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Service Occupations 351  Protective Service Occupations Correctional Officers (0*NET 33-1011.00, 33-3011.00, 33-3012.00) Significant Points  • •  •  The work can be stressful and hazardous. Most correctional officers work in institutions located in rural areas with smaller inmate populations than those in urban jails. Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.  Nature of the Work Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a jail, refor­ matory, or penitentiary. They maintain security and inmate ac­ countability to prevent disturbances, assaults, or escapes. Of­ ficers have no law enforcement responsibilities outside the institution where they work. (For more information on related occupations, see the statements on police and detectives, and probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, else­ where in the Handbook.) Police and sheriffs’ departments in county and municipal jails or precinct station houses employ many correctional offic­ ers, also known as detention officers. Most of the approxi­ mately 3,300 jails in the United States are operated by county governments, with about three-quarters of all jails under the jurisdiction of an elected sheriff. Individuals in the jail popula­ tion change constantly as some are released, some are convicted and transferred to prison, and new offenders are arrested and enter the system. Correctional officers in the U.S. jail system admit and process more than 11 million people a year, with about half a million offenders in jail at any given time. When individuals are first arrested, the jail staff may not know their true identity or criminal record, and violent detainees may be placed in the general population. This is the most dangerous phase of the incarceration process for correctional officers. Most correctional officers are employed in large jails or State and Federal prisons, watching over the approximately one mil­ lion offenders who are incarcerated at any given time. In addi­ tion to jails and prisons, a relatively small number of correc­ tional officers oversee individuals being held by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service before they are released or deported, or they work for correctional institutions that are run by private for-profit organizations. While both jails and prisons can be dangerous places to work, prison populations are more stable than jail populations, and correctional officers in prisons know the security and custodial requirements of the prisoners with whom they are dealing. Regardless of the setting, correctional officers maintain or­ der within the institution, and enforce rules and regulations. To help ensure that inmates are orderly and obey mles, correctional officers monitor the activities and supervise the work assign­ ments of inmates. Sometimes, it is necessary for officers to search inmates and their living quarters for contraband like weapons or drugs, settle disputes between inmates, and enforce discipline. Correctional officers periodically inspect the facilities, check­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ing cells and other areas of the institution for unsanitary condi­ tions, contraband, fire hazards, and any evidence of infractions of rules. In addition, they routinely inspect locks, window bars, grilles, doors, and gates for signs of tampering. Finally, officers inspect mail and visitors for prohibited items. Correctional officers report orally and in writing on inmate conduct and on the quality and quantity of work done by in­ mates. Officers also report security breaches, disturbances, vio­ lations of rules, and any unusual occurrences. They usually keep a daily log or record of their activities. Correctional officers cannot show favoritism and must report any inmate who vio­ lates the rules. Should the situation arise, they help the respon­ sible law enforcement authorities investigate crimes committed within their institution or search for escaped inmates. In jail and prison facilities with direct supervision cellblocks, officers work unarmed. They are equipped with communica­ tions devices so that they can summon help if necessary. These officers often work in a cellblock alone, or with another officer, among the 50 to 100 inmates who reside there. The officers enforce regulations primarily through their interpersonal com­ munications skills and the use of progressive sanctions, such as loss of some privileges. In the highest security facilities where the most dangerous inmates are housed, correctional officers often monitor the ac­ tivities of prisoners from a centralized control center with the aid of closed-circuit television cameras and a computer track­ ing system. In such an environment, the inmates may not see anyone but officers for days or weeks at a time and only leave their cells for showers, solitary exercise time, or visitors. De­ pending on the offender’s security classification within the in­ stitution, correctional officers may have to restrain inmates in handcuffs and leg irons to safely escort them to and from cells and other areas to see authorized visitors. Officers also escort prisoners between the institution and courtrooms, medical fa­ cilities, and other destinations outside the institution. Working Conditions Working in a correctional institution can be stressful and haz­ ardous. Every year, a number of correctional officers are injured  A correctional officer uses a metal-detecting wand to inspect a visitor before allowing the person into the facility.  352  Occupational Outlook Handbook  in confrontations with inmates. Correctional officers may work indoors or outdoors. Some correctional institutions are well lighted, temperature controlled, and ventilated, while others are old, overcrowded, hot, and noisy. Correctional officers usually work an 8-hour day, 5 days a week, on rotating shifts. Prison and jail security must be provided around the clock, which often means that officers work all hours of the day and night, week­ ends, and holidays. In addition, officers may be required to work paid overtime. Employment Correctional officers held about 476,000 jobs in 2002. About 3 of every 5 jobs were in State correctional institutions such as prisons, prison camps, and youth correctional facilities. Most of the re­ maining jobs were in city and county jails or other institutions run by local governments. About 16,000 jobs for correctional of­ ficers were in Federal correctional institutions, and about 16,000 jobs were in privately owned and managed prisons. There are 118 jail systems in the United States that house over 1,000 inmates, all of which are located in urban areas. A significant number work in jails and other facilities located in law enforcement agencies throughout the country. However, most correctional officers work in institutions located in rural areas with smaller inmate populations than those in urban jails. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most institutions require correctional officers to be at least 18 to 21 years of age and a U.S. citizen; have a high school educa­ tion or its equivalent; demonstrate job stability, usually by ac­ cumulating two years of work experience; and have no felony convictions. Promotion prospects may be enhanced through obtaining a postsecondary education. Correctional officers must be in good health. Candidates for employment are generally required to meet formal standards of physical fitness, eyesight, and hearing. In addition, many juris­ dictions use standard tests to determine applicant suitability to work in a correctional environment. Good judgment and the ability to think and act quickly are indispensable. Applicants are typically screened for drug abuse, subject to background checks, and required to pass a written examination. Federal, State, and some local departments of corrections provide training for correctional officers based on guidelines established by the American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association. Some States have regional training academies which are available to local agencies. All States and local correctional agencies provide on-the-job training at the conclusion of formal instruction, including legal restrictions and interpersonal relations. Many systems require firearms pro­ ficiency and self-defense skills. Officer trainees typically re­ ceive several weeks or months of training in an actual job set­ ting under the supervision of an experienced officer. However, specific entry requirements and on-the-job training vary widely from agency to agency. Academy trainees generally receive instruction on a number of subjects, including institutional policies, regulations, and operations, as well as custody and security procedures. As a condition of employment, new Federal correctional officers must undergo 200 hours of formal training within the first year of employment. They also must complete 120 hours of special­ ized training at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons residential training center at Glynco, Georgia within the first 60 days after appointment. Experienced officers receive annual in-service training to keep abreast of new developments and procedures.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Some correctional officers are members of prison tactical re­ sponse teams, which are trained to respond to disturbances, ri­ ots, hostage situations, forced cell moves, and other potentially dangerous confrontations. Team members receive training and practice with weapons, chemical agents, forced entry methods, crisis management, and other tactics. With education, experience, and training, qualified officers may advance to correctional sergeant. Correctional sergeants supervise correctional officers and usually are responsible for maintaining security and directing the activities of other offic­ ers during an assigned shift or in an assigned area. Ambitious and qualified correctional officers can be promoted to supervi­ sory or administrative positions all the way up to warden. Offic­ ers sometimes transfer to related areas, such as probation officer, parole officer, or correctional treatment specialist. Job Outlook Job opportunities for correctional officers are expected to be excellent. The need to replace correctional officers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force, coupled with rising employment demand, will generate thousands of job openings each year. In the past, some local and State correc­ tions agencies have experienced difficulty in attracting and keeping qualified applicants, largely due to relatively low sala­ ries and the concentration of jobs in rural locations. This situa­ tion is expected to continue. Employment of correctional officers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, as additional officers are hired to supervise and control a growing inmate population. The adoption of mandatory sentencing guidelines calling for longer sentences and reduced parole for inmates will continue to spur demand for correctional officers. Moreover, expansion and new construction of corrections fa­ cilities also are expected to create many new jobs for correc­ tional officers, although State and local government budgetary constraints could affect the rate at which new facilities are built and staffed. Some employment opportunities also will arise in the private sector as public authorities contract with private companies to provide and staff corrections facilities. Layoffs of correctional officers are rare because of increasing offender populations. While officers are allowed to join bar­ gaining units, they are not allowed to strike. Earnings Median annual earnings of correctional officers and jailers were $32,670 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,950 and $42,620. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,370. Median annual earnings in the public sector were $40,900 in the Federal Govern­ ment, $33,260 in State government, and $31,380 in local govern­ ment. In the management and public relations industry, where the relatively small number of officers employed by privately oper­ ated prisons are classified, median annual earnings were $21,390. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the starting salary for Federal correctional officers was about $23,000 a year in 2003. Starting Federal salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where prevailing local pay levels were higher. Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors/managers of correctional officers were $44,940 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,730 and $59,160. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $29,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $69,370. Median annual earnings were $43,240 in State government and $49,120 in local government.  Service Occupations 353 Median annual earnings of bailiffs were $32,710 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $22,960 and $44,280. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $55,270. Median annual earnings were $27,470 in local government. In addition to typical benefits, correctional officers employed in the public sector usually are provided with uniforms or a clothing allowance to purchase their own uniforms. Civil ser­ vice systems or merit boards cover officers employed by the Federal Government and most State governments. Their retire­ ment coverage entitles them to retire at age 50 after 20 years of service or at any age with 25 years of service. Related Occupations A number of options are available to those interested in careers in protective services and security. Security guards and gaming surveillance officers protect people and property against theft, vandalism, illegal entry, and fire. Police and detectives main­ tain law and order, prevent crime, and arrest offenders. Proba­ tion officers and correctional treatment specialists monitor and counsel offenders in the community and evaluate their progress in becoming productive members of society. Sources of Additional Information Information about correctional jobs in a jail setting is available from: >- American Jail Association, 1135 Professional Ct., Hagerstown, MD 21740.  Information on entrance requirements, training, and career opportunities for correctional officers at the Federal level may be obtained from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Internet: http ://www.bop.gov Information on obtaining a position as a correctional officer with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) through a telephone-based sys­ tem. Consult your telephone directory under U.S. Government for a local number or call (703) 724-1850; Federal Relay Ser­ vice: (800) 877-8339. The first number is not tollfree and charges may result. Information also is available from the OPM Internet site: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov.  Firefighting Occupations (0*NET 33-1021.01, 33-1021.02, 33-2011.01, 33-2011.02, 33-2021.01, 33-2021.02, 33-2022.00)  Significant Points  • • • •  Firefighting involves hazardous conditions and long, irregular hours. About 9 out of 10 firefighting workers were employed by municipal or county fire departments. Applicants for municipal firefighting jobs generally must pass written, physical, and medical examinations. Keen competition for jobs is expected.  Nature of the Work Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Firefighters help protect the public against these dangers by rapidly responding to a variety of emergencies. They are frequently the first emer­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  gency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to put out a fire, treat inju­ ries, or perform other vital functions. During duty hours, firefighters must be prepared to respond immediately to a fire or any other emergency that arises. Be­ cause fighting fires is dangerous and complex, it requires orga­ nization and teamwork. At every emergency scene, firefighters perform specific duties assigned by a superior officer. At fires, they connect hose lines to hydrants, operate a pump to send water to high pressure hoses, and position ladders to enable them to deliver water to the fire. They also rescue victims and provide emergency medical attention as needed, ventilate smoke-filled areas, and attempt to salvage the contents of build­ ings. Their duties may change several times while the company is in action. Sometimes they remain at the site of a disaster for days at a time, rescuing trapped survivors and assisting with medical treatment. Firefighters have assumed a range of responsibilities, includ­ ing emergency medical services. In fact, most calls to which firefighters respond involve medical emergencies, and about half of all fire departments provide ambulance service for vic­ tims. Firefighters receive training in emergency medical proce­ dures, and many fire departments require them to be certified as emergency medical technicians. (For more information, see the Handbook statement on emergency medical technicians and paramedics.) Firefighters work in a variety of settings, including urban and suburban areas, airports, chemical plants, other industrial sites, and rural areas like grasslands and forests. In addition, some firefighters work in hazardous materials units that are trained for the control, prevention, and cleanup of oil spills and other hazardous materials incidents. (For more information, see the Handbook statement on hazardous material removal work­ ers.) Workers in urban and suburban areas, airports, and indus­ trial sites typically use conventional firefighting equipment and tactics, while forest fires and major hazardous materials spills call for different methods. In national forests and parks, forest fire inspectors and pre­ vention specialists spot fires from watchtowers and report their findings to headquarters by telephone or radio. Forest rangers patrol to ensure travelers and campers comply with fire regula­ tions. When fires break out, crews of firefighters are brought in to suppress the blaze using heavy equipment, handtools, and water hoses. Forest firefighting, like urban firefighting, can be rigorous work. One of the most effective means of battling the blaze is by creating fire lines through cutting down trees and digging out grass and all other combustible vegetation, creat­ ing bare land in the path of the fire that deprives it of fuel. Elite firefighters, called smoke jumpers, parachute from airplanes to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. This can be extremely haz­ ardous because the crews have no way to escape if the wind shifts and causes the fire to bum toward them. Between alarms, firefighters clean and maintain equipment, conduct practice drills and fire inspections, and participate in physical fitness activities. They also prepare written reports on fire incidents and review fire science literature to keep abreast of technological developments and changing administrative practices and policies. Most fire departments have a fire prevention division, usu­ ally headed by a fire marshall and staffed by fire inspectors. Workers in this division conduct inspections of structures to prevent fires and ensure fire code compliance. These firefighters also work with developers and planners to check and approve  354  Occupational Outlook Handbook  >'%?!  Firefighters use a variety of technologies to ensure prompt and effective responses to emergency situations. plans for new buildings. Fire prevention personnel often speak on these subjects in schools and before public assemblies and civic organizations. Some firefighters become fire investigators, who determine the origin and causes of fires. They collect evidence, interview witnesses, and prepare reports on fires in cases where the cause may be arson or criminal negligence. They often are called upon to testify in court. Working Conditions Firefighters spend much of their time at fire stations, which usu­ ally have features common to a residential facility like a dormi­ tory. When an alarm sounds, firefighters respond rapidly, re­ gardless of the weather or hour. Firefighting involves risk of death or injury from sudden cave-ins of floors, toppling walls, traffic accidents when responding to calls, and exposure to flames and smoke. Firefighters may also come in contact with poisonous, flammable, or explosive gases and chemicals, as well as radioactive or other hazardous materials that may have im­ mediate or long-term effects on their health. For these reasons, they must wear protective gear that can be very heavy and hot. Work hours of firefighters are longer and vary more widely than hours of most other workers. Many work more than 50 hours a week, and sometimes they may work even longer. In some agencies, they are on duty for 24 hours, then off for 48 hours, and receive an extra day off at intervals. In others, they work a day shift of 10 hours for 3 or 4 days, a night shift of 14 hours for 3 or 4 nights, have 3 or 4 days off, and then repeat the cycle. In addition, firefighters often work extra hours at fires and other emergencies and are regularly assigned to work on holidays. Fire lieutenants and fire captains often work the same hours as the firefighters they supervise. Duty hours include time when firefighters study, train, and perform fire prevention duties. Employment Employment figures in this Handbook statement include only paid career firefighters—they do not cover volunteer firefighters, who perform the same duties and may comprise the majority of firefighters in a residential area. According the United States Fire Administration, nearly 70 percent of fire companies are staffed by volunteer fire fighters. Paid career firefighters held about 282,000 jobs in 2002. First-line supervisors/managers of  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  firefighting and prevention workers held about 63,000 jobs; and fire inspectors held about 14,000. About 9 out of 10 firefighting workers were employed by municipal or county fire departments. Some large cities have thousands of career firefighters, while many small towns have only a few. Most of the remainder worked in fire departments on Federal and State installations, including airports. Private firefighting companies employ a small number of firefighters and usually operate on a subscription basis. In response to the expanding role of firefighters, some mu­ nicipalities have combined fire prevention, public fire educa­ tion, safety, and emergency medical services into a single orga­ nization commonly referred to as a public safety organization. Some local and regional fire departments are being consoli­ dated into countywide establishments in order to reduce admin­ istrative staffs and cut costs, and to establish consistent training standards and work procedures. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Applicants for municipal firefighting jobs generally must pass a written exam; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical examination that includes drug screening. Workers may be monitored on a random basis for drug use after accepting employment. Examinations are gener­ ally open to persons who are at least 18 years of age and have a high school education or the equivalent. Those who receive the highest scores in all phases of testing have the best chances for appointment. The completion of community college courses in fire science may improve an applicant’s chances for appoint­ ment. In recent years, an increasing proportion of entrants to this occupation have had some postsecondary education. As a rule, entry-level workers in large fire departments are trained for several weeks at the department’s training center or academy. Through classroom instruction and practical train­ ing, the recruits study firefighting techniques, fire prevention, hazardous materials control, local building codes, and emer­ gency medical procedures, including first aid and cardiopulmo­ nary resuscitation. They also learn how to use axes, chain saws, fire extinguishers, ladders, and other firefighting and rescue equipment. After successfully completing this training, they are assigned to a fire company, where they undergo a period of probation. A number of fire departments have accredited apprentice­ ship programs lasting up to 5 years. These programs combine formal, technical instruction with on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced firefighters. Technical instruc­ tion covers subjects such as firefighting techniques and equip­ ment, chemical hazards associated with various combustible building materials, emergency medical procedures, and fire prevention and safety. Fire departments frequently conduct training programs, and some firefighters attend training ses­ sions sponsored by the U.S. National Fire Academy. These training sessions cover topics including executive develop­ ment, anti-arson techniques, disaster preparedness, hazardous materials control, and public fire safety and education. Some States also have extensive firefighter training and certification programs. In addition, a number of colleges and universities offer courses leading to 2- or 4-year degrees in fire engineering or fire science. Many fire departments offer firefighters incen­ tives such as tuition reimbursement or higher pay for complet­ ing advanced training. Among the personal qualities firefighters need are mental alertness, self-discipline, courage, mechanical aptitude, endur­  Service Occupations 355 ance, strength, and a sense of public service. Initiative and good judgment are also extremely important because firefighters make quick decisions in emergencies. Because members of a crew live and work closely together under conditions of stress and danger for extended periods, they must be dependable and able to get along well with others. Leadership qualities are necessary for officers, who must establish and maintain disci­ pline and efficiency, as well as direct the activities of firefighters in their companies. Most experienced firefighters continue studying to improve their job performance and prepare for promotion examinations. To progress to higher level positions, they acquire expertise in advanced firefighting equipment and techniques, building con­ struction, emergency medical technology, writing, public speak­ ing, management and budgeting procedures, and public relations. Opportunities for promotion depend upon written examina­ tion results, job performance, interviews, and seniority. Increas­ ingly, fire departments use assessment centers, which simulate a variety of actual job performance tasks, to screen for the best candidates for promotion. The line of promotion usually is to engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, deputy chief, and finally to chief. Many fire departments now require a bachelor’s degree, preferably in fire science, public administration, or a related field, for promotion to positions higher than battalion chief. A master’s degree is required for executive fire officer certification from the National Fire Acad­ emy and for State chief officer certification.  $17.92 in local government, $15.96 in the Federal Government, and $13.58 in State government. Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors/managers of firefighting and prevention workers were $55,450 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $43,920 and $68,480. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $84,730. First-line supervisors/ managers of firefighting and prevention workers employed in local government earned about $56,390 a year in 2002. Median annual earnings of fire inspectors were $44,250 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,880 and $56,100 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $69,060. Fire inspectors and investigators employed in local government earned about $46,820 a year. According to the International City-County Management Association, average salaries in 2002 for sworn full-time posi­ tions were as follows:  Job Outlook Prospective firefighters are expected to face keen competition for available job openings. Many people are attracted to firefighting because it is challenging and provides the opportu­ nity to perform an essential public service, a high school educa­ tion is usually sufficient for entry, and a pension is guaranteed upon retirement after 20 years. Consequently, the number of qualified applicants in most areas exceeds the number of job openings, even though the written examination and physical requirements eliminate many applicants. This situation is ex­ pected to persist in coming years. Employment of firefighters is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012 as fire depart­ ments continue to compete with other public safety providers for funding. Most job growth will occur as volunteer firefighting positions are converted to paid positions. In addition to job growth, openings are expected to result from the need to replace firefighters who retire, stop working for other reasons, or transfer to other occupations. Layoffs of firefighters are uncommon. Fire protection is an essential service, and citizens are likely to exert considerable pressure on local officials to expand or at least preserve the level of fire protection. Even when budget cuts do occur, local fire departments usually cut expenses by postponing equip­ ment purchases or not hiring new firefighters, rather than through staff reductions.  Firefighters who average more than a certain number of hours a week are required to be paid overtime. The hours threshold is determined by the department during the firefighter’s work pe­ riod, which ranges from 7 to 28 days. Firefighters often earn overtime for working extra shifts to maintain minimum staffing levels or for special emergencies. Firefighters receive benefits that usually include medical and liability insurance, vacation and sick leave, and some paid holi­ days. Almost all fire departments provide protective clothing (helmets, boots, and coats) and breathing apparatus, and many also provide dress uniforms. Firefighters are generally covered by pension plans, often providing retirement at half pay after 25 years of service or if disabled in the line of duty.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of firefighters were $17.42 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.53 and $22.96. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.51, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.22. Median hourly earnings were  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Minimum annual base salary Fire chief................................................. ..... Deputy chief............................................ ..... Assistant fire chief................................. ..... Battalion chief........................................ ..... Fire captain.............................................. ..... Fire lieutenant........................................ ..... Fire prevention/code inspector.......... ..... Engineer................................................... .....  $64,134 56,522 55,645 54,935 45,383 41,800 40,387 38,656  Maximum annual base salary $82,225 72,152 69,036 68,673 54,463 49,404 51,531 48,678  Related Occupations Like firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramed­ ics and police and detectives respond to emergencies and save lives.  Sources of Additional Information Information about a career as a firefighter may be obtained from local fire departments and from: ► International Association of Firefighters, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.iaff.org >■ U.S. Fire Administration, 16825 South Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Internet: http://www.usfa.fema.gov  Information about firefighter professional qualifications and a list of colleges and universities offering 2-year or 4-year de­ gree programs in fire science or fire prevention may be obtained from: >- National Fire Academy, 16825 South Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Internet: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/nfa/index.htm  356  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Police and Detectives (0*NET 33-1012.00, 33-3021.01, 33-3021.02, 33-3021.03, 33-3021.04, 33-3021.05, 33-3031.00, 33-3051.01, 33-3051.02, 33-3051.03, 33-3052.00) Significant Points  • • •  •  Police work can be dangerous and stressful. Civil service regulations govern the appointment of police and detectives. Competition should remain keen for higher paying jobs with State and Federal agencies and police departments in affluent areas; opportunities will be better in local and special police departments that offer relatively low salaries or in urban communities where the crime rate is relatively high. Applicants with college training in police science or military police experience should have the best opportunities.  Nature of the Work People depend on police officers and detectives to protect their lives and property. Law enforcement officers, some of whom are State or Federal special agents or inspectors, perform these du­ ties in a variety of ways, depending on the size and type of their organization. In most jurisdictions, they are expected to exer­ cise authority when necessary, whether on or off duty. Uniformed police officers who work in municipal police de­ partments of various sizes, small communities, and rural areas have general law enforcement duties including maintaining regu­ lar patrols and responding to calls for service. They may direct traffic at the scene of a fire, investigate a burglary, or give first aid to an accident victim. In large police departments, officers usually are assigned to a specific type of duty. Many urban police agencies are becoming more involved in community policing—a practice in which an officer builds relationships with the citizens of local neighborhoods and mobilizes the pub­ lic to help fight crime. Police agencies are usually organized into geographic dis­ tricts, with uniformed officers assigned to patrol a specific area, such as part of the business district or outlying residential neigh­ borhoods. Officers may work alone, but in large agencies they often patrol with a partner. While on patrol, officers attempt to become thoroughly familiar with their patrol area and remain alert for anything unusual. Suspicious circumstances and haz­ ards to public safety are investigated or noted, and officers are dispatched to individual calls for assistance within their dis­ trict. During their shift, they may identify, pursue, and arrest suspected criminals, resolve problems within the community, and enforce traffic laws. Public college and university police forces, public school district police, and agencies serving transportation systems and facilities are examples of special police agencies. These agen­ cies have special geographic jurisdictions or enforcement re­ sponsibilities in the United States. Most sworn personnel in special agencies are uniformed officers, a smaller number are investigators. Some police officers specialize in such diverse fields as chemi­ cal and microscopic analysis, training and firearms instruction, or handwriting and fingerprint identification. Others work with  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  special units such as horseback, bicycle, motorcycle or harbor patrol, canine corps, or special weapons and tactics (SWAT) or emergency response teams. A few local and special law enforce­ ment officers primarily perform jail-related duties or work in courts. Regardless of job duties or location, police officers and detectives at all levels must write reports and maintain meticu­ lous records that will be needed if they testify in court. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs enforce the law on the county level. Sheriffs are usually elected to their posts and perform duties similar to those of a local or county police chief. Sher­ iffs’ departments tend to be relatively small, most having fewer than 25 sworn officers. A deputy sheriff in a large agency will have law enforcement duties similar to those of officers in ur­ ban police departments. Police and sheriffs’ deputies who pro­ vide security in city and county courts are sometimes called bailiffs. (For information on other officers who work in jails and prisons, see correctional officers elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) State police officers (sometimes called State troopers or high­ way patrol officers) arrest criminals Statewide and patrol high­ ways to enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations. Uniformed officers are best known for issuing traffic citations to motorists who violate the law. At the scene of accidents, they may direct traffic, give first aid, and call for emergency equipment. They also write reports used to determine the cause of the accident. State police officers are frequently called upon to render assis­ tance to other law enforcement agencies, especially those in rural areas or small towns. State law enforcement agencies operate in every State except Hawaii. Most full-time sworn personnel are uniformed officers who regularly patrol and respond to calls for service. Others are investigators, perform court-related duties, or work in adminis­ trative or other assignments. Detectives are plainclothes investigators who gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases. Some are assigned to interagency task forces to combat specific types of crime. They conduct interviews, examine records, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids or arrests. Detectives and State and Federal agents and inspectors usually specialize in one of a wide variety of violations such as homicide or fraud. They are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an arrest and conviction occurs or the case is dropped. The Federal Government maintains a high profile in many areas of law enforcement. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are the Government’s principal investigators, responsible for investigating violations of more than 260 statutes and con­ ducting sensitive national security investigations. Agents may conduct surveillance, monitor court-authorized wiretaps, ex­ amine business records, investigate white-collar crime, track the interstate movement of stolen property, collect evidence of es­ pionage activities, or participate in sensitive undercover as­ signments. The FBI investigates organized crime, public cor­ ruption, financial crime, fraud against the government, bribery, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, air piracy, terrorism, espionage, inter­ state criminal activity, drug trafficking, and other violations of Federal statutes. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents enforce laws and regulations relating to illegal drugs. Not only is the DEA the lead agency for domestic enforcement of Federal drug laws, it also has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursu­ ing U.S. drug investigations abroad. Agents may conduct com­ plex criminal investigations, carry out surveillance of crimi­  Service Occupations 357 nals, and infiltrate illicit drug organizations using undercover techniques. U.S. marshals and deputy marshals protect the Federal courts and ensure the effective operation of the judicial system. They provide protection for the Federal judiciary, transport Federal prisoners, protect Federal witnesses, and manage assets seized from criminal enterprises. They enjoy the widest jurisdiction of any Federal law enforcement agency and are involved to some degree in nearly all Federal law enforcement efforts. In addi­ tion, U.S. marshals pursue and arrest Federal fugitives. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents and inspectors facilitate the entry of legal visitors and immi­ grants to the U.S. and detain and deport those arriving illegally. They consist of border patrol agents, immigration inspectors, criminal investigators and immigration agents, and detention and deportation officers. U.S. Border Patrol agents protect more than 8,000 miles of international land and water boundaries. Their missions are to detect and prevent the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented foreign nationals into the U.S., apprehend those persons found in violation of the immigration laws, and interdict contraband, such as narcotics. Immigration inspectors interview and examine people seeking entrance to the U.S. and its territories. They inspect passports to determine whether people are legally eligible to enter the United States. Immigration inspectors also prepare reports, maintain records, and process applications and petitions for immigration or tem­ porary residence in the United States. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents regulate and investigate violations of Federal firearms and ex­ plosives laws, as well as Federal alcohol and tobacco tax regula­ tions. Customs agents investigate violations of narcotics smug­ gling, money laundering, child pornography, customs fraud, and enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act. Domestic and foreign investigations involve the development and use of in­ formants, physical and electronic surveillance, and examina­ tion of records from importers/exporters, banks, couriers, and manufacturers. They conduct interviews, serve on joint task forces with other agencies, and get and execute search warrants. Customs inspectors inspect cargo, baggage, and articles worn or carried by people and carriers including vessels, vehicles, trains and aircraft entering or leaving the U.S. to enforce laws governing imports and exports. These inspectors examine, count, weigh, gauge, measure, and sample commercial and noncom­ mercial cargoes entering and leaving the United States. Cus­ toms inspectors seize prohibited or smuggled articles, intercept contraband, and apprehend, search, detain, and arrest violators of U.S. laws. U.S. Secret Service special agents protect the President, Vice President, and their immediate families; Presidential candidates; former Presidents; and foreign dignitaries visiting the United States. Secret Service agents also investigate counterfeiting, forgery of Government checks or bonds, and fraudulent use of credit cards. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security special agents are engaged in the battle against terrorism. Over­ seas, they advise ambassadors on all security matters and man­ age a complex range of security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information. In the U.S., they investi­ gate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security inves­ tigations, issue security clearances, and protect the Secretary of State and a number of foreign dignitaries. They also train for­ eign civilian police and administer a counter-terrorism reward program.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Other Federal agencies employ police and special agents with sworn arrest powers and the authority to carry firearms. These agencies include the Postal Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, the Forest Service, the Na­ tional Park Service, and the Federal Air Marshals.  Working Conditions Police work can be very dangerous and stressful. In addition to the obvious dangers of confrontations with criminals, officers need to be constantly alert and ready to deal appropriately with a number of other threatening situations. Many law enforce­ ment officers witness death and suffering resulting from acci­ dents and criminal behavior. A career in law enforcement may take a toll on officers’ private lives. Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and inspectors are usu­ ally scheduled to work 40-hour weeks, but paid overtime is common. Shift work is necessary because protection must be provided around the clock. Junior officers frequently work week­ ends, holidays, and nights. Police officers and detectives are required to work at any time their services are needed and may work long hours during investigations. In most jurisdictions, whether on or off duty, officers are expected to be armed and to exercise their arrest authority whenever necessary. The jobs of some Federal agents such as U.S. Secret Service and DEA special agents require extensive travel, often on very short notice. They may relocate a number of times over the  Police officers take every precaution during the apprehension of suspected criminals.  358  Occupational Outlook Handbook  course of their careers. Some special agents in agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol work outdoors in rugged terrain for long periods and in all kinds of weather. Employment Police and detectives held about 840,000 jobs in 2002. About 81 percent were employed by local governments. State police agencies employed about 11 percent and various Federal agen­ cies employed about 6 percent. A small proportion worked for educational services, rail transportation, and contract investiga­ tion and security services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, police and detectives employed by local governments primarily worked in cities with more than 25,000 inhabitants. Some cities have very large police forces, while thousands of small communities em­ ploy fewer than 25 officers each. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Civil service regulations govern the appointment of police and detectives in practically all States, large municipalities, and special police agencies, as well as in many smaller ones. Candi­ dates must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 20 years of age, and must meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications. In the Federal Government, candidates must be at least 21 years of age but less than 37 years of age at the time of appointment. Physi­ cal examinations for entrance into law enforcement often in­ clude tests of vision, hearing, strength, and agility. Eligibility for appointment usually depends on performance in competi­ tive written examinations and previous education and experi­ ence. In larger departments, where the majority of law enforce­ ment jobs are found, applicants usually must have at least a high school education. Federal and State agencies typically require a college degree. Candidates should enjoy working with people and meeting the public. Because personal characteristics such as honesty, sound judg­ ment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility are especially important in law enforcement, candidates are interviewed by senior officers, and their character traits and backgrounds are investigated. In some agencies, candidates are interviewed by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, or given a personality test. Most applicants are subjected to lie detector examinations or drug testing. Some agencies subject sworn personnel to random drug testing as a condition of continuing employment. Before their first assignments, officers usually go through a period of training. In State and large local departments, recruits get training in their agency’s police academy, often for 12 to 14 weeks. In small agencies, recruits often attend a regional or State academy. Training includes classroom instruction in con­ stitutional law and civil rights, State laws and local ordinances, and accident investigation. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in patrol, traffic control, use of firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response. Police depart­ ments in some large cities hire high school graduates who are still in their teens as police cadets or trainees. They do clerical work and attend classes, usually for 1 to 2 years, at which point they reach the minimum age requirement and may be appointed to the regular force. Police officers usually become eligible for promotion after a probationary period ranging from 6 months to 3 years. In a large department, promotion may enable an officer to become a de­ tective or specialize in one type of police work, such as working with juveniles. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and captain usually are made according to a candidate’s posi­ tion on a promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and on-the-job performance. To be considered for appointment as an FBI agent, an appli­ cant either must be a graduate of an accredited law school or a college graduate with a major in accounting, fluency in a for­ eign language, or 3 years of related full-time work experience. All new agents undergo 16 weeks of training at the FBI acad­ emy on the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. Applicants for special agent jobs with the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms must have a bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 3 years’ related work experi­ ence. Prospective special agents undergo 10 weeks of initial criminal investigation training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, and another 17 weeks of specialized training with their particular agencies. Applicants for special agent jobs with the U.S. Drug Enforce­ ment Administration (DEA) must have a college degree and either 1 year of experience conducting criminal investigations, 1 year of graduate school, or have achieved at least a 2.95 grade point average while in college. DEA special agents undergo 14 weeks of specialized training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. U.S. Border Patrol agents must be U.S. citizens, younger than 37 years of age at the time of appointment, possess a valid driver’s license, and pass a three-part examination on reasoning and language skills. A bachelor’s degree or previous work experi­ ence that demonstrates the ability to handle stressful situations, make decisions, and take charge is required for a position as a Border Patrol agent. Applicants may qualify through a combi­ nation of education and work experience. Postal inspectors must have a bachelor’s degree and 1 year of related work experience. It is desirable that they have one of several professional certifications, such as that of certified pub­ lic accountant. They also must pass a background suitability investigation, meet certain health requirements, undergo a drug screening test, possess a valid State driver’s license, and be a U.S. citizen between 21 and 36 years of age when hired. Law enforcement agencies are encouraging applicants to take postsecondary school training in law enforcement-related sub­ jects. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have com­ pleted some formal postsecondary education and a significant number are college graduates. Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer programs in law enforcement or adminis­ tration of justice. Other courses helpful in preparing for a career in law enforcement include accounting, finance, electrical en­ gineering, computer science, and foreign languages. Physical education and sports are helpful in developing the competitive­ ness, stamina, and agility needed for many law enforcement positions. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many Federal agencies and urban departments. Continuing training helps police officers, detectives, and special agents improve their job performance. Through police department academies, regional centers for public safety em­ ployees established by the States, and Federal agency training centers, instructors provide annual training in self-defense tac­ tics, firearms, use-of-force policies, sensitivity and communica­ tions skills, crowd-control techniques, relevant legal develop­ ments, and advances in law enforcement equipment. Many agencies pay all or part of the tuition for officers to work toward degrees in criminal justice, police science, administration of justice, or public administration, and pay higher salaries to those who earn such a degree.  Service Occupations 359 Job Outlook The opportunity for public service through law enforcement work is attractive to many because the job is challenging and involves much personal responsibility. Furthermore, law en­ forcement officers in many agencies may retire with a pension after 20 or 25 years of service, allowing them to pursue a second career while still in their 40s. Because of relatively attractive salaries and benefits, the number of qualified candidates ex­ ceeds the number of job openings in Federal law enforcement agencies and in most State police departments—resulting in increased hiring standards and selectivity by employers. Com­ petition should remain keen for higher paying jobs with State and Federal agencies and police departments in more affluent areas. Opportunities will be better in local and special police departments, especially in departments that offer relatively low salaries, or in urban communities where the crime rate is rela­ tively high. Applicants with college training in police science, military police experience, or both should have the best oppor­ tunities. Employment of police and detectives is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. A more security-conscious society and concern about drug-related crimes should contribute to the increasing demand for police services. The level of government spending determines the level of employment for police and detectives. The number of job op­ portunities, therefore, can vary from year to year and from place to place. Layoffs, on the other hand, are rare because retire­ ments enable most staffing cuts to be handled through attrition. Trained law enforcement officers who lose their jobs because of budget cuts usually have little difficulty finding jobs with other agencies. The need to replace workers who retire, transfer to other occupations, or stop working for other reasons will be the source of many job openings. Earnings Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual earnings of $42,270 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,300 and $53,500. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,330. Median annual earnings were $47,090 in State government, $42,020 in local government, and $41,600 in Federal Govern­ ment. In 2002, median annual earnings of police and detective supervisors were $61,010. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $47,210 and $74,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,340, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,070. Median annual earnings were $78,230 in Federal Gov­ ernment, $64,410 in State government, and $59,830 in local government. In 2002, median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $51,410. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $39,010 and $65,980. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,380. Median annual earnings were $66,500 in Federal Gov­ ernment, $47,700 in local government, and $46,600 in State government. Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employ­ ees who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents and inspectors receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP)—equal to 25 percent of the agent’s grade and step— awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work. For example, in 2003 FBI agents  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  enter Federal service as GS-10 employees on the pay scale at a base salary of $39,115, yet earned about $48,890 a year with availability pay. They can advance to the GS-13 grade level in field nonsupervisory assignments at a base salary of $61,251, which is worth $76,560 with availability pay. FBI supervisory, management, and executive positions in grades GS-14 and GS15 pay a base salary of about $72,381 or $85,140 a year, respec­ tively, and equaled $90,480 or $106,430 per year including availability pay. Salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where the prevailing local pay level was higher. Because Fed­ eral agents may be eligible for a special law enforcement ben­ efits package, applicants should ask their recruiter for more in­ formation. According to the International City-County Management Association’s annual Police and Fire Personnel, Salaries, and Expenditures Survey, average salaries for sworn full-time posi­ tions in 2002 were as follows: Minimum annual base salary Police chief........................... .................. Deputy chief......................... .................. Police captain........................ .................. .................. .................. Police corporal...................... ..................  $68,337 59,790 56,499 52,446 46,805 39,899  Maximum annual base salary $87,037 75,266 70,177 63,059 55,661 9,299  Total earnings for local, State, and special police and detec­ tives frequently exceed the stated salary because of payments for overtime, which can be significant. In addition to the com­ mon benefits—paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and life insurance—most police and sheriffs’ departments provide offic­ ers with special allowances for uniforms. Because police offic­ ers usually are covered by liberal pension plans, many retire at half-pay after 20 or 25 years of service. Related Occupations Police and detectives maintain law and order, collect evidence and information, and conduct investigations and surveillance. Workers in related occupations include correctional officers, private detectives and investigators, and security guards and gaming surveillance officers. Sources of Additional Information Information about entrance requirements may be obtained from Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies. Further information about qualifications for employment as a FBI Special Agent is available from the nearest State FBI of­ fice. The address and phone number are listed in the local tele­ phone directory. Internet: http://www.fbi.gov Information on career opportunities, qualifications, and train­ ing for U.S. Secret Service Special Agents is available from the Secret Service Personnel Division at (202) 406-5800, (888) 813­ 8777 or (888) 813-USSS. Internet: http://www.treas.gov/usss Information about qualifications for employment as a DEA Special Agent is available from the nearest DEA office, or call (800) DEA-4288. Internet: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea Information about career opportunities, qualifications, and training to become a deputy marshal is available from: >- U.S. Marshals Service, Human Resources Division—Law Enforcement Recruiting, Washington, DC 20530-1000. Internet: http://www.usdoj.gov/marshals  360  Occupational Outlook Handbook  For information on operations and career opportunities in the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives operations, contact: >- U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Personnel Division, 650 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Room 4100, Washington, DC 20226. Internet: http://www.atf.treas.gov Information about careers in U.S. Customs and Border Pro­ tection is available from: ► U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20229. Internet: http://www.cbp.gov  Private Detectives and Investigators (0*Net 33-9021.00) Significant Points  • • •  •  Work hours often are irregular, and the work can be dangerous. About a third were self-employed. Applicants typically have related experience in areas such as law enforcement, insurance, the military, or government investigative or intelligence jobs. Keen competition is expected because of the large number of qualified people who are attracted to this occupation; opportunities will be best for entry-level jobs with detective agencies or as store detectives on a part-time basis.  Nature of the Work Private detectives and investigators use many means to deter­ mine the facts in a variety of matters. To carry out investiga­ tions, they may use various types of surveillance or searches. To verify facts, such as an individual’s place of employment or income, they may make phone calls or visit a subject’s work­ place. In other cases, especially those involving missing per­ sons and background checks, investigators often interview people to gather as much information as possible about an individual. In all cases, private detectives and investigators assist attorneys, businesses, and the public with a variety of legal, financial, and personal problems. Private detectives and investigators offer many services, in­ cluding executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; pre-em­ ployment verification; and individual background profiles. They also provide assistance in civil liability and personal injury cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody and protection cases, and premarital screening. Increasingly, they are hired to investigate individuals to prove or disprove infidelity. Most detectives and investigators are trained to perform physi­ cal surveillance, often for long periods, in a car or van. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject, from an incon­ spicuous location. The surveillance continues using still and video cameras, binoculars, and a cell phone, until the desired evidence is obtained. They also may perform computer data­ base searches, or work with someone who does. Computers allow detectives and investigators to quickly obtain massive amounts of information on individuals’ prior arrests, convic­ tions, and civil legal judgments; telephone numbers; motor ve­ hicle registrations; association and club memberships; and other matters.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The duties of private detectives and investigators depend on the needs of their client. In cases for employers involving work­ ers’ fraudulent compensation claims, for example, investigators may carry out long-term covert observation of subjects. If an investigator observes a subject performing an activity that con­ tradicts injuries stated in a workers’ compensation claim, the investigator would take video or still photographs to document the activity and report it to the client. Private detectives and investigators often specialize. Those who focus on intellectual property theft, for example, investi­ gate and document acts of piracy, help clients stop the illegal activity, and provide intelligence for prosecution and civil ac­ tion. Other investigators specialize in developing financial pro­ files and asset searches. Their reports reflect information gath­ ered through interviews, investigation and surveillance, and research, including review of public documents. Legal investigators specialize in cases involving the courts and are normally employed by law firms or lawyers. They fre­ quently assist in preparing criminal defenses, locating witnesses, serving legal documents, interviewing police and prospective witnesses, and gathering and reviewing evidence. Legal inves­ tigators also may collect information on the parties to the litiga­ tion, take photographs, testify in court, and assemble evidence and reports for trials. Corporate investigators conduct internal and external in­ vestigations for corporations other than investigative firms. In internal investigations, they may investigate drug use in the workplace, ensure that expense accounts are not abused, or de­ termine if employees are stealing merchandise or information. External investigations typically prevent criminal schemes origi­ nating outside the corporation, such as theft of company assets through fraudulent billing of products by suppliers. Financial investigators may be hired to develop confiden­ tial financial profiles of individuals or companies who are pro­ spective parties to large financial transactions. They often are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and work closely with in­ vestment bankers and accountants. They search for assets in order to recover damages awarded by a court in fraud or theft cases. Detectives who work for retail stores or hotels are respon­ sible for loss control and asset protection. Store detectives, also known as loss prevention agents, safeguard the assets of retail  J,  Some private detectives and investigators work for insurance companies or law firms providing information on criminal activity or financial misconduct.  Service Occupations 361 stores by apprehending anyone attempting to steal merchan­ dise or destroy store property. They prevent theft by shoplifters, vendor representatives, delivery personnel, and even store em­ ployees. Store detectives also conduct periodic inspections of stock areas, dressing rooms, and restrooms, and sometimes as­ sist in opening and closing the store. They may prepare loss prevention and security reports for management and testify in court against persons they apprehend. Hotel detectives protect guests of the establishment from theft of their belongings and preserve order in hotel restaurants and bars. They also may keep undesirable individuals, such as known thieves, off the premises.  Working Conditions Private detectives and investigators often work irregular hours because of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who are not available during normal working hours. Early morn­ ing, evening, weekend, and holiday work is common. Many detectives and investigators spend time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in their office most of the day conducting computer searches and making phone calls. Those who have their own agencies and employ other investigators may work primarily in an office and have normal business hours. When working on a case away from the office, the environ­ ment might range from plush boardrooms to seedy bars. Store and hotel detectives work in the businesses that they protect. Investigators generally work alone, but they sometimes work with others during surveillance or when following a subject in order to avoid detection by the subject. Some of the work involves confrontation, so the job can be stressful and dangerous. Some situations call for the investiga­ tor to be armed, such as certain bodyguard assignments for cor­ porate or celebrity clients. Detectives and investigators who carry handguns must be licensed by the appropriate authority. In most cases, however, a weapon is not necessary because the purpose of their work is gathering information and not law en­ forcement or criminal apprehension. Owners of investigative agencies have the added stress of having to deal with demand­ ing and sometimes distraught clients.  Employment Private detectives and investigators held about 48,000 jobs in 2002. About a third were self-employed, including many who held a secondary job as a self-employed private detective. Al­ most a fifth jobs were found in investigation and security ser­ vices, including private detective agencies, while another fifth were in department or other general merchandise stores. The rest worked mostly in State and local government, legal ser­ vices firms, employment services, insurance carriers, and credit intermediation and related activities, including banks and other depository institutions.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There are no formal education requirements for most private detective and investigator jobs, although many private detec­ tives have college degrees. Private detectives and investiga­ tors typically have previous experience in other occupations. Some work initially for insurance or collections companies or in the private security industry. Many investigators enter the field after serving in law enforcement, the military, govern­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ment auditing and investigative positions, or Federal intelli­ gence jobs. Former law enforcement officers, military investigators, and government agents often become private detectives or investi­ gators as a second career because they are frequently able to retire after 20 years of service. Others enter from such diverse fields as finance, accounting, commercial credit, investigative reporting, insurance, and law. These individuals often can ap­ ply their prior work experience in a related investigative spe­ cialty. A few enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with associate or bachelor’s degrees in crimi­ nal justice or police science. The majority of States and the District of Colombia require private detectives and investigators to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary widely, but convicted felons cannot receive a license in most States and a growing number of States are enact­ ing mandatory training programs for private detectives and in­ vestigators. Some States have few requirements, and 6 States— Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota—have no statewide licensing requirements while oth­ ers have stringent regulations. For example, the Bureau of Se­ curity and Investigative Services of the California Department of Consumer Affairs requires private investigators to be 18 years of age or older; have a combination of education in police sci­ ence, criminal law, or justice, and experience equaling 3 years (6,000 hours) of investigative experience; pass an evaluation by the Federal Department of Justice and a criminal history background check; and receive a qualifying score on a 2-hour written examination covering laws and regulations. There are additional requirements for a firearms permit. For private detective and investigator jobs, most employers look for individuals with ingenuity, persistence, and assertiveness. A candidate must not be afraid of confrontation, should communicate well, and should be able to think on his or her feet. Good interviewing and interrogation skills also are important and usually are acquired in earlier careers in law en­ forcement or other fields. Because the courts often are the ulti­ mate judge of a properly conducted investigation, the investi­ gator must be able to present the facts in a manner a jury will believe. Training in subjects such as criminal justice is helpful to aspiring private detectives and investigators. Most corporate investigators must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a busi­ ness-related field. Some corporate investigators have master’s degrees in business administration or law, while others are certi­ fied public accountants. Corporate investigators hired by large companies may receive formal training from their employers on business practices, management structure, and various financerelated topics. The screening process for potential employees typically includes a background check of criminal history. Some investigators receive certification from a professional organization to demonstrate competency in a field. For ex­ ample, the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) confers the Certified Legal Investigator designation to licensed investigators who devote a majority of their practice to negli­ gence or criminal defense investigations. To receive the desig­ nation, applicants must satisfy experience, educational, and continuing training requirements, and must pass written and oral exams administered by the NALI. Most private detective agencies are small, with little room for advancement. Usually there are no defined ranks or steps, so advancement takes the form of increases in salary and assign­ ment status. Many detectives and investigators work for  362  Occupational Outlook Handbook  detective agencies at the beginning of their careers and, after a few years, start their own firms. Corporate and legal investiga­ tors may rise to supervisor or manager of the security or investi­ gations department.  Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers (0*NET 33-9031.00, 33-9032.00)  Job Outlook Keen competition is expected because private detective and investigator careers attract many qualified people, including relatively young retirees from law enforcement and military ca­ reers. Opportunities will be best for entry-level jobs with detec­ tive agencies or as store detectives on a part-time basis. Those seeking store detective jobs have the best prospects with large chains and discount stores. Employment of private detectives and investigators is ex­ pected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. In addition to growth, replacement of those who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons should create many job openings. Increased demand for private detectives and investi­ gators will result from fear of crime, increased litigation, and the need to protect confidential information and property of all kinds. More private investigators also will be needed to assist attorneys working on criminal defense and civil litigation. Grow­ ing financial activity worldwide will increase the demand for investigators to control internal and external financial losses, and to monitor competitors and prevent industrial spying. Earnings Median annual earnings of salaried private detectives and in­ vestigators were $29,300 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,980 and $41,710. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,290, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $57,370. In 2002, median annual earnings were $29,030 in investigation and security services, and $22,250 in department stores. Earnings of private detectives and investigators vary greatly depending on their employer, specialty, and the geographic area in which they work. According to a study by Abbott, Langer & Associates, security/loss prevention directors and vice presi­ dents had a median income of $77,500 per year in 2002; inves­ tigators, $39,800; and store detectives, $25,000. In addition to typical benefits, most corporate investigators received profit­ sharing plans. Related Occupations Private detectives and investigators often collect information and protect the property and other assets of companies and indi­ viduals. Others with related duties include bill and account collectors; claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investi­ gators; police and detectives; and security guards and gaming surveillance officers. Investigators who specialize in conduct­ ing financial profiles and asset searches perform work closely related to that of accountants and auditors and financial ana­ lysts and personal finance advisors. Sources of Additional Information For information on local licensing requirements, contact your State Department of Public Safety, State Division of Licensing, or local or State police headquarters. For information on a career as a legal investigator, contact: > National Association of Legal Investigators, 908 21st St., Sacramento, CA, 95814-3118.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Significant Points  •  •  •  Opportunities for most jobs should be favorable, but competition is expected for higher paying positions at facilities requiring longer periods of training and a high level of security, such as nuclear power plants and weapons installations. Because of limited formal training requirements and flexible hours, this occupation attracts many individuals seeking a second or part-time job. Some positions, such as those of armored car guards, are hazardous.  Nature of the Work Guards, who are also called security officers, patrol and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity. These workers protect their employer’s invest­ ment, enforce laws on the property, and deter criminal activity or other problems. They use radio and telephone communica­ tions to call for assistance from police, fire, or emergency medi­ cal services as the situation dictates. Security guards write com­ prehensive reports outlining their observations and activities during their assigned shift. They may also interview witnesses or victims, prepare case reports, and testify in court. Although all security guards perform many of the same du­ ties, specific duties vary based on whether the guard works in a “static” security position or on a mobile patrol. Guards as­ signed to static security positions usually serve the client at one location for a specific length of time. These guards must be­ come closely acquainted with the property and people associ­ ated with it and often monitor alarms and closed-circuit TV cameras. In contrast, guards assigned to mobile patrol duty drive or walk from location to location and conduct security checks within an assigned geographical zone. They may detain or arrest criminal violators, answer service calls concerning crimi­ nal activity or problems, and issue traffic violation warnings. Specific job responsibilities also vary with the size, type, and location of the employer. In department stores, guards pro­ tect people, records, merchandise, money, and equipment. They often work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers or store employees and help in the apprehension of shoplifting suspects prior to arrival by police. Some shopping centers and theaters have officers mounted on horses or bicycles who patrol their parking lots to deter car theft and robberies. In office buildings, banks, and hospitals, guards maintain order and protect the institutions’ property, staff, and customers. At air, sea, and rail terminals and other transportation facilities, guards protect people, freight, property, and equipment. They may screen passengers and visitors for weapons and explosives using metal detectors and high-tech equipment, ensure nothing is stolen while being loaded or unloaded, and watch for fires and criminals. Guards who work in public buildings such as museums or art galleries protect paintings and exhibits by inspecting people and packages entering and leaving the building. In factories, laboratories, government buildings, data processing centers, and  Service Occupations 363 military bases, security officers protect information, products, computer codes, and defense secrets and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises. Guards working at universities, parks, and sports stadiums perform crowd control, supervise parking and seating, and direct traffic. Secu­ rity guards stationed at the entrance to bars and places of adult entertainment, such as nightclubs, prevent access by minors, collect cover charges at the door, maintain order among custom­ ers, and protect property and patrons. Armored car guards protect money and valuables during transit. In addition, they protect individuals responsible for making commercial bank deposits from theft or bodily injury. When the armored car arrives at the door of a business, an armed guard enters, signs for the money, and returns to the truck with the valuables in hand. Carrying money between the truck and the business can be extremely hazardous for guards. Because of this risk, armored car guards usually wear bullet-proof vests. All security officers must show good judgment and common sense, follow directions and directives from supervisors, accu­ rately testify in court, and follow company policy and guide­ lines. Guards should have a professional appearance and atti­ tude and be able to interact with the public. They also must be able to take charge and direct others in emergencies or other dangerous incidents. In a large organization, the security man­ ager is often in charge of a trained guard force divided into shifts; whereas in a small organization, a single worker may be responsible for all security. Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators act as security agents for casino managers and patrons. They ob­ serve casino operations for irregular activities, such as cheating or theft, by either employees or patrons. To do this, surveillance officers and investigators often monitor activities from a cat­ walk over one-way mirrors located above the casino floor. Many casinos use audio and video equipment, allowing surveillance officers and investigators to observe these same areas via moni­ tors. Recordings are kept as a record and are sometimes used as evidence against alleged criminals in police investigations.  Working Conditions Most security guards and gaming surveillance officers spend considerable time on their feet, either assigned to a specific post or patrolling buildings and grounds. Guards may be stationed  miKJlieaOII  _ :l  Security guards are often responsible for checking visitors at a main gate and directing them to their destination.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  at a guard desk inside a building to monitor electronic security and surveillance devices or to check the credentials of persons entering or leaving the premises. They also may be stationed at a guardhouse outside the entrance to a gated facility or commu­ nity and use a portable radio or cellular telephone that allows them to be in constant contact with a central station. The work usually is routine, but guards must be constantly alert for threats to themselves and the property they are protecting. Guards who work during the day may have a great deal of contact with other employees and members of the public. Gaming surveillance often takes place behind a bank of monitors controlling several cameras in a casino, which can cause eyestrain. Guards usually work at least 8-hour shifts for 40 hours per week and often are on call in case an emergency arises. Some employers have three shifts, and guards rotate to equally di­ vide daytime, weekend, and holiday work. Guards usually eat on the job instead of taking a regular break away from the site. More than 1 in 7 guards worked part time, and many individu­ als held a second job as a guard to supplement their primary earnings.  Employment Security guards and gaming surveillance officers held more than 1.0 million jobs in 2002. More than half of jobs for security guards were in investigation and security services, including guard and armored car services. These organizations provide security services on a contract basis, assigning their guards to buildings and other sites as needed. Most other security officers were employed directly by educational services, hospitals, food services and drinking places, traveler accommodation (hotels), department stores, manufacturing firms, lessors of real estate (residential and nonresidential buildings), and governments. Guard jobs are found throughout the country, most commonly in metropolitan areas. Gaming surveillance officers worked pri­ marily in gambling industries; traveler accommodation, which includes casino hotels; and local government. Gaming surveil­ lance officers were employed only in those States and Indian reservations where gambling has been legalized. A significant number of law enforcement officers work as security guards when off-duty to supplement their incomes. Of­ ten working in uniform and with the official cars assigned to them, they add a high profile security presence to the establish­ ment with which they have contracted. At construction sites and apartment complexes, for example, their presence often pre­ vents trouble before it starts. (Police and detectives are dis­ cussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most States require that guards be licensed. To be licensed as a guard, individuals must usually be at least 18 years old, pass a background check, and complete classroom training in such subjects as property rights, emergency procedures, and deten­ tion of suspected criminals. Drug testing often is required, and may be random and ongoing. Many employers of unarmed guards do not have any spe­ cific educational requirements. For armed guards, employers usually prefer individuals who are high school graduates or hold an equivalent certification. Many jobs require a driver’s license. For positions as armed guards, employers often seek people who have had responsible experience in other occupa­ tions.  