years and
provide classroom instruction and of­
ten practical experience. Graduates,
however, usually need additional onthe-job training before they are capa­
ble of handling all types of diesel re­
pair.
Experienced mechanics employed
by companies that sell diesel-pow­
ered equipment sometimes are sent
to special training classes conducted
by engine manufacturers. In these
classes, mechanics learn to maintain
and repair the latest engines, using
the most modern equipment. In addi­
tion, they may receive training in
specialties such as engine rebuilding.
Employers prefer trainees and ap­
prenticeship applicants who have a
high school or vocational school edu­
cation and mechanical ability. Shop
courses in blueprint reading, auto­
mobile repair, and m achine shop
work are helpful, as are courses in
science and mathematics. Because
the work often requires lifting heavy
parts, persons interested in becoming
diesel mechanics should be in good
physical condition.
Many diesel mechanics have to
buy their own handtools and begin­
ners are ex p e c te d to accum ulate
tools as they gain experience. Experi­
enced mechanics usually have sever­
al hundred dollars invested in their
tools.
Mechanics who work for organiza­
tions that operate or repair large
numbers of diesel engines, such as
buslines or diesel equipment distribu­
tors, may advance to a supervisory
position, such as shop supervisor or

service manager.


Employment Outlook
Employment of diesel mechanics is
expected to increase faster than the
average for all occupations through
the m id-1980’s. In addition to the
jobs
arising from
employment
growth, many openings will result
from the need to replace experienced
m ech a n ics who tra n s fe r to o th e r
occupations, retire, or die.
Increased employment of mechan­
ics is expected mainly because most
industries that use diesel engines are
expected to expand their activities in
the years ahead. In addition, diesel
engines will continue to replace gaso­
line engines in trucks, buses, and oth­
er equipment because properly tuned
diesels use less fuel and produce less
pollution.
Most new job openings in this field
will be filled by mechanics who have
experience in repairing gasoline en­
gines. Companies that replace gaso­
line engine equipm ent with dieselpowered equipment usually retrain
their experienced mechanics. P e r­
sons who have school training in die­
sel repair, but no practical experi­
ence, may be able to find jobs only as
trainees.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to a 1975-76 wage sur­
vey covering 36 metropolitan areas,
m ech a n ics em ployed by trucking
companies, buslines, and other firms
th at m aintain their own vehicles
earned an average hourly wage of
$6.67, more than one-third above the
average for all nonsupervisory work­
ers in private industry, except farm­
ing.
Diesel mechanics usually work 40
to 48 hours a week. Many work at
night or on weekends, particularly if
they work on buses, engines used in
powerplants, or other diesel equip­
m ent used in serving the public.
Some are subject to call for emergen­
cies at any time. Mechanics generally
receive a higher rate of pay when
they work overtim e, evenings, or
weekends.
Most larger repair shops are pleas­
ant places in which to work, but
some small shops have poor lighting,
heating, and ventilation. Diesel m e­
chanics sometimes make repairs o u t­

doors where breakdowns occur. If
p roper safety precautions are not
taken, there is danger of injury when
repairing heavy parts supported on
jacks or hoists. In most jobs, m echan­
ics handle greasy tools and engine
parts. W hen making repairs, they
sometimes must stand or lie in awk­
ward positions.
Many diesel mechanics belong to
labor unions, such as the Internation­
al A ssociation of M achinists and
Aerospace Workers; the Amalgamat­
ed Transit Union; the Sheet Metal
W orkers’ International Association;
the International Union, United A u ­
tomobile, Aerospace and Agricultur­
al Implement Workers of America;
and the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about work opportu­
nities in this trade may be available
from the local office of the State em ­
ployment service. Other sources of
information are firms that use or ser­
vice diesel-powered equipment, such
as truck and buslines, truck dealers,
and construction and farm equip­
ment dealers. Additional information
on careers is available from:
International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers, 1300 Connecticut
Ave. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.

ELECTRIC SIGN
REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 824.281)

Nature of the Work
A common form of advertising for
many businesses and products is the
electric sign. Electric sign repairers
maintain and repair neon and illumi­
nated plastic signs so their owners
can receive the most benefits from
them.
When a sign requires service, re­
pairers drive to its location, carrying
their tools ^nd a number of replace­
m ent parts in a truck. R e p a ire rs ’
trucks are equipped with ladders and
boom cranes so they can work on tall

4 21

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

signs or those placed high above the
ground. C om m on sources of sign
trouble such as burned-out bulbs are
easy to fix. However, in some cases,
the problem may not be obvious and
repairers may need to use electronic
test eq u ip m e n t to d e te rm in e the
cause of a breakdown. Although sim­
ple repairs such as replacing bulbs or
transformers are done at the site, ma­
jor repairs of faulty parts such as
neon tubing, are made in sign shops.
Repairers also do preventive main­
tenance and periodic inspection of
signs to locate and correct defects
b efore b re a k d o w n s o c c u r. They
check signs and remove debris such
as birds’ nests and accumulated wa­
ter. Repairers also tighten or weld
parts that have been loosened by
winds and repaint beams, columns,
and other framework. They may re­
paint portio n s of neon tubing to
make the sign more readable. Mo­
tors, gears, bearings, and other parts
of revolving signs may be checked,
adjusted, and lubricated.
During periods with few service
calls, repairers who work for sign
manufacturing companies may help
to assemble signs. Some repairers
signs.
also install


Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Repairers use common handtools
and power tools, such as screwdriv­
ers, pliers, saws, and electric drills.
They also use ammeters, voltmeters,
and other testing devices to locate
malfunctioning electric parts. When
replacing burned out parts such as a
lamp or a flasher in illuminated plas­
tic signs, repairers may refer to wir­
ing diagrams and charts.
Repairers usually must fill out re­
ports noting the date, place, and n a ­
ture of service calls. They also may
estimate the cost of service calls and
sell m aintenance contracts to sign
owners.

Places of Employment
About 10,000 persons worked as
electric sign repairers in 1976, pri­
marily in small shops that manufac­
tu re, install, and service electric
signs. Some worked for independent
sign repair shops.
Electric
sign repairers
work
throughout the country. However,
employment is concentrated in large
cities and in populous States, where
large numbers of electric signs are
used.

Most electric sign repairers are
hired as trainees and learn the trade
informally on the job. Trainees per­
form the various phases of signmak­
ing in the shop to obtain a general
knowledge of tasks—such as cutting
and assembling metal and plastic
signs, mounting neon tubing, wiring
signs, and installing electrical parts.
After they have a thorough knowl­
edge of the construction of signs,
trainees accompany experienced re­
pairers on service calls to learn to do
repairs and maintenance. At least 4
years of on-the-job training and ex­
perience are required to become a
fully qualified repairer.
Some people learn the trade
through sign repairer or electrician
apprenticeship programs that are
conducted by some union locals and
sign manufacturing shops. The ap­
prenticeships usually last 4 years,
emphasize on-the-job training, and
include classroom instruction in sub­
jects such as electrical theory and
blueprint reading. Apprentices gen­
erally must be at least 18 years old
with a high school diploma. Attempts
are being made by unions and the
National Electric Sign Association to
increase the number of apprentice­
ship programs, so the availability of
this type of training should increase
in the future.
Employers prefer to hire high
school or vocational school gradu­
ates, although many repairers have
less education. Courses in m athem at­
ics, science, electronics, and blue­
print reading are helpful to young
people who are interested in learning
this trade.
Repairers need good color vision
because electric wires are frequently
identified by color. They also need
manual dexterity to handle tools, and
physical strength to lift transformers
and other heavy equipment. Because
much of their work is done on lad­
ders or from the baskets of boom
trucks, repairers cannot be afraid of
heights.
All electric sign repairers must be
familiar with the National Electric
Codes. Many cities require repairers
to be licensed. Licenses can be ob­
tained by passing an examination in

422

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

local electrical codes, and electrical
theory and its application.
Highly skilled repairers may b e ­
come supervisors. Because of their
experience in servicing signs and
dealing with custom ers, repairers
sometimes become sign sales repre­
sentatives. Repairers with sufficient
funds can open their own sign m anu­
facturing or repair shops.

Employment Outlook
Em ployment of electric sign re ­
pairers is expected to increase as fast
as the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. A rapid in­
crease in the number of signs in use
will spur demand for these workers.
More signs will be needed as new
businesses open and old ones expand
and modernize their facilities. Signs
already in use also will continue to
require service because well main­
tained signs are good for business
and also because many State and lo­
cal governments require owners to
keep their signs attractive. In addi­
tio n to j o b s fro m e m p l o y m e n t
growth, some openings will arise as
experienced workers retire, die, or
leave the occupation for other rea­
sons.

from high places. Training programs
emphasizing safety, and equipment,
such as saskets on boom trucks,
which allow easy access to signs,
have reduced frequency of accidents.
Repairers 4ay spend much time trav­
eling to the site of a service call.
Many electric sign repairers b e­
long to one the following unions: the
International Brotherhood 6f Electri­
cal Workers, the Sheet Metal W ork­
ers International Association, and
the In tern atio n al B ro th erh o o d of
Painters and Allied Trades.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further information on work
opportunities, contact local sign
manufacturing shops, the local office
of the State employment service, or
locals of the unions previously m en­
tioned.
General information on job oppor­
tunities, wages, and the nature of the
work is available from:
National Electric Sign Association, 2625 But­
terfield Rd., Oak Brook, 11 . 60521.
1

FARM EQUIPMENT
MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 624.281 and .381)

Nature of the Work
Years ago farmers planted, culti­
vated, and h arv ested th eir crops
using only handtools and simple ani­
mal-drawn equipment. Few repairs
were required and if a stray rock or
stump broke a plow blade, the metal
pieces could be hammered back to­
gether by the local blacksmith. Even
when tractors began to replace ani­
mals as the prime source of power,
their simplicity made it possible for
most farmers to do their own repair
work.
But in the last quarter century
farm eq u ip m e n t has grown e n o r ­
mously in size and variety. Many
farms have both diesel and gasoline
tractors, some equipped with 300horsepower engines. Other machin­
ery, such as harvesting combines, hay
balers, corn pickers, crop dryers, and
elevators, also is common. In today’s
world of mechanized agriculture, few
if any types of farming can be done
econ o m ic ally w ith o u t specialized
machines.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
The earnings of electric sign re­
pairers compare favorably with those
of other skilled workers. It is estimat­
ed that the hourly wage rate of expe­
rienced repairers was about $7.80 in
1976, based on a survey of union
wages and fringe benefits throughout
the country. Apprentice rates usually
range from $3.90 to $6.25 an hour.
Most electric sign repairers work
an 8-hour day, 5 days a week, and
receive premium pay for overtime.
They also may receive extra pay for
working at heights in excess of 30
feet.
Because most signs are out-ofdoors, repairers are exposed to all
kinds of weather. They sometimes
make emergency repairs at night, on
weekends, and on holidays. In some
large cities, repairers patrol areas at
night to locate and fix improperly
operating signs. Hazards include

electrical shock, burns, and falls


tilitiii

Farm equipment mechanics service most of the equipment used to plant, cultivate, and
harvest food.

423

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

As farm machinery grew more
complex, it became important for the
sellers of farm equipment to be able
to service and repair the machines
they sold. Almost every dealer em­
ploys farm equipment mechanics to
do this work and to maintain and re­
pair the smaller lawn and garden
tractors dealers sell to surburban
homeowners.
In addition, some mechanics as­
semble new implements and machin­
ery for farm equipment dealers and
wholesalers, and occasionally they
must repair dented or torn sheet met­
al on the bodies of tractors or other
machinery.
Mechanics spend much of their
time repairing and adjusting mal­
functioning diesel- and gas-powered
tractors that have been brought to
the shop. During planting or harvest­
ing seasons, however, the mechanic
may travel to the farm to make emer­
gency repairs so that crops can be
harvested before they spoil.
Mechanics also perform preven­
tive maintenance. Periodically, they
test, adjust, and clean parts and tune
engines. In large shops, mechanics
may specialize in certain types of
work, such as engine overhaul or
clutch and transmission repair. Oth­
ers specialize in repairing the airconditioning units often included in
the cabs of modern tractors and com­
bines, or in repairing certain types of
equipment such as hay balers. Some
m echa nics also re p a ir plum bing,
e l e c t r i c a l , i r r ig a tio n , and o th e r
equipment on farms.
Mechanics use many simple
handtools including wrenches, pliers,
hammers, and micrometers. They
also may use more complex testing
equipment, such as a dynamometer
to measure engine performance, or a
compression tester to find worn pis­
ton rings or leaking cylinder valves.
They may use welding equipment or
power tools to repair broken parts.

Places of Employment
Most of the estimated 66,000 farm
equipment mechanics employed in
1976 worked in service departments
of farm equipment dealers. Others
worked in independent repair shops,
in shops on large farms, and in ser­

vice departments of farm equipment


wholesalers and manufacturers. Most
farm equipment repair shops employ
fewer than five mechanics, although
a few dealerships employ more than
10. A sm all p r o p o r tio n o f farm
equipm ent mechanics are self-em­
ployed.
Because some type of farming is
done in nearly every area of the
United States, farm equipment m e­
chanics are employed throughout the
country. As employment is concen­
trated in small cities and towns, this
may be an attractive career choice
for people who do not wish to live the
fast-paced life of an urban environ­
m ent. How ever, m any m echanics
work in the rural fringes of metropol­
itan areas, so farm equipment m e­
chanics who prefer city life need not
live in rural areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most farm equipment mechanics
are hired as helpers and learn the
trade on the job by assisting qualified
mechanics. The length of training
varies with the helper’s aptitude and
prior experience. At least 2 years of
on-the-job training usually are neces­
sary before a mechanic can do most
types of repair work, and additional
training and experience are required
for highly specialized repair and
overhaul jobs.
Many farm equipment mechanics
enter this occupation from a related
occupation. For instance, they may
gain experience as farmers and farm
laborers, or as heavy equipment m e­
chanics, auto mechanics, or air-con­
ditioning mechanics. People who en ­
ter from related occupations also
start as helpers, but they may not
require as long a period of on-the-job
training.
More and more mechanics who
enter the trade have had vocational
training in rural high schools, in j u ­
nior and technical colleges, or in the
Armed Forces. With the develop­
ment of more complex farm imple­
ments, technical training in electron­
ics has become more important.
A few farm equipment mechanics
learn the trade by completing an
apprenticeship program, which lasts
from 3 to 4 years and includes on-

the-job as well as classroom training
in all phases of farm equipment re­
pair and maintenance. Applicants for
these programs usually are chosen
from shop helpers.
Some farm equipment mechanics
and trainees receive refresher train­
ing in short-term programs conduct­
ed by farm equipment manufactur­
ers. These pro g ram s usually last
several days. A company service rep­
resentative explains the design and
function of equipment and teaches
maintenance and repair on new m od­
els of farm equipment. In addition,
some dealers may give employees
time off to attend local vocational
schools that teach special weeklong
classes in subjects such as air-condi­
tioning repair or hydraulics.
Employers prefer applicants who
have an aptitude for mechanical
work. A farm background is an ad­
vantage since growing up on a farm
usually provides experience in basic
farm equipment repairs. Employers
also prefer high school graduates, but
some will hire applicants who have
less education. In general, employers
stress previous experience or training
in diesel and gasoline engines, the
maintenance and repair of hydrau­
lics, and welding—subjects that may
be learned in many high schools and
vocational schools. Some employers
also may require mechanics to be
skilled at blueprint reading, because
mechanics may have to refer to dia­
grams of machinery when making
complex repairs to electrical and oth­
er systems.
Persons considering careers in this
field should have the manual dexter­
ity needed to handle tools and equip­
ment. Occasionally, strength is re­
quired to lift, move, or hold in place
heavy parts. Difficult repair jobs may
require problem-solving abilities, so
experienced m echanics should be
able to work indep en d e n tly with
minimum supervision.
Farm equipment mechanics may
advance to shop supervisor or m an­
ager of a farm equipment dealership.
Some mechanics open their own re­
pair shops. A few farm equipment
mechanics earn 2-year associate de­
grees in agricultural mechanics and
advance to service representatives
for farm equipment manufacturers.

424

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Employment Outlook
Employment of farm equipment
mechanics is expected to increase
about as fast as the average for all
occupations through the mid-1980’s.
In addition to jobs from employment
growth, several hundred job opportu­
nities will arise each year as experi­
enced mechanics retire, die, or transf e r to o t h e r o c c u p a t i o n s .
Opportunities will be best for appli­
cants who have lived or worked on
farms and know how to operate farm
machinery and make minor repairs.
The development of more techni­
cally a d v a n c e d farm e q u ip m e n t,
some of which will require greater
maintenance, will increase the d e ­
mand for mechanics. For instance,
many newer tractors have much larg­
er engines, and feature advanced
transmissions of up to 24 speeds.
More complex electrical systems also
are used to operate the great variety
of gauges and warning devices now
used to alert the operator to prob­
lems such as brake wear, low oil pres­
sure in the transmission, or insuffi­
c i e n t c o o l a n t in t h e r a d i a t o r .
Advances such as these and air-con­
ditioned cabs, which have improved
the com fort of the operator, have
made it more difficult for farmers to
do their own repairs. Thus farmers
will have to rely more on skilled m e­
chanics in the future.
In addition to the larger and more
complex farm machinery, sales of
smaller lawn and garden equipment
have increased vastly over the past
decade and are expected to continue
to do so. Most of the large manufac­
turers of farm equipment now pro­
duce a line of these smaller tractors
and sell them through their estab­
lished dealerships. More mechanics
will be needed to service this addi­
tional equipment.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Average hourly wages of farm
equipment mechanics ranged from
about $3.50 to $6.35 in 1976, based
on the limited information available.
However, a few mechanics earned
over $15,000 in 1976 because em ­
ployees are paid time and a half for

overtime. Farm equipment m echan­


ics usually work a 44-hour week,
which includes 4 hours on Saturday.
During planting and harvesting sea­
sons, however, they often work 6 to 7
days a week, 10 to 12 hours daily. In
winter months, they may work fewer
than 40 hours a week, and some may
be laid off.
Mechanics often travel many miles
to repair equipment in the field, and
are exposed to all kinds of weather.
They come in contact with grease,
gasoline, rust, and dirt, and there is
danger of injury when they repair
heavy parts supported on jacks or by
hoists. Engine burns and cuts from
sharp edges of machinery also are
possible.
Very few farm equipment m echan­
ics belong to labor unions, but those
who do are members of the Interna­
tional Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers.

Sources of Additional
information
Details about work opportunities
may be obtained from local farm
equipment dealers and local offices
of the State employment service. For
general information about the occu­
pation, write to:
National Farm and Power Equipment Dealers
Association, 10877 Watson Road, St.
Louis, Mo. 63127.

INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY
REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 626. Through 631.)

Nature of the Work
When a machine breaks down in a
plant or factory, not only is the m a­
chine idle, but raw materials and h u ­
man resources are wasted. It is the
industrial machinery repairer’s job to
prevent these costly breakdowns and
to make repairs as quickly as possi­
ble.
Industrial machinery repairers—
often called maintenance m echan­
ics—spend much time doing preven­
tive m a i n t e n a n c e . This in clu d es
keeping m achines well oiled and
greased, and periodically cleaning

parts. The repairer regularly inspects
machinery and checks performance.
Tools such as micrometers, calipers,
and depth gauges are used to m ea­
sure and align all parts. For example,
on sewing machines in the apparel
industry, treadles may need adjust­
ment and gears and bearings may
have to be aligned. By keeping com ­
plete and up-to-date records, m e­
chanics can anticipate trouble and
hopefully service machinery before
the factory’s production is interrupt­
ed.
When repairs become necessary,
the maintenance mechanic must first
locate the specific cause of the prob­
lem. This challenge requires knowl­
edge reinforced by instinct. For ex­
ample, after hearing a vibration from
a machine, the mechanic must de­
cide whether it is due to worn belts,
weak motor bearings, or any number
of other possibilities. Repairers often
follow blueprints and engineering
specifications in maintaining and fix­
ing equipment.
After correctly diagnosing the
problem, the maintenance mechanic
disassembles, and then repairs or re­
places the necessary parts. Hand and
power tools usually are needed. The
repairer may use a screwdriver and a
wrench to take the door off an oven
or a crane to lift a printing press off
the ground. Electronic testing equip­
m ent often is included in the m e­
chanic’s tools. Repairers use catalogs
to order replacements for broken or
defective parts. When parts are not
readily available, or when a machine
must be quickly returned to produc­
tion, repairers may sketch a part that
can be fabricated by the plant’s m a­
chine shop.
The repairer reassembles and tests
each piece of equipment after it has
been serviced, for once it is back in
operation, the machine is expected
to work as if it were new.
Many of the industrial machinery
repairer’s duties, especially preven­
tive maintenance, also are performed
by millwrights. (See statem ent on
millwrights elsewhere in the Hand­
book.)

Places of Employment
Industrial machinery
repairers
work in almost every industry that
uses large amounts of machinery.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

425

er industries. In addition, as machin­
ery becomes more complex, repair
work and preventive maintenance
will become more essential.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to a survey of metropol­
itan areas, hourly wages for industrial
machinery repairers averaged $6.47
in 1976—one-third higher than the
average for all nonsupervisory work­
ers in private industry, except farm­
ing. Average hourly earnings of in­
dustrial machinery repairers in 12
areas that represent various regions
of the country are shown in the fol­
lowing tabulation:

Industrial machinery repairers need agility.

Many of the 320,000 repairers em ­
ployed in 1976 worked in the follow­
ing manufacturing industries: food
products, primary metals, machin­
ery, ch em icals, fa b ric a te d m etal
products, transportation equipment,
paper, and rubber.
Because industrial machinery re­
pairers work in a wide variety of
plants, they are employed in every
section of the country. Employment
is concentrated, however, in heavily
industrialized areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most workers who become indus­
trial m achinery repairers start as
helpers and pick up the skills of the
trade inform ally, through several
years of experience. Others learn the
trade through formal apprenticeship
programs. Apprenticeship training
usually lasts 4 years and consists of
both on-the-job training and related
classro o m (o r c o r re s p o n d e n c e
school) instruction in subjects such
as shop mathematics, blueprint read­
ing, welding, and safety. Upgrade ex­
aminations may be administered pe­
riodically to determine the repairer’s

ability to maintain more advanced


machinery. Some repairers are pro­
moted to machinists or tool and die
makers. A few become master m e­
chanics.
Mechanical aptitude and manual
dexterity are important qualifications
for workers in this trade. Good phys­
ical condition and agility also are
necessary because repairers som e­
times have to lift heavy objects or do
c o n s i d e r a b l e c lim b in g to r e a c h
equipm ent located high above the
floor.
High school courses in mechanical
drawing, mathematics, and blueprint
reading are recommended for those
interested in entering this trade.