364  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Guards who carry weapons must be licensed by the appropri­ ate government authority, and some receive further certification as special police officers, which allows them to make limited types of arrests while on duty. Armed guard positions have more stringent background checks and entry requirements than those of unarmed guards because of greater insurance liability risks. Compared to unarmed security guards, armed guards and spe­ cial police typically enjoy higher earnings and benefits, greater job security, more advancement potential, and usually are given more training and responsibility. Rigorous hiring and screening programs consisting of back­ ground, criminal record, and fingerprint checks are becoming the norm in the occupation. Applicants are expected to have good character references, no serious police record, and good health. They should be mentally alert, emotionally stable, and physically fit in order to cope with emergencies. Guards who have frequent contact with the public should communicate well. The amount of training guards receive varies. Training re­ quirements are higher for armed guards because their employers are legally responsible for any use of force. Armed guards re­ ceive formal training in areas such as weapons retention and laws covering the use of force. Many employers give newly hired guards instruction before they start the job and also provide on-the-job training. An in­ creasing number of States are making ongoing training a legal requirement for retention of certification. Guards may receive training in protection, public relations, report writing, crisis deterrence, and first aid, as well as specialized training relevant to their particular assignment. Guards employed at establishments placing a heavy empha­ sis on security usually receive extensive formal training. For example, guards at nuclear power plants undergo several months of training before being placed on duty under close supervi­ sion. They are taught to use firearms, administer first aid, oper­ ate alarm systems and electronic security equipment, and spot and deal with security problems. Guards authorized to carry firearms may be periodically tested in their use. Although guards in small companies may receive periodic salary increases, advancement opportunities are limited. Most large organizations use a military type of ranking that offers the possibility of advancement in position and salary. Some guards may advance to supervisor or security manager positions. Guards with management skills may open their own contract security guard agencies. In addition to the keen observation skills required to perform their jobs, gaming surveillance officers and gaming investiga­ tors must have excellent verbal and writing abilities to docu­ ment violations or suspicious behavior. They also need to be physically fit and have quick reflexes because they sometimes must detain individuals until local law enforcement officials arrive. Surveillance officers and investigators usually do not need a bachelor’s degree, but some training beyond high school is re­ quired; previous security experience is a plus. Several educa­ tional institutes offer certification programs. Training classes usually are conducted in a casino-like atmosphere using sur­ veillance camera equipment.  Job Outlook Opportunities for security guards and gaming surveillance of­ ficers should be favorable. Numerous job openings will stem from employment growth attributable to the desire for increased security, and from the need to replace those who leave this large  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  occupation each year. In addition to full-time job opportuni­ ties, the limited training requirements and flexible hours attract many persons seeking part-time or second jobs. However, com­ petition is expected for higher paying positions that require longer periods of training; these positions usually are found at facilities that require a high level of security, such as nuclear power plants or weapons installations. Employment of security guards and gaming surveillance of­ ficers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupa­ tions through 2012 as concern about crime, vandalism, and ter­ rorism continue to increase the need for security. Demand for guards also will grow as private security firms increasingly per­ form duties—such as monitoring crowds at airports and provid­ ing security in courts—which were formerly handled by gov­ ernment police officers and marshals. Because enlisting the services of a security guard firm is easier and less costly than assuming direct responsibility for hiring, training, and manag­ ing a security guard force, job growth is expected to be concen­ trated among contract security guard agencies. Casinos will continue to hire more surveillance officers as more States legal­ ize gambling and as the number of casinos increases in States where gambling is already legal. Additionally, casino security forces will employ more technically trained personnel as tech­ nology becomes increasingly important in thwarting casino cheating and theft.  Earnings Median annual earnings of security guards were $19,140 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $15,910 and $23,920. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,740, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $31,540. Median an­ nual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of security guards in 2002 were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools................................................ General medical and surgical hospitals......................................... Local government............................................................................... Traveler accommodation.................................................................. Investigation and security services.................................................  $24,470 24,050 22,120 21,390 17,910  Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators had median annual earnings of $23,110 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,620 and $28,420. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,170.  Related Occupations Guards protect property, maintain security, and enforce regula­ tions and standards of conduct in the establishments at which they work. Related security and protective service occupations include correctional officers, police and detectives, and private detectives and investigators.  Sources of Additional Information Further information about work opportunities for guards is avail­ able from local security and guard firms and State employment service offices. Information about licensing requirements for guards may be obtained from the State licensing commission or the State police department. In States where local jurisdictions establish licensing requirements, contact a local government authority such as the sheriff, county executive, or city manager.  Service Occupations 365  Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations Chefs, Cooks, and Food Preparation Workers (0*NET 35-1011.00, 35-2011.00, 35-2012.00, 35-2013.00, 35-2014.00, 35-2015.00, 35-2021.00) Significant Points  •  • •  Many young people worked as cooks and food preparation workers—almost 20 percent were between 16 and 19 years old. More than 2 out of 5 food preparation workers were employed part time. Job openings are expected to be plentiful, primarily reflecting substantial replacement needs in this large occupation.  Nature of the Work Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods—from soups, snacks, and salads to entrees, side dishes, and desserts—in a variety of restaurants and other food services establishments. Chefs and cooks create recipes and prepare meals, while food preparation workers peel and cut vegetables, trim meat, prepare poultry, and perform other duties such as keeping work areas clean and monitoring tem­ peratures of ovens and stovetops. In general, chefs and cooks measure, mix, and cook ingredi­ ents according to recipes, using a variety of pots, pans, cutlery, and other equipment, including ovens, broilers, grills, slicers, grinders, and blenders. Chefs and head cooks also are respon­ sible for directing the work of other kitchen workers, estimating  The specific responsibilities of most cooks are determined by a number of factors, including the type of restaurant in which they work. Institution and cafeteria cooks, for example, work in the kitchens of schools, cafeterias, businesses, hospitals, and other institutions. For each meal, they prepare a large quantity of a limited number of entrees, vegetables, and desserts. Restau­ rant cooks usually prepare a wider selection of dishes, cooking most orders individually. Short-order cooks prepare foods in restaurants and coffee shops that emphasize fast service and quick food preparation. They grill and garnish hamburgers, prepare sandwiches, fry eggs, and cook French fries, often work­ ing on several orders at the same time. Fast-food cooks prepare a limited selection of menu items in fast-food restaurants. They cook and package batches of food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, to be kept warm until served. (Combined food prepa­ ration and service workers, who both prepare and serve items in fast-food restaurants, are included in the Handbook state­ ment on food and beverage serving and related workers.) Private household cooks plan and prepare meals in private homes according to the client’s tastes or dietary needs. They order  food requirements, and ordering food supplies.  Larger restaurants and food services establishments tend to have varied menus and larger kitchen staffs. They often include several chefs and cooks, sometimes called assistant or line cooks, along with other lesser skilled kitchen workers, such as food preparation workers. Each chef or cook works an assigned station that is equipped with the types of stoves, grills, pans, and ingredients needed for the foods prepared at each station. Job titles often reflect the principal ingredient prepared or the type of cooking performed—vegetable cook, fry cook, or grill cook. Executive chefs and head cooks coordinate the work of the kitchen staff and direct the preparation of meals. They deter­ mine serving sizes, plan menus, order food supplies, and over­ see kitchen operations to ensure uniform quality and presenta­ tion of meals. The terms chef and cook often are used interchangeably, but generally reflect the different types of chefs and the organizational structure of the kitchen staff. For ex­ ample, an executive chef is in charge of all food service opera­ tions and also may supervise the many kitchens of a hotel, res­ taurant group, or corporate dining operation. A chef de cuisine reports to an executive chef and is responsible for the daily operations of a single kitchen. A sous chef, or sub chef, is the second-in-command and runs the kitchen in the absence of the chef. Chefs tend to be more highly skilled and better trained than cooks. Many chefs earn fame both for themselves and for their kitchens because of the quality and distinctive nature of the food they serve.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Food preparation workers slice and dice large quantities of vegetables and other foodstuffs for use in salads and other more complex dishes.  366  Occupational Outlook Handbook  groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen and wash dishes and utensils. They also may serve meals. Food preparation workers perform routine, repetitive tasks such as readying ingredients for complex dishes, slicing and dicing vegetables, and composing salads and cold items, under the direction of chefs and cooks. They weigh and measure in­ gredients, go after pots and pans, and stir and strain soups and sauces. Food preparation workers may cut and grind meats, poultry, and seafood in preparation for cooking. Their responsi­ bilities also include cleaning work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, and silverware. The number and types of workers employed in kitchens de­ pends on the type of establishment. For example, fast-food establishments offer only a few items, which are prepared by fast-food cooks. Small, full-service restaurants offering casual dining often feature a limited number of easy-to-prepare items supplemented by short-order specialties and ready-made des­ serts. Typically, one cook prepares all the food with the help of a short-order cook and one or two other kitchen workers. Grocery and specialty food stores employ chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers to develop recipes and prepare meals to go. Typically, entrees, side dishes, salads, or other items are prepared in large quantities and stored at an appropriate tem­ perature. Servers portion and package items according to cus­ tomer orders for serving at home. Working Conditions Many restaurant and institutional kitchens have modern equip­ ment, convenient work areas, and air conditioning, but kitchens in older and smaller eating places are often not as well designed. Kitchens must be well ventilated, appropriately lit, and prop­ erly equipped with sprinkler systems to protect against fires. Kitchen staffs invariably work in small quarters against hot stoves and ovens. They are under constant pressure to prepare meals quickly, while ensuring quality is maintained and safety and sanitation guidelines are observed. Working conditions vary with the type and quantity of food prepared and the local laws governing food service operations. Workers usually must withstand the pressure and strain of stand­ ing for hours at a time, lifting heavy pots and kettles, and work­ ing near hot ovens and grills. Job hazards include slips and falls, cuts, and burns, but injuries are seldom serious. Work hours in restaurants may include early mornings, late evenings, holidays, and weekends. Work schedules of chefs, cooks and other kitchen workers in factory and school cafete­ rias may be more regular. In 2002, about 33 percent of cooks and 45 percent of food preparation workers had part-time sched­ ules, compared to 16 percent of workers throughout the economy. The wide range in dining hours and the need for fully-staffed kitchens during all open hours creates work opportunities for individuals seeking supplemental income, flexible work hours, or variable schedules. For example, almost 20 percent of cooks and food preparation workers were 16-19 years old in 2002, and almost 10 percent had variable schedules. Kitchen workers employed by schools may work during the school year only, usually for 9 or 10 months. Similarly, resort establishments usu­ ally only offer seasonal employment.  Employment Chefs, cooks and food preparation workers held nearly 3.0 mil­ lion jobs in 2002. The distribution of jobs among the various types of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers was as fol­ lows:  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Food preparation workers..................................................... Cooks, restaurant.................................................................. Cooks, fast food.................................................................... Cooks, institutionand cafeteria............................................... Cooks, short order................................................................ Chefs and head cooks........................................................... Cooks, private household......................................................  850,000 727,000 588,000 436,000 227,000 132,000 8,000  More than three-fifths of all chefs, cooks, and food prepara­ tion workers were employed in restaurants and other food ser­ vices and drinking places. Nearly one-fifth worked in institu­ tions such as schools, universities, hospitals, and nursing care facilities. Grocery stores, hotels, gasoline stations with conve­ nience stores, and other organizations employed the remainder. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most fast-food or short-order cooks and food preparation work­ ers require little education or training; most skills are learned on the job. Training generally starts with basic sanitation and work­ place safety subjects and continues with instruction on food handling, preparation, and cooking procedures. A high school diploma is not required for beginning jobs, but it is recommended for those planning a career as a cook or chef. High school or vocational school programs may offer courses in basic food safety and handling procedures and gen­ eral business and computer classes for those who want to man­ age or open their own place. Many school districts, in coopera­ tion with State departments-of education, provide on-the-job training and summer workshops for cafeteria kitchen workers who aspire to become cooks. Large corporations in the food services and hospitality industries also offer paid internships and summer jobs to those just starting out in the field. Intern­ ships provide valuable experience and can lead to placement in more formal chef training programs. Executive chefs and head cooks who work in fine restaurants require many years of training and experience and an intense desire to cook. Some chefs and cooks may start their training in high school or post-high school vocational programs. Others may receive formal training through independent cooking schools, professional culinary institutes, or 2- or 4-year college degree programs in hospitality or culinary arts. In addition, some large hotels and restaurants operate their own training and job-placement programs for chefs and cooks. Most formal train­ ing programs require some form of apprenticeship, internship, or out-placement program that are jointly offered by the school and affiliated restaurants. Professional culinary institutes, in­ dustry associations, and trade unions also may sponsor formal apprenticeship programs in coordination with the U.S. Depart­ ment of Labor. Many chefs are trained on the job, receiving real work experience and training from chef mentors in the restau­ rants where they work. People who have had courses in commercial food prepara­ tion may start in a cook or chef job without spending a lot of time in lower-skilled kitchen jobs. Their education may give them an advantage when looking for jobs in better restaurants. Some vocational programs in high schools may offer training, but employers usually prefer training given by trade schools, vocational centers, colleges, professional associations, or trade unions. Postsecondary courses range from a few months to 2 years or more. Degree-granting programs are open only to high school graduates. Chefs also may compete and test for certifica­ tion as master chefs. Although certification is not required to enter the field, it can be a measure of accomplishment and lead  Service Occupations 367 to further advancement and higher-paying positions. The U.S. Armed Forces also are a good source of training and experience. Although curricula may vary, students in formal culinary training programs spend most of their time in kitchens learning to use the appropriate equipment and to prepare meals through actual practice. They learn good knife techniques, safe food­ handling procedures, and proper use and care of kitchen equip­ ment. Training programs often include courses in nutrition, menu planning, portion control, purchasing and inventory meth­ ods, proper food storage procedures, and use of leftover food to minimize waste. Students also learn sanitation and public health rules for handling food. Training in food service management, computer accounting and inventory software, and banquet ser­ vice are featured in some training programs. The number of formal and informal culinary training pro­ grams continues to increase to meet demand. Formal programs, which may offer training leading to a certificate or a 2- or 4-year degree, are geared more for training chefs for fine-dining or upscale restaurants. They offer a wider array of training options and specialties, such as advanced cooking techniques or foods and cooking styles from around the world. The American Culinary Federation accredits over 100 formal training programs and sponsors apprenticeship programs around the country. Typical apprenticeships last three years and com­ bine classroom training and work experience. Accreditation is an indication that a culinary program meets recognized stan­ dards regarding course content, facilities, and quality of instruc­ tion. The American Culinary Federation also certifies pastry professionals and culinary educators in addition to various lev­ els of chefs. Certification standards are based primarily on expe­ rience and formal training. Vocational or trade-school programs typically offer more basic training in preparing food, such as food handling and sanitation procedures, nutrition, slicing and dicing methods for various kinds of meats and vegetables, and basic cooking methods, such as baking, broiling, and grilling. Important characteristics for chefs, cooks, and food prepara­ tion workers include working well as part of a team, having a keen sense of taste and smell, and working efficiently to turn out meals rapidly. Personal cleanliness is essential, because most States require health certificates indicating that workers are free from communicable diseases. Knowledge of a foreign language may improve communication with other restaurant staff, vendors, and the restaurant’s clientele. Advancement opportunities for chefs, cooks, and food prepa­ ration workers depend on their training, work experience, and ability to perform more responsible and sophisticated tasks. Many food preparation workers, for example, may move into assistant or line cook positions. Chefs and cooks who demon­ strate an eagerness to learn new cooking skills and to accept greater responsibility may move up within the kitchen and take on responsibility for training or supervising newer or lesser skilled kitchen staff. Others may move from one kitchen or restaurant to another. Some chefs and cooks go into business as caterers or open their own restaurant. Others become instructors in culinary train­ ing programs. A number of cooks and chefs advance to execu­ tive chef positions or food service management positions, par­ ticularly in hotels, clubs, or larger, more elegant restaurants. (See the statement on food service managers elsewhere in the Handbook.)  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Job openings for chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers are expected to be plentiful through 2012; however, competition for jobs in the top kitchens of higher end restaurants should be keen. While job growth will create new positions, the over­ whelming majority of job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave this large occupational group. Mini­ mal education and training requirements, combined with a large number of part-time positions, make employment as chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers attractive to people seek­ ing first-time or short-term employment, a source of additional income, or a flexible schedule. Many of these workers will transfer to other occupations or stop working, creating numer­ ous openings for those entering the field. Overall employment of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations over the 2002-12 period. Employment growth will be spurred by increases in population, household income, and leisure time that will allow people to dine out and take vacations more often. In addition, growth in the number of twoincome households will lead more families to opt for the conve­ nience of dining out. Projected employment growth, however, varies by specialty. The number of higher-skilled chefs and cooks working in fullservice restaurants—those that offer table service and more var­ ied menus—is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Much of the increase in this segment, however, will come from more casual rather than up-scale full-service restaurants. Din­ ing trends suggest increasing numbers of meals eaten away from home, growth in family dining restaurants, and greater limits on expense-account meals. Employment of fast-food cooks is expected to grow more slowly than the average. Duties of cooks in fast-food restau­ rants are limited; most workers are likely to be combined food preparation and serving workers, rather than fast-food cooks. Employment of short-order cooks is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Short-order cooks may work a grill or sandwich station in a full-line restaurant, but also may work in lunch counters or coffee shops that specialize in meals served quickly. Employment of institution and cafeteria chefs and cooks will show little or no growth. Their employment will not keep pace with the rapid growth in the educational and health ser­ vices industries—where their employment is concentrated. In an effort to make “institutional food” more attractive to office workers, students, staff, visitors, and patients, offices, schools and hospitals increasingly contract out their food services. Many of the contracted food service companies emphasize simple menu items and employ short-order cooks, instead of institution and cafeteria cooks, reducing the demand for these workers. Employment of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers who prepare meals-to-go, such as those who work in the pre­ pared foods sections of grocery or specialty food stores, should increase faster than the average as people continue to demand quality meals and convenience. Earnings Wages of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers vary greatly according to region of the country and the type of food services establishment in which they work. Wages usually are highest in elegant restaurants and hotels, where many executive chefs are employed, and in major metropolitan areas.  368  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Median hourly earnings of chefs and head cooks were $13.43 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.86 and $19.03. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.66, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.86 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of head cooks and chefs in 2002 were: Other amusement and recreation industries.................................... Traveler accommodation.................................................................... Special food services........................................................................... Full-service restaurants........................................................................ Limited-service eating places.............................................................  $18.31 17.03 13.98 12.70 10.49  Median hourly earnings of restaurant cooks were $9.16 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.64 and $10.93. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.58, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $13.21 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of res­ taurant cooks in 2002 were: Traveler accommodation..................................................................... Other amusement and recreation industries.................................... Special food services........................................................................... Full-service restaurants........................................................................ Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)............................................. Limited-service eating places.............................................................  $10.49 10.45 9.77 9.14 9.03 8.08  Median hourly earnings of institution and cafeteria cooks were $8.72 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.06 and $10.83. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.10, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $13.34 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of institution and cafeteria cooks in 2002 were: General medical and surgical hospitals............................................ Special food services........................................................................... Community care facilities for the elderly....................................... Nursing care facilities.......................................................................... Elementary and secondary schools..................................................  $10.01 9.89 9.10 8.95 7.89  Median hourly earnings of food preparation workers were $7.85 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.72 and $9.43. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.96, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.37 per hour. Me­ dian hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of food preparation workers in 2002 were: Elementary and secondary schools..................................................... Grocery stores.......................................................................................... Nursing care facilities............................................................................ Full-service restaurants.......................................................................... Limited-service eating places...............................................................  $8.74 8.43 7.94 7.66 7.07  Median hourly earnings of short-order cooks were $7.82 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.69 and $9.59. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.93, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.25 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of shortorder cooks in 2002 were: Full-service restaurants.......................................................................... Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)............................................... Other amusement and recreation industries...................................... Gasoline stations...................................................................................... Limited-service eating places...............................................................  $8.29 7.85 7.74 7.04 6.97  Median hourly earnings of fast-food cooks were $6.90 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.16 and $8.03. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.68, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.13 per hour. Median hourly  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  earnings in the industries employing the largest number of fastfood cooks in 2002 were: Special food services.............................................................................. Full-service restaurants.......................................................................... Gasoline stations....................................................................................... Limited-service eating places...............................................................  $7.79 7.19 7.02 6.84  Some employers provide employees with uniforms and free meals, but Federal law permits employers to deduct from their employees’ wages the cost or fair value of any meals or lodging provided, and some employers do so. Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers who work full time often receive typical benefits, but part-time workers usually do not. In some large hotels and restaurants, kitchen workers belong to unions. The principal unions are the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union. Related Occupations Workers who perform tasks similar to those of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers include food processing occupations, such as butchers and meat cutters, and bakers. Many executive chefs have primary responsibility for selecting menu items and share other tasks with food service managers. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from lo­ cal employers and local offices of the State employment service. Career information about chefs, cooks, and other kitchen workers, as well as a directory of 2- and 4-year colleges that offer courses or programs that prepare persons for food service ca­ reers, is available from: >• National Restaurant Association, 1200 17th St. NW., Washington, DC 20036-3097. Internet: http://www.restaurant.org  For information on the American Culinary Federation’s ap­ prenticeship and certification programs for cooks, as well as a list of accredited culinary programs, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: >■ American Culinary Federation, 180 Center Place Way, St. Augustine, FL 32095. Internet: http://www.acfchefs.org  For general information on hospitality careers, contact: ► International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Educa­ tion, 2613 North Parham Rd., 2nd Floor, Richmond, VA 23294. Internet: http://www.chrie.org  Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers (0*NET 35-3011.00, 35-3021.00, 35-3022.00, 35-3031.00, 35-3041.00, 35-9011.00, 35-9021.00, 35-9031.00, 35-9099.99)  Significant Points  •  • •  Most jobs are part time and many opportunities exist for young people—around one-fourth of these workers were 16 to 19 years old, about 5 times the proportion for all workers. Job openings are expected to be abundant through 2012, reflecting substantial replacement needs. Tips comprise a major portion of earnings, so keen competition is expected for jobs where potential earnings from tips are greatest—bartenders, waiters and waitresses, and other jobs in popular restaurants and fine dining establishments.  Service Occupations 369  Nature of the Work Food and beverage serving and related workers are the front line of customer service in restaurants, coffee shops, and other food service establishments. These workers greet customers, escort them to seats and hand them menus, take food and drink orders, and serve food and beverages. They also answer questions, explain menu items and specials, and keep tables and dining areas clean and set for new diners. Most work as part of a team, helping coworkers during busy times to improve workflow and customer service. Waiters and waitresses, the largest group of these workers, take customers’ orders, serve food and beverages, prepare item­ ized checks, and sometimes accept payment. Their specific duties vary considerably, depending on the establishment. In coffee shops serving routine, straightforward fare, such as salads, soups, and sandwiches, servers are expected to provide fast, efficient, and courteous service. In fine dining restaurants, where more complicated meals are prepared and often served over several courses, waiters and waitresses provide more formal service emphasizing personal, attentive treatment and a more leisurely pace. They may recommend certain dishes and identify ingredients or explain how various items on the menu are prepared. Some prepare salads, desserts, or other menu items tableside. Additionally, they may check the identi­ fication of patrons to ensure they meet the minimum age requirement for the purchase of alcohol and tobacco products. Waiters and waitresses sometimes perform the duties of other food and beverage service workers. These tasks may include escorting guests to tables, serving customers seated at counters, clearing and setting up tables, or operating a cash register. How­ ever, full-service restaurants frequently hire other staff, such as hosts and hostesses, cashiers, or dining room attendants, to per­ form these duties. Bartenders fill drink orders either taken directly from pa­ trons at the bar or through waiters and waitresses who place drink orders for dining room customers. Bartenders check identification of customers seated at the bar, to ensure they meet the minimum age requirement for the purchase of alcohol and tobacco products. They prepare mixed drinks, serve bottled or draught beer, and pour wine or other beverages. Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks accurately, quickly, and without waste. Besides mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare garnishes for drinks; maintain an adequate supply of ice, glasses, and other bar supplies; and keep the bar area clean for customers. They also may collect payment, operate the cash register, wash glassware and utensils, and serve food to customers seated at the bar. Bartenders usually are responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixes, and other bar supplies. The majority of bartenders directly serve and interact with patrons. Bartenders should be friendly and enjoy mingling with customers. Bartenders at service bars, on the other hand, have less contact with customers. They work in small bars often located off the kitchen in restaurants, hotels, and clubs where only waiters and waitresses place drink orders. Some establish­ ments, especially larger, higher volume ones, use equipment that automatically pours and mixes drinks at the push of a but­ ton. Bartenders who use this equipment, however, still must work quickly to handle a large volume of drink orders and be familiar with the ingredients for special drink requests. Much of a bartender’s work still must be done by hand to fill each indi­ vidual order.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Hosts and hostesses welcome guests and maintain reserva­ tion or waiting lists. They may direct patrons to coatrooms, restrooms, or to a place to wait until their table is ready. Hosts and hostesses assign guests to tables suitable for the size of their group, escort patrons to their seats, and provide menus. They also schedule dining reservations, arrange parties, and organize any special services that are required. In some restaurants, they act as cashiers. Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender help­ ers assist waiters, waitresses, and bartenders by cleaning tables, removing dirty dishes, and keeping serving areas stocked with supplies. Sometimes called backwaiters or runners, they bring meals out of the kitchen and assist waiters and waitresses by distributing dishes to individual diners. They also replenish the supply of clean linens, dishes, silverware, and glasses in the dining room and keep the bar stocked with glasses, liquor, ice, and drink garnishes. Dining room attendants set tables with clean tablecloths, napkins, silverware, glasses, and dishes and serve ice water, rolls, and butter. At the conclusion of meals, they remove dirty dishes and soiled linens from tables. Cafete­ ria attendants stock serving tables with food, trays, dishes, and silverware and may carry trays to dining tables for patrons. Bar­ tender helpers keep bar equipment clean and wash glasses. Dish­ washers clean dishes, cutlery, and kitchen utensils and equip­ ment. Counter attendants take orders and serve food in cafeterias, coffee shops, and carryout eateries. In cafeterias, they serve food displayed on steam tables, carve meat, dish out vegetables, ladle sauces and soups, and fill beverage glasses. In lunch­ rooms and coffee shops, counter attendants take orders from customers seated at the counter, transmit orders to the kitchen, and pick up and serve food. They also fill cups with coffee, soda, and other beverages and prepare fountain specialties, such as milkshakes and ice cream sundaes. Counter attendants also take carryout orders from diners and wrap or place items in con­ tainers. They clean counters, write itemized checks, and some­ times accept payment. Some counter attendants may prepare short-order items, such as sandwiches and salads. Some food and beverage serving workers take orders from customers at counters or drive-through windows at fast-food restaurants. They assemble orders, hand them to customers, and accept payment. Many of these are combined food preparation and serving workers who also cook and package food, make coffee, and fill beverage cups using drink-dispensing machines.  Ik ■ KhMi.... •%.%*'  Waiters and waitresses serve food and beverages to diners.  370  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Other workers serve food to patrons outside of a restaurant environment, such as in hotels, hospital rooms, or cars. Working Conditions Food and beverage service workers are on their feet most of the time and often carry heavy trays of food, dishes, and glassware. During busy dining periods, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. The work is relatively safe, but care must be taken to avoid slips, falls, and bums. Part-time work is more common among food and beverage serving and related workers than among workers in almost any other occupation. In 2002, those on part-time schedules in­ cluded half of all waiters and waitresses, and 2 out of 5 bartenders. Food service and drinking establishments typically main­ tain long dining hours and offer flexible and varied work oppor­ tunities. Many food and beverage serving and related workers work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some work split shifts— they work for several hours during the middle of the day, take a few hours off in the afternoon, and then return to their jobs for evening hours. Many students and teenagers seek part time or seasonal work as food and beverage serving and related workers as a first job to gain work experience or to earn spending money while in school. Around one-fourth of food and beverage serv­ ing and related workers were 16 to 19 years old—about 5 times the proportion for all workers. Employment Food and beverage serving and related workers held 6.5 million jobs in 2002. The distribution of jobs among the various food and beverage serving workers was as follows: Waiters and waitresses.......................................................... 2,097,000 Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food......................................................................... 1,990,000 Dishwashers......................................................................... 505,000 Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee.... 467,000 Bartenders............................................................................ 463,000 Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers . 409,000 Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffeeshop....... 298,000 Food servers, nonrestaurant................................................. 195,000 All other food preparation and serving relatedworkers......... 117,000 The overwhelming majority of jobs for food and beverage serving and related workers were found in food services and drinking places, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. Other jobs were found primarily in traveler accommodation (hotels); amusement, gambling, and recreation industries; educational services; grocery stores; nursing care facilities; civic and social organizations; and hospitals. Jobs are located throughout the country but are typically plentiful in large cities and tourist areas. Vacation resorts offer seasonal employment, and some workers alternate between sum­ mer and winter resorts, instead of remaining in one area the entire year. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There are no specific educational requirements for food and beverage service jobs. Many employers prefer to hire high school graduates for waiter and waitress, bartender, and host and hostess positions, but completion of high school usually is not required for fast-food workers, counter attendants, dishwashers, and dining room attendants and bartender helpers. A job as a food and beverage service worker serves as a source of immedi­ ate income, rather than a career, for many people. Many entrants  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  to these jobs are in their late teens or early twenties and have a high school education or less. Usually, they have little or no work experience. Many are full-time students or homemakers. Food and beverage service jobs are a major source of part-time employment for high school and college students. Restaurants rely on good food and quality customer service to retain loyal customers and succeed in a competitive indus­ try. Food and beverage serving and related workers who ex­ hibit excellent personal qualities, such as a neat clean appear­ ance, a well-spoken manner, an ability to work as a member of team, and a pleasant way with patrons, will be highly sought after. Waiters and waitresses need a good memory to avoid con­ fusing customers’ orders and to recall faces, names, and prefer­ ences of frequent patrons. These workers also should be com­ fortable using computers to place orders and generate customers’ bills. Some may need to be quick at arithmetic so they can total bills manually. Knowledge of a foreign language is help­ ful to communicate with a diverse clientele and staff. Prior experience waiting on tables is preferred by restaurants and hotels that have rigid table service standards. Jobs at these establishments often offer higher wages and have greater in­ come potential from tips, but they may also have stiffer em­ ployment requirements, such as higher education or training standards, than other establishments. Usually, bartenders must be at least 21 years of age, but em­ ployers prefer to hire people who are 25 or older. Bartenders should be familiar with State and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Most food and beverage serving and related workers pick up their skills on the job by observing and working with more experienced workers. Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, use self-instruction programs with audio­ visual presentations and instructional booklets to teach new employees food preparation and service skills. Some public and private vocational schools, restaurant associations, and large restaurant chains provide classroom training in a generalized food service curriculum. Some bartenders acquire their skills by attending a bartending or vocational and technical school. These programs often include instruction on State and local laws and regula­ tions, cocktail recipes, attire and conduct, and stocking a bar. Some of these schools help their graduates find jobs. Although few employers require any minimum level of educational at­ tainment, some specialized training is usually needed in food handling and legal issues surrounding serving alcoholic bever­ ages and tobacco. Employers are more likely to hire and pro­ mote based on people skills and personal qualities rather than education. Due to the relatively small size of most food-serving estab­ lishments, opportunities for promotion are limited. After gain­ ing experience, some dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers advance to waiter, waitress, or bartender jobs. For waiters, waitresses, and bartenders, advancement usually is limited to finding a job in a busier or more expensive restaurant or bar where prospects for tip earnings are better. A few bartend­ ers open their own businesses. Some hosts and hostesses and waiters and waitresses advance to supervisory jobs, such as maitre d’hotel, dining room supervisor, or restaurant manager. In larger restaurant chains, food and beverage service workers who excel at their work often are invited to enter the company’s formal management training program. (For more information, see the Handbook statement on food service managers.)  Service Occupations 371 Job Outlook Job openings are expected to be abundant for food and bever­ age serving and related workers. Overall employment of these workers is expected to increase about as fast as the average over the 2002-12 period, stemming from increases in population, personal incomes, and leisure time. While employment growth will account for many new jobs, the overwhelming majority of openings will arise from the need to replace the high proportion of workers who leave the occupations each year. There is sub­ stantial movement into and out of these occupations because education and training requirements are minimal, and the pre­ dominance of part-time jobs is attractive to people seeking a short-term source of income rather than a career. However, keen competition is expected for bartender, waiter and waitress, and other food and beverage service jobs in popular restaurants and fine dining establishments, where potential earnings from tips are greatest. Projected employment growth between 2002 and 2012 var­ ies by type of job. Employment of combined food preparation and serving workers, which includes fast-food workers, is ex­ pected to increase faster than the average in response to the continuing fast-paced lifestyle of many Americans and the ad­ dition of healthier foods at many fast-food restaurants. In­ creases in the number of families and the more affluent, 55and-older population will result in more restaurants that offer table service and more varied menus—leading to average growth for waiters and waitresses and hosts and hostesses. Employment of dining room attendants and dishwashers will grow more slowly than other food and beverage serving and related workers, because diners increasingly are eating at more casual dining spots, such as coffee bars and sandwich shops, rather than at the full-service restaurants that employ more of these workers. Slower than average employment growth is ex­ pected for bartenders.  Earnings Food and beverage serving and related workers derive their earn­ ings from a combination of hourly wages and customer tips. Earnings vary greatly, depending on the type of job and estab­ lishment. For example, fast-food workers and hosts and host­ esses usually do not receive tips, so their wage rates may be higher than those of waiters and waitresses and bartenders in full-service restaurants, who typically earn more from tips than from wages. In some restaurants, workers contribute a portion of their tips to a tip pool, which is distributed among qualifying workers. Tip pools allow workers who don’t usually receive tips directly from customers, such as dining room attendants, to share in the rewards of good service. In 2002, median hourly earnings (including tips) of waiters and waitresses were $6.80. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $6.13 and $8.00. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.70, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.00 an hour. For most waiters and waitresses, higher earnings are pri­ marily the result of receiving more in tips rather than higher hourly wages. Tips usually average between 10 and 20 percent of guests’ checks; waiters and waitresses working in busy, ex­ pensive restaurants earn the most. Bartenders had median hourly earnings (including tips) of $7.21 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.33 and $9.02. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.76, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.96 an hour. Like  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  waiters and waitresses, bartenders employed in public bars may receive more than half of their earnings as tips. Service bartend­ ers often are paid higher hourly wages to offset their lower tip earnings. Median hourly earnings (including tips) of dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers were $6.99 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.33 and $8.10. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.80, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.70 an hour. Most received over half of their earnings as wages; the rest of their income was a share of the proceeds from tip pools. Median hourly earnings of hosts and hostesses were $7.36 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.54 and $8.58. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.89, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.32 an hour. Wages comprised the majority of their earnings. In some cases, wages were supple­ mented by proceeds from tip pools. Median hourly earnings of combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, were $6.97 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.23 and $8.08. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.74, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.33 an hour. Although some combined food preparation and serving workers receive a part of their earnings as tips, fast-food workers usually do not. Median hourly earnings of counter attendants in cafeterias, food concessions, and coffee shops (including tips) were $7.32 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.52 and $8.53 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.87, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.39 an hour. Median hourly earnings of dishwashers were $7.15 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.40 and $8.28. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.82, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.41 an hour. Median hourly earnings of nonrestaurant food servers were $7.52 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.51 and $9.36. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.87, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.72 an hour. Many beginning or inexperienced workers start earning the Federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. However, a few States set minimum wages higher than the Federal minimum. Also, various minimum wage exceptions apply under specific cir­ cumstances to disabled workers, full-time students, youth under age 20 in their first 90 days of employment, tipped employees, and student-learners. Tipped employees are those who custom­ arily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. The employer may consider tips as part of wages, but the employer must pay at least $2.13 an hour in direct wages. Employers also are permitted to deduct from wages the cost, or fair value, of any meals or lodging provided. Many employers, however, provide free meals and furnish uniforms. Food and beverage service workers who work full time often receive typical benefits, while part-time workers usually do not. In some large restaurants and hotels, food and beverage serv­ ing and related workers belong to unions—principally the Ho­ tel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union.  Related Occupations Other workers whose job involves serving customers and han­ dling money include flight attendants, gaming services work­ ers, and retail salespersons.  372  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of State employment services agencies. A guide to careers in restaurants plus a list of 2- and 4-year colleges offering food service programs and related scholarship information is available from:  ► National Restaurant Association, 1200 17th St. NW„ Washington, DC 20036-3097. Internet: http://www.restaurant.org For general information on hospitality careers, contact: >• International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Educa­ tion, 2613 North Parham Rd., 2nd Floor, Richmond, VA 23294. Internet: http://www.chrie.org  Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations Building Cleaning Workers (0*NET 37-1011.01, 37-1011.02, 37-2011.00, 37-2012.00) Significant Points  •  •  •  This very large occupation requires few skills to enter and has one of the largest numbers of job openings of any occupation each year. Most job openings result from the need to replace the many workers who leave these jobs due to their limited opportunities for training or advancement, low pay, and high incidence of only part-time or temporary work. Businesses providing janitorial and cleaning services on a contract basis are expected to be one of the fastest-growing employers of these workers.  Nature of the Work Building cleaning workers—including janitors, maids, house­ keeping cleaners, window washers, and rug shampooers—keep office buildings, hospitals, stores, apartment houses, hotels, and residences clean and in good condition. Some only do clean­ ing, while others have a wide range of duties. Janitors and cleaners perform a variety of heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rugs, washing walls and glass, and removing rubbish. They may fix leaky faucets, empty trash cans, do painting and carpentry, replenish bath­ room supplies, mow lawns, and see that heating and air-condi­ tioning equipment works properly. On a typical day, janitors may wet- or dry-mop floors, clean bathrooms, vacuum carpets, dust furniture, make minor repairs, and exterminate insects and rodents. They also clean snow or debris from sidewalks in front of buildings and notify management of the need for major re­ pairs. While janitors typically perform most of the duties men­ tioned, cleaners tend to work for companies that specialize in one type of cleaning activity, such as washing windows. Maids and housekeeping cleaners perform any combination of light cleaning duties to maintain private households or com­ mercial establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, and hospi­ tals, clean and orderly. In hotels, aside from cleaning and main­ taining the premises, maids and housekeeping cleaners may deliver ironing boards, cribs, and rollaway beds to guests’ rooms. In hospitals, they also may wash bedframes, brush mattresses, make beds, and disinfect and sterilize equipment and supplies with germicides and sterilizing equipment.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Janitors, maids, and cleaners use various equipment, tools, and cleaning materials. For one job they may need a mop and bucket, for another an electric polishing machine and a special cleaning solution. Improved building materials, chemical clean­ ers, and power equipment have made many tasks easier and less time consuming, but cleaning workers must learn the proper use of equipment and cleaners to avoid harming floors, fixtures, and themselves. Cleaning supervisors coordinate, schedule, and supervise the activities of janitors and cleaners. They assign tasks and  | |jg !  Housekeeping cleaners perform light housekeeping duties, mainly for hotels and motels, residential care facilities, hospitals, and private homes.  Service Occupations 373 inspect building areas to see that work has been done properly, issue supplies and equipment, and inventory stocks to ensure that an adequate amount of supplies is present. They also screen and hire job applicants, train new and experienced employees, and recommend promotions, transfers, or dismissals. Supervi­ sors may prepare reports concerning the occupancy of rooms, hours worked, and department expenses. Some also perform cleaning duties. Cleaners and servants in private households dust and polish furniture; sweep, mop, and wax floors; vacuum; and clean ov­ ens, refrigerators, and bathrooms. They also may wash dishes, polish silver, and change and make beds. Some wash, fold, and iron clothes; a few wash windows. General houseworkers also may take clothes and laundry to the cleaners, buy groceries, and perform many other errands. Working Conditions Because most office buildings are cleaned while they are empty, many cleaning workers work evening hours. Some, however, such as school and hospital custodians, work in the daytime. When there is a need for 24-hour maintenance, janitors may be assigned to shifts. Most full-time building cleaners work about 40 hours a week. Part-time cleaners usually work in the eve­ nings and on weekends. Building cleaning workers in large office and residential buildings often work in teams consisting of workers who spe­ cialize in vacuuming, picking up trash, and cleaning rest rooms, among other things. Supervisors conduct inspections to ensure that the building is cleaned properly and the team is function­ ing efficiently. Building cleaning workers usually work inside heated, welllighted buildings. However, they sometimes work outdoors, sweeping walkways, mowing lawns, or shoveling snow. Work­ ing with machines can be noisy, and some tasks, such as clean­ ing bathrooms and trash rooms, can be dirty and unpleasant. Janitors may suffer cuts, bruises, and burns from machines, handtools, and chemicals. They spend most of their time on their feet, sometimes lifting or pushing heavy furniture or equip­ ment. Many tasks, such as dusting or sweeping, require con­ stant bending, stooping, and stretching. As a result, janitors also may suffer back injuries and sprains. Employment Building cleaning workers held nearly 4 million jobs in 2002. More than 6 percent were self-employed. Janitors and cleaners work in nearly every type of establish­ ment and held about 2.3 million jobs. They accounted for about 57 percent of all building cleaning workers. About 28 percent worked for firms supplying building maintenance services on a contract basis, 21 percent were employed in educational insti­ tutions, and 2 percent worked in hotels. Other employers in­ cluded hospitals, restaurants, religious institutions, manufac­ turing firms, government agencies, and operators of apartment buildings, office buildings, and other types of real estate. First-line supervisors of housekeeping and janitorial work­ ers held about 230,000 jobs. Approximately 22 percent worked in firms supplying building maintenance services on a contract basis, 14 percent were employed in hotels, 7 percent held jobs in nursing and other residential care facilities, and 5 percent worked in hospitals. Other employers included educational institutions and amusement and recreation facilities. Maids and housekeepers held about 1.5 million jobs. Ho­ tels, motels, and other traveler accommodations employed the  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  most maids and housekeepers—27 percent—while private house­ holds employed the second most: 25 percent. Eight percent were employed in hospitals; and, a similar percentage worked in nursing and other residential care facilities. Although clean­ ing jobs can be found in all cities and towns, most are located in highly populated areas where there are many office buildings, schools, apartment houses, nursing homes, and hospitals. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement No special education is required for most janitorial or cleaning jobs, but beginners should know simple arithmetic and be able to follow instructions. High school shop courses are helpful for jobs involving repair work. Most building cleaners leam their skills on the job. Usually, beginners work with an experienced cleaner, doing routine clean­ ing. As they gain more experience, they are assigned more com­ plicated tasks. In some cities, programs run by unions, government agen­ cies, or employers teach janitorial skills. Students leam how to clean buildings thoroughly and efficiently, how to select and safely use various cleansing agents, and how to operate and maintain machines, such as wet and dry vacuums, buffers, and polishers. Students leam to plan their work, to follow safety and health regulations, to interact positively with people in the build­ ings they clean, and to work without supervision. Instruction in minor electrical, plumbing, and other repairs also may be given. Those who come in contact with the public should have good communication skills. Employers usually look for dependable, hard-working individuals who are in good health, follow direc­ tions well, and get along with other people. Building cleaners usually find work by answering newspa­ per advertisements, applying directly to organizations where they would like to work, contacting local labor unions, or con­ tacting State employment service offices. Advancement opportunities for workers usually are limited in organizations where they are the only maintenance worker. Where there is a large maintenance staff, however, cleaning workers can be promoted to supervisor and to area supervisor or manager. A high school diploma improves the chances for ad­ vancement. Some janitors set up their own maintenance or clean­ ing businesses. Supervisors usually move up through the ranks. In many establishments, they are required to take some inservice train­ ing to improve their housekeeping techniques and procedures and to enhance their supervisory skills. A small number of cleaning supervisors and managers are members of the International Executive Housekeepers Associa­ tion, which offers two kinds of certification programs to clean­ ing supervisors and managers: Certified Executive Housekeeper (CEH) and Registered Executive Housekeeper (REH). The CEH designation is offered to those with a high school education, while the REH designation is offered to those who have a 4-year college degree. Both designations are earned by attending courses and passing exams, and both must be renewed every 2 years to ensure that workers keep abreast of new cleaning meth­ ods. Those with the REH designation usually oversee the clean­ ing services of hotels, hospitals, casinos, and other large institu­ tions that rely on well-trained experts for their cleaning needs. Job Outlook Overall employment of building cleaning workers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012, as more office complexes, apartment houses, schools,  374  Occupational Outlook Handbook  factories, hospitals, and other buildings requiring cleaning are built to accommodate a growing population and economy. As many firms reduce costs by contracting out the cleaning and maintenance of buildings, businesses providing janitorial and cleaning services on a contract basis are expected to be one of the faster growing employers of these workers. Although there have been some improvements in productivity in the way build­ ings are cleaned and maintained—using teams of cleaners, for example, and better cleaning supplies—it is still very much a labor-intensive job. Average growth is expected among janitors and cleaners and among cleaning supervisors, but less-thanaverage growth is projected for maids and housekeeping clean­ ers. In addition to job openings arising due to growth, numer­ ous openings should result from the need to replace those who leave this very large occupation each year. Limited formal edu­ cation and training requirements, low pay, and numerous part­ time and temporary jobs induce many to leave the occupation, thereby contributing to the number of job openings and the need to replace these workers. Much of the growth in these occupations will come from cleaning residential properties. As families become more pressed for time, they increasingly are hiring cleaning and handyman services to perform a variety of tasks in their homes. Also, as the population ages, older people will need to hire cleaners to help maintain their houses. In addition, housekeeping cleaners will be needed to clean the growing number of residential care fa­ cilities for the elderly. These facilities, including assisted-living arrangements, generally provide housekeeping services as part of the rent.  line supervisors and managers of housekeeping and janitorial workers were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools....................................... General medical and surgical hospitals.................................. Nursing care facilities........................................................... Services to buildings and dwellings....................................... Traveler accommodation.......................................................  $33,080 29,000 26,960 25,410 22,710  Related Occupations Workers who specialize in one of the many job functions of janitors and cleaners include pest control workers; industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers; and grounds maintenance workers. Sources of Additional Information Information about janitorial jobs may be obtained from State employment service offices. For information on certification in executive housekeeping, contact >- International Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc., 1001 Eastwind Dr., Suite 301, Westerville, OH 43081-3361. Internet: http://www.ieha.org  Grounds Maintenance Workers (0*NET 37-1012.01, 37-1012.02, 37-3011.00, 37-3012.00, 37-3013.00) Significant Points  Earnings Median annual earnings of janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners, were $18,250 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $14,920 and $23,650. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30,700. Median annual earnings in 2002 in the industries employing the largest numbers of janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners, were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools...................................... Local government................................................................. Colleges, universities, and professional schools..................... Lessors of real estate............................................................. Services to buildings and dwellings......................................  $22,820 22,770 21,540 20,240 16,370  Median annual earnings of maids and housekeepers were $16,440 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $14,210 and $19,400. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,560, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23,750. Median annual earnings in 2002 in the industries employing the largest numbers of maids and housekeepers were as follows: General medical and surgical hospitals.................................. Community care facilitiesfor the elderly............................... Nursing care facilities........................................................... Services to buildings and dwellings....................................... Traveler accommodation......................................................  $18,050 16,470 16,440 16,210 15,740  Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors and manag­ ers of housekeeping and janitorial workers were $28,140 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,520 and $36,940. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,490, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $46,570. Median annual earnings in 2002 in the industries employing the largest numbers of first https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  •  • •  Opportunities should be excellent, especially for workers willing to work seasonal or variable schedules, due to significant job turnover and increasing demand by landscaping services companies. Many beginning jobs have low earnings and are physically demanding. Most workers learn through short-term on-the-job training.  Nature of the Work Attractively designed, healthy, and well-maintained lawns, gar­ dens, and grounds create a positive first impression, establish a peaceful mood, and increase property values. Grounds mainte­ nance workers perform the variety of tasks necessary to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment. They also care for indoor gardens and plantings in commercial and public fa­ cilities, such as malls, hotels, and botanical gardens. The duties of landscaping workers and groundskeeping work­ ers are similar and often overlap. Landscaping workers physi­ cally install and maintain landscaped areas. They grade prop­ erty, install lighting or sprinkler systems, and build walkways, terraces, patios, decks, and fountains. In addition to initially transporting and planting new vegetation, they transplant, mulch, fertilize, and water flowering plants, trees, and shrubs and mow and water lawns. A growing number of residential and commercial clients, such as managers of office buildings, shop­ ping malls, multiunit residential buildings, and hotels and mo­ tels, favor full-service landscape maintenance. Landscaping workers perform a range of duties, including mowing, edging, trimming, fertilizing, dethatching, and mulching, for such cli­ ents on a regular basis during the growing season.  Service Occupations 375 Groundskeeping workers, also called groundskeepers, main­ tain a variety of facilities, including athletic fields, golf courses, cemeteries, university campuses, and parks. In addition to car­ ing for sod, plants, and trees, they rake and mulch leaves, clear snow from walkways and parking lots, and use irrigation meth­ ods to adjust the amount of water consumption and prevent waste. They see to the proper upkeep and repair of sidewalks, parking lots, groundskeeping equipment, pools, fountains, fences, planters, and benches. Groundskeeping workers who care for athletic fields keep those with natural and those with artificial turf in top condition and mark out boundaries and paint turf with team logos and names before events. They must make sure that the underlying soil on fields with natural turf has the required composition to allow proper drainage and to support the grasses used on the field. Groundskeeping workers mow, water, fertilize, and aerate the fields regularly. They also vacuum and disinfect synthetic turf after its use, in order to prevent the growth of harmful bacte­ ria, and they remove the turf and replace the cushioning pad periodically. Workers who maintain golf courses are called greenskeepers. Greenskeepers do many of the same things that other groundskeepers do. In addition, greenskeepers periodically re­ locate the holes on putting greens to eliminate uneven wear of the turf and to add interest and challenge to the game. Greenskeepers also keep canopies, benches, ball washers, and tee markers repaired and freshly painted. Some groundskeeping workers specialize in caring for cem­ eteries and memorial gardens. They dig graves to specified depths, generally using a backhoe. They mow grass regularly, apply fertilizers and other chemicals, prune shrubs and trees, plant flowers, and remove debris from graves. Groundskeeping workers in parks and recreation facilities care for lawns, trees, and shrubs, maintain athletic fields and playgrounds, clean buildings, and keep parking lots, picnic ar­ eas, and other public spaces free of litter. They also may remove snow and ice from roads and walkways, erect and dismantle snow fences, and maintain swimming pools. These workers inspect buildings and equipment, make needed repairs, and keep everything freshly painted. Supervisors of landscaping and groundskeeping workers per­ form various functions. They prepare cost estimates, schedule work for crews on the basis of weather conditions or the avail­ ability of equipment, perform spot checks to ensure the quality of the service, and suggest changes in work procedures. In addi­ tion, supervisors train workers in their tasks; keep employees’ time records and record work performed; and even assist work­ ers when deadlines are near. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers use handtools such as shovels, rakes, pruning and regular saws, hedge and brush trimmers, and axes, as well as power lawnmowers, chain saws, snowblowers, and electric clippers. Some use equipment such as tractors and twin-axle vehicles. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers at parks, schools, cemeteries, and golf courses may use sod cutters to harvest sod that will be replanted elsewhere. Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation, mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, incorporation into the soil, or application of chemicals onto trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Those working for chemical lawn service firms are more specialized, inspecting lawns for problems and applying fertil­ izers , herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals to stimulate  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Grounds maintenance workers use a variety of equipment to maintain lawns, athletic fields, and other landscaped areas. growth and prevent or control weeds, diseases, or insect infesta­ tion. Many practice integrated pest-management techniques. Tree trimmers and pruners cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs either to maintain rights-of-way for roads, sidewalks, or utilities or to improve the appearance, health, and value of trees. Tree trimmers also may fill cavities in trees to promote healing and prevent deterioration. Workers who spe­ cialize in pruning trim and shape ornamental trees and shrubs for private residences, golf courses, or other institutional grounds. Tree trimmers and pruners use handsaws, pruning hooks, shears, and clippers. When trimming near power lines, they usually use truck-mounted lifts and power pruners. Working Conditions Many of the jobs for grounds maintenance workers are seasonal, meaning that they are in demand mainly in the spring, summer, and fall, when most planting, mowing, trimming, and cleanup are necessary. The work, most of which is performed outdoors in all kinds of weather, can be physically demanding and repeti­ tive, involving much bending, lifting, and shoveling. Workers in landscaping and groundskeeping may be under pressure to get the job completed, especially when they are preparing for scheduled events such as athletic competitions. Those who work with pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemi­ cals, as well as dangerous equipment and tools such as power lawnmowers, chain saws, and power clippers, must exercise safety  376  Occupational Outlook Handbook  precautions. Workers who use motorized equipment must take care to protect themselves against hearing damage. Employment Grounds maintenance workers held about 1.3 million jobs in 2002. Employment was distributed as follows: Landscaping and groundskeeping workers.............................. 1,074,000 First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers................................................ 150,000 Tree trimmers and pruners........................................................... 59,000 Pesticide handlers, sprayers,and applicators, vegetation....... 27,000  About one-third of the workers in grounds maintenance were employed in companies providing landscaping services to build­ ings and dwellings. Others worked for property management and real-estate development firms, lawn and garden equipment and supply stores, and amusement and recreation facilities, such as golf courses and racetracks. Some were employed by local governments, installing and maintaining landscaping for parks, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities. Almost 1 out of every 4 grounds maintenance workers was self-employed, providing landscape maintenance directly to customers on a contract basis. About 1 of every 6 worked part time; about a tenth were of school age. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no minimum educational requirements for entry-level positions in grounds maintenance, although a di­ ploma is necessary for some jobs. In 2002, most workers had a high school education or less. Short-term on-the-job training generally is sufficient to teach new hires how to operate equip­ ment such as mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, and small tractors and to follow correct safety procedures. Entry-level workers must be able to follow directions and learn proper planting pro­ cedures. If driving is an essential part of a job, employers look for applicants with a good driving record and some experience driving a truck. Employers also look for responsible, self-moti­ vated individuals because grounds maintenance workers often work with little supervision. Workers who deal directly with customers must get along well with people. Laborers who demonstrate a willingness to work hard and quickly, have good communication skills, and take an interest in the business may advance to crew leader or other supervisory positions. Advancement or entry into positions such as grounds manager and landscape contractor usually requires some formal education beyond high school and several years of progres­ sively more responsible experience. Most States require certification for workers who apply pes­ ticides. Certification requirements vary, but usually include passing a test on the proper and safe use and disposal of insecti­ cides, herbicides, and fungicides. Some States require that land­ scape contractors be licensed. The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) of­ fers certification to grounds managers who have a combination of 8 years of experience and formal education beyond high school and who pass an examination covering subjects such as equipment management, personnel management, environmen­ tal issues, turf care, ornamentals, and circulatory systems. The PGMS also offers certification to groundskeepers who have a high school diploma or equivalent, plus 2 years of experience in the grounds maintenance field. The Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) offers the designations “Certified Landscape Professional (Ex­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  terior and Interior)” and “Certified Landscape Technician (Ex­ terior or Interior)” to those who meet established education and experience standards and who pass a specific examination. The hands-on test for technicians covers areas such as the operation of maintenance equipment and the installation of plants by read­ ing a plan. A written safety test also is administered. The Profes­ sional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) offers the designations “Certified Turfgrass Professional” (CTP) and “Cer­ tified Ornamental Landscape Professional” (COLP), which re­ quire written exams. Some workers with groundskeeping backgrounds may start their own businesses after several years of experience. Job Outlook Those interested in grounds maintenance occupations should find plentiful job opportunities in the future. Demand for their services is growing, and because wages for beginners are low and the work is physically demanding, many employers have difficulty attracting enough workers to fill all openings, creat­ ing favorable job opportunities. High turnover will generate a large number of job openings to replace workers who leave the occupation. More workers also will be needed to keep up with increasing demand by lawn care and landscaping companies. Employ­ ment of grounds maintenance workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Expected growth in the construction of all types of buildings requiring lawn care and maintenance, from office buildings to shopping malls and residential housing, plus more highways and parks, will contribute to demand for grounds maintenance workers. In addition, the upkeep and renovation of existing landscaping and grounds are continuing sources of demand for grounds maintenance workers. Owners of many buildings and facilities recognize the importance of “curb appeal” in attract­ ing business and maintaining the value of the property and are expected to use grounds maintenance services more extensively to maintain and upgrade their properties. Homeowners are a growing source of demand for grounds maintenance workers. Because many two-income households lack the time to take care of the lawn, they are increasingly hiring people to maintain it for them. They also know that a nice yard will increase the property’s value. In addition, there is a growing interest by homeowners in then- backyards, as well as a desire to make the yards more attractive for outdoor entertain­ ing. With many newer homes having more and bigger windows overlooking the yard, it becomes more important to maintain and beautify the grounds. Also, as the population ages, more elderly homeowners will require lawn care services to help main­ tain their yards. Job opportunities for nonseasonal work are more numerous in regions with temperate climates, where landscaping and lawn services are required all year. However, opportunities may vary with local economic conditions.  Earnings Median hourly earnings in 2002 of grounds maintenance work­ ers were as follows: First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers....................................................... Tree trimmers and pruners................................................................. Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation........... Landscaping and groundskeeping workers...................................  $15.89 12.07 11.94 9.51  Service Occupations 377 Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the larg­ est numbers of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in 2002 were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools.................................................. Local government................................................................................. Services to buildings and dwellings................................................. Other amusement and recreation industries................................... Lessors of real estate............................................................................. Employment services...........................................................................  $13.36 11.81 9.38 8.92 8.65 8.05  Related Occupations Grounds maintenance workers perform most of their work out­ doors and have some knowledge of plants and soils. Others whose jobs may require that they work outdoors are agricultural workers; farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers; forest, conservation, and logging workers; landscape architects; and biological scientists. Sources of Additional Information For career and certification information on tree trimmers and pruners, contact >- Tree Care Industry Association, 3 Perimeter Rd., Unit I, Manchester, NH 03103-3341. Internet: http://www.TVeeCareIndustry.org  For information on work as a landscaping and groundskeeping worker, contact either of the following organi­ zations: > Professional Lawn Care Association of America, 1000 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE., Suite C-135, Marietta, GA, 30068-2112. Internet: http://www.plcaa.org >- Associated Landscape Contractors of America, 150 Elden St., Suite 270, Herndon, VA, 20170. Internet: http://www.alca.org  For information on becoming a licensed pesticide applica­ tor, contact your State’s Department of Agriculture or Depart­ ment of Environmental Protection (or Conservation), most of which are accessible from the following Web site: http://aapco.ceris.purdue.edu/doc/statedirs/offltabl.html  Pest Control Workers (0*NET 37-2021.00)  Significant Points  • • •  Use of pest control products requires proper safety training. Federal and State laws require licensure through training and examination. Job prospects should be favorable for qualified applicants because of high turnover in the occupation.  Nature of the Work Roaches, rats, mice, spiders, termites, fleas, ants, and bees—few people welcome them into their homes or offices. Unwanted creatures that infest households, buildings, or surrounding ar­ eas are pests that can pose serious risks to human health and safety. It is a pest control worker’s job to eliminate them. Pest control workers locate, identify, destroy, control, and repel pests. They use their knowledge of pests’ biology and habits, along with an arsenal of pest management techniques— applying chemicals, setting traps, operating equipment, and even modifying structures—to alleviate pest problems.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Part of pest control may require pesticide application. Pest control workers use two different types of pesticides—general use and restricted use. General use pesticides are the most widely used and are readily available; in diluted concentrations, they are available to the public. Restricted use pesticides are avail­ able only to certified professionals for controlling the most se­ vere infestations. Their registration, labeling, and application are regulated by Federal law, interpreted by the U.S. Environ­ mental Protection Agency (EPA), because of their potential harm to pest control workers, customers, and the environment. Pesticides are not pest control workers’ only tool, however. Pest control workers increasingly use a combination of pest management techniques, known as integrated pest management. One method involves using proper sanitation and creating physi­ cal barriers, for pests cannot survive without food and will not infest a building if they cannot enter it. Another method in­ volves using baits, some of which destroy the pests, and others that prevent them from reproducing. Yet another method in­ volves using mechanical devices, such as traps, that remove pests from the immediate environment. Integrated pest management is becoming popular for several reasons. First, pesticides can pose environmental and health risks. Second, some pests are becoming more resistant to pesti­ cides in certain situations. Finally, an integrated pest manage­ ment plan is more effective in the long term than use of a pesti­ cide alone. New technology is being introduced that allows pest control workers to conduct home inspections, mainly of termites, in much less time. The technology works by implanting micro­ chips in baiting stations, which emit signals that can tell pest control workers if there is termite activity at one of the baiting stations. Workers pick up the signals using a device similar to a metal detector and it allows them to assess much more quickly whether termites are present. Most pest control workers are employed as pest control tech­ nicians, applicators, or supervisors. Position titles vary by State, but the hierarchy—based on training and responsibility re­ quired—remains consistent. Pest control technicians identify potential pest problems, conduct inspections, and design control strategies. They work directly with the customer. Some technicians require a higher level of training depending on their task. If certain products are used, the technician may be required to become a certified ap­ plicator. Applicators that specialize in controlling termites are called termite control technicians. They use chemicals and modify structures to eliminate termites and prevent reinfestation. To treat infested areas, termite control technicians drill holes and cut openings into buildings to access infestations, install physi­ cal barriers, or bait systems around the structure. Some termite control technicians even repair structural damage caused by termites. Fumigators are applicators who control pests using poison­ ous gases called fumigants. Fumigators pretreat infested build­ ings by examining, measuring, and sealing the buildings. Then, using cylinders, hoses, and valves, they fill structures with the proper amount and concentration of fumigant. They also moni­ tor the premises during treatment for leaking gas. To prevent accidental fumigant exposure, fumigators padlock doors and post warning signs. Pest control supervisors, also known as operators, direct ser­ vice technicians and certified applicators. Supervisors are li­ censed to apply pesticides, but they usually are more involved  378  Occupational Outlook Handbook —  Pest control workers often are called in to eradicate pests in people’s homes. in running the business. Supervisors are responsible for ensur­ ing that employees obey rules regarding pesticide use, and they must resolve any problems that arise with regulatory officials or customers. Most States require each pest control establishment to have a supervisor; self-employed business owners usually are supervisors. Working Conditions Pest control workers must kneel, bend, reach, and crawl to in­ spect, modify, and treat structures. They work both indoors and out, in all weather conditions. During warm weather, applica­ tors may be uncomfortable wearing the heavy protective gear— such as respirators, gloves, and goggles—required for working with pesticides. More than a third of all pest control workers work a 40-hour week, but 17% work more hours. Pest control workers often work evenings and weekends, but many work consistent shifts. There are health risks associated with pesticide use. Various pest control chemicals are toxic and could be harmful if not used properly. Extensive training required for certification and the use of recommended protective equipment minimizes these health risks, resulting in fewer reported cases of lost work. Be­ cause pest control workers travel to visit clients, the potential risk of motor vehicle accidents is another occupational hazard. Employment Pest control workers held about 62,000 jobs in 2002; 86 percent of workers were employed in the services to buildings and dwell­ ings industry. They are concentrated in States with warmer cli­ mates. About 9 percent were self-employed. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum qualifica­ tion for most pest control jobs. Although a college degree is not required, almost half of all pest control workers have either at­ tended college or earned a degree. Pest control workers must have basic skills in math, chemis­ try, and writing, either learned at school or through employer. Because of the extensive interaction that pest control workers have with their customers, employers prefer to hire people who have good communication and interpersonal skills. In addi­ tion, most pest control companies require their employees to have a good driving record. Pest control workers must be in good health because of the physical demands of the job, and  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  they also must be able to withstand extreme conditions—such as the heat of climbing into an attic in the summertime or the chill of sliding into a crawlspace during winter. Both Federal and State laws regulate pest control workers. These laws require them to be certified through training and examination, for which most pest control firms help their em­ ployees prepare. Workers may receive both formal classroom and on-the-job training, but they also must study on their own. Because the pest control industry is constantly changing, work­ ers must attend continuing education classes to maintain their certification. Requirements for pest control workers vary by State. Pest control workers usually begin their careers as apprentice techni­ cians. Before performing any pest control services, apprentices must attend general training in pesticide safety and use. In addition, they must train in each pest control category in which they wish to practice. Categories may include general pest con­ trol, rodent control, termite control, fumigation, and ornamen­ tal and turf control. Training usually involves spending 10 hours in the class­ room and 60 hours on the job for each category. After complet­ ing the required training, apprentices can provide supervised pest control services. To be eligible to become applicators, technicians must have a combination of experience and educa­ tion and pass a test. This requirement is sometimes waived for individuals who have either a college degree in biological sci­ ences or extensive related work experience. To become certi­ fied as applicators, technicians must pass an additional set of category exams. Depending on the State, applicators must at­ tend additional classes every 1 to 6 years to be recertified. Applicators with several years of experience often become supervisors. To qualify as a pest control supervisor, applicators may have to pass State-administered exams and have experi­ ence in the industry, usually a minimum of 2 years. Job Outlook Job prospects should be favorable for qualified applicants be­ cause many people do not find pest control work appealing and turnover in this occupation is high. Thus, in addition to job openings arising from employment growth, opportunities will result from workers who transfer or leave the occupation and need to be replaced. Employment growth of pest control work­ ers is expected to be as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. One factor limiting growth in this occupation, however, is the lack of workers willing to go into this field. Demand for pest control workers is projected to increase for a number of reasons. Growth in the population will generate new residential and commercial buildings that will require inspec­ tions by pest control workers. Also, more people are expected to use pest control services as environmental and health concerns, greater numbers of dual-income households, and improvements in the standard of living convince more people to hire profes­ sionals rather than attempt pest control work themselves. In addition, tougher regulations limiting pesticide use will de­ mand more complex integrated pest management strategies. Concerns about the effects of pesticide use in schools have increasingly prompted more school districts to investigate al­ ternative means of pest control, such as integrated pest manage­ ment. Furthermore, use of some newer materials for insulation around foundations has made many homes more susceptible to pest infestation. Finally, continuing population shifts to the more pest-prone sunbelt States should increase the number of households in need of pest control.  Service Occupations 379 Earnings Median hourly earnings of full-time wage and salary pest con­ trol workers were $11.90 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.46 and $14.93. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.53, and the top 10 percent earned over $18.63. Pest control supervisors usually earn the most and technicians the least, with earnings of certified applicators falling somewhere in between. Some pest control workers earn commissions based on the number of contracts for pest control services they sell. Others may earn bonuses for exceeding performance goals. Related Occupations Pesticide handlers also apply pesticides in a safe manner to lawns, trees, and other plants. Pest control workers visit homes and places of business to provide building services. Other work­  ers who provide services to buildings include building clean­ ing workers; various construction trades workers, including car­ penters and electricians; and heating, air-conditioning, and re­ frigeration mechanics and installers. Sources of Additional Information Private employment agencies and State employment services offices have information about available job opportunities for pest control workers. For information about the training and certification required in your State, contact your local office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or your State’s Environmental Protection Agency (or Conservation), most of which are accessible from the fol­ lowing Web site; http://aapco.ceris.purdue.edu/doc/statedirs/offltabl.html  Personal Care and Service Occupations Animal Care and Service Workers (0*NET 39-2011.00, 39-2021.00)  Significant Points  •  Animal lovers get satisfaction in this occupation, but the work can be unpleasant and physically and emotionally demanding. • Most workers are trained on the job, but advancement depends on experience, formal training, and continuing education. • Good employment opportunities are expected for most positions; however, keen competition is expected for jobs as zookeepers. • Starting salaries are significantly lower than those in many other fields. Nature of the Work Many people like animals. But, as pet owners can attest, taking care of them is hard work. Animal care and service workers— which include animal caretakers and animal trainers—train, feed, water, groom, bathe, and exercise animals, and clean, disinfect, and repair their cages. They also play with the animals, provide companionship, and observe behavioral changes that could in­ dicate illness or injury. Boarding kennels, animal shelters, vet­ erinary hospitals and clinics, stables, laboratories, aquariums, and zoological parks all house animals and employ animal care and service workers. Job titles and duties vary by employment setting. Kennel attendants care for pets while their owners are work­ ing or traveling out of town. Beginning attendants perform basic tasks, such as cleaning cages and dog runs, filling food and water dishes, and exercising animals. Experienced atten­ dants may provide basic animal healthcare, as well as bathe animals, trim nails, and attend to other grooming needs. Atten­ dants who work in kennels also may sell pet food and supplies, assist in obedience training, help with breeding, or prepare ani­ mals for shipping.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Animal caretakers who specialize in grooming or maintain­ ing a pet’s—usually a dog’s or cat’s—appearance are called groomers. Some groomers work in kennels, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, or pet-supply stores. Others operate their own grooming business, typically at a salon, or sometimes by mak­ ing house calls. Groomers answer telephones, schedule appoint­ ments, discuss pets’ grooming needs with clients, and collect information on the pet’s disposition and its veterinarian. Groom­ ers often are the first to notice a medical problem, such as an ear or skin infection, that requires veterinary care. Grooming the pet involves several steps: an initial brush-out is followed by an initial clipping of hair or fur using electric clippers, combs, and grooming shears; the groomer then cuts the nails, cleans the ears, bathes, and blow-dries the animal, and ends with a final clipping and styling. Animal caretakers in animal shelters perform a variety of duties and work with a wide variety of animals. In addition to attending to the basic needs of the animals, caretakers also must keep records of the animals received and discharged and any tests or treatments done. Some vaccinate newly admitted ani­ mals under the direction of a veterinarian or veterinary techni­ cian, and euthanize (painlessly put to death) seriously ill, se­ verely injured, or unwanted animals. Animal caretakers in animal shelters also interact with the public, answering telephone in­ quiries, screening applicants for animal adoption, or educating visitors on neutering and other animal health issues. Caretakers in stables are called grooms. They saddle and un­ saddle horses, give them rubdowns, and walk them to cool them off after a ride. They also feed, groom, and exercise the horses; clean out stalls and replenish bedding; polish saddles; clean and organize the tack (harness, saddle, and bridle) room; and store supplies and feed. Experienced grooms may help train horses. In zoos, animal care and service workers, called keepers, pre­ pare the diets and clean the enclosures of animals, and some­ times assist in raising them when they are very young. They watch for any signs of illness or injury, monitor eating patterns or any changes in behavior, and record their observations. Keep­ ers also may answer questions and ensure that the visiting pub­ lic behaves responsibly toward the exhibited animals. Depend­ ing on the zoo, keepers may be assigned to work with a broad  380  Occupational Outlook Handbook ant, physically and emotionally demanding, and sometimes dangerous. Most animal care and service workers have to clean animal cages and lift, hold, or restrain animals, risking exposure to bites or scratches. Their work often involves kneeling, crawl­ ing, repeated bending, and lifting heavy supplies like bales of hay or bags of feed. Animal caretakers must take precautions when treating animals with germicides or insecticides. The work setting can be noisy. Caretakers of show and sports animals travel to competitions. Animal care and service workers who witness abused ani­ mals or who assist in the euthanizing of unwanted, aged, or hopelessly injured animals may experience emotional stress. Those working for private humane societies and municipal ani­ mal shelters often deal with the public, some of whom might react with hostility to any implication that the owners are ne­ glecting or abusing their pets. Such workers must maintain a calm and professional demeanor while they enforce the laws regarding animal care. Animal care and service workers may work outdoors in all kinds of weather. Hours are irregular. Animals must be fed every day, so caretakers often work weekend and holiday shifts. In some animal hospitals, research facilities, and animal shelters, an attendant is on duty 24 hours a day, which means night shifts. s»ii  f .V iiv  •.  i  ■. ;■  *  Animal care and service workers who work with horses in stables are called grooms; they saddle and unsaddle horses, give them rubdowns, and walk them to cool them off after a ride. group of animals such as mammals, birds, or reptiles, or they may work with a limited collection of animals such as primates, large cats, or small mammals. Animal trainers train animals for riding, security, performance, obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Animal train­ ers do this by accustoming the animal to human voice and con­ tact, and conditioning the animal to respond to commands. Trainers use several techniques to help them train animals. One technique, known as a bridge, is a stimulus that a trainer uses to communicate the precise moment an animal does something correctly. When the animal responds correctly, the trainer gives positive reinforcement in a variety of ways: food, toys, play, rubdowns, or speaking the word “good.” Animal training takes place in small steps, and often takes months and even years of repetition. During the conditioning process, trainers provide animals mental stimulation, physical exercise, and husbandry care. In addition to their hands-on work with the animals, train­ ers often oversee other aspects of the animal’s care, such as diet preparation. Trainers often work in competitions or shows, such as the circus or marine parks. Trainers who work in shows also may participate in educational programs for visitors and guests. Working Conditions People who love animals get satisfaction from working with and helping them. However, some of the work may be unpleas­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment Animal care and service workers held 151,000 jobs in 2002. Over 80 percent worked as nonfarm animal caretakers; the re­ mainder worked as animal trainers. Nonfarm animal caretakers worked primarily in boarding kennels, animal shelters, stables, grooming shops, animal hospitals, and veterinary offices. A significant number also worked for animal humane societies, racing stables, dog and horse racetrack operators, zoos, theme parks, circuses, and other amusement and recreations services. In 2002, 1 out of every 4 nonfarm animal caretakers was selfemployed. Employment of animal trainers was concentrated in animal services that specialize in training horses, pets, and other ani­ mal specialties; and in commercial sports, training racehorses and dogs. Over 2 in 5 animal trainers were self-employed. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most animal care and service workers are trained on the job. Employers generally prefer to hire people with some experience with animals. Some training programs are available for specific types of animal caretakers, such as groomers, but formal train­ ing is usually not necessary for entry-level positions. Animal trainers often need to possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. However, some animal training jobs may require a bachelor’s degree and additional skills. For example, a marine mammal trainer usually needs a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, animal science, psychology, zoology, or related field, plus strong swimming skills and SCUBA certification. All animal trainers need patience, sensitivity, and experience with problem-solving and animal obedience. Certification is not mandatory for animal trainers, but several organizations offer training programs and certification for prospective animal trainers. Most pet groomers learn their trade by completing an infor­ mal apprenticeship, usually lasting 6 to 10 weeks, under the guidance of an experienced groomer. Prospective groomers also may attend one of the 50 State-licensed grooming schools throughout the country, with programs varying in length from 2 to 18 weeks. The National Dog Groomers Association of  Service Occupations 381 America certifies groomers who pass a written examination consisting of 400 questions, including some on cats, with a separate part testing practical skills. Beginning groomers often start by taking on one duty, such as bathing and drying the pet. They eventually assume responsibility for the entire grooming process, from the initial brush-out to the final clipping. Groom­ ers who work in large retail establishments or kennels may, with experience, move into supervisory or managerial posi­ tions. Experienced groomers often choose to open their own shops. Beginning animal caretakers in kennels learn on the job, and usually start by cleaning cages and feeding and watering animals. Kennel caretakers may be promoted to kennel super­ visor, assistant manager, and manager, and those with enough capital and experience may open up their own kennels. The American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA) offers a threestage, home-study program for individuals interested in pet care. The first two stages address basic and advanced prin­ ciples of animal care, while the third stage focuses on indepth animal care and good business procedures. Those who com­ plete the third stage and pass oral and written examinations administered by the ABKA become Certified Kennel Operators (CKO). Some zoological parks may require their caretakers to have a bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, or a related field. Most require experience with animals, preferably as a volunteer or paid keeper in a zoo. Zookeepers may advance to senior keeper, assistant head keeper, head keeper, and assistant curator, but very few openings occur, especially for the higher level positions. Animal caretakers in animal shelters are not required to have any specialized training, but training programs and workshops are increasingly available through the Humane Society of the United States, the American Humane Association, and the Na­ tional Animal Control Association. Workshop topics include cruelty investigations, appropriate methods of euthanasia for shelter animals, proper guidelines for capturing animals, and techniques for preventing problems with wildlife. With experi­ ence and additional training, caretakers in animal shelters may become adoption coordinators, animal control officers, emer­ gency rescue drivers, assistant shelter managers, or shelter directors. Job Outlook Good job opportunities are expected for most positions because many workers leave this occupation each year. The need to replace workers leaving the field will create the overwhelming majority of job openings. Many animal caretaker jobs require little or no training and have flexible work schedules, attracting people seeking their first job, students, and others looking for temporary or part-time work. The outlook for caretakers in zoos, however, is not favorable due to slow growth in zoo capacity and keen competition for the few positions. Job opportunities for animal care and service workers may vary from year to year, because the strength of the economy affects demand for these workers. Pet owners tend to spend more on animal services when the economy is strong. In addition to replacement needs, employment of animal care and service workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. The pet popula­ tion—which drives employment of animal caretakers in ken­ nels, grooming shops, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics and hospitals—is expected to increase. Pet owners—includ­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ing a large number of baby boomers, whose disposable income is expected to increase as they age— are expected to increas­ ingly take advantage of grooming services, daily and over­ night boarding services, training services, and veterinary ser­ vices, resulting in more jobs for animal care and service workers. As many pet owners increasingly consider their pet as part of the family, their demand for luxury animal services and will­ ingness to spend greater amounts of money on their pet will continue to grow. Demand for animal care and service workers in animal shel­ ters is expected to remain steady. Communities are increasingly recognizing the connection between animal abuse and abuse toward humans, and will probably continue to commit funds to animal shelters, many of which are working hand-in-hand with social service agencies and law enforcement teams. Employ­ ment growth of personal and group animal trainers will stem from an increased number of animal owners seeking training services for their pets, including behavior modification and fe­ line behavior training. Earnings Median hourly earnings of nonfarm animal caretakers were $8.21 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.95 and $10.26. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $6.13, and the top 10 percent earned more than $13.39. Median hourly earn­ ings in the industries employing the largest numbers of nonfarm animal caretakers in 2002 were as follows: Other personal services.......................................................................... Spectator sports........................................................................................ Social advocacy organizations............................................................ Other miscellaneous store retailers..................................................... Other professional, scientific, and technical services....................  $8.39 8.24 7.79 7.62 7.55  Median hourly earnings of animal trainers were $11.03 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.21 and $15.96. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.87, and the top 10 percent earned more than $21.65. Related Occupations Others who work extensively with animals include farmers, ranch­ ers, and agricultural managers; agricultural workers; veterinar­ ians; veterinary technologists and technicians; veterinary assis­ tants; biological scientists; and medical scientists. Sources of Additional Information For more information on jobs in animal caretaking and control, and the animal shelter and control personnel training program, write to: ► The Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L St. NW., Washington, DC 20037-1598. Internet: http://www.hsus.org  For career information and information on training, certifica­ tion, and earnings of animal control officers at Federal, State, and local levels, contact: >• National Animal Control Association, P.O. Box 480851, Kansas City, MO 64148-0851. Internet: http://www.nacanet.org  To obtain a listing of State-licensed grooming schools, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to: >- National Dog Groomers Association of America, P.O. Box 101, Clark, PA 16113. For information on certification, see the following Internet site: http://www.nauticom.net/www/ndga  For information on becoming an advanced pet care techni­ cian at a kennel, contact: >- The American Boarding Kennels Association, 1702 East Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80909.  382  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers (0*NET 39-5011.00, 39-5012.00, 39-5091.00, 39-5092.00, 39-5093.00, 39-5094.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  Job opportunities generally should be good, but competition is expected for jobs and clients at higher paying salons; opportunities will be best for those licensed to provide a broad range of services. Barbers, cosmetologists, and most other personal appearance workers must be licensed. Almost half of all barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers are self-employed; many also work flexible schedules.  Nature of the Work Barbers and cosmetologists, also called hairdressers and hair­ stylists, help people look neat and well-groomed. Other per­ sonal appearance workers, such as manicurists and pedicurists, shampooers, and skin care specialists provide specialized ser­ vices that help clients look and feel their best. Barbers cut, trim, shampoo, and style hair. Also, they fit hairpieces and offer scalp treatments and facial massages. In many States, barbers are licensed to color, bleach, or highlight hair and offer permanent-wave services. Many barbers also pro­ vide skin care and nail treatments. Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists provide beauty services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair. They may advise clients on how to care for their hair, straighten hair or give it a permanent wave, or lighten or darken hair color. Additionally, cosmetologists may train to give mani­ cures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; provide makeup analysis; and clean and style wigs and hairpieces. A number of workers offer specialized services. Manicurists and pedicurists, called nail technicians in some States, work exclusively on nails and provide manicures, pedicures, color­ ing, and nail extensions to clients. Another group of specialists is skin care specialists, or estheticians, who cleanse and beau­ tify the skin by giving facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages and by removing hair through waxing. Electrologists use an electrolysis machine to remove hair. Fi­ nally, in some larger salons, shampooers specialize in shampoo­ ing and conditioning clients’ hair. In addition to their work with clients, personal appearance workers are expected to maintain clean work areas and sanitize all work implements. They may make appointments and keep records of hair color and permanent-wave formulas used by their regular clients. A growing number actively sell hair products and other cosmetic supplies. Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers who operate their own salons have managerial duties that include hiring, supervising, and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, or­ dering supplies, and arranging for advertising.  because these workers are on their feet for most of their shift. Because prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may cause irritation, special care is taken to use protective cloth­ ing, such as plastic gloves or aprons. Most full-time barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers put in a 40-hour week, but longer hours are common in this occupation, especially among self-employed workers. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends, the times when beauty salons and barbershops are busiest. Be­ cause barbers and cosmetologists generally will be working on weekends and during lunch and evening hours, they may ar­ range to take breaks during less popular times. About 30 per­ cent of cosmetologists and 19 percent of barbers work part time and 14 percent of cosmetologists and 13 percent of barbers have variable schedules. Employment Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance work­ ers held about 754,000 jobs in 2002. Of these, barbers, hair­ dressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists held 651,000 jobs; manicurists and pedicurists, 51,000; skin care specialists, 25,000; and shampooers, 25,000. Most of these workers are employed in beauty salons or bar­ ber shops, but they are also found in nail salons, department stores, nursing and other residential care homes, and drug and cosmetics stores. Nearly every town has a barbershop or beauty  Working Conditions Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance work­ ers usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good light­ ing and ventilation. Good health and stamina are important,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Barbers, cosmetologists, and most other personal appearance workers must be licensed.  Service Occupations 383 salon, but employment in this occupation is concentrated in the most populous cities and States. Almost half of all barbers, cosmetologists, and other per­ sonal appearance workers are self-employed. Many own their own salon, but a growing number lease booth space or a chair from the salon’s owner. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement All States require barbers, cosmetologists, and most other per­ sonal appearance workers to be licensed. Qualifications for a license, however, vary. Generally, a person must have graduated from a State-licensed barber or cosmetology school and be at least 16 years old. A few States require applicants to pass a physical examination. Some States require graduation from high school while others require as little as an eighth-grade education. In a few States, the completion of an apprenticeship can substitute for graduation from a school, but very few barbers or cosmetologists learn their skills in this way. Applicants for a license usually are required to pass a written test and demon­ strate an ability to perform basic barbering or cosmetology services. Some States have reciprocity agreements that allow licensed barbers and cosmetologists to obtain a license in a different State without additional formal training. Other States do not recognize training or licenses obtained in another State; conse­ quently, persons who wish to work in a particular State should review the laws of that State before entering a training program. Public and private vocational schools offer daytime or evening classes in barbering and cosmetology. Full-time pro­ grams in barbering and cosmetology usually last 9 to 24 months, but training for manicurists and pedicurists, skin care special­ ists, and electrologists requires significantly less time. An ap­ prenticeship program can last from 1 to 3 years. Shampooers generally do not need formal training or a license. Formal train­ ing programs include classroom study, demonstrations, and prac­ tical work. Students study the basic services—cutting hair, shav­ ing customers, providing facial massages, and giving hair and scalp treatments—and, under supervision, practice on custom­ ers in school “clinics.” Most schools also teach unisex hairstyl­ ing and chemical styling. Students attend lectures on the use and care of instruments, sanitation and hygiene, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and the recognition of simple skin ail­ ments. Instruction also is provided in communication, sales, and general business practices. Experienced barbers and cosme­ tologists may take advanced courses in hairstyling, coloring, and the sale and service of hairpieces. After graduating from a training program, students can take the State licensing examination, which consists of a written test and, in some cases, a practical test of styling skills based on established performance criteria. A few States include an oral examination in which the applicant is asked to explain the pro­ cedures he or she is following while taking the practical test. In many States, cosmetology training may be credited toward a barbering license, and vice versa. A few States combine the two licenses into one hairstyling license. Many States require sepa­ rate licensing examinations for manicurists, pedicurists, and skin care specialists. For many barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal ap­ pearance workers, formal training and a license are only the first steps in a career that requires years of continuing education. Because hairstyles change, new products are developed, and services expand to meet clients’ needs, personal appearance workers must keep abreast of the latest fashions and beauty  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  techniques. They attend training at salons, cosmetology schools, or product shows. Through workshops and demonstrations of the latest techniques, industry representatives introduce cosme­ tologists to a wide range of products and services. As retail sales become an increasingly important part of salons’ revenue, the ability to be an effective salesperson becomes vital for salon workers. Successful personal appearance workers should have an un­ derstanding of fashion, art, and technical design. They should enjoy working with the public and be willing and able to follow clients’ instructions. Communication, image, and attitude play an important role in career success. Some cosmetology schools consider “people skills” to be such an integral part of the job that they require coursework in this area. Business skills are important for those who plan to operate their own salons. During their first months on the job, new workers are given relatively simple tasks or are assigned the simpler hairstyling patterns. Once they have demonstrated their skills, they are gradually permitted to perform more complicated tasks, such as coloring hair or applying a permanent wave. As they continue to work in the field, more training is usually required to learn the techniques used in each salon and to build on the basics learned in cosmetology school. Advancement usually takes the form of higher earnings as barbers and cosmetologists gain experience and build a steady clientele. Some barbers and cosmetologists manage large sa­ lons or open their own after several years of experience. Others teach in barber or cosmetology schools, or provide training through vocational schools. Still others advance to become sales representatives, image or fashion consultants, or examin­ ers for State licensing boards. Job Outlook Overall employment of barbers, cosmetologists, and other per­ sonal appearance workers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012, because of in­ creasing population, incomes, and demand for personal appear­ ance services. In addition to those arising from job growth, numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace work­ ers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. As a result, job opportunities generally should be good. However, competition is expected for jobs and clients at higher paying salons, as applicants compete with a large pool of licensed and experienced cosmetologists for these positions. Opportunities will be best for those licensed to pro­ vide a broad range of services. Employment trends are expected to vary among the different specialties within this grouping of occupations. For example, more slowly than average growth is expected in employment of barbers due to a large number of retirements and the relatively small number of cosmetology school graduates opting to ob­ tain barbering licenses. On the other hand, employment of hair­ dressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists should grow about as fast as average, because many now cut and style both men’s and women’s hair and because the demand for coloring services and other hair treatments, such as permanent waves, by teens and aging baby boomers is expected to remain steady or even grow. Continued growth in the number of nail salons and full-ser­ vice day spas will generate numerous job openings for manicur­ ists, pedicurists, skin care specialists, and shampooers. Nail sa­ lons specialize in providing manicures and pedicures. Day spas typically provide a full range of services, including beauty wraps, manicures and pedicures, facials, and massages.  384  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Earnings Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance work­ ers receive income from a variety of sources. They may receive commissions based on the price of the service or a salary based on number of hours worked. All receive tips, and many receive commissions on the products they sell. In addition, some salons pay bonuses to employees who bring in new business. Median annual earnings in 2002 for salaried hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, including tips and commission, were $18,960. The middle 50 percent earned between $15,010 and $25,600. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,240. Median annual earnings in 2002 for salaried barbers, includ­ ing tips, were $19,550. The middle 50 percent earned between $14,540 and $27,290. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,370. Among skin care specialists, median annual earnings, in­ cluding tips, were $22,450; for manicurists and pedicurists, $17,330; and $14,360 for shampooers. A number of factors determine the total income of barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers, includ­ ing the size and location of the salon, the number of hours worked, clients’ tipping habits, and competition from other bar­ ber shops and salons. Cosmetologists or barber’s initiative and ability to attract and hold regular clients also are key factors in determining his or her earnings. Earnings for entry-level work­ ers are usually low; however, for those who stay in the profes­ sion, earnings can be considerably higher. Although some salons offer paid vacations and medical ben­ efits, many self-employed and part-time workers in this occupa­ tion do not enjoy such common benefits. Related Occupations Other workers who provide a personal service to clients and usually must be professionally licensed or certified include massage therapists, fitness trainers, and aerobics instructors. Sources of Additional Information A list of licensed training schools and licensing requirements for cosmetologists may be obtained from: ► National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences, 4401 Ford Ave., Suite 1300, Alexandria, VA 22302. Internet: http://www.naccas.org  Information about a career in cosmetology is available from: >- National Cosmetology Association, 401 N. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago, IL 60611. Internet: http://www.salonprofessionals.org  For details on State licensing requirements and approved barber or cosmetology schools, contact the State boards of bar­ ber or cosmetology examiners in your State capital.  Childcare Workers (0*NET 39-9011.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  About 2 out of 5 childcare workers are self-employed; most of these are family childcare providers. A high school diploma and little or no experience are adequate for many jobs, but training requirements vary from a high school diploma to a college degree. Large numbers of workers leave these jobs every year, creating good job opportunities.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work Childcare workers nurture and teach children of all ages in childcare centers, nursery schools, preschools, public schools, private households, family childcare homes, and before- and afterschool programs. These workers play an important role in a child’s development by caring for the child when parents are at work or away for other reasons. Some parents enroll their children in nursery schools or childcare centers primarily to provide them with the opportunity to interact with other chil­ dren. In addition to attending to children’s basic needs, these workers organize activities that stimulate the children’s physi­ cal, emotional, intellectual, and social growth. They help chil­ dren to explore their interests, develop their talents and inde­ pendence, build self-esteem, and learn how to get along with others. Private household workers who are employed on an hourly basis usually are called babysitters. These childcare workers bathe, dress, and feed children; supervise their play; wash their clothes; and clean their rooms. They also may put them to bed and waken them, read to them, involve them in educational games, take them for doctors’ visits, and discipline them. Those who are in charge of infants, sometimes called infant nurses, also prepare bottles and change diapers. Nannies generally take care of children from birth to age 10 or 12, tending to the child’s early education, nutrition, health, and other needs. They also may perform the duties of a general housekeeper, including general cleaning and laundry duties. Childcare workers spend most of their day working with chil­ dren. However, they do maintain contact with parents or guard­ ians through informal meetings or scheduled conferences to discuss each child’s progress and needs. Many childcare work­ ers keep records of each child’s progress and suggest ways in which parents can stimulate their child’s learning and develop­ ment at home. Some preschools, childcare centers, and beforeand after-school programs actively recruit parent volunteers to work with the children and participate in administrative deci­ sions and program planning. Most childcare workers perform a combination of basic care and teaching duties. Through many basic care activities, childcare workers provide opportunities for children to learn. For example, a worker who shows a child how to tie a shoelace teaches the child while also providing for that child’s basic care needs. Childcare programs help children to learn about trust and to gain a sense of security. Young children learn mainly through play. Recognizing the importance of play, childcare workers build their program around it. They capitalize on children’s play to further language devel­ opment (storytelling and acting games), improve social skills (working together to build a neighborhood in a sandbox), and introduce scientific and mathematical concepts (balancing and counting blocks when building a bridge or mixing colors when painting). Thus, a less structured approach is used to teach preschool children, including small-group lessons, one-on-one instruction, and learning through creative activities, such as art, dance, and music. Interaction with peers is an important part of a child’s early development. Preschool children in childcare centers have an opportunity to engage in conversation and discussions, and to learn to play and work cooperatively with their classmates. Childcare workers play a vital role in preparing children to build the skills they will need in school. (Teacher assistants as well as teachers—preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and sec­ ondary school are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)  Service Occupations 385 Childcare workers in preschools greet young children as they arrive, help them to remove outer garments, and select an activ­ ity of interest. When caring for infants, they feed and change them. To ensure a well-balanced program, childcare workers prepare daily and long-term schedules of activities. Each day’s activities balance individual and group play, and quiet and ac­ tive time. Children are given some freedom to participate in activities in which they are interested. Concern over school-age children being home alone before and after school has spurred many parents to seek alternative ways for their children to constructively spend their time. The purpose of before- and afterschool programs is to watch over school-age children during the gap between school hours and their parents’ work hours. These programs also may operate during the summer and on weekends. Workers in before- and after-school programs may help students with their homework or engage them in other extracurricular activities. These activi­ ties may include field trips, learning about computers, painting, photography, and participating in sports. Some childcare work­ ers may be responsible for taking children to school in the morn­ ing and picking them up from school in the afternoon. Beforeand afterschool programs may be operated by public school systems, local community centers, or other private organizations. Helping to keep young children healthy is an important part of the job. Childcare workers serve nutritious meals and snacks and teach good eating habits and personal hygiene. They en­ sure that children have proper rest periods. They identify chil­ dren who may not feel well or who show signs of emotional or developmental problems and discuss these matters with their supervisor and the child’s parents. In some cases, childcare workers help parents to locate programs that will provide basic health services. Early identification of children with special needs—such as those with behavioral, emotional, physical, or learning disabili­ ties—is important to improve their future learning ability. Spe­ cial education teachers often work with these preschool chil­ dren to provide the individual attention they need. (Special education teachers are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Working Conditions Preschool or childcare facilities include private homes, schools, religious institutions, workplaces in which employers provide care for employees’ children, and private buildings. Individu-  .^  .  Halil isSfSiK lar&fsSI  Childcare workers help children to explore their interests and learn how to get along with others.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  als who provide care in their own homes generally are called family childcare providers. Nannies and babysitters usually work in the pleasant and comfortable homes or apartments of their employers. Most are day workers who live in their own homes and travel to work. Some live in the home of their employer, generally with their own room and bath. They often become part of their employer’s family, and may derive satisfaction from caring for them. Watching children grow, learn, and gain new skills can be very rewarding. While working with children, childcare workers often improve the child’s communication, learning, and other personal skills. The work is sometimes routine; however, new activities and challenges mark each day. Childcare can be physically and emotionally taxing, as workers constantly stand, walk, bend, stoop, and lift to attend to each child’s interests and problems. To ensure that children receive proper supervision, State or local regulations may require a certain ratio of workers to chil­ dren. The ratio varies with the age of the children. Child devel­ opment experts generally recommend that a single caregiver be responsible for no more than 3 or 4 infants (less than 1 year old), 5 or 6 toddlers (1 to 2 years old), or 10 preschool-age children (between 2 and 5 years old). In before- and afterschool pro­ grams, workers may be responsible for many school-age chil­ dren at one time. The work hours of childcare workers vary widely. Childcare centers usually are open year round, with long hours so that parents can drop off and pick up their children before and after work. Some centers employ full-time and part-time staff with staggered shifts to cover the entire day. Some workers are un­ able to take regular breaks during the day due to limited staff­ ing. Public and many private preschool programs operate dur­ ing the typical 9- or 10-month school year, employing both full-time and part-time workers. Family childcare providers have flexible hours and daily routines, but may work long or unusual hours to fit parents’ work schedules. Live-in nannies usually work longer hours than do those who have their own homes. However, if they work evenings or weekends, they may get other time off. Replacement needs in this occupation are high. Many childcare workers leave the occupation temporarily to fulfill family responsibilities, to study, or for other reasons. Some workers leave permanently because they are interested in pursu­ ing other occupations or because of dissatisfaction with hours, low pay and benefits, and stressful conditions. Employment Childcare workers held about 1.2 million jobs in 2002. Many worked part time. About 2 out of 5 childcare workers were selfemployed; most of these were family childcare providers. Sixteen percent of all childcare workers are found in child daycare services, and about 14 percent work for private house­ holds. The remainder worked primarily in local government educational services, nursing and residential care facilities, reli­ gious organizations, other amusement and recreation industries, private educational services, civic and social organizations, in­ dividual and family services, and local government, excluding education and hospitals. Some childcare programs are for-profit centers; some of these are affiliated with a local or national chain. Religious institutions, community agencies, school systems, and State and local governments operate nonprofit pro­ grams. Only a very small percentage of private industry estab­ lishments operate onsite childcare centers for the children of their employees.  386  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The training and qualifications required of childcare workers vary widely. Each State has its own licensing requirements that regulate caregiver training; these range from a high school di­ ploma, to community college courses, to a college degree in child development or early-childhood education. Many States require continuing education for workers in this field. However, State requirements often are minimal. Childcare workers gener­ ally can obtain employment with a high school diploma and little or no experience. Local governments, private firms, and publicly funded programs may have more demanding training and education requirements. Some employers prefer to hire childcare workers with a na­ tionally recognized childcare development credential, second­ ary or postsecondary courses in child development and early childhood education, or work experience in a childcare setting. Other employers require their own specialized training. An in­ creasing number of employers require an associate degree in early childhood education. Schools for nannies teach early childhood education, nutrition, and childcare. Childcare workers must anticipate and prevent problems, deal with disruptive children, provide fair but firm discipline, and be enthusiastic and constantly alert. They must communicate ef­ fectively with the children and their parents, as well as other teachers and childcare workers. Workers should be mature, pa­ tient, understanding, and articulate, and have energy and physi­ cal stamina. Skills in music, art, drama, and storytelling also are important. Self-employed childcare workers must have busi­ ness sense and management abilities. Opportunities for advancement are limited. However, as childcare workers gain experience, some may advance to super­ visory or administrative positions in large childcare centers or preschools. Often, these positions require additional training, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Other workers move on to work in resource and referral agencies, consulting with par­ ents on available child services. A few workers become in­ volved in policy or advocacy work related to childcare and early childhood education. With a bachelor’s degree, workers may become preschool teachers or become certified to teach in public or private schools. Some workers set up their own childcare businesses. Job Outlook High replacement needs should create good job opportunities for childcare workers. Many childcare workers must be replaced each year as they leave the occupation to take other jobs, to meet family responsibilities, or for other reasons. Qualified per­ sons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job. Opportunities for nannies should be especially good, as many workers prefer not to work in other people’s homes. Employment of childcare workers is projected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. The number of women of childbearing age (widely con­ sidered to be ages 15 to 44) in the labor force and the number of children under 5 years of age is expected to rise gradually over the projected 2002-12 period. Also, the proportion of young­ sters enrolled full or part time in childcare and preschool pro­ grams is likely to continue to increase, spurring demand for additional childcare workers. Changes in perceptions of preprimary education may lead to increased public and private spending on childcare. If more parents believe that some experience in center-based care and  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  preschool is beneficial to children, enrollment will increase. Concern about the behavior of school-age children during nonschool hours should increase demand for before- and afterschool programs. In addition, the difficulty of finding suit­ able nannies or private household workers also may force many families to seek out alternative childcare arrangements in cen­ ters and family childcare programs. Government policy often favors increased funding of early childhood education programs, and that trend will probably continue. Government funding for before- and afterschool programs also is expected to be steady over the projection period. The growing availability of govern­ ment-funded center-based care and preschool programs may induce some parents to enroll their children who otherwise would not do so. Some States also are increasing subsidization of the child daycare services industry in response to welfare reform legislation. This reform might cause some mothers to enter the workforce during the projection period as their welfare benefits are reduced or eliminated. Earnings Pay depends on the educational attainment of the worker and the type of establishment. Although the pay generally is very low, more education usually means higher earnings. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary childcare workers were $7.86 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.66 and $9.65. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.91, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.46. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of childcare workers in 2002 were as follows: Other residential care facilities............................................................. Elementary and secondary schools..................................................... Civic and social organizations.............................................................. Child daycare services............................................................................ Other amusement and recreation industries......................................  $9.51 9.04 7.25 7.18 7.09  Earnings of self-employed childcare workers vary depend­ ing on the hours worked, the number and ages of the children, and the location. Benefits vary, but are minimal for most childcare workers. Many employers offer free or discounted childcare to employ­ ees. $ome offer a full benefits package, including health insur­ ance and paid vacations, but others offer no benefits at all. Some employers offer seminars and workshops to help workers learn new skills. A few are willing to cover the cost of courses taken at community colleges or technical schools. Live-in nannies get free room and board. Related Occupations Childcare work requires patience; creativity; an ability to nur­ ture, motivate, teach, and influence children; and leadership, organizational, and administrative skills. Others who work with children and need these qualities and skills include teacher as­ sistants; teachers—preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary; and teachers—special education. Sources of Additional Information For an electronic question-and-answer service on childcare, in­ formation on becoming a childcare provider, and other resources for persons interested in childcare work, contact: >• National Child Care Information Center, 243 Church St. NW„ 2nd floor, Vienna, VA 22180. Telephone (tollfree): 800-424-4310. Internet: http://www.nccic.org  Service Occupations 387 For information on becoming a family childcare provider, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: ► The Children’s Foundation, 725 15th St. NW., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20005-2109. Internet: http://www.childrensfoundation.net  For eligibility requirements and a description of the Child Development Associate credential, contact: >■ Council for Professional Recognition, 2460 16th St. NW., Washington, DC 20009-3575. Internet: http://www.cdacouncil.org  For eligibility requirements and a description of the Certi­ fied Childcare Professional designation, contact: ► National Childcare Association, 1016 Rosser St., Conyers, GA 30012. Internet: http://www.nccanet.org  For information about a career as a nanny, contact: >- International Nanny Association, 191 Clarksville Rd., Princeton Junc­ tion, NJ 08550-3111. Telephone (tollfree): 888-878-1477. Internet: http://www.nanny.org  State Departments of Human Services or Social Services can supply State regulations and training requirements for childcare workers.  Flight Attendants (0*NET 39-6031.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Job duties are learned through intensive formal training after workers are hired. Competition for positions will remain strong because the opportunity for travel attracts more applicants than there are jobs, with only the most qualified being hired. Although applicants must be high school graduates or hold a GED, many airlines today prefer a college degree.  Nature of the Work Major airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety of the traveling public. Although the primary job of the flight attendants is to ensure that safety regulations are followed, they also try to make flights comfortable and enjoy­ able for passengers. At least 1 hour before each flight, attendants are briefed by the captain—the pilot in command—on such things as emer­ gency evacuation procedures, coordination of the crew, the length of the flight, expected weather conditions, and special issues having to do with passengers. Flight attendants make sure that first-aid kits and other emergency equipment are aboard and in working order and that the passenger cabin is in order, with adequate supplies of food, beverages, and blankets. As passengers board the plane, flight attendants greet them, check their tickets, and tell them where to store coats and carry-on items. Before the plane takes off, flight attendants instruct all pas­ sengers in the use of emergency equipment and check to see that seat belts are fastened, seat backs are in upright positions, and all carry-on items are properly stowed. In the air, helping passengers in the event of an emergency is the most important responsibility of a flight attendant. Safety-related actions may range from reassuring passengers during occasional encounters with strong turbulence to directing passengers who must evacu­ ate a plane following an emergency landing. Flight attendants  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Although safety is their primary concern, flight attendants also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for airline passengers. also answer questions about the flight; distribute reading mate­ rial, pillows, and blankets; and help small children, elderly or disabled persons, and any others needing assistance. They may administer first aid to passengers who become ill. Flight atten­ dants generally serve beverages and other refreshments and, on many flights, heat and distribute precooked meals or snacks. Prior to landing, flight attendants take inventory of headsets, alcoholic beverages, and moneys collected. They also report any medical problems passengers may have had, the condition of cabin equipment, and lost and found articles. Lead, or first, flight attendants, sometimes known as pursers, oversee the work of the other attendants aboard the aircraft, while performing most of the same duties. Working Conditions Because airlines operate around-the-clock, year-round, flight attendants may work nights, holidays, and weekends. In most cases, agreements between the airline and the employees’ union determine the total daily and monthly working time. On-duty time is usually limited to 12 hours per day, with a daily maxi­ mum of 14 hours. Attendants usually fly 65 to 85 hours a month and, in addition, generally spend about 50 hours a month on the ground preparing planes for flights, writing reports following completed flights, and waiting for planes to arrive. They may be away from their home base at least one-third of the time. During this period, the airlines provide hotel accommodations and an allowance for meal expenses. Flight attendants must be flexible, reliable, and willing to relocate. Home bases and routes worked are bid for on a senior­ ity basis. The longer the flight attendant has been employed, the more likely he or she is to work on chosen flights. Almost all flight attendants start out working on reserve status or on call. On small corporate airlines, flight attendants often work on an as-needed basis and must adapt to varying environments and passengers. The combination of free time and discount airfares provides flight attendants the opportunity to travel and see new places. However, the work can be strenuous and trying. Short flights require speedy service if meals are served, and turbulent flights can make serving drinks and meals difficult. Flight attendants stand during much of the flight and must remain pleasant and efficient, regardless of how tired they are or how demanding  388  Occupational Outlook Handbook  passengers may be. Occasionally, flight attendants must deal with disruptive passengers. Flight attendants are susceptible to injuries because of the job demands in a moving aircraft. Back injuries and mishaps incurred by opening overhead compartments are common. In addition, medical problems can arise from irregular sleeping and eating patterns, dealing with stressful passengers, working in a pressurized environment, and breathing recycled air. Employment Flight attendants held about 104,000 jobs in 2002. Commer­ cial airlines employed the vast majority of flight attendants, most of who lived in their employer’s home base city. A small number of flight attendants worked for large companies that operated company aircraft for business purposes. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Airlines prefer to hire poised, tactful, and resourceful people who can interact comfortably with strangers and remain calm under duress. Applicants usually must be at least 18 to 21 years old. Some carriers may have higher minimum-age requirements. Flight attendants must have excellent health and the ability to speak clearly. All U.S. airlines require that applicants be citi­ zens of the United States or registered aliens with legal rights to obtain employment in the United States. In addition, airlines usually have physical and appearance requirements. There are height requirements for the purposes of reaching overhead bins, and most airlines want candidates with weight proportionate to height. Vision is required to be correct­ able to 20/30 or better with glasses or contact lenses (uncor­ rected no worse than 20/200). Men must have their hair cut above the collar and be clean shaven. Airlines prefer applicants with no visible tattoos, body piercing, or unusual hairstyles or makeup. Applicants must be high school graduates. Those with sev­ eral years of college and experience in dealing with the public are preferred. More and more flight attendants being hired are college graduates. Applicants who attend schools and colleges that offer flight attendant training may have an advantage over other applicants. Highly desirable areas of concentration in­ clude people-oriented disciplines such as psychology and edu­ cation. Flight attendants for international airlines generally must speak a foreign language fluently. For their international flights, some of the major airlines prefer candidates who can speak two major foreign languages. Once hired, all candidates must undergo a period of formal training. The length of training, ranging from 3 to 8 weeks, depends on the size and type of carrier and takes place at the airline’s flight training center. Airlines that do not operate train­ ing centers generally send new employees to the center of an­ other airline. Airlines may provide transportation to the train­ ing centers and an allowance for board, room, and school supplies. However, new trainees are not considered employees of the airline until they successfully complete the training pro­ gram. Some airlines charge individuals for training. Trainees learn emergency procedures such as evacuating an airplane, operating emergency systems and equipment, administering first aid, and water-survival tactics. In addition, trainees are taught how to deal with disruptive passengers and with hijacking and terrorist situations. New hires learn flight regulations and du­ ties, company operations and policies, and receive instruction on personal grooming and weight control. Trainees for the in­ ternational routes get additional instruction in passport and  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  customs regulations. Many drills and duties must be performed alone, in front of the training staff. Tests are given throughout training to eliminate unsuccessful trainees. Toward the end of their training, students go on practice flights. Flight attendants also are required to go through periodic retraining and pass an FAA safety examination in order to continue flying. After completing initial training, flight attendants are as­ signed to one of their airline’s bases. New flight attendants are placed on “reserve status” and are called on either to staff extra flights or to fill in for crewmembers who are sick, on vacation, or rerouted. When they are not on duty, reserve flight attendants must be available to report for flights on short notice. They usually remain on reserve for at least 1 year, but, in some cities, it may take 5 to 10 years or longer to advance from reserve status. Flight attendants who no longer are on reserve bid monthly for regular assignments. Because assignments are based on seniority, usually only the most experienced attendants get their choice of assignments. Advancement takes longer today than in the past, because experienced flight attendants are re­ maining in this career longer than they used to. Some flight attendants become supervisors or take on addi­ tional duties such as recruiting and instructing. Their experi­ ence also may qualify them for numerous airline-related jobs involving contact with the public, such as reservation ticket agent or public-relations specialist. Job Outlook In the long run, opportunities for persons seeking flight atten­ dant jobs should improve as the airline industry recovers from the aftereffects of September 11 and the downturn in the economy. Employment of flight attendants is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Population growth and an improving economy are ex­ pected to boost the number of airline passengers. As airlines enlarge their capacity to meet rising demand by increasing the number and size of planes in operation, more flight attendants will be needed. However, over the next decade, one can expect that demand for flight attendants will fluctuate with the demand for air travel, which is highly sensitive to swings in the economy. During downturns, as air traffic declines, the hiring of flight attendants declines, and some experienced attendants may be laid off until traffic recovers. Despite the improving outlook, competition is expected to be keen because this job usually attracts more applicants than there are jobs, with only the most qualified eventually being hired. Those applicants with at least 2 years of college and who have experience in dealing with the public should have the best chance of being hired. Also, job opportunities may be better with the faster growing regional and low-fare airlines. The majority of job openings through the year 2012 will arise from the need to replace flight attendants who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations, often for higher earnings or a more stable lifestyle. However, with the job now viewed increasingly as a profession, fewer flight attendants are leaving their jobs and job turnover is not as high as in the past. The average job tenure of attendants is currently more than 7 years and is increasing.  Earnings Median annual earnings of flight attendants were $43,140 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,660 and $66,260. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $91,050.  Service Occupations 389 According to data from the Association of Flight Attendants, beginning flight attendants had median earnings of about $15,338 a year in 2002. However, beginning pay scales for flight attendants vary by carrier. New hires usually begin at the same pay scale regardless of experience, and all flight atten­ dants receive the same future pay increases. Flight attendants receive extra compensation for night and international flights and for increased hours. Further, some airlines offer incentive pay for working holidays or taking positions that require addi­ tional responsibility or paperwork. Most airlines guarantee a minimum of 65 to 85 flight hours per month, with the option to work additional hours. Flight attendants also receive a “per diem” allowance for meal expenses while on duty away from home. In addition, flight attendants and their immediate fami­ lies are entitled to free fares on their own airline and reduced fares on most other airlines. Flight attendants are required to purchase uniforms and wear them while on duty. The airlines usually pay for uniform re­ placement items, and may provide a small allowance to cover cleaning and upkeep of the uniforms. The majority of flight attendants hold union membership, primarily with the Association of Flight Attendants. Others may be members of the Transport Workers Union of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, or other unions. Related Occupations Other jobs that involve helping people as a safety professional, while requiring the ability to be calm even under trying circum­ stances, include emergency medical technicians and paramed­ ics and firefighting occupations. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities and qualifications required for work at a particular airline may be obtained by writing to the airline’s human resources office.  Gaming Services Occupations (0*NET 39-1011.00, 39-1012.00, 39-3011.00, 39-3012.00, 39­ 3019.99, 39-3099.99)  responsible for the creation of a number of unique service occupations. The majority of all gaming services workers are employed in casinos. Their duties and titles may vary from one establish­ ment to another. Despite differences in job title and task, how­ ever, workers perform many of the same basic functions in all casinos. Some positions are associated with oversight and di­ rection—supervision, surveillance, and investigation—while others involve working with the games or patrons themselves, performing such activities as tending slot machines, handling money, writing and running tickets, and dealing cards or run­ ning games. Like nearly every business establishment, casinos have work­ ers who direct and oversee day-to-day operations. Gaming su­ pervisors oversee the gaming operations and personnel in an assigned area. They circulate among the tables and observe the operations to ensure that all of the stations and games are cov­ ered for each shift. It is not uncommon for gaming supervisors to explain and interpret the operating rules of the house to patrons who may have difficulty understanding the rules. Gaming su­ pervisors also may plan and organize activities to create a friendly atmosphere for the guests staying in their hotels or in casino hotels. Periodically, they address and adjust complaints about service. Some gaming occupations demand specially acquired skills—dealing blackjack, for example—that are unique to ca­ sino work. Others require skills common to most businesses, such as the ability to conduct financial transactions. In both capacities, the workers in these jobs interact directly with pa­ trons in attending to slot machines, making change, cashing or selling tokens and coins, writing and running for other games, and dealing cards at table games. Part of their responsibility is to make those interactions enjoyable. Slot key persons, also called slot attendants or slot techni­ cians, coordinate and supervise the slot department and its work­ ers. Their duties include verifying and handling payoff win­ nings to patrons, resetting slot machines after completing the payoff, and refilling machines with money. Slot key persons must be familiar with a variety of slot machines and be able to make minor repairs and adjustments to the machines as needed. If major repairs are required, slot key persons determine whether the slot machine should be removed from the floor. Working the  Significant Points  •  •  •  These occupations have no common minimum educational requirements; each casino establishes its own requirements for education, training, and experience. Workers need a license issued by a regulatory agency, such as a State casino control board or commission; licensure requires proof of residency in the State in which gaming workers are employed. Job prospects are best for those with a degree or certification in gaming or a hospitality-related field, previous training or experience in casino gaming, and strong interpersonal and customer service skills.  Nature of the Work Legalized gambling in the United States today includes casino gaming, State lotteries, parimutuel wagering on contests such as horse or dog racing, and charitable gaming. Gaming, the play­ ing of games of chance, is a multibillion-dollar industry that is  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  IgMF5  Slot key persons must be familiar with a variety of slot machines and be able to make minor repairs and adjustments to the machines as needed.  390  Occupational Outlook Handbook  floor as frontline personnel, they enforce safety rules and report hazards. Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners assist in the operations of games such as bingo and keno, in addition to taking bets on sporting events. They scan tickets presented by patrons and calculate and distribute winnings. Some writers and runners operate the equipment that randomly selects the numbers. Others may announce numbers selected, pick up tick­ ets from patrons, collect bets, or receive, verify, and record pa­ trons’ cash wagers. Gaming dealers operate table games such as craps, black­ jack, and roulette. Standing or sitting behind the table, dealers provide dice, dispense cards to players, or run the equipment. Some dealers also monitor the patrons for infractions of casino rules. Gaming dealers must be skilled in customer service and in executing their game. Dealers determine winners, calculate and pay winning bets, and collect losing bets. Because of the fast-paced work environment, most gaming dealers are compe­ tent in at least two games, usually blackjack and craps. Working Conditions The atmosphere in casinos is generally filled with fun and often considered glamorous. However, casino work can also be physi­ cally demanding. Most occupations require that workers stand for long periods; some require the lifting of heavy items. The “glamorous” atmosphere exposes casino workers to certain haz­ ards, such as cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke. Noise from slot machines, gaming tables, and talking workers and patrons may be distracting to some, although workers wear protective head­ gear in areas where loud machinery is used to count money. Most casinos are open 24 hours a day, seven day a week and offer three staggered shifts. Employment Gaming services’ occupations held 192,000 jobs in 2002. Em­ ployment by occupational specialty was distributed as follows: Gaming dealers..................................................................................... Gaming supervisors............................................................................. Slot key persons.................................................................................... Gaming and sports book writers & runners................................... All other gaming service workers.....................................................  78,000 39,000 21,000 14,000 40,000  Gaming services workers are found mainly in the traveler accommodation and gaming industries. Most are employed in commercial casinos, including land-based or riverboat casinos, in 11 States: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michi­ gan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, and South Da­ kota. The largest number works in land-based casinos in Ne­ vada, and the second-largest group works in similar establishments in New Jersey. Mississippi, which boasts the great­ est number of riverboat casinos in operation, employs the most workers in that venue. In addition, there are 23 States with Indian casinos. Legal lotteries are held in 40 States and the District of Columbia, and parimutuel wagering is legal in 41 States. Forty-seven States and the District of Columbia also allow charitable gaming. For most workers, gaming licensure requires proof of resi­ dency in the State in which gaming workers are employed. But some gaming services workers do not limit themselves to one State or even one country, finding jobs on the small number of casinos located on luxury cruise liners that travel the world. These individuals live and work aboard the vessel.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no minimum educational requirements for entry-level gaming jobs, although most employers prefer a high school diploma or GED. However, entry-level gaming services workers are required to have a license issued by a regulatory agency, such as a State casino control board or commission. Applicants for a license must provide photo identification, offer proof of residency in the State in which they anticipate working, and pay a fee. Age requirements vary by State. The licensing application process also includes a background investigation. In addition to possessing a license, gaming services workers need superior customer service skills. Casino gaming workers provide entertainment and hospitality to patrons, and the qual­ ity of their service contributes to an establishment’s success or failure. Therefore, gaming workers need good communication skills, an outgoing personality, and the ability to maintain their composure even when dealing with angry or demanding pa­ trons. Personal integrity also is important, because workers handle large amounts of money. Each casino establishes its own requirements for education, training, and experience. Almost all provide some in-house training in addition to requiring certification. The type and quantity of classes needed may vary. Many institutions of higher learning give training toward certification in gaming, as well as offering an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in a hospitality-related field such as hospitality management, hospitality administration, or hotel management. Some schools offer training in games, gaming supervision, slot attendant and slot repair technician work, slot department management, and surveillance and security. Gaming services workers who manage money should have some experience handling cash or using calculators or comput­ ers. For such positions, most casinos administer a math test to assess an applicant’s level of competency. Most casino supervisory staff have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Supervisors who do not have a degree usually substi­ tute hands-on experience for formal education. Regardless of their educational background, most supervisors gain experi­ ence in other gaming occupations before moving into supervi­ sory positions, because knowledge of games and casino opera­ tions is essential for these workers. Gaming supervisors must have leadership qualities and good communication skills to supervise employees effectively and to deal with patrons in a way that encourages return visits. Slot key persons do not need to meet formal educational requirements to enter the occupation, but completion of slot attendant or slot technician training is helpful. As with most other gaming workers, slot key persons receive on-the-job train­ ing during the first several weeks of employment. Most slot key positions are entry level, so a desire to learn is important. Slot key persons need good communication skills and an ability to remain calm, even when dealing with angry or demanding pa­ trons. Personal integrity also is important, because these work­ ers handle large sums of money. Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners must have at least a high school diploma or GED. Most of these workers receive on-the-job training. Because gaming and sportsbook writers and runners work closely with patrons, they need excel­ lent customer service skills. Nearly all gaming dealers are certified. Certification is avail­ able through 2- or 4-year programs in gaming or a hospitalityrelated field. Experienced dealers, who often are able to attract  Service Occupations 391 new or return business, have the best job prospects. Dealers with more experience are placed at the “high-roller” tables. Advancement opportunities in casino gaming depend less on workers’ previous casino duties and titles than on their abil­ ity and eagerness to learn new jobs. For example, an entry-level gaming worker eventually might advance to become a dealer or card room manager or to assume some other supervisory position. Job Outlook With demand for gaming showing no sign of waning, employ­ ment in gaming services occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. Even during the recent downturn in the economy, profits at casinos have risen. With many States benefiting from casino gambling in the form of tax revenue or compacts with Indian tribes, additional States are rethinking their opposition to legalized gambling and will likely approve the building of more casinos and other gaming formats during the next decade. Job prospects in gam­ ing services occupations will be best for those with a degree or certification in gaming or a hospitality-related field, previous casino gaming training or experience, and strong interpersonal and customer service skills. As a direct result of increasing de­ mand for additional table games in gaming establishments, the most rapid growth is expected among gaming dealers. In addi­ tion to job openings arising from employment growth, opportu­ nities will result from the need to replace workers transferring to other occupations or leaving the labor force. The increase in gaming reflects growth in the population and in its disposable income, both of which are expected to con­ tinue. Also, more domestic and international competition for gaming patrons and higher expectations among gaming patrons for customer service should result in more jobs for gaming ser­ vices workers. Job growth is expected in established gaming areas such as Las Vegas, Nevada, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as in other States and areas that may legalize gaming in the coming years, including Indian tribal lands. Earnings Wage earnings for gaming services workers vary according to occupation, level of experience, training, location, and size of the gaming establishment. The following were median earn­ ings for various gaming services occupations in 2002: Gaming supervisors........................................................................... Slot key persons.................................................................................. Gaming and sports book writers and runners............................. Gaming dealers...................................................................................  $39,290 22,870 18,660 14,090  Personal and Home Care Aides (0*NET 39-9021.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Excellent job opportunities are expected, due to rapid employment growth and high replacement needs. Almost a third of personal and home care aides work part time; most aides work with a number of different clients, each job lasting a few hours, days, or weeks. Occupational characteristics include low skill requirements, low pay, and high emotional demands.  Nature of the Work Personal and home care aides help elderly, disabled, and ill persons live in their own homes or in residential care facilities instead of in a health facility. Most personal and home care aides work with elderly or disabled clients who need more ex­ tensive personal and home care than family or friends can pro­ vide. Some aides work with families in which a parent is inca­ pacitated and small children need care. Others help discharged hospital patients who have relatively short-term needs. (Home health aides—who provide health-related services, rather than  '  SHIS v.... / I sPs®5®*  Related Occupations Many other occupations provide hospitality and customer ser­ vice. Some examples of related occupations are security guards and gaming surveillance officers, recreation and fitness work­ ers, sales worker supervisors, cashiers, gaming change persons and booth cashiers, retail salespersons, gaming cage workers, and tellers. Sources of Additional Information For additional information on careers in gaming, visit your pub­ lic library and your State gaming regulatory agency or casino control commission. Information on careers in gaming also is available from: >- American Gaming Association, 555 13th St. NW., Suite 1010 East, Washington, DC 20004. Internet: http://www.americangaming.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ai Personal and home care aides help patients live in their own homes or in residential care facilities, instead of in a health facility.  392  Occupational Outlook Handbook  mainly housekeeping and routine personal care—are discussed in the statement on nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides, elsewhere in the Handbook.) Personal and home care aides—also called homemakers, caregivers, companions, and personal attendants—provide housekeeping and routine personal care services. They clean clients’ houses, do laundry, and change bed linens. Aides may plan meals (including special diets), shop for food, and cook. Aides also may help clients move from bed, bathe, dress, and groom. Some accompany clients outside the home, serving as a guide and companion. Personal and home care aides provide instruction and psy­ chological support to their patients. They may advise families and patients on such things as nutrition, cleanliness, and house­ hold tasks. Aides also may assist in toilet training a severely mentally handicapped child, or they may just listen to clients talk about their problems. In home healthcare agencies, a registered nurse, physical thera­ pist, or social worker assigns specific duties and supervises per­ sonal and home care aides. Aides keep records of services per­ formed and of clients’ condition and progress. They report changes in the client’s condition to the supervisor or case man­ ager. In carrying out their work, aides cooperate with other healthcare professionals, including registered nurses, therapists, and other medical staff. Working Conditions The personal and home care aide’s daily routine may vary. Aides may go to the same home every day for months or even years. However, most aides work with a number of different clients, each job lasting a few hours, days, or weeks. Aides often visit four or five clients on the same day. Surroundings differ from case to case. Some homes are neat and pleasant, whereas others are untidy or depressing. Some clients are pleasant and cooperative; others are angry, abusive, depressed, or otherwise difficult. Personal and home care aides generally work on their own, with periodic visits by their supervisor. They receive detailed instructions explaining when to visit clients and what services to perform for them. Almost a third of aides work part time, and some work weekends or evenings to suit the needs of their clients. Aides are individually responsible for getting to the client’s home. They may spend a good portion of the working day traveling from one client to another. Because mechanical lift­ ing devices that are available in institutional settings are sel­ dom available in patients’ homes, aides must be careful to avoid overexertion or injury when they assist clients. Employment Personal and home care aides held about 608,000 jobs in 2002. The majority of jobs were in home healthcare services, indi­ vidual and family services, private households, and residential mental retardation, mental health, and substance abuse facili­ ties. Self-employed aides have no agency affiliation or supervi­ sion and accept clients, set fees, and arrange work schedules on their own.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement In some States, this occupation is open to individuals who have no formal training. On-the-job training is then generally pro­ vided. Other States may require formal training. The National Association for Home Care offers national certification for per­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  sonal and home care aides. Certification is a voluntary demon­ stration that the individual has met industry standards. Successful personal and home care aides like to help people and do not mind hard work. They should be responsible, com­ passionate, emotionally stable, and cheerful. In addition, aides should be tactful, honest, and discreet, because they work in private homes. Aides also must be in good health. A physical examination, including State-mandated tests, such as those for tuberculosis, may be required. Advancement for personal and home care aides is limited. In some agencies, workers start out performing homemaker duties, such as cleaning. With experience and training, they may take on personal care duties. Job Outlook Excellent job opportunities are expected for this occupation, as rapid employment growth and high replacement needs produce a large number of job openings. Employment of personal and home care aides is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. The number of elderly people, an age group characterized by mounting health problems and requiring some assistance, is projected to rise substantially. In addition to the elderly, however, patients in other age groups will increasingly rely on home care, a trend that reflects several developments, including efforts to contain costs by moving patients out of hospitals and nursing care facilities as quickly as possible, the realization that treatment can be more effective in familiar rather than clinical surroundings, and the development and improve­ ment of medical technologies for in-home treatment. In addition to job openings created by the increase in de­ mand for these workers, replacement needs are expected to produce numerous openings. The relatively low skill require­ ments, low pay, and high emotional demands of the work result in high replacement needs. For these same reasons, many people are reluctant to seek jobs in the occupation. Therefore, persons who are interested in and suited for this work— particularly those with experience or training as personal care, home health, or nursing aides—should have excellent job op­ portunities. Earnings Median hourly earnings of personal and home care aides were $7.81 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.65 and $9.06 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.90, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.67 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of personal and home care aides in 2002 were as follows: Residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities................................................................................................. $8.63 Vocational rehabilitation services........................................................ 8.40 Community care facilities for the elderly......................................... 8.14 Individual and family services............................................................. 8.12 Home health care services..................................................................... 6.72  Most employers give slight pay increases with experience and added responsibility. Aides usually are paid only for the time they work in the home and normally are not paid for travel time between jobs. Employers often hire on-call hourly workers and provide no benefits.  Service Occupations 393 Related Occupations Personal and home care aide is a service occupation combining the duties of caregivers and social service workers. Workers in related occupations that involve personal contact to help others include childcare workers; nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides; occupational therapist assistants and aides; and physical therapist assistants and aides. Sources of Additional Information General information about training, referrals to State and local agencies about job opportunities, a list of relevant publications, and information on certification for personal and home care aides are available from; >- National Association for Home Care, 228 7th St. SE., Washington, DC 20003. Internet: http://www.nahc.org  Recreation and Fitness Workers (0*NET 39-9031.00, 39-9032.00) Significant Points  •  •  •  Educational requirements for recreation workers range from a high school diploma to a graduate degree, whereas fitness workers usually need certification. Competition will remain keen for full-time career positions in recreation; however, job prospects for fitness workers will be more favorable. The recreation field offers many part-time and seasonal job opportunities.  Nature of the Work People spend much of their leisure time participating in a wide variety of organized recreational activities, such as aerobics, arts and crafts, the performing arts, camping, and sports. Recre­ ation and fitness workers plan, organize, and direct these activi­ ties in local playgrounds and recreation areas, parks, commu­ nity centers, health clubs, fitness centers, religious organizations, camps, theme parks, and tourist attractions. Increasingly, recre­ ational and fitness workers also are found in workplaces, where they organize and direct leisure activities and athletic programs for employees of all ages. Recreation workers hold a variety of positions at different levels of responsibility. Recreation leaders, who are respon­ sible for a recreation program’s daily operation, primarily orga­ nize and direct participants. They may lead and give instruc­ tion in dance, drama, crafts, games, and sports; schedule use of facilities; keep records of equipment use; and ensure that recre­ ation facilities and equipment are used properly. Workers who provide instruction and coach groups in specialties such as art, music, drama, swimming, or tennis may be called activity spe­ cialists. Recreation supervisors oversee recreation leaders and plan, organize, and manage recreational activities to meet the needs of a variety of populations. These workers often serve as liaisons between the director of the park or recreation center and the recreation leaders. Recreation supervisors with more spe­ cialized responsibilities also may direct special activities or events or oversee a major activity, such as aquatics, gymnastics, or performing arts. Directors of recreation and parks develop and manage comprehensive recreation programs in parks, play­ grounds, and other settings. Directors usually serve as technical  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  advisors to State and local recreation and park commissions and may be responsible for recreation and park budgets. (Workers in a related occupation, recreational therapists, help individuals to recover from or adjust to illness, disability, or specific social problems; this occupation is described elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Camp counselors lead and instruct children and teenagers in outdoor-oriented forms of recreation, such as swimming, hik­ ing, horseback riding, and camping. In addition, counselors provide campers with specialized instruction in subjects such as archery, boating, music, drama, gymnastics, tennis, and com­ puters. In resident camps, counselors also provide guidance and supervise daily living and general socialization. Camp directors typically supervise camp counselors, plan camp ac­ tivities or programs, and perform the various administrative func­ tions of a camp. Fitness workers instruct or coach groups or individuals in various exercise activities. Because gyms and health clubs of­ fer a variety of exercise activities such as weightlifting, yoga, aerobics, and karate, fitness workers typically specialize in only a few areas. Fitness trainers help clients to assess their level of physical fitness and help them to set and reach fitness goals. They also demonstrate various exercises and help clients to improve their exercise techniques. They may keep records of their clients’ exercise sessions in order to assess their progress towards physical fitness. Personal trainers work with clients on a one-on-one basis in either a gym or the client’s home. Aero­ bics instructors conduct group exercise sessions that involve aerobic exercise, stretching, and muscle conditioning. Some fitness workers may perform the duties of both aerobics instruc­ tors and fitness trainers. Fitness directors oversee the opera­ tions of a health club or fitness center. Their work involves creating and maintaining programs that meet the needs of the club’s members. (Workers in a related occupation—athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers—participate in orga­ nized sports; this occupation is described elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Working Conditions Recreation and fitness workers may work in a variety of set­ tings—for example, a health club, cruise ship, woodland recre­ ational park, or playground in the center of a large urban com­ munity. Regardless of setting, most recreation workers spend  j-  Fitness trainers demonstrate various exercises and help clients to improve their exercise techniques.  394  Occupational Outlook Handbook  much of their time outdoors and may work in a variety of weather conditions, whereas most fitness workers spend their time in­ doors at fitness centers and health clubs. Recreation and fitness directors and supervisors, however, typically spend most of their time in an office, planning programs and special events. Direc­ tors and supervisors generally engage in less physical activity than do lower level recreation and fitness workers. Neverthe­ less, recreation and fitness workers at all levels risk suffering injuries during physical activities. Many recreation and fitness workers work about 40 hours a week. People entering this field, especially camp counselors, should expect some night and weekend work and irregular hours. About 36 percent work part time and many recreation jobs are seasonal. Employment Recreation and fitness workers held about 485,000 jobs in 2002, and many additional workers held summer jobs in this occupa­ tion. About 62 percent were recreation workers; the rest were fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. Of those with yearround jobs as recreation workers, almost 40 percent worked for local governments, primarily in the park and recreation depart­ ments. Around 14 percent of recreation workers were employed in civic and social organizations, such as the Boy or Girl Scouts or Red Cross. Another 12 percent of recreation workers were employed by nursing and other personal care facilities. Almost all fitness trainers and aerobics instructors worked in physical fitness facilities, health clubs, and fitness centers, mainly within the amusement and recreation services industry or civic and social organizations. About 5 percent of fitness workers were self-employed; many of these were personal trainers. The recreation field has an unusually large number of part­ time, seasonal, and volunteer jobs. These jobs include summer camp counselors, craft specialists, and afterschool and weekend recreation program leaders. In addition, many teachers and col­ lege students accept jobs as recreation and fitness workers when school is not in session. The vast majority of volunteers serve as activity leaders at local day-camp programs, or in youth organi­ zations, camps, nursing homes, hospitals, senior centers, and other settings. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Educational requirements for recreation workers range from a high school diploma—or sometimes less for many summer jobs— to graduate degrees for some administrative positions in large public recreation systems. Full-time career professional posi­ tions usually require a college degree with a major in parks and recreation or leisure studies, but a bachelor’s degree in any lib­ eral arts field may be sufficient for some jobs in the private sector. In industrial recreation, or “employee services” as it is more commonly called, companies prefer to hire those with a bachelor’s degree in recreation or leisure studies and a back­ ground in business administration. Specialized training or experience in a particular field, such as art, music, drama, or athletics, is an asset for many jobs. Some jobs also require certification. For example, a lifesaving certifi­ cate is a prerequisite for teaching or coaching water-related ac­ tivities. Graduates of associate degree programs in parks and recreation, social work, and other human services disciplines also enter some career recreation positions. High school gradu­ ates occasionally enter career positions, but this is not common. Some college students work part time as recreation workers while earning degrees.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  A bachelor’s degree and experience are preferred for most recreation supervisor jobs and required for higher level admin­ istrative jobs. However, an increasing number of recreation workers who aspire to administrative positions obtain master’s degrees in parks and recreation or related disciplines. Certifica­ tion in the recreation field may be helpful for advancement. Also, many persons in other disciplines, including social work, forestry, and resource management, pursue graduate degrees in recreation. Programs leading to an associate or bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation, leisure studies, or related fields are offered at several hundred colleges and universities. Many also offer master’s or doctoral degrees in the field. In 2002, 100 bachelor’s degree programs in parks and recreation were accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Accredited programs provide broad exposure to the history, theory, and practice of park and recreation management. Courses offered include community organization; supervision and administra­ tion; recreational needs of special populations, such as the eld­ erly or disabled; and supervised fieldwork. Students may spe­ cialize in areas such as therapeutic recreation, park management, outdoor recreation, industrial or commercial recreation, or camp management. Certification in the recreation field is offered by the NRPA National Certification Board. Continuing education is necessary to remain certified. Generally, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors must ob­ tain a certification in the fitness field to obtain employment. Certification may be offered in various areas of exercise such as personal training, weight training, and aerobics. There are many organizations that offer certification testing in the fitness field, some of which are listed in the Sources of Additional Informa­ tion section of this statement. Certification generally is good for 2 years, after which workers must become recertified. Recer­ tification is accomplished by attending continuing education classes. Most fitness workers are required to maintain a cardiop­ ulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Some employers also require workers to be certified in first aid. An increasing number of employers require fitness workers to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to health or fitness, such as exercise science or physical education. Some employ­ ers allow workers to substitute a college degree for certification, while others require both a degree and certification. A bachelor’s degree and, in some cases, a master’s degree in exercise science, physical education, or a related area, along with experience, usually is required to advance to management positions in a health club or fitness center. Many fitness workers become per­ sonal trainers, in addition to their main job in a fitness center, or as a full-time job. Some workers go into business for themselves and open up their own fitness centers. Persons planning recreation and fitness careers should be outgoing, good at motivating people, and sensitive to the needs of others. Excellent health and physical fitness are required due to the physical nature of the job. Volunteer experience, part­ time work during school, or a summer job can lead to a full-time career as a recreation worker. As in many fields, managerial skills are needed to advance to supervisory or managerial posi­ tions. College courses in management, business administra­ tion, accounting, and personnel management are helpful for advancement to supervisory or managerial jobs. Job Outlook Competition will be keen for career positions as recreation work­ ers because the field attracts many applicants and because the  Service Occupations 395 number of career positions is limited compared with the number of lower level seasonal jobs. Opportunities for staff positions should be best for persons with formal training and experience gained in part-time or seasonal recreation jobs. Those with graduate degrees should have the best opportunities for super­ visory or administrative positions. Opportunities are expected to be better for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors because of relatively rapid growth in employment. Job openings for both recreation and fitness workers also will stem from the need to replace the large numbers of workers who leave these occupa­ tions each year. Overall employment of recreation and fitness workers is ex­ pected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, as an increasing number of people spend more time and money on recreation, fitness, and leisure services and as more businesses recognize the benefits of recreation and fitness pro­ grams and other services such as wellness programs. Average employment growth is projected for recreation workers—reflect­ ing growth in local government and civic and social organiza­ tions, industries that employ just over half of all recreation work­ ers. Employment growth among recreation workers may be inhibited, however, by budget constraints that some local gov­ ernments may face over the 2002-12 projection period. Em­ ployment of fitness workers—who are concentrated in the rap­ idly growing arts, entertainment and recreation industry—is expected to increase much faster than average due to rising interest in personal training, aerobics instruction, and other fit­ ness activities. The recreation field provides a large number of temporary, seasonal jobs. These positions, which typically are filled by high school or college students, generally do not have formal education requirements and are open to anyone with the de­ sired personal qualities. Employers compete for a share of the vacationing student labor force and, although salaries in recre­ ation often are lower than those in other fields, the nature of the work and the opportunity to work outdoors are attractive to many.  in the industries employing the largest numbers of recreation workers in 2002 were: Nursing care facilities............................................................................ Local government................................................................................... Individual and family services............................................................ Civic and social organizations............................................................. Other amusement and recreation industries.....................................  $9.30 8.98 8.71 7.73 7.53  Median hourly earnings of fitness trainers and aerobics in­ structors in 2002 were $11.51. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.06 and $18.18, while the top 10 percent earned $26.22 or more. Earnings of successful self-employed personal trainers can be much higher. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of recreation workers in 2002 were: Other amusement and recreation industries................................... Civic and social organizations........................................................... Other schools and instruction............................................................  $13.81 9.24 8.93  Related Occupations Recreation workers must exhibit leadership and sensitivity when dealing with people. Other occupations that require similar personal qualities include counselors, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, psychologists, recreational therapists, and social workers. Occupations that focus on physi­ cal fitness, as do fitness workers, include athletes, coaches, um­ pires, and related workers. Sources of Additional Information For information on jobs in recreation, contact employers such as local government departments of parks and recreation, nurs­ ing and personal care facilities, the Boy or Girl Scouts, or local social or religious organizations. For information on careers, certification, and academic pro­ grams in parks and recreation, contact: ► National Recreation and Park Association, Division of Professional Ser­ vices, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148-4501. Internet: http://www.nrpa.org  For career information about camp counselors, contact: Earnings Median hourly earnings of recreation workers who worked full time in 2002 were $8.69. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween about $7.09 and $11.36, while the top 10 percent earned $15.72 or more. However, earnings of recreation directors and others in supervisory or managerial positions can be substan­ tially higher. Most public and private recreation agencies pro­ vide full-time recreation workers with typical benefits; part­ time workers receive few, if any, benefits. Median hourly earnings   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  >- American Camping Association, 5000 State Road 67 North, Martinsville, IN 46151-7902. Internet: http://www.acacamps.org  For information on careers and certification in the fitness field, contact: >- American Council on Exercise, 4851 Paramount Dr., San Diego, CA 92123. Internet: http://www.acefitness.org >- National Strength and Conditioning Association, 4575 Galley Rd., Suite 400B, Colorado Springs, CO 80915. Internet: http://www.nsca-lift.org >• American College of Sports Medicine, PO Box 1440, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1440. Internet: http://www.acsm.org  Sales and Related Occupations Cashiers (0*NET 41 -2011.00,41 -2012.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  •  Cashiers are trained on the job; this occupation provides opportunities for many young people with no previous work experience. Nearly one-half of all cashiers work part time. Good employment opportunities are expected because of the large number of workers who leave this occupation each year. Many cashiers start at the Federal minimum wage.  Nature of the Work Supermarkets, department stores, gasoline service stations, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other businesses employ cashiers to register the sale of their merchandise. Most cashiers total bills, receive money, make change, fill out charge forms, and give receipts. Although specific job duties vary by employer, cashiers usually are assigned to a register at the beginning of their shifts and are given drawers containing a specific amount of money with which to start—their “banks.” They must count their banks to ensure that they contain the correct amount of money and adequate supplies of change. At the end of their shifts, they once again count the draw­ ers’ contents and compare the totals with sales data. An occasional shortage of small amounts may be overlooked but, in many estab­ lishments, repeated shortages are grounds for dismissal. In addition to counting the contents of their drawers at the end of their shifts, cashiers usually separate and total charge forms, re­ turn slips, coupons, and any other noncash items. Cashiers also handle returns and exchanges. They must ensure that returned mer­ chandise is in good condition, and determine where and when it was purchased and what type of payment was used. After entering charges for all items and subtracting the value of any coupons or special discounts, cashiers total the customer’s bill and take payment. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, per­ sonal checks, credit cards, and debit cards. Cashiers must know the store’s policies and procedures for each type of payment the store accepts. For checks and charges, they may request additional iden­ tification from the customer or call in for an authorization. They must verify the age of customers purchasing alcohol or tobacco. When the sale is complete, cashiers issue a receipt to the customer and return the appropriate change. They may also wrap or bag the purchase. Cashiers traditionally have totaled customers’ purchases using cash registers—manually entering the price of each product bought. However, most establishments now use more sophisticated equip­ ment, such as scanners and computers. In a store with scanners, a cashier passes a product’s Universal Product Code over the scan­ ning device, which transmits the code number to a computer. The computer identifies the item and its price. In other establishments, cashiers manually enter codes into computers, and descriptions of the items and their prices appear on the screen. 396   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  '  :  A  Cashiers are expected to have good employment opportunities because of the large number of workers who leave this occupation each year.  Depending on the type of establishment, cashiers may have other duties as well. In many supermarkets, for example, cashiers weigh produce and bulk food, as well as return unwanted items to the shelves. In convenience stores, cashiers may be required to know how to use a variety of machines other than cash registers, and how to furnish money orders and sell lottery tickets. Operating ticket­ dispensing machines and answering customers’ questions are com­ mon duties for cashiers who work at movie theaters and ticket agen­ cies. In casinos, gaming change persons and booth cashiers exchange coins and tokens and may issue payoffs. They may also operate a booth in the slot-machine area and furnish change per­ sons with a money bank at the start of the shift, or count and audit money in drawers Working Conditions Nearly one-half of all cashiers work part time. Hours of work often vary depending on the needs of the employer. Generally, cashiers are expected to work weekends, evenings, and holidays to accom­ modate customers’ needs. However, many employers offer flexible schedules. For example, full-time workers who work on weekends may receive time off during the week. Because the holiday season is the busiest time for most retailers, many employers restrict the use of vacation time from Thanksgiving through the beginning of January. Most cashiers work indoors, usually standing in booths or be­ hind counters. In addition, they often are unable to leave their work­ stations without supervisory approval because they are responsible for large sums of money. The work of cashiers can be very repeti­ tious, but improvements in workstation design are being made to combat problems caused by repetitive motion. In addition, the work can sometimes be dangerous; cashiers’ risk from workplace homi­ cides is much higher than that of the total workforce. Employment Cashiers held about 3.5 million jobs in 2002. Although cashiers are employed in almost every industry, 26 percent of all jobs were in food and beverage stores. Gasoline stations, department stores, other  Sales and Related Occupations 397 retail establishments, and restaurants also employed large numbers of these workers. Outside of retail establishments, many cashiers worked in amusement, gambling, and recreation industries, local government, and personal and laundry services. Because cashiers are needed in businesses and organizations of all types and sizes, job opportunities are found throughout the country.  trend, however, will largely depend on the public’s acceptance of the new self-service technology. Job opportunities may vary from year to year, because the strength of the economy affects demand for cashiers. Companies tend to hire more persons for such jobs when the economy is strong. Sea­ sonal demand for cashiers also causes fluctuations in employment.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Cashier jobs tend to be entry-level positions requiring little or no previous work experience. Although there are no specific educa­ tional requirements, employers filling full-time jobs often prefer applicants with high school diplomas. Nearly all cashiers are trained on the job. In small businesses, an experienced worker often trains beginners. The trainee spends the first day observing the operation and becoming familiar with the store’s equipment, policies, and procedures. After this, trainees are assigned to a register—frequently under the supervision of an expe­ rienced worker. In larger businesses, trainees spend several days in classes before being placed at cash registers. Topics typically cov­ ered in class include a description of the industry and the company, store policies and procedures, equipment operation, and security. Training for experienced workers is not common, except when new equipment is introduced or when procedures change. In these cases, the employer or a representative of the equipment manufac­ turer trains workers on the job. Persons who want to become cashiers should be able to do repeti­ tious work accurately. They also need basic mathematics skills and good manual dexterity. Because cashiers deal constantly with the pub­ lic, they should be neat in appearance and able to deal tactfully and pleasantly with customers. In addition, some businesses prefer to hire persons who can operate specialized equipment or who have business experience, such as typing, selling, or handling money. Advancement opportunities for cashiers vary. For those work­ ing part time, promotion may be to a full-time position. Others advance to head cashier or cash-office clerk. In addition, this job offers a good opportunity to learn about an employer’s business and can serve as a steppingstone to a more responsible position.  Earnings Many cashiers start at the Federal minimum wage, which was $5.15 an hour in 2003. Some State laws set the minimum wage higher, and establishments must pay at least that amount. Wages tend to be higher in areas in which there is intense competition for workers. Median hourly earnings of cashiers, except gaming in 2002 were $7.41. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.51 and $8.73 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.86, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.97 an hour. Median hourly earn­ ings in the industries employing the largest numbers of cashiers in 2002 were as follows:  Job Outlook Opportunities for full-time and part-time cashier jobs should con­ tinue to be good, because of employment growth and the need to replace the large number of workers who transfer to other occupa­ tions or leave the labor force. There is substantial movement into and out of the occupation because education and training require­ ments are minimal, and the predominance of part-time jobs is at­ tractive to people seeking a short-term source of income rather than a full-time career. Historically, workers under the age of 25 have filled many of the openings in this occupation—in 2002, one-half of all cashiers were 24 years of age or younger. Some establish­ ments have begun hiring elderly and disabled persons to fill some of their job openings. Cashier employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012 because of ex­ panding demand for goods and services by a growing population. The rising popularity of electronic commerce, which does not re­ quire a cashier to complete a transaction or accept payment, may reduce the employment growth of cashiers. However, electronic commerce will have a limited impact on this large occupation, as many consumers lack Internet access or still prefer the traditional method of purchasing goods at stores. The growing use of self­ service check-out systems in retail trade, especially at grocery stores, may also have an adverse effect on employment of cashiers. This  Sources of Additional Information General information on retailing is available from:   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Grocery stores........................................................................................... Department stores.................................................................................... Other general merchandise store.......................................................... Gasoline stations...................................................................................... Health and personal care stores............................................................  $7.57 7.55 7.27 7.18 7.08  Benefits for full-time cashiers tend to be better than those for cashiers working part time. In addition to typical benefits, those working in retail establishments often receive discounts on purchases, and cashiers in restaurants may receive free or low-cost meals. Some employers also offer employee stock-option plans and educationreimbursement plans. Related Occupations Cashiers accept payment for the purchase of goods and services. Other workers with similar duties include tellers, counter and rental clerks, food and beverage serving and related workers, gaming cage workers, Postal Service workers, and retail salespersons, all of whom are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.  >• National Retail Federation, 325 7th St. NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004.  For information about employment opportunities as a cashier, contact: >• National Association of Convenience Stores, 1605 King St., Alexan­ dria, VA 22314-2792. ► United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Education Office, 1775 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20006-1502.  Counter and Rental Clerks (0*NET 41-2021.00)  Significant Points  • • •  Jobs are primarily entry-level and require little or no experience and minimal formal education. Faster-than-average employment growth is expected as businesses strive to improve customer service. Part-time employment opportunities should be plentiful.  398 Occupational Outlook Handbook Nature of the Work Whether renting videotapes, air compressors, or moving vans, or dropping off clothes to be drycleaned or appliances to be serviced, we rely on counter and rental clerks to handle these transactions efficiently. Although the specific duties of these workers vary by establishment, counter and rental clerks answer questions involving product availability, cost, and rental provisions. Counter and rental clerks also take orders, calculate fees, receive payments, and accept returned merchandise. (Cashiers and retail salespersons, two occu­ pations with similar duties, are discussed elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Regardless of where they work, counter and rental clerks must be knowledgeable about the company’s services, policies, and pro­ cedures. Depending on the type of establishment, counter and rental clerks use their special knowledge to give advice on a wide variety of products and services, ranging from hydraulic tools to shoe re­ pair. For example, in the car rental industry, these workers inform customers about the features of different types of automobiles, as well as daily and weekly rental costs. They also ensure that cus­ tomers meet age and other requirements for renting cars, and they indicate when and in what condition the cars must be returned. Those in the equipment rental industry have similar duties, but must also know how to operate and care for the machinery rented. In drycleaning establishments, counter clerks inform customers when items will be ready and what the effects, if any, of the chemicals used on garments are. In video rental stores, counter clerks advise  customers about the use of video and game players and the length of a rental, scan returned movies and games, restock shelves, handle money, and log daily reports. When taking orders, counter and rental clerks use various types of equipment. In some establishments, they write out tickets and order forms, although most use computers or bar-code scanners. Most of these computer systems are user friendly, require very little data entry, and are customized for the firm. Scanners read the prod­ uct code and display a description of the item on a computer screen. However, clerks must ensure that the data on the screen pertain to the product. Working Conditions Firms employing counter and rental clerks usually operate nights and weekends for the convenience of their customers. However, many employers offer flexible schedules. Some counter and rental clerks work 40-hour weeks, but about half are on part-time sched­ ules—usually during rush periods, such as weekends, evenings, and holidays. Working conditions usually are pleasant; most stores and ser­ vice establishments are clean, well lighted, and temperature con­ trolled. However, clerks are on their feet much of the time and may be confined behind a small counter area or be exposed to harmful chemicals. The job requires constant interaction with the public and can be stressful, especially during busy periods. Employment Counter and rental clerks held 436,000 jobs in 2002. About 21 percent of clerks worked in consumer goods rental, which includes video rental stores. Other large employers included drycleaning and laundry services; automotive equipment rental and leasing ser­ vices; automobile dealers; amusement, gambling, and recreation industries; and grocery stores. Counter and rental clerks are employed throughout the country, but are concentrated in metropolitan areas, where personal services and renting and leasing services are in greater demand.  t W*  t  Counter and rental clerks must be knowledgeable about the products and services that their firm provides.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Counter and rental clerk jobs are primarily at the entry level and require little or no experience and minimal formal education. How­ ever, many employers prefer workers with at least a high school diploma. In most companies, counter and rental clerks are trained on the job, sometimes through the use of videotapes, brochures, and pam­ phlets. Clerks usually learn how to operate a firm’s equipment and become familiar with the firm’s policies and procedures under the observation of a more experienced worker. However, some em­ ployers have formal classroom training programs lasting from a few hours to a few weeks. Topics covered in this training include the nature of the industry, the company and its policies and procedures, operation of equipment, sales techniques, and customer service. Counter and rental clerks also must become familiar with the differ­ ent products and services rented or provided by their company in order to give customers the best possible service. Counter and rental clerks should enjoy working with people and should have the ability to deal tactfully with difficult customers. They also should be able to handle several tasks at once, while con­ tinuing to provide friendly service. In addition, good oral and writ­ ten communication skills are essential. Advancement opportunities depend on the size and type of com­ pany. Many establishments that employ counter or rental clerks tend to be small businesses, making advancement difficult. But in larger establishments with a corporate structure, jobs such as counter  Sales and Related Occupations 399 and rental clerks offer good opportunities for workers to learn about their company’s products and business practices. These jobs can lead to more responsible positions. It is common in many establish­ ments to promote counter and rental clerks to event planner, assis­ tant manager, or salesperson. Workers may choose to pursue re­ lated positions, such as mechanic, or even establish their own business. In certain industries, such as equipment repair, counter and rental jobs may be an additional or alternative source of income for work­ ers who are unemployed or semiretired. For example, retired me­ chanics could prove invaluable at tool rental centers because of their knowledge of, and familiarity with, tools.  For more information about the work of counter clerks in drycleaning and laundry establishments, contact:  Job Outlook Employment of counter and rental clerks is expected to increase about faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012, as all types of businesses strive to improve customer service by hiring more clerks. In addition, some industries employing counter and rental clerks—for example, rental and leasing services and amusement and recreation industries—are expected to grow rapidly. Nevertheless, most job openings will arise from the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Part-time employment opportunities are ex­ pected to be plentiful.  •  Earnings Counter and rental clerks typically start at the minimum wage, which, in establishments covered by Federal law, was $5.15 an hour in 2003. In some States, the law sets the minimum wage higher, and estab­ lishments must pay at least that amount. Wages also tend to be higher in areas where there is intense competition for workers. In addition to wages, some counter and rental clerks receive commis­ sions, based on the number of contracts they complete or services they sell. Median hourly earnings of counter and rental clerks in 2002 were $8.31. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.89 and $10.91 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.03 an hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $15.10 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of counter and rental clerks in 2002 were as follows: Automobile dealers................................................................................ Automotive equipment rental and leasing........................................ Lessors of real estate.............................................................................. Drycleaning and laundry services....................................................... Amusement and recreation services..................................................  $16.09 9.69 9.19 7.34 7.30  Full-time workers typically receive health and life insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave. Benefits for counter and rental clerks who work part time or for independent stores tend to be significantly less than for those who work full time. Many companies offer dis­ counts to both full-time and part-time employees on the services they provide.  ► International Fabricare Institute, 12251 Tech Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20904. Internet: http://www.ifl.org  Demonstrators, Product Promoters, and Models (0*NET 41 -9011.00, 41 -9012.00)  Significant Points  • •  Job openings should be plentiful for demonstrators and product promoters, but keen competition is expected for modeling jobs. Most jobs are part time or have variable work schedules, and many jobs require frequent travel. Formal training and education requirements are limited.  Nature of the Work Demonstrators, product promoters, and models create public inter­ est in buying products such as clothing, cosmetics, food items, and housewares. The information they provide helps consumers make educated choices among the wide variety of products and services available. Demonstrators and product promoters create public interest in buying a product by demonstrating it to prospective customers and answering their questions. They may sell the demonstrated mer­ chandise, or gather names of prospects to contact at a later date or to pass on to a sales staff. Demonstrators promote sales of a product to consumers, while product promoters try to induce retail stores to sell particular products and market them effectively. Product dem­ onstration is an effective technique used by both to introduce new products or promote sales of old products because it allows face-toface interaction with potential customers. Demonstrators and product promoters build current and future sales of both sophisticated and simple products, ranging from com­ puter software to mops. They attract an audience by offering samples, administering contests, distributing prizes, and using di­ rect-mail advertising. They must greet and catch the attention of  Pi, , $ 'll.  V  Related Occupations Counter and rental clerks take orders and receive payment for ser­ vices rendered. Other workers with similar duties include tellers, cashiers, food- and beverage-serving and related workers, gaming cage workers, Postal Service workers, and retail salespersons. Sources of Additional Information For general information on employment in the equipment rental industry, contact >• American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. Internet:  http://www.ararental.org  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Demonstrators, product promoters, and models create public interest in buying products and services.  400 Occupational Outlook Handbook possible customers and quickly identify those who are interested and qualified. They inform and educate customers about the fea­ tures of products and demonstrate their use with apparent ease to inspire confidence in the product and its manufacturer. They also distribute information, such as brochures and applications. Some demonstrations are intended to generate immediate sales through impulse buying, while others are considered an investment to gen­ erate future sales and increase brand awareness. Demonstrations and product promotions are conducted in retail and grocery stores, shopping malls, trade shows, and outdoor fairs. Locations are selected based on both the nature of the product and the type of audience. Demonstrations at large events may require teams of demonstrators to efficiently handle large crowds. Some demonstrators promote products on videotape or on television pro­ grams, such as “infomercials” or home shopping programs. Demonstrators and product promoters may prepare the content of a presentation and alter it to target a specific audience or to keep it current. They may participate in the design of an exhibit or cus­ tomize exhibits for particular audiences. Results obtained by dem­ onstrators and product promoters are analyzed, and presentations are adjusted to make them more effective. Demonstrators and prod­ uct promoters also may be involved in transporting, assembling, and disassembling materials used in demonstrations. A demonstrator’s presentation may include visuals, models, case studies, testimonials, test results, and surveys. The equipment used for a demonstration varies with the product being demonstrated. A food product demonstration might require the use of cooking uten­ sils, while a software demonstration could require the use of a mul­ timedia computer. Demonstrators must be familiar with the prod­ uct to be able to relate detailed information to customers and to answer any questions that arise before, during, or after a demon­ stration. Therefore, they may research the product to be presented, the products of competitors, and the interests and concerns of the target audience before conducting a demonstration. Demonstra­ tions of complex products can require practice. Models pose for photos or as subjects for paintings or sculp­ tures. They display clothing, such as dresses, coats, underclothing, swimwear, and suits, for a variety of audiences and in various types of media. They model accessories, such as handbags, shoes, and jewelry, and promote beauty products, including fragrances and cosmetics. The most successful models, called supermodels, hold celebrity status and often use their image to sell products such as books, calendars, and fitness videos. In addition to modeling, they may appear in movies and television shows. Models’ clients use printed publications, live modeling, and tele­ vision to advertise and promote products and services. There are different categories of modeling jobs within these media, and the nature of a model’s work may vary with each. Most modeling jobs are for printed publications, and models usually do a combination of editorial, commercial, and catalog work. Editorial print model­ ing uses still photographs of models for fashion magazine covers and to accompany feature articles, but does not include modeling for advertisements. Commercial print modeling includes work for advertisements in magazines and newspapers, and for outdoor ad­ vertisements such as billboards. Catalog models appear in depart­ ment store and mail order catalogs. During a photo shoot, a model poses to demonstrate the features of clothing and products. Models make small changes in posture and facial expression to capture the look desired by the client. As they shoot film, photographers instruct models to pose in certain positions and to interact with their physical surroundings. Models work closely with photographers, hair and clothing stylists, makeup artists, and clients to produce the desired look and to finish the photo  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  shoot on schedule. Stylists and makeup artists prepare the model for the photo shoot, provide touchups, and change the look of mod­ els throughout the day. If stylists are not provided, models must apply their own makeup and bring their own clothing. Because the client spends time and money planning for and preparing an adver­ tising campaign, the client usually is present to ensure that the work is satisfactory. The client also may offer suggestions. Editorial printwork generally pays less than other types of mod­ eling, but provides exposure for a model and can lead to commer­ cial modeling opportunities. Often, beginning fashion models work in foreign countries where fashion magazines are more plentiful. Live modeling is done in a variety of locations. Live models stand, turn, and walk to demonstrate clothing to a variety of audiences. At fashion shows and in showrooms, garment buyers are the primary audience. Runway models display clothes that either are intended for direct sale to consumers or are the artistic expressions of the designer. High fashion, or haute couture, runway models confi­ dently walk a narrow runway before an audience of photographers, journalists, designers, and garment buyers. Live modeling also is done in apparel marts, department stores, and fitting rooms of cloth­ ing designers. In retail establishments, models display clothing di­ rectly for shoppers and may be required to describe the features and price of the clothing. Other models pose for sketching artists, paint­ ers, and sculptors. Models may compete with actors and actresses for work in tele­ vision and may even receive speaking parts. Television work in­ cludes commercials, cable television programs, and even game shows. However, competition for television work is intense because of the potential for high earnings and extensive exposure. Because advertisers need to target very specific segments of the population, models may specialize in a certain area. Petite and plussize fashions are modeled by women whose dress size is smaller or larger than that worn by the typical model. Models who are dis­ abled may be used to model fashions or products for disabled con­ sumers. “Parts” models have a body part, such as a hand or foot, that is particularly well-suited to model products such as fingernail polish or shoes. Almost all models work through agents. Agents provide a link between models and clients. Clients pay models, while the agency receives a portion of the model’s earnings for its services. Agents scout for new faces, advise and train new models, and promote them to clients. A typical modeling job lasts only 1 day, so modeling agencies differ from other employment agencies in that they maintain an ongoing relationship with the model. Agents find and nurture relationships with clients, arrange auditions called “gosees,” and book shoots if a model is hired. They also provide book­ keeping and billing services to models and may offer them financial planning services. Relatively short careers and high in­ comes make financial planning an important issue for successful models. With the help of agents, models spend a considerable amount of time promoting and developing themselves. Models assemble and maintain portfolios, print composite cards, and travel to go-sees. A portfolio is a collection of a model’s previous work that is carried to all go-sees and bookings. A composite card, or comp card, contains the best photographs from a model’s portfolio, along with his or her measurements. Models must gather information before a job. From an agent, they learn the pay, date, time, and length of the shoot. Also, models need to ask if hair, makeup, and clothing stylists will be provided. It is helpful to know what product is being promoted and what im­ age they should project. Some models research the client and the product being modeled to prepare for a shoot. Models use a docu­  Sales and Related Occupations 401 ment called a voucher to record the rate of pay and the actual duration of the job. The voucher is used for billing purposes after both the client and model sign it. Once a job is completed, models must check in with their agency and plan for the next appointment. Working Conditions More than half of all demonstrators, product promoters, and mod­ els work part time and almost one-third have variable work sched­ ules. Many positions last 6 months or less. Demonstrators and product promoters may work long hours while standing or walking, with little opportunity to rest. Some of them travel frequently, and night and weekend work often is required. The atmosphere of a crowded trade show or State fair is often hec­ tic, and demonstrators and product promoters may feel pressure to influence the greatest number of consumers possible in a very lim­ ited amount of time. However, many enjoy the opportunity to inter­ act with a variety of people. The work of models is both glamorous and difficult, and they may work under a variety of conditions. The coming season’s fash­ ions may be modeled in a comfortable, climate-controlled studio or in a cold, damp outdoor location. Schedules can be demanding, and models must keep in constant touch with an agent so that they do not miss an opportunity for work. Being away from friends and family, and needing to focus on the photographer’s instructions de­ spite constant interruption for touchups, clothing, and set changes can be stressful. Yet, successful models interact with a variety of people and enjoy frequent travel. They may meet potential clients at several go-sees in one day and often travel to work in distant cities, foreign countries, and exotic locations. Employment Demonstrators, product promoters, and models held about 179,000 jobs in 2002. Models alone held only about 4,600 jobs in 2002. About 18 percent of all salaried jobs for demonstrators, product promoters, and models were in retail trade, especially general mer­ chandise stores, and 11 percent were in administrative and support services—which includes employment services. Other jobs were found in advertising and related services. Demonstrator and product promoter jobs may be found in com­ munities throughout the Nation, but modeling jobs are concentrated in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Formal training and education requirements are limited for demon­ strators, product promoters, and models. Training usually is mod­ erate term, lasting a month or more. Postsecondary education, while helpful, usually is not required. Only about one-quarter have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Demonstrators and product promoters usually receive on-thejob training. Training is primarily product oriented because a dem­ onstrator must be familiar with the product to demonstrate it prop­ erly. The length of training varies with the complexity of the product. Experience with the product or familiarity with similar products may be required for demonstration of complex products, such as computers. During the training process, demonstrators may be in­ troduced to the manufacturer’s corporate philosophy and preferred methods for dealing with customers. Employers look for demonstrators and product promoters with good communication skills and a pleasant appearance and person­ ality. Demonstrators and product promoters must be comfortable with public speaking. They should be able to entertain an audience and use humor, spontaneity, and personal interest in the product as promotional tools. Foreign language skills are helpful.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  While no formal training is required to begin a modeling career, models should be photogenic and have a basic knowledge of hair styling, makeup, and clothing. Some local governments require models under the age of 18 to hold a work permit. An attractive physical appearance is necessary to become a successful model. A model should have flawless skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and dress or coat size in order to meet the practical needs of fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers. Requirements may change slightly from time to time as our society’s perceptions about physi­ cal beauty change; however, most fashion designers feel that their clothing looks its best on tall, thin models. Although physical re­ quirements may be relaxed for some types of modeling jobs, oppor­ tunities are limited for those who do not meet these basic requirements. Because a model’s career depends on preservation of his or her physical characteristics, models must control their diet, exercise regu­ larly, and get enough sleep in order to stay healthy. Haircuts, pedi­ cures, and manicures are necessary work-related expenses for models. In addition to being attractive, models must be photogenic. The ability to relate to the camera in order to capture the desired look on film is essential, and agents test prospective models using snapshots or professional photographs. For photographic and run­ way work, models must be able to move gracefully and confidently. Training in acting, voice, and dance is useful and allows a model to be considered for television work. Foreign language skills are useful because successful models travel frequently to foreign countries. Because models must interact with a large number of people, personality plays an important role in success. Models must be professional, polite, and prompt; every contact could lead to future employment. Organizational skills are necessary to manage per­ sonal lives, financial matters, and busy work and travel schedules. Because competition for jobs is stiff and clients’ needs are very spe­ cific, patience and persistence are essential. Modeling schools provide training in posing, walking, makeup application, and other basic tasks, but attending such schools does not necessarily lead to job opportunities. In fact, many agents pre­ fer beginning models with little or no previous experience and dis­ courage models from attending modeling schools and purchasing professional photographs. A model’s selection of an agency is an important factor for advancement in the occupation. The better the reputation and skill of the agency, the more assignments a model is likely to get. Because clients prefer to work with agents, it is very difficult for a model to pursue a freelance career. Agents continually scout for new faces, and many of the top models are discovered in this way. Most agencies review snapshots or have “open calls”, during which models are seen in person; this service usually is provided free of charge. Some agencies sponsor modeling contests and searches. Very few people who send in snap­ shots or attend open calls are offered contracts. Agencies advise models on how to dress, wear makeup, and con­ duct themselves properly during go-sees and bookings. Because models’ advancement depends on their previous work, development of a good portfolio is key to getting assignments. Models accumu­ late and display current tear sheets—examples of a model’s edito­ rial print work—and photographs in the portfolio. The higher the quality and currency of the photos in the portfolio, the more likely it is that the model will find work. Demonstrators and product promoters who perform well and show leadership ability may advance to other marketing and sales occupations or open their own businesses. Because modeling careers  402 Occupational Outlook Handbook are relatively short, most models eventually transfer to other occu­ pations.  penses. Models must provide their own health and retirement benefits.  Job Outlook Employment of demonstrators, product promoters, and models is expected to grow fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Job growth should be driven by increases in the number and size of trade shows and greater use of these workers in department stores and various retail shops for in-store promotions. Additional job openings will arise from the need to replace demonstrators, prod­ uct promoters, and models that transfer to other occupations, retire, or stop working for other reasons. Job openings should be plentiful for demonstrators and product promoters. Employers may have difficulty finding qualified dem­ onstrators who are willing to fill part-time, short-term positions. Product demonstration is considered a very effective marketing tool. New jobs should arise as firms devote a greater percentage of mar­ keting budgets to product demonstration. On the other hand, modeling is considered a glamorous occupa­ tion, with limited formal entry requirements. Consequently, those who wish to pursue a modeling career can expect keen competition for jobs. The modeling profession typically attracts many more jobseekers than there are job openings available. Only models who closely meet the unique requirements of the occupation will achieve regular employment. The increasing diversification of the general population should boost demand for models more representative of diverse racial and ethnic groups. Work for male models also should increase as society becomes more receptive to the marketing of men’s fashions. Because fashions change frequently, demand for a model’s look may fluctuate. Most models experience periods of unemployment. Employment of demonstrators, product promoters, and models is affected by downturns in the business cycle. Many firms tend to reduce advertising budgets during recessions.  Related Occupations Demonstrators, product promoters, and models create public in­ terest in buying clothing, products, and services. Others who cre­ ate interest in a product or service include actors, producers, and directors; insurance sales agents; real estate brokers; retail sales­ persons; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks.  Earnings Demonstrators and product promoters had median hourly earnings of $9.80 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.99 and $13.83. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.04, and the high­ est 10 percent earned more than $20.59. Median hourly earnings in the industries that employed the largest numbers of demonstrators and product promoters in 2002 were as follows: Employment services............................................................................. Other support services........................................................................... Advertising and related services.........................................................  $10.41 8.60 8.27  Employers of demonstrators, product promoters, and models generally pay for job-related travel expenses. Median hourly earnings of models were $10.29 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.01 and $13.65. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.70, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $17.62. Earnings vary for different types of modeling, and depend on the experience and reputation of the model. Female models typically earn more than male models for similar work. Hourly earnings can be relatively high, particularly for supermodels and others in high demand, but models may not have work every day, and jobs may last only a few hours. Models occasionally re­ ceive clothing or clothing discounts instead of, or in addition to, regular earnings. Almost all models work with agents, and pay 15 to 20 percent of their earnings in return for an agent’s services. Models who do not find immediate work may receive payments, called advances, from agents to cover promotional and living ex­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information For information about modeling schools and agencies in your area, contact a local consumer affairs organization such as the Better Business Bureau.  Insurance Sales Agents (0*NET 41-3021.00)  Significant Points •  •  •  Despite slower-than-average growth, job opportunities should be good for college graduates and persons with proven sales ability or success in other occupations. Successful agents often have high earnings, but many who assume agent jobs fail to earn enough from commissions to meet their income goals and eventually transfer to other careers. In addition to offering insurance policies, agents are beginning to sell more financial products, such as mutual funds, retirement funds, and securities.  Nature of the Work Most people have their first contact with an insurance company through an insurance sales agent. These workers help individuals, families, and businesses select insurance policies that provide the best protection for their lives, health, and property. Insurance sales agents who work exclusively for one insurance company are re­ ferred to as captive agents. Independent insurance agents, or bro­ kers, represent several companies and place insurance policies for their clients with the company that offers the best rate and cover­ age. In either case, agents prepare reports, maintain records, seek out new clients, and, in the event of a loss, help policyholders settle their insurance claims. Increasingly, some are also offering their clients financial analysis or advice on ways the clients can mini­ mize risk. Insurance sales agents, commonly referred to as “producers” in the insurance industry, sell one or more types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, disability, and long-term care. Property and casualty insurance agents sell policies that protect individuals and businesses from financial loss resulting from auto­ mobile accidents, fire, theft, storms, and other events that can dam­ age property. For businesses, property and casualty insurance can also cover injured workers’ compensation, product liability claims, or medical malpractice claims. Life insurance agents specialize in selling policies that pay ben­ eficiaries when a policyholder dies. Depending on the polic holder’s circumstances, a cash-value policy can be designed to provide  Sales and Related Occupations 403 retirement income, funds for the education of children, or other ben­ efits. Life insurance agents also sell annuities that promise a retire­ ment income. Health insurance agents sell health insurance poli­ cies that cover the costs of medical care and loss of income due to illness or injury. They also may sell dental insurance and short- and long-term-disability insurance policies. An increasing number of insurance sales agents are offering com­ prehensive financial planning services to their clients, such as re­ tirement planning, estate planning, or assistance in setting up pen­ sion plans for businesses. As a result, many insurance agents are involved in “cross-selling” or “total account development.” Besides offering insurance, these agents may become licensed to sell mu­ tual funds, variable annuities, and other securities. This practice is most common with life insurance agents who already sell annuities; however, property and casualty agents also sell financial products. (See the statement on securities, commodities, and financial ser­ vices sales representatives elsewhere in the Handbook.) Technology has greatly affected the insurance agency, making it much more efficient and giving the agent the ability to take on more clients. Agents’ computers are now linked directly to the insurance carriers via the Internet, making the tasks of obtaining price quotes and processing applications and service requests faster and easier. Computers also allow agents to be better informed about new prod­ ucts that the insurance carriers may be offering. The growth of the Internet in the insurance industry is gradually altering the relationship between agent and client. In the past, agents devoted much of their time to marketing and selling products to new clients, a practice that is now changing. Increasingly, clients are obtaining insurance quotes from a company’s Web site and then contacting the company directly to purchase policies. This interac­ tion gives the client a more active role in selecting a policy at the best price, while reducing the amount of time agents spend actively seeking new clients. Because insurance sales agents also obtain many new accounts through referrals, it is important that they main­ tain regular contact with their clients to ensure that the clients’ fi­ nancial needs are being met. Developing a satisfied clientele that will recommend an agent’s services to other potential customers is a key to success in this field. Increasing competition in the insurance industry has spurred car­ riers and agents to find new ways to keep their clients satisfied. One solution is to increase the use of call centers, which usually are ac­ cessible to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Insurance carriers and sales agents also are hiring customer service representatives to  Hill!  Insurance sales agents maintain regular contact with their clients in order to ensure that theirfinancial needs are being met.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  handle routine tasks such as answering questions, making changes in policies, processing claims, and selling more products to clients. The opportunity to cross-sell new products to clients will help agents’ businesses grow. The use of call centers also allows agents to con­ centrate their efforts on seeking out new clients and maintaining relationships with old ones. (See separate Handbook statements on customer service representatives and on claims adjusters, apprais­ ers, examiners, and investigators.)  Working Conditions Most insurance sales agents are based in small offices, from which they contact clients and provide information on the policies they sell. However, much of their time may be spent outside their of­ fices, traveling locally to meet with clients, close sales, or investi­ gate claims. Agents usually determine their own hours of work and often schedule evening and weekend appointments for the conve­ nience of clients. Although most agents work a 40-hour week, some work 60 hours a week or longer. Commercial sales agents, in par­ ticular, may meet with clients during business hours and then spend evenings doing paperwork and preparing presentations to prospec­ tive clients.  Employment Insurance sales agents held about 381,000 jobs in 2002. Most in­ surance sales agents employed in wage and salary positions work for insurance agencies and brokerages. A decreasing number work directly for insurance carriers. Although most insurance agents spe­ cialize in life and health or property and casualty insurance, a grow­ ing number of “multiline” agents sell all lines of insurance. A small number of agents work for banks and securities brokerages as a result of the increasing integration of the financial services indus­ tries. Approximately 1 out of 4 insurance sales agents is selfemployed. Insurance sales agents are employed throughout the country, but most work in or near large urban centers. Some are employed in the headquarters of insurance companies, but the majority work out of local offices or independent agencies. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement For insurance sales agent jobs, most companies and independent agencies prefer to hire college graduates—especially those who have majored in business or economics. High school graduates are occa­ sionally hired if they have proven sales ability or have been suc­ cessful in other types of work. In fact, many entrants to insurance sales agent jobs transfer from other occupations. In selling com­ mercial insurance, technical experience in a particular field can help sell policies to those in the same profession. As a result, new agents tend to be older than entrants in many other occupations. College training may help agents grasp the technical aspects of insurance policies and the fundamentals and procedures of selling insurance. Many colleges and universities offer courses in insur­ ance, and a few schools offer a bachelor’s degree in the field. Col­ lege courses in finance, mathematics, accounting, economics, busi­ ness law, marketing, and business administration enable insurance sales agents to understand how social and economic conditions re­ late to the insurance industry. Courses in psychology, sociology, and public speaking can prove useful in improving sales techniques. In addition, because computers provide instantaneous information on a wide variety of financial products and greatly improve agents’ efficiency, familiarity with computers and popular software pack­ ages has become very important.  