Employment Outlook
Employment of industrial machin­
ery repairers is expected to increase
much faster than the average for all
occupations through the mid-1980’s.
In addition to jobs from employment
growth, many openings will result
from the need to replace experienced
repairers who retire, die, or transfer
to other occupations.
More repairers will be needed to
take care of the growing amount of
machinery used in manufacturing,
coal mining, oil exploration, and oth­

Area
Hourly rate
Detroit................................................. $7.66
Indianapolis........................................
7.18
Baltimore............................................
7.13
Chicago..................................................
6.89
Houston...................................................
6.80
New York...............................................
6.33
Cincinnati...............................................
6.27
Minneapolis—St. Paul..........................
6.24
St. Louis.................................................
6.19
New Orleans...........................................
5.71
Worcester, Mass....................................
5.59
Greenville—Spartanburg, S.C.........
4.76

Industrial machinery repairers usu­
ally are not affected by seasonal
changes in production. During slack
periods when some plantworkers are
laid off, repairers often are retained
to do m a jo r o v e r h a u l jobs.

Industrial machinery repairers may
be called to the plant during off-duty
hours, especially in emergencies.
Thus they may have to work nights
and weekends, depending on the
maintenance necessary.
Repairers may work in stooped or
cramped positions, to reach the un­
derside of a generator, for example.
They also may find it necessary to
work from the top of ladders when
repairing a large machine. These
workers are subject to common shop
injuries such as cuts and bruises.
Goggles, metal-tip shoes, safety hel­
mets, and other protective devices
help prevent injuries.
Labor unions to which most indus­
trial machinery repairers belong in­
clude the United S teelw orkers of
America; the International Union,
United Automobile, Aerospace and

426

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Agricultural Implement Workers of
America; the International Associ­
ation of Machinists and Aerospace
W o r k e rs ; and th e I n t e r n a t i o n a l
Union of Electrical, Radio and M a­
chine Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about employment
and apprenticeship opportunities in
this field may be available from local
offices of the State employment ser­
vice or the following organizations:
International Union, United Automobile,
Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement
Workers of America, 8000 East Jefferson
Ave., Detroit, Mich. 48214.
International Union of Electrical, Radio, and
Machine Workers, 1126-16th St. NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20036.

INSTRUMENT REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 710.131, 710.281, 729.281,
823.281, and 828.281 )

Nature of the Work
Nearly all areas of industry and re­
search depend on measuring devices
called instrum ents. For exam ple,
steel plants use hundreds of instru­
ments to analyze, record and control
their production processes. Airline
pilots depend on instruments to navi­
gate between airports and to make
safe landings. Doctors use electro­
cardiographs and other medical in­
struments to diagnose and treat dis­
ea se. In d e e d , th e v a rie ty and
applications of instruments are al­
most limitless. Repairing, servicing,
and installing this equipment is the
job of the instrument repairer, often
called instrument technician.
Technicians usually specialize in
the repair of instruments used by a
particular industry such as process
control instruments or aircraft navi­
gation instruments. Because the in­
struments are different, the duties of
repairers vary by industry, although
much of the work is similar.
When an instrument is not working
correctly, repairers attempt to deter­
mine the cause and correct the prob­
Digitized forat the site. Often the repairer can
lem FRASER


fix the instrument by making a simple
adjustment with a handtool or a mi­
nor repair such as resoldering a loose
connection. If the cause of the break­
down cannot be located easily or m a­
jor repairs are required, the broken
instrument may be taken to the re ­
pair shop. In the shop, the technician
disassembles the faulty instrument
and examines the individual parts or
the e le c tric c irc u itry . W hen the
source of the breakdown is located,
the technician makes repairs such as
replacing worn or damaged parts. Af­
ter reassembling the instrument, the
repairer uses test equipment to adjust
the instrument and to check its accu­
racy.
In some cases, an instrument mal­
functions because it is used improp­
erly. Repairers often must u n d e r­
stand the entire production process
to determine whether the instrument,
other equipment, or the operator is
at fault. In such situations, repairers
may have to show the operator how
to use and care for the instrument
properly.
Repairers also perform preventive
maintenance in the field or by taking
the equipment to the shop for inspec­
tion on a regular basis. At the shop,
worn or defective parts that might
break down are replaced or repaired.
Instruments also are cleaned, lubri­
cated, adjusted, and tested, before
being replaced.
Technicans may install new instru­
ments. After installation, the instru­
ments are tested for accuracy and
adjusted to insure their proper opera­
tion.
Repairers use testing equipment
such as pressure gauges and volt­
meters and information from mainte­
nance manuals, electrical diagrams,
and blueprints to locate m alfunc­
tions. They use handtools such as
sc re w d riv e rs and w re n c h e s , and
bench tools such as jewelers’ lathes
and pin vises to make repairs and
adjustm ents. In some com panies,
they operate drill presses, polishers,
and other machine tools to make new
parts or to change standard parts to
fit particular instruments. When an
instrum ent must be set precisely,
they may use jew elers’ loupes, mi­
crometers, or microscopes.

Place of Employment
About 75,000 persons worked as
instrument repairers in 1976. Most of
them worked for the manufacturing
industries that use instruments in au­
tomated production and process c on­
trol systems such as petroleum and
chemical firms, gas and electric utili­
ties, and producers of paper, food
products, steel, aluminum, rubber,
a irc ra f t, and au to m o b ile s. Large
num bers of technicians were e m ­
ployed by instrument manufacturers
to install and service their custom ers’
equipment. Others worked for firms
that offer installation and repair ser­
vices to instrum ent users. A few
thousand, primarily aircraft instru­
ment repairers, worked for Federal
ag e n c ie s , m ainly the Air F o rc e ,
Navy, and Army.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
At least 4 years of on-the-job train­
ing and study usually are required in
order to become an instrument re­
pairer. However, training time d e ­
pends upon individual ability, previ­
ous experience and training, and
complexity of the instruments ser­
viced.
Training for entry into the occupa­
tion is available from several sources.
In plants using instruments, repairers
generally are selected from produc­
tion or maintenance employees or
are hired as trainees. Training pro ­
grams may be conducted informally
on the job or through formal appren­
ticeships, which usually are estab­
lished by union contract. Both types
of training emphasize work experi­
ence with the instrum ents in the
plant and often include courses in
instrumentation theory, m athem at­
ics, blueprint reading, physics, elec­
tro n ic s , and c h e m istry . T h ese
courses may be taken by correspon­
dence or at technical schools and
community colleges.
Some people train for instrument
repair work in technical institutes
and junior colleges that grant asso­
ciate degrees in instrumentation. The
curriculum in these schools usually
includes courses in basic electricity,
mathematics, applied sciences, and
the operation and m aintenance of

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

particular instruments. Shop training
with various instruments is empha­
sized. Programs offered by these
schools usually last 2 years.
Armed Forces technical schools
also offer excellent training in instru­
ment servicing. Skills acquired in this
way help a person qualify for a civil­
ian job as an instrument repairer.
Several instrument manufacturers
offer specialized training to experi­
enced repairers employed by their
customers. This training may last
from 1 week to 9 months, depending
upon the number and complexity of
the instruments. Courses are given in
theory, maintenance, and operation
of the instruments produced by these
manufacturers. Instrument repairers
also keep up with new developments
in their field by reading trade maga­
zines and m a n u fa c tu re r s ’ service
manuals.
Trainees or apprentices generally
must be high school graduates.
Courses in algebra, trigonometry,
physics, chemistry, electronics, ma­
chine shop, and blueprint reading are
considered particularly useful and
may be required for entry into junior
colleges. Some employers give tests
to applicants to determine their me­

chanical aptitude.


427

place ex p e rie n c e d re p a ire rs who
retire, die, or leave the occupation
for other reasons.
Additional instrument repairers
will be needed because the use of
technically sophisticated instruments
for measurement, analysis, and con­
trol in industry and scientific re ­
search is expected to increase. Indus­
trial instruments for process control
in a number of industries including
steel, food, and rubber are expected
to increase substantially. In addition,
more instruments will be used in re­
search laboratories, aircraft and mis­
siles, and automotive repair shops.
Opportunities for instrument re­
pairers are expected to be particular­
ly favorable in the petroleum, chemi­
cals, and medical supplies industries,
arising from increased emphasis on
energy conservation and exploration,
air and water pollution monitoring,
and medical diagnosis.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Good eye-hand coordination and
finger dexterity are needed to handle
delicate parts. The ability to work
without close supervision also is im­
portant. Experience with electronic
e q u i p m e n t such as building and
maintaining a “ ham ” radio station is
helpful for an individual planning to
become an instrument repairer.
Instrument repairers may become
supervisors in maintenance and re ­
pair d e p a rtm e n ts . Some may a d ­
vance to positions as service repres e n ta tiv e s for in s tru m e n t
manufacturers. If they obtain addi­
tional education, instrument repair­
ers may become engineering assis­
tants or engineers. Instruments are
becoming more complex, and techni­
cal school training is becoming an
essential requirement for instrument
repair work. This kind of training
will provide a better base for a d ­
vancement.

Employment Outlook
Employment of instrument repair­
ers is expected to increase as fast as
the a v e ra g e for all o c c u p a t i o n s
through the mid-1980’s. In addition
to job openings caused by employ­
ment growth, many openings will re ­
sult annually from the need to re ­

According to the limited informa­
tion available, instrument repairers
received between $5 and $10 an
hour in 1976. Those specializing in
the repair of electronic instruments
and systems often receive higher
wages. In s tru m e n t re p a ire rs e m ­
ployed by Federal agencies receive
rates comparable to those in private
industry.
Most instrument repairers work a
40-hour, 5-day week. Those e m ­
ployed in process plants that operate
around the clock may work on any of
three shifts or rotate among shifts.
Repairers also may be called to work
with emergency crews at nights or on
Sundays and holidays.
Work settings for instrument re­
pairers vary from factory floors amid
noise, h e a t, and fum es to quiet,
clean, well-lighted shops. In some in­
dustries, such as chemicals, petrole­
um, and steel, repairers may have to
work outdoors. Those employed by
companies that service or manufac­
ture instruments may travel frequent­
lyMany instrument repairers belong
to unions, including the International
Association of Machinists and Aero­
space Workers; International Broth­
erhood of Electrical Workers; United

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

428

Paperworkers International Union;
In te r n a tio n a l C h e m ic a l W o rk e rs
Union; International Union of Elec­
trical, Radio and Machine Workers;
International Union, United A uto­
mobile, Aerospace and Agricultural
Implement Workers of America; Oil,
Chemical and Atomic Workers Inter­
national Union; United Steelworkers
of America; Utility Workers Union
of America; and United Association
of Journeymen and Apprentices of
the Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Sources of Additional
Information
The local office of the State em ­
ployment service may be a source of
information about training and em ­
ployment opportunities for persons
who wish to enter this occupation.
Additional information is available
from:
Instrument Society of America, 400 Stanwix
St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222.

Inquiries concerning positions with
the Federal Government should be
made at the regional offices of the
U.S. Civil Service Commission.

JEWELERS
(D.O.T. 700.281 and .381)

Nature of the Work
For centuries people have adorned
themselves with rings, necklaces, and
other ornaments made from precious
metals and stones. The creation and
repair of such beautiful items is the
work of a jeweler.
Generally jewelers specialize in a
particular manufacturing operation
such as designing, modelmaking,
stone setting, or engraving. Some
specialize in repair work such as en­
larging and reducing rings, resetting
stones, soldering broken parts, or re­
designing old jewelry.
The method of producing jewelry
varies with the item made and m ate­
rials used. For special orders, jewel­
ers follow either their own designs or
 by designers. They out­
those created


Jewelers’ work is very delicate.

line the design on metal such as gold
or silver, and then cut, fit, and shape
each part. After preparatory polish­
ing, they solder parts together to
form the finished piece. Designs are
carved in the metal and diamonds or
other precious stones are mounted.
Costume jewelry and some kinds
of precious jewelry are mass p ro ­
duced by factory workers using as­
sembly line methods. The metal usu­
ally is melted and cast in a mold or
shaped with a die. Skilled jewelers
are needed, however, to design and
make the molds and the dies, cast the
jewelry pieces, and perform finishing
operations, such as polishing, engrav­
ing and stone setting.
In their work jewelers use files,
saws, hammers, punches, soldering
irons, and a variety of other small
handtools. Because the work is very
detailed, jewelers often use a magni­
fying glass or eye “ loupe.”
Some jewelers own jewelry stores
or shops that make and repair jewel­
ry. In addition to working on jewelry,
these small business people hire em ­
ployees, order and sell merchandise,
and handle other managerial duties.

Places of Employment
About 19,000 people had jobs as
jewelers in 1976, one-third of whom
were self-employed and owned retail
jewelry stores and repair shops.
About one out of every eight jewelers
worked in a jewelry store. The re­
mainder were about evenly distribut­
ed between jewelry factories and re­
pair shops.
Most jewelers employed in p re ­
cious jewelry production worked in
or near New York City. Although
jewelry stores and repair shops are
located throughout the country, most
jobs in these establishments are in
metropolitan areas.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Jewelers’ skills usually are learned
through informal on-the-job training.
However, a limited number of formal
courses are offered by industrial as­
sociations and technical schools.
Work in jewelry factories offers
the best opportunties for persons to
acquire all-round skills. In the pre­
cious jewelry industry the Amalga­

429

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

mated Jewelry, Diamond and Watchc a s e W o r k e r s U n i o n a n d th e
manufacturers have established ap­
prenticeships for many of the skilled
occupations. Individuals who work in
je w e lry fa c t o r i e s h av e the best
chance to get such apprenticeships.
The apprentices learn their trade
through on-the-job training. Depend­
ing on the particular skill, appren­
ticeship programs for jewelry makers
usually take from 3 to 4 years. For
example, 3 years are required to be­
come a colored-stone setter and 4
years to qualify as a diamond setter.
All new apprentices receive the same
starting wage and get periodic raises
up to the minimum for their job. To
overcom e labor shortages in the
m o d e lm a k in g , m o ld m a k in g , and
toolmaking occupations, m anufac­
turers sponsor some courses in Provi­
den c e, R.I. and New York City.
These courses are intended for em­
ployees of jewelry m anufacturers,
and the tuition often is paid by the
manufacturer.
Some technical schools offer in­
struction for 6 months to 3 years in
watch and jewelry repair, and jewelry
design and c o n s t r u c t i o n . T h ese
schools are a good source of training
for someone outside the jewelry in­
dustry.
A high school education is desir­
able for young people entering the
trade. C ourses in art, mechanical
drawing, and chemistry are particu­
larly useful.
The precise and delicate nature of
jewelry work requires finger and
hand dexterity, good eye-hand coor­
dination, patience, and concentra­
tion. Artistic ability is a major asset,
because jewelry is primarily a form of
adornment.
In manufacturing, jewelers some­
times advance to supervisory jobs.
Some jewelers open their own jewel­
ry stores or repair shops.
A substantial financial investment
and a great personal commitment are
required to operate a jewelry store,
because the field is highly competi­
tive. Jewelers who plan to open their
own stores should have experience in
selling jewelry. Those who can repair
watches have an advantage, because
watch repair accounts for much of
the FRASER
Digitized forbusiness in small stores.


Employment Outlook
Employment of jewelers is expect­
ed to grow more slowly than the av­
erage for all occupations through the
mid-1980’s. Though the demand for
jewelry will increase as population
grows, and as rising incomes enable
people to spend more on luxuries,
improved production methods will
enable jewelry factories to meet the
increased demand without hiring ad ­
ditional employees. However, many
job openings will occur each year as
experienced workers retire, die, or
transfer to other occupations. Be­
cause of a shortage of skilled jewel­
ers, opportunities for people with
training in jewelry construction, d e ­
sign, or repair should exist through­
out the industry.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
According to limited information
available, earnings of experienced
jewelers ranged from about $5 to $7
an hour in 1976. Those in business
for themselves can earn more.
Most jewelers in stores and repair
shops work 40 to 48 hours a week.
Some in factories work 35 hours a
week.
Skilled jewelers usually work in
well-lighted and well-ventilated sur­
roundings.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information on job opportuni­
ties in jewelry manufacturing, con­
tact:
The Jewelry Institute, 340 Howard Building,
155 Westminster St., Providence, R.I.
02903.

For information on job opportuni­
ties in jewelry stores, contact:
Retail Jewelers of America, 10 Rooney Circle
West Orange, N.J. 07052.

For a list of technical schools of­
fering training in jewelry design and
construction, contact:
Jewelers Circular Keystone, Chilton Way,
Radnor, Pa. 19089.

LOCKSMITHS
(D.O.T. 709.281)

Nature of the Work
Locksmithing is an ancient trade—
so old, in fact, th at archeologists
have found evidence of key-operated
wooden locks made for Egyptian roy­
alty as early as 2000 B.C. For many
cen tu ries, the lo c k s m ith ’s talents
were available to only the relatively
few who could afford the locks of the
day, which were sometimes elabo­
rate, if none too foolproof. In 1861,
the pin tumbler lock was invented
and a mass-production method de­
veloped that made these locks nearly
as common as doors themselves. The
locksmith came into demand as nev­
er before.
T oday’s locksmiths spend much of
their time helping people who have
locked themselves out of their cars,
homes, and businesses. If the key has
been left inside the car or house, for
example, they may simply pick the
lock. If, on the other hand, the keys
are lost, new ones must be made. To
do this, locksmiths first will try to
obtain identifying key code numbers
so that they can cut duplicates of the
original key. Code numbers for a
c a r’s keys, for example, may be ob­
tained by consulting the dealer who
sold the car, or by checking the own­
e r’s bill of sale. Keys also can be
duplicated by impression. In this
case, locksmiths place a blank key in
the lock and, by following marks left
on the blank, file notches in it until it
works.
Combination locks offer a special
challenge. Locksmiths sometimes
open them by touch, that is, by rotat­
ing the dial and feeling the vibrations
when the wheels come into place. If
all else fails, a hole may be drilled
through the lock to open it. Finally,
locksmiths repair damaged locks by
replacing tumblers, springs, and oth­
er parts.
An im portant part of the lo ck ­
smith’s job is to recommend security
measures to customers. For example,
they may advise a firm to rekey its
locks periodically. To rekey, lock­
smiths change the locking m echa­
nism to fit new key codes, thus mak-

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Although most jobs will be found
in big cities, locksmiths work in virtu­
ally every part of the country. Locksmithing in small towns, however, is
usually a part-time job, often com ­
bined with other work, such as fixing
lawnmowers, guns, and bicycles.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Locksmith shops typically employ one to three locksmiths.

ing the old keys useless. Rekeying a
m aster system is one of the most
c o m p lic a te d and tim e-consum ing
jobs handled by a locksmith. In a
master system, some keys must open
all doors; others open various combi­
nations (for example, all doors on
one floor); still others are individual
keys for each door.
Some locksmiths install and repair
electronic burglar alarms and surveil­
lance systems that signal police or
firefighters when break-ins or fires
occur. A basic knowledge of elec­
tricity and electronics is needed to
install and re p air these systems.
Much of the work is done by special­
ists called protective-signal repairers,
rather than by locksmiths.
Locksmiths
use
screwdrivers,
pliers, tweezers, and electric drills in
 as well as special tools
their work,


such as lockpicks. They make origi­
nal and duplicate keys on keycutting
machines. To guide them in their
work, they refer to manuals that d e ­
scribe the construction of various
locks.

Places of Employment
Most of the estimated 10,000 lock­
smiths in 1976 worked for locksmith
shops. Many o perated their own
businesses. Locksmith shops typical­
ly employ one to three locksmiths;
few employ more than five. Some
locksmiths worked in hardware and
department stores that offered lock­
smith services to the public; others
worked in government agencies and
large industrial plants. A small num ­
ber worked for safe and lock m anu­
facturers.

The skills of this trade are learned
primarily through on-the-job training
under experienced locksmiths. First,
beginners may learn to duplicate
keys and make keys from codes. Lat­
er, they learn to open, repair, and
install locks, and finally, to work on
safes. Generally, a beginner needs
about 4 years of on-the-job training
to qualify as a locksmith. Additional
training is needed to service elec­
tronic security systems.
Formal training also is available in
a few public and private schools that
offer 1- to 2-year programs in locksmithing. Students are taught the ba­
sics of locksmithing such as repairing
and opening locks. At some schools,
students may specialize in safe repair
or alarm systems. Completion of a
course, however, does not assure a
job; interested persons should check
with local employers to make sure
the school’s training is acceptable.
Employers look for people who
have mechanical aptitude, good
hand-eye coordination, and manual
dexterity. A neat appearance and a
friendly, tactful manner also are im­
portant, since the locksmith has fre­
quent contact with the public. E m ­
p l o y e r s u s u a l l y w ill n o t h i r e
applicants who have been convicted
of crimes.
Although high school graduates
are preferred, many employers will
hire applicants with less education.
High sch o o l c o u rs e s in m a ch in e
shop, mechanical drawing, electron­
ics, and m athem atics are helpful.
C om p le tio n of a c o r re s p o n d e n c e
school course in locksm ithing in­
creases the chances of getting a train­
ee job.
Many States and cities have licens­
ing requirem ents. To obtain a li­
cense, the applicant generally must
be fingerprinted and pay a fee. Some
cities require that an individual pass
a written or pratical examination.

431

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

However, specific requirements vary
from city to city. Information on li­
censing may be obtained from local
governments.
To keep up with new develop­
ments in their field, locksmiths read
monthly technical journals or attend
training classes at the annual conven­
tion of Associated Locksmiths of
America.
Locksmiths can advance to shop
supervisors—positions found, how­
ever, only in the larger shops. Experi­
enced locksmiths also can go into
business for themselves with relative­
ly little capital. Many do business
from their homes.