404 Occupational Outlook Handbook Insurance sales agents must obtain a license in the States where they plan to do their selling. Separate licenses are required for agents to sell life and health insurance and property and casualty insur­ ance. In most States, licenses are issued only to applicants who complete specified prelicensing courses and who pass State exami­ nations covering insurance fundamentals and State insurance laws. As a result of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, the industry is increasingly moving toward uniform State licensing standards and reciprocal licensing, allowing agents who earn a license in one State to become licensed in other States upon passing the appropriate courses and examination. A number of organizations offer professional designation pro­ grams that certify one’s expertise in specialties such as life, health, and property and casualty insurance, as well as financial consult­ ing. Although voluntary, such programs assure clients and employ­ ers that an agent has a thorough understanding of the relevant spe­ cialty. Agents are usually required to complete a specified number of hours of continuing education to retain their designation. Employers also are placing greater emphasis on continuing pro­ fessional education as the diversity of financial products sold by insurance agents increases. It is important for insurance agents to keep up to date on issues concerning clients. Changes in tax laws, government benefits programs, and other State and Federal regula­ tions can affect the insurance needs of clients and the way in which agents conduct business. Agents can enhance their selling skills and broaden their knowledge of insurance and other financial ser­ vices by taking courses at colleges and universities and by attending institutes, conferences, and seminars sponsored by insurance orga­ nizations. Most State licensing authorities also have mandatory continuing education requirements focusing on insurance laws, con­ sumer protection, and the technical details of various insurance poli­ cies. As the demand for financial products and financial planning in­ creases, many insurance agents are choosing to gain the proper li­ censing and certification to sell securities and other financial prod­ ucts. Doing so, however, requires substantial study and passing an additional examination—either the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, both of which are administered by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). The Series 6 exam is for individuals who wish to sell only mutual funds and variable annuities, whereas the Series 7 exam is the main NASD series license that qualifies agents as general securities sales representatives. In addition, to further demonstrate competency in the area of financial planning, many agents find it worthwhile to earn the designation “Certified Financial Planner” or “Chartered Financial Consultant.” Insurance sales agents should be flexible, enthusiastic, confident, disciplined, hard working, and willing to solve problems. They should communicate effectively and inspire customer confidence. Because they usually work without supervision, sales agents must be able to plan their time well and have the initiative to locate new clients. An insurance sales agent who shows ability and leadership may become a sales manager in a local office. A few advance to agency superintendent or executive positions. However, many who have built up a good clientele prefer to remain in sales work. Some— particularly in the property and casualty field—establish their own independent agencies or brokerage firms.  Job Outlook Although slower-than-average employment growth is expected among insurance agents through 2012, opportunities for agents will be favorable for persons with the right qualifications and skills.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Among such persons are flexible and ambitious people who enjoy competitive sales work, have excellent interpersonal skills, and possess expertise in a wide range of insurance and financial ser­ vices. Multilingual agents also should be in high demand because they can serve a wider range of customers. Insurance language tends to be quite technical, so it is important for insurance sales agents to have a firm understanding of relevant technical and legal terms. Because many beginners find it difficult to establish a suf­ ficiently large clientele in this commission-based occupation, many eventually leave for other jobs. Most job openings are likely to result from the need to replace agents who leave the occupation or retire. A large number of agents are expected to retire in coming years. Future demand for insurance sales agents depends largely on the volume of sales of insurance and other financial products. Sales of health and long-term-care insurance are expected to rise sharply as the population ages. In addition, a growing population will increase demand for insurance for automobiles, homes, and high-priced valu­ ables and equipment. As new businesses emerge and existing firms expand their insurance coverage, sales of commercial insurance also should increase, including coverage such as product liability, work­ ers’ compensation, employee benefits, and pollution liability insurance. Employment of agents will not keep up with the rising level of insurance sales, however. Many insurance carriers are trying to contain costs. As a result, many are shedding their captive agents— those agents working directly for insurance carriers—and are rely­ ing more on independent agents or direct marketing through the mail, by phone, or on the Internet. Agents who incorporate new technology into their existing busi­ nesses will remain competitive. Agents who use the Internet to market their products will reach a broader client base and expand their businesses, but because most clients value their relationship with their agent, the Internet should not threaten jobs, given that many individuals still prefer discussing their policies directly with their agents, rather than through a computer. Also, the automation of policy and claims processing is allowing insurance agents to take on more clients. Agents may face increased competition from traditional securities brokers and bankers as they begin to sell insurance poli­ cies. Because of increasing consolidation among insurance com­ panies, banks, and brokerage firms, and due to increasing demands from clients for more comprehensive financial planning, insurance sales agents will need to expand the products and services they offer. Agents who offer better customer service also will remain com­ petitive. Call centers are another important way carriers and agents are offering better service to customers, because such cen­ ters provide greater access to their policies and more prompt services. Insurance and investments are becoming more complex, and many people and businesses lack the time and expertise to buy in­ surance without the advice of an agent. Moreover, most individu­ als and businesses consider insurance a necessity, regardless of eco­ nomic conditions. Therefore, agents are not likely to face unemployment because of a recession.  Earnings The median annual earnings of wage and salary insurance sales agents were $40,750 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned be­  Sales and Related Occupations 405 tween $ 28,860 and $ 64,450. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of $21,730 or less, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,460. Median annual earnings in 2002 in the two industries employing the largest number of insurance sales agents were $40,480 for insurance agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related ac­ tivities and $42,130 for insurance carriers. Many independent agents are paid by commission only, whereas sales workers who are employees of an agency or an insurance carrier may be paid in one of three ways: salary only, salary plus commission, or salary plus bonus. In general, commissions are the most common form of compensation, especially for experienced agents. The amount of the commission depends on the type and amount of insurance sold and on whether the transaction is a new policy or a renewal. Bonuses usually are awarded when agents meet their sales goals or when an agency meets its profit goals. Some agents involved with financial planning receive a fee for their services, rather than a commission. Company-paid benefits to insurance sales agents usually include continuing education, training to qualify for licensing, group in­ surance plans, office space, and clerical support services. Some companies also may pay for automobile and transportation ex­ penses, attendance at conventions and meetings, promotion and marketing expenses, and retirement plans. Independent agents working for insurance agencies receive fewer benefits, but their commissions may be higher to help them pay for marketing and other expenses. Related Occupations Other workers who provide or sell financial products or services include real estate sales agents and brokers; securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents; financial analysts and personal financial advisors; and financial managers. Other occupations in the insurance industry include insurance underwriters; claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators; and insurance appraisers. Sources of Additional Information Occupational information about insurance sales agents is available from the home office of many life and casualty insurance compa­ nies. Information on State licensing requirements may be obtained from the department of insurance at any State capital. For information about insurance sales careers and training, con­ tact either of the following sources: >- Independent Insurance Agents of America, 127 S. Peyton St., Alexan­ dria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.iiaa.org >- Insurance Vocational Education Student Training (InVEST), 127 S. Peyton St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.investprograin.org  For information about health insurance sales careers, contact >- National Association of Health Underwriters, 2000 N. 14th St., Suite 450, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.nahu.org  For general information on the property and casualty field, contact >- Insurance Information Institute, 110 William St., New York, NY 10038. Internet: http://www.iii.org  For information about professional designation programs, con­ tact either of the following organizations: >- The American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwrit­ ers/Insurance Institute of America, 720 Providence Rd., P.O. Box 3016, Malvern, PA 19355-0716. Internet: http://www.aicpcu.org >■ The American College, 270 Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010­ 2195. Internet: http://www.amercoll.edu   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents (0*NET 41-9021.00, 41-9022.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  Real estate brokers and sales agents often work evenings and weekends and usually are on call to suit the needs of clients. A license is required in every State and the District of Columbia. Although gaining a job as a real estate agent or broker may be relatively easy, beginning agents and brokers may face competition from well-established, more experienced agents and brokers in obtaining listings and in closing a sufficient number of sales.  Nature of the Work One of the most complex and important financial events in peoples’ lives is the purchase or sale of a home or investment property. Be­ cause of this complexity and importance, people usually seek the help of real estate brokers and sales agents when buying or selling real estate. Real estate brokers and sales agents have a thorough knowledge of the real estate market in their community. They know which neighborhoods will best fit clients’ needs and budgets. They are familiar with local zoning and tax laws and know where to obtain financing. Agents and brokers also act as intermediaries in price negotiations between buyers and sellers. Real estate agents usually are independent sales workers who provide their services to a licensed real estate broker on a contract basis. In return, the broker pays the agent a portion of the commis­ sion earned from the agent’s sale of the property. Brokers are inde­ pendent businesspeople who sell real estate owned by others; they also may rent or manage properties for a fee. When selling real estate, brokers arrange for title searches and for meetings between buyers and sellers wherein details of the transactions are agreed upon and the new owners take possession of the property. A broker may help to arrange favorable financing from a lender for the pro­ spective buyer; often, this makes the difference between success and failure in closing a sale. In some cases, brokers and agents assume primary responsibility for closing sales; in others, lawyers or lenders do so. Brokers supervise agents who may have many of the same job duties. Brokers also manage their own offices, adver­ tise properties, and handle other business matters. Some combine other types of work, such as selling insurance or practicing law, with their real estate business. Besides making sales, agents and brokers must have properties to sell. Consequently, they spend a significant amount of time ob­ taining listings—agreements by owners to place properties for sale with the firm. When listing a property for sale, agents and brokers compare the listed property with similar properties that recently sold, in order to determine a competitive market price for the property. Once the property is sold, the agent who sold it and the agent who obtained the listing both receive a portion of the commission. Thus, agents who sell a property that they themselves have listed can in­ crease their commission. Most real estate brokers and sales agents sell residential prop­ erty. A small number, usually employed in large or specialized firms, sell commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other types of real estate.  406 Occupational Outlook Handbook Every specialty requires knowledge of that particular type of prop­ erty and clientele. Selling or leasing business property requires an understanding of leasing practices, business trends, and the location of the property. Agents who sell or lease industrial properties must know about the region’s transportation, utilities, and labor supply. Whatever the type of property, the agent or broker must know how to meet the client’s particular requirements. Before showing residential properties to potential buyers, agents meet with them to get a feeling for the type of home the buyers would like. In this prequalifying phase, the agent determines how much the buyers can afford to spend. In addition, the agent and the buyer usually sign a loyalty contract which states the agent will be the only one to show houses to the buyers. An agent or broker uses a computer to generate lists of properties for sale, their location and description, and available sources of financing. In some cases, agents and brokers use computers to give buyers a virtual tour of proper­ ties in which they are interested. With a computer, buyers can view interior and exterior images or floor plans without leaving the real estate office. Agents may meet several times with prospective buyers to dis­ cuss and visit available properties. Agents identify and emphasize the most pertinent selling points. To a young family looking for a house, they may emphasize the convenient floor plan, the area’s low crime rate, and the proximity to schools and shopping centers. To a potential investor, they may point out the tax advantages of owning a rental property and the ease of finding a renter. If bar­ gaining over price becomes necessary, agents must follow their client’s instructions carefully and may have to present counterof­ fers in order to get the best possible price. Once both parties have signed the contract, the real estate broker or agent must make sure that all special terms of the contract are met before the closing date. For example, the agent must make sure that the mandated and agreed-upon inspections, including that of the home and termite and radon inspections, take place. Also, if the seller agrees to any repairs, the broker or agent must see that they are made. Increasingly, brokers and agents are handling environ­ mental problems as well, by making sure that the properties they sell meet environmental regulations. For example, they may be re­ sponsible for dealing with lead paint on the walls. While loan offic­ ers, attorneys, or other persons handle many details, the agent must ensure that they are completed.  Sir-  ft  When a buyer is ready to purchase a property, the real estate agent or broker drafts a contract that details the terms of the buyer’s offer.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Working Conditions Advances in telecommunications and the ability to retrieve data about properties over the Internet allow many real estate brokers and sales agents to work out of their homes instead of real estate offices. Even with this convenience, much of the time of these workers is spent away from their desks—showing properties to customers, analyz­ ing properties for sale, meeting with prospective clients, or research­ ing the state of the market. Agents and brokers often work more than a standard 40-hour week. They usually work evenings and weekends and are always on call to suit the needs of clients. Business usually is slower dur­ ing the winter season. Although the hours are long and frequently irregular, most agents and brokers have the freedom to determine their own schedule. Consequently, they can arrange their work so that they can have time off when they want it. Employment In 2002, real estate brokers held about 99,000 jobs; real estate sales agents held 308,000. Many worked part time, combining their real estate activities with other careers. Almost 6 out of 10 real estate agents and brokers were self-employed. Real estate is sold in all areas, but employment is concentrated in large urban areas and in smaller, but rapidly growing communities. Most real estate firms are relatively small; indeed, some are oneperson businesses. By contrast, some large real estate firms have several hundred agents operating out of numerous branch offices. Many brokers have franchise agreements with national or regional real estate organizations. Under this type of arrangement, the bro­ ker pays a fee in exchange for the privilege of using the more widely known name of the parent organization. Although franchised bro­ kers often receive help in training sales staff and running their of­ fices, they bear the ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of their firms. Real estate brokers and sales agents are older, on average, than most other workers. Historically, many homemakers and retired persons were attracted to real estate sales by the flexible and part­ time work schedules characteristic of the field. These individuals could enter, leave, and later reenter the occupation, depending on the strength of the real estate market, their family responsibilities, or other personal circumstances. Recently, however, the attractive­ ness of part-time real estate work has declined, as increasingly com­ plex legal and technological requirements are raising startup costs associated with becoming an agent. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement In every State and the District of Columbia, real estate brokers and sales agents must be licensed. Prospective agents must be high school graduates, at least 18 years old, and pass a written test. The exami­ nation—more comprehensive for brokers than for agents—includes questions on basic real estate transactions and laws affecting the sale of property. Most States require candidates for the general sales license to complete between 30 and 90 hours of classroom instruc­ tion. Those seeking a broker’s license need between 60 and 90 hours of formal training and a specific amount of experience selling real estate, usually 1 to 3 years. Some States waive the experience re­ quirements for the broker’s license for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in real estate. State licenses typically must be renewed every 1 or 2 years, usu­ ally without having to take an examination. However, many States require continuing education for license renewals. Prospective agents and brokers should contact the real estate licensing commission of the State in which they wish to work in order to verify exact licens­ ing requirements.  Sales and Related Occupations 407 As real estate transactions have become more legally complex, many firms have turned to college graduates to fill positions. A large number of agents and brokers have some college training. College courses in real estate, finance, business administration, statistics, economics, law, and English are helpful. For those who intend to start their own company, business courses such as marketing and accounting are as important as those in real estate or finance. Personality traits are equally as important as academic back­ ground. Brokers look for applicants who possess a pleasant person­ ality, are honest, and present a neat appearance. Maturity, tact, trust­ worthiness, and enthusiasm for the job are required in order to motivate prospective customers in this highly competitive field. Agents should be well organized, be detail oriented, and have a good memory for names, faces, and business particulars. Those interested in jobs as real estate agents often begin in their own communities. Their knowledge of local neighborhoods is a clear advantage. Under the direction of an experienced agent, be­ ginners learn the practical aspects of the job, including the use of computers to locate or list available properties and identify sources of financing. Many firms offer formal training programs for both beginners and experienced agents. Larger firms usually offer more extensive programs than smaller firms. More than a thousand universities, colleges, and junior colleges offer courses in real estate. At some, a student can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a major in real estate; several offer advanced degrees. Many local real es­ tate associations that are members of the National Association of Realtors sponsor courses covering the fundamentals and legal as­ pects of the field. Advanced courses in mortgage financing, prop­ erty development and management, and other subjects also are available through various affiliates of the National Association of Realtors. Advancement opportunities for agents may take the form of higher rates of commission. As agents gain knowledge and exper­ tise, they become more efficient in closing a greater number of trans­ actions and increase their earnings. In many large firms, experi­ enced agents can advance to sales manager or general manager. Persons who have received their broker’s license may open their own offices. Others with experience and training in estimating prop­ erty value may become real estate appraisers, and people familiar with operating and maintaining rental properties may become prop­ erty managers. (See the statement on property, real estate, and com­ munity association managers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Experi­ enced agents and brokers with a thorough knowledge of business conditions and property values in their localities may enter mort­ gage financing or real estate investment counseling. Job Outlook Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Increasing use of information technology will continue to raise the productivity of agents and brokers, limiting the poten­ tial for job growth to a certain extent. Prospective customers often can conduct their own searches for properties that meet their crite­ ria by accessing real estate information on the Internet. Real estate companies often use computer-generated images to show houses to customers without leaving the office. In addition, cellular phones can send and receive large amounts of data, allowing agents and brokers to become more efficient and to serve a greater number of customers. However, most people still want and need the services of real estate agents and brokers to handle the actual sale. The use of technology may eliminate some marginal agents, such as those  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  practicing real estate part-time or temporarily between jobs. Such workers generally are not able to compete with full-time agents who have invested in the technology. Changing legal requirements, such as disclosure laws, may also dissuade some who are not seri­ ous about practicing full time from continuing to work part time. Real estate agents and brokers will continue to experience some employment growth due to the increasing housing needs of a grow­ ing population, as well as the perception that real estate is a good investment Low interest rates should continue to stimulate sales of real estate, resulting in the need for more agents and brokers. In addition, a large number of job openings will arise each year from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. This occupation is relatively easy to enter and is attractive, due to the flexible working conditions, the high interest in, and knowledge of, local real estate markets that entrants often have, and the potential for high earnings. Therefore, although gaining a job as a real estate agent or broker may be relatively easy, beginning agents and brokers may face competition from well-es­ tablished, more experienced agents and brokers in obtaining list­ ings and in closing a sufficient number of sales. Well-trained, am­ bitious people who enjoy selling, especially those with extensive social and business connections in their communities, should have the best chance for success. Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents often is sen­ sitive to swings in the economy, especially interest rates. During periods of declining economic activity and increasing interest rates, the volume of sales and the resulting demand for sales workers falls. As a result, the earnings of agents and brokers decline, and many work fewer hours or leave the occupation altogether. Earnings The median annual earnings of salaried real estate agents, including commissions, were $30,930 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,010 and $52,860 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,780. Median annual earnings of salaried real estate brokers, includ­ ing commission, were $50,330 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,240 and $90,170 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $145,600 a year. Commissions on sales are the main source of earnings of real estate agents and brokers. The rate of commission varies according to whatever the agent and broker agree on, the type of property, and its value. The percentage paid on the sale of farm and commercial properties or unimproved land usually is higher than the percentage paid for selling a home. Commissions may be divided among several agents and brokers. The broker or agent who obtained the listing usually shares their commission when the property is sold with the broker or agent who made the sale, and also with the firm that employs them. Although an agent’s share varies greatly from one firm to another, often it is about half of the total amount received by the firm. Agents who both list and sell a property maximize their commission. Income usually increases as an agent gains experience, but indi­ vidual ability, economic conditions, and the type and location of the property also affect earnings. Sales workers who are active in com­ munity organizations and in local real estate associations can broaden their contacts and increase their earnings. A beginner’s earnings often are irregular, because a few weeks or even months may go by without a sale. Although some brokers allow an agent to draw against future earnings from a special account, the practice is not usual with  408 Occupational Outlook Handbook new employees. The beginner, therefore, should have enough money to live for about 6 months or until commissions increase. Related Occupations Selling expensive items such as homes requires maturity, tact, and a sense of responsibility. Other sales workers who find these charac­ ter traits important in their work include insurance sales agents; re­ tail salespersons; sales representatives, wholesale and manufactur­ ing; and securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. The work of property, real estate, and community association man­ agers, although not involving sales, requires a knowledge of real estate. Sources of Additional Information Information on license requirements for real estate brokers and sales agents is available from most local real estate organizations or from the State real estate commission or board. More information about opportunities in real estate is available on the Internet site of the following organization: ► National Association of Realtors. Internet: http://www.realtor.org  Retail Salespersons (0*NET 41-2031.00)  Significant Points  •  •  •  •  Good employment opportunities are expected because of the need to replace the large number of workers who leave the occupation each year. Many salespersons work evenings, weekends, and long hours from Thanksgiving through the beginning of January, during sales, and in other peak retail periods. Opportunities for part-time and temporary work are plentiful, attracting people looking to supplement their income; however, most of those selling high-priced items work full time and have substantial experience. There are no formal education requirements, although a high school diploma is preferred; employers look for people who enjoy working with others and who have tact, patience, an interest in sales work, a neat appearance, and the ability to communicate clearly.  Nature of the Work Whether selling shoes, computer equipment, or automobiles, retail salespersons assist customers in finding what they are looking for and try to interest them in buying the merchandise. They describe a product’s features, demonstrate its use, or show various models and colors. For some sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail salespersons need special knowledge or skills. For example, salespersons who sell automobiles must be able to explain the features of various models, information about warranties, the meaning of manufacturers’ specifications, and the types of options and financing available. Consumers spend millions of dollars every day on merchandise and often form their impression of a store by evaluating its sales force. Therefore, retailers stress the importance of providing cour­ teous and efficient service in order to remain competitive. When, for example, a customer wants an item that is not on the sales floor,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  the salesperson may check the stock room, place a special order, or call another store to locate the item. In addition to selling, most retail salespersons—especially those who work in department and apparel stores—make out sales checks; receive cash, checks, and charge payments; bag or package pur­ chases; and give out change and receipts. Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash regis­ ters. This work may include counting the money in the register; separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers; and mak­ ing deposits at the cash office. Salespersons often are held respon­ sible for the contents of their registers, and repeated shortages are cause for dismissal in many organizations. (Cashiers, who have similar job duties, are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Salespersons also may handle returns and exchanges of merchan­ dise, wrap gifts, and keep their work areas neat. In addition, they may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays. Frequently, salespersons must be aware of special sales and pro­ motions. They also must recognize security risks and thefts and know how to handle or prevent such situations. Working Conditions Most salespersons in retail trade work in clean, comfortable, welllighted stores. However, they often stand for long periods and may need supervisory approval to leave the sales floor. The Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 workweek is the exception rather than the rule in retail trade. Most salespersons work evenings and weekends, particularly during sales and other peak retail peri­ ods. Because the holiday season is the busiest time for most retail­ ers, many employers restrict the use of vacation time to some pe­ riod other than Thanksgiving through the beginning of January. The job can be rewarding for those who enjoy working with people. Patience and courtesy are required, especially when the work is repetitious and the customers are demanding.  P?' «  |  <J\U0S  3 qwntj&k  Jobs as retail salespersons can be rewarding to those who enjoy working with people.  Sales and Related Occupations 409 Employment Retail salespersons held about 4.1 million wage and salary jobs in 2002. They worked in stores ranging from small specialty shops employing a few workers to giant department stores with hundreds of salespersons. In addition, some were self-employed representa­ tives of direct-sales companies and mail-order houses. The largest employers of retail salespersons are department stores, clothing and accessories stores, building material and garden equipment and sup­ plies dealers, and motor vehicle dealers. This occupation offers many opportunities for part-time work and is especially appealing to students, retirees, and others seeking to supplement their income. However, most of those selling “bigticket” items, such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronic equip­ ment, work full time and have substantial experience. Because retail stores are found in every city and town, employ­ ment is distributed geographically in much the same way as the population. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no formal education requirements for this type of work, although a high school diploma or equivalent is preferred. Employers look for people who enjoy working with others and who have the tact and patience to deal with difficult customers. Among other desirable characteristics are an interest in sales work, a neat appearance, and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. The ability to speak more than one language may be helpful for employment in communities where people from various cultures tend to live and shop. Before hiring a salesperson, some employers may conduct a background check, especially for a job selling highpriced items. In most small stores, an experienced employee or the proprietor instructs newly hired sales personnel in making out sales checks and operating cash registers. In large stores, training programs are more formal and are usually conducted over several days. Topics generally discussed are customer service, security, the store’s poli­ cies and procedures, and how to work a cash register. Depending on the type of product they are selling, employees may be given additional specialized training by manufacturers’ representatives. For example, those working in cosmetics receive instruction on the types of products the store has available and for whom the cosmet­ ics would be most beneficial. Likewise, salespersons employed by motor vehicle dealers may be required to participate in training pro­ grams designed to provide information on the technical details of standard and optional equipment available on new models. Because providing the best service to customers is a high priority for many employers, employees often are given periodic training to update and refine their skills. As salespersons gain experience and seniority, they usually move to positions of greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This often means moving to areas with potentially higher earnings and commissions. The highest earn­ ings potential usually is found in selling big-ticket items, although such a position often requires the most knowledge of the product and the greatest talent for persuasion. Opportunities for advancement vary in small stores. In some establishments, advancement is limited because one person—often the owner—does most of the managerial work. In others, some salespersons are promoted to assistant managers. Traditionally, capable salespersons without college degrees could advance to management positions. Today, however, large retail busi­ nesses usually prefer to hire college graduates as management train­ ees, making a college education increasingly important. Despite this trend, motivated and capable employees without college de­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  grees still may advance to administrative or supervisory positions in large establishments. Retail selling experience may be an asset when one is applying for sales positions with larger retailers or in other industries, such as financial services, wholesale trade, or manufacturing. Job Outlook As in the past, employment opportunities for retail salespersons are expected to be good because of the need to replace the large number of workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force each year. In addition, many new jobs will be created for retail salespersons. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012, re­ flecting rising retail sales stemming from a growing population. Opportunities for part-time work should be abundant, and demand will be strong for temporary workers during peak selling periods, such as the end-of-year holiday season. The availability of part­ time and temporary work attracts many people seeking to supple­ ment their income. During economic downturns, sales volumes and the resulting demand for sales workers usually decline. Purchases of costly items, such as cars, appliances, and furniture, tend to be postponed during difficult economic times. In areas of high unemployment, sales of many types of goods decline. However, because turnover among retail salespersons is high, employers often can adjust employment levels simply by not replacing all those who leave. Despite the growing popularity of electronic commerce, Internet sales have not decreased the need for retail salespersons. Retail stores commonly use an online presence just to complement their in-store sales—there are very few Internet—only apparel and spe­ cialty stores. Retail salespersons will remain important in assuring customers that they will receive specialized service and in improv­ ing customer satisfaction, something Internet services cannot do. Therefore, the impact of electronic commerce on employment of retail salespersons will be minimal. Earnings The starting wage for many retail sales positions is the Federal mini­ mum wage, which was $5.15 an hour in 2002. In areas where em­ ployers have difficulty attracting and retaining workers, wages tend to be higher than the legislated minimum. Median hourly earnings of retail salespersons, including com­ mission, were $8.51 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $7.08 and $11.30 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.18, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $16.96 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the larg­ est numbers of retail salespersons in 2002 were as follows: Automobile dealers................................................................................ Building material and suppliesdealers............................................... Department stores.................................................................................. Other general merchandise stores....................................................... Clothing stores........................................................................................  $18.25 10.41 8.12 7.84 7.77  Compensation systems vary by type of establishment and mer­ chandise sold. Salespersons receive hourly wages, commissions, or a combination of wages and commissions. Under a commission system, salespersons receive a percentage of the sales that they make. This system offers sales workers the opportunity to increase their earnings considerably, but they may find that their earnings strongly depend on their ability to sell their product and on the ups and downs of the economy. Employers may use incentive programs such as awards, banquets, bonuses, and profit-sharing plans to promote team­ work among the sales staff.  410 Occupational Outlook Handbook Benefits may be limited in smaller stores, but benefits in large establishments usually are comparable to those offered by other employers. In addition, nearly all salespersons are able to buy their store’s merchandise at a discount, with the savings depending upon the type of merchandise. Related Occupations Salespersons use sales techniques, coupled with their knowledge of merchandise, to assist customers and encourage purchases. Work­ ers in a number of other occupations who use these same skills in­ clude sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; securi­ ties, commodities, and financial services sales agents; counter and rental clerks; real estate brokers and sales agents; purchasing man­ agers, buyers, and purchasing agents; insurance sales agents; sales engineers; and cashiers. Sources of Additional Information Information on careers in retail sales may be obtained from the per­ sonnel offices of local stores or from State merchants’ associations. General information about retailing is available from: ► National Retail Federation, 325 7th St. NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004.  Information about retail sales employment opportunities is avail­ able from:  They also may advise the customer on how to best utilize the prod­ ucts or services being provided. Selling, of course, is an important part of the job. Sales engi­ neers use their technical skills to demonstrate to potential custom­ ers how and why the products or services they are selling would suit the customer better than competitors’ products. Often, there may not be a directly competitive product. In these cases, the job of the sales engineer is to demonstrate to the customer the usefulness of the product or service—for example, how much money new pro­ duction machinery would save. Most sales engineers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering and some have previous work experience in an engineering spe­ cialty. Engineers apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and commercial applications. Many sales en­ gineers specialize in an area related to an engineering specialty. For example, sales engineers selling chemical products may have chemi­ cal engineering backgrounds, while those selling electrical prod­ ucts may have degrees in electrical engineering. (Information on engineers and 14 engineering specialties appears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Many of the job duties of sales engineers are similar to those of other salespersons. They must interest the client in purchasing their products, many of which are durable manufactured products such  >- Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, 30 East 29th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Internet: http://www.rwdsu.org  Information about training for a career in automobile sales is available from: >- National Automobile Dealers Association, Public Relations Department, 8400 Westpark Dr., McLean, VA 22102-3591. Internet: http ://www.nada.org  Sales Engineers (0*NET 41-9031.00)  Significant Points •  •  • •  A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required; many sales engineers have previous work experience in an engineering specialty. Projected employment growth stems from the increasing number and technical nature of products to be sold. More job opportunities are expected in independent agencies. Earnings are based on a combination of salary and commission.  Nature of the Work Many products and services, especially those purchased by large companies and institutions, are highly complex. Sales engineers, using their engineering skills, help customers determine which prod­ ucts or services provided by the sales engineer’s employer best suit their needs. Sales engineers—who also may be called manufactur­ ers’ agents, sales representatives, or technical sales support work­ ers—often work with both the customer and the production, engi­ neering, or research and development departments of their company, or of independent firms, to determine how products and services could be designed or modified to best suit the customer’s needs.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  P-H ;:js  Sales engineers may use a consultative selling style, focusing on the client’s problem and showing how it could be solved or mitigated with their product or service.  Sales and Related Occupations 411 as turbines. Sales engineers are often teamed with other salesper­ sons who concentrate on the marketing and sales, enabling the sales engineer to concentrate on the technical aspects of the job. By work­ ing as a sales team, each member is able to utilize his or her strengths and knowledge. (Information on other sales occupations, including sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, appears else­ where in the Handbook.) Sales engineers tend to employ selling techniques that are differ­ ent from those used by most other sales workers. They may use a “consultative” style; that is, they focus on the client’s problem and show how it could be solved or mitigated with their product or ser­ vice. This selling style differs from the “benefits and features” method, whereby the product is described and the customer is left to decide how the product would be useful. In addition to maintaining current clients and attracting new ones, sales engineers help clients solve any problems that arise when the product is installed, and may continue to serve as a liaison between the client and their company. In addition, using their familiarity with client needs, sales engineers may help identify and develop new products. Sales engineers may work directly for manufacturers or service providers, or in small independent firms. In an independent firm, they may sell complimentary products from several different sup­ pliers and be paid on a commission basis. Working Conditions Many sales engineers work more than 40 hours per week to meet sales goals and their clients’ needs. Selling can be stressful because sales engineers’ income and job security often directly depend on their success in sales and customer service. Some sales engineers have large territories and travel extensively. Because sales regions may cover several States, sales engineers may be away from home for several days or even weeks at a time. Oth­ ers work near their “home base” and travel mostly by automobile. International travel, to secure contracts with foreign customers, is becoming more important. Although the hours may be long and are often irregular, many  sales engineers have the freedom to determine their own schedule. Consequently, they often can arrange their appointments so that they can have time off when they want it. However, most independent sales workers do not earn any income while on vacation. Employment Sales engineers held about 82,000 jobs in 2002. About 32 percent were employed in the manufacturing industries and another 28 per­ cent were employed in wholesale trade. Unlike workers in many other sales occupations, very few sales engineers are self-employed. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A bachelor’s degree in engineering is usually required to become a sales engineer. However, some workers with previous experience in sales combined with technical experience or training sometimes hold the title of sales engineer. Also, workers who have a degree in a science, such as chemistry, or even a degree in business with little or no previous sales experience, may be termed sales engineers. Admissions requirements for undergraduate engineering schools include a solid background in mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigo­ nometry, and calculus), physical sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), and courses in English, social studies, humanities, and computer science. University programs vary in content. For ex­ ample, some programs emphasize industrial practices, preparing students for a job in industry, whereas others are more theoretical and prepare students for graduate school. Therefore, students should  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  investigate curriculums and check accreditations carefully before making a selection. Once a university has been selected, a student must choose an area of engineering in which to specialize. Some programs offer a general engineering curriculum; students then spe­ cialize in graduate school or on the job. Most engineering degrees are granted in electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering. How­ ever, engineers trained in one branch may work in related branches. Many sales engineers first worked as engineers. For some, the engineering experience was necessary to obtain the technical back­ ground needed to effectively sell their employers’ products or ser­ vices. Others moved into the occupation because it offered better earnings and advancement potential or because they were looking for a new challenge. New graduates with engineering degrees may need sales experi­ ence and training to obtain employment directly as a sales engineer. This may involve teaming with a sales mentor who is familiar with the business practices, customers, and company procedures and cul­ ture. After the training period has been completed, the sales engi­ neer may continue to partner with someone who lacks technical skills, yet excels in the art of sales. Promotion may include a higher commission rate, larger sales territory, or elevation to the position of supervisor or marketing manager. In other cases, sales engineers may leave their companies and form an independent firm that may offer higher commissions and more freedom. Independent firms tend to be small, although relatively few sales engineers are self-employed. It is important for sales engineers to continue their education throughout their careers because much of their value to their em­ ployers depends on their knowledge of the latest technology. Sales engineers in high-technology areas, such as information technol­ ogy or advanced electronics, may find that technical knowledge can become obsolete rapidly. Job Outlook Employment of sales engineers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Projected employment growth stems from the increasing variety and number of goods to be sold. Competitive pressures and advancing technol­ ogy will force companies to improve and update product designs more frequently and to optimize their manufacturing and sales pro­ cesses. In addition to new positions created as companies expand their sales force, some openings will arise each year from the need to replace sales workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Manufacturers are expected to continue contracting out more of their sales functions to independent sales agencies in an attempt to control their costs. This should mean more job opportunities for sales engineers in independent agencies and for self-employed in­ dependent sales engineers. Employment opportunities and earnings may fluctuate from year to year because sales are affected by changing economic conditions, legislative issues, and consumer preferences. Prospects will be best for those with the appropriate knowledge or technical expertise, as well as the personal traits necessary for successful sales work. Earnings Compensation varies significantly by the type of firm and product sold. Most employers use a combination of salary and commission or salary plus bonus. Commissions usually are based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all sales workers in the group or district, or on the company’s performance. Earnings from commissions and bonuses may vary greatly from year to year, depending on sales  412 Occupational Outlook Handbook ability, the demand for the company’s products or services, and the overall economy. Median annual earnings of sales engineers, including commis­ sions, were $63,660 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $48,650 and $84,880 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,430, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,080 a year. Median annual earnings employed by firms in the computer systems design and related services industry in 2002 were $77,100; earnings for sales engineers in the professional and com­ mercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers industry were $53,170. In addition to their earnings, sales engineers who work for manu­ facturers are usually reimbursed for expenses such as transporta­ tion, meals, hotels, and customer entertainment. In addition to typi­ cal benefits, sales engineers often get personal use of a company car and frequent-flyer mileage. Some companies offer incentives such as free vacation trips or gifts for outstanding performance. Sales engineers who work in independent firms may have higher but less stable earnings and, often, relatively few benefits. Related Occupations Sales engineers must have sales ability and knowledge of the prod­ ucts they sell, as well as technical and analytical skills. Other occu­ pations that require similar skills include advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers; engineers; insur­ ance sales agents; purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents; real estate brokers and sales agents; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; and securities, commodities, and fi­ nancial services sales agents. Sources of Additional Information Information on careers for manufacturers’ representatives and agents is available from: >- Manufacturers’ Agents National Association, P.O. Box 3467, Laguna Hills, CA 92654-3467. Internet: http://www.manaonline.org >- Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation, P.O. Box 247, Geneva, IL 60134. Internet: http://www.mrerf.org  Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing (0*NET 41 -4011.01, 41 -4011.02, 41 -4011.03, 41 -4011.04, 41 -4011.05, 41-4011.06,41-4012.00)  or several manufacturers or wholesale distributors by selling one product or a complimentary line of products. Sales representatives also advise clients on methods to reduce costs, use their products, and increase sales. They market their company’s products to manu­ facturers, wholesale and retail establishments, construction contrac­ tors, government agencies, and other institutions. (Retail salesper­ sons, who sell directly to consumers, and sales engineers, who specialize in sales of technical products and services, are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Depending on where they work, sales representatives have dif­ ferent job titles. Those employed directly by a manufacturer or wholesaler often are called sales representatives. Manufacturers’ agents or manufacturers’ representatives are self-employed sales workers or independent firms who contract their services to all types of manufacturing companies. However, many of these titles are used interchangeably. Sales representatives spend much of their time traveling to and visiting with prospective buyers and current clients. During a sales call, they discuss the client’s needs and suggest how their merchan­ dise or services can meet those needs. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company stocks and inform cus­ tomers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and improve productivity. Because a vast number of manufacturers and wholesalers sell similar products, sales repre­ sentatives must emphasize any unique qualities of their products and services. Manufacturers’ agents or manufacturers’ representa­ tives might sell several complimentary products made by different manufacturers and, thus, take a broad approach to their customers’ business. Sales representatives may help install new equipment and train employees. They also take orders and resolve any problems with or complaints about the merchandise. Obtaining new accounts is an important part of the job. Sales representatives follow leads from other clients, track advertisements in trade journals, participate in trade shows and conferences, and may visit potential clients unannounced. In addition, they may spend time meeting with and entertaining prospective clients during eve­ nings and weekends. In a process that can take several months, sales representatives present their product and negotiate the sale. Aided by a laptop com­ puter connected to the Internet, they often can answer technical and nontechnical questions immediately. Frequently, sales representatives who lack technical expertise work as a team with a technical expert. In this arrangement, the  Significant Points  • •  •  Earnings of sales representatives usually are based on a combination of salary and commission. Many individuals with previous sales experience enter the occupation without a college degree; however, a bachelor’s degree increasingly is required. Prospects will be best for those with the appropriate knowledge or technical expertise, and the personal traits necessary for successful selling.  Nature of the Work Sales representatives are an important part of manufacturers’ and wholesalers’ success. Regardless of the type of product they sell, their primary duties are to interest wholesale and retail buyers and purchasing agents in their merchandise, and to address any of the client’s questions or concerns. Sales representatives represent one  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  •  r.  Obtaining new accounts is an important part of a sales representative’s job.  Sales and Related Occupations 413 technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—will attend the sales presentation to explain the product and answer questions or con­ cerns. The sales representative makes the preliminary contact with customers, introduces the company’s product, and closes the sale. The representative is then able to spend more time maintaining and soliciting accounts and less time acquiring technical knowl­ edge. After the sale, representatives may make followup visits to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly and may even help train customers’ employees to operate and maintain new equipment. Those selling consumer goods often suggest how and where merchandise should be displayed. Working with retailers, they may help arrange promotional programs, store displays, and advertising. Sales representatives have several duties beyond selling prod­ ucts. They also analyze sales statistics; prepare reports; and handle administrative duties, such as fding their expense account reports, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans. They study lit­ erature about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors. Manufacturers’ agents who operate a sales agency must also manage their business. This requires organizational and general business skills, as well as knowledge of accounting, marketing, and administration. Working Conditions Some sales representatives have large territories and travel consid­ erably. A sales region may cover several States, so they may be away from home for several days or weeks at a time. Others work near their “home base” and travel mostly by automobile. Due to the nature of the work and the amount of travel, sales representatives may work more than 40 hours per week. Although the hours are long and often irregular, most sales rep­ resentatives have the freedom to determine their own schedule. Sales representatives often are on their feet for long periods and may carry heavy sample products, which necessitates some physical stamina. Dealing with different types of people can be stimulating but demanding. Sales representatives often face competition from rep­ resentatives of other companies. Companies usually set goals or quotas that representatives are expected to meet. Because their earn­ ings depend on commissions, manufacturers’ agents are also under the added pressure to maintain and expand their clientele. Employment Manufacturers’ and wholesale sales representatives held about 1.9 million jobs in 2002. About half of all salaried representatives worked in wholesale trade. Others were employed in manufactur­ ing and mining. Due to the diversity of products and services sold, employment opportunities are available in every part of the country in a wide range of industries. In addition to those working directly for a firm, many sales rep­ resentatives are self-employed manufacturers’ agents. They often form small sales firms and work for a straight commission based on the value of their own sales. However, manufacturers’ agents usu­ ally gain experience and recognition with a manufacturer or whole­ saler before becoming self-employed. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The background needed for sales jobs varies by product line and market. Many employers hire individuals with previous sales expe­ rience who do not have a college degree, but often prefer those with some college education. Increasingly employers prefer or require a bachelor’s degree as the job requirements have become more tech­ nical and analytical. Nevertheless, for some consumer products,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  factors such as sales ability, personality, and familiarity with brands are more important than educational background. On the other hand, firms selling complex, technical products may require a technical degree in addition to some sales experience. Many sales represen­ tatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in mar­ keting, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to provide the extra edge needed to make sales. In general, companies are looking for the best and brightest individuals who have the per­ sonality and desire to sell. Sales representatives need to be familiar with computer technology as computers are increasingly used in the workplace to place and track orders and to monitor inventory levels. Many companies have formal training programs for beginning sales representatives lasting up to 2 years. However, most busi­ nesses are accelerating these programs to reduce costs and expedite the returns from training. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of production, installa­ tion, and distribution of the product. In others, trainees take formal classroom instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager. New workers may get training by accompanying experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm’s products and clients, these workers are given increasing responsi­ bility until they are eventually assigned their own territory. As busi­ nesses experience greater competition, increased pressure is placed upon sales representatives to produce sales. Sales representatives stay abreast of new products and the chang­ ing needs of their customers in a variety of ways. They attend trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased. They also attend conferences and conventions to meet other sales repre­ sentatives and clients and discuss new product developments. In addition, the entire sales force may participate in company-spon­ sored meetings to review sales performance, product development, sales goals, and profitability. Those who want to become sales representatives should be goaloriented and persuasive, and work well both independently and as part of a team. A pleasant personality and appearance, the ability to communicate well with people, and problem-solving skills are highly valued. Furthermore, completing a sale can take several months and thus requires patience and perseverance. Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory where commissions are likely to be greater. Experienced sales representatives may move into jobs as sales train­ ers, who instruct new employees on selling techniques and com­ pany policies and procedures. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher-level positions such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. In addition to advancement opportunities within a firm, some manu­ facturers’ agents go into business for themselves. Others find op­ portunities in purchasing, advertising, or marketing research. Job Outlook Employment of sales representatives, wholesale and manufactur­ ing, is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupa­ tions through the year 2012 due to continued growth in the variety and number of goods to be sold. Also, many job openings will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occu­ pations or leave the labor force. Prospective customers will still require sales workers to demon­ strate or illustrate the particulars of a good or service. However, computer technology makes sales representatives more effective and productive, for example, by allowing them to provide accurate and current information to customers during sales presentations.  414 Occupational Outlook Handbook Job prospects for wholesale sales representatives will be better than those for manufacturing sales representatives because manu­ facturers are expected to continue contracting out sales duties to independent agents rather than using in-house or direct selling per­ sonnel. Agents are paid only if they sell, which reduces the over­ head cost to their clients. Also, by using an agent who usually contracts his or her services to more than one company, companies can share costs with the other companies involved with that agent. As their customers and manufacturers continue to merge with other companies, independent agents and other wholesale trade firms will, in response, also merge with each other to better serve their cli­ ents. Although the demand for independent sales agents will in­ crease over the 2002-12 projection period, the supply is expected to remain stable or decline because of the difficulties associated with self-employment. This factor could lead to many opportuni­ ties for sales representatives to start their own independent sales agencies. Those interested in this occupation should keep in mind that di­ rect selling opportunities in manufacturing are likely to be best for products for which there is strong demand. Furthermore, jobs will be most plentiful in small wholesale and manufacturing firms be­ cause a growing number of these companies will rely on agents to market their products as a way to control their costs and expand their customer base. Employment opportunities and earnings may fluctuate from year to year because sales are affected by changing economic condi­ tions, legislative issues, and consumer preferences. Job prospects will be best for persons with the appropriate knowledge or techni­ cal expertise as well as the personal traits necessary for successful selling.  Earnings Compensation methods vary significantly by the type of firm and product sold. Most employers use a combination of salary and com­ mission or salary plus bonus. Commissions usually are based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all sales workers in the group or district, or on the company’s performance. Median annual earnings of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products, were $55,740, in­ cluding commission, in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $39,480 and $79,380 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,010 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employ­ ing the largest numbers of sales representatives, technical and sci­ entific products, in 2002 were as follows: Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers................ Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers.................................................................... Drugs and druggists’ sundries merchant wholesalers................. Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers..... Electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers...............  60,890 57,890 53,140 50,550  $48,320 44,030 43,880 41,840 37,940  In addition to their earnings, sales representatives usually are reimbursed for expenses such as transportation costs, meals, hotels, and entertaining customers. They often receive benefits such as health and life insurance, pension plan, vacation and sick leave, per­ sonal use of a company car, and frequent flyer mileage. Some com­ panies offer incentives such as free vacation trips or gifts for out­ standing sales workers. Unlike those working directly for a manufacturer or wholesaler, manufacturers’ agents are paid strictly on commission and usually are not reimbursed for expenses. Depending on the type of product or products they are selling, their experience in the field, and the number of clients, their earnings can be significantly higher or lower than those working in direct sales. Related Occupations Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, must have sales ability and knowledge of the products they sell. Other occupations that require similar skills include advertising, marketing, promo­ tions, and public relations, and sales managers; insurance sales agents; purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents; real estate brokers and sales agents; retail salespersons; sales engineers; and securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. Sources of Additional Information Information on careers for manufacturers’ representatives and agents is available from: ► Manufacturers’ Agents National Association, P.O. Box 3467, Laguna Hills, CA 92654-3467. Internet: http://www.manaonIine.org >• Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation, RO. Box 247, Geneva, IL 60134. Internet: http://www.mrerf.org  Sales Worker Supervisors (0*NET 41-1011.00, 41-1012.00)  Significant Points  • •  $64,070  Median annual earnings of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products, were $42,730, including commission, in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,660 and $60,970 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,610, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,990 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of sales representatives, except techni­ cal and scientific products, in 2002 were as follows:  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers................ Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers...... Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers..................................................................... Grocery and related product wholesalers...................................... Miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant whoelsalers..........  • •  Applicants with retail experience should have the best job opportunities in this occupation. Overall employment is projected to grow more slowly than average; the number of self-employed sales worker supervisors is expected to decline. Long, irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, are common. In many retail establishments, managers are promoted from within the company; a postsecondary degree may speed a sales worker supervisor’s advancement into management.  Nature of the Work Sales worker supervisors oversee the work of sales and related work­ ers, such as retail salespersons, cashiers, customer service represen­ tatives, stock clerks and order fillers, sales engineers, and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives. Sales worker supervisors  Sales and Related Occupations 415 are responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training employees, as well as for preparing work schedules and assigning workers to spe­ cific duties. Many of these workers hold job titles such as sales manager or department manager. Under the occupational classifi­ cation system used in the Handbook, however, workers with the title manager who mainly supervise nonsupervisory workers are called supervisors rather than managers, even though many of these workers often perform numerous managerial functions. (Sales worker supervisors oversee retail salespersons, cashiers, customer service representatives, stock clerks and order fillers, sales engi­ neers, and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, all of whom are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) In retail establishments, sales worker supervisors ensure that customers receive satisfactory service and quality goods. They also answer customers’ inquiries, deal with complaints, and sometimes handle purchasing, budgeting, and accounting. Their responsibili­ ties vary with the size and type of establishment. As the size of retail stores and the types of goods and services increase, these work­ ers tend to specialize in one department or one aspect of merchan­ dising. (Managers in eating and drinking places are discussed in the Handbook statement on food service managers.) Sales worker supervisors in large retail establishments, often re­ ferred to as department managers, provide day-to-day oversight of individual departments, such as shoes, cosmetics, or housewares in large department stores; produce and meat in grocery stores; and sales in automotive dealerships. These workers establish and imple­ ment policies, goals, objectives, and procedures for their specific departments; coordinate activities with other department heads; and strive for smooth operations within their departments. They super­ vise employees who price and ticket goods and place them on dis­ play; clean and organize shelves, displays, and inventories in stock­ rooms; and inspect merchandise to ensure that nothing is outdated. Sales worker supervisors also review inventory and sales records, develop merchandising techniques, and coordinate sales promotions. In addition, they may greet and assist customers and promote sales and good public relations. Sales worker supervisors in nonretail establishments supervise and coordinate the activities of sales workers who sell industrial products, automobiles, or services such as advertising or Internet services. They may prepare budgets, make personnel decisions, devise sales-incentive programs, assign sales territories, or approve sales contracts.  v. *»•  ,  ;  Sales worker supervisors answer customers ’ inquiries, deal with complaints, and may handle purchasing, budgeting, and accounting.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In small or independent companies and retail stores, sales worker supervisors not only directly supervise sales associates, but also are responsible for the operation of the entire company or store. Some are self-employed business or store owners. Working Conditions Most sales worker supervisors have offices. In retail trade, their offices are within the stores, usually close to the areas they oversee. Although they spend some time in the office completing merchan­ dise orders or arranging work schedules, a large portion of their workday is spent on the sales floor, supervising employees or selling. Work hours of supervisors vary greatly among establishments, because work schedules usually depend on customers’ needs. Su­ pervisors generally work at least 40 hours a week. Long, irregular hours are common, particularly during sales, holidays, busy shop­ ping hours, and times when inventory is taken. Supervisors are expected to work evenings and weekends, but usually are compen­ sated with a day off during the week. Hours can change weekly, and managers sometimes must report to work on short notice, espe­ cially when employees are absent. Independent owners can often set their own schedules, but hours must be convenient to customers. Employment Sales worker supervisors held about 2.4 million jobs in 2002. Ap­ proximately 36 percent were self-employed, most of whom were store owners. Additionally, 43 percent of wage and salary sales worker supervisors are employed in the retail sector. Some of the largest employers are grocery stores, department stores, motor ve­ hicle dealerships, and clothing and accessory stores. The remain­ der works in nonretail establishments. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Sales worker supervisors usually acquire knowledge of manage­ ment principles and practices—an essential requirement for a su­ pervisory or managerial position in retail trade—through work ex­ perience. Many supervisors begin their careers on the sales floor as salespersons, cashiers, or customer service representatives. In these positions, they learn merchandising, customer service, and the ba­ sic policies and procedures of the company. The educational backgrounds of sales worker supervisors vary widely. Regardless of the education they receive, recommended courses include accounting, marketing, management, and sales, as well as psychology, sociology, and communication. Supervisors also must be computer literate, because almost all cash registers, inventory control systems, and sales quotes and contracts are com­ puterized. Supervisors who have postsecondary education often hold associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts, social sciences, busi­ ness, or management. To gain experience, many college students participate in internship programs that usually are developed jointly by individual schools and firms. The type and amount of training available to supervisors varies from company to company. Many national retail chains and com­ panies have formal training programs for management trainees that include both classroom and on-site training. Training time may be as brief as 1 week, but may also last up to 1 year or more, because many organizations require that trainees gain experience during all sales seasons. Ordinarily, classroom training includes topics such as interview­ ing and customer service skills, employee and inventory manage­ ment, and scheduling. Management trainees may work in one spe­ cific department while training on the job, or they may rotate through several departments to gain a well-rounded knowledge of the  416 Occupational Outlook Handbook company’s operation. Training programs for retail franchises are generally extensive, covering all functions of the company’s opera­ tion, including budgeting, marketing, management, finance, purchas­ ing, product preparation, human resource management, and com­ pensation. College graduates usually can enter management training programs directly. Sales worker supervisors must get along with all types of people. They need initiative, self-discipline, good judgment, and decisive­ ness. Patience and a mild temperament are necessary when dealing with demanding customers. Sales worker supervisors also must be able to motivate, organize, and direct the work of subordinates and communicate clearly and persuasively with customers and other supervisors. Individuals who display leadership and team-building skills, self­ confidence, motivation, and decisiveness become candidates for promotion to assistant manager or manager. A postsecondary de­ gree may speed a sales worker supervisor’s advancement into man­ agement, because it is viewed by employers as a sign of motivation and maturity—qualities deemed important for promotion to more responsible positions. In many retail establishments, managers are promoted from within the company. In small retail establishments, where the number of positions is limited, advancement to a higher management position may come slowly. Large establishments of­ ten have extensive career ladder programs and may offer supervi­ sors the opportunity to transfer to another store in the chain or to the central office if an opening occurs. Although promotions may oc­ cur more quickly in large establishments, some managers may need to relocate every several years in order to advance. Supervisors also can become advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers (workers who coordinate marketing plans, moni­ tor sales, and propose advertisements and promotions) or purchas­ ing managers, buyers, or purchasing agents (workers who purchase goods and supplies for their organization or for resale). (These oc­ cupations are covered elsewhere in the Handbook.) Some supervisors who have worked in their industry for a long time open their own stores or sales firms. However, retail trade and sales occupations are highly competitive, and although many inde­ pendent owners succeed, some fail to cover expenses and eventu­ ally go out of business. To prosper, owners usually need good busi­ ness sense and strong customer service and public relations skills. Job Outlook Candidates who have retail experience—as a retail salesperson, cash­ ier, or customer service representative, for example—will have the best opportunities for jobs as sales worker supervisors. As in other fields, competition is expected for supervisory jobs, particularly those with the most attractive earnings and working conditions. Employment of sales worker supervisors is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Growth in the occupation will be restrained somewhat as retail companies hire more sales staff and increase the responsibili­ ties of sales worker supervisors. Many job openings will occur as experienced supervisors move into higher levels of management, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. However, as with other supervisory and managerial occupations, job turnover is relatively low. The Internet and electronic commerce are creating new opportu­ nities to reach and communicate with potential customers. Some firms are hiring Internet sales managers, who are in charge of main­ taining an Internet site and answering inquiries relating to the prod­ uct, to prices, and to the terms of delivery—a trend that will in­ crease demand for these supervisors. Overall, Internet sales and electronic commerce may reduce the number of additional sales  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  workers needed, thus reducing the number of additional supervi­ sors required. However, the impact of electronic commerce on employment of sales worker supervisors should be minimal. Projected employment growth of sales worker supervisors will mirror, in part, the patterns of employment growth in the industries in which they work. For example, faster-than-average employment growth is expected in many of the rapidly growing services indus­ tries. The number of self-employed sales worker supervisors is ex­ pected to decline as independent retailers face increasing competi­ tion from national chains. Unlike middle- and upper-level managers, store-level retail su­ pervisors generally will not be affected by the restructuring and consolidation taking place at the corporate and headquarters levels of many retail chains. Earnings Salaries of sales worker supervisors vary substantially, depending upon the level of responsibility the individual has; the person’s length of service; and the type, size, and location of the firm. In 2002, median annual earnings of salaried sales worker super­ visors of retail sales workers, including commissions, were $29,700. The middle 50 percent earned between $22,790 and $40,100 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $55,810 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of salaried supervi­ sors of retail sales workers in 2002 were as follows: Building material and supplies dealers.................................... Grocery stores....................................................................... Clothing stores....................................................................... Department stores.................................................................. Gasoline stations....................................................................  $32,780 29,940 28,060 27,390 25,000  In 2002, median annual earnings of salaried sales worker super­ visors of nonretail sales workers, including commission, were $53,020. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,680 and $77,690 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $114,210 a year. Me­ dian annual earnings in the industries employing the largest num­ bers of salaried supervisors of nonretail sales workers in 2002 were as follows: Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers............. $74,000 Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers............................................................ 72,970 Insurance carriers...................................................................... 63,220 Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchantwholesalers..... 60,450 Federal Government................................................................. 50,570 Compensation systems vary by type of establishment and mer­ chandise sold. Many supervisors receive a commission or a combi­ nation of salary and commission. Under a commission system, su­ pervisors receive a percentage of department or store sales. Thus, supervisors have the opportunity to increase their earnings consid­ erably, but they may find that their earnings depend on their ability to sell their product and the condition of the economy. Those who sell large amounts of merchandise or exceed sales goals often re­ ceive bonuses or other awards. Related Occupations Sales worker supervisors serve customers, supervise workers, and direct and coordinate the operations of an establishment. Others with similar responsibilities include financial managers, food ser­ vice managers, lodging managers, and medical and health services managers.  Sales and Related Occupations 417 Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for sales worker super­ visors may be obtained from the employment offices of various re­ tail establishments or State employment service offices. General information on management careers in retail establish­ ments is available from: ► National Retail Federation, 325 7th St. NW„ Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004.  Information on management careers in grocery stores and on schools offering related programs is available from: >- International Food Service Distributors Association, 201 Park Washing­ ton Ct., Falls Church, VA 22046-4521.  Information about management careers and training programs in the motor vehicle dealers industry is available from: >• National Automobile Dealers Association, Public Relations Dept., 8400 Westpark Dr., McLean, VA 22102-3591. Internet: http://www.nada.org  Information about management careers in convenience stores is available from: >- National Association of Convenience Stores, 1600 Duke St., Alexan­ dria, VA 22314-3436.  Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents (0*NET 41-3031.01, 41-3031.02)  selling the security to customers at a profit. After the transaction has been completed, the broker notifies the customer of the final price. Securities and commodities sales agents also provide many re­ lated services for their customers. They may explain stock market terms and trading practices, offer financial counseling or advice on the purchase or sale of particular securities, and design an individual client’s financial portfolio, which could include securities, life in­ surance, corporate and municipal bonds, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, annuities, and other investments. Not all customers have the same investment goals. Some indi­ viduals prefer long-term investments, for capital growth or to pro­ vide income over a number of years; others might want to invest in speculative securities, which they hope will quickly rise in price. On the basis of each customer’s objectives, securities and commodi­ ties sales agents furnish information about the advantages and dis­ advantages of an investment. They also supply the latest price quotes on any securities, as well as information on the activities and finan­ cial positions of the corporations issuing the securities. Most securities and commodities sales agents serve individual investors; others specialize in institutional investors, such as banks and pension funds. In institutional investing, sales agents usually concentrate on a specific financial product, such as stocks, bonds, options, annuities, or commodity futures. At other times, they may also handle the sale of new issues, such as corporate securities is­ sued to finance the expansion of a plant.  Significant Points  •  •  •  Employment is expected to grow as fast as the average, and competition for entry-level jobs is expected to be keen because sales agents who succeed often have high earnings. A college degree, sales ability, good interpersonal and communication skills, and a strong desire to succeed are important qualifications for this profession. Beginning securities and commodities sales agents must pass a licensing exam to sell securities and commodities.  Nature of the Work Most investors, whether they are individuals with a few hundred dollars to invest or large institutions with millions, use securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents when buying or selling stocks, bonds, shares in mutual funds, insurance annuities, or other financial products. In addition, many clients seek out these agents for advice on investments, estate planning, and other finan­ cial matters. Securities and commodities sales agents, also called brokers, stockbrokers, registered representatives, account executives, or fi­ nancial consultants, perform a variety of tasks, depending on their specific job duties. When an investor wishes to buy or sell a secu­ rity, for example, sales agents may relay the order through their firm’s computers to the floor of a securities exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange. There, securities and commodities sales agents known as floor brokers negotiate the price with other floor brokers, make the sale, and forward the purchase price to the sales agents. If a security is not traded on an exchange, as in the case of bonds and over-the-counter stocks, the broker sends the order to the firm’s trading department. Here, using their own funds or those of the firm, other securities sales agents, known as dealers, buy and sell securities directly from other dealers, with the intention of re­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  BUS*#5  Securities sales agents recommend investment products on the basis of their clients ’ goals.  418 Occupational Outlook Handbook The most important part of a sales representative’s job is finding clients and building a customer base. Thus, beginning securities and commodities sales agents spend much of their time searching for customers—relying heavily on telephone solicitation. They also may meet clients through business and social contacts. Many sales agents find it useful to contact potential clients by teaching adult education investment courses or by giving lectures at libraries or social clubs. Brokerage firms may give sales agents lists of people with whom the firm has done business in the past. Some agents inherit the clients of agents who have retired. After an agent is established, referrals from satisfied clients are an important source of new business. Financial services sales agents sell a wide variety of banking and related services. They contact potential customers to explain their services and to ascertain customers’ banking and other finan­ cial needs. In doing so, they discuss services such as loans, deposit accounts, lines of credit, sales or inventory financing, certificates of deposit, cash management, mutual funds, or investment services. They also may solicit businesses to participate in consumer credit card programs. Financial services sales agents who serve all the financial needs of a single affluent individual or a business often are called private bankers or relationship managers. With deregulation of the financial services industry, the distinc­ tions among sales agents are becoming less clear as securities firms, banks, and insurance companies venture further and further into each other’s products and services. The agents’ jobs also are be­ coming more important as competition between the firms intensifies. Working Conditions Most securities and commodities sales agents work in offices un­ der fairly stressful conditions. They have access to “quote boards” or computer terminals that continually provide information on the prices of securities. When sales activity increases, due perhaps to unanticipated changes in the economy, the pace can become very hectic. Established securities and commodities sales agents usually work a standard 40-hour week. Beginners who are seeking customers usually work longer hours. New brokers spend a great deal of time learning the firm’s products and services and studying for exams in order to qualify to sell other products, such as insurance and com­ modities. Most securities and commodities sales agents accommo­ date customers by meeting with them in the evenings or on week­ ends. A growing number of securities sales agents, employed mostly by discount or online brokerage firms, work in call-center environ­ ments. In these centers, hundreds of agents spend much of the day on the telephone taking orders from clients or offering advice and information on different securities. Often, such call centers operate 24 hours a day, requiring agents to work in shifts. Financial services sales agents normally work 40 hours a week in a comfortable, less stressful office environment. They may spend considerable time outside the office, meeting with current and prospective clients, attending civic functions, and participating in trade association meetings. Some financial services sales agents work exclusively inside banks, providing service to walk-in customers. Employment Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents held about 300,000 jobs in 2002. More than half of jobs were found in securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities. One in 5 worked in depository and nondepository credit intermediation, including commercial banks, savings institu­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tions, and credit unions. Although securities and commodities sales agents are employed by firms in all parts of the country, many work for a small number of large securities and investment banking firms headquartered in New York City. About 1 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent in 8 was self-employed. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Because securities and commodities sales agents must be knowl­ edgeable about economic conditions and trends, a college educa­ tion is important, especially in larger securities firms. In fact, the overwhelming majority of workers in this occupation are college graduates. Although employers seldom require specialized academic training, courses in business administration, economics, and finance are helpful. Many employers consider personal qualities and skills more im­ portant than academic training. Employers seek applicants who have considerable sales ability, good interpersonal and communica­ tion skills, and a strong desire to succeed. Some employers also make sure that applicants have a good credit history and a clean record. Self-confidence and an ability to handle frequent rejections are important ingredients for success. Because maturity and the ability to work independently are im­ portant, many employers prefer to hire those who have achieved success in other jobs. Some firms prefer candidates with sales ex­ perience, particularly those who have worked on commission in ar­ eas such as real estate or insurance. Therefore, most entrants to this occupation transfer from other jobs. Some begin working as secu­ rities and commodities sales agents following retirement from other fields. Securities and commodities sales agents must meet State licens­ ing requirements, which usually include passing an examination and, in some cases, furnishing a personal bond. In addition, sales agents must register as representatives of their firm with the National As­ sociation of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD). Before beginners can qualify as registered representatives, they must pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination (Series 7 exam), administered by the NASD, and be an employee of a registered firm for at least 4 months. Most States require a second examination: the Uniform Securi­ ties Agents State Law Examination. This test measures the pro­ spective representative’s knowledge of the securities business in general, of customer protection requirements, and of recordkeeping procedures. Many take correspondence courses in preparation for the securities examinations. Within 2 years, brokers are encour­ aged to take additional licensing exams in order to sell mutual funds, insurance, and commodities. Most employers provide on-the-job training to help securities and commodities sales agents meet the registration requirements for certification. In most firms, the training period takes about 4 months. Trainees in large firms may receive classroom instruction in se­ curities analysis, effective speaking, and the finer points of selling, may take courses offered by business schools and associations, and may undergo a period of on-the-job training lasting up to 2 years. Many firms like to rotate their trainees among various departments, to give them a broad perspective of the securities business. In small firms, sales agents often receive training in outside institutions and on the job. Securities and commodities sales agents must understand the basic characteristics of the wide variety of financial products of­ fered by brokerage firms. Brokers periodically take training through their firms or outside institutions in order to keep abreast of new financial products and improve their sales techniques. Computer  Sales and Related Occupations 419 training also is important, because the securities sales business is highly automated. Since 1995, it has become mandatory for all registered securities and commodities sales agents to attend peri­ odic continuing education classes to maintain their licenses. Courses consist of computer-based training in regulatory matters and com­ pany training on new products and services. The principal form of advancement for securities and commodi­ ties sales agents is an increase in the number and size of the ac­ counts they handle. Although beginners usually service the accounts of individual investors, they may eventually handle very large insti­ tutional accounts, such as those of banks and pension funds. After taking a series of tests, some brokers become portfolio managers and have greater authority to make investment decisions regarding an account. Some experienced sales agents become branch office managers and supervise other sales agents while continuing to pro­ vide services for their own customers. A few agents advance to top management positions or become partners in their firms. Banks and other credit institutions prefer to hire college gradu­ ates for financial services sales jobs. A business administration degree with a specialization in finance or a liberal arts degree that includes courses in accounting, economics, and marketing serves as excellent preparation for this job. Often, financial services sales agents learn their jobs through on-the-job training under the supervision of bank officers. However, those who wish to sell mutual funds and insurance products may need to undergo formal training and pass some of the same exams required of securities sales agents.  Job Outlook Employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occu­ pations through 2012. As people’s incomes continue to climb, they will increasingly seek the advice and services of securities, com­ modities, and financial services sales agents to realize their finan­ cial goals. Growth in the volume of trade in stocks over the Internet will reduce the need for brokers for many transactions. Neverthe­ less, the overall increase in investment is expected to spur employ­ ment growth among these workers, with a majority of transactions still requiring the advice and services of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. Baby boomers in their peak savings years will fuel much of this increase in investment. Saving for retirement has been made much easier by the government, which continues to offer a number of taxfavorable pension plans, such as the 401 (k) and the Roth IRA. The participation of more women in the workforce also means higher household incomes and more women qualifying for pensions. Many of these pensions are self-directed, meaning that the recipient has the responsibility for investing the money. With such large amounts of money to invest, sales agents, in their role as financial advisors, will be in great demand. Other factors that will affect the demand for brokers are the in­ creasing number and complexity of investment products, as well as the effects of globalization. As the public and businesses become more sophisticated about investing, they are venturing into the op­ tions and futures markets. Brokers are needed to buy or sell these products, which are not traded online. Also, markets for investment are expanding with the increase in global trading of stocks and bonds. Furthermore, the New York Stock Exchange has extended its trad­ ing hours to accommodate trading in foreign stocks and compete with foreign exchanges. Employment of brokers is adversely affected by downturns in the stock market or the economy. Turnover is high for beginning  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  brokers, who often are unable to establish a sizable clientele even in good times. Once established, securities and commodities sales agents have a very strong attachment to their occupation because of their high earnings and the considerable investment in training. Competition usually is intense, especially in larger companies with more applicants than jobs. Opportunities for beginning brokers should be better in smaller firms. The number of financial services sales agents in banks will in­ crease faster than average as banks expand their product offerings in order to compete directly with other investment firms.  Earnings Median annual earnings of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents were $60,990 in 2002. The middle half earned between $36,180 and $117,050. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of securities and financial services sales agents in 2002 were as follows: Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage........................................................................................... Other financial investment activities................................................ Management of companies and enterprises................................... Nondepository credit intermediation............................................... Depository credit intermediation.....................................................  $78,140 75,110 54,730 43,220 39,870  Stockbrokers, who provide personalized service and more guid­ ance with respect to a client’s investments, usually are paid a com­ mission based on the amount of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, insur­ ance, and other products they sell. Earnings from commissions are likely to be high when there is much buying and selling, low when there is a slump in market activity. Most firms provide sales agents with a steady income by paying a “draw against commission”—a minimum salary based on commissions they can be expected to earn. Securities and commodities sales agents who can provide their cli­ ents with the most thorough financial services should enjoy the great­ est income stability. Trainee brokers usually are paid a salary until they develop a client base. The salary gradually decreases in favor of commissions as the broker gains clients. A small, but increasing, number of full-service brokers are paid a percentage of the assets they oversee. This fee often covers a certain number of trades done for free. Brokers who work for discount brokerage firms that promote the use of telephone and online trading services usually are paid a salary, sometimes boosted by bonuses that reflect the profitability of the office. Financial services sales agents usually are paid a sal­ ary also; however, bonuses or commissions from sales are starting to account for a larger share of their income.  Related Occupations Other jobs requiring knowledge of finance and an ability to sell include insurance sales agents, real estate brokers and sales agents, and financial analysts and personal financial advisors.  Sources of Additional Information For general information on the securities industry, contact: ► Securities Industry Association, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.  For information about job opportunities for financial services sales agents in various States, contact State bankers’ associations or write directly to a particular bank.  420 Occupational Outlook Handbook on the size of the travel agency, an agent may specialize by type of travel, such as leisure or business, or destination, such as Europe or Africa.  Travel Agents (0*NET 41-3041.00) Significant Points  •  • •  •  Travel benefits, such as reduced rates for transportation and lodging, attract many people to this occupation. Training at a postsecondary vocational school, college, or university is increasingly important. Industry consolidation and increasing use of the Internet to book travel will result in a decline in the employment of travel agents. Keen competition for jobs is expected.  Nature of the Work Constantly changing airfares and schedules, thousands of available vacation packages, and a vast amount of travel information on the Internet can make travel planning frustrating and time-consuming. To sort out the many travel options, tourists and business people often turn to travel agents, who assess their needs and help them make the best possible travel arrangements. Also, many major cmise lines, resorts, and specialty travel groups use travel agents to pro­ mote travel packages to millions of people every year. In general, travel agents give advice on destinations and make arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rent­ als, tours, and recreation. They also may advise on weather condi­ tions, restaurants, tourist attractions, and recreation. For interna­ tional travel, agents also provide information on customs regulations, required papers (passports, visas, and certificates of vaccination), and currency exchange rates. Travel agents consult a variety of published and computer-based sources for information on departure and arrival times, fares, and hotel ratings and accommodations. They may visit hotels, resorts, and restaurants to evaluate comfort, cleanliness, and quality of food and service so that they can base recommendations on their own travel experiences or those of colleagues or clients. Travel agents also promote their services, using telemarketing, direct mail, and the Internet. They make presentations to social and special-interest groups, arrange advertising displays, and sug­ gest company-sponsored trips to business managers. Depending •* *■«-— -—A f :L :' Wiser  Travel agents often recommend places to stay, eat, and visit to travelers.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Working Conditions Travel agents spend most of their time behind a desk conferring with clients, completing paperwork, contacting airlines and hotels for travel arrangements, and promoting group tours. During vaca­ tion seasons and holiday periods, they may be under a great deal of pressure. Many agents, especially those who are self-employed, frequently work long hours. With advanced computer systems and telecommunication networks, some travel agents are able to work at home. Employment Travel agents held about 118,000 jobs in 2002 and are found in every part of the country. More than 8 out of 10 agents worked for travel agencies. Nearly 1 in 10 was self-employed. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The minimum requirement for those interested in becoming a travel agent is a high school diploma or equivalent. Technology and com­ puterization are having a profound effect on the work of travel agents, however, and formal or specialized training is increasingly impor­ tant. Many vocational schools offer full-time travel agent programs that last several months, as well as evening and weekend programs. Travel agent courses also are offered in public adult education pro­ grams and in community and 4-year colleges. A few colleges offer bachelor’s or master’s degrees in travel and tourism. Although few college courses relate directly to the travel industry, a college edu­ cation sometimes is desired by employers to establish a background in fields such as computer science, geography, communication, for­ eign languages, and world history. Courses in accounting and busi­ ness management also are important, especially for those who ex­ pect to manage or start their own travel agencies. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) offers a corre­ spondence course that provides a basic understanding of the travel industry. Travel agencies also provide on-the-job training for their employees, a significant part of which consists of computer instruc­ tion. All employers require computer skills of workers whose jobs involve the operation of airline and centralized reservation systems. Experienced travel agents can take advanced self-study or groupstudy courses from the Travel Institute that lead to the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) designation. The Travel Institute also of­ fers marketing and sales skills development programs and destina­ tion specialist programs, which provide a detailed knowledge of regions such as North America, Western Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. Personal travel experience or experience as an airline reserva­ tion agent is an asset because knowledge about a city or foreign country often helps to influence a client’s travel plans. Patience and the ability to gain the confidence of clients also are useful qualities. Travel agents must be well-organized, accurate, and meticulous to compile information from various sources and plan and organize their clients’ travel itineraries. As the Internet has become an im­ portant tool for making travel arrangements, more travel agencies are using Web sites to provide their services to clients. This trend has increased the importance of computer skills in this occupation. Other desirable qualifications include good writing, interpersonal, and sales skills. Some employees start as reservation clerks or receptionists in travel agencies. With experience and some formal training, they can take on greater responsibilities and eventually assume travel  Sales and Related Occupations 421 agent duties. In agencies with many offices, travel agents may ad­ vance to office manager or to other managerial positions. Those who start their own agencies generally have had experi­ ence in an established agency. Before they can receive commis­ sions, these agents usually must gain formal approval from suppli­ ers or corporations, such as airlines, ship lines, or rail lines. The Airlines Reporting Corporation and the International Airlines Travel Agency Network, for example, are the approving bodies for air­ lines. To gain approval, an agency must be financially sound and employ at least one experienced manager or travel agent. There are no Federal licensing requirements for travel agents. However, nine States—California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—require some form of registration or certification of retail sellers of travel services. More information may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Attor­ ney General or Department of Commerce in each State. Job Outlook Employment of travel agents is expected to decline through 2012. Most openings will occur as experienced agents transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Because of the projected de­ cline and the fact that a number of people are attracted by the travel benefits associated with this occupation, keen competition for jobs is expected. An increasing reliance on the Internet to book travel, as well as industry consolidation, will continue to reduce the need for travel agents. The Internet increasingly allows people to access travel in­ formation from their personal computers, enabling them to research and plan their own trips, make their own reservations and travel arrangements, and purchase their own tickets. Also, airlines no longer pay commissions to travel agencies, which has reduced rev­ enues and caused some agencies to go out of business. However, many consumers still prefer to use a professional travel agent to ensure reliability, to save time, and, in some cases, to save money. Moderating the employment decline, however, are projections for increased spending on tourism and travel over the next decade. With rising household incomes, smaller families, and an increasing number of older people who are more likely to travel, more people are expected to travel on vacation—and to do so more frequently— than in the past. Business travel also should bounce back from re­ cession and terrorism related lows as business activity expands. Further, as U.S. businesses open more foreign operations, and busi­ nesses, in general, increasingly sell their goods and services world­ wide, more business travel is anticipated. There are other factors spurring demand for travel agents that will moderate any decline. Most notable is the increasing affordability of air travel. Greater competition between airlines,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  especially from low-cost carriers, has resulted in bringing airfares within the budgets of more people. In addition, American travel agents now organize more tours for the growing number of foreign visitors. Also, travel agents often are able to offer various travel packages at a substantial discount. The travel business is sensitive to economic downturns and in­ ternational political crises, when travel plans are likely to be de­ ferred. Therefore, the number of job opportunities for travel agents fluctuates. The best opportunities will be for those travel agents that can utilize the Internet for their own operations to reduce costs and better compete with travel suppliers. Earnings Experience, sales ability, and the size and location of the agency determine the salary of a travel agent. Median annual earnings of travel agents were $26,630 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,800 and $33,580. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,530, while the top 10 percent earned more than $41,660. Salaried agents usually enjoy standard employer-paid benefits that self-employed agents must provide for themselves. Among agencies, those focusing on corporate sales pay higher salaries and provide more extensive benefits, on average, than do those that fo­ cus on leisure sales. When they travel for personal reasons, agents usually get reduced rates for transportation and accommodations. In addition, agents sometimes take “familiarization” trips, at no cost to themselves, to learn about various vacation sites. These benefits attract many people to this occupation. Earnings of travel agents who own their agencies depend mainly on commissions from travel-related bookings and service fees they charge clients. Often it takes time to acquire a sufficient number of clients to have adequate earnings, so it is not unusual for new selfemployed agents to have low earnings. Established agents may have lower earnings during economic downturns. Related Occupations Travel agents organize and schedule business, educational, or rec­ reational travel or activities. Other workers with similar responsi­ bilities include tour and travel guides, and reservation and transpor­ tation ticket agents and travel clerks. Sources of Additional Information For further information on training opportunities, contact: >■ American Society of Travel Agents, Education Department, 1101 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. For information on training and certification qualifications, con­ tact: >• The Travel Institute, 148 Linden St., Suite 305, Wellesley, MA 02482.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations Communications Equipment Operators (0*NET 43-2011.00, 43-2021.01,43-2021.02, 43-2099.99) Significant Points  • • •  Switchboard operators hold 3 out of 4 jobs. Workers train on the job. Employment is expected to decline.  Nature of the Work Most communications equipment operators work as switchboard operators for a wide variety of businesses, such as hospitals, busi­ ness support services, and employment services. Switchboard op­ erators operate private branch exchange (PBX) or voiceover Internet protocol (VoIP) switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and in­ teroffice calls, usually for a single organization. They also may handle other clerical duties, such as supplying information, taking messages, and announcing visitors. Technological improvements have automated many of the tasks handled by switchboard opera­ tors. New systems automatically connect outside calls to the cor­ rect destination or automated directories, and voice-mail systems take messages without the assistance of an operator. Some communications equipment operators work as telephone operators, assisting customers in making telephone calls. Although most calls are connected automatically, callers sometimes require the assistance of an operator. Central office operators help custom­ ers to complete local and long-distance calls. Directory assistance operators provide customers with information such as telephone numbers or area codes. When callers dial “0,” they usually reach a central office opera­ tor, also known as a local, long-distance, or call completion opera­ tor. Most of these operators work for telephone companies, and many of their responsibilities have been automated. For example, callers can make international, collect, and credit card calls without the assistance of a central office operator. Other tasks previously handled by these operators, such as billing calls to third parties and monitoring the cost of a call, also have been automated. Callers still need a central office operator for a limited number of tasks, including placing person-to-person calls or interrupting busy lines if an emergency warrants the disruption. When natural disasters such as storms or earthquakes occur, central office opera­ tors provide callers with emergency phone contacts. They also as­ sist callers who are having difficulty with automated phone sys­ tems. An operator monitoring an automated system that aids a caller in placing collect calls, for example, may intervene if a caller needs assistance with the system. Directory assistance operators provide callers with information such as telephone numbers or area codes. Most directory assistance operators work for telephone companies; increasingly, they also work for companies that provide business services. Automated systems now handle many of the responsibilities once performed by direc­ tory assistance operators. The systems prompt callers for a listing 422   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Switchboard operators also may handle clerical duties. and may even connect the call after providing the telephone num­ ber. However, directory assistance operators monitor many of the calls received by automated systems. The operators listen to re­ cordings of the customer’s request and then key information into electronic directories to access the correct telephone numbers. Di­ rectory assistance operators also provide personal assistance to cus­ tomers having difficulty using the automated system. Other communications equipment operators include workers who operate satellite communications equipment, telegraph equipment, and a wide variety of other communications equipment. Working Conditions Most communications equipment operators work in pleasant, welllighted surroundings. Because telephone operators spend much time seated at keyboards and video monitors, employers often provide workstations designed to decrease glare and other physical discom­ forts. Such improvements reduce the incidence of eyestrain, back discomfort, and injury due to repetitive motion. Switchboard operators generally work the same hours as other clerical employees at their company. In most organizations, full­ time operators work regular business hours over a 5-day workweek. Work schedules are more irregular in hotels, hospitals, and other organizations that require round-the-clock operator services. In these companies, switchboard operators may work in the evenings and on holidays and weekends. Central office and directory assistance operators must be acces­ sible to customers 24 hours a day; therefore, they work a variety of shifts. Some operators work split shifts, coming on duty during peak calling periods in the late morning and early evening and go­ ing off duty during the intervening hours. Telephone companies normally assign shifts by seniority, allowing the most experienced operators first choice of schedules. As a result, entry-level opera­ tors may have less desirable schedules, including late evening, splitshift, and weekend work. Telephone company operators may work overtime during emergencies. Approximately 1 in 5 communications equipment operators works part time. Because of the irregular nature of telephone  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 423 operator schedules, many employers seek part-time workers for those shifts that are difficult to fill. An operator’s work may be quite repetitive and the pace hectic during peak calling periods. To maintain operators’ efficiency, su­ pervisors at telephone companies often monitor their performance, including the amount of time they spend on each call. The rapid pace of the job and frequent monitoring may cause stress. Employment Communications equipment operators held about 304,000 jobs in 2002. About 3 out of 4 worked as switchboard operators. Employ­ ment was distributed as follows: Switchboard operators, including answering service............... Telephone operators............................................................... All other communications equipment operators.......................  236,000 50,000 19,000  Most switchboard operators worked for services establishments, such as employment services, hospitals, and hotels and motels. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Communications equipment operators receive their training on the job. At large telecommunications companies, entry-level central office and directory assistance operators may receive both class­ room and on-the-job instruction that can last several weeks. At small telecommunications companies, operators usually receive shorter, less formal training. These operators may be paired with experi­ enced personnel who provide hands-on instruction. Switchboard operators also may receive short-term, informal training, sometimes provided by the manufacturer of their switchboard equipment. New employees are trained in the operation of their equipment and in procedures designed to maximize efficiency. They are famil­ iarized with company policies, including the expected level of cus­ tomer service. Instructors monitor both the time and quality of train­ ees’ responses to customer requests. Supervisors may continue to monitor new employees closely after they complete their initial train­ ing session. Employers generally require a high school diploma for operator positions. Applicants should have clear speech, good hearing, and strong reading, spelling, and numerical skills. Computer literacy and typing skills also are important, and familiarity with a foreign language is helpful because of the increasing diversity of the popu­ lation. Candidates for positions may be required to take an exami­ nation covering basic language and math skills. Most companies emphasize customer service and seek operators who will remain courteous to customers while working at a fast pace. After 1 or 2 years on the job, communications equipment opera­ tors may advance to other positions within a company. Many enter clerical occupations in which their operator experience is valuable, such as customer service representative, dispatcher, and reception­ ist. (See the Handbook statements on these occupations.) Opera­ tors interested in more technical work may take training classes and advance into positions having to do with installing and repairing equipment. (See the Handbook statements on radio and telecom­ munications equipment installers and repairers, and line installers and repairers.) Promotion to supervisory positions also is possible. Job Outlook Employment of communications equipment operators is projected to decline through 2012, due largely to new labor-saving communi­ cations technologies, the movement of jobs to foreign countries, and consolidation of telephone operator jobs into fewer locations, often staffed by business support or employment services firms. Virtually all job openings will result from the need to replace com­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  munications equipment operators who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Developments in communications technologies—in particular, voice recognition systems that are accessible and easy to use—will continue to have a significant impact on the demand for switch­ board operators. Voice recognition technology allows automated telephone systems to recognize human speech. Callers speak di­ rectly to the system, which interprets the speech and then connects the call. Because voice recognition systems do not require callers to input data through a telephone keypad, they are easier to use than touch-tone systems. Voice recognition systems are increasingly able to understand sophisticated vocabulary and grammatical structures; however, many companies will continue to employ operators so that those callers who do have problems can access a “live” employee if they desire. Electronic communication through the Internet or e-mail pro­ vides alternatives to telephone communication and requires no op­ erators. Internet directory assistance services are reducing the need for directory assistance operators. Local telephone companies cur­ rently have the most reliable telephone directory data; however, Internet services provide information such as addresses and maps, in addition to telephone numbers. As the functions of telephones and computers converge, the convenience of Internet directory as­ sistance is expected to attract many customers, reducing the need for telephone operators to provide this service. Consolidations among telephone companies also will reduce the need for operators. As communications technologies improve and the prices of long-distance service fall, telephone companies will contract out and consolidate telephone operator jobs, often to other countries. Operators will be employed at fewer locations and will serve larger customer populations. Earnings Median hourly earnings of switchboard operators, including answer­ ing service, were $10.19 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.41 and $12.27. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.13, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $14.59. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of switchboard operators in 2002 are given in the following tabula­ tion: General medical and surgical hospitals.................................... Offices of physicians................................................................ Traveler accommodation.......................................................... Employment services............................................................... Business support services........................................................  $10.20 10.20 9.69 9.43 8.37  Median hourly earnings of telephone operators in 2002 were $13.75. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.86 and $18.35. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.09, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.80. Some telephone operators working at telephone companies are members of the Communications Workers of America or the Inter­ national Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. For these operators, union contracts govern wage rates, wage increases, and the time required to advance from one pay step to the next. It normally takes 4 years to rise from the lowest paying nonsupervisory operator po­ sition to the highest. Contracts call for extra pay for work beyond the normal 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 hours a day or 5 days a week, for Sunday and holiday work, and for bilingual positions. A pay differential also is guaranteed for night work and split shifts. Many contracts provide for a 1-week vacation after 6 months of service, 2 weeks after 1 year, 3 weeks after 7 years, 4 weeks after 15 years, and 5 weeks after 25 years. Holidays range from 9 to 11 days a year.  424 Occupational Outlook Handbook Median hourly earnings of communication equipment operators, all other, in 2002 were $15.21. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $10.79 and $17.90. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.36, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.82. Related Occupations Other workers who provide information to the general public in­ clude dispatchers; hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks; information and record clerks; customer service representatives; receptionists and information clerks; and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks. Sources of Additional Information For more details about employment opportunities, contact a tele­ phone company or temporary help agency, or write to either of the following unions: >• Communications Workers of America, 501 3rd St. NW., Washington, DC 20001. >- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Telecommunications Department, 1125 15th St. NW., Room 807, Washington, DC 20005.  Computer Operators (0*NET 43-9011.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  Computer operators usually receive on-the-job training; the length of training varies with the job and the experience of the worker. Employment is expected to decline sharply due to advances in technology. Opportunities will be best for operators who have formal computer-related education, are familiar with a variety of operating systems, and keep up-to-date with the latest technology.  Nature of the Work Computer operators oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, ensuring that these machines are used as efficiently as pos­ sible. They may work with mainframes, minicomputers, or net­ works of personal computers. Computer operators must anticipate problems and take preventive action, as well as solve problems that occur during operations. The duties of computer operators vary with the size of the instal­ lation, the type of equipment used, and the policies of the employer. Generally, operators control the console of either a mainframe digi­ tal computer or a group of minicomputers. Working from operating instructions prepared by programmers, users, or operations manag­ ers, computer operators set controls on the computer and on periph­ eral devices required to run a particular job. Computer operators load equipment with tapes, disks, and pa­ per, as needed. While the computer is running—which may be 24 hours a day for large computers—computer operators monitor the control console and respond to operating and computer messages. Messages indicate the individual specifications of each job being run. If an error message occurs, operators must locate and solve the problem or terminate the program. Operators also maintain log­ books or operating records, listing each job that is mn and events, such as machine malfunctions, that occur during their shift. In ad­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Computer operators set controls on computers and peripheral devices required to run a particular job. dition, computer operators may help programmers and systems ana­ lysts test and debug new programs. (See the statements on com­ puter programmers; and systems analysts, computer scientists, and database administrators elsewhere in the Handbook.) As the trend toward networking computers accelerates, a grow­ ing number of computer operators are working on personal com­ puters (PCs) and minicomputers. In many offices, factories, and other work settings, PCs and minicomputers are connected in net­ works, often referred to as local area networks (LANs) or multi­ user systems. Whereas users in the area operate some of these com­ puters, many require the services of full-time operators. The tasks performed on PCs and minicomputers are very similar to those per­ formed on large computers. As organizations continue to look for opportunities to increase productivity, automation is expanding into additional areas of com­ puter operations. Sophisticated software, coupled with robotics, enables a computer to perform many routine tasks formerly done by computer operators. Scheduling, loading and downloading pro­ grams, mounting tapes, rerouting messages, and running periodic reports can be done without the intervention of an operator. Conse­ quently, these improvements will change what computer operators do in the future. As technology advances, the responsibilities of many computer operators are shifting to areas such as network op­ erations, user support, and database maintenance.  Working Conditions Computer operators generally work in well-lighted, well-ventilated, comfortable rooms. Because many organizations use their comput­ ers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, computer operators may be re­ quired to work evening or night shifts and weekends. Shift assign­ ments usually are made based on seniority. However, increasingly automated operations will lessen the need for shift work, because many companies can let the computer take over operations during less desirable working hours. In addition, advances in telecommuting technologies—such as faxes, modems, and e-mail—and data center automation, such as automated tape libraries, enable some opera­ tors to monitor batch processes, check systems performance, and record problems for the next shift. Because computer operators generally spend a lot of time in front of a computer monitor, as well as performing repetitive tasks such as loading and unloading printers, they may be susceptible to eye­ strain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 425 Employment Computer operators held about 182,000jobs in 2002. Jobs are found in various industries such as government, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, data processing services and other information in­ dustries, and finance and insurance. A number of computer opera­ tors are employed by firms in computer systems design and related services, as more companies contract out their data processing operations.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Computer operators usually receive on-the-job training in order to become acquainted with their employer’s equipment and routines. The length of training varies with the job and the experience of the worker. However, previous work experience is the key to obtaining an operator job in many large establishments. Employers generally look for specific, hands-on experience with the type of equipment and related operating systems they use. Additionally, formal com­ puter-related training, perhaps through a community college or tech­ nical school, is recommended. Related training also can be ob­ tained through the U.S. Armed Forces and from some computer manufacturers. As computer technology changes and data process­ ing centers become more automated, employers will increasingly require candidates to have formal training and experience for op­ erator jobs. And, although not required, a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field can be helpful when one is seeking employ­ ment as a computer operator or advancement to a managerial position. Because computer technology changes so rapidly, operators must be adaptable and willing to learn. Analytical and technical exper­ tise also are needed, particularly by operators who work in auto­ mated data centers, to deal with unique or high-level problems that a computer is not programmed to handle. Operators must be able to communicate well, and to work effectively with programmers, us­ ers, and other operators. Computer operators also must be able to work independently because they may have little or no direct supervision. A few computer operators may advance to supervisory jobs, al­ though most management positions within data processing or com­ puter operations centers require advanced formal education, such as a bachelor’s or higher degree. Through on-the-job experience and additional formal education, some computer operators may ad­ vance to jobs in areas such as network operations or support. As they gain experience in programming, some operators may advance to jobs as programmers or analysts. A move into these types of jobs is becoming much more difficult, as employers increasingly require candidates for more skilled computer jobs to possess at least a bachelor’s degree.  Job Outlook Employment of computer operators is expected to decline through the year 2012. Experienced operators are expected to compete for job openings that will arise each year to replace workers who trans­ fer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Opportunities will be best for operators who have formal computer-related education, are familiar with a variety of operating systems, and keep up to date with the latest technology. Advances in technology have reduced both the size and cost of computer equipment, while increasing the capacity for data storage and processing automation. Sophisticated computer hardware and software are now used in practically every industry, in such areas as factory and office automation, telecommunications, medicine, edu­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  cation, and administration. The expanding use of software that au­ tomates computer operations gives companies the option of making systems more user-friendly, greatly reducing the need for opera­ tors. Such improvements require operators to monitor a greater number of operations at the same time and be capable of solving a broader range of problems that may arise. The result is that fewer operators will be needed to perform more highly skilled work. Computer operators who are displaced by automation may be reassigned to support staffs that maintain personal computer net­ works or assist other members of the organization. Operators who keep up with changing technology, by updating their skills and en­ hancing their training, should have the best prospects of moving into other areas such as network administration and technical sup­ port. Others may be retrained to perform different job duties, such as supervising an operations center, maintaining automation pack­ ages, or analyzing computer operations to recommend ways in which to increase productivity. In the future, operators who wish to work in the computer field will need to know more about programming, automation software, graphics interface, client/server environments, and open systems in order to take advantage of changing job opportunities.  Earnings Median annual earnings of computer operators were $29,650 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between about $23,040 and $37,950 a year. The highest 10 percent earned more than $46,780, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,610. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of com­ puter operators in 2002 are shown below: Management of companies and enterprises................................... Computer systems design and related services............................ General medical and surgical hospitals.......................................... Data processing, hosting, and related services............................. Depository credit intermediation.....................................................  $32,770 30,280 28,130 27,440 24,160  The average salary for computer operators employed by the Fed­ eral Government was $41,117 in 2003. According to Robert Half International, the average starting sala­ ries for computer operators ranged from $28,250 to $38,500 in 2003. Salaries generally are higher in large organizations than in small ones.  Related Occupations Other occupations involving work with computers include computer software engineers; computer programmers; computer support spe­ cialists and systems administrators; and computer systems analysts, database administrators, and computer scientists. Other occupa­ tions in which workers operate electronic office equipment include data entry and information processing workers, as well as secretar­ ies and administrative assistants.  Sources of Additional Information For information about a career as a computer operator, contact: >- Association of Computer Operations Management (AFCOM), 722 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92860.  For information about work opportunities in computer opera­ tions, contact establishments with large computer centers, such as banks, manufacturing firms, insurance companies, colleges and uni­ versities, and data processing service organizations. The local of­ fice of the State employment service can supply information about employment and training opportunities.  426 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Customer Service Representatives (0*NET 43-4051.01, 43-4051.02) Significant Points  • • •  Job prospects are expected to be excellent. Most jobs require only a high school diploma. Strong verbal communication and listening skills are important.  Nature of the Work Customer service representatives are employed by many different types of companies throughout the country to serve as a direct point of contact for customers. They are responsible for ensuring that their company’s customers receive an adequate level of service or help with their questions and concerns. These customers may be individual consumers or other companies, and the nature of their service needs can vary considerably. All customer service representatives interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products or ser­ vices and to handle and resolve complaints. They communicate with customers through a variety of means—either in person; by telephone, e-mail or regular mail correspondence, or fax; or even over the Internet. Some customer service representatives handle general questions and complaints, whereas others specialize in a particular area. Many customer inquiries involve routine questions and requests. For example, customer service representatives may be asked to pro­ vide a customer with a bank account balance, or to check on the status of an order that has been placed. Obtaining the answers to such questions usually requires simply looking up information on their computer. Other questions are more involved, and may call for additional research or further explanation on the part of the cus­ tomer service representative. In handling customers’ complaints, customer service representatives must attempt to resolve the prob­ lem according to guidelines established by the company. These procedures may involve asking questions to determine the validity of a complaint, offering possible solutions, or providing customers with refunds, exchanges, or other offers such as discounts or cou­ pons. In some cases, customer service representatives are required to follow up with an individual customer until a question is answered or an issue is resolved. Some customer service representatives help people decide what types of products or services would best suit their needs. They may even aid customers in completing purchases or transactions. Al­ though the primary function of customer service representatives is not sales, some may spend a part of their time with customers at­ tempting to convince them to purchase additional products or ser­ vices. (For information on workers whose primary function is sales, see the statements on sales and related occupations elsewhere in the Handbook.) Customer service representatives may also make changes or updates to a customer’s profile or account information. They may keep records of transactions and update and maintain databases of information. Most customer service representatives use computers and tele­ phones extensively in their work. Customer service representatives frequently enter information into a computer as they are speaking to customers. Often, companies have large amounts of data, such as account information, that can be pulled up on a computer screen while the representative is talking to a customer so that he or she can answer specific questions relating to the account. Customer  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  service representatives also may have access to information such as answers to the most common customer questions, or guidelines for dealing with complaints. In the event that they encounter a ques­ tion or situation to which they do not know how to respond, work­ ers consult with a supervisor to determine the best course of action. Customer service representatives use multiline telephones systems, which often route calls directly to the most appropriate representa­ tive. However, at times, a customer service representative will need to transfer a call to someone who may be better able to respond to the customer’s needs. In some organizations, customer service representatives spend their entire day on the telephone. In others, they may spend part of their day answering e-mails and the remainder of the day taking calls. For some, most of their contact with the customer is face to face. Customer service representatives need to remain aware of the amount of time spent with each customer, in order to fairly distrib­ ute their time among the people who require their assistance. This is particularly important for customer service representatives whose primary activities are answering telephone calls, and conversations often are required to be kept within set time limits. For customer service representatives working in call centers, there is usually very little time between telephone calls; as soon as they have finished with one call they must immediately move on to another. When working in call centers, customer service representatives are likely to be under close supervision. Telephone calls may be taped and  Customer service representatives respond to customers’ questions and concerns.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 427 reviewed by supervisors to ensure that company policies and procedures are being followed, or a supervisor may listen in on con­ versations. Job responsibilities can differ, depending on the industry in which a customer service representative is employed. For example, a cus­ tomer service representative working in the branch office of a bank may assume the responsibilities of other workers, such as teller or new account clerk, as needed. In insurance agencies, a customer service representative interacts with agents, insurance companies, and policyholders. These workers handle much of the paperwork related to insurance policies, such as policy applications and changes and renewals to existing policies. They answer questions regarding issues such as policy coverage, help with reporting claims, and do anything else that may need to be done. Although they must know as much as insurance agents about insurance products, and usually must have credentials equal to those of an agent in order to sell products and make changes to policies, the duties of a customer service representative differ from those of an agent in that customer service representatives are not responsible for actively seeking po­ tential customers. Customer service representatives employed by communications and utilities companies assist individuals interested in opening accounts for various utilities such as electricity and gas, or for communication services such as cable television and tele­ phone. They explain various options and receive orders for services to be installed, turned on, turned off, or changed. They may also look into and resolve complaints about billing and service provided by telephone, cable television, and utility companies. Working Conditions Although customer service representatives can work in a variety of settings, most work in areas that are clean and well lit. Many work in call or customer contact centers. In this type of environment, workers generally have their own workstation or cubicle space and are equipped with a telephone, headset, and computer. Because many call centers are open extended hours, beyond the traditional 9-to-5 business day, or are staffed around the clock, these positions may require workers to take on early morning, evening, or late night shifts. Weekend or holiday work also may be necessary. As a result, the occupation is well-suited to flexible work schedules. About 1 out of 7 customer service representatives work part time. The occu­ pation also offers the opportunity for seasonal work in certain in­ dustries, often through temporary help agencies. Call centers may be crowded and noisy, and work may be repeti­ tious and stressful, with little time in between calls. Workers usu­ ally must attempt to minimize the length of each call, while still providing excellent service. To ensure that these procedures are followed, conversations may be monitored by supervisors, which can be stressful. Also, long periods spent sitting, typing, or looking at a computer screen may cause eye and muscle strain, backaches, headaches, and repetitive motion injuries. Customer service representatives working outside of a call cen­ ter environment may interact with customers through several differ­ ent means. For example, workers employed by an insurance agency or in a grocery store may have customers approach them in person or contact them by telephone, computer, mail, or fax. Many of these customer service representatives will work a standard 40-hour week; however, their hours generally will depend on the hours of opera­ tion of the establishment in which they are employed. Work envi­ ronments outside of a call center also will vary accordingly. Most customer service representatives will work either in an office or at a service or help desk. For virtually all types of customer service representatives, deal­ ing with difficult or irate customers can be a trying task; however,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  the ability to directly help and resolve customers’ problems has the potential to be very rewarding. Employment Customer service representatives held about 1.9 million jobs in 2002. Although they were found in a variety of industries, more than 1 in 4 customer service representatives worked in finance and insurance. The largest numbers were employed by insurance carriers, insur­ ance agencies and brokerages, and banks and credit unions. Nearly 1 in 8 customer service representatives were employed in administrative and support services. These workers were concen­ trated in the industries business support services—which includes telephone call centers—and employment services—which includes temporary help services and employment placement agencies. An­ other 1 in 8 customer service representatives were employed in re­ tail trade establishments such as general merchandise stores, food and beverage stores, or nonstore retailers. Other industries that employ significant numbers of customer service representatives in­ clude information, particularly the telecommunications industry ; manufacturing, such as printing and related support activities; and wholesale trade. Although they are found in all States, customer service repre­ sentatives who work in call centers tend to be concentrated geo­ graphically. Four States make up over 30 percent of total employ­ ment—California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Delaware, South Dakota, Utah, and Arizona have the highest concentration of work­ ers in this occupation, with customer service representatives com­ prising over 2 percent of total employment in these States. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A high school diploma or the equivalent is the most common edu­ cational requirement for customer service representatives. Basic computer knowledge and good interpersonal skills also are impor­ tant qualities for people who wish to be successful in the field. Be­ cause customer service representatives constantly interact with the public, strong communication and problem-solving skills are a must, particularly strong verbal communication and listening skills. Ad­ ditionally, for those workers who communicate through e-mail, good typing, spelling, and written communication skills are necessary. High school courses in computers, English, or business are helpful in preparing for a job in customer service. Customer service representatives play a critical role in provid­ ing an interface between the customer and the company that em­ ploys them, and for this reason employers seek out people who are able to come across in a friendly and professional manner. The ability to deal patiently with problems and complaints and to re­ main courteous when faced with difficult or angry people is very important. Also, a customer service representative needs to be able to work independently within specified time constraints. Workers should have a clear and pleasant speaking voice and be fluent in the English language. However, the ability to speak a foreign language is becoming increasingly necessary, and bilingual skills are consid­ ered a plus. Training requirements vary by industry. Almost all customer service representatives are provided with some training prior to be­ ginning work and training continues once on the job. This training generally will cover four primary components: Training on cus­ tomer service and phone skills, training on products and services or common customer problems, training on the use or operation of the telephone and/or computer systems, and training on company poli­ cies and regulations. Length of training varies, but it usually lasts at least several weeks. Because of a constant need to update skills and knowledge, most customer service representatives continue to re­  428 Occupational Outlook Handbook ceive instruction and training throughout their career. This is par­ ticularly true of workers in industries such as banking, in which regulations and products are continually changing. Although some positions may require previous industry, office, or customer service experience, many customer service jobs are entry level. Customer service jobs are often good introductory positions into a company or an industry. In some cases, experienced workers can move up within the company into supervisory or managerial positions or they may move into areas such as product develop­ ment, in which they can use their knowledge to improve products and services. Within insurance agencies and brokerages, however, a customer service representative job is usually not an entry-level position. Workers must have previous experience in insurance and are often required by State regulations to be licensed like insurance sales agents. A variety of designations are available to demonstrate that a candidate has sufficient knowledge and skill, and continuing educa­ tion and training are often offered through the employer. As they gain more knowledge of industry products and services, customer service representatives in insurance may advance to other, higher level positions, such as insurance sales agent. Job Outlook Prospects for obtaining a job in this field are expected to be excel­ lent, with more job openings than jobseekers. Bilingual jobseekers, in particular, may enjoy favorable job prospects. In addition to many new openings occurring as businesses and organizations expand, numerous job openings will result from the need to replace experi­ enced customer service representatives who transfer to other occu­ pations or leave the labor force. Replacement needs are expected to be significant in this large occupation because many young people work as customer service representatives before switching to other jobs. This occupation is well-suited to flexible work schedules, and many opportunities for part-time work will continue to be avail­ able, particularly as organizations attempt to cut labor costs by hir­ ing more temporary workers. Employment of customer service representatives is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Beyond growth stemming from expansion of the industries in which customer service representatives are employed, a need for additional customer service representatives is likely to result from heightened reliance on these workers. Customer service is critical to the success of any organization that deals with customers, and strong customer service can build sales and visibility as companies try to distinguish themselves from competitors. In many industries, the need to gain a competitive edge and retain customers will be­ come increasingly important over the next decade. This is particu­ larly true in industries such as financial services, communications, and utilities that already employ numerous customer service repre­ sentatives. As the trend towards consolidation within industries continues, centralized call centers will provide an effective method for delivering a high level of customer service. As a result, employ­ ment of customer service representatives may grow at a faster rate in call centers than in other areas; however, this growth may be tempered as a variety of factors, including technological improve­ ments, make it increasingly feasible and cost-effective for call cen­ ters to be built or relocated outside of the United States. Technology is impacting the occupation in many ways. Advancements such as the Internet and automated teller machines have provided custom­ ers with means of obtaining information and conducting transac­ tions that do not entail interacting with another person. Technology also allows for a greater streamlining of processes, while at the same time increasing the productivity of workers. Use of computer soft­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ware to filter e-mails, generating automatic responses or directing messages to the appropriate representative, and use of similar sys­ tems to answer or route telephone inquiries are likely to become more prevalent in the future. Despite such developments, the need for customer service repre­ sentatives is expected to remain strong. In many ways, technology has heightened consumers’ expectations for information and ser­ vices, and availability of information online seems to have gener­ ated more need for customer service representatives, particularly to respond to e-mail. Also, technology cannot replace the need for human skills. As more sophisticated technologies are able to re­ solve many customers’ questions and concerns, the nature of the inquiries to be handled by customer service representatives is likely to become increasingly complex. Furthermore, the job responsibilities of customer service repre­ sentatives are expanding. As companies downsize or look to in­ crease profitability, workers are being trained to perform additional duties such as opening bank accounts or cross-selling products. As a result, employers may increasingly prefer customer service repre­ sentatives who have education beyond high school, such as some college or even a college degree. While jobs in some industries, such as retail trade, may be im­ pacted by economic downturns, the occupation is generally resis­ tant to major fluctuations in employment. Earnings In 2002, median annual earnings for wage and salary customer ser­ vice representatives were $26,240. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,960 and $33,540. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 17,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $42,990. Earnings for customer service representatives vary according to level of skill required, experience, training, location, and size of firm. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the larg­ est numbers of these workers in 2002 are shown below: Wired telecommunications carriers......................................... Insurance carriers................................................................... Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities.... Management of companies and enterprises............................. Nondepository credit intermediation....................................... Depository credit intermediation............................................ Employment services............................................................. Electronic shopping and mail-order houses............................. Business support services....................................................... Grocery stores.......................................................................  $38,980 28,560 28,270 27,990 25,600 24,850 22,510 21,530 21,130 17,230  In addition to receiving an hourly wage, full-time customer ser­ vice representatives who work evenings, nights, weekends, or holi­ days may receive shift differential pay. Also, because call centers are often open during extended hours, or even 24 hours a day, some customer service representatives have the benefit of being able to work a schedule that does not conform to the traditional workweek. Other benefits can include life and health insurance, pensions, bo­ nuses, employer-provided training, or discounts on the products and services the company offers. Related Occupations Customer service representatives interact with customers to pro­ vide information in response to inquiries about products and ser­ vices and to handle and resolve complaints. Other occupations in which workers have similar dealings with customers and the public are information and record clerks; financial clerks, such as tellers and new-account clerks; insurance sales agents; securities, commodi­ ties, and financial services sales agents; retail salespersons; com­ puter support specialists; and gaming services workers.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 429 Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices can provide information about employment opportunities for customer service representatives.  Data Entry and Information Processing Workers (0*NET 43-9021.00, 43-9022.00) Significant Points  • •  •  Employers generally hire high school graduates who meet their requirements for keyboarding speed. Although overall employment is projected to decline, the need to replace workers who leave this large occupation each year should produce many job openings. Job prospects should be best for those with expertise in appropriate computer software applications.  Nature of the Work Organizations need to process a rapidly growing amount of infor­ mation. Data entry and information processing workers help en­ sure the smooth and efficient handling of information. By typing text, entering data into a computer, operating a variety of office machines, and performing other clerical duties, these workers help organizations keep up with the rapid changes that are characteristic of today’s “Information Age.” In addition to the job titles discussed below—such as word processors, typists, and data entry keyers— data entry and information processing workers are known by vari­ ous other titles, including electronic data processors, keypunch tech­ nicians, and transcribers. Word processors and typists usually set up and prepare reports, letters, mailing labels, and other textual material. Typists make neat, typed copies of materials written by other clerical, professional, or managerial workers. As entry-level workers, typists may begin by typing headings on form letters, addressing envelopes, or preparing standard forms on typewriters or computers. As they gain experi­ ence, they often are assigned tasks requiring a higher degree of ac­ curacy and independent judgment. Senior typists may work with highly technical material, plan and type complicated statistical tables, combine and rearrange materials from different sources, or prepare master copies. Most keyboarding is now done on word processing equipment— usually a personal computer or part of a larger computer system— which normally includes a keyboard, video display terminal, and printer, which may have “add-on” capabilities such as optical char­ acter recognition readers. Word processors use this equipment to record, edit, store, and revise letters, memos, reports, statistical tables, forms, and other printed materials. Although it is becoming less common, some word processing workers are employed on central­ ized word processing teams that handle transcription and typing for several departments. In addition to fulfilling the duties mentioned above, word pro­ cessors and typists often perform other office tasks, such as answer­ ing telephones, filing, and operating copiers or other office machines. Job titles of these workers frequently vary to reflect these duties. Clerk typists, for example, combine typing with filing, sorting mail,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Although overall employment of data entry and information processing workers is projected to decline, the need to replace workers who leave this large occupation each year should produce many job openings. answering telephones, and other general office work. Note readers transcribe stenotyped notes of court proceedings into standard for­ mats. Data entry keyers usually input lists of items, numbers, or other data into computers or complete forms that appear on a computer screen. They also may manipulate existing data, edit current infor­ mation, or proofread new entries to a database for accuracy. Some examples of data sources include customers’ personal information, medical records, and membership lists. Usually, this information is used internally by a company and may be reformatted before other departments or customers utilize it. Keyers use various types of equipment to enter data. Many use a machine that converts the information they type to magnetic im­ pulses on tapes or disks for entry into a computer system. Others prepare materials for printing or publication by using data entry composing machines. Some keyers operate online terminals or per­ sonal computers. Data entry keyers increasingly also work with nonkeyboard forms of data entry, such as scanners and electroni­ cally transmitted files. When using the new character recognition systems, data entry keyers often enter only those data which cannot be recognized by machines. In some offices, keyers also operate computer peripheral equipment such as printers and tape readers, act as tape librarians, and perform other clerical duties.  Working Conditions Data entry and information processing workers usually work a stan­ dard 40-hour week in clean offices. They sit for long periods and sometimes must contend with high noise levels caused by various office machines. These workers are susceptible to repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back injuries, and eye strain. To help prevent these conditions, many offices have scheduled exercise breaks, ergonomically designed keyboards, and workstations that allow workers to stand or sit as they wish.  Employment Data entry and information processing workers held about 633,000 jobs in 2002 and were employed in every sector of the economy; 392,000 were data entry keyers and 241,000 were word processors  430 Occupational Outlook Handbook and typists. Some workers telecommute, working from their homes on personal computers linked by telephone lines to those in the main office. This arrangement enables them to type material at home while still being able to produce printed copy in their offices. About 1 out of 5 data entry and information processing workers held jobs in firms providing administrative and support services, including temporary help and word processing agencies, and an­ other 1 in 5 worked for State or local government.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Employers generally hire high school graduates who meet their re­ quirements for keyboarding speed. Increasingly, employers also are expecting applicants to have training or experience in word pro­ cessing or data entry tasks. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar skills are important, as is familiarity with standard office equipment and procedures. Students acquire skills in keyboarding and in the use of word processing, spreadsheet, and database management computer soft­ ware packages through high schools, community colleges, business schools, temporary help agencies, or self-teaching aids such as books, tapes, and Internet tutorials. For many people, a job as a data entry and information process­ ing worker is their first job after graduating from high school or after a period of full-time family responsibilities. This work fre­ quently serves as a steppingstone to higher paying jobs with in­ creased responsibilities. Large companies and government agen­ cies usually have training programs to help administrative employees upgrade their skills and advance to higher level positions. It is com­ mon for data entry and information processing workers to transfer to other administrative jobs, such as secretary, administrative assis­ tant, or statistical clerk or to be promoted to a supervisory job in a word processing or data entry center.  