Employment Outlook
Employment in this relatively
small occupation is expected to grow
faster than the average for all occu­
pations through the m id-1980’s. In
addition to the need to fill new posi­
tions, a few hundred openings will
arise each year as experienced lock­
smiths retire, die, or transfer to other
occupations.
Employment of locksmiths is ex­
pected to increase as a result of
population growth and a more secu­
rity-conscious public. Also, many
businesses feel th at conventional
locks and other security devices are
not adequate and are having more
complex equipment installed. Oppor­
tunities will be particularly favorable
for locksmiths who know how to in­
stall and service electronic security
systems. Use of such systems has ex­
panded greatly in recent years, and
still greater growth is expected in the
future. Opportunities also will be fa­
vorable for locksmiths who are will­
ing to work at night to handle emer­
gencies.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Experienced locksmiths earned
from about $4.60 to $7.50 an hour in
early 1976, according to the limited
information available; many self-em­
ployed locksmiths earned even more.
T rainees usually started at about
$2.50 an hour, with periodic raises
during training.
Most locksmiths receive an hourly
rate or weekly salary, although some

work on a commission basis, receiv­


ing a percentage of the money they
collect; their earnings depend on the
amount of work available and how
quickly they complete it.
Locksmiths generally work year
round. Most work 40 to 48 hours a
week; even longer hours are common
among the self-employed. The lock­
smith may be called at night to han­
dle em ergencies, though in many
shops the responsibility to be “ on
call’’ is rotated among the staff.
Locksmiths do considerable driv­
ing from job to job. At times, they
must work outside in bad weather
and occasionally work in awkward
positions for long periods. However,
locksmithing is cleaner work than
that of most mechanical trades and is
comparatively free from the danger
of injury.

Sources of Additional
Information
Details about training and work
opportunities may be available from
local locksmith shops and local offic­
es of the State employment service.
For a list of schools offering courses
in locksmithing and general informa­
tion about the occupation, contact:
Associated Locksmiths of America, Inc., 3003
Live Oak St., Dallas, Tex. 75204.

MAINTENANCE
ELECTRICIANS
( D.O.T. 825.281 and 829.281)

Nature of the Work
M a in te n a n c e e le c tric ia n s keep
lighting systems, transformers, gener­
ators, and other electrical equipment
in good working order. They also
may install new electrical equipment.
Duties vary greatly, depending on
where the electrician is employed.
Electricians who work in large facto­
ries may repair particular items such
as m otors and welding m achines.
Those in office buildings and small
plants usually fix all kinds of electri­
cal equipment. Regardless of loca­
tion, electricians spend much of their
tim e d o i n g p r e v e n t i v e m a i n t e ­

nance— periodic inspection of equip­
ment to locate and correct defects
before bre ak d o w n s occur. W hen
trouble occurs, they must find the
cause and make repairs quickly to
prevent costly production losses. In
em ergencies, they advise m anage­
ment whether continued operation of
equipment would be hazardous.
Maintenance electricians make re­
pairs by replacing items such as a
fuse, switch, or wire. When replacing
a wire, they first make sure the power
is off. Workers then pull the old wire
from the conduit (a pipe or tube) and
pull the new wire through to replace
the old. Once the new wire is con­
nected, they test to make sure the
circuit is complete and functioning
properly.
M aintenance electricians so m e­
times work from blueprints, wiring
diagrams, or other specifications.
They use meters and other testing
devices to locate faulty equipment.
To m ake repairs they use pliers,
screwdrivers, wirecutters, drills, and
other tools.

Places of Employment
An estim ated 3 00,000 m a in te ­
nance electricians were employed in
1976. M o re th a n h a l f o f th em
worked in manufacturing industries;
large numbers worked in plants that
m ake a u to m o b ile s, m ach in ery ,
chemicals, aluminum, and iron and
steel. Many maintenance electricians
also were employed by public utili­
ties, mines, railroads, and by Federal,
State, and local governments.
Maintenance electricians are em ­
ployed in every State. Large numbers
work in heavily industrialized States
such as California, New York, Penn­
sylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most maintenance electricians
learn their trade on the job or
through formal apprenticeship pro­
grams. A relatively small num ber
learn the trade in the Armed Forces.
Training authorities generally agree
that apprenticeship gives trainees
m ore thorough knowledge of the
trade and improved job opportunities
during their working life. Because
the training is comprehensive, people

432

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

the job by serving as helpers to
skilled maintenance electricians.
Helpers begin by doing simple jobs
such as replacing fuses or switches
and, with experience, advance to
more complicated jobs such as splic­
ing and connecting wires. They even­
tually get enough experience to qual­
ify as electricians. This method of
learning the trade, however, may
take more than 4 years.
Persons interested in becoming
maintenance electricians can obtain
a good background by taking high
school or vocational school courses
in electricity, electronics, algebra,
mechanical drawing, shop, and sci­
ence. To qualify for an apprentice­
ship program, an applicant must be
at least 18 years old and usually must
be a high school or vocational school
graduate with 1 year of algebra.
Although physical strength is not
essential, manual dexterity, agility,
and good health are important. Good
color vision is necessary because
electrical wires frequently are identi­
fied by color.
All
maintenance
electricians
should be familiar with the National
Electric Code and local building
codes. Many cities and counties re­
quire maintenance electricians to be
licensed. Electricians can get a li­
cense by passing an examination that
tests their knowledge of electrical
theory and its application.
Some maintenance electricians be­
come supervisors. Occasionally, they
advance to jobs such as plant electri­
cal superintendent or plant mainte­
nance superintendent.

Employment Outlook

More than half of all maintenance electricians work in manufacturing industries.

who com plete apprenticeship p ro ­
grams may qualify either as mainte­
nance or construction electricians.
Apprenticeship usually lasts 4
years, and consists of on-the-job
training and related classroom in­
struction in subjects such as m athe­

matics, electrical and electronic the­


ory, and blueprint reading. Training
may include motor repair, wire splic­
ing, installation and repair of elec­
tronic c o n tro ls and circuits, and
welding and brazing.
Although apprenticeship is the
preferred method of training, many
people learn the trade informally on

Employment of maintenance elec­
tricians is expected to increase about
as fast as the average for all occupa­
tions through the mid-1980’s. This
growth will stem from increased use
of electrical and electronic equip­
ment by industry. In addition to the
jobs from employment growth, a few
thousand openings will arise each
year to replace experienced electri­
cians who retire, die, or transfer to
other occupations.
Growth in the number of job open­
ings is expected to be fairly steady in
the years ahead since the demand for
maintenance electricians is not very

433

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

sensitive to ups and downs in the
economy. At times when construc­
tion activity is depressed, however,
beginners may face competition for
job openings because some unem ­
ployed construction electricians ap­
ply for these openings.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings of maintenance electri­
cians compare favorably with those
of other skilled workers. In 1976,
based on a survey of metropolitan
areas, maintenance electricians aver­
aged about $6.95 an hour, ranging
from $4.84 in Greenville, S.C., to
$8.02 in Indianapolis. By compari­
son, all production and nonsupervisory workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming, averaged $4.87.
Apprentices start at about 60 per­
cent of the skilled electrician’s hour­
ly pay rate and receive increases ev­
ery 6 months.
During a single day, an electrician
may repair equipment both in a
clean, air-conditioned office and on a
factory floor, surrounded by the
noise, oil, and grease of machinery.
Electricians often climb ladders or
work on scaffolds in awkward or
cramped positions.
Because maintenance electricians
work near high-voltage industrial
equipment, they must be alert and
accurate. Errors in wiring installa­
tions could endanger both the elec­
trician and other employees. Safety
principles, which are a part of all
electrician training programs, have
reduced the frequency of accidents.
Electricians are taught to use protec­
tive equipment and clothing, to re­
spect the destructive potential of
electricity, and to fight small electri­
cal fires.
Among unions organizing mainte­
nance electricians are the Interna­
tional B ro th e rh o o d o f E lectrical
Workers; the International Union of
E l e c t r i c a l , R a d io a n d M a c h in e
Workers; the International Associ­
ation of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers; the International Union,
United Automobile, Aerospace and
Agricultural Implement Workers of
A m e ric a (I n d .) ; and the U nited
 of America.
Steelworkers


Sources of Additonal
Information
Information about apprenticeships
or other work opportunities in the
trade is available from local firms
that em ploy m ain ten an c e e le c tri­
cians, and from local union-manage­
ment apprenticeship committees. In
addition, the local office of the State
employment service may provide in­
formation about training opportuni­
ties. Some State employment service
offices screen applicants and give ap­
titude tests.

MOTORCYCLE
MECHANICS
( D.O.T. 620.281 and .384)

Nature of the Work
In 1950 t h e r e w e re ju s t o v er
500,000 motorcycles in the United
States. Today there are over 5 mil­
lion. Accompanying this rapid rise in
the number of motorcycles has been
a rapid increase in the number of
motorcycle mechanics. For although
many cycling enthusiasts repair their
own vehicles, most rely on skilled
mechanics.
Motorcycles, like automobiles,
need periodic servicing to operate at
peak efficiency. Spark plugs, igni­

tion points, brakes, and many other
parts frequently require adjustment
or replacement. This routine servic­
ing represents the major part of the
mechanic’s work.
The mark of a skilled mechanic is
the ability to diagnose mechanical
and electrical problems and to make
repairs in a minimum of time. In
diagnosing problems, the mechanic
first obtains a description of the
symptoms from the owner, and then
runs the engine or test-rides the m o­
torcycle. The mechanic may have to
use special testing equipm ent and
disassemble some com ponents for
further examination. After pinpoint­
ing the problem, the mechanic makes
needed adjustments or replacements.
Some jobs require only the replace­
ment of a single item, such as a car­
buretor or generator, and may be
completed in less than an hour. In
contrast, an overhaul may require
several hours, because the mechanic
must disassemble and reassemble the
engine to replace worn valves, pis­
tons, bearings, and other internal
parts.
Mechanics use common handtools
such as wrenches, pliers, and screw­
drivers, as well as special tools for
getting at parts that are hard to re­
move such as flywheels and bearings.
They also use compression gauges,
timing lights, and other kinds of test­
ing devices. Hoists are used to lift
heavy motorcycles.

Many motorcycle mechanics also repair minibikes and snowmobiles.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

434

M o s t m e c h a n i c s sp e cia liz e in s e r ­
vicing o n ly a few o f th e m o r e t h a n 30
b ran d s o f m o to rc y cle s and m o to r
s c o o te r s . In la rg e sh o p s, s o m e m e ­
c h a n ic s sp e cia liz e in o v e r h a u lin g a n d
re b u ild in g e n g in e s a n d tra n s m is s io n s ,
b u t m o s t a r e e x p e c t e d to p e r f o r m all
k in d s o f r ep a irs . M e c h a n i c s m a y o c ­
ca sio n a lly re p a ir m in i-b ik es, goca rts, sn o w m o b iles, o u tb o a rd m o ­
to rs, la w n m o w e r s , a n d o t h e r e q u i p ­
m e n t p o w e r e d by sm a ll g as o lin e e n ­
gines.

Places of Employment
A b o u t 12,000 p e r s o n s h ad full­
tim e jo b s as m o to r c y c le m e c h a n ic s in
1976, a n d a few t h o u s a n d m o r e h ad
p a rt-tim e jo b s. M o s t m e c h a n ic s w ork
for m o to r c y c le d ea le rs. O th e r s w o rk
for city g o v e r n m e n ts to m a in ta in p o ­
lice m o to r c y c le s . A small n u m b e r o f
m e c h a n ic s w ork for firm s th a t s p e ­
cialize in m odifying o r “ c u s to m iz in g ”
m o to rc y le s. M ost s h o p s e m p lo y f e w ­
er th a n five m e c h a n ic s.
M o to r c y c le m e c h a n ic s w ork in e v ­
ery S tate a n d m a jo r city. A b o u t h alf
w o r k in n i n e S t a t e s :
C alifo rn ia,
M ic h ig a n , T e x a s, O h io , P e n n s y lv a ­
nia, Illinois, F lorida, M in n e s o ta , a n d
Indiana.
M e c h a n i c s w ho s p e c ia liz e in r e ­
pairing m o to r c y c le s w o rk m ainly in
m e tr o p o lita n areas. In sm a lle r cities,
m o to r c y c le s f re q u e n tly are re p a ire d
by o w n e rs or m a n a g e rs o f m o t o r c y ­
cle d e a le rsh ip s o r by m e c h a n ic s w ho
rep a ir all kinds o f e q u i p m e n t p o w ­
ere d by small gasoline en gines, such
as o u tb o a r d m o to r s a n d la w n m o w e rs.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
M o to r c y c le
m e c h a n ic s
usually
le arn th e ir tr a d e on th e jo b , by p i c k ­
ing up skills from e x p e r ie n c e d w o r k ­
ers. B e g in n e rs usually s ta rt by le a r n ­
ing to u n c r a te , a s s e m b le , an d ro ad te s t n ew m o t o r c y c l e s .
N e x t, th e y
learn r o u tin e m a i n t e n a n c e jo b s such
as a d u s t i n g b r a k e s a n d r e p l a c i n g
spark plugs and ignition points. As
tra in e e s gain e x p e r ie n c e , they p r o g ­
ress to m o r e difficult ta sk s such as
rep a irin g e le c tric a l system s a n d o v e r ­
h a u lin g e n g i n e s a n d tr a n s m is s io n s .
G en e ra lly , 2 to 3 y ea rs o f train in g on

the jo b a re n ec es
http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/ sary b e f o r e tra in e e s
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

b e c o m e skilled in all a s p e c ts o f m o ­
to rc y c le rep a ir.
T r a in e e s
usually
accum ulate
h a n d to o ls as they gain e x p e r ie n c e .
E x p e r ie n c e d m e c h a n ic s often h a v e
several h u n d r e d d o lla rs invested in
tools.
E m p lo y e rs so m e tim e s send m e ­
c h a n ic s a n d e x p e r ie n c e d tra in e e s to
sp e c ia l t r a i n in g c o u r s e s c o n d u c t e d
by m o t o r c y c l e m a n u f a c t u r e r s a n d
im p o rte rs . T h e s e c o u r s e s , w hich c a n
last as long as 2 w e e k s, are d e s ig n e d
to u p g r a d e th e w o r k e r ’s skills a n d
p ro v id e in fo rm a tio n on re p a irin g
new m o d e ls.
W h e n hiring tr a in e e s , e m p lo y e r s
look p a r tic u la rly for cycling e n t h u s i ­
asts w ho h a v e g a in ed p r a c tic a l e x p e ­
rienc e by rep a irin g th e ir ow n m o t o r ­
c y c le s. H o w e v e r , m a n y e m p l o y e r s
will hire tr a i n e e s with n o riding e x p e ­
rien c e if th e y hav e m e c h a n ic a l a p t i ­
tude a n d show an in te r e s t in le a rn in g
th e w ork. T r a in e e s m u s t be able to
o bta in a m o to r c y c le d r i v e r ’s license
so they c a n deliv er new ly a s s e m b le d
m o to r c y c le s an d te s t drive th o se
b r o u g h t in for repairs.
M o st e m p lo y e r s p r e f e r high sc h o o l
g r a d u a te s , b u t will a c c e p t a p p lic a n ts
with less e d u c a t io n . C o u r s e s in small
engine r e p a i r — o f fe re d by so m e high
schools a n d v o c a tio n a l s c h o o ls — g e n ­
erally are h e lp fu l, as are c o u r se s in

a u t o m o b ile m e c h a n ic s , s c ien c e, a n d
m a th em atics.
M any m o to rcy cle
d ea le rs e m p lo y s tu d e n ts to help a s ­
s e m b le n e w m o t o r c y c l e s a n d p e r ­
form m in o r repairs.
Public sc h o o ls in s o m e la rge cities
offer p o s ts e c o n d a r y a n d a d u lt e d u c a ­
tion in small e n g in e a n d m o to r c y c le
repair. S o m e te c h n ic a l sch o o ls h a v e
train in g p ro g ra m s fo r m o to rc y c le
m e c h a n ic s . M a n y j u n i o r a n d c o m ­
m unity co lle g e s o ffe r c o u r s e s in m o ­
to rc y c le rep a ir.
B e ca u se all in te r n a l c o m b u s tio n
en g in es a r e sim ilar, skills le a r n e d
th r o u g h r e p a irin g m o to r c y c le s c a n
be t r a n s f e r r e d to o t h e r fields o f m e ­
c h a n ic a l w o rk . F o r e x a m p le , m o t o r ­
cyc le m e c h a n i c s c a n b e c o m e a u t o ­
m o b ile , t r u c k , o r d ie se l m e c h a n i c s
afte r so m e a d d itio n a l training. H o w ­
e v e r , t r a n s f e r r i n g to o n e o f t h e s e
o c c u p a t i o n s w o u ld n o t n e c e s s a r ily
m e a n h ig h e r earnings.
M o to r c y c le m e c h a n ic s hav e lim it­
ed a d v a n c e m e n t possibilities. T h o s e

with s u p e rv is o ry ability m ay a d v a n c e
to se rvic e m a n a g e r a n d , e v e n tu a lly ,
to g e n e r a l m a n a g e r in large d e a l e r ­
ships. T h o s e w ho h a v e th e n e c e s sa r y
ca p ita l m a y b e c o m e dea le rs.

Employment Outlook
E m p lo y m e n t in this relatively
small o c c u p a t i o n is e x p e c t e d to gro w
faste r th a n th e a v e r a g e for all o c c u ­
p a t i o n s t h r o u g h t h e m i d - 1 9 8 0 ’s.
O p e n i n g s a risin g f r o m g r o w t h will
f lu c tu a te from y e a r to y ea r, h o w e v e r,
as m o to r c y c le sales a n d th u s e m p l o y ­
m e n t o f m o to r c y c le m e c h a n i c s a p ­
p e a r to be sensitive to dip s in th e
business cycle. A d d itio n a l o p e n in g s
will arise from th e n e e d to r e p la c e
e x p e r i e n c e d m e c h a n i c s w h o r e ti re ,
d ie , o r t r a n s f e r to o t h e r fie ld s o f
w ork.
U n d e rly in g th e a n t ic i p a te d g r o w th
in th e n u m b e r o f m o to r c y le m e c h a n ­
ics is t h e c o n t i n u e d g r o w t h in th e
n u m b e r o f m o to r c y c le s . In c r e a s e s in
th e y o u n g a d u l t p o p u l a t i o n a n d in
p e rso n a l in c o m e levels will c r e a t e a
d e m a n d for m o r e m o to r c y c le s , a n d
a d d itio n a l m e c h a n ic s will be n e e d e d
to m a i n t a i n th e s e m a c h i n e s . A lso ,
gro w th in the n u m b e r s o f m in ib ik e s
a n d s n o w m o b ile s will stim u la te th e
d e m a n d for m e c h a n ic s .
O p p o r t u n itie s for e m p l o y m e n t will
be b est in la rge r d e a le rsh ip s, m o s t o f
w hich a r e lo c a te d in the s u b u r b s o f
m e tr o p o lita n areas. M a n y m o t o r c y ­
cle d e a le rs in small cities do n o t h a v e
e n o u g h b u s i n e s s to h ir e f u l l - t i m e
trainees, but part-tim e or su m m e r
jo b s m ay be available.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
E a rn in g s o f m o to r c y c le m e c h a n ic s
a n d tr a i n e e s vary w idely a n d d e p e n d
on level o f skill, g e o g r a p h ic lo c a tio n ,
se aso n o f th e year, a n d e m p lo y e r .
L im ited in fo rm a tio n in d ic a te s th a t
e x p e r ie n c e d m e c h a n ic s e m p lo y e d by
m o to r c y c le d e a le rs e a r n e d b e t w e e n
$4 a n d $10 an h o u r in late 1976.
G e n e ra lly , e x p e r ie n c e d m e c h a n ic s
e a r n e d 2 to 3 tim e s as m u c h as
trainees.
S o m e m e c h a n ic s r e c e iv e an h o u rly
ra te o r a w eekly salary. O th e r s r e ­
ceive a p e r c e n t a g e — usually a b o u t 50
p e r c e n t — o f th e la b o r c o s t c h a r g e d to
th e c u s to m e r . If a m e c h a n i c is paid

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

on a percentage basis, income de­
pends on the am ount of work as­
signed and how rapidly the mechanic
completes it. Frequently, trainees
are paid on a piecework basis when
uncrating and assembling new mo­
torcycles. At other times, they are
paid an hourly rate or weekly salary.
Motorcycling increases sharply as
the weather grows warmer. As a re­
sult, most mechanics work more than
40 hours a week during the summer.
Many temporary workers hired to
help handle the increased work load
work only part time, and are laid off
in the fall. However, a large propor­
tion of these are either students or
workers with other jobs.
Motorcycle repair shops generally
are well-lighted and ventilated, but
are noisy when engines are being
tested. The work is not hazardous,
although mechanics are subject to
cuts, bruises, burns, and other minor
injuries. Since motorcycles are rela­
tively lightweight and have easily ac­
cessible parts, mechanics rarely do
heavy lifting or work in awkward po­
sitions.
A small percentage of motorcycle
mechanics are members of the Inter­
national Association o f Machinists
and Aerospace Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For further information regarding
employment opportunities and train­
ing, contact local motorcycle dealers
or the local office of the State em ­
ployment service.