Job Outlook Overall employment of data entry and information processing work­ ers is projected to decline through 2012. Nevertheless, the need to replace those who transfer to other occupations or leave this large occupation for other reasons will produce numerous job openings each year. Job prospects will be most favorable for those with the best technical skills—in particular, expertise in appropriate com­ puter software applications. Data entry and information processing workers must be willing to upgrade their skills continuously in or­ der to remain marketable. Although data entry and information processing workers are af­ fected by productivity gains stemming from organizational restruc­ turing and the implementation of new technologies, projected growth differs among these workers. Employment of word processors and typists is expected to decline due to the proliferation of personal computers, which allows other workers to perform duties formerly assigned to word processors and typists. Most professionals and managers, for example, now use desktop personal computers to do their own word processing. However, because technologies affect­ ing data entry keyers tend to be costlier to implement, employment of these workers will decline less than word processors and typists. Employment growth of data entry keyers will still be dampened by productivity gains, as various data-capturing technologies, such as bar code scanners, voice recognition technologies, and sophisti­ cated character recognition readers, become more prevalent. These technologies can be applied to a variety of business transactions, such as inventory tracking, invoicing, and placing orders. More­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  over, as telecommunications technology improves, many organiza­ tions will increasingly take advantage of computer networks that allow data to be transmitted electronically. These networks will allow more data to be entered automatically into computers, reduc­ ing the demand for data entry keyers. In addition to being affected by technology, employment of data entry and information processing workers will be adversely affected by businesses that are increasingly contracting out their work. Many organizations have reduced or even eliminated permanent in-house staff—for example, in favor of temporary employment and staffing services firms. Some large data entry and information processing firms increasingly employ workers in nations with low wages to enter data. As international trade barriers continue to fall and tele­ communications technology improves, this transfer ofjobs will mean reduced demand for data entry keyers in the United States.  Earnings Median annual earnings of word processors and typists in 2002 were $26,730. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,540 and $32,950. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,750, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $40,450. The salaries of these workers vary by industry and by region. In 2002, median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of word processors and typists were as follows: Local government................................................................................. State government.................................................................................. Elementary and secondary schools................................................... Business support services................................................................... Employment services...........................................................................  $27,840 26,440 24,960 24,140 24,050  Median annual earnings of data entry keyers in 2002 were $22,390. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,810 and $26,840. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,910, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26,840. The following are median annual earnings for 2002 in the industries employing the largest numbers of data entry keyers: Federal Government............................................................................. Insurance carriers................................................................................. Employment services.......................................................................... Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services............................................................................................... Data processing, hosting, and related services..............................  $25,750 22,870 21,150 19,950 19,720  Related Occupations Data entry and information processing workers must transcribe in­ formation quickly. Other workers who deliver information in a timely manner are dispatchers and communications equipment op­ erators. Data entry and information processing workers also must be comfortable working with office automation, and in this regard they are similar to court reporters, medical records and health infor­ mation technicians, secretaries and administrative assistants, and computer operators.  Sources of Additional Information For information about job opportunities for data entry and informa­ tion processing workers, contact the nearest office of the State em­ ployment service.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 431  Desktop Publishers (0*NET 43-9031.00) Significant Points  • •  •  Desktop publishers are expected to experience faster than average employment growth. Two out of three worked in firms that handle newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishing, or printing and related support activities. Although formal training is not always required, those with certificates or degrees will have the best job opportunities.  Nature of the Work Using computer software, desktop publishers format and combine text, numerical data, photographs, charts, and other visual graphic elements to produce publication-ready material. Depending on the nature of a particular project, desktop publishers may write and edit text, create graphics to accompany text, convert photographs and drawings into digital images and then manipulate those images, design page layouts, create proposals, develop presentations and advertising campaigns, typeset and do color separation, and trans­ late electronic information onto film or other traditional forms. Materials produced by desktop publishers include books, business cards, calendars, magazines, newsletters and newspapers, packag­ ing, slides, and tickets. As companies have brought the production of marketing, promotional, and other kinds of materials in-house, they increasingly have employed people who can produce such materials. Desktop publishers use a keyboard to enter and select format­ ting properties, such as the size and style of type, column width, and spacing, and store them in the computer, which then displays and arranges columns of type on a video display terminal or com­ puter monitor. An entire newspaper, catalog, or book page, com­ plete with artwork and graphics, can be created on the screen ex­ actly as it will appear in print. Operators transmit the pages for production either into fdm and then into printing plates, or directly into plates. Desktop publishing is a rapidly changing field that encompasses a number of different kinds of jobs. Personal computers enable desktop publishers to perform publishing tasks that would other­ wise require complicated equipment and human effort. Advances in computer software and printing technology continue to change and enhance desktop-publishing work. Instead of receiving simple typed text from customers, desktop publishers get the material over the Internet or on a computer disk. Other innovations in the occu­ pation include digital color page-makeup systems, electronic pagelayout systems, and off-press color-proofing systems. In addition, because most materials today often are published on the Internet, desktop publishers may need to know electronic-publishing tech­ nologies, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and may be responsible for converting text and graphics to an Internet-ready format. Typesetting and page layout have been affected by the techno­ logical changes shaping desktop publishing. Increasingly, desktop publishers are using computers to do much of the typesetting and page-layout work formerly done by prepress workers, posing new challenges for the printing industry. The old “hot type” method of text composition—which used molten lead to create individual let­ ters, paragraphs, and full pages of text—is nearly extinct. Today,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Using computer software, desktop publishers capture photographs, images, or art as digital data that can be incorporated directly into electronic page layouts. composition work is done primarily with computers. Improvements in desktop-publishing software also allow customers to do much more of their own typesetting. Desktop publishers use scanners to capture photographs, images, or art as digital data that can be either incorporated directly into electronic page layouts or further manipulated with the use of com­ puter software. The desktop publisher then can correct mistakes or compensate for deficiencies in the original color print or transpar­ ency. Digital files are used to produce printing plates. Like photog­ raphers and multimedia artists and animators, desktop publishers also can create special effects or other visual images, using film, video, computers, or other electronic media. (Separate statements on photographers and on artists and related workers appear else­ where in the Handbook.) Depending on the establishment employing these workers, desk­ top publishers also may be referred to as publications specialists, electronic publishers, DTP operators, desktop-publishing editors, electronic prepress technicians, electronic-publishing specialists, image designers, typographers, compositors, layout artists, and web publications designers. Working Conditions Desktop publishers usually work in clean, air-conditioned office areas with little noise. They generally work an 8-hour day, 5 days a week. Some workers work night shifts, weekends, and holidays.  432 Occupational Outlook Handbook Desktop publishers often are subject to stress and the pressures of short deadlines and tight work schedules. Like other workers who spend long hours working in front of a computer monitor, they may be susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems. Employment Desktop publishers held about 35,000 jobs in 2002. Two out of three worked in the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory pub­ lishing, and printing and related support activities; the rest worked in a wide variety of industries. Firms in the publishing industry employ most desktop publish­ ers. These firms publish newspapers, periodicals, books, directory and mailing lists, and greeting cards. A large number of desktop publishers also work for printing and related support activities firms, which print a wide range of products—newspapers, books, labels, business cards, stationary, inserts, catalogs, pamphlets, and adver­ tisements—while business form establishments print material such as sales receipts and business forms and perform support activities such as data imaging and bookbinding. Establishments in printing and related support activities typically perform custom composi­ tion, platemaking, and related prepress services. (A separate state­ ment on prepress technicians and workers appears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Other desktop publishers print or publish materials in­ house or in-plant for business services firms, government agencies, hospitals, or universities, typically in a reproduction or publications department that operates within the organization. The printing and publishing industries are two of the most geo­ graphically dispersed industries in the United States, and desktop­ publishing jobs are found throughout the country. However, most jobs are in large metropolitan cities. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most workers qualify for jobs as desktop publishers by taking classes or completing certificate programs at vocational schools, universi­ ties, and colleges or through the Internet. Programs range in length, but the average certificate program takes approximately 1 year. However, some desktop publishers train on the job to develop the necessary skills. The length of on-the-job training varies by com­ pany. An internship or part-time desktop-publishing assignment is another way to gain experience as a desktop publisher. Students interested in pursuing a career in desktop publishing may obtain an associate’s degree in applied science or a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts, graphic communications, or graphic design. Graphic arts programs are a good way to learn about desktop pub­ lishing software used to format pages, assign type characteristics, and import text and graphics into electronic page layouts to pro­ duce printed materials such as advertisements, brochures, newslet­ ters, and forms. Applying this knowledge of graphic arts techniques and computerized typesetting usually is intended for students who may eventually move into management positions, while 2-year associate’s degree programs are designed to train skilled workers. Students also develop finely tuned skills in typography, print me­ dia, packaging, branding and identity, Web-site design, and motion graphics. The programs teach print and graphic design fundamen­ tals and provide an extensive background in imaging, prepress op­ erations, print reproduction, and emerging media. Courses in other aspects of printing also are available at vocational-technical insti­ tutes, industry-sponsored update and retraining programs, and pri­ vate trade and technical schools. Although formal training is not always required, those with cer­ tificates or degrees will have the best job opportunities. Most em­ ployers prefer to hire people who have at least a high school diploma  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and who possess good communication skills, basic computer skills, and a strong work ethic. Desktop publishers should be able to deal courteously with people, because, in small shops, they may have to take customers’ orders. They also may have to add, subtract, multi­ ply, divide, and compute ratios to estimate job costs. Persons inter­ ested in working for firms using advanced printing technology need to know the basics of electronics and computers. Desktop publishers need good manual dexterity, and they must be able to pay attention to detail and work independently. Good eyesight, including visual acuity, depth perception, a wide field of view, color vision, and the ability to focus quickly also are assets. Artistic ability often is a plus. Employers also seek persons who are even tempered and adaptable—important qualities for workers who often must meet deadlines and learn how to operate new equipment. Workers with limited training and experience may start as help­ ers. They begin with instruction from an experienced desktop pub­ lisher and advance on the basis of their demonstrated mastery of skills at each level. All workers should expect to be retrained from time to time to handle new, improved software and equipment. As workers gain experience, they advance to positions with greater re­ sponsibility. Some move into supervisory or management positions. Other desktop publishers may start their own company or work as independent consultants, while those with more artistic talent and further education may find opportunities in graphic design or com­ mercial art. Job Outlook Employment of desktop publishers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, as more page layout and design work is performed in-house using computers and so­ phisticated publishing software. Desktop publishing is replacing much of the prepress work done by compositors and typesetters, enabling organizations to reduce costs while increasing production speeds. Many new jobs for desktop publishers are expected to emerge in commercial printing and publishing establishments. However, more companies also are turning to in-house desktop pub­ lishers, as computers with elaborate text and graphics capabilities have become common, and desktop publishing software has become cheaper and easier to use. In addition to employment growth, many job openings for desktop publishers also will result from the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions, transfer to other occupations, or who leave the labor force. Printing and publishing costs represent a significant portion of a corporation’s expenses, and firms are finding it more profitable to print their own newsletters and other reports than to send them out to trade shops. Desktop publishing reduces the time needed to com­ plete a printing job and allows commercial printers to make inroads into new markets that require fast turnaround. Most employers prefer to hire experienced desktop publishers. As more people gain desktop-publishing experience, however, com­ petition for jobs may increase. Among persons without experience, opportunities should be best for those with computer backgrounds who are certified or who have completed postsecondary programs in desktop publishing or graphic design. Many employers prefer graduates of these programs because the comprehensive training they receive helps them learn the page-layout process and adapt more rapidly to new software and techniques. Earnings Earnings for desktop publishers vary according to level of experi­ ence, training, location, and size of firm. Median annual earnings of desktop publishers were $31,620 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,030 and $41,280. The lowest 10 percent earned  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 433 less than $18,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,540 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employ­ ing the largest numbers of these workers in 2002 are presented in the following tabulation: Printing and related support activities............................................. Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers..............  $35,140 28,050  Related Occupations Desktop publishers use artistic and editorial skills in their work. These skills also are essential for artists and related workers; de­ signers; news analysts, reporters, and correspondents; prepress tech­ nicians and workers; public relations specialists; and writers and editors. Sources of Additional Information Details about apprenticeship and other training programs may be obtained from local employers such as newspapers and printing shops or from local offices of the State employment service. For information on careers and training in printing, desktop pub­ lishing, and graphic arts, write to either of the following sources: >■ Graphic Communications Council, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191. Internet: http://www.npes.org/edcoundl/ >- Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, 200 Deer Run Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143. Internet: http://www.gatf.org  For information on benefits and compensation in desktop pub­ lishing, write to: ► Printing Industries of America, Inc., 100 Daingerfield Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.gain.org  Financial Clerks (0**NET 43-3011.00, 43-3021.01, 43-3021.02, 43-3021.03, 43-3031.00, 43-3041.00, 43-3051.00, 43-3061.00, 43-3071.00)  Significant Points  • • •  Most jobs in this occupation require only a high school diploma. Numerous job opportunities should arise due to high turnover. Slower-than-average growth is expected in overall employment, reflecting the spread of computers and other office automation, as well as organizational restructuring.  Nature of the Work Financial clerks keep track of money, recording all amounts com­ ing into or leaving an organization. Their records are vital to an organization’s need to keep track of all revenues and expenses. While most financial clerks work in offices, maintaining and processing various accounting records, some deal directly with customers, tak­ ing in and paying out money. When bills are not paid on time, financial clerks must contact customers to find out why and attempt to resolve the problem. Other clerks keep track of a store’s inven­ tory and order replacement stock when supplies are low. (Addi­ tional information about specific financial clerks appears in sepa­ rate statements that follow this introductory statement.) Depending on their specific titles, these workers perform a wide variety of financial recordkeeping duties. Bill and account collec­ tors notify customers with delinquent accounts in order to solicit  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  payment. Billing and posting clerks and machine operators pre­ pare bills and invoices. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks maintain financial data in computer and paper files. Payroll and timekeeping clerks compute wages for payroll records and review employee timecards. Procurement clerks prepare purchase orders and monitor purchase requests. Tellers receive and pay out money for financial institutions, while gaming cage workers perform many of the same services for casinos. The duties of financial clerks vary with the size of the firm. In a small business, a bookkeeper may handle all financial records and transactions, as well as payroll and billing duties. A large firm, by contrast, may employ specialized accounting, payroll, and billing clerks. In general, however, clerical staffs in firms of all sizes are increasingly performing a broader variety of tasks than in the past. Another change in these occupations is the growing use of fi­ nancial software to enter and manipulate data. Computer programs automatically perform calculations that previously were done manu­ ally. Computers also enable clerks to access data within files more quickly and even generate statements automatically. Nevertheless, most workers still keep backup paper records for research, auditing, and reference purposes, although a paperless office is increasingly the goal for many organizations. Despite the growing use of automation, interaction with the pub­ lic and with coworkers remains a basic part of the job for many financial clerks. Payroll clerks, for example, answer questions con­ cerning employee benefits, tellers and gaming cage workers help customers with their financial needs, and procurement clerks often have to deal with an organization’s suppliers. Working Conditions With the exception of gaming cage workers, financial clerks typi­ cally are employed in an office environment. Bill collectors who work for third-party collection agencies may spend most of their days on the phone in a call-center environment. However, a grow­ ing number of financial clerks—particularly medical billers—work at home, and many work part time. Because the majority of financial clerks use computers on a daily basis, these workers may experience eye and muscle strain, back­ aches, headaches, and repetitive motion injuries. Also, clerks who review detailed data may have to sit for extended periods. Most financial clerks work regular business hours. However, because most casinos are open 24 hours a day, gaming cage workers often work in shifts, including nights and weekends. Tellers can work some evenings and Saturday mornings, while bill collectors often have to work evenings and weekends, when it usually is easier to reach people. Accounting clerks may work longer hours to meet deadlines at the end of the fiscal year, during tax time, or when monthly and yearly accounting audits are performed. Billing, book­ keeping, and accounting clerks in hotels, restaurants, and stores may work overtime during peak holiday and vacation seasons. Employment Financial clerks held more than 3.7 million jobs in 2002. The fol­ lowing tabulation shows employment in individual occupations: Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.......................... Tellers.................................................................................................. Billing and posting clerks and machine operators..................... Bill and account collectors.............................................................. Payroll and timekeeping clerks..................................................... Procurement clerks........................................................................... Gaming cage workers.....................................................................  1,983,000 530,000 507,000 413,000 198,000 77,000 18,000  434 Occupational Outlook Handbook These workers are employed in virtually every industry, includ­ ing manufacturing, business and health services, and government. However, it is becoming more common for financial clerks to work for companies that specialize in performing specific financial ser­ vices, such as bookkeeping, bill collection, medical billing, and pay­ roll services, as companies seek to cut costs and outsource many administrative functions. Also, more financial clerks are finding jobs with personnel supply agencies, as companies increasingly hire temporary workers for peak periods. All financial clerk occupations have some part-time workers, but tellers and bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have the most, with more than one-fourth working part time. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most financial clerks are required to have at least a high school diploma. However, having completed some college is becoming increasingly important, particularly for those occupations requiring knowledge of accounting. For occupations such as bookkeepers, accounting clerks, and procurement clerks, an associate’s degree in business or accounting often is required. Some financial clerks have bachelor’s degrees in business, accounting, or liberal arts. Although a degree is rarely required, many graduates accept entry-level cleri­ cal positions to get into a particular company or to enter the finance or accounting field with the hope of being promoted to professional or managerial positions. Some companies have a set plan of ad­ vancement that tracks college graduates from entry-level clerical jobs into managerial positions. Workers with bachelor’s degrees are likely to start at higher salaries and advance more easily than those without degrees. Experience in a related job also is recommended for a number of these positions. For example, cash-handling experience is impor­ tant for gaming cage workers and tellers, and telemarketing experi­ ence is useful for bill and account collectors. For other financial clerks, experience working in an office environment or in customer service is always beneficial. Regardless of the type of work, most employers prefer workers with good communication skills and who are computer literate; knowledge of word-processing and spread­ sheet software is especially valuable. Gaming cage workers have additional requirements. They must be at least 21 years old and they are required to obtain a license by the State gaming commission or another regulatory body. In addi­ tion to a fee, applicants must provide a photograph and proof of age and residence. A background check is conducted to make sure that applicants do not have a criminal history. Once hired, financial clerks usually receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or some other senior worker, new employees learn company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specific com­ puter software. Bill and account collectors generally receive train­ ing in telephone techniques, negotiation skills, and the laws govern­ ing the collection of debt. Financial clerks must be careful, orderly, and detail oriented in order to avoid making errors and to recognize errors made by others. These workers also should be discreet and trustworthy, because they frequently come in contact with confi­ dential material. In addition, all financial clerks should have a strong aptitude for numbers. Bookkeepers—particularly those who handle all the recordkeeping for companies—may find it beneficial to become certified. The “Certified Bookkeeper” designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, assures employ­ ers that individuals have the skills and knowledge required to carry out all the bookkeeping and accounting functions up through the adjusted trial balance, including payroll functions. For certifica­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tion, candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experi­ ence, pass three tests, and adhere to a code of ethics. Payroll clerks also may find it useful to become certified. The American Payroll Association offers two certifications: the Funda­ mental Payroll Certification (FPC) and the Certified Payroll Pro­ fessional (CPP). The FPC is mainly for beginning payroll workers and certifies that one has a basic knowledge of payroll issues. The CPP is meant for payroll professionals who are required to have several years of experience dealing with payroll issues before they can become certified. Either certification requires several courses and passing an examination. Tellers can prepare for better jobs by taking courses offered throughout the country by banking and fi­ nancial institutes, colleges and universities, and private training institutions. Financial clerks usually advance by taking on more duties in the same occupation for higher pay or by transferring to a closely re­ lated occupation. For example, procurement clerks with the appro­ priate experience often become buyers. Most companies fill office and administrative support supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individuals from within the organization, so financial clerks who acquire additional skills, experience, and training im­ prove their advancement opportunities. With appropriate experi­ ence and education, some clerks may become accountants, human resource specialists, or buyers. Job Outlook Overall employment of financial clerks is expected to experience slower-than-average growth through 2012. Despite continued growth in the volume of business transactions, rising productivity stem­ ming from the spread of office automation, as well as company downsizing, will adversely affect demand for financial clerks. Turn­ over in this large occupation, however, will provide the most job openings. As a result, opportunities for full-time and part-time employment should be plentiful as financial clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Many basic data-entry accounting and clerical jobs already have become heavily automated. Productivity has risen significantly, as workers increasingly are using personal computers instead of manual entry and time-consuming equipment such as typewriters, adding machines, and calculators. The growing use of barcode readers, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, and optical scan­ ners that record transactions reduces much of the data entry handled by financial clerks. In addition, the use of local area networks is facilitating electronic data interchange—the sending of data from computer to computer—thereby abolishing the need for clerks to reenter the data. To further eliminate duplicate functions, many large companies are consolidating their clerical operations in a cen­ tral office where accounting, billing, personnel, and payroll func­ tions are performed for all offices—main and satellite—within the organization. In addition, as more companies merge or are acquired, accounting departments are usually merged as well, reducing the number of financial clerks. More companies also are outsourcing their financial and accounting functions to specialized companies that can do the job more efficiently. Despite the relatively slow growth of the occupation, some fi­ nancial clerks will fare better than others. The number of bill col­ lectors is expected to increase as timely payments become a more important goal of companies and more companies offer credit to customers. The health-care services industry is projected to hire more financial clerks—particularly billing clerks—to match the explosive growth of that sector and to process the large amounts of paperwork having to do with patient claims. Tellers also will be needed as banks expand their hours.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 435 Earnings Salaries of financial clerks vary considerably. The region of the coun­ try, size of the city, and type and size of the establishment all influ­ ence salary levels. Also, the level of expertise required and the com­ plexity and uniqueness of a clerk’s responsibilities may affect earnings. Some companies may offer higher salaries to those who are certified in their profession. Median hourly earnings of full­ time financial clerks in 2002 were as follows: Procurement clerks................................................................................. Payroll and timekeeping clerks........................................................... Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks................................ Bill and account collectors................................................................... Billing and posting clerks and machine operators.......................... Gaming cage workers........................................................................... Tellers........................................................................................................  $14.23 13.94 13.16 12.88 12.55 10.47 9,81  In addition to earning their salaries, some bill and account col­ lectors receive commissions or bonuses based on the number of cases they close. Related Occupations Financial clerks enter data into a computer, handle cash, and keep track of business and other financial transactions. Higher level fi­ nancial clerks can generate reports and analyze the data. Other oc­ cupations that perform these duties include brokerage clerks; cash­ iers; credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks; loan interviewers and clerks; new-accounts clerks; order clerks; and secretaries and ad­ ministrative assistants. For more information on financial clerks, see the statements on bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; gaming cage workers; payroll and timekeeping clerks; procurement clerks; and tellers, all following this statement on financial clerks.  Bill and Account Collectors (0*NET 43-3011.00) Nature of the Work Bill and account collectors, called simply collectors, keep track of accounts that are overdue and attempt to collect payment on them. Some are employed by third-party collection agencies, while oth­ ers—known as “in-house collectors”—work directly for the origi­ nal creditors, such as department stores, hospitals, or banks. The duties of bill and account collectors are similar in the many different organizations in which they are employed. First, collec­ tors are called upon to locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts, usually over the telephone, but sometimes by letter. When customers move without leaving a forwarding address, collectors may check with the post office, telephone companies, credit bu­ reaus, or former neighbors to obtain the new address. The attempt to find the new address is called “skip tracing.” Once collectors find the debtor, they inform him or her of the overdue account and solicit payment. If necessary, they review the terms of the sale, service, or credit contract with the customer. Col­ lectors also may attempt to learn the cause of the delay in payment. Where feasible, they offer the customer advice on how to pay off the debts, such as by taking out a bill consolidation loan. However, the collector’s prime objective is always to ensure that the customer pays the debt in question. If a customer agrees to pay, collectors record this commitment and check later to verify that the payment was indeed made. Col­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  lectors may have authority to grant an extension of time if custom­ ers ask for one. If a customer fails to respond, collectors prepare a statement indicating the customer’s action for the credit department of the establishment. In more extreme cases, collectors may initiate repossession proceedings, disconnect the customer’s service, or hand the account over to an attorney for legal action. Most collectors handle other administrative functions for the accounts assigned to them, including recording changes of addresses and purging the records of the deceased. Collectors use computers and a variety of automated systems to keep track of overdue accounts. Typically, collectors work at video display terminals that are linked to computers. In sophisticated pre­ dictive dialer systems, a computer dials the telephone automatically, and the collector speaks only when a connection has been made. Such systems eliminate time spent calling busy or nonanswering numbers. Many collectors use regular telephones, but others wear headsets like those used by telephone operators. Employment Bill and account collectors held about 413,000 jobs in 2002. About 1 in 5 collectors works for collection agencies. Many others work in banks, retail stores, government, hospitals, and other institutions that lend money and extend credit. Job Outlook Employment of bill and account collectors is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. Cash flow is becoming increasingly important to companies, which are now plac­ ing greater emphasis on collecting bad debts sooner. Thus, the workload for collectors is up as they seek to collect, not only debts that are relatively old, but ones that are more recent. Also, as more companies in a wide range of industries get involved in lending money and issuing their own credit cards, they will need to hire collectors, because debt levels will inevitably rise. Hospitals and physicians’ offices are two of the fastest-growing areas requiring collectors. With insurance reimbursements not keeping up with cost increases, the health-care industry is seeking to recover more money from patients. Government agencies also are making more use of collectors to collect on everything from parking tickets to childsupport payments and past-due taxes. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is looking into outsourcing the collection of overdue Federal taxes to third-party collection agencies. If the IRS does outsource, more collectors will be required for this large job.  Bill and account collectors notify people when payments are overdue and negotiate settlements.  436 Occupational Outlook Handbook Despite the increasing demand for bill collectors, an increasing number of mergers between collection agencies may result in fewer collectors being hired. Small, less automated agencies are being bought by larger, more computerized firms, resulting in greater pro­ ductivity. Contrary to the pattern in most occupations, employment of bill and account collectors tends to rise during recessions, re­ flecting the difficulty that many people have in meeting their finan­ cial obligations. However, collectors usually have more success at getting people to repay their debts when the economy is good. Sources of Additional Information Career information on bill and account collectors is available from >- Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, P.O. Box 39106, Minneapolis, MN 55439. Internet: http://www.acainternational.org (Information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings appears in the introduction to financial clerk occupations.)  Billing and Posting Clerks and Machine Operators (0*NET 43-3021.01, 43-3021.02, 43-3021-03)  Nature of the Work Billing and posting clerks and machine operators, commonly called billing clerks, compile records of charges for services rendered or goods sold, calculate and record the amounts of these services and goods, and prepare invoices to be mailed to customers. Billing clerks review purchase orders, sales tickets, hospital records, or charge slips to calculate the total amount due from a customer. They must take into account any applicable discounts, special rates, or credit terms. A billing clerk for a trucking com­ pany often needs to consult a rate book to determine shipping costs of machine parts, for example. A hospital’s billing clerk may need to contact an insurance company to determine what items will be reimbursed and for how much. In accounting, law, consulting, and similar firms, billing clerks calculate client fees based on the actual time required to perform the task. They keep track of the accumu­ lated hours and dollar amounts to charge to each job, the type of job performed for a customer, and the percentage of work completed. After billing clerks review all necessary information, they com­ pute the charges, using calculators or computers. They then pre­ pare itemized statements, bills, or invoices used for billing and recordkeeping purposes. In one organization, the clerk might pre­ pare a bill containing the amount due and the date and type of ser­ vice; in another, the clerk would produce a detailed invoice with codes for all goods and services provided. This latter form might list the items sold, the terms of credit, the date of shipment or the dates services were provided, a salesperson’s or doctor’s identifica­ tion, if necessary, and the sales total. Computers and specialized billing software allow many clerks to calculate charges and prepare bills in one step. Computer pack­ ages prompt clerks to enter data from handwritten forms, and to manipulate the necessary entries of quantities, labor, and rates to be charged. Billing clerks verify the entry of information and check for errors before the computer prints the bill. After the bills are printed, billing clerks check them again for accuracy. In offices that are not automated, billing machine operators run off the bill on a billing machine to send to the customer. In addition to producing invoices, billing clerks may be asked to handle follow-up questions from customers and resolve any dis­ crepancies or errors. And, finally, all changes must be entered in the accounting records.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment In 2002, billing and posting clerks and machine operators held about 507,000 jobs. Although all industries employ billing clerks, the health services industry employs the most. About 1 in 3 billing clerks works in health services. Wholesale trade and retail trade industries also employ a large number of billing clerks. Job Outlook Employment of billing and posting clerks and machine operators is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. At the same time that computers are greatly simplifying the billing process and reducing the need for billing clerks, companies are putting greater emphasis on getting bills out faster in order to get paid more quickly. In addition, the fact that most billing clerks work in the fastest-growing sector of our economy (the health care sector) will generate more jobs for billing clerks in the future. But as the process becomes simplified, other people, particularly accounting and bookkeeping clerks, are taking on the billing function. In addition to employment growth, many job open­ ings will occur as workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Turnover in the occupation is relatively high, a not unexpected characteristic of an entry-level occupation requiring only a high school diploma. Most of the employment growth will occur in the expanding health services industries and in accounting firms and other billing services companies, as a result of increased outsourcing of the  '.m  8  Billing clerks check invoice amounts for accuracy before mailing the invoice.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 437 service. Other areas will see declines as the billing function be­ comes increasingly automated and invoices and statements are au­ tomatically generated upon delivery of the service or shipment of goods. Bills also will increasingly be delivered electronically over the Internet, eliminating the production and mailing of paper bills. The health services area will see increasing automation, with more medical billers using electronic billing software to submit insur­ ance claims to the insurer. Doing this speeds up the process and eliminates many of the coding errors to which medical bills are prone. The standardization of codes in the medical field also is expected to simplify medical bills and reduce errors. Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for billing clerks is avail­ able from local offices of the State employment service. (See the introductory statement on financial clerks for informa­ tion on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks (0*NET 43-3031.00) Nature of the Work Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are an organization’s financial recordkeepers. They update and maintain one or more accounting records, including those which tabulate expenditures, receipts, accounts payable and receivable, and profit and loss. They have a wide range of skills and knowledge from full-charge book­ keepers who can maintain an entire company’s books to accounting clerks who handle specific accounts. All of these clerks make nu­ merous computations each day and increasingly must be comfort­ able using computers to calculate and record data. In small establishments, bookkeeping clerks handle all financial transactions and recordkeeping. They record all transactions, post debits and credits, produce financial statements, and prepare reports and summaries for supervisors and managers. Bookkeepers also prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cashiers, verifying and balancing receipts, and sending cash, checks, or other forms of payment to the bank. They also may handle payroll, make pur­ chases, prepare invoices, and keep track of overdue accounts. In large offices and accounting departments, accounting clerks have more specialized tasks. Their titles often reflect the type of accounting they do, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts re­ ceivable clerk. In addition, their responsibilities vary by level of experience. Entry-level accounting clerks post details of transac­ tions, total accounts, and compute interest charges. They also may monitor loans and accounts, to ensure that payments are up to date. More advanced accounting clerks may total, balance, and recon­ cile billing vouchers; ensure completeness and accuracy of data on accounts; and code documents, according to company procedures. These workers post transactions in journals and on computer files and update the files when needed. Senior clerks also review com­ puter printouts against manually maintained journals and make nec­ essary corrections. They may review invoices and statements to ensure that all the information appearing on them is accurate and complete, and they may reconcile computer reports with operating reports. Auditing clerks verify records of transactions posted by other workers. They check figures, postings, and documents to ensure that they are correct, mathematically accurate, and properly coded.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Bookkeeping and accounting clerks prepare a wide range offinancial statements and reports. They also correct or note errors for accountants or other workers to adjust. As organizations continue to computerize their financial records, many bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are using spe­ cialized accounting software on personal computers. With manual posting to general ledgers becoming obsolete, these clerks increas­ ingly are posting charges to accounts on computer spreadsheets and databases. They now enter information from receipts or bills into computers, and the information is then stored either electronically, as computer printouts, or both. The widespread use of computers also has enabled bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to take on additional responsibilities, such as payroll, procurement, and billing. Many of these functions require these clerks to write letters, make phone calls to customers or clients, and interact with colleagues. Therefore, good communication skills are becoming increasingly important in the occupation. Employment Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held about 2 million jobs in 2002. They are found in all industries and at all levels of government, with the most employed in local government and in the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry. A growing number work for employment services firms, the result of an increase in outsourcing of the occupation. Approxi­ mately 1 out of 4 bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks worked part time in 2002.  438 Occupational Outlook Handbook Job Outlook Slower than average growth is expected in the employment of book­ keeping, accounting, and auditing clerks through 2012. More job openings will stem from replacement needs. Each year, numerous jobs will become available as these clerks transfer to other occupa­ tions or leave the labor force. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work. Although a growing economy will result in more financial trans­ actions and other activities that require these clerical workers, the continuing spread of office automation will lift worker productivity and contribute to the stagnant employment growth. In addition, organizations of all sizes will continue to downsize and consolidate various recordkeeping functions, thus reducing the demand for book­ keeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. Specialized clerks will be in much less demand than those who can carry out a wider range of accounting activities. Demand for full-charge bookkeepers is expected to increase, because they are called upon to do much of the work of accountants, as well as perform a wider variety of fi­ nancial transactions, from payroll to billing. Those with several years of accounting or bookkeeper certification will have the best job prospects. Sources of Additional Information For information on the “Certified Bookkeeper” designation, con­ tact  bling, and gaming establishments can now be found in many parts of the country. Job Outlook Employment of gaming cage workers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Opportuni­ ties for gaming cage workers depend on the health of the gaming industry. The industry as a whole is strong, and demand will re­ main high as gambling becomes a more popular and acceptable lei­ sure pursuit. New casinos will continue to be built on Indian reser­ vations and in States that currently do not have any casinos. Gaming cage workers, however, will not fare as well as others in the gaming industry, because many of the newer casinos are going cashless and using debitlike cards instead. However, a fair number of job open­ ings will result from high turnover in this occupation due to the high level of scrutiny workers receive and the need to be accurate. Persons with good mathematics abilities, some background in ac­ counting or bookkeeping, and good customer service skills should have the best opportunities. Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for gaming cage work­ ers is available from local offices of the State employment service. (See the introductory statement on financial clerks for informa­ tion on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  ► The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, 6001 Montrose Rd., Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20852. Internet: http://www.aipb.org  (See the introductory statement on financial clerks for informa­ tion on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Gaming Cage Workers (0*NET 43-3041.00)  Nature of the Work Gaming cage workers, more commonly called cage cashiers, work in casinos and other gaming establishments. The “cage” where these workers can be found is the central depository for money, gaming chips, and paperwork necessary to support casino play. Cage workers carry out a wide range of financial transactions and handle any paperwork that may be required. They perform credit checks and verify credit references for people who want to open a house credit account. They cash checks according to rules established by the casino. Cage workers sell gambling chips, to­ kens, or tickets to patrons or to other workers for resale to patrons and exchange chips and tokens for cash. They may use cash regis­ ters, adding machines, or computers to calculate and record trans­ actions. At the end of their shift, cage cashiers must balance the books. Because the industry is scrutinized closely, cage workers must follow a number of rules and regulations related to their handling of money. Large cash transactions, for example, must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Also, in determining when to extend credit or cash a check, cage workers must follow highly detailed procedures. Employment Gaming cage workers held about 18,000 jobs in 2002. All of these individuals work in the gaming industry, which is heavily concen­ trated in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, a grow­ ing number of States and Indian reservations have legalized gam­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Gaming cage workers need good mathematical and customer service skills.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 439  Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks (0*NET 43-3051.00) Nature of the Work Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform a vital function: ensuring that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accu­ rate. If inaccuracies arise, such as monetary errors or incorrect amounts of vacation time, these workers research and correct the records. In addition, they may perform various other clerical tasks. Automated timekeeping systems that allow employees to enter the number of hours they have worked directly into a computer have eliminated much of the data entry and review by timekeepers and have elevated the job of payroll clerk. In offices that have not auto­ mated this function, however, payroll and timekeeping clerks still perform many of the functions listed next. The fundamental task of timekeeping clerks is distributing and collecting timecards each pay period. These workers review em­ ployee work charts, timesheets, and timecards to ensure that infor­ mation is properly recorded and that records have the signatures of authorizing officials. In companies that bill for the time spent by staff, such as law or accounting firms, timekeeping clerks make sure that the hours recorded are charged to the correct job so that clients can be properly billed. These clerks also review computer reports listing timecards that cannot be processed because of errors, and they contact the employee or the employee’s supervisor to resolve the problem. In addition, timekeeping clerks are responsible for informing managers and other employees about procedural changes in payroll policies. Payroll clerks, also called payroll technicians, screen timecards for calculating, coding, or other errors. They compute pay by sub­ tracting allotments, including Federal and State taxes and contribu­ tions to retirement, insurance, and savings plans, from gross earn­ ings. Increasingly, computers are performing these calculations and alerting payroll clerks to problems or errors in the data. In small organizations or for new employees whose records are not yet en­ tered into a computer system, clerks may perform the necessary calculations manually. In some small offices, clerks or other em­ ployees in the accounting department process payroll. Payroll clerks record changes in employees’ addresses; close out files when workers retire, resign, or transfer; and advise employees on income tax withholding and other mandatory deductions. They  Payroll clerks make sure that workers get paid the correct amount.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  also issue and record adjustments to workers’ pay because of previ­ ous errors or retroactive increases. Payroll clerks need to follow changes in tax and deduction laws, so they are aware of the most recent revisions. Finally, they prepare and mail earnings and tax­ withholding statements for employees’ use in preparing income tax returns. In small offices, payroll and timekeeping duties are likely to be included in the duties of a general office clerk, a secretary, or an accounting clerk. However, large organizations employ specialized payroll and timekeeping clerks to perform these functions. In of­ fices that have automated timekeeping systems, payroll clerks per­ form more analysis of the data, examine trends, and work with com­ puter systems. They also spend more time answering employees’ questions and processing unique data.  Employment Payroll and timekeeping clerks held about 198,000 jobs in 2002. They can be found in every industry, but a growing number work for employment services companies as temporary employees, or for accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services firms, which are increasingly taking on the payroll function as a service to other companies. Approximately 16 percent of all pay­ roll and timekeeping clerks worked part time in 2002.  Job Outlook Employment of payroll and timekeeping clerks is expected to grow more slowly than the average through 2012, due mainly to automa­ tion and increased outsourcing. Both of these trends allow payroll workers to handle more payroll recordkeeping functions with fewer people. Nevertheless, a number of job openings will arise in com­ ing years as payroll and timekeeping clerks leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Those with payroll certifications in­ dicating that they can handle more complex payroll issues will have an advantage in the job market. As entering payroll and timekeeping information becomes more simplified, the job itself is becoming more complex, with compa­ nies now offering a greater variety of pension, 401(k), and other investment plans to their employees. Also, the growing use of gar­ nishment of wages for child support is adding to the complexity. These transactions must be recorded and kept track of, requiring payroll clerks to implement changes. In contrast to this trend, the other one is that computers are doing much of the recordkeeping, allowing payroll clerks to handle more records. Also, the greater complexity of the job, coupled with the automation of records that is simplifying data entry, is resulting in payroll professionals, not clerks, doing more of the work. Another factor leading to the slow growth in employment of pay­ roll clerks is that companies are increasingly outsourcing the func­ tion of producing payroll to firms that specialize in the task. Many of these companies are data-processing facilities, but accounting firms also are taking on the payroll function to supplement thenaccounting work. This growing specialization of the payroll func­ tion should lead to more productive payroll clerks. Computerization is still the number one factor that is slowing the demand for payroll and timekeeping clerks. For example, auto­ mated timeclocks, which calculate employee hours, allow large or­ ganizations to centralize their timekeeping duties in one location. At individual sites, employee hours are increasingly tracked by com­ puter and verified by managers. This information is then compiled and sent to a central office to be processed by payroll clerks, eliminat-  440 Occupational Outlook Handbook ing the need to have these clerks at every site. In addition, the growing use of direct deposit eliminates the need to draft paychecks, because these funds are automatically transferred each pay period. Also, a growing number of organizations are allowing employees to update their payroll records automatically. Furthermore, in smaller organizations, payroll and timekeeping duties are increasingly be­ ing distributed to secretaries, general office clerks, or accounting clerks. Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for payroll and timekeep­ ing clerks is available from local offices of the State employment service. (See the introductory statement on financial clerks for informa­ tion on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Procurement Clerks (0*NET 43-3061.00)  Nature of the Work Procurement clerks compile requests for materials, prepare purchase orders, keep track of purchases and supplies, and handle inquiries about orders. Usually called purchasing clerks or purchasing tech­ nicians, they perform a variety of tasks related to the ordering of goods and supplies for an organization and make sure that what was purchased arrives on schedule and meets the purchaser’s specifications. Automation is having a profound effect on this occupation. Or­ ders for goods now can be placed electronically when supplies are low. For example, computers integrated with cash registers at stores record purchases and automatically reorder goods when supplies reach a certain target level. However, automation is still years away for many firms, and the role of the procurement clerk is unchanged in many organizations. Procurement clerks perform a wide range of tasks and also have a wide range of responsibilities. Some clerks act more like buyers, particularly at small to medium-sized companies, while others per­ form strictly clerical functions. In general, procurement clerks pro­ cess requests for purchases. They first determine whether there is any of the requested product left in inventory and may go through catalogs or to the Internet to find suppliers. They may prepare invi­ tation-to-bid forms and mail them to suppliers or distribute them for public posting. Once suppliers are found, procurement clerks may interview them to check on prices and specifications and thereby put together spreadsheets with price comparisons and other facts about each supplier. Upon the organization’s approval of a sup­ plier, purchase orders are prepared, mailed, and entered into com­ puters. Procurement clerks keep track of orders and determine the causes of any delays. If the supplier has questions, clerks try to answer them and resolve any problems. When the shipment ar­ rives, procurement clerks may reconcile the purchase order with the shipment, making sure that they match; notify the vendors when invoices are not received; and verify that the bills concur with the purchase orders. Some purchasing departments, particularly in small companies, are responsible for overseeing the organization’s inventory control system. At these organizations, procurement clerks monitor in-house inventory movement and complete inventory transfer forms for  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  bookkeeping purposes. They may keep inventory spreadsheets and place orders when materials on hand are insufficient.  Employment In 2002, procurement clerks held about 77,000 jobs. Procurement clerks are found in every industry, including manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, health care, and government. Nearly 1 in 5 procurement clerks works for the Federal government.  Job Outlook Employment of procurement clerks is expected to decline through 2012 as a result of increasing automation. The need for procure­ ment clerks will be reduced as the use of computers to place orders directly with suppliers—called electronic data interchange—and as ordering over the Internet—known as “e-procurement”—become more commonplace. In addition, procurement authority for some purchases is now being given to employees in the departments origi­ nating the purchase. These departments may be issued procure­ ment cards, which are similar to credit cards, that enable a depart­ ment to charge purchases up to a specified amount. Although employment in the occupation is expected to decline overall, job opportunities will vary by type of employer. As the manufacturing sector continues to decline, fewer procurement clerks will be needed in that sector. In contrast, procurement clerks will be increasingly employed by companies in the service sector, which are beginning to realize that a centralized procurement department may be more cost effective than units making purchases indepen­ dently, as many service companies had been doing. However, most job openings will arise out of the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Persons with good writing and communication skills, along with computer skills, will have the best opportunities for employment.  Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for procurement clerks is available from local offices of the State employment service. (See the introductory statement on financial clerks for informa­ tion on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Procurement clerks prepare purchase orders and make sure that the shipment and the bills agree with the order.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 441  Tellers (0*NET 43-3071.00)  Nature of the Work The teller is the person most people associate with a bank. Tellers make up approximately one-fourth of bank employees and conduct most of a bank’s routine transactions. Among the responsibilities of tellers are cashing checks, accepting deposits and loan payments, and processing withdrawals. They also may sell savings bonds, ac­ cept payment for customers’ utility bills and charge cards, process necessary paperwork for certificates of deposit, and sell travelers’ checks. Some tellers specialize in handling foreign currencies or commercial or business accounts. Being a teller requires a great deal of attention to detail. Before cashing a check, a teller must verify the date, the name of the bank, the identity of the person who is to receive payment, and the legal­ ity of the document. A teller also must make sure that the written and numerical amounts agree and that the account has sufficient funds to cover the check. The teller then must carefully count cash to avoid errors. Sometimes a customer withdraws money in the form of a cashier’s check, which the teller prepares and verifies. When accepting a deposit, tellers must check the accuracy of the deposit slip before processing the transaction. Prior to starting their shifts, tellers receive and count an amount of working cash for their drawers. A supervisor—usually the head teller—verifies this amount. Tellers use this cash for payments dur­ ing the day and are responsible for its safe and accurate handling. Before leaving, tellers count their cash on hand, list the currencyreceived tickets on a balance sheet, make sure that the accounts bal­ ance, and sort checks and deposit slips. Over the course of a work­ day, tellers also may process numerous mail transactions. Some tellers replenish their cash drawers and corroborate deposits and payments to automated teller machines (ATMs). In most banks, head tellers are responsible for the teller line. They set work schedules, ensure that the proper procedures are ad­ hered to, and act as a mentor to less experienced tellers. In addition, head tellers may perform the typical duties of a teller, as needed, and may deal with the more difficult customer problems. They may access the vault, ensure that the correct cash balance is in the vault, and oversee large cash transactions. Technology continues to play a large role in the job duties of all tellers. In most banks, for example,  JP Hablemos  J  $S detu .. jubilacion. |  am more  tellers use computer terminals to record deposits and withdrawals. These terminals often give tellers quick access to detailed informa­ tion on customer accounts. Tellers can use this information to tailor the bank’s services to fit a customer’s needs or to recommend an appropriate bank product or service. As banks begin to offer more and increasingly complex finan­ cial services, tellers are being trained to identify sales opportuni­ ties. This task requires them to learn about the various financial products and services the bank offers so that they can briefly ex­ plain them to customers and refer interested customers to appropri­ ate specialized sales personnel. In addition, tellers in many banks are being cross-trained to perform some of the functions of cus­ tomer service representatives. (Customer service representatives are discussed separately in another section of the Handbook.)  Employment Tellers held about 530,000 jobs in 2002; approximately 1 out of 3 worked part time. The overwhelming majority worked in commer­ cial banks, savings institutions, or credit unions. The remainder was employed in a variety of other financial service companies.  Job Outlook Employment prospects for tellers have improved of late. Employ­ ment is projected to grow, but less than the average for all occupa­ tions. Banks are looking at their branch offices as places to attract customers for the increasing number and variety of financial prod­ ucts the banks sell. As recently as a few years ago, to cut costs, banks were closing branch offices and discouraging the use of tell­ ers, but in a turnaround, banks are now opening branch offices in more and more locations. They also are keeping them open longer during the day and on weekends, which is expected to increase op­ portunities for tellers, particularly those who work part time. Most job openings will arise from replacement needs because turnover is high—a characteristic typical of large occupations that normally require little formal education and offer relatively low pay. Tellers who have excellent customer service skills, are knowledgeable about a variety of financial services, and can sell those services will be in greater demand in the future. Despite the improved outlook, automation and technology will continue to reduce the need for tellers who perform only routine transactions. For example, ATMs and the increased use of direct deposit of paychecks and benefit checks have reduced the need for bank customers to interact with tellers for routine transactions. In addition, electronic banking is spreading rapidly throughout the banking industry. This type of banking, conducted over the tele­ phone or the Internet, also will reduce the number of tellers over the long run. Employment of tellers also is being affected by the increasing use of 24-hour telephone centers by many large banks. These cen­ ters allow a customer to interact with a bank representative at a dis­ tant location, either by telephone or by video terminal. Such cen­ ters usually are staffed by customer service representatives, who can handle a wider variety of transactions than tellers can, includ­ ing applications for loans and credit cards.  jdav.  Part-time teller jobs will become more common as bank branches increase the hours during which they are open.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for tellers is available from local offices of the State employment service. (See the introductory statement on financial clerks for informa­ tion on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  442 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Information and Record Clerks (0*NET 43-4011.00, 43-4021.00, 43-4031.01, 43-4031.02, 43-4031.03, 43-4041.01, 43-4041.02, 43-4051.01, 43-4051.02, 43-4061.01, 43-4061.02, 43-4071.00, 43-4081.00, 43-4111.00, 43-4121.00, 43-4131.00, 43-4141.00, 43-4151.00, 43-4161.00, 43-4171.00, 43-4181.01, 43-4181.02)  Significant Points  •  • •  •  Numerous job openings should arise for most types of information and record clerks, due to employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave this large occupational group. A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement. Because many information and record clerks deal directly with the public, a professional appearance and a pleasant personality are imperative. These occupations are well suited to flexible work schedules.  Nature of the Work Information and record clerks are found in nearly every industry in the Nation, gathering data and providing information to the public. The specific duties of these clerks vary as widely as the job titles they hold. Although their day-to-day duties differ considerably, many in­ formation and record clerks greet customers, guests, or other visi­ tors. Many also answer telephones and either obtain information from, or provide information to, the public. Most clerks use multiline telephones, fax machines, and personal computers. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks, for example, are a guest’s first contact for check-in, check-out, and other services within hotels, motels, and resorts. Interviewers, except eligibility and loan, found most often in medical facilities, research firms, and financial institutions, assist the public in completing forms, applications, or questionnaires. Eligibility interviewers, government programs determine the eligi­ bility of individuals applying for assistance. Receptionists and in­ formation clerks often are a visitor’s or caller’s first contact within an organization, providing information and routing calls. Reserva­ tion and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks assist the public in making travel plans, reserving seats, and purchasing tickets for a variety of transportation services. (Customer service representa­ tives provide information in response to inquiries about products or services and handle and resolve complaints. While these workers are classified as information and record clerks and are included in the estimate of employment for this occupational group, they are discussed in detail elsewhere in the Handbook). Court, municipal, and license clerks perform administrative du­ ties in courts of law, municipalities, and governmental licensing agencies and bureaus. Court clerks prepare the docket of cases to be called, secure information forjudges, and contact witnesses, at­ torneys, and litigants to obtain information for the court. Munici­ pal clerks prepare draft agendas or bylaws for town or city councils, answer official correspondence, and keep fiscal records and accounts. License clerks issue licenses or permits, record data, administer tests, and collect fees. New-account clerks interview individuals desiring to open bank accounts. Their principal tasks include handling customer inquir­ ies, explaining the institution’s products and services to people, and  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  referring customers to the appropriate sales personnel. If a cus­ tomer wants to open a checking or savings account or an individual retirement account, the new-account clerk will interview the cus­ tomer and enter the required information into a computer for processing. Other information and record clerks focus on maintaining, up­ dating, and processing a variety of records, ranging from payrolls to information on the shipment of goods or bank statements. They ensure that other workers get paid on time, that customers’ ques­ tions are answered, and that records of all transactions are kept. Depending on their specific titles, these workers perform a wide variety of recordkeeping duties. Brokerage clerks prepare and main­ tain the records generated when stocks, bonds, and other types of investments are traded. File clerks store and retrieve various kinds of office information for use by staff members. Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping maintain employee records. Library assistants, clerical assist library patrons. Order clerks process incoming orders for goods and services. Correspon­ dence clerks reply to customers regarding claims of damage, delin­ quent accounts, incorrect billings, complaints of unsatisfactory ser­ vice, and requests for exchanges or returns of merchandise. Loan interviewers and clerks and credit authorizes, checkers, and clerks review applicants’ credit history and obtain the information needed to determine the creditworthiness of those who apply for credit cards. The duties of record clerks vary with the size of the firm. In a small business, a bookkeeping clerk may handle all financial records and transactions, as well as have payroll and personnel duties. A large firm, by contrast, may employ specialized accounting, pay­ roll, and human resources clerks. In general, however, clerical staffs in firms of all sizes increasingly are performing a broader variety of tasks than in the past. This is especially true for clerical occupa­ tions involving accounting work. As the growing use of computers enables bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to become more productive, these workers may assume billing, payroll, and timekeeping duties. Another way in which computers affect these occupations is the growing use of financial software to enter and manipulate data. Computer programs automatically perform calculations on data that were previously calculated manually. Computers also enable clerks to access data within files more quickly than they would using the former method of reviewing stacks of paper. Nevertheless, most workers still keep backup paper records for research, auditing, and reference purposes. Despite the growing use of automation, inter­ action with the public and coworkers remains a basic part of the job of many record clerks. Working Conditions Working conditions vary for different types of information and record clerks, but most clerks work in areas that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. This is especially true for information clerks who greet customers and visitors and usually work in highly visible ar­ eas that are furnished to make a good impression. Reservation agents and interviewing clerks who spend much of their day talking on the telephone, however, commonly work away from the public, often in large centralized reservation or phone centers. Because a num­ ber of agents or clerks may share the same workspace, it may be crowded and noisy. Interviewing clerks may conduct surveys on the street or in shopping malls, or they may go door to door. Although most information and record clerks work a standard 40-hour week, about 1 out of 5 works part time. Some high school and college students work part time in these occupations, after school or during vacations. Some jobs—such as those in the transporta­ tion industry, hospitals, and hotels, in particular—may require  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 443 working evenings, late-night shifts, weekends, and holidays. Inter­ viewing clerks conducting surveys or other research may work mainly evenings or weekends. In general, employees with the least seniority tend to be assigned the least desirable shifts. The work performed by information clerks may be repetitious and stressful. For example, many receptionists spend all day an­ swering telephones while performing additional clerical or secre­ tarial tasks. Reservation agents and travel clerks work under strin­ gent time constraints or have quotas on the number of calls answered or reservations made. Additional stress is caused by technology that enables management to electronically monitor employees’ use of computer systems, tape-record telephone calls, or limit the time spent on each call. The work of hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks and transporta­ tion ticket agents also can be stressful when these workers are try­ ing to serve the needs of difficult or angry customers. When flights are canceled, reservations mishandled, or guests dissatisfied, these clerks must bear the brunt of the customers’ anger. Hotel desk clerks and ticket agents may be on their feet most of the time, and ticket agents may have to lift heavy baggage. In addition, prolonged ex­ posure to a video display terminal may lead to eyestrain for the many information clerks who work with computers. Employment Information and record clerks held 5.1 million jobs in 2002. The following tabulation shows employment for the individual occupations: Customer service representatives.................................................. 1,894,000 Receptionists and information clerks........................................... 1,100,000 Order clerks............................................................................................ 330,000 File clerks................................................................................................ 265,000 193,000 Interviewers, except eligibility and loan.......................................... Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks ................................................. 178,000 Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks............................................................................................... 177,000 Human resource assistants, except payroll and timekeeping................................................................................... 174,000 Loan interviewers and clerks......................................................... 170,000 Library assistants, clerical............................................................... 120,000 Court, municipal, and license clerks............................................ 106,000 New account clerks................................................................................ 99,000 Eligibility interviewers, government programs............................... 94,000 Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks........................................... 80,000 Brokerage clerks..................................................................................... 78,000 Correspondence clerks.......................................................................... 33,000  Although information and record clerks are found in a variety of industries, employment is concentrated in health services; finance, insurance, and real estate; transportation, communications, and utili­ ties; and business services. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Despite the fact that hiring requirements for information and record clerk jobs vary from industry to industry, a high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement. In­ creasingly, familiarity or experience with computers and good in­ terpersonal skills are becoming equally important as the diploma to employers. Although many employers prefer to hire information and record clerks with a higher level of education, only a few of these clerical occupations require such a level of education. For example, brokerage firms usually seek college graduates for bro­ kerage clerk jobs, and order clerks in high-technology firms often need to understand scientific and mechanical processes, which may require some college education. For new-account clerks and airline  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  reservation and ticket agent jobs, some college education may be preferred. Many information and record clerks deal directly with the pub­ lic, so a professional appearance and a pleasant personality are im­ portant. A clear speaking voice and fluency in the English language also are essential, because these employees frequently use the tele­ phone or public-address systems. Good spelling and computer lit­ eracy often are needed, particularly because most work involves considerable use of the computer. In addition, speaking a foreign language fluently is becoming increasingly helpful for those wish­ ing to enter the lodging or travel industry. With the exception of airline reservation and transportation ticket agents, information and record clerks generally receive orientation and training on the job. For example, orientation for hotel and motel desk clerks usually includes an explanation of the job duties and information about the establishment, such as the locations of rooms and the available services. New employees learn job tasks through on-the-job training under the guidance of a supervisor or an experienced clerk. They often need additional training in how to use the computerized reservation, room assignment, and billing systems and equipment. Most clerks continue to receive instruc­ tion on new procedures and on company policies after their initial training ends. Receptionists usually receive on-the-job training that may in­ clude procedures for greeting visitors, for operating telephone and computer systems, and for distributing mail, fax, and parcel deliver­ ies. Some employers look for applicants who already possess cer­ tain skills, such as computer and word-processing experience, or who have previous formal education. These workers must possess strong communication skills, because they are constantly interact­ ing with customers. Most airline reservation and ticket agents learn their skills through formal company training programs. In a classroom setting, they learn company and industry policies, computer systems, and ticket­ ing procedures. They also learn to use the airline’s computer sys­ tem to obtain information on schedules, the availability of seats, and fares; to reserve space for passengers; and to plan passenger itineraries. In addition, they must become familiar with airport and airline code designations, regulations, and safety procedures, on all of which they may be tested. After completing classroom instruc­ tion, new agents work on the job with supervisors or experienced agents for a period during which the supervisors may monitor tele­ phone conversations to improve the quality of customer service. Agents are expected to provide good service while limiting the time spent on each call, without being discourteous to customers. In contrast to the airlines, automobile clubs, bus lines, and railroads tend to train their ticket agents or travel clerks on the job through short in-house classes that last several days. Most banks prefer to hire college graduates for new-account clerk positions. Nevertheless, many new-account clerks without college degrees start out as bank tellers and are promoted by demonstrating excellent communication skills and the motivation to learn new skills. If a new-account clerk has not been a teller before, he or she often will receive such training and work for several months as a teller. In either case, new-account clerks undergo formal training regarding the bank’s procedures, products, and services. Some information and record clerks learn the skills they need in high schools, business schools, and community colleges. Business education programs offered by these institutions typically include courses in typing, word processing, shorthand, business communi­ cations, records management, and office systems and procedures. Order clerks in specialized technical positions obtain their training from technical institutes and 2- and 4-year colleges.  