PIANO AND ORGAN
TUNERS AND REPAIRERS
(D.O.T. 730.281, .381, and 829.281
and .381)

Nature of the Work
Pianos and organs are used to per­
form music ranging in style from con­
temporary “ rock” to the classics of
Bach. However, not even the greatest
artist can overcome the handicap of
instrument. Piano and or­
an untuned


435

Piano tuner adjusting strings for proper pitch.

gan tuners and repairers bring the
notes of these instruments into har­
mony.
There are four different kinds of
piano and organ tuners and repairers:
Piano tuners, piano technicians, pipe
organ technicians, and electronic o r­
gan technicians. According to their
skills, they tune, repair, or rebuild
pianos and organs. They usually be­
gin their trade by learning how to
tune these keyboard instruments.
Piano tuners (D.O.T. 730.38 1 ) ad­
just piano strings so that they will be
in proper pitch and sound musically
co rrect. There are approxim ately
220 strings in the standard 88-key
piano. After muting the strings on
either side, the tuner uses a tuning
ham m er (also called a tuning lever or
w rench) to tighten o r loosen the
string being tested until its frequency
matches that of a standard tuning
fork. The other strings are tuned in
relation to the starting string.
Sometimes the tuner has to make
minor repairs, such as replacing worn
or broken hammers. However, m a­

jor repairs are made by piano techni­
cians.
In addition to knowing how to tune
a piano, piano technicians (D.O.T.
730.281 ) can detect and correct oth­
er p ro b le m s th a t may affec t its
sound. Technicians talk with the
customer to get an idea of what is
wrong and then go to work to find
out why. Once they find what the
problem is, they make repairs or ad­
justm ents such as realigning h a m ­
mers that do not strike the strings just
right or replacing moth-eaten felt on
the hammers. To dismantle and re­
pair pianos, technicians use common
handtools as well as special ones such
as regulating tools, repinning tools,
and key leveling devices.
Although organs and pianos look
somewhat alike, they function differ­
ently, and few technicians work on
both instruments. Moreover, organ
technicians specialize in either elec­
tronic or pipe organs.
Pipe-organ technicians (D.O.T.
730.38 1 ) install, tune, and repair or­
gans that make music by forcing air

436

through one of two kinds of pipes—
flue pipes or reed pipes. The tone in
a flue pipe, like that in a whistle, is
made by air forced through an open­
ing. The reed pipe makes its tone by
vibrating a brass reed in the air cur­
rent.
Like piano tuners, organ techni­
cians use their ears and tuning forks
to put an organ in good voice. To
tune a flue pipe, the tech n ic ia n
moves a metal slide that increases or
d e c r e a s e s the p i p e ’s “ s p e a k in g
length.” A reed pipe is tuned by
adjusting the length of the reed. A
day or more may be needed to finish
one of these jobs, because most or­
gans have hundreds of pipes. Some
workers specialize only in tuning,
and do not have the all-round skills
of a technician.
Most pipe organs are very large
and complex, and are assembled on­
site in places like churches and audi­
to riu m s . T e c h n i c i a n s install air
chests, blowers, air ducts, organ
pipes, and other components. They
follow the designer’s blueprints and
use a variety of hand and power tools
to assemble com ponents. T e c h n i­
cians may work in teams or be assist­
ed by helpers. A job may take sever­
al weeks or even months, depending
on the size of the organ.
Technicians may also maintain or­
gans on a regular basis, returning ev­
ery 3 or 4 months to tune them and
make other routine adjustments.
Electronic
organ
technicians
(D.O.T. 829.28 1) have very different
duties from those of pipe organ tech­
nicians. They use special electronic
test equipment to tune and to check
tone and amplification. Some elec­
tronic organs do not require tuning.
Those that do are fairly simple to
tune. However, these organs may
break down due to loose co n n e c­
tions, faulty transistors, dirty con­
tacts, and other problems. When
routine checks do not find the prob­
lem, technicians use meters and elec­
tronic devices to check suspected
circuits. For example, they check
voltages until an unusual or irregular
measure shows up the part of the cir­
cuitry causing trouble. When they
find the problem, they make repairs
or adjustments, using soldering irons,

wire cutters, and other handtools.


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Technicians often use wiring d ia­
grams and service manuals that show
connections within organs, provide
a d ju s tm e n t in fo rm a tio n , and d e ­
scribe causes of trouble. Because of
the large differences among various
brands of electronic organs, many
technicians service only a particular
brand.

Places of Employment
About 8,000 persons worked as
full-time piano and organ tuners and
repairers in 1976; most worked on
pianos. About two-thirds of the total
worked in independent repair shops;
many were the sole operators of
small shops. Another one-fifth were
employed by piano and organ deal­
ers. Most of the rest worked for pi­
ano and organ manufacturers.
Piano and organ tuners and repair­
ers are employed mostly in big cities
and in States that have large popula­
tions. In towns too small to offer
enough work for a full-time job in
this field, piano and pipe organ work
may be done part time by local music
teachers and professional musicians.
Similarly, electronic organ work may
be done by television and radio re­
pairers.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Piano and organ tuners and repair­
ers generally learn on the job. Deal­
ers and repair shops hire beginners to
do general cleanup work, help move
and install instruments, and do other
routine tasks. Helpers gradually
learn to tune and to make simple re ­
pairs, and then take on more difficult
jobs as they gain experience. G ener­
ally, 3 to 4 years of on-the-job train­
ing are needed to qualify as a piano,
pipe organ, or electronic organ tech­
nician.
Piano and organ manufacturers
train inexperienced workers to as­
semble instruments. However, b e ­
cause assem bly is d o n e in m any
steps, workers learn little about the
instrument as a whole, and need ad­
ditional training in tuning and repair
work before they can qualify as tech­
nicians.
People interested in a career in
piano or organ servicing should have
good hearing, mechanical aptitude,

and manual dexterity. Because ser­
vice work frequently is done in the
custom er’s home, a neat appearance
and a pleasant, cooperative manner
also are important. Ability to play the
instrument helps, but is not essential
as a qualification.
Employers prefer high school
graduates for beginning jobs in these
fields. Music courses help develop
the student’s ear for tonal quality.
Courses in woodworking also are
useful because many of the moving
parts in pianos and pipe organs are
made of wood. For jobs as electronic
organ technician trainees, applicants
usually need formal training in elec­
tro n ic s availa b le from t e c h n ic a l
schools, junior and community col­
leges, and some technical-vocational
high schools. Training in electronics
also is available in the Armed Forces.
Courses in piano technology,
which may take up to 2 years to
complete, are offered by a small
number of technical schools and by a
few 4-year colleges. Home study
(correspondence school) courses in
piano and organ technology also are
available.
Piano and organ tuners and repair­
ers keep up with new developments
in th eir fields by studying tra d e
magazines and m anufacturers’ ser­
vice manuals. Most electronic organ
manufacturers and the Piano Techni­
cians’s Guild conduct brief courses
periodically to provide information
on technical changes in their instru­
ments.
Tuners and repairers who work for
large dealers or repair shops can ad­
vance to supervisory positions. Most
people in this field move up, how­
ever, by going into business for them ­
selves. Relatively little capital is re­
quired beyond an initial investment
in tools. Basic piano or pipe organ
tools cost only a few hundred dollars.
By contrast, tools and test equipment
for electronic organs may cost a
thousand dollars or more. Typically,
self-employed tuners and repairers
operate out of their own homes and
use either a car or a small truck for
service calls.

Employment Outlook
Little change in the employment of
piano tuners, piano technicians, and

437

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

pipe organ technicians is expected
through the mid-1980’s. Growth in
the number of pianos and organs will
be limited by competition from other
forms of entertainm ent and recre­
ation. Nevertheless, some jobs will
open each year as experienced work­
ers retire, die, or transfer to other
occupations. Nearly all openings will
be for piano tuners and technicians.
The continued growth in popular­
ity of the electronic organ, a com­
paratively new instrument, is expect­
ed to produce a moderate increase in
jobs for electronic organ technicians.
However, this is a very small occupa­
tion and the number of job openings
will be far fewer than for piano tun­
ers and technicians.
Opportunities for beginners will be
best in piano and organ dealerships
and large repair shops. Many repair
shops are too small to afford a full­
time helper, although they may hire
one helper part time.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Experienced workers earned from
$5 to $10 an hour in 1976, depend­
ing on their level of skill and where
they worked, according to limited in­
formation. Beginning rates for help­
ers ranged from $3 to $5 an hour.
Many self-employed tuners and re­
pairers earned more than $12,000 a
year, and ea rn in g s in excess o f
$15,000 a year were not uncommon.
Earnings o f the self-employed d e ­
pend on the size of the community,
their ability to attract and keep cus­
tomers, their operating expenses, and
competition from other tuners and
repairers.
Service business increases with
cold weather because at that time
people spend more time indoors
playing the piano or organ. Conse­
quently, during fall and winter, many
tuners and repairers work more than
40 hours a week. As business falls off
during spring and sum m er, shops
may take up the slack by recondi­
tioning or rebuilding old instruments.
Self-employed tuners and repairers
frequently work evenings and week­
ends to suit their customers.
The work is relatively safe, al­
 and repairers may suf­
though tuners


fer small cuts and bruises when m ak­
ing repairs. Electrical shock is a
minor hazard for electronic organ
technicians but it has rarely caused
serious injury. Work is performed in
shops and homes and public build­
ings such as churches and schools
where working conditions usually are
pleasant.

Sources of Additional
Information
Details about job opportunities
may be available from local piano
and organ dealers and repair shops.
For general information about piano
technicians and a list of schools of­
fering courses in piano technology,
write to:
Piano Technicians Guild, Inc., P.O. Box 1813,
Seattle, Wash. 98111.

canvas. They also replace zippers,
dye handbags, and stretch shoes to
conform to the foot.
In large shops, repair work some­
times is divided into a number of spe­
cialized tasks. For example, some
repairers only remove and replace
heels and soles; others only restitch
torn seams.
Shoe repairers use power-operated
sole-stitchers and heel-nailing m a­
chines, and manually operated sew­
ing machines. Among the handtools
they use are hammers, awls, nippers,
and skivers (a special tool for split­
ting pieces of leather).
Self-employed shoe repairers have
managerial responsibilities in addi­
tion to their regular duties. They
estimate repair costs, keep records,
and supervise other repairers.

Places of Employment

SHOE REPAIRERS
( D.O.T. 365.381 )

Nature of the Work
People like their shoes to look nice
and be in good condition. Keeping
them that way is the job of the shoe
repairer.
Shoe repairers spend most of their
time replacing worn soles and heels.
They remove w o rn soles and old
stitching, and “ rough” the bottom of
the shoes on sanding wheels. They
select precut soles or cut them from
pieces of leather; they then cement,
nail, or sew the soles to the shoes.
Finally, they trim the soles. To re ­
heel shoes, re p airers pry off old
heels, select replacement heels or cut
them to shape, and cement and nail
them into place. After the heels and
soles have been replaced, repairers
stain and buff them to match the col­
or of the shoes.
Shoe repairers also replace insoles,
restitch loose seams, and restyle old
shoes by changing heels or dyeing
uppers. Highly skilled repairers may
design, make, or repair orthopedic
shoes according to doctors’ prescrip­
tions. R ep aire rs also may m end
handbags, luggage, tents, and other
items m ade of leather, rubber, or

About 25,000 shoe repairers were
employed in 1976. About one-half
of them owned shoe repair shops,
many of which were small, one-per­
son operations. Most of the remain­
ing repairers worked in large shoe
shops. Some repairers worked in
shoe stores, department stores, and
drycleaning shops. A small number
were employed in shoe manufactur­
ing, to repair shoes damaged in pro­
duction. These workers generally are
less skilled than those who work in
repair shops.
All cities and towns and many very
small communities have shoe repair
shops.
Employment, however, is
concentrated in large cities.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most shoe repairers learn on the
job as helpers to experienced repair­
ers. Helpers begin by assisting experi­
enced repairers with simple tasks,
such as staining, brushing, and shin­
ing shoes. As they gain experience,
trainees learn to replace heels and
soles, to estimate the cost of repairs,
and to deal with customers. Helpers
usually become fully skilled in 2 to 3
years.
Some repairers learn the trade at
vocational schools. Applicants to vo­
cational schools usually must have a
high school diploma. In addition to

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

In recent years, employment o f
shoe repairers has declined because
new shoes were relatively inexpen­
sive and many people bought new
shoes instead of having old ones
fixed. This reduced the need for shoe
repairs and repairers. The popularity
of cushion-soled shoes and other ca­
sual footwear which usually are not
practical to repair also limited the
demand for these workers. However,
shoe repairer employment is expect­
ed to remain about the same in the
future. Expected shoe price increases
should reduce the practice of replac­
ing worn shoes with new shoes and
should stimulate the demand for re­
pairs.

Earnings and Working
Conditions

Shoe repairer “roughs” bottom of shoe before attaching new sole.

learning shoe repairing, vocational
school s tu d en ts atte n d classes in
business adm inistration. The p r o ­
grams last from 6 months to 2 years.
Graduates often are encouraged to
gain additional training by working
with experienced shoe repairers.
Shoe repairers must have manual
dexterity and mechanical aptitude to
work with various machines and
handtools. They must be able to
work alone with little supervision.
Shoe repairers need patience to per­
form the work and deal with custom­
ers. Repairers who own shops must
have a working knowledge of basic
arithmetic to maintain records.
Advancement opportunities for
shoe repairers are limited. Many

open their own shops and some who


are employed in large shops become
supervisors.

Employment Outlook
Employment of shoe repairers is
not expected to change significantly
through the m id-1980’s. Neverthe­
less, numerous job openings are ex­
pected each year in this relatively
small o cc u p a tio n , because of the
need to replace experienced shoe re ­
pairers who retire, die, or leave the
field for other reasons. Job opportu­
nities should be very good because
few people are attracted to this occu­
pation. Opportunities should be es­
pecially good for experienced repair­
ers who wish to o p en their own
shops.

Information from a limited number
of employers indicates that shoe re­
pairers earned between $3 and $4 an
hour in 1976. Inexperienced trainees
generally earned between $2.30 and
$2.50 an hour. Some highly skilled
repairers, including managers of shoe
repair shops, earned more than $300
a week.
Shoe repairers generally work 8
hours a day, 5 days a week. The
workweek for the self-employed is
often longer, sometimes 10 hours a
day, 6 days a week. Although shoe
repair shops are busiest during the
spring and fall, work is steady with no
seasonal layoffs.
Because many shoe repairers own
shops, working conditions are deter­
mined by the repairer. Large shops
are usually comfortable, but small
shops may be crowded and noisy and
have poor light or ventilation. Strong
odors from leather goods, dyes, and
stains may be present.
The work is not strenuous and
there are few hazards. However it
does require stamina, because repair­
ers must stand much of the time.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about training oppor­
tunities may be obtained from:
Shoe Service Institute o f America, 222 W.
Adams St., Chicago, 111. 60606.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

Information about work opportu­
nities is available from State employ­
ment service offices, as well as shoe
shops in the community.

TELEVISION AND RADIO
SERVICE TECHNICIANS
(D.O.T. 720.281)

Nature of the Work
Television and radio service tech­
nicians repair a large and growing
number of electronic products, of
which television sets and radios are
the most numerous. They also repair
stereo components, tape recorders,
intercoms, and public address sys­
tems. Some service technicians spe­
cialize in repairing one kind of equip­
ment—for example, television sets or
car radios.
Equipment may operate unsatis­
factorily or break down completely
because of faulty tubes or transistors,
poor connections, or other problems.
Service technicians check and evalu­
ate each possible cause of trouble;
they begin by checking for the most

439

common cause—tube or module fail­
ure. In other routine checks, they
look for loose or broken connections
and for parts that are charred or
burned.
When routine checks do not locate
the tro u b le , te c h n ic ia n s use test
equipment, such as voltmeters, oscil­
loscopes, and signal generators, to
check suspected circuits. For exam­
ple, they may measure voltages or
wave forms in a television set until an
unusual or irregular measurement in­
dicates the faulty part. Once the
cause of trouble is found, they re ­
place faulty parts and make adjust­
ments, such as focusing and converg­
ing the p icture or correcting the
color balance.
Technicians who make customer
service calls carry tubes, modules,
and other parts that can be easily
replaced in the custom er’s home. Ra­
dios, portable television sets, and
other small equipment usually are re­
paired in service shops. Large televi­
sion sets also are repaired in shops
when the trouble must be located
with complex test equipment.
Service technicians use screwdriv­
ers, pliers, wire cutters, soldering
irons, and other handtools. They re­
fer to wiring diagrams and service
manuals that show connections and

 service technicians use various instruments to locate faulty operations.
TV and radio


provide information on how to locate
problems and make repairs.

Places of Employment
About 114,000 people worked as
radio and television service techni­
cians in 1976. About one-quarter of
them were self-employed, a much
larger proportion than in most skilled
trades. Two-thirds of all service tech­
nician s, e ith e r self-em p lo y ed or
working for others, worked in shops
and stores that sell or service televi­
sion sets, radios, and other electronic
products.
Television and radio service tech­
nicians work in almost every city.
Geographically, employment is dis­
tributed in much the same way as the
Nation’s population.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Training and experience in elec­
tronics are required in order to be­
come a skilled television and radio
service technician. Technical, voca­
tional, or high school training in elec­
tro n ic s , m a th e m a tic s , sc h e m a tic
reading, and physics may provide a
good background for entering the
field. The military services offer
training and work experience that
are very useful in civilian electronics
w ork. C o r r e s p o n d e n c e sch o o l
courses also are helpful.
Up to 2 years of te c h n ic a l training
in electronics plus 2 to 4 years of onthe-job experience usually are re­
quired to become a fully qualified
service technician. People who have
no previous technical training may
be hired as helpers or apprentices if
they show aptitude for the work or,
like the amateur “ h am ” radio opera­
tor, have a hobby in electronics. An
apprenticeship program lasts about 4
years and may include home study.
The apprentice must work with a ful­
ly qualified service technician who is
responsible for his work.
An important part of the service
technician’s training is provided by
many manufacturers, employers, and
trade associations. They conduct
training programs to keep service
technicians abreast of the latest ser­
vicing methods for new models or
products. Technicians also keep up

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

440

with te c h n i c a l d e v e lo p m e n ts by
studying m a n u f a c t u r e r s ’ serv ic e
manuals and technical magazines
and by attending training seminars.
Technicians who work for large com ­
panies work mainly on that com pa­
nies products and so are more famil­
iar with certain brands.
Television and radio service tech­
nicians must know how electronic
components and circuits work. Other
essential qualifications include the
ability to manipulate small parts and
tools, good eye-hand coordination,
normal hearing, good eyesight and
color vision, and an ability to work
with people.
Service technicians \Vho work in
large repair shops may be promoted
to supervisor or service manager.
Technicians who have sufficient
funds may open their own sales and
service shops. Some technicians ob­
tain jo b s as e le c tr o n ic “ tro u b le
shooters” or technicians in manufac­
tu rin g in d u s trie s or g o v e r n m e n t
agencies.
People interested in advancing to
positions such as electronics techni­
cian can improve their opportunities
by taking trade school, correspon­
dence, or technical institute courses
in automatic controls, electronic en­
gineering, television engineering, and
mathematics. Those planning to go
into business for themselves should
take some business administration
courses, particularly accounting and
consumer relations.
A growing num ber of States re­
quire radio and television technicians
to be licensed. To obtain a license,
applicants must pass an examination
designed to test their knowledge of
electronic circuits and components
and their skill in the use of testing
equipment.

Employment Outlook
Employment of television and ra­
dio service technicians is expected to
increase faster than the average for
all occ u p atio n s through the mid1980’s. In addition to openings from
employment growth, many openings
will result each year from the need to
replace experienced technicians who
retire, die, or change occupations.
Employment of service technicians
to increase in response to
is expected


the growing number of radios, televi­
sion sets, phonographs, tape record­
ers, and other home entertainment
products, despite the improvements
in technology making repair of these
products less necessary. Rising popu­
lation and personal incomes will con­
tribute to this growth. Nearly all
households have at least one televi­
sion set, and the number of house­
holds with two sets or more is expect­
ed to increase significantly, mainly
because of the growing demand for
color and portable sets. Greater use
of electronic products for purposes
other than entertainment also is ex­
pected; for example, closed-circuit
television, two-way radios, calcula­
tors, home appliances, and various
medical electronic devices. Closedcircuit television is being used in­
creasingly to m onitor production
processes in m anufacturing plants
and to bring educational programs
into classrooms.
People who enter the occupation
should have steady work because the
television and radio repair business is
not very sensitive to changes in ec o ­
nomic conditions.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings of television and radio
service technicians ranged from
$3.50 to $7.50 an hour in 1976,
based on the limited information
available. The wide variations in
wage rates reflect differences in skill
level, type of em ployer, and g eo­
graphic location.
Television and radio service tech­
nicians em ployed in local service
shops or dealer service departments
usually work 40 to 48 hours a week.
Service on television, radio, and
other home entertainment products
is performed in shops and homes,
where working conditions usually are
pleasant. Some physical strain is in­
volved in lifting and carrying equip­
m ent. H azards inclu d e e le c tric a l
shock and the risk o f falling from
roofs while installing or repairing a n ­
tennas.
Some service technicians are
members of labor unions. Most of
them belong to the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Sources of Additional
Information
For more information about jobs
in this field, contact local shops and
stores that service television sets and
radios and other electronic equip­
m en t. T e c h n i c a l an d v o c a tio n a l
schools that offer courses in televi­
sion and radio repair or electronics
may provide information about train­
ing. In addition, the local office of
the State employment service may
have inform ation a b o u t program s
that provide training opportunities.
Information about the work of
television and radio service techni­
cians is available from locals of the
International Brotherhood of Electri­
cal Workers and from:
National Alliance of Television and Electronic
Service Associations, 5908 S. Troy St.,
Chicago, 11 . 60629.
1
Electronics Industries Association, 2001 Eye
St. NW„ Washington, D.C. 20006.

TRUCK MECHANICS AND
BUS MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 620.281)

Nature of the Work
Commercial vehicles serve an im­
p o r t a n t fu n c tio n in the N a t i o n ’s
economy. Heavy trucks are used by
industries, such as mining and con­
struction to carry ore and building
materials, while small trucks are used
for local hauling. Buses are used for
b o th lo cal and t r a n s c o n t i n e n t a l
transportation, as well as for shipping
some goods. Truck and bus m echan­
ics perform the vital role of keeping
these vehicles in good operating con­
dition.
Truck and bus mechanics work on
both diesel and gasoline engines.
However, most mechanics usually re­
pair only one type, because many of
the engine components are different.
(See the statement on diesel m echan­
ics elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Mechanics who work for organiza­
tions that maintain their own vehicles
may spend much time doing preven­
tive maintenance to assure safe op-

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

441

and Federal, State, and local govern­
ments.
Most of the estimated 20,000 bus
mechanics employed in 1976 worked
for local transit companies and inter­
city buslines. Bus manufacturers em ­
ployed a relatively small number of
mechanics.
Truck and bus mechanics are em ­
ployed in every section of the coun­
try, but most work in large towns and
cities w here trucking com panies,
buslines, and other fleet owners have
large repair shops.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Some truck and bus mechanics specialize in the repair of diesel engines.

eration, to prevent wear and damage
to parts, and to reduce costly break­
downs. During a maintenance check,
they usually follow a regular check
list that includes the inspection of
brake systems, steering mechanisms,
wheel bearings and other important
parts. If a part is not working proper­
ly, they usually can repair or adjust it.
If it cannot be fixed, it is replaced.
In many shops mechanics do all
kinds of repair work. For example,
they may work on a vehicle’s electri­
cal system one day and do major en­
gine repair the next. In some large
shops, however, mechanics special­
ize in one or two types of repair
work. For example, one mechanic
may specialize in major engine re­
pair, another in transmission work,
another in electrical systems and yet
another in suspension or brake sys­
tems.
Truck and bus mechanics use a
variety of tools in their work. They
use power tools such as pneumatic
wrenches to remove bolts quickly;
machine tools such as lathes and
grinding machines to rebuild brakes
and other parts; welding and flame
cutting equipment to remove and re­
pair mufflers and other parts; com ­

mon handtools such as screwdrivers,


pliers, and w renches to work on
small parts and reach hard-to-get-to
places; and jacks and hoists to lift
and move large parts.
Truck and bus mechanics also use
a variety of testing equipment. For
example, when working on electrical
systems, they may use ohmmeters,
ammeters, and voltmeters; to locate
engine malfunctions, they often use
dynamometers.
For heavy work, such as removing
engines and transmissions, two m e­
chanics may work as a team, or a
mechanic may be assisted by an ap­
prentice or helper. Mechanics gener­
ally get their assignments from shop
supervisors or service managers who
may check the mechanics work or
assist in diagnosing problems.

Places of Employment
A large proportion of the estimat­
ed 125,000 truck m echanics e m ­
ployed in 1976 worked for firms that
owned fleets of trucks. Fleet owners
include trucking companies and busi­
nesses that haul their own products
such as dairies and bakeries. Other
em p lo y e rs include tru ck dealers,
truck m anufacturers, truck repair
shops, firms that rent or lease trucks,

Most truck or bus mechanics learn
their skills on the job. Beginners usu­
ally do tasks such as cleaning parts,
fueling, and lubrication. They may
also drive vehicles in and out of the
shop. As beginners gain experience
and as vacancies become available,
they usually are prom oted to m e­
chanics’ helpers. In some shops, be­
ginners— especially those having pri­
or automobile repair experience—
start as mechanics’ helpers.
Most helpers can make minor re­
pairs after a few months experience
and advance to increasingly difficult
jobs as they prove their ability. G en­
erally, 3 to 4 years of on-the-job ex­
perience are necessary to qualify as
an all-round truck or bus mechanic.
Additional training may be necessary
for m e c h a n ic s who wish to specialize
in diesel engines.
Most training authorities recom ­
mend a formal 4-year apprenticeship
as the best way to learn these trades.
Typical apprenticeship programs for
truck and bus mechanics consist of
approximately 8,000 hours of shop
training in which trainees obtain
p r a c tic a l e x p e rie n c e w orking on
transm issions, engines, and o th er
components and at least 576 hours of
classroom instruction in which train­
ees learn blueprint reading, m athe­
m atics, engine theory and safety.
Frequently, these include training in
both diesel and gasoline engine re­
pair.
For entry jobs, employers general­
ly look for applicants who have m e­
chanical aptitude, are at least 18
years of age, and in good physical

442

c o n d itio n . C o m p le tio n o f high
school is an advantage in getting an
entry m echanic job because most
employers believe it indicates that a
person has at least some of the traits
of a good worker, such as reliability
and perseverance. Employers do not
want to spend a lot of time and m on­
ey training mechanics only to see
them quit.
When the m ech a n ic’s duties in­
clude driving trucks or buses on pub­
lic roads, applicants may need a State
chauffeur’s license. If the employer is
engaged in interstate transportation,
applicants also may have to m eet
qualifications for drivers established
by the U.S. Department of Transpor­
tation. These applicants must be at
least 2 1 years of age, in good physical
condition, and have good hearing
and 20/40 eyesight with or without
glasses. They must read and speak
English and have a good driving rec­
ord, including 1 year’s driving experi­
ence.
Persons interested in becoming
truck or bus mechanics can gain
valuable experience by taking high
school or vocational school courses
in automobile and diesel repair. Sci­
ence and mathem atics are helpful
since they better o n e ’s understanding
of how trucks and buses operate.
Practical experience in automobile
repair from working in a gasoline ser­
vice station, the Armed Forces, or as
a hobby also is valuable.
Most mechanics must buy their
own handtools. Experienced m e­
chanics often invest several hundred
dollars in tools.
Employers sometimes send experi­
enced mechanics to special training
classes conducted by truck, bus, die­
sel engine, and parts manufacturers.
In these classes, mechanics learn to
repair the latest equipm ent or re­
ceive special training in subjects such
as diagnosing engine malfunctions.
Mechanics also may read service and
repair manuals to keep abreast of en­
gineering changes.
Experienced mechanics who have
leadership ability may advance to
shop supervisors or service manag­
ers. Truck mechanics who have sales
ability sometimes become truck sales

representatives. Some m echanics


OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

open their own gasoline service sta­
tions or repair shops.

Employment Outlook
Employment of truck mechanics is
expected to increase about the same
as the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s as a result of
significant increases in the transpor­
tation of freight by trucks. More
trucks will be needed for both local
and intercity hauling due to the in­
creased production of goods and the
necessity of transporting them great­
er distances and to more places as
both population and industrial cen­
ters spread out. In addition to the
jobs created by employment growth,
many openings will arise to replace
truck mechanics who retire, die, or
transfer to other occupations.
Bus mechanic employment is ex­
pected to increase slower than the
average for all occupations through
the mid-1980’s because of offsetting
factors affecting the demand for bus
service. More buses will be needed
for local travel due to increased em ­
phasis on mass transit systems. Inter­
city bus travel, on the other hand, is
expected to remain about the same.
Most job openings will result from
the need to replace bus mechanics
who retire, die, or transfer to other
occupations.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
T ruck and bus m ec h a n ic s e m ­
p lo y e d by t r u c k i n g c o m p a n i e s ,
buslines, and other firms that main­
tain their own vehicles had estimated
average hourly earnings of $6.53 in
1976. By com parison, nonsupervisory workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming, averaged $4.87.
Beginning apprentices usually earn
one-half the rate of skilled workers
and receive increases about every 6
months until a rate of 90 percent is
reached.
Most mechanics work between 40
and 48 hours per week. Because
many truck and bus firms provide
service around the clock, mechanics
who work for these firms may work
evenings, nights, and weekends.
When they do, they usually receive a
higher rate of pay.

Truck mechanics and bus m echan­
ics are subject to the usual shop haz­
ards such as cuts and bruises. M e­
chanics handle greasy and dirty parts
and may stand or lie in awkward or
cram ped positions when repairing
vehicles. Work areas usually are well
lighted, heated, and ventilated, and
m any e m p lo y e rs p ro v id e lo c k e r
room s and shower facilities. Al­
though most work is done indoors,
m e c h a n ic s o cc a s io n a lly work or
make emergency repairs on the road.
Many truck and bus mechanics are
members of labor unions, including
the International Association of M a­
chinists and Aerospace Workers; the
Amalgamated Transit Union; the In­
ternational Union, United Autom o­
bile, Aerospace and Agricultural Im­
plem ent Workers of America; the
Transport Workers Union of A m er­
ica; the Sheet Metal Workers’ Inter­
national Association; and the Inter­
national Brotherhood of Teamsters,
Chauffers, Warehousemen and Help­
ers of America (Ind.).

Sources of Additional
Information
More details about work opportu­
nities for truck or bus mechanics may
be obtained from local employers
such as trucking companies, truck
dealers, or bus lines; locals of unions
previously mentioned; or the local
office of the State employment ser­
vice. The State employment service
also may have information about ap­
prenticeship and other training pro­
grams.
For general information about the
work of truck mechanics and appren­
ticeship training, write to:
American Trucking Associations, Inc., 1616 P
St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20036.

VENDING MACHINE
MECHANICS
(D.O.T. 639.381)

Nature of the Work
Vending machines have become a
familiar scene in everyday life. In
places of recreation, work, and edu-

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

443

cation, vending m achines provide
everything from a piece of candy to a
full-course meal.
Vending machine mechanics keep
these machines in good working or­
der. They also may assemble and in­
stall machines and, in some cases,
stock them with merchandise. Some
mechanics work only in repair shops
and some work only in the field, but
many do both. Those who work in
the field are assigned a service truck
to travel between locations.
In preparing machines for installa­
tion, mechanics follow instructions
supplied by the manufacturer. After
the machine is put together and test­
ed, the mechanic fills it with products
or ingredients and gives it a test run.
When working on complicated ma­
chines, such as beverage or food dis­
pensers, mechanics check to see that
the machines give proper quantities
of ingredients and that refrigerating
and heating units work properly. On
gravity-operated machines, mechan­
ics check springs, plungers, and mer­
chandise delivery systems. They also
test coin and change-making mecha­
nisms. When installing machines on
location, mechanics make the neces­
sary water and electrical connections
and recheck the machines for proper
operation.
Preventive m ain ten an c e—avoid­
ing trouble before it starts—is anoth­
er major part of the job. For exam­
ple, m echanics periodically clean
electrical contact points, lubricate
m echanical parts, and adjust m a­
chines to perform properly. When a
machine breaks down, mechanics
must determine the cause of the trou­
ble. They first inspect the machine
for obvious problems, such as loose Preventive maintenance is a major part of the job of vending machine mechanics.
electrical wires, malfunctions of the
coin mechanism, and leaks. If the such as grinding wheels, saws, and ing repair cost estimates, and order­
problem cannot be readily located, drills.
ing parts. Those employed by small
they may refer to troubleshooting
Mechanics who install and repair operating companies frequently ser­
manuals and wiring diagrams and use food vending machines must know vice as well as re p air m achines.
testing devices such as electrical cir­ State public health and sanitation T h e s e c o m b i n a t i o n “ m e c h a n ic cuit testers to find defective parts. standards as well as those established routeworkers” stock machines, col­
Mechanics then repair or replace the
under local plumbing codes. They lect money, fill coin and currency
faulty parts, either on location or in also must know and follow safety changers, and keep daily records of
the employer’s service shop.
procedures, especially when lifting merchandise distributed. (Additional
Mechanics use pipe cutters, sol­ heavy objects and working with elec­ information about vending machine
dering irons, wrenches, screwdrivers, tricity and gas.
route drivers is included in the state­
Mechanics must do some clerical ment on route drivers elsewhere in
hammers, and other handtools. In the

shop, they also may use power tools, work, such as filing reports, prepar­ the Handbook.)


444

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Places of Employment
In 1976, about 25,000 mechanics
maintained and repaired more than 5
million vending machines. Most m e­
chanics work for vending service
companies that install machines and
provide services, such as cleaning,
stocking, and repairing. Other m e­
chanics work for beverage com pa­
nies that have coin-operated m a ­
chines or for companies that own and
operate ju k e boxes, pin-ball m a ­
chines, and laundry and drycleaning
machines. Some mechanics are em ­
ployed as instructors by vending m a­
chine manufacturers to explain tech­
nical innovations and ways to repair
new machines to other mechanics.
Although mechanics are employed
throughout the country, most are lo­
cated in industrial and commercial
centers where there are a large num ­
ber of vending machines.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Persons usually enter this trade as
general shop helpers or vending m a­
chine route drivers. If shop helpers or
route drivers show promise as m e­
chanics, they may become trainees.
Some workers are hired directly as
mechanic trainees.
Most trainees learn the trade infor­
mally on the job by observing, work­
ing with, and receiving instruction
from experienced mechanics. Train­
ees usually start out by doing simple
jobs such as cleaning, painting, or
refurbishing machines. From there,
they move on to rebuilding these m a­
chines— removing defective parts,
repairing and adjusting them, and
testing the machines. Next, they go
on service calls, accompanying an
experienced mechanic, and then go
out on their own, calling upon the
expertise of highly skilled mechanics
or m a n u fa c tu re r s ’ field engineers
when necessary. At this point they
have c o m p le te d th e ir o n -the-job
training. This process takes from 6
months to 3 years, depending on the
in d ividual’s capabilities, previous
education, and the quality of instruc­
tion. Some em ployers enc o u rag e
both trainees and experienced m e­
chanics to take evening courses in
subjects related to machine opera­

tion and repair—for example, basic


electricity and refrigeration. Employ­ grow more slowly than the average
ers often pay for at least part of the for all occupations through the midtuition and book expenses for these
1980’s. Most job openings will arise
courses.
as a result of the need to replace
To learn about new and complex experienced mechanics who retire,
machines, employees sometimes a t­ die, or transfer to other occupations.
tend manufacturer-sponsored train­ Because this is a small occupation,
ing sessions. Instruction takes place the number of openings will be rela­
either in manufacturers’ service divi­ tively small.
sions in major cities or in operators’
repair shops. Employers usually pay
Earnings and Working
wages and expenses during these ses­
Conditions
sions, which may last from a few days
Wage rates for vending machine
to several weeks.
mechanics ranged from $3.45 to
Many beginners are high school
graduates, but employers generally $6.56 an hour in 1976, based on
do not require a diploma. High information from a small number of
school or vocational school courses union contracts.
Most vending machine mechanics
in electricity, refrigeration, and m a­
work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week,
chine repair help beginners to qualify
for entry jobs and may help begin­ and receive premium pay for over­
ners to skip the lowest rung of the job time. Since vending machines can be
ladder—general shop helper. There operated around the clock, m echan­
are now 15 high schools and colleges ics sometimes work at night and on
in the country offering 1- to 2-year weekends and holidays. Some union
training program s in vending m a ­ contracts stipulate higher pay for
nightwork and for emergency repair
chine mechanics.
jobs on weekends and holidays.
Employers require applicants to
Vending machine repair shops
demonstrate mechanical ability, ei­
ther through their work experience generally are quiet, well-lighted, and
or by scoring well on mechanical ap ­ have adequate workspace. However,
titude tests. Since mechanics are ex­ when servicing machines on location,
posed to thousands of dollars in m er­ mechanics may work in cramped
chandise and cash, employers will quarters, such as passageways, where
hire only applicants who have a rec­ pedestrian traffic is heavy. Repair
ord of honesty and respect for the work is relatively safe, although m e­
law. The ability to deal tactfully with chanics are subject to shop hazards
people also is important. A com m er­ such as electrical shocks and cuts
cial driver’s license and a good driv­ from sharp tools and metal objects.
Many vending machine mechanics
ing re co rd are essential for most
employed by large companies are
vending machine repair jobs.
Skilled mechanics may be prom ot­ members of the International Broth­
ed to senior mechanic or, in large erhood of Team sters, C hauffeurs,
companies, to shop supervisor. A d­ W a r e h o u s e m e n a n d H e lp e r s o f
vancement to service manager, who America.
schedules repair work, is possible for
Sources of Additional
m e c h a n ic s having ad m in is tra tiv e
Information
ability.

Employment Outlook
Vending machine business will in­
crease as population grows and as
m ore industrial plants, hospitals,
stores, an d o th e r e s ta b lis h m e n ts
move to suburban areas where res­
taurants are not always close by.
Growth in the num ber of vending
machines will create more jobs for
mechanics.
However, employment of vending
machine mechanics is expected to

Further information on job oppor­
tunities can be obtained from local
vending machine operators and local
offices of the State employment ser­
vice. F or general inform ation on
vending machine mechanics, as well
as a list of schools offering courses in
vending machine mechanics, write
to:
National Automatic Merchandising Associ­
ation, 7 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, 111.
60603.

OTHER MECHANICS AND REPAIRERS

445

WATCH REPAIRERS

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

( D.O.T. 715.281)

Most people learn the trade in
watch repair schools; others learn
through formal apprenticeship or in­
formal on-the-job training arrange­
ments.
There generally are no specific
ed u c a tio n a l re q u irem en ts for e n ­
trance into watch repair schools al­
though most students are high school
graduates. Some schools test a stu­
d e n t’s mental aptitude and manual
dexterity. Most schools charge t u ­
ition and require students to furnish
their own handtools. Courses last
from 1 to 3 years for full-time stu­
dents.
Students learn to use and
care for the watch repairer’s tools
and machines, make and adjust indi­
vidual parts, take apart and reassem­
ble various kinds of watch and clock
movements, and diagnose and solve
repair problems. Some schools offer
courses on repairing unusual types of
tim epieces, such as chronographs
and timers.
Some watch repairers learn the
trad e through formal a p p r e n tic e ­
ships. A p p rentices should have a
high school diploma. They receive
some classroom instruction in watch
technology, however, most of their
training is conducted on-the-job. The
training is structured in much the
same way as the technical school
courses. Apprenticeships last 3 to 4

Nature of the Work
As the p ac e of m o d ern living
quickens, people become more con­
scious of time and more dependent
on watches and clocks to keep ap­
p o in tm e n ts and c o m p le te tasks.
Cleaning, repairing, and adjusting
these devices is the job of watch re­
pairers or, as they are frequently
called, watchmakers.
When a watch is not working prop­
erly, repairers use tweezers, screw­
drivers, and other tools to remove
the watch from its case and disassem­
ble the movement. With the aid of a
special magnifying glass called a
loupe, they carefully examine each
part of the mechanism.
Repairers may replace the main­
spring and other parts of the winding
mechanism of a mechanical watch or
the battery of an electronic watch.
They may adjust improperly fitted
wheels, and replace broken hands or
a cracked watch crystal. Before reas­
sembling the watch, watch repairers
clean and oil its parts, then test its
accuracy with a timing machine.
In addition to handtools, watch
repairers use timing and cleaning ma­
chines. They use electrical test
equipment when repairing electronic
watches to make sure that circuits
work properly.
Watch repairers who own jewelry
stores may do jewelry repair and sell
watches, jew elry, silverware, and
other items. They also may hire and
supervise salesclerks, other watch re­
pairers, and jewelers; arrange win­
dow displays; purchase goods to be
sold; and perform other managerial
duties.

Places of Employment
About 21,000 persons worked as
watch repairers in 1976. One-third
were self-employed. Most watch re­
pairers worked in jewelry stores or
re p a ir shops, which are lo cate d
th ro u g h o u t the country. A small
number had jobs in factories that
make watches, clocks, or other preci­

sion timing instruments.


years. In stru ctin g an a p p r e n tic e r e ­

quires a great deal of time; for this
reason many watch repairers are re­
luctant to employ a trainee. Only 100
apprenticeships were registered with
the Department of Labor in 1975.
A few watch repairers acquire
their skills through informal on-thejob arrangements with experienced
workers. This type of training is less
structured than apprenticeship, and
classroom instruction is not required.
Trainees learn by observing experi­
enced repairers and by performing
simple and then more complex re ­
pairs. On-the-job training lasts longer
than technical school or apprentice­
ship.
The following States require watch
repairers to obtain a license: Florida,
Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Michigan, Minnesota, North C aro­
lina, N orth D akota, Oregon, and

Wisconsin. To obtain a license, re­
pairers must pass an examination de­
signed to test their skill with tools
and their knowledge of watch con­
struction and repair.
Watch repairers in all States can
demonstrate their competence by
passing certification examinations
given by the American Watchmakers
Institute. Tests are given for the title
of either Certified Watchmaker or
Certified Master Watchmaker. A n­
nual voluntary examinations cover­
ing new phases of watchmaking also
are offered, and those who pass are
given a plaque of recognition.
A person planning a career as a
watch repairer must be willing to sit
for long periods and work with a
minimum of supervision. The pre­
cise and delicate nature of the work
requires patience and concentration.
Since a watch is simply a small m a­
chine, mechanical aptitude is essen­
tial. Good depth perception and eyehand coordination are essential in
working with the tiny parts.
Watch repairers who have suffi­
cient experience and funds may open
their own watch repair shops. Watch
repairers also may open their own
jewelry stores where they can in­
crease their income by selling watch­
es and other merchandise in addition
to repairing watches. These stores re­
quire a much greater financial invest­
ment than do repair shops, because
an inventory of expensive merchan­
dise must be obtained.

Employment Outlook
Employment of watch repairers is
expected to grow at a slower rate
than the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s. Most job
openings will result from the need to
replace experienced repairers who
retire, die, or leave the occupation
for other reasons. Job opportunities
should be very good for trained
watch repairers.
Although more watches will be
sold as population and incomes rise,
many will be inexpensive watches
that cost little more to replace than
repair. Consequently, employment is
not expected to keep pace with
growth in the number of watches.

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

446

$150 to $200 for a 40-hour week in
1976, based on the limited informa­
tion available. Experienced watch
repairers working in retail stores and
repair shops received from $275 to
$350 for a 4 0 -h o u r week. Some
watch repairers may be paid a com ­
mission based on the num b er of
watches repaired. Others rent space
in a jewelry store set up a repair de­
partment, and split the profits with
the store owner. W atch repairers
who are paid commission or own
their own businesses can earn consid­
erably more than those working for a
salary.
Watch repairers often work longer
than the standard 40-hour week.
Those who are self-employed or lo­
cated in small com m unities often
work a 48-hour week or longer. The
work involves little physical exertion,
however, and generally is performed
in comfortable surroundings.

Sources of Additional
Information
Watch repair work requires patience and concentration.

Furthermore, the increasing popular­
ity of solid-state digital watches may
lower the need for watch repairers.
These watches have no moving parts
and usually are se rv ic e d by fa c to ry
technicians instead of watch repair­
ers. However, in recent years job
openings have exceeded the number
of trained workers entering the occu­
pation. If this gap continues, trained
w orkers should find jobs readily




available. Opportunities are expect­
ed to be particularly good for gradu­
ates who have had training in repair­
ing electronic watches because these
w a tc h e s a r e grow ing in p o p ula rity.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Earnings of watch repairers in en­
try jobs generally ranged from about

For information about training
courses and watch repairing as a ca­
reer, contact:
American Watchmakers Institute, P.O. Box
11011, Cincinnati, Ohio 4521 1.

For information about job oppor­
tunities in retail stores contact:
Retail Jewelers of America, Inc., 10 Rooney
Circle, West Orange, N.J. 07052.

Further information about work
opportunities or training in this trade
also is available from local offices of
the State employment service.

HEALTH OCCUPATIONS
When people are sick or injured,
having health services readily avail­
able b e c o m e s very i m p o r ta n t to
them. The availability of these servic­

es depends, not only on the number
of people employed in health occu­
pations, but also on their geographic
distribution. The num ber of health

Health occupations, 1976

5% of total employment
in all occupations

Seven nurses are employed for every two
health practitioners
Distribution of employment among health occupations, 1976
Health practitioners 13%

• • • • • •

Nursing occupations

«

iim
riin
Health technologists,
technicians, and assistants

vvvvvvvvvvvvvv
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

20%

ittimivv
Therapy and rehabilitation

57%

VTVVVVVTVTTVVV1
Other health occupations
• • •

2%

•«

8%

•

III!
V

ff

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




personnel has grown very rapidly in
recent years; improving their distri­
bution remains a problem that is
being attacked on the national, State,
and local levels.
About 4.3 million people worked
in h e a lt h - r e l a t e d o c c u p a tio n s in
1976. Besides doctors, nurses, den­
tists, and therapists, these include the
b e h in d - th e - s c e n e s tech n o lo g is ts ,
technicians, administrators, and as­
sistants.
Registered
nurses,
physicians,
pharmacists, and dentists constitute
the largest professional health occu­
pations. In 1976 em ploym ent in
th e s e o c c u p a t i o n s ra n g e d fro m
9 6 0 .0 0 0 for registered nurses to
112.000 for dentists. Professional
health occupations also include other
medical practitioners—osteopathic
physicians, ch iropractors, o p to m ­
etrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians.
Therapists (physical therapists, occu­
pational therapists, and speech pa­
thologists and audiologists) and ad­
m in is tr a to r s (h e a lth serv ic es
administrators and medical record
administrators) also are professional
health workers, as are dietitians.
Other health service workers in­
clude technicians of various types,
such as medical technologist, medi­
cal X-ray technician, dental hygien­
ist, and dental laboratory technician.
A la rg e n u m b e r — 1.5 m illion —
worked as practical nurses and auxil­
iary workers, including nursing aides,
orderlies, hospital attendants, and
psychiatric assistants.
Hospitals employ about half of all
workers in the health field. Others
work in clinics, laboratories, pharma­
cies, nursing homes, public health
agencies, mental health centers, pri­
vate offices, and patients’ homes.
Health workers are concentrated in
the more heavily populated and pros­
perous areas of the Nation.

I

= 2%

447

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

448

Training
The educational and other require­
ments for work in the health field are
as diverse as the health occupations
themselves. For example, profession­
al health workers—physicians, den­
tists, pharmacists, and others—must
complete a number of years of pre­
professional and professional college
education and pass a State licensing
exam ination. On the o th er hand,
some health service occupations can
be en te re d with little specialized
training. Many community and j u ­
nior colleges offer courses to prepare
students for various health jobs. In
many occupations on-the-job train­
ing traditionally has been the means
of preparation, but employers now
prefer persons who have completed a
formal educational program.

Earnings
Earnings of health workers range
from those of a physician—the high­
est paid occupation—to those of a
nursing aide, who earns only three-




fourths of the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private industry,
except farming. Earnings for the oth­
er health occupations that can be en­
tered with up to 2 years of formal
training are about the same as the
average. People in health o cc upa­
tions that require graduation from
college earn from one-and-a-quarter
times to twice these average earn­
ings. A m ong the o ccupations for
which average yearly earnings are re ­
ported in the Handbook, the top 15
include 8 of the professional health
occupations, including all 6 medical
practitioners.

Outlook
Employment in the health field is
expected to grow much faster than
the average for all occupations
through the mid-1980’s, although the
rates of growth will differ consider­
ably among individual health occu­
pations. Among the factors that are
expected to contribute to an increase
in the demand for health care are

population growth and the public’s
increasing health consciousness. Ex­
pansion of coverage under prepay­
ment programs that make it easier
for persons to pay for hospitalization
and medical care also will contribute
to growth in this field. Other open­
ings will be created each year by the
increasing expenditures by Federal,
State, and local governm ents for
health care and services.
In addition to jobs created by em ­
ployment growth, many new workers
will be needed each year to replace
those who retire, die, or leave the
field for other reasons.
Recent expansion of training pro­
grams in most of the occupations will
add to the supply of trained health
service personnel. The employment
outlook in the various occupations
ranges from excellerft to competitive,
depending on the balance between
the supply of workers and expected
openings. See the individual state­
ments for the outlook for each occu­
pation.

DENTAL OCCUPATIONS

Proper dental care is an integral
part of overall health care. This sec­
tion focuses on the dental profession
and the three dental auxiliary occu­
pations.
Dentists examine and treat patients
for oral diseases and abnormalities,
such as decayed and impacted teeth.
Most dentists are general practition­
ers, but some specialize in certain
areas of dentistry, such as orthodon­
tics or oral surgery. Other dentists
are employed in teaching, research,
or administration.
Dental hygienists are the only den­
tal auxiliary workers required by
each State to be licensed. They scale,
clean, and polish teeth, expose Xrays, and instruct patients in proper
oral hygiene.
Dental assistants help dentists
while they are working with patients.
This assistance includes things such
as handing the dentist the necessary
instruments, keeping the patient’s
mouth clear, and preparing materials
for impressions of teeth. They also

perform non-chairside duties such as
keeping records, receiving patients,
and ordering dental supplies.
Dental laboratory technicians make
various dental and orthodontal appli­
ances, such as dentures and crowns,
according to the models and instruc­
tions supplied by dentists. This work
requires patience, minute attention
to detail, and a high degree of m an­
ual dexterity. Some technicians pre­
pare all kinds of dental appliances,
while others concentrate in certain
areas of dental laboratory work, such
as bridges or artificial teeth.

DENTISTS
( D.O.T. 072.108)

Nature of the Work
Dentists examine teeth and other
tissues of the mouth to diagnose dis-

Growing demand for dentists’ services and
expanded use of auxiliary workers will create
good job opportunities in dental occupations

Average annual openings, 1976-85 (in thousands)
Dental assistants

Dental hygienists

Dentists

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




15
Replacement

About 9 out of every 10 dentists are in
private practice.

eases or abnormalities. They take Xrays, fill cavities, straighten teeth,
and treat gum diseases. Dentists ex­
tract teeth and substitute artificial
dentures designed for the individual
patient. They also perform corrective
surgery of the gums and supporting
bones. In addition, they may clean
teeth.
Dentists spend most of their time
with patients, but may devote some
time to laboratory work such as m ak­
ing dentures and inlays. Most den­
tists, however—particularly those in
large cities—send their laboratory
work to com m ercial firms. Some
dentists also employ dental hygienists
to clean patients’ teeth and provide
instruction for patient self-care. (See
s t a t e m e n t on d e n ta l h y gienists.)
They also may employ other assis­
tants who perform office work, assist
in “ chairside” duties, and provide
therapeutic services under the super­
vision of the dentist.
Most dentists are general practi­
tioners who provide many types of
dental care; about 10 percent are
specialists. The largest group of spe­
c i a l i s t s a re o r t h o d o n t i s t s , w ho
straighten teeth. The next largest
group, oral surgeons, operate on the
mouth and jaws. The remainder spe­
cialize in pedodontics (dentistry for
children); periodontics (treating the
gums); prosthodontics (making arti­
ficial teeth or dentures); endodontics
(root canal therapy); public health
449

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

450

dentistry; and oral pathology (diseas­
es of the mouth).
About 4 percent of all dentists
teach in dental schools, do research,
or administer dental health programs
on a full-time basis. Many dentists in
private practice do this work on a
part-time basis.

Places of Employment
About 1 12,000 dentists were at
work in the United States in 1976—9
of every 10 were in private practice.
About 5,000 served as commissioned
officers in the Armed Forces, and
about 1,400 worked in other types of
Federal Government positions—
chiefly in the hospitals and clinics of
the Veterans Administration and the
Public Health Service.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
A license to practice dentistry is
required in all States and the District
of Columbia. To qualify for a license
in most States, a candidate must be a
graduate of a dental school approved
by the American Dental Association
and pass written and practical exami­
nations. In 1976, candidates in 48
States and the District of Columbia
could fulfill part of the State licens­
ing requirements by passing a written
examination given by the National
Board of Dental Examiners. Most
State licenses permit dentists to en­
gage in both general and specialized
practice. In 14 States, however, a
dentist cannot be licensed as a “ spe­
cialist” without having 2 or 3 years of
g raduate education and, in some
cases, passing a special State exami­
nation. In the other 36 states, the
extra education also is necessary, but
a specialist’s practice is regulated by
the dental profession, not the State
licensing authority. In order to prac­
tice in a different State, a licensed
dentist usually must pass the State’s
examination. However, at least 21
States grant licenses without further
examination to dentists already li­
censed in other States on the basis of
their credentials. Dentists who want
to teach or do research usually spend
an additional 2 to 4 years in a d ­
vanced dental training in programs

operated by dental schools, hospitals,


and other institutions of higher edu­
cation.
Dental colleges require from 2 to 4
years of predental education. How­
ever, of those students entering d en­
tal school in 1976, 85 percent had a
b accalaureate or m a s te r’s degree.
Predental education must include
courses in the sciences and hum an­
ities.
Competition is keen for admission
to dental schools. In selecting stu­
dents, schools give c o n s id e ra b le
weight to college grades and the
amount of college education. In addi­
tion, all dental schools participate in
a nationwide admission testing p ro ­
gram, and scores earned on these
tests are considered along with infor­
mation gathered about the applicant
through recommendations and inter­
views. Many State-supported dental
schools also give preference to resi­
dents of their particular States.
Dental school training generally
lasts 4 academic years although some
institutions condense this into 3 cal­
endar years. Studies begin with an
emphasis on classroom instruction
and laboratory work in basic sciences
such as anatomy, microbiology, bio­
chemistry, and physiology. Courses
in clinical sciences and preclinical
te c h n iq u e a lso are p r o v id e d at th is

time. The last 2 years are spent chief­
ly in a dental clinic, treating patients.
The degree of Doctor of Dental
Surgery (D.D.S.) is awarded by most
dental colleges. An equivalent d e ­
gree, D o c to r of D ental M edicine
( D . M . D . ) , is c o n f e r r e d by 19
schools.
Dental education is very costly be­
cause of the length of time required
to earn the dental degree. However,
Federal funds provide a limited num ­
ber of loans for dental students, and a
limited num ber of scholarships are
available for qualifying students who
agree to a minimum of 2 years’ Fed­
eral service.
The profession of dentistry r e ­
quires both manual skills and a high
level of diagnostic ability. Dentists
should have good visual memory, ex­
cellent judgment of space and shape,
and a high degree of manual dexter­
ity, as well as scientific ability. Good
business sense, self-discipline, and

the ability to instill confidence are
helpful for success in private prac­
tice. High school students who want
to become dentists are advised to
take courses in biology, chemistry,
health, and mathematics.
Most dental graduates open their
own offices or purchase established
practices. Some start in practice with
established dentists, to gain experi­
ence and to save the money required
to equip an office; others may enter
residency training programs in a p ­
proved hospitals. Dentists who enter
the Armed Forces are commissioned
as captains in the Army and Air
Force and as lieutenants in the Navy.
G r a d u a t e s of re c o g n iz e d d e n ta l
schools are eligible for Federal Civil
Service positions and for com m is­
sions (equivalent to lieutenants in the
Navy) in the U.S. Public Health Ser­
vice.

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities for
dentists are expected to be very good
through the mid-1980’s. Dental
school enrollments have grown in
recent years because of federally as­
sisted co n s tru c tio n o f a d d itio n al
training facilities. However, unless
schools expand beyond present lev­
els, the number of new entrants to
the field is expected to fall short of
the number needed to fill openings
created by growth of the occupation
and by death or retirement from the
profession.
Employment of dentists is expect­
ed to grow about as fast as the aver­
age for all occupations due to popu­
lation growth, increased awareness
that regular dental care helps prevent
and control dental diseases, and the
expansion of prepaym ent arran g e­
ments, which make it easier for peo­
ple to afford dental services. Fluori­
dation of community water supplies
and improved dental hygiene may
prevent some tooth and gum disor­
ders, and preserve teeth that might
otherwise be extracted. However,
since the preserved teeth will need
care in the future, these measures
may increase rather than decrease
the demand for dental care. Similar­
ly, while new techniques, equipment,
and drugs, as well as the expanded

451

DENTAL OCCUPATIONS

use of dental hygienists, assistants,
and laboratory technicians should
enable individual dentists to care for
more patients, these developments
are not expected to offset the need
for more dentists.
There will continue to be a need
for dentists to administer dental pub­
lic health programs and teach in den­
tal colleges. Also, many dentists will
co n tin u e to serve in the Arm ed
Forces.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
During the first year or two of
practice, dentists often earn little
more than the minimum needed to
cover expenses, but their earnings
usually rise rapidly as their practice
develops. Specialists generally earn
considerably more than general prac­
titioners. The average income of den­
tists in 1976 was about $39,500 a
year, according to the limited infor­
mation available. In the Federal Gov­
ernment, new graduates of dental
schools could ex p e ct to s tart at
$17,056 a year in 1977. Experienced
dentists working for the Federal Gov­
ernment in 1977 earned average an­
nual salaries of $31,600, with some
earning as much as $39,600 a year.
Location is one of the major fac­
tors affecting the income of dentists
who open their own offices. For ex­
ample, in high-income urban areas,
dental services are in great demand;
however, a practice can be devel­
oped most quickly in small towns,
where new dentists easily become
known and where they may face less
competition from established practi­
tioners. Although the income from
practice in small towns may rise rap­
idly at first, over the long run the
level of earnings, like the cost of liv­
ing, may be lower than it is in larger
communities.
Most dental offices are open 5
days a week and some dentists have
evening hours. Dentists usually work
between 40 and 45 hours a week,
although many spend more than 50
hours a week in the office. Dentists
often work fewer hours as they grow
older, and a considerable number
continue in part-time practice well
 usual retirement age.
beyond the


Sources of Additional
Information
Persons who wish to practice in a
given State should obtain the r e ­
quirem ents for licensure from the
board of dental examiners of that
State. Lists of State boards and of
accredited dental schools, as well as
information on dentistry as a career,
is available from:
American Dental Association, Council on
Dental Education, 21 1 East Chicago
Ave., Chicago, 11 . 60611.
1
American Association of Dental Schools,
1625 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washing­
ton, D.C. 20036.

Information on dentistry as a ca­
reer also is available from:
Division of Dentistry, Public Health Service,
U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. 20014.

Students should contact the direc­
tor of student financial aid at the
school they attend for information
about Federal or o ther loans and
scholarships.

DENTAL ASSISTANTS
( D.O.T. 079.378)

Nature of the Work
Dental assistants work with den­
tists as they examine and treat pa­
tients. The assistant makes the pa­
tients c o m fo rta b le in the d e n tal
chair, prepares them for treatment,
and obtains their dental records. The
assistant hands the dentist the proper
instruments and materials and keeps
the p atien t’s mouth clear by using
suction or other devices. Dental as­
sistants prepare materials for making
impressions and restorations and ex­
pose radiographs and process dental
X-ray film as directed by the dentist.
They also provide oral health instruc­
tion and prepare instruments for ster­
ilization.
Dental assistants perform a variety
of duties that do not require the
dentist’s professional knowledge and
skill. Some assistants make casts of
the teeth and mouth from impres­

sions taken by the dentist. These
casts are used by dentists and techni­
cians to make dentures. In some
States, assistants apply medicaments
to the teeth and oral tissue, remove
excess cement used in the filling pro­
cess from surfaces of the teeth, and
place rubber dams on the teeth to
isolate them for individual treatment.
Some dental assistants manage the
office and arrange and confirm ap­
pointments, receive patients, keep
treatment records, send bills, receive
payments, and order dental supplies
and materials.
The work of the dental assistant
should not be confused with that of
the dental hygienist, who must be
licensed to scale and polish the teeth.
(See statement on dental hygienists
elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Places of Employment
Nearly 135,000 persons worked as
dental assistants in 1976; about 1 out
of 10 work part time.
Most dental assistants work in pri­
vate dental offices, either for individ­
ual dentists or for groups of dentists.
Many of the remainder work in den­
tal schools, hospital dental depart­
ments, State and local public health
departments, or private clinics. The
Federal Government employs dental
ass is ta n ts , chiefly in the Public
Health Service, the Veterans Admin­
istration, and the Armed Forces.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Most dental assistants learn their
skills on the job. An increasing num ­
ber, however, are trained in formal
post-high school programs. About
280 such programs were accredited
by the American Dental Association
(ADA) in 1976.
Most post-high school courses in
dental assisting are given in junior
and community colleges or in voca­
tional or technical schools. More
than three-fourths of these programs
take 1 year to complete and lead to a
certificate or diploma. Graduates of
2-year programs offered in junior
and community colleges earn an as­
sociate degree upon completion of
specialized training and liberal arts
courses. The minimum requirement

452

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

tants. Certification is acknowledge­
ment of an assistant’s qualifications
but is not generally required for em ­
ployment.
After working as dental assistants,
some individuals seek to acquire
skills and qualifications for practic­
ing as dental hygienists. Prospective
dental assistants who foresee this
possibility should plan carefully since
credit earned in a dental assistant
pro g ram o ften is n o t ap p lic a b le
toward requirements for a dental hy­
giene certificate. Some dental assis­
tants become sales representatives
for firms that m anufacture dental
products.

Employment Outlook

Most dental assistants learn their skills on the job.

for any of these programs is a high
school diplom a or its equivalent.
Some schools also require typing or a
science course for admission. Al­
though some private schools offer 4to 6-month courses in dental assist­
ing, these are not accredited by the
dental profession. Those receiving
dental assistant training in the Armed
Forces usually qualify for civilian
jobs as dental assistants.
High school students interested in
careers as dental assistants should
take courses in biology, chemistry,
health, typing, and office practices.
Approved dental assisting curriculums include classroom and laborato­
ry instruction in skills and related

theory. Trainees get practical experi­


ence in affiliated dental schools, lo­
cal clinics, or selected dental offices.
A correspondence course accred­
ited by the American Dental Associ­
ation is available for employed dental
assistants who are learning on the job
or who otherwise are unable to par­
ticipate in regular dental assisting
programs on a full-time basis. The
correspondence program is equiv­
alent to 1 academic year of study, but
generally requires about 2 years to
complete.
Graduates of accredited dental
assistant programs who successfully
complete an examination adminis­
tered by the Certifying Board of the
American Dental Assistants Associ­
ation become Certified Dental Assis­

Employment opportunities for
dental assistants are expected to be
excellent through the mid-1980’s, es­
pecially for graduates of academic
programs in dental assisting. Parttime opportunities also will be very
favorable.
Employment of dental assistants is
expected to grow much faster than
the average for all occupations,
largely because recent graduates of
dental schools have been taught to
use assistants in their practice. The
increase in the demand for dental
services which stems from popula­
tion growth, a growing awareness of
the im p o rtan ce of regular dental
care, and the increasing ability of
people to pay for care also will co n ­
tribute to the demand for dental as­
sistants. For example, increased par­
ticipation in dental prepayment plans
and public programs such as Medi­
caid bring dental services within the
reach of many who could not afford
them otherwise.
In addition to job openings created
by growth in the demand for dental
assistants, thousands of assistants
also will be required each year to
replace those who leave the field.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Salary depends largely on the assis­
tant’s education and experience, the
duties and responsibilities attached
to the particular job, and geographic
location.

453

DENTAL OCCUPATIONS

In the Federal Government, expe­
rience and the amount and type of
education determine entrance sala­
ries. In 1977, a high school graduate
who had 6 months of general experi­
ence started at $7,408 a year; gradu­
ates of an A D A -approved 1-year
training program who had an addi­
tional year of general experience
could expect to start at $8,316 a
year. In general, experienced dental
assistants working for the Federal
Government in 1977 earned average
annual salaries of $9,100.
Although the 40-hour workweek
prevails for dental assistants, the
schedule is likely to include work on
Saturday. A 2- or 3-week paid vaca­
tion is common. Some dentists pro­
vide sick leave and other benefits.
Dental assistants who work for the
F ederal G o v e rn m e n t receive the
same em ployee benefits as other
Federal workers.
Dental assistants work in a welllighted, clean environment. They
must be careful in handling radiographic and other equipment.

may perform preventive and thera­
peutic services under the supervision
of the dentist. Specific responsibil­
ities of the hygienist vary, depending

on the law of the State where the
hygienist is employed, but may in­
clude: removing deposits and stains
from patients’ teeth; providing in-

Sources of Additional
Information
Information about career opportu­
nities, scholarships, accredited den­
tal assistant programs, including the
co rrespondence program , and re ­
quirements for certification is avail­
able from:
American Dental Assistants Association, 21 1
E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 1 1 60611.
1.

O ther material on opportunities
for dental assistants is available from:
Division of Dentistry, Public Health Service,
U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. 20014.

DENTAL HYGIENISTS
(D.O.T. 078.368)

Nature of the Work
Dental hygienists are oral health
clinicians and educators who help
the public develop and m aintain
good oral health. As members of the
dental health
 team, dental hygienists


Dental hygienists must be licensed.

454

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

structions for patient self-care, and
dietetic and nutritional counseling;
and the application of medicine for
the prevention of tooth decay. They
take medical and dental histories, ex­
pose and develop dental X-ray films,
make model impressions of teeth for
study, and prepare other diagnostic
aids for use by the dentist. Pain con­
trol and restorative procedures also
may be performed by dental hygien­
ists in some States.
D ental hygienists who work in
school systems serve in several ca­
pacities. Clinical functions include:
examination of children’s teeth, as­
sistance to the dentist in determining
the dental treatment needed, and re­
porting of their findings to parents.
They also scale and polish teeth and
give instruction on proper mouth
care. In addition, they develop class­
room or assembly programs on oral
health.
A few dental hygienists assist in
research projects. Those having ad­
vanced training may teach in schools
of dental hygiene.

Places of Employment
Nearly 27,000 persons worked as
dental hygienists in 1976. Many are
employed part time. Most work in
private dental offices. Public health
agencies, school systems, industrial
plants, clinics, hospitals, dental hy­
giene schools, and the Federal Gov­
ernment are other sources of em ­
ployment for dental hygienists. Some
who are graduates of bachelor’s de­
gree programs are commissioned of­
ficers in the Armed Forces.

Training and Other
Qualifications
Dental hygienists must be licensed.
To obtain a license in most States, a
candidate must be a graduate of an
accredited dental hygiene school and
pass both a written and clinical ex­
amination. For the clinical examina­
tion, the applicant is required to per­
form d e n ta l hygiene p ro c e d u re s,
such as removing deposits and stains
from a patient’s teeth. In 1976, can­
didates in 48 States and the District
of Columbia
 could complete part of


the State licensing requirements by periodontology (the study of gum
passing a written examination given diseases), dental materials, and clini­
by the National Board of Dental Ex­ cal dental hygiene.
People who want to become dental
aminers. Few States permit dental
hygienists should be those who enjoy
hygienists licensed in other States to
practice in their jurisdictions without working with others. The ability to
put patients at ease is helpful. P er­
further examination.
sonal neatness and cleanliness, m an­
In 1976, 182 schools of dental
ual dexterity, and good health also
hygiene in the United States were
are important qualities. Among the
accredited by the American Dental c o u r s e s r e c o m m e n d e d fo r high
Association. Most programs grant an school students interested in careers
associate degree; others lead to a in this o c c u p a t i o n a re bio lo g y ,
bachelor’s degree. Some institutions h e a l t h , c h e m i s t r y , s p e e c h , a n d
offer both types of programs. Eigh­ mathematics.
teen schools offer m aster’s degree
programs in dental hygiene or related
Employment Outlook
fields.
Completion of an associate degree
Employment opportunities for
program usually is sufficient for the dental hygienists are expected to be
dental hygienist who wants to prac­ good through the m id-1980’s. D e­
tice in a private dental office.. In o r­ spite an anticipated rise in the num ­
der to do research, teach, and work ber of graduates from schools of den­
in public or school health programs, tal hygiene, the demand is expected
at least a baccalaureate degree usual­ to be greater than the number avail­
ly is required. Dental hygienists with able for employment if recent trends
a master’s degree work as teachers or in enrollments continue. There also
administrators in dental hygiene and should be very good opportunities
dental assisting training programs, for those desiring part-time employ­
public health agencies, and in associ­ ment, and for those willing to work in
rural areas.
ated research.
Employment of dental hygienists is
Competition is keen for admission
expected to grow much faster than
to dental hygiene schools. The mini­
mum requirement for admission to a the average for all occupations, be­
school of dental hygiene is gradu­ cause of an expanding population
and the growing awareness of the im­
ation from high sch o o l. Several
portance of regular dental care. In­
schools that offer the bachelor’s d e ­
creased participation in dental pre­
gree admit students to the dental hy­
p a y m e n t p lans and m o re g ro u p
giene program only after they have
practice among dentists should result
completed 2 years of college. Many
in new jobs for dental hygienists.
schools also require that applicants Dental care programs for children
take an aptitude test given by the also may lead to more employment
American Dental Hygienists’ Associ­ opportunities in this field.
ation. Dental hygiene training given
in the Armed Forces does not fully
Earnings and Working
prepare one to pass the licensing
Conditions
exam, but credit for that training may
be granted to those who seek admis­
Earnings of dental hygienists are
sion to ac credited dental hygiene affected by the type of employer,
programs.
education and experience of the indi­
The curriculum in a dental hygiene vidual hygienist, and the geographic
program consists of courses in the location. Dental hygienists who work
basic sciences, dental sciences, clini­ in private dental offices usually are
cal science, and liberal arts. These salaried employees, although some
schools offer laboratory, clinical, and are paid a commission for work per­
classroom instruction in subjects formed, or a combination of salary
such as anatomy, physiology, chemis­ and commission.
Dental hygienists working full time
try, pharmacology, nutrition, histol­
ogy (the study of tissue structure), in private offices earned average

455

DENTAL OCCUPATIONS

salaries of about $12,900 a year in
1976, according to the limited data
available. This salary was slightly
above the average for all nonsupervisory workers in private industry, ex­
cept farming. In 1977, the Federal
Government paid dental hygienists
with no experience starting salaries
of $8,3 16 a year. Experienced dental
hygienists working for the Federal
Government earned average annual
salaries of $ 10,500.
Dental hygienists employed full
time in private offices usually worked
between 35 and 40 hours a week.
They may work on Saturdays or dur­
ing evening hours. Some hygienists
work for two dentists or more.
Dental hygienists usually work in
clean, well-lighted offices. Important
health protections for persons in this
occupation are regular medical
checkups and strict adherence to es­
tablished procedures for using X-ray
equipment and for disinfection.
Dental hygienists who work for
school systems, health agencies, and
the Federal or State governments
have the same hours, vacation, sick
leave, retirement, and health insur­
ance benefits as other workers in
these organizations.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about accredited
program s and the educational re ­
quirements to enter this occupation,
contact:
Office of Education, American Dental Hygien­
ists’ Association, 211 E. Chicago Ave.,
Chicago, 1 1 6061 1.
1.

O ther material on opportunities
for den tal hygienists is available
from:
Division of Dentistry, Public Health Service,
U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. 20014.

The State Board of Dental Exam­
iners in each State, or the National
Board of Dental Examiners, 211 E.
Chicago Ave., Chicago, 111. 60611,
can supply information on licensing
requirements.



DENTAL LABORATORY
TECHNICIANS
(D.O.T. 712.381)

Nature of the Work
D e n ta l la b o r a to r y t e c h n i c ia n s
make dentures (artificial teeth), fab­
ricate metal or porcelain crowns and
inlays to restore teeth , c o n stru c t
bridges of metal and porcelain to re­
place missing teeth, and also make
dental orthodontic appliances. All
work is done following written in­
structions submitted by the dentist,
using impressions made by the den­
tist of a p atient’s teeth or mouth,
from which models are made by d en­
tal stone pourings. Sometimes these
model pourings are made by the den­
tist, but most often by the technician.
Trainees in beginning jobs usually
mix and pour plaster into casts and
molds and perform other simple
tasks. As they gain experience, they
do more difficult laboratory work.
Some dental laboratory technicians
do all kinds of laboratory work. O th­
ers are specialists who make crowns
and bridges, arrange artificial teeth
on dental appliances, make plastic
molds for dentures, work with dental
ceramics (porcelain), or make cast­
ings of gold or metal alloys. To p er­
form th e ir work, technicians use
small hand instruments such as wax
spatulas and wax carvers, as well as
special elec tric lathes and drills,
high-heat furnaces, m etal-m elting
torches, and other kinds of special­
ized laboratory equipment.

Places of Employment
About 42,000 persons worked as
d e n ta l la b o r a to r y te c h n ic ia n s in
1976. M ost work in co m m e rc ia l
laboratories, either as employees or
as owners of the business. C om m er­
cial laboratories, which handle o r­
ders from dentists, usually employ
fewer than 10 technicians. However,
a few large laboratories employ over
200 technicians.
About 7,000 dental laboratory
technicians work in dentists’ offices.
Others work for hospitals that pro­
vide dental services and for the Fed­
eral Government, chiefly in Veterans

Administration hospitals and clinics
and in the Armed Forces. Establish­
ments that manufacture dental m ate­
rials and eq u ip m e n t also employ
technicians as technical or sales rep­
resentatives.
Dental laboratories are located
mainly in large cities and populous
States. Many laboratories receive
work through the mail from dentists
who work a considerable distance
away.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
Although no minimum formal edu­
cation is needed to enter this occupa­
tion, a high school diploma is an as­
set. M any d e n ta l la b o r a to r y
technicians learn their craft on the
job, although more and more are tak­
ing formal training programs before
starting work. On-the-job training
usually lasts 4 or 5 years, depending
on the trainee’s previous experience,
ability to master the techniques, and
the number of specialized areas to be
learned. A few public vocational high
schools offer courses in dental labo­
ratory work that may be taken in
conjunction with on-the-job training.
In 1976, 2-year education p r o ­
grams accredited by the American
Dental Association (ADA) were of­
fered in 48 schools. High school
graduation or equivalent education is
required to enter these programs.
The first year of training includes for­
mal classroom instruction in dental
law and ethics, chemistry, ceramics,
metallurgy, and other related sub­
jects. During the second year, the
student gets supervised practical ex­
perience in the school or dental labo­
ratory. After completion of the 2year training program, the trainee
may need about 3 years more of
practical experience to develop the
skills needed to be recognized as a
well-qualified dental laboratory tech­
nician. Those receiving dental labo­
ratory training in the Armed Forces
usually qualify for civilian jobs as
dental laboratory technicians.
Dental laboratory technicians may
becom e Certified D ental T e c h n i­
cians by passing written and practical
examinations given by the National
Board for Certification, a trust estab­
lished by the National Association of

456

Dental laboratory technicians generally need 4 to 5 years of training.



OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

Dental Laboratories. Certification is
becoming increasingly important as
evidence of a technician’s co m p e­
tence. Well-qualified technicians ad­
vance by becoming supervisors or
m an ag e rs in d e n ta l lab o ra to rie s ,
teachers in dental lab training pro­
grams, or salespersons for dental
products companies. Some techni­
cians become owners of dental labo­
ratories.
Among the personal qualifications
that employers look for in selecting
trainees are a high degree of manual
dexterity, good color perception, pa­
tience, and a liking for detailed work.
High school students interested in ca­
reers in this occupation are advised
to take courses in art, crafts, metal
shop, metallurgy, and sciences.

Employment Outlook
Job opportunities for well-quali­
fied dental laboratory technicians are
expected to be excellent through the
mid-1980’s. Some experienced tech­
nicians should be able to establish
laboratories of their own. A techni­
cian whose work has become known
to several dentists in a community
will have the best prospects of build­
ing a successful business.
Employment of dental laboratory
technicians is expected to grow faster
than the average for all occupations
due to expansion of dental prepay­
ment plans and the increasing num ­
ber of older people who require den­
tures. In addition, the num ber of
dentists is not expected to keep pace
with the demand for their services; to
devote more time to treatment of pa­
tients, dentists will send more of their
l a b o r a t o r y w ork to c o m m e r c i a l
firms, or hire technicians to work di­
rectly for them.
In addition to job opportunities
created by growth, many openings
for dental laboratory technicians will
occur each year because of the need
to replace technicians who die or
retire.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Dental laboratory technicians who
worked full-time in commercial labo­
ratories received the following aver­
age annual salaries in 1976: Trainees

DENTAL OCCUPATIONS

with no experience, $5,600; gradu­
ates of 2-year dental technology
courses with no experience, $7,600;
technicians with no formal training
and 2 years of on-the-job experience,
$7,300; technicians with 2 to 5 years
of experience, regardless of training,
$9,400; and technicians with more
than 5 years of experience, regard­
less of training, up to $ 18,000. Tech­
nicians who specialized in ceramics
received the highest salaries (up to
$25,000). Large dental laboratories
employ supervisors or managers who
usually earn more than technicians.
In general, earnings of self-employed
technicians are higher than those of
salaried workers.
In the Federal Government, gradu­
ates of A D A -ap p ro v ed program s
with no experience were paid starting
salaries of $8,316 a year in 1977.
Experienced dental laboratory tech­




457

nicians employed in the Federal Gov­
ernm ent generally earned between
$1 1,523 and $16,588 annually, with
the average earning $14,000 per
year.
Salaried technicians usually work
40 hours a week but selfemployed
technicians frequently work longer
hours. Many technicians in com m er­
cial laboratories receive paid holi­
days and vacations and some also re­
ceive paid sick leave, bonuses, and
o ther fringe benefits. Technicians
employed by the Federal G overn­
ment have the same benefits as other
Federal employees.

Sources of Additional
Information
For information about training and
a list of approved schools contact:
American Dental Association, Council on
Dental Education, 211 E. Chicago Ave.,
Chicago, 11 . 60611.
1

In fo rm atio n on scholarships is
available from d ental technology
schools or from the American Fund
for Dental Health, 21 1 East Chicago
Ave., Chicago, 111. 60611.
For information on career oppor­
tunities in commercial laboratories
and requirements for certification,
contact:
National Association of Dental Laboratories,
3801 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.
22305.

Information on careers in the den­
tal technology field also is available
from:
Division of Dentistry, Public Health Service,
U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. 20014.

CHIROPRACTORS
(D.O.T. 079.108)

MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS

Medical practitioners work to pre­
vent, cure, and alleviate disease. This
group includes almost four times as
many physicians as all other practi­
tioners combined.
Physicians, osteopaths, and chiro­
practors all treat diseases that affect
the entire body; chiropractors and
osteopaths emphasize manipulation
of muscles and bones, especially the
spine. Optometrists care for the eyes,
and podiatrists treat foot diseases
and deformities. Veterinarians treat
animals.
All of these occupations are
closely regulated. States require that
medical practitioners be licensed and
pass a State board exam. Only physi­
cians, osteopaths, podiatrists, and
veterinarians can use drugs and sur­
gery in their treatment.
Among the six medical practition­
er occupations, requirements for a
license vary from 6 to 9 years of post­
secondary education. After gradu­
ation from college, osteopaths must
complete a 4-year program and phy­
sicians generally 3- or 4-year pro­
grams. Most States require a 1-year
internship or residency for both phy­
sicians and osteopaths. Physicians
who specialize must spend m ore
years in residency and pass a special­
ty board examination. Most schools
of chiropractic require that students
complete 2 years of college preced­
ing their 4-year program . O ptom ­
etrists, podiatrists, and veterinarians
all must complete a minimum of 2
years of college before beginning the
4-year program.
Although training to become a
medical practitioner is more rigorous
than that for most other professional
occupations, medical practice also
offers unusual rewards—financial
and otherwise. Medical practitioners
earned incomes far in excess of those
458



of all nonsupervisory workers in pri­
vate industry in 1976, and their earn­
ings exceeded even those of profes­
sional workers with similar years of
graduate education. In addition to
high earnings, medical practitioners
also enjoy great prestige within the
community. Most also derive consid­
erable p ersonal satisfaction from
knowing their work contributes di­
rectly to the well being of other peo­
ple or, in the case of veterinarians, to
that of the animal population.
All medical practitioners must
have the ability and perseverance to
complete the years of study required.
Medical practitioners should be em o­
tionally stable, able to make deci­
sions in em ergencies, and have a
strong desire to help the sick and in­
jured. Sincerity and the ability to
gain the confidence of patients also
are important qualities for medical
practitioners.

Nature of the Work
Chiropractic is a system of treat­
ment based on the principle that a
person’s health is determined largely
by the nervous system, and that inter­
ference with this system impairs nor­
mal functions and lowers resistance
to disease. Chiropractors treat pa­
tients primarily by manual manipula­
tion (adjustm ents) of parts of the
body, especially the spinal column.
Because of the emphasis on the
spine and its position, most chiro­
practors use X-rays to aid in locating
the source of patients’ difficulties. In
addition to manipulation, most chiro­
p ra cto rs use supplem entary m e a ­
sures such as water, light, and heat
therapy, and prescribe diet, exercise,
and rest. Most State laws specify the
types of supplem entary trea tm e n t
perm itted in chiropractic. C hiro­
practors do not use drugs or surgery.

Places of Employment
About 18,000 persons, practiced
chiropractic in 1976. Most chiro­
practors were in private practice.

Chiropractors treat patients primarily by manual manipulation (adjustments) of parts of
the body, especially the spinal column.

459

MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS

Some were salaried assistants of es­
tablished practitioners or worked for
chiropractic clinics. Others taught or
conducted research at chiropractic
colleges.
Chiropractors often locate in small
communitees—about half of all ac­
tive chiropractors work in cities of
50,000 inhabitants or less.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
All 50 States and the District of
Columbia regulate the practice of
chiropractic and grant licenses to
chiropractors who meet certain edu­
cational re quirem ents and pass a
State board examination. Although
the type of practice permitted and
the educational requirements for a
license vary considerably from one
State to another, most States require
successful completion of a 4-year
chiropractic course following 2 years
of p re p ro fe s s io n a l college work.
Some States require that specific
subjects such as English, chemistry,
biology, or physics be a part of this
preprofessional work. In addition,
several States require that chiroprac­
tors pass a basic science examina­
tion. Chiropractors licensed in one
State often may obtain a license in
other States by reciprocity.
In 1976, there were 13 chiroprac­
tic colleges. Four of these institutions
were fully accredited by the Council
on Chiropractic Education; four oth­
ers were recognized candidates for
accreditation and working toward
accreditation. All require a minimum
of 2 years of college before entrance,
and m o st c o lle g e s r e q u ir e th a t
courses in chemistry and biology be
taken during these 2 years. By 1979,
the Council on Chiropractic Educa­
tion will approve only those schools
which include courses in English and
the social sciences. Chiropractic col­
leges emphasize courses in manipula­
tion and spinal adjustments. Most
offer a broader curriculum however,
including subjects such as physio­
therapy and nutrition. In most chiro­
practic colleges, the first 2 years of
the curriculum include chiefly class­
room and laboratory work in subjects
such as anatom y, physiology, and
biochem istry. During the last 2



years, students obtain practical expe­
rience in college clinics. The degree
of Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) is
awarded to students completing 4
years of chiropractic training.
Chiropractic requires a keen sense
of observation to detect phyical ab­
normalities and considerable hand
dexterity but not unusual strength or
endurance. Persons desiring to be­
come chiropractors should be able to
work independently and handle re­
sponsibility. The ability to work with
detail is important. Sympathy and
understanding are among personal
q ualities co n sid ered desirable in
dealing effectively with patients.
Most newly licensed chiropractors
either set up a new practice or pur­
chase an established one. Some start
as salaried chiropractors to acquire
experience and funds needed to es­
tablish their own practice. A m oder­
ate financial investment is usually
necessary to open and equip an of­
fice.

formation on State licensing require­
ments for chiropractors.
General information on chiroprac­
tic as a career is available from:
American Chiropractic Association, 2200
Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50312.
International Chiropractors Association, 741
Brady St., Davenport, Iowa 52808.

For a list of chiropractic colleges,
as well as general information on chi­
ropractic as a career, contact:
Council on Chiropractic Education, 3209 Ingersoll Street, Suite 206, Des Moines,
Iowa 50312.

For information on requirements
for admission to a specific chiroprac­
tic college, contact the admissions
office of that school.

OPTOMETRISTS
(D.O.T. 079.108)

Employment Outlook
Enrollments in chiropractic colleg­
es have grown dramatically, partly in
apparent response to the broader
public acceptance of the profession.
As more students graduate, new chi­
ropractors may find it increasingly
difficult to establish a practice in
those areas where other practitioners
already are located. The best oppor­
tunities for new chiropractors may be
in small towns and in areas with com ­
paratively few established practition­
ers.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In chiropractic, as in other types of
independent practice, earnings are
relatively low in the beginning. New
graduates who worked as associates
to established practitioners earned
about $ 12,000 a year in 1976. Expe­
rien ced c h iro p ra c to rs averaged
about $25,000, according to limited
data available, although many earn
considerably more.

Sources of Additional
Information
The State board of licensing in the
capital of each State can supply in­

Nature of the Work
About one out of every two per­
sons in the United States wears cor­
rective lenses. Optometrists provide
most of this care. They examine peo­
ple’s eyes for vision problems, dis­
ease, and other abnormal conditions,
and test for proper depth and color
perception and the ability to focus
and coordinate the eyes. When nec­
essary, they prescribe lenses and
treatment. Where evidence of dis­
ease is present, the optometrist refers
the patient to the appropriate medi­
cal practitioner. Most optometrists
supply the prescribed eyeglasses and
fit and adjust contact lenses. Optom ­
etrists also prescribe corrective eye
exercises or other treatment not re­
quiring drugs or surgery.
Although most optometrists are in
general practice, some specialize in
work with the aged or with children.
Others work only with persons hav­
ing partial sight who can be helped
w ith m i c r o s c o p i c or te l e s c o p ic
lenses. Still others are concerned
with the visual safety of industrial
workers. A few optometrists teach or
do research.
Optometrists should not be con­
fused with either ophthalmologists,

460

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

About 1 out of every 2 persons in the United States wears corrective lenses.

sometimes referred to as oculists, or
with dispensing opticians. Ophthal­
mologists are physicians who special­
ize in medical eye care, eye diseases
and injuries, perform eye surgery,
and prescribe drugs or other eye
treatment, as well as lenses. Dispens­
ing opticians fit and adjust eyeglasses
according to prescriptions written by
ophthalm ologists or optom etrists;
they do not examine eyes or p re­
scribe treatment. (See statement on
dispensing opticians.)

tion, public and private health agen­
cies, and industrial health insurance
companies. About 500 optometrists
serve as commissioned officers in the
Armed Forces. Optometrists also act
as consultants to engineers specializ­
ing in safety or lighting, consultants
to educators in remedial reading, or
participants on health advisory com ­
mittees to Federal, State, and local
governments.
About two optometrists out of five
practice in towns of under 25,000
inhabitants.

Places of Employment
In 1976, there were about 19,700
practicing optometrists. The majority
of optometrists are in solo practice.
Others are in partnership or group
practice with other optometrists or
doctors as part of a professional
health care team.
Some optometrists work in special­
ized hospitals and eye clinics or teach
in schools of optom etry. Others
work for the Veterans Administra­



Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement
All States and the District of C o­
lumbia require that optometrists be
licensed. Applicants for a license
must have a Doctor of Optometry
degree from an accredited optometric school and pass a State board ex­
amination. In some States, appli­
cants are permitted to substitute the
National Board of Optometry exami­

nation, given in the third and fourth
year of optometric school, for part or
all of the written State examination.
Several States allow applicants to be
licensed without lengthy examination
if they have a license in ano th er
State.
The Doctor of Optometry degree
requires a minimum of 6 years of
college consisting of a 4-year profes­
sional degree program preceded by
at least 2 years of preoptom etric
study at an accredited university, col­
lege, or junior college. In 1976,
there were 12 schools and colleges of
optometry approved by the Council
on O p to m e tric E d u c a tio n of the
American Optometric Association.
One new school was seeking accredi­
tation. Requirements for admission
to these schools usually include
courses in English, m ath em atics,
physics, chemistry, and biology, or
zoology. Some schools also require
courses in psychology, social studies,
literature, philosophy, and foreign
languages. Admission to optometry
schools is competitive. Each year,
qualified applicants exceed available
places, so serious applicants need su­
perior grades in their preoptometric
college courses to e n h a n ce their
chances for acceptance.
Because most optometrists are
self-employed, business ability, selfdiscipline, and the ability to deal with
patients tactfully are necessary for
success.
Many beginning optometrists enter
into associate practice with an op­
tometrist or other health profession­
al. Others purchase an established
practice or set up a new practice.
Some take salaried positions to ob­
tain experience and the necessary
funds to enter their own practice.
Optometrists wishing to advance in
a specialized field may study for a
Master’s or Doctor of Philosophy de­
gree in physiological optics, neuro­
physiology, public health administra­
tio n , h e a lth in fo rm a tio n and
communication, or health education.
Optometrists who enter the Armed
Forces as career officers have the
o p p o rtu n ity to work tow ard a d ­
vanced degrees and to do vision re­
search.

461

MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS

Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities for op­
tometrists are expected to be favor­
able through the m id-1980’s. The
n u m b e r o f new g r a d u a t e s from
schools of optometry is expected to
be adequate to fill the positions made
available by employment growth and
the need to replace optometrists who
die and retire.
Employment of optometrists is ex­
pected to grow about as fast as the
average for all occupations. An in­
crease in the total population, espe­
cially in the group most likely to need
glasses—older people — is a major
factor contributing to the expected
growth in the occupation. Greater
recognition of the im portance of
good vision and the possibility that
more persons will have health insur­
ance to cover optometric services,
also should increase the demand for
optometric services.

Earnings and Working
Conditions

associations, societies, and institu­
tions are available from:
American Optometric Association, 7000
Chippewa St., St. Louis, Mo. 63119.

Federal Health Professions Loans
are available for optometric students
who meet certain financial needs re ­
quirements. For information on this
financial aid, on the availability of
F ederal scholarships, and on r e ­
quired preoptometry courses, co n ­
tact individual optom etry schools.
The Board of Optometry in the capi­
tal of each State can supply a list of
optometry schools approved by that
State, as well as licensing require­
ments.

OSTEOPATHIC
PHYSICIANS
( D.O.T. 071.108)

Nature of the Work
In 1976, net earnings of new op­
tometry graduates averaged about
$15,500, but some graduates who
started work in the optometry de­
p a r tm e n t of c h a in r e ta il s to re s
earned considerably more. Experi­
enced optometrists averaged about
$ 3 3 ,0 0 0 a n n u a lly . O p to m e tr is ts
working for the Federal Government
earned an a v era g e of $19,300 a year
in 1977. Incomes vary greatly, de­
pending upon location, specializa­
tion, and other factors. However, af­
ter several years, optom etrists in
associateship or partnership practice
may earn substantially more than
their solo practitioner counterparts.
Independent practitioners can set
their own work schedule. Some work
over 40 hours a week, including Sat­
urday. B ecause the work is not
physically strenuous, optometrists of­
ten can continue to practice after the
normal retirement age.

Sources of Additional
Information
Information on optometry as a ca­
reer and a list of scholarships and
loan funds
offered by various State


Osteopathic physicians diagnose
and treat diseases or maladies of the
human body. They are particularly
concerned about problems involving
the muscles or bones. One of the ba­
sic treatments or therapies used by
osteopathic physicians centers on
manipulating these systems with the
hands. Osteopathic physicians also
use surgery, drugs, and all other ac­
cepted methods of medical care.
Most osteopathic physicians are
“ family doctors” who engage in gen­
eral practice. These physicians usual­
ly see patients in their offices, make
house calls, and treat patients in os­
teopathic and other private and pub­
lic hospitals. Some doctors of osteop­
athy teach, do research, or write and
edit scientific books and journals.
In recent years, specialization has
increased. In 1976, about 25 percent
of all osteopathic physicians were
practicing in specialties, including in­
ternal medicine, neurology and psy­
chiatry, ophthalmology, pediatrics,
anesthesiology, physical m edicine
and rehabilitation, dermatology, o b ­
stetrics and gynecology, pathology,
proctology, radiology, and surgery.

Places of Employment
About 15,000 osteopathic physi­
cians practiced in the United States
in 1976. Almost 85 percent of the
active osteopathic physicians were in
private practice. A small number had
full-time salaried positions in osteo­
pathic hospitals and colleges, private
industry, or government agencies.
Osteopathic physicians are located
chiefly in those States that have os­
teopathic hospital facilities. In 1976,
three-fifths of all osteopathic physi­
cians were in Florida, M ichigan,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio,
Texas, and Missouri. Twenty-one
States and the District of Columbia
each had fewer than 50 osteopathic
physicians. More than half of all gen­
eral p ra c titio n e r s are lo cated in
towns and cities having fewer than
50,000 people; specialists, however,
practice mainly in large cities.

Training and Other
Qualifications
All 50 States and the District of
Columbia require a license to prac­
tice osteopathic medicine. To obtain
a license, a candidate must be a
graduate of an approved school of
o s te o p ath ic m edicine and pass a
S ta te b o a r d e x a m in a tio n In six
States, candidates must pass an ex­
amination in the basic sciences be­
fore they are eligible to take the pro­
fessional examination; 37 States and
th e D istr ic t o f C o lu m b ia a lso req u ire

a period of internship in an approved
hospital after graduation from an os­
t e o p a t h i c sc h o o l. T he N a tio n a l
Board of Osteopathic Examiners also
gives an examination which is ac­
cepted by most States as a substitute
for State examination. All States ex­
cept Alaska and Florida grant licens­
es without further examination to
properly qualified osteopathic physi­
cians already licensed by another
State.
The minimum educational require­
ment for entry to one of the schools
of osteopathic medicine is 3 years of
college work, but in practice almost
all o s t e o p a t h i c s t u d e n t s have a
b a c h e lo r’s degree. Preosteopathic
education must include courses in
chemistry, physics, biology, and Eng­
lish. O steopathic colleges require

462

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

associated with osteopathic and allo­
pathic (M.D.) hospitals. In view of
the variation in State laws, persons
who wish to becom e o steopathic
physicians should study carefully the
professional and legal requirements
of the State in which they plan to
practice. The availability of osteo­
pathic hospitals and clinical facilities
also should be considered.
Persons who wish to become os­
teopathic physicians must have a
strong desire to pursue this career
above all others. They must be will­
ing to study a great deal throughout
their career to keep up with the latest
advances in osteopathic medicine.
They should exhibit leadership, em o­
tional stabiliy, and self-confidence. A
pleasant personality, friendliness, pa­
tience, and the ability to deal with
people also are important.

Employment Outlook

Osteopathic physicians are particularly concerned about problems involving the mus­
cles or bones.

successful completion of 3 to 4 years
of professional study for the degree
of D octor of O steopathy (D .O .).
During the first half of professional
training, emphasis is placed on basic
sciences, such as anatomy, physiol­
ogy, and pathology, and on the prin­
ciples of osteopathy; the remainder
of the time is devoted largely to clini­
cal experience with patients in hospi­
tals and clinics.
After graduation, nearly all doc­
tors of osteopathic medicine serve a
12-month internship at 1 of the 79
osteopathic hospitals approved by
the Am erican Osteopathic Associ­
ation for intern a n d /o r residency
training. Those who wish to become
specialists must have 2 to 5 years of
additional training.
The osteopathic physician’s train­
ing is very costly because of the
length of time it takes to earn the
D.O. degree. However, Federal and
private funds are available for loans




for students, and scholarships are
available to those who qualify and
agree to a minimum of 2 years’ Fed­
eral service.
In 1977, there were 12 schools of
osteopathic medicine. Schools admit
students on the basis of grades re­
ceived in college, scores on the re­
quired New Medical College Admis­
sions Test, and recom m endations
from premedical college counselors.
The applicant’s desire to serve as an
osteopathic physician rather than as
a doctor trained in other fields of
medicine is a very important qualifi­
cation. The colleges also give consid­
erable weight to a favorable recom ­
m e n d a t i o n by an o s t e o p a t h i c
physician familiar with the appli­
cant’s background.
Newly qualified doctors of osteo­
pathic m edicine usually establish
their own practice, although a grow­
ing number are entering group pra c­
tice. Some work as assistants to expe­
rien c ed ph y sician s or beco m e

Opportunities for osteopathic phy­
sicians are expected to be very good
through 1985. Many localities are
without medical practitioners of any
kind; many more have few or no os­
teopathic physicians. In addition,
many new osteopaths will be needed
to replace those who retire or die.
The greatest demand probably will
continue to be in States where osteo­
pathic medicine is a widely known
and accepted method of treatment,
such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and a
number of Midwestern States. G en­
erally, prospects for beginning a suc­
cessful practice are likely to be best
in rural areas, small towns, and city
suburbs, where young doctors of os­
teopathy may establish their profes­
sional reputations more easily than in
the centers of large cities.
The osteopathic profession is ex­
pected to grow faster than the aver­
age for all occupations through the
m id -1 9 8 0 ’s because of population
growth, the establishment of addi­
tional osteopathic hospital facilities,
and the extension of p repaym ent
pro g ram s for h o sp italization and
medical care including Medicare and
Medicaid.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
In osteopathic medicine, as in
many of the other health professions,

463

MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS

incomes usually rise markedly after
the first few years of practice. Earn­
ings of individual practitioners are
determined mainly by ability, experi­
ence, geographic location, and the
incom e level of the co m m u n ity
served. In 1974, the average income
of general practitioners after busi­
ness expenses was about $3 1,000, ac­
cording to the limited data available.
This income is very high in compari­
son with other professions. Special­
ists usually had higher incomes than
general practitioners.
Many osteopathic physicians work
more than 50 or 60 hours a week.
Those in general practice work
longer and more irregular hours than
specialists.

A decreasing percentage of the
physicians who provide patient care
are general practitioners (about 15
percent in 1976); most specialize in
one of the 34 fields for which there is
graduate training. The largest spe­
cialties are internal medicine, gener­
al surgery, obstetrics and gynecolo g y , p sy c h ia try , p e d ia tric s,
radiology, anesthesiology, ophthal­
mology, pathology, and orthopedic
surgery. The most rapidly growing

specialty is family practice which em ­
phasizes general medicine.
Som e phy sician s c o m b in e the
practice of medicine with research or
teaching in medical schools. Others
hold full-time research or teaching
positions or perform administrative
work in hospitals, professional asso­
ciations, and other organizations. A
few are primarily engaged in writing
and editing medical books and maga­
zines.

Specialists outnumber general practitioners by 5 to 1

Percent of physicians by specialty group, 1975

Sources of Additional
Information
People who wish to practice in a
given State should find out about the
requirements for licensure directly
from the board of examiners of that
State. Information on Federal schol­
arships and loans is available from
the Director of Student Financial Aid
at the individual schools of osteop­
athy. For a list of State boards, as
well as general information on oste­
opathy as a career, contact:
American Osteopathic Association, Depart­
ment of Public Relations, 212 East Ohio
St., Chicago, 1 1 60611.
1.
American Association of Colleges of Osteo­
pathic M edicine, 4720 Montgomery
Lane, Washington, D.C. 20014.

Almost two-thirds of all physicians practice in the
seven largest specialties
Number of physicians, 1975 (in thousands)

PHYSICIANS
General practice

(D.O.T. 070.101 and .108)

Nature of the Work
Physicians perform medical exami­
nations, diagnose diseases, and treat
people who are suffering from injury
or disease. They also try to prevent
illness by advising patients on selfcare related to diet and exercise.
Physicians generally examine and
treat patients in their own offices and
in hospitals, but they also may visit
patients at home.



Internal medicine
General surgery
Psychiatry
Obstetrics and gynecology
Pediatrics
Anesthesiology
0
Source: American Medical Association

10

20

30

40

50

60

OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

464

Places of Employment
About 360,000 physicians were
professionally active in the United
States in 1976—almost 9 out of 10
providing patient care services.
Nearly 215,000 of these had office
practices; more than 94,000 others
worked as residents or full-time staff
in hospitals. The remaining physi­
cians—about 28,000—taught or per­
formed administrative or research
duties.
In 1975, 19,000 graduates of for­
eign medical schools served as hospi­
tal residents in this country. To be
appointed to approved residencies in
U.S. hospitals, these graduates, ex­
cept in special instances, must obtain
a certificate after passing an exami­

nation given by the E d u ca tio n a l
C om m ission for Foreign M edical
Graduates.
The Northeastern States have the
highest ratio of physicians to popula­
tion and the Southern States the low­
est. Because physicians have tended
to locate in urban areas, close to hos­
pital and educational centers, many
rural areas have been underserved by
medical personnel. Currently, more
medical students are being exposed
to practice in rural communities with
the d irec t support of educational
centers and hospitals in more popu­
lous areas. In addition, some rural
areas offer physicians guaranteed
minimum incomes to offset the rela­
tively low earnings typical in rural
medical practice.

Competition for entry into medical school is intense even though the number of schools
has increased.




Training and Other
Qualifications

All States, the District of Colum­
bia, and Puerto Rico require a li­
cense to practice medicine. Requirem en ts for lic e n s u re in c lu d e
graduation from an accredited medi­
cal school, successful completion of
a licensing examination, and, in most
States, a period of 1 or 2 years in an
accredited graduate medical educa­
tion program (residency). The li­
censing examination taken by most
graduates of U.S. medical schools is
the National Board of Medical Ex­
aminers (NBME) test. Licensure ap­
plicants who have not taken the
NBME test must be sponsored by a
State in order to sit for the Feder­
a tio n L ic e n su re E x a m in a tio n
(FLEX) that is accepted by all juris­
d ictions. A lthough physicians li­
censed in one State usually can get a
license to practice in another without
fu rth e r exam ination, some States
limit this reciprocity.
In 1976, there were 116 accredited
schools in the United States in which
students could begin the study of
medicine. Of these, 1 14 awarded the
d eg ree of D o c to r of M ed icin e
(M.D.); two schools offered a 2-year
program in the basic medical scienc­
es to students who could then trans­
fer to regular medical schools for the
last semesters of study.
The minimum educational require­
ment for entry to a medical school is
3 years of college; some schools re­
quire 4 years. A few medical schools
allow selected students who have ex­
ceptional qualifications to begin their
professional study after 2 years of
college. Most students who e n ter
medical schools have a b ac helor’s
degree.
R e q u ire d p re m e d ic a l study in ­
cludes undergraduate work in Eng­
lish, physics, biology, and inorganic
and o rg a n ic c h e m istry . S tu d e n ts
should take courses in the hum an­
ities, mathematics, and the social sci­
ences to acquire a broad general edu­
cation.
Medicine is a popular field of
study, and competition for entry to

465

MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS

medical school is intense. In 1976,
there were about 42,000 applicants
for only 15,613 positions. Almost all
of those accepted had premedical
college grades averaging ‘B‘ or bet­
ter. O th e r factors co nsidered by
medical schools in admitting students
include their scores on the New
Medical College Admission Test,
which is taken by almost all appli­
cants. Consideration also is given to
the applicant’s character, personal­
ity, and le a d e rs h ip q u a litie s, as
shown by personal interviews, letters
of recom m endation, and extracur­
ricular activities in college. Many
State-supported medical schools give
preference to residents of their par­
ticular States and, sometimes, those
of nearby States.
Most medical students take 4 years
to complete the curriculum for the
M.D. degree. Many schools, how­
ever, allow students who have dem­
onstrated outstanding ability to fol­
low a s h o r t e n e d c u r r i c u l u m ,
generally lasting 3 years. A few
schools offer the M.D. degree within
6 years of high school graduation.
The first semesters of medical
school training are spent primarily in
laboratories and classrooms, learning
basic medical sciences such as anat­
omy, biochemistry, physiology, pharamacology, microbiology, and pa­
thology. Additionally, many schools
are integrating some clinical experi­
ence with patients into the first 2
years of study. During the last semes­
ters, students spend the majority of
their time in hospitals and clinics un­
der the supervision of experienced
physicians. They learn to take case
histories, perform examinations, and
recognize diseases.
After graduating from medical
school, almost all M .D.’s serve a 1- or
2-year residency. Those planning to
work in general practice often spend
an additional year in a hospital resi­
dency. Those seeking certification in
a specialty spend from 2 to 4 years—
depending on the specialty—in ad­
vanced residency training, followed
by 2 years of practice or more in the
specialty. Then they must pass the
specialty board examinations. Some
physicians who want to teach or do
research take graduate work leading
to a m aster’s or Ph. D. degree in a




field such as biochemistry or micro­
biology.
Medical training is very costly be­
cause of the long time required to
earn the medical degree. However,
financial assistance in the form of
loans and scholarships is available
primarily from the Federal Govern­
ment, and to a lesser extent from
State and local government and pri­
vate sources. Some of this aid re ­
quires the student to commit a mini­
mum of 2 yea rs’ time to Federal
service upon graduation and/or to es­
tablish financial need.
Persons who wish to become phy­
sicians must have a strong desire to
serve the sick and injured. They must
be willing to study a great deal to
keep up with the latest advances in
m edical science. Sincerity and a
pleasant personality are assets that
help physicians gain the confidence
of patients. Prospective physicians
should be em otionally stable and
able to make decisions in emergen­
cies.
The majority of newly qualified
physicians open their own offices or
join associate or group practices.
Those who have completed 1 year of
graduate medical education (a 1year residency) and enter active mili­
tary duty initially serve as captains in
the Army or Air Force or as lieuten­
ants in the Navy. Graduates of medi­
cal schools are eligible for commis­
sions as senior assistant surgeons
(e q u iv a le n t to lieu ten an ts in the
Navy) in the U.S. Public Health Ser­
vice, as well as for Federal Civil Ser­
vice professional medical positions.

Employment Outlook
The employment outlook for phy­
sicians is expected to be very good
through the m id-1980’s. However,
anticipated increases in the numbers
of graduates of existing and develop­
ing U.S. medical schools, combined
with foreign medical graduate e n ­
trants, point to a greatly improved
supply situation. This may result in
an increasing m ovem ent of physi­
cians into rural and other areas that
have experienced shortages in the
past. Also, some specialties will have
sufficient numbers of practitioners
by 1980 or 1985 so that new gradu­

ates will be encouraged to specialize
in one of the primary care areas such
as family practice, pediatrics, or in­
ternal medicine.
Growth in population will create
much of the need for more physi­
cians, and a larger percentage of the
population will be in the age group
over 65, which uses more physicians’
services. Also, the effective demand
for physicians’ care will increase be­
cause of greater ability to pay, result­
ing from extension of prepaym ent
p rogram s for hospitalization and
medical care, including M edicare
and Medicaid, and continued Feder­
al Government provision of medical
care for m em bers of the Arm ed
Forces, their families, and veterans.
More physicians will be needed, in
a d d i t i o n , for m e d ic a l r e s e a r c h ,
teaching in medical schools, and the
continuing growth in the fields of
public health, rehabilitation, indus­
trial medicine, and mental health.
To some extent, the rise in the
demand for physicians’ services will
be offset by developments that will
enable physicians to care for more
patients. For example, increasing
numbers of medical technicians are
assisting physicians; new drugs and
new medical techniques are shorten­
ing illnesses; and growing numbers of
physicians are using their time more
effectively by engaging in group
practice.
The extent to which the develop­
ing health occupations, such as those
of physicians’ assistants and nurse
practitioners, will enable each physi­
cian to treat more patients is still un­
known. It is possible that these new
health personnel will increase physi­
cians’ productivity significantly.
The net effect of expected growth
in requirements for physicians and of
increases in their number and pro­
ductivity is likely to be an improved
availability of m edical care. New
physicians will have little difficulty
e s ta b lis h in g p r a c t i c e s , h o w e v er.
Even in the unlikely event that some
urban areas become overserved and
need no additional doctors, many re­
mote and rural areas are without
M .D.’s. If some proposed incentives
are implemented, physicians may be
able to practice in these underserved
areas w ithout forfeiting access to
co n s u lta tio n with specialists and

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OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK

without earning an income signifi­
cantly below that of most colleagues
located in cities.

Earnings and Working
Conditions
Salaries of medical school gradu­
ates serving as residents in hospitals
vary according to the type of residen­
cy, geographic area, and size of hos­
pital, but earnings o f $12,000 to
$13,000 a year are common. Many
hospitals also provide full or partial
room, board, and other maintenance
allowances to their residents.
Graduates who have completed an
approved 3-year residency but have
no other experience could expect to
start working at a Veterans Adminis­
tration hospital for an annual salary
of between $27,000 and $31,500 a
year in 1977. In addition, those who
work full time could expect another
$5,500 to $5,800 in other cash bene­
fits or “ special” payments.
Newly qualified physicians who es­
tablish their own practice must make
a sizable financial in vestm ent to
equip a modern office. During the
first year or two of independent prac­
tice, physicians probably earn little
more than the minimum needed to
pay expenses. As a rule, however,
their earnings rise rapidly as their
practice develops.
Physicians have the highest aver­
age annual earnings of any occupa­
tional group. The net income of phy­
sicians who provided patient care
services averaged almost $54,000 in
1976, according to the limited infor­
mation available. Earnings of physi­
cians depend on factors such as the
region of the country in which they
practice; the patients’ income levels;
and the physician’s skill, personality,
and professional reputation, as well
as the length of experience. Self-em­
ployed physicians usually earn more
than those in salaried positions, and
specialists usually earn considerably
m ore than g eneral p ra c titio n e rs .
Many physicians have long working
days and irregular hours. Most spe­
cialists work fewer hours each week
than general practitioners. As doc­
tors grow older, they may accept
fewer new patients and tend to work
shorter hours. However, many con­



tinue in practice well beyond 70
years of age.

Sources of Additional
Information
Persons who