444 Occupational Outlook Handbook Some entry-level clerks are college graduates with degrees in business, finance, or liberal arts. Although a degree rarely is re­ quired, many graduates accept entry-level clerical positions to get into a particular company or to enter a particular field. Some com­ panies, such as brokerage and accounting firms, have a set plan of advancement that tracks college graduates from entry-level clerical jobs into managerial positions. Workers with college degrees are likely to start at higher salaries and advance more easily than those without degrees. Regardless of their level of educational attainment, clerks usu­ ally receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or other senior workers, new employees learn company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as train­ ing in specific computer software. Advancement for information and record clerks usually comes by transfer to a position with more responsibilities or by promotion to a supervisory position. Most companies fill office and adminis­ trative support supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individuals within their organization, so information and record clerks who acquire additional skills, experience, and training im­ prove their opportunities for advancement. Receptionists, interview­ ers, and new-account clerks with word-processing or other clerical skills may advance to a better paying job as a secretary or adminis­ trative assistant. Within the airline industry, a ticket agent may ad­ vance to lead worker on the shift. Additional training is helpful in preparing information clerks for promotion. In the lodging industry, clerks can improve their chances for advancement by taking home-study or group-study courses in lodging management, such as those sponsored by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Motel Association. In some industries—such as lodging, banking, insurance, or air transporta­ tion—workers commonly are promoted through the ranks. Infor­ mation and record clerk positions offer good opportunities for quali­ fied workers to get started in a business of their choice. In a number of industries, a college degree may be required for advancement to management ranks. Job Outlook Overall employment of information and record clerks is expected grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. In addition to many openings occurring as businesses and organiza­ tions expand, numerous job openings for information and record clerks will result from the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Replacement needs are expected to be significant in this large occupational group, because many young people work as clerks for a few years before switching to other, higher paying jobs. These occupations are well suited to flexible work schedules, and many opportunities for part­ time work will continue to be available, particularly as organiza­ tions attempt to cut labor costs by hiring more part-time or tempo­ rary workers. The outlook for different types of information and record clerks is expected to vary in the coming decade. Economic growth and general business expansion are expected to stimulate faster-thanaverage growth among receptionists and information clerks. Posi­ tions as hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks are expected to grow faster than the average, as the occupational composition of the lodg­ ing industry changes and services provided by these workers ex­ pand. Employment of interviewers, except eligibility and loan, is expected to grow faster than average, with these workers benefiting from rapid growth in the health and social assistance sector. Li­ brary assistants are also expected to grow faster than the average as these workers take on more responsibilities.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Human resource assistants and new-account clerks are expected to grow about as fast as average; despite computer technology that increases their productivity, these workers will be needed to per­ form duties that are important to their organization. Average em­ ployment growth is expected for court, municipal, and license clerks as the number of court cases and demand for citizen services con­ tinues to increase. Employment of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks also is expected to grow about as fast as average, due to rising demand for travel services. Employment of other information and record clerks is expected to experience little or no growth or decline. File clerks are expected are expected to have little or no growth; despite rising demand for file clerks to record and retrieve information, job growth will be slowed by productivity gains stemming from office automation and the consolidation of clerical jobs. As government programs, such as welfare, continue to be reformed, employment of eligibility in­ terviewers will decline. Employment of correspondence clerks, as well as credit authorizes, checkers, and clerks is expected to de­ cline due to automation and the consolidation of recordkeeping func­ tions across all industries. Employment of both brokerage clerks and loan interviewers is expected to decline as online trading and other technological innovations continue to automate more of this type of work. With advances in electronic commerce continuing to increase the efficiency of transactions among businesses, consum­ ers, and government, employment of order clerks also is expected to decline. Earnings Earnings vary widely by occupation and experience. Annual earn­ ings in 2002 ranged from less than $13,020 for the lowest-paid 10 percent of hotel clerks to more than $53,410 for the top 10 percent of brokerage clerks. Salaries of human resource assistants tend to be higher than for other information and record clerks, while hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks tend to earn quite a bit less, as the following tabulation of median annual earnings shows: Brokerage clerks................................................................................... Eligibility interviewers, government programs............................. Human resource assistants, except payroll and timekeeping..... Loan interviewers and clerks............................................................. Court, municipal, and license clerks................................................ Credit authorizes, checkers, and clerks......................................... Customer service representatives...................................................... Correspondence clerks........................................................................ Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks.................................................................................................. New-account clerks.............................................................................. Order clerks........................................................................................... Interviewers, except eligibility and loan......................................... Receptionists and information clerks............................................... File clerks............................................................................................... Library assistants, clerical.................................................................. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks................................................  $33,210 31,010 30,410 27,830 27,300 26,690 26,240 25,960 25,350 25,200 24,810 21,690 21,150 20,020 19,450 17,370  Earnings of hotel and motel desk clerks also vary considerably, depending on the location, size, and type of establishment in which they work. For example, clerks at large luxury hotels and at those located in metropolitan and resort areas generally are paid more than clerks at less exclusive or “budget” establishments and than those working at hotels and motels in less populated areas. In 2003, the Federal Government typically paid salaries ranging from $19,898 to $23,555 a year to beginning receptionists with a high school diploma or 6 months of experience. The average an­ nual salary for all receptionists employed by the Federal Govern­ ment was about $25,704 in 2003.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 445 In addition to their hourly wage, full-time information and record clerks who work evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays may re­ ceive shift differential pay. Some employers offer educational as­ sistance to their employees. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks receive free or reduced fares for travel on their company’s carriers for themselves, their immediate families, and, in some companies, friends. Related Occupations A number of other workers deal with the public, receive and pro­ vide information, or direct people to others who can assist them. Among these workers are customer service representatives, dispatch­ ers, security guards and gaming surveillance workers, tellers, and counter and rental clerks. For more information on information and record clerks, see the statements on brokerage clerks; credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks; file clerks; hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks; human re­ sources assistants; interviewers; library assistants; order clerks; re­ ceptionists and information clerks; and reservation and transporta­ tion ticket agents and travel clerks following this statement.  Brokerage Clerks (0*NET 43-4011.00)  Nature of the Work Brokerage clerks perform a number of different jobs with wideranging responsibilities; all involve computing and recording data pertaining to securities transactions. Brokerage clerks also may contact customers, take orders, and inform clients of changes to their accounts. Some of these jobs are more clerical and require only a high school diploma, while others are considered entry-level positions for which a bachelor’s degree is needed. Brokerage clerks, who work in the operations departments of securities firms, on trad­ ing floors, and in branch offices, also are called margin clerks, divi­ dend clerks, transfer clerks, and broker’s assistants. The broker’s assistant, also called sales assistant, is the most com­ mon type of brokerage clerk. These workers typically assist two brokers, for whom they take calls from clients, write up order tick­ ets, process the paperwork for opening and closing accounts, record a client’s purchases and sales, and inform clients of changes in their accounts. All broker’s assistants must be knowledgeable about in­ vestment products so that they can communicate clearly with cli­ ents. Those with a “Series 7” license can make recommendations to clients at the instruction of the broker. The Series 7 license, is­ sued to securities and commodities sales representatives by the Na­ tional Association of Securities Dealers, allows them to provide advice on securities to the public. (Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are discussed elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Brokerage clerks in the operations areas of securities firms per­ form many duties to facilitate the sale and purchase of stocks, bonds, commodities, and other kinds of investments. These clerks produce the necessary records of all transactions that occur in their area of the business. Job titles for many of these clerks depend upon the type of work that they perform. Purchase-and-sale clerks, for ex­ ample, match orders to buy with orders to sell. They balance and verify trades of stock by comparing the records of the selling firm with those of the buying firm. Dividend clerks ensure timely pay­ ments of stock or cash dividends to clients of a particular brokerage firm. Transfer clerks execute customer requests for changes to se­ curity registration and examine stock certificates for adherence to  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ■  'T4  Brokerage clerks verify stock trades by comparing the records of sellers and buyers. banking regulations. Receive-and-deliver clerks facilitate the re­ ceipt and delivery of securities among firms and institutions. Mar­ gin clerks record and monitor activity in customers’ accounts to ensure that clients make payments and stay within legal boundaries concerning their purchases of stock. Technology is changing the nature of many of these jobs. A significant and growing number of brokerage clerks use customdesigned software programs to process transactions more quickly. Only a few customized accounts are still handled manually. Fur­ thermore, the rapid expansion of online trading reduces the amount of paperwork because brokerage clerks are able to make trades electronically. Employment Brokerage clerks held about 78,000 jobs in 2002. Most worked in firms that sell securities and commodities. Job Outlook Employment of brokerage clerks is expected to decline through the year 2012, as technological advancements continue to automate many of their job duties. With people increasingly investing in se­ curities, brokerage clerks will still be required to process larger vol­ umes of transactions. Moreover, some brokerage clerks will still be needed to update records, enter changes to customers’ accounts, and verify transfers of securities. However, the emergence of online trad­ ing and widespread automation in the securities and commodities industry will limit demand for brokerage clerks in the coming de­ cade. All job openings will stem from the need to replace clerks who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Credit Authorizers, Checkers, and Clerks (0*NET 43-4041.01, 43-4041.02)  Nature of the Work Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks review credit history and obtain the information needed to determine the creditworthiness of individuals or businesses applying for credit. They spend much of  446 Occupational Outlook Handbook their day on the telephone, obtaining information from credit bu­ reaus, employers, banks, credit institutions, and other sources to determine applicants’ credit history and ability to pay back the charge. Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks process and authorize applications for credit, including applications for credit cards. Al­ though the distinctions among the three job titles are disappearing, some general differences remain. Credit clerks typically handle the processing of credit applications by verifying the information on the application, calling applicants if additional data are needed, con­ tacting credit bureaus for a credit rating, and obtaining any other information necessary to determine applicants’ creditworthiness. If the clerk works in a department store or other establishment that offers instant credit, he or she enters the applicant’s information into a computer at the point of sale. A credit rating will then be transmitted from a central office within seconds to indicate whether the application should be rejected or approved. Credit checkers investigate the credit history and current credit standing of a person or business prior to the issuance of a loan or line of credit. Credit checkers also may telephone or write to credit departments of businesses and service companies to obtain infor­ mation about an applicant’s credit standing. Credit-reporting agen­ cies and bureaus hire a number of checkers to secure, update, and verify information for credit reports. These workers often are called credit investigators or reporters.  Credit authorizers approve charges against customers’ existing accounts. Most charges are approved automatically by computer. However, when accounts are past due, overextended, or invalid, or when they show a change of address, salespersons refer the associ­ ated transactions to credit authorizers located in a central office. These authorizers evaluate the customers’ computerized credit records and payment histories and quickly decide whether to ap­ prove new charges. Employment Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks held about 80,000 jobs in 2002. Almost half of these workers were employed by finance and insurance industries, mainly firms in credit intermediation and re­ lated activities which includes commercial and savings banks, credit unions, and mortgage, finance, and loan companies. Credit bureaus and collection agencies and establishments in wholesale and retail trade also employ these clerks. Job Outlook Employment of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks is expected to decline through 2012. Despite a projected increase in the num­ ber of credit applications, technology will allow these applications to be processed, checked, and authorized by fewer workers than were required in the past. Credit scoring is a major development that has improved the pro­ ductivity of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks, thus limiting employment growth in the occupation. Companies and credit bu­ reaus now can purchase software that quickly analyzes an applicant’s creditworthiness and summarizes it into a “score.” Credit issuers then can easily decide whether to accept or reject an application on the basis of its score, speeding up the authorization of loans or credit. Obtaining credit ratings also has become much easier for credit checkers and authorizers, because businesses now have computer systems that are directly linked to credit bureaus that provide im­ mediate access to a person’s credit history. The job outlook for credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks is sensitive to overall economic activity. A downturn in the economy or a rise in interest rates usually leads to a decline in demand for credit. Even in slow economic times, however, job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for various reasons. (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  File Clerks (0*NET 43-4071.00)  ....  Credit authorizers spend much of their day obtaining information on the telephone.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work The amount of information generated by organizations continues to grow rapidly. File clerks classify, store, retrieve, and update this information. In many small offices, they often have additional re­ sponsibilities, such as entering data, performing word processing, sorting mail, and operating copying or fax machines. File clerks are employed across the Nation by organizations of all types. File clerks, also called records, information, or record-center clerks, examine incoming material and code it numerically, alpha­ betically, or by subject matter. They then store paper forms, letters, receipts, or reports, or enter necessary information into other stor­ age devices. Some clerks operate mechanized files that rotate to bring the needed records to them; others convert documents to film  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 447  IJLJL  SI i r-1-*  organizations across the economy. This growth will be slowed, how­ ever, by productivity gains stemming from office automation and the consolidation of clerical jobs. Nonetheless, job opportunities for file clerks should be plentiful because a large number of work­ ers will be needed to replace workers who leave the occupation each year. Job turnover among file clerks reflects the lack of formal training requirements, limited advancement potential, and relatively low pay. Jobseekers who have typing and other secretarial skills and who are familiar with a wide range of office machines, especially per­ sonal computers, should have the best job opportunities. File clerks should find opportunities for temporary or part-time work, espe­ cially during peak business periods. (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  File clerks examine and classify material numerically, alphabetically, or by subject matter. that is then stored on microforms, such as microfilm or microfiche. A growing number of file clerks use imaging systems that scan pa­ per files or film and store the material on optical disks. In order for records to be useful, they must be up to date and accurate. File clerks ensure that new information is added to files in a timely manner and may discard outdated file materials or transfer them to inactive storage. They also check files at regular intervals to make sure that all items are correctly sequenced and placed. Whenever records cannot be found, the file clerk attempts to locate the missing material. As an organization’s needs for information change, file clerks implement changes to the filing system estab­ lished by supervisory personnel. When records are requested, file clerks locate them and give them to the person requesting them. A record may be a sheet of paper stored in a file cabinet or an image on microform. In the former case, the clerk retrieves the document manually and hands or for­ wards it to the requester. In the latter case, the clerk retrieves the microform and displays it on a microform reader. If necessary, file clerks make copies of records and distribute them. In addition, they keep track of materials removed from the files, to ensure that bor­ rowed files are returned. Increasingly, file clerks are using computerized filing and re­ trieval systems that have a variety of storage devices, such as a main­ frame computer, CD-ROM, or floppy disk. To retrieve a document in these systems, the clerk enters the document’s identification code, obtains the location of the document, and gets the document for the patron. Accessing files in a computer database is much quicker than locating and physically retrieving paper files. Still, even when files are stored electronically, backup paper or electronic copies usually are also kept.  Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks (0*NET 43-4081.00) Nature of the Work Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks perform a variety of services for guests of hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments. Re­ gardless of the type of accommodation, most desk clerks have simi­ lar responsibilities. Primarily, they register arriving guests, assign rooms, and check out guests at the end of their stay. They also keep records of room assignments and other registration-related infor­ mation on computers. When guests check out, desk clerks prepare and explain the charges, as well as process payments. Front-desk clerks always are in the public eye and, through their attitude and behavior, greatly influence the public’s impressions of the establishment. When answering questions about services, check­ out times, the local community, or other matters of public interest, clerks must be courteous and helpful. Should guests report prob­ lems with their rooms, clerks contact members of the housekeeping or maintenance staff to correct the problems. In some smaller hotels and motels, clerks may have a variety of additional responsibilities that usually are performed by special­ ized employees in larger establishments. In the smaller places, desk  it, 1  Employment File clerks held about 265,000 jobs in 2002. Although file clerk jobs are found in nearly every sector of the economy, more than 85 percent of these workers are employed in service-providing indus­ tries, including government. Health care establishments employed around 1 out of every 4 file clerks. About 1 out of every 3 worked part time in 2002.  Job Outlook Employment of file clerks is expected to experience little or no growth through the year 2012. Projected job growth stems from rising demand for file clerks to record and retrieve information in  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Hotel and motel clerks perform a variety of services for guests.  448 Occupational Outlook Handbook clerks often are responsible for all front-office operations, informa­ tion, and services. For example, they may perform the work of a bookkeeper, advance reservation agent, cashier, laundry attendant, and telephone switchboard operator. Employment Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks held about 178,000jobs in 2002. The occupation is well suited to flexible work schedules, as nearly 1 in 4 hotel clerks worked part time in 2002. Because hotels and motels need to be staffed 24 hours a day, evening and weekend work is common. Job Outlook Employment of hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, as more hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments are built and occupancy rates rise. Job opportunities for hotel and motel desk clerks also will result from a need to replace workers, because many of these clerks either transfer to other occupations that offer better pay and advancement opportunities or simply leave the workforce altogether. Opportunities for part-time work should continue to be plentiful, with front desks often staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employment of hotel and motel desk clerks should benefit from an increase in business and leisure travel. Shifts in preferences away from long vacations and toward long weekends and other, more frequent, shorter trips also should boost demand for these workers, because such stays increase the number of nights spent in hotels. The expansion of budget and extended-stay hotels relative to larger, luxury establishments reflects a change in the composi­ tion of the hotel and motel industry. As employment shifts from luxury hotels to those extended-stay establishments offering larger rooms with kitchenettes and laundry services, the proportion of hotel desk clerks should increase in relation to staff such as wait­ ers and waitresses and recreation workers. Desk clerks are able to handle more of the guest’s needs in these establishments, answering the main switchboard, providing business services, and coordinating services such as dry cleaning or grocery shop­ ping. New technologies automating check-in and checkout procedures now allow some guests to bypass the front desk in many larger es­ tablishments, reducing staffing needs. As some of the more tradi­ tional duties are automated, however, many desk clerks are assum­ ing a wider range of responsibilities. Employment of desk clerks is sensitive to cyclical swings in the economy. During recessions, vacation and business travel declines, and hotels and motels need fewer clerks. Similarly, employment is affected by seasonal fluctuations in tourism and travel.  Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping (0*NET 43-4161.00)  Nature of the Work Human resources assistants maintain the personnel records of an organization’s employees. These records include information such as name, address, job title, and earnings, benefits such as health and life insurance, and tax withholding. On a daily basis, these assis­ tants record information and answer questions about employee ab­ sences and supervisory reports on employees’ job performance. When an employee receives a promotion or switches health insur­ ance plans, the human resources assistant updates the appropriate form. Human resources assistants also may prepare reports for managers elsewhere within the organization. For example, they might compile a list of employees eligible for an award. In smaller organizations, some human resources assistants per­ form a variety of other clerical duties, including answering tele­ phone or written inquiries from the public, sending out announce­ ments of job openings or job examinations, and issuing application forms. When credit bureaus and finance companies request confir­ mation of a person’s employment, the human resources assistant provides authorized information from the employee’s personnel records. He or she may also contact payroll departments and insur­ ance companies to verify changes to records. Some human resources assistants are involved in hiring. They screen job applicants to obtain information such as their education and work experience; administer aptitude, personality, and interest tests; explain the organization’s employment policies and refer quali­ fied applicants to the employing official; and request references from present or past employers. Also, human resources assistants inform job applicants, by telephone or letter, of their acceptance for or de­ nial of employment. In some job settings, human resources assistants have specific job titles. For example, assignment clerks notify a firm’s existing employees of upcoming vacancies, identify applicants who qualify for the vacancies, and assign those who are qualified to various po­ sitions. They also keep track of vacancies that arise throughout the organization, and they complete and distribute forms advertising vacancies. When filled-out applications are returned, these clerks  ■' i.' J  isyi  Sources of Additional Information Information on careers in the lodging industry, as well as informa­ tion about professional development and training programs, may be obtained from: >- Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 800 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 1800, Orlando, FL 32803. Internet: http://www.ei-ahma.org  (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Human resources assistants screen job applicants and request references.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 449 review and verify the information in them, using personnel records. After a selection for a position is made, they notify all of the appli­ cants of their acceptance or rejection. As another example, identification clerks are responsible for se­ curity matters at defense installations. They compile and record personal data about vendors, contractors, and civilian and military personnel and their dependents. The identification clerk’s job du­ ties include interviewing applicants, corresponding with law enforce­ ment authorities, and preparing badges, passes, and identification cards. Employment Human resources assistants held about 174,000 jobs in 2002. Al­ though these workers are found in most industries, about 1 in every 4 is employed by a government agency. Colleges and universities, hospitals, department stores, and banks also employ large numbers of human resources assistants. Job Outlook Employment of human resources assistants is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012, as assistants continue to take on more responsibilities. For example, workers conduct Internet research to locate resumes, must be able to scan resumes of job candidates quickly and efficiently, and must be increasingly sensitive to confidential information such as sala­ ries and Social Security numbers. In a favorable job market, more emphasis is placed on human resources departments, thus increas­ ing the demand for assistants. However, even in economic down­ turns, there is demand, as human resources departments in all in­ dustries try to make their organizations more efficient by determining what type of employees to hire and strategically filling job open­ ings. Human resources assistants may play an instrumental role in their organization’s human resources policies. For example, they may talk to staffing firms and consulting firms, conduct other re­ search, and then offer their ideas on issues such as whether to hire temporary contract workers or full-time staff. As with other office and administrative support occupations, the growing use of computers in human resources departments means that much of the data entry that is done by human resources assis­ tants can be eliminated, as employees themselves enter the data and send the electronic file to the human resources office. Such an ar­ rangement, which is most feasible in large organizations with mul­ tiple human resources offices, could limit job growth among human resources assistants. In addition to positions arising from job growth, replacement needs will account for many job openings for human resources as­ sistants as they advance within the human resources department, take jobs unrelated to human resources administration, or leave the labor force. (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Interviewers (0*NET 43-4061.01, 43-4061.02, 43-4111.00, 43-4131.00)  Nature of the Work Interviewers obtain information from individuals and business rep­ resentatives who are opening bank accounts, trying to obtain loans,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  seeking admission to medical facilities, participating in consumer surveys, applying to receive aid from government programs, or pro­ viding data for various other purposes. By mail, telephone, or in person, these workers solicit and verify information, create files, and perform a number of other related tasks. The specific duties and job titles of interviewers, except eligibil­ ity and loan depend upon the type of employer. In doctors’ offices and other health-care facilities, for example, interviewing clerks also are known as admitting interviewers or patient representatives. These workers obtain all preliminary information required for a patient’s record or for his or her admission to a hospital, such as the patient’s name, address, age, medical history, present medications, previous hospitalizations, religion, persons to notify in case of emergency, attending physician, and party responsible for payment. In some cases, interviewing clerks may be required to verify that an indi­ vidual is eligible for health benefits or to work out financing op­ tions for those who might need them. Other duties of interviewers in health care include assigning pa­ tients to rooms and summoning escorts to take patients to their rooms; sometimes, interviewers may escort patients themselves. Using the facility’s computer system, they schedule laboratory work, x rays, and surgeries, prepare admission and discharge records, and route them to appropriate departments. They also may bill patients, re­ ceive payments, and answer the telephone. In an outpatient or of­ fice setting, interviewers schedule appointments, keep track of can­ cellations, and provide general information about care. In addition, the role of the admissions staff, particularly in hospitals, is expand­ ing to include a wide range of patient services, from assisting pa­ tients with financial and medical questions to helping family mem­ bers find hotel rooms. Interviewing clerks who conduct market research surveys and polls for research firms have somewhat different responsibilities. These interviewers ask a series of prepared questions, record the responses, and forward the results to management. They may ask individuals questions about their occupation and earnings, political preferences, buying habits, satisfaction with certain goods or ser­ vices sold to them, or other aspects of their lives. Although most interviews are conducted over the telephone, some are conducted in focus groups or by randomly polling people in a public place. More recently, the Internet is being used to elicit people’s opinions. Al­ most all interviewers use computers or similar devices to enter the responses to questions. Eligibility interviewers, government programs determine the eli­ gibility of individuals applying to receive government assistance such as welfare, unemployment benefits, social security benefits, and public housing. These interviewers gather the relevant per­ sonal and financial information on an applicant and, on the basis of the rules and regulations of the particular government program, grant, modify, deny, or terminate an individual’s eligibility for the pro­ gram in question. They also are involved in the detection of fraud committed by persons who try to obtain benefits they are not eli­ gible to receive. Loan interviewers and clerks review individuals’ credit history and obtain the information needed to determine the creditworthi­ ness of applicants for loans and credit cards. These workers spend much of their day on the telephone, obtaining information from credit bureaus, employers, banks, credit institutions, and other sources to determine an applicant’s credit history and ability to pay back a loan or charge. Loan clerks, also called loan processing clerks, loan closers, or loan service clerks, assemble documents pertaining to a loan, pro­ cess the paperwork associated with the loan, and ensure that all in-  450 Occupational Outlook Handbook  m  Interviewers obtain various types of information from individuals, and verify that information. formation is complete and verified. Mortgage loans are the pri­ mary type of loan handled by loan clerks, who also may have to order appraisals of the property, set up escrow accounts, and secure any additional information required to transfer the property. The specific duties of loan clerks vary by specialty. Loan clos­ ers, for example, complete the loan process by gathering the proper documents for signature at the closing, including deeds of trust, prop­ erty insurance papers, and title commitments. They set the time and place for the closing, make sure that all parties are present, and en­ sure that all conditions for settlement have been met. After settle­ ment, the loan closer records all of the documents involved and sub­ mits the final package to the owner of the loan. Loan service clerks maintain the payment records on a loan once it is issued. These clerical workers process the paperwork for payment of fees to in­ surance companies and tax authorities and also may record changes in clients’ addresses and ownership of a loan. When necessary, they answer calls from customers with routine inquiries as well. Loan interviewers have duties that are similar to those of loan clerks. They interview potential borrowers, help them fill out appli­ cations for loans, and then investigate the applicant’s background and references, verify the information on the application, and for­ ward any findings, reports, or documents to the company’s appraisal department. Finally, interviewers inform the applicant as to whether the loan has been accepted or denied.  Employment Interviewers held about 457,000 jobs in 2002. Approximately 193,000 were interviewers, except eligibility and loan; 170,000 were loan interviewers and clerks; and 94,000 were eligibility interview­ ers, government programs. Almost 1 out of every 5 interviewers worked in health care and social assistance industries, while most loan interviewers and clerks worked in financial institutions. Around 3 out of every 10 interviewers, except eligibility and loan, worked part time.  Job Outlook Employment of interviewers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2012. However, the pro­ jected change in employment varies by specialty. Most job open­ ings should arise from the need to replace the numerous interview­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ers who leave the occupation or the labor force each year. Pros­ pects for filling these openings will be best for applicants with a broad range of job skills, such as good customer service, math, and telephone skills. In addition to openings for full-time jobs, oppor­ tunities also should be available for part-time and temporary jobs. The number of interviewers, except eligibility and loan, is pro­ jected to grow faster than average, reflecting growth in the health care and social assistance sector. This sector will hire more admis­ sions interviewers as health-care facilities consolidate staff and ex­ pand the role of the admissions staff and as an aging and growing population requires more visits to health-care practitioners. In ad­ dition, an increasing use of market research will create more jobs requiring interviewers to collect data. In the future, though, more market research is expected to be conducted over the Internet, thus reducing the need for telephone interviewers to make individual calls. The number of loan interviewers and clerks is projected to decline due to advances in technology that are making these work­ ers more productive. Despite a projected increase in the number of applications for loans, automation will increase productivity, so that fewer workers will be required to process, check, and authorize applications than in the past. The effects of automation on em­ ployment will be moderated, however, by the many interpersonal aspects of the job. Mortgage loans, for example, require loan pro­ cessors to personally verify financial data on the application, and loan closers are needed to assemble documents and prepare them for settlement. Employment, however, also will be adversely affected by changes in the financial services industry. For example, significant consolidation has occurred among mortgage loan-servicing companies. As a result, fewer mortgage banking companies are involved in servicing loans, making the function more efficient and reducing the need for loan service clerks. The job outlook for loan interviewers and clerks is sensitive to overall economic activity. A downturn in the economy or a rise in interest rates usually leads to a decline in the demand for loans, particularly mortgage loans, and can result in layoffs. Even in slow economic times, however, job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for various reasons. Like that of loan interviewers and clerks, employment of eligi­ bility interviewers for government programs also is projected to decline, due to advances in technology and the transformation of government aid programs over the last decade. Automation should have a significant effect on these workers because, as with credit and loan ratings, eligibility for government aid programs can be determined instantaneously by entering information into a computer. The job outlook for eligibility interviewers, however, also is sensi­ tive to overall economic activity; a severe slowdown in the economy will cause more people to apply for government aid programs, in­ creasing demand for eligibility interviewers.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices can provide information about employment opportunities for interviewers. For specific information on a career as a loan processor or loan closer, contact: ► Mortgage Bankers Association of America, 1919 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.mbaa.org  (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 451  Library Assistants, Clerical (0*NET 43-4121.00)  Nature of the Work Library assistants assist librarians and, in some cases, library tech­ nicians in organizing library resources and making them available to users. (Librarians and library technicians are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Library assistants, clerical—sometimes referred to as library media assistants, library aides, or circulation assistants—register patrons so that they can borrow materials from the library. They record the borrower’s name and address from an application and then issue a library card. Most library assistants enter patrons’ records into computer databases. At the circulation desk, library assistants lend and collect books, periodicals, videotapes, and other materials. When an item is bor­ rowed, assistants stamp the due date on the material and record the patron’s identification from his or her library card. They inspect returned materials for damage, check due dates, and compute fines for overdue material. Library assistants review records, compile a list of overdue materials, and send out notices reminding patrons that their materials are overdue. They also answer patrons’ ques­ tions and refer those they cannot answer to a librarian. Throughout the library, assistants sort returned books, periodi­ cals, and other items and put them on their designated shelves, in the appropriate files, or in storage areas. They locate materials to be loaned, to either a patron or another library. Many card catalogues are computerized, so library assistants must be familiar with com­ puters. If any materials have been damaged, these workers try to repair them. For example, they use tape or paste to repair tom pages or book covers and other specialized processes to repair more valu­ able materials. Some library assistants specialize in helping patrons who have vision problems. Sometimes referred to as library, talking-books, or braille-and-talking-books clerks, they review the borrower’s list of desired reading materials. They locate those materials or closely related substitutes from the library collection of large-type or braille volumes, tape cassettes, and open-reel talking books, complete the requisite paperwork, and give or mail the materials to the borrower.  Employment Library assistants held about 120,000 jobs in 2002. More than one half of these workers were employed by local government in public libraries; most of the remaining employees worked in school librar­ ies. Opportunities for flexible schedules are abundant; nearly half of these workers were on part-time schedules. Job Outlook Opportunities should be good through 2012 for persons interested in jobs as library assistants. Turnover of these workers is quite high, reflecting the limited investment in training and subsequent weak attachment to this occupation. The work is attractive to retirees, students, and others who want a part-time schedule, and there is a lot of movement into and out of the occupation. Many openings will become available each year to replace workers who transfer to another occupation or who leave the labor force. Some positions become available as library assistants move within the organiza­ tion. Library assistants can be promoted to library technicians and, eventually, supervisory positions in public-service or technical-ser­ vice areas. Advancement opportunities are greater in larger libraries. Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. The vast majority of library assistants work in public or school libraries. Efforts to contain costs in local governments and academic institutions of all types may result in more hiring of library support staff than librarians. Also, due to changing roles within libraries, library assistants are taking on more responsibility. Because most are employed by public institutions, library assistants are not directly affected by the ups and downs of the business cycle. Some of these workers may lose their jobs, how­ ever, if there are cuts in government budgets. Sources of Additional Information Information about a career as a library assistant can be obtained from either of the following organizations: >• Council on Library/Media Technology, 100 W. Broadway, Columbia,  MO 65203. Internet: http://colt.ucr.edu >- American Library Association, 50 East Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Internet: http://www.ala.org/hrdr  Public libraries and libraries in academic institutions also can provide information about job openings for library assistants. (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Order Clerks (0*NET 43-4151.00)  l MM • ■  Library assistants organize library materials and make them available to users.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work Order clerks receive and process incoming orders for a wide variety of goods or services, such as spare parts for machines, consumer appliances, gas and electric power connections, film rentals, and articles of clothing. They sometimes are called order-entry clerks, sales representatives, order processors, or order takers. Orders for materials, merchandise, or services can come from inside or from outside of an organization. In large companies with many worksites, such as automobile manufacturers, clerks order parts and equipment from the company’s warehouses. Inside order clerks receive orders from other workers employed by the same company or from salespersons in the field. Many other order clerks, however, receive orders from outside companies or individuals. Order clerks in wholesale businesses, for  452 Occupational Outlook Handbook Employment Order clerks held about 330,000 jobs in 2002. More than half were employed in wholesale and retail trade establishments, and about 1 in 6 order clerks were employed in manufacturing firms. Other jobs for order clerks were in various industries such as information, warehousing and storage, couriers, and business support services.  ^" i  Order clerks receive and process incoming ordersfor a wide variety of goods and services. instance, receive orders from retail establishments for merchandise that the retailer, in turn, sells to the public. An increasing number of order clerks are working for catalogue companies and online retail­ ers, receiving orders from individual customers by telephone, fax, regular mail, or e-mail. Order clerks dealing primarily with the public sometimes are referred to as outside order clerks. Computers provide order clerks with ready access to informa­ tion such as stock numbers, prices, and inventory. The successful fdling of an order frequently depends on having the right products in stock and being able to determine which products are most ap­ propriate for the customer’s needs. Some order clerks—especially those in industrial settings—must be able to give price estimates for entire jobs, not just single parts. Others must be able to take special orders, give expected arrival dates, prepare contracts, and handle complaints. Many order clerks receive orders directly by telephone, entering the required information as the customer places the order. How­ ever, a rapidly increasing number of orders now are received through computer systems, the Internet, faxes, and e-mail. In some cases, these orders are sent directly from the customer’s terminal to the order clerk’s terminal. Orders received by regular mail are some­ times scanned into a database that is instantly accessible to clerks. Clerks review orders for completeness and clarity. They may fill in missing information or contact the customer for the information. Clerks also contact customers if the customers need additional in­ formation, such as prices or shipping dates, or if delays in filling the order are anticipated. For orders received by regular mail, clerks extract checks or money orders, sort them, and send them for processing. After an order has been verified and entered, the customer’s fi­ nal cost is calculated. The clerk then routes the order to the proper department—such as the warehouse—which actually sends out or delivers the item in question. In organizations with sophisticated computer systems, inventory records are adjusted automatically, as sales are made. In less auto­ mated organizations, order clerks may adjust inventory records. Clerks also may notify other departments when inventories are low or when filling certain orders would deplete supplies. Some order clerks must establish priorities in filling orders. For example, an order clerk in a blood bank may receive a request from a hospital for a certain type of blood. The clerk must first find out whether the request is routine or an emergency and then take appro­ priate action.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Job openings for order clerks should be limited, as improvements in technology and office automation continue to increase worker pro­ ductivity. While overall employment of order clerks is expected to decline through the year 2012, numerous openings will become available each year to replace order clerks who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force completely. Many of these openings will be for seasonal work, especially in catalogue compa­ nies or online retailers catering to holiday gift buyers. The growth in online retailing and in business-to-business elec­ tronic commerce, as well as the use of automated systems that make placing orders easy and convenient, will decrease demand for order clerks. The spread of electronic data interchange, which enables computers to communicate directly with each other, allows orders within establishments to be placed with little human intervention. In addition, internal systems allowing a firm’s employees to place orders directly are becoming increasingly common. Outside orders placed over the Internet often are entered directly into the computer by the customer; thus, the order clerk is not involved at all in plac­ ing the order. Some companies also use automated phone menus that are accessible with a touch-tone phone to receive orders, and others use answering machines. Developments in voice recogni­ tion technology may further reduce the demand for order clerks. Furthermore, increased automation will allow current order clerks to be more productive, with each clerk being able to handle an in­ creasingly higher volume of orders. Sophisticated inventory con­ trol and automatic billing systems permit companies to track inven­ tory and accounts with much less help from order clerks than in the past. (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Receptionists and Information Clerks (0*NET 43-4171.00)  Nature of the Work Receptionists and information clerks are charged with a responsi­ bility that may have a lasting impact on the success of an organiza­ tion: making a good first impression. These workers often are the first representatives of an organization a visitor encounters, so they need to be courteous, professional, and helpful. Receptionists an­ swer telephones, route calls, greet visitors, respond to inquiries from the public, and provide information about the organization. Some receptionists are responsible for the coordination of all mail into and out of the office. In addition, receptionists contribute to the security of an organization by helping to monitor the access of visi­ tors—a function that has become increasingly important in recent years. Whereas some tasks are common to most receptionists and in­ formation clerks, the specific responsibilities of receptionists vary with the type of establishment in which they work. For example, receptionists in hospitals and in doctors’ offices may gather patients’ personal and financial information and direct them to the proper  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 453 mail and other telephone automation reduces the need for recep­ tionists by allowing one receptionist to perform work that formerly required several. However, the increasing use of other technology has caused a consolidation of clerical responsibilities and growing demand for workers with diverse clerical and technical skills. Be­ cause receptionists and information clerks may perform a wide va­ riety of clerical tasks, they should continue to be in demand. Fur­ ther, they perform many tasks that are interpersonal in nature and are not easily automated, ensuring continued demand for their ser­ vices in a variety of establishments.  Css__ A large number of receptionists are employed by healthcare establishments. waiting rooms. In beauty or hair salons, by contrast, receptionists arrange appointments, direct customers to the hairstylist, and may serve as cashiers. In factories, large corporations, and government offices, they may provide identification cards and arrange for es­ corts to take visitors to the proper office. Those working for bus and train companies respond to inquiries about departures, arrivals, stops, and other related matters. Increasingly, receptionists are using multiline telephone systems, personal computers, and fax machines. Despite the widespread use of automated answering systems or voice mail, many receptionists still take messages and inform other employees of visitors’ arrivals or cancellation of an appointment. When they are not busy with callers, most receptionists are expected to perform a variety of of­ fice duties, including opening and sorting mail, collecting and dis­ tributing parcels, transmitting and delivering facsimiles, updating appointment calendars, preparing travel vouchers, and performing basic bookkeeping, word processing, and filing. Employment Receptionists and information clerks held about 1.1 million jobs in 2002. Almost 90 percent worked in service-providing industries. Among service-providing industries, health care and social assis­ tance industries—including doctors’ and dentists’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, urgent-care centers, surgical centers, and clinics— employed one-third of all receptionists and information clerks. Manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, government, and realestate industries also employed large numbers of receptionists and information clerks. About 3 of every 10 receptionists and informa­ tion clerks worked part time. Job Outlook Employment of receptionists and information clerks is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. This increase will result from rapid growth in services industries—in­ cluding physicians’ offices, law firms, temporary-help agencies, and consulting firms—where most are employed. In addition, turnover in this large occupation will create numerous openings as recep­ tionists and information clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force altogether. Opportunities should be best for persons with a wide range of clerical and technical skills, particularly those with related work experience. Technology should have conflicting effects on the demand for receptionists and information clerks. The increasing use of voice  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information State employment offices can provide information on job openings for receptionists. (See introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks (0*NET 43-4181.01,43-4181.02)  Nature of the Work Each year, millions of Americans travel by plane, train, ship, bus, and automobile. Many of these travelers rely on the services of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks, who perform functions as varied as selling tickets, confirming reserva­ tions, checking baggage, and providing tourists with useful travel information. Most reservation agents work for large hotel chains or airlines, helping people to plan trips and make reservations. They usually work in large reservation centers, answering telephone or e-mail inquiries and offering suggestions and information about travel ar­ rangements, such as routes, schedules, rates, and types of accom­ modation. Reservation agents quote fares and room rates, provide travel information, and make and confirm transportation and hotel reservations. Most agents use proprietary networks to obtain, as quickly as possible, information needed to make, change, or cancel reservations for customers. Transportation ticket agents are sometimes known as passenger service agents, passenger booking clerks, reservation clerks, airport service agents, ticket clerks, or ticket sellers. They work in airports, train, and bus stations, selling tickets, assigning seats to passengers, and checking baggage. In addition, they may answer inquiries and give directions, examine passports and visas, or check in pets. Other ticket agents, more commonly known as gate or station agents, work in airport terminals, assisting passengers boarding airplanes. These workers direct passengers to the correct boarding area, check tick­ ets and seat assignments, make boarding announcements, and pro­ vide special assistance to young, elderly, or disabled passengers when they board or disembark. Most travel clerks are employed by membership organizations, such as automobile clubs. These workers, sometimes called mem­ ber services counselors or travel counselors, plan trips, calculate mileage, and offer travel suggestions, such as the best route from the point of origin to the destination, to club members. Travel clerks also may prepare an itinerary indicating points of interest, restau­ rants, overnight accommodations, and availability of emergency services during a trip. In some cases, they make rental car, hotel, and restaurant reservations for club members.  454 Occupational Outlook Handbook and many people view airline and other travel-related jobs as glam­ orous. Employment of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Although a growing population will demand additional travel services, employment of these workers will grow more slowly than this demand because of the significant impact of technology on productivity. Automated reservations and ticketing, as well as “ticketless” travel, for example, are reducing the need for some workers. Most train stations and airports now have satellite ticket printer locations, called kiosks, that enable pas­ sengers to make reservations and purchase tickets themselves. Many passengers also are able to check flight times and fares, make reser­ vations, and purchase tickets on the Internet. Nevertheless, not all travel-related passenger services can be fully automated, primarily for safety and security reasons. As a result, job openings will con­ tinue to become available as the occupation grows and as workers transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force alto­ gether. Employment of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks is sensitive to cyclical swings in the economy. During recessions, discretionary passenger travel declines, and transporta­ tion service companies are less likely to hire new workers and may even resort to layoffs. Sources of Additional Information For information about job opportunities as reservation and trans­ portation ticket agents and travel clerks, write the personnel man­ ager of individual transportation companies. Addresses of airlines are available from: ► Air Transport Association of America, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004-1707. Internet: http://www.ai rlines.org  Ticket agents sell tickets, confirm reservations, check baggage, and provide travelers with useful information. Passenger rate clerks generally work for bus companies. They sell tickets for regular bus routes and arrange nonscheduled or char­ tered trips. They plan travel routes, compute rates, and keep cus­ tomers informed of appropriate details. They also may arrange travel accommodations. Employment Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks held about 177,000 jobs in 2002. More than 6 of every 10 are employed by airlines. Others work for membership organizations, such as automobile clubs; hotels and other lodging places; railroad compa­ nies; buslines; and other companies that provide transportation services. Although agents and clerks are found throughout the country, most work in large metropolitan airports, downtown ticket offices, large reservation centers, and train or bus stations. The remainder work in small communities served only by intercity bus or railroad lines. Job Outlook Applicants for reservation and transportation ticket agent jobs are likely to encounter considerable competition, because the supply of qualified applicants exceeds the expected number of job openings. Entry requirements for these jobs are minimal, and many people seeking to get into the airline industry or travel business often start out in such positions. The jobs provide excellent travel benefits,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  (See the introductory statement on information and record clerks for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Material-Recording, -Scheduling, -Dispatching, and -Distributing Occupations (0*NET 43-5011.00, 43-5021.00, 43-5031.00, 43-5032.00, 43-5041.00, 43-5051.00, 43-5052.00, 43-5053.00, 43-5061.00, 43-5071.00, 43-5081.01, 43-5081.02, 43-5081.03, 43-5081.04, 43-5111.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Many of these occupations are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Workers develop the necessary skills through on-thejob training lasting from several days to a few months; dispatchers usually require the most extensive training. Numerous job openings will arise each year from the need to replace workers who leave this very large occupational group.  Nature of the Work Workers in this group are responsible for a variety of communica­ tions, recordkeeping, and scheduling operations. Typically, they coordinate, expedite, and track orders for personnel, materials, and equipment.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 455 Cargo andfreight agents route and track cargo and freight ship­ ments, whether from airline, train, or truck terminals or from ship­ ping docks. They keep records of any missing or damaged items and any excess supplies. The agents sort cargo according to its destination and separate items that cannot be packed together. They also coordinate payment schedules with customers and arrange for the pickup or delivery of freight. Couriers and messengers deliver letters, important business docu­ ments, or packages within a firm to other businesses or to custom­ ers. They usually keep records of deliveries and sometimes obtain the recipient’s signature. Couriers and messengers travel by car, van, or bicycle, or even by foot when making nearby deliveries. Dispatchers receive requests for service and initiate action to provide that service. Duties vary with the needs of the employer. Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, also called public-safety dispatchers, handle calls from people reporting crimes, fires, and medical emergencies. Truck, bus, and train dispatchers schedule and coordinate the movement of these vehicles to ensure that they arrive at the appointed time. Taxicab dispatchers relay requests for cabs to individual drivers, tow-truck dispatchers take calls for emer­ gency road service, and utility company dispatchers handle calls related to utility and telephone service. Courier and messenger ser­ vice dispatchers route drivers, riders, and walkers around a (usually urban) designated area. They distribute work by radio, e-mail, or phone, making sure that service deadlines are met. Meter readers read meters and record the consumption of elec­ tricity, gas, water, or steam. They serve a variety of consumers and travel along designated routes to track consumption. Although nu­ merous meters still are read at the house or building that receives the utility’s service, many newer meters can be read remotely from a central point. Meter readers also look for evidence of unautho­ rized utility usage. Production, planning, and expediting clerks coordinate and ex­ pedite the flow of information, work, and materials, usually accord­ ing to a production or work schedule. They gather information for reports on the progress of work and on production problems. They also may schedule workers or shipments of parts, estimate costs, and keep inventories of materials. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks track all incoming and outgoing shipments of goods transferred among businesses, suppli­ ers, and customers. These clerks may be required to lift cartons of various sizes. Shipping clerks assemble, address, stamp, and ship merchandise or materials. Receiving clerks unpack, verify, and record information on incoming merchandise. Traffic clerks record the destination, weight, and cost of all incoming and outgoing ship­ ments. In a small company, one clerk may perform all of these tasks. (Postal Service workers sort and deliver mail for the United States Postal Service. While these workers are classified as mate­ rial-recording, -scheduling, -dispatching, and -distributing workers and are included in the estimate of employment for this occupa­ tional group, they are discussed in detail elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Stock clerks and order fillers receive, unpack, and store materi­ als and equipment, and maintain and distribute inventories. In whole­ sale and retail establishments, inventories may include merchan­ dise; in other kinds of organizations, inventory may include equipment, supplies, or materials. In small firms, stock clerks and order fillers may perform all of the preceding tasks, as well as those usually handled by shipping and receiving clerks. In large estab­ lishments, stock clerks and order fillers may be responsible for only one task. Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers check and record the weight and measurement of various materials and equipment.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  They use scales, measuring and counting devices, and calculators to compare weights, measurements, or other specifications against bills or invoices. They also prepare reports on inventory levels. (This introductory section is followed by sections that provide more detail on cargo and freight agents; couriers and messengers; dispatchers; utility meter readers; production, planning, and expe­ diting clerks; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; and weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers.) Working Conditions Working conditions vary considerably by occupation and employ­ ment setting. Couriers and messengers spend most of their time alone, making deliveries, and usually are not closely supervised. Those who deliver by bicycle must be physically fit and are ex­ posed to all weather conditions, as well as to the many hazards as­ sociated with heavy traffic. Car, van, and truck couriers must some­ times carry heavy loads, either manually or with the aid of a handtruck. They also have to deal with difficult parking situations, as well as traffic jams and road construction. The pressure of mak­ ing as many deliveries as possible to increase one’s earnings can be stressful and may lead to unsafe driving or bicycling practices. Meter readers, usually working 40 hours a week, work outdoors in all types of weather as they travel through communities and neigh­ borhoods, taking readings. The work of dispatchers can be very hectic when many calls come in at the same time. The job of public-safety dispatcher is particularly stressful because a slow or an improper response to a call can result in serious injury or further harm. Also, callers who are anxious or afraid may become excited and be unable to provide needed information; some may even become abusive. Despite provo­ cations, dispatchers must remain calm, objective, and in control of the situation. Dispatchers sit for long periods, using telephones, computers, and two-way radios. Much of their time is spent at video display terminals, viewing monitors and observing traffic patterns. As a result of working for long stretches with computers and other elec­ tronic equipment, dispatchers can experience significant eyestrain and back discomfort. Generally, dispatchers work a 40-hour week; however, rotating shifts and compressed work schedules are com­ mon. Alternative work schedules are necessary to accommodate evening, weekend, and holiday work, as well as 24-hour-per-day, 7day-per-week operations. Other workers in this group—cargo and freight agents; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; produc­ tion, planning, and expediting clerks; and weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers—work in a wide variety of businesses, in­ stitutions, and industries. Some work in warehouses, stockrooms, or shipping and receiving rooms that may not be temperature con­ trolled. Others may spend time in cold storage rooms or outside on loading platforms, where they are exposed to the weather. Production, planning, and expediting clerks work closely with supervisors who must approve production and work schedules. Most jobs for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks, stock clerks and or­ der fillers, and cargo and freight agents involve frequent standing, bending, walking, and stretching. Some lifting and carrying of smaller items also may be involved. Although automated devices have lessened the physical demands of this occupation, their use remains somewhat limited. The work still can be strenuous, even though mechanical material-handling equipment is employed to move heavy items. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday; however, evening and weekend hours are common in some jobs, such as stock clerks and order fillers in retail trade and couriers and messengers,  456 Occupational Outlook Handbook and may be required in other jobs when large shipments are in­ volved or when inventory is taken. Employment In 2002, material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatching, and -distrib­ uting workers held about 4 million jobs, distributed among detailed occupations as follows: Stock clerks and order fdlers......................................................... Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks......................................... Postal service mail carriers............................................................ Production, planning, and expediting clerks.............................. Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators........................................................................ Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance....................... Couriers and messengers................................................................. Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers....................................... Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping................................................................................ Postal service clerks......................................................................... Cargo and freight agents................................................................. Meter readers, utilities.................................................................... All other material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers.....................................................................  1,628,000 803,000 334,000 288,000 253,000 170,000 132,000 92,000 81,000 77,000 59,000 54,000 34,000  About 86 percent of material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatch­ ing, and -distributing jobs were in the service-providing sector. Most of the rest were in manufacturing. Although workers in these jobs are found throughout the country, most work near population cen­ ters where retail stores, warehouses, factories, and large communi­ cations centers are concentrated. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatching, and -distribut­ ing occupations are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire those fa­ miliar with computers and other electronic office and business equip­ ment. Applicants who have taken business courses or have previous business, dispatching, or specific job-related experience may be pre­ ferred. Because communication with other people is an integral part of some jobs in the occupation, good oral and written commu­ nications skills are essential. Typing, filing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills also are important. State or local government civil-service regulations usually gov­ ern police, fire, emergency medical, and ambulance dispatching jobs. Candidates for these positions may have to pass written, oral, and performance tests. Also, they may be asked to attend training classes and attain the proper certification in order to qualify for advancement. Workers usually develop the necessary skills on the job. This informal training lasts from several days to a few months, depend­ ing on the complexity of the job. Dispatchers usually require the most extensive training. Working with an experienced dispatcher, they monitor calls and learn how to operate a variety of communi­ cations equipment, including telephones, radios, and various wire­ less devices. As trainees gain confidence, they begin to handle calls themselves. In smaller operations, dispatchers sometimes act as customer service representatives, processing orders. Many publicsafety dispatchers also participate in structured training programs sponsored by their employer. Increasingly, public-safety dispatch­ ers receive training in stress and crisis management, as well as fam­ ily counseling. Employers are recognizing the toll this work has on daily living and the potential impact that stress has on the job, on the work environment, and in the home. Communication skills and the ability to work under pressure are important personal qualities for dispatchers. Residency in the city  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  or county of employment frequently is required for public-safety dispatchers. Dispatchers in transportation industries must be able to deal with sudden influxes of shipments and disruptions of ship­ ping schedules caused by bad weather, road construction, or accidents. Although there are no mandatory licensing or certification re­ quirements, some States require that public-safety dispatchers pos­ sess a certificate to work on a State network, such as the Police Information Network. The Association of Public Safety Communi­ cations Officials, International and the National Academies of Emer­ gency Dispatch offer certification programs. Many dispatchers par­ ticipate in these programs in order to improve their prospects for career advancement. Couriers and messengers usually learn on the job, training with a veteran for a short time. Those who work as independent contrac­ tors for a messenger or delivery service may be required to have a valid driver’s license, a registered and inspected vehicle, a good driv­ ing record, and insurance coverage. Many couriers and messengers who are employees, rather than independent contractors, also are required to provide and maintain their own vehicle. Although some companies have spare bicycles or mopeds that their riders may rent for a short period, almost all two-wheeled couriers own their own bicycle, moped, or motorcycle. A good knowledge of the geographic area in which they travel, as well as a good sense of direction, also are important. Utility meter readers usually work with a more experienced meter reader until they feel comfortable doing the job on their own. They learn how to read the meters and determine the consumption rate. They also must leant the route that they need to travel in order to read all their customers’ meters. Production, planning, and expediting clerks; weighers, measur­ ers, checkers, and samplers; stock clerks and order fillers; and ship­ ping, receiving, and traffic clerks usually learn the job by doing routine tasks under close supervision. They learn how to count and mark stock, and then they start keeping records and taking inven­ tory. Strength, stamina, good eyesight, and an ability to work at repetitive tasks, sometimes under pressure, are important character­ istics. Production, planning, and expediting clerks must leam both how their company operates and the company’s priorities before they can begin to write production and work schedules efficiently. Stock clerks, whose sole responsibility is to bring merchandise to the sales floor to stock shelves and racks, need little training. Ship­ ping, receiving, and traffic clerks and stock clerks and order fillers who handle jewelry, liquor, or drugs may be bonded. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks, as well as cargo and freight agents, start out by checking items to be shipped and then attaching labels to them and making sure that the addresses are correct. Train­ ing in the use of automated equipment usually is done informally, on the job. As these occupations become more automated, how­ ever, workers in them may need longer periods of training in order to master the use of the equipment. Advancement opportunities for material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatching, and -distributing workers vary with the place of em­ ployment. Dispatchers who work for private firms, which usually are small, will find few opportunities for advancement. In contrast, public-safety dispatchers may become a shift or divisional supervi­ sor or chief of communications, or they may move to higher paying administrative jobs. Some become police officers or firefighters. Couriers and messengers—especially those who work for messen­ ger or courier services—have limited advancement opportunities; a small fraction move into the office to leam dispatching or to take service requests by phone. In large firms, stock clerks can advance to invoice clerk, stock control clerk, or procurement clerk.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 457 Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks are promoted to head clerk, and those with a broad understanding of shipping and receiving may enter a related field, such as industrial traffic management. With additional training, some stock clerks and order fillers and ship­ ping, receiving, and traffic clerks advance to jobs as warehouse manager or purchasing agent. Job Outlook Overall employment of material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatch­ ing, and -distributing workers is expected to show little or no change through 2012. However, numerous job openings will arise each year from the need to replace workers who leave this very large occupational group. Projected employment growth varies by detailed occupation. Meter readers will experience a decline in employment due to auto­ mated meter reading systems that greatly increase productivity. New technologies will enable stock clerks and order fillers to handle more stock, resulting in declining employment in this occupation as well. The use of e-mail and fax will contribute to slow growth for couri­ ers and messengers. Employment of shipping, receiving, and traf­ fic clerks also will grow more slowly than average due to the in­ creasing use of automated devices and systems that enable these workers to handle materials and shipments more efficiently and more accurately. Employment of dispatchers; production, planning, and expedit­ ing clerks; weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers; and cargo and freight agents is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Population growth, as well as an expanded role for dispatchers stemming from advances in telecom­ munications, should boost employment levels. Employment of pro­ duction, planning, and expediting clerks and cargo and freight agents should benefit from more emphasis on efficiency in the production and shipping processes, while a growing need for accurate inven­ tory records should spur employment of weighers, measurers, check­ ers, and samplers. Earnings Earnings of material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatching, and -dis­ tributing occupations vary somewhat by occupation and industry. The range of median hourly earnings in 2002 is shown in the fol­ lowing tabulation: Production, planning, and expediting clerks................................... Cargo and freight agents....................................................................... Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance............................ Meter readers, utilities.......................................................................... Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers............................................. Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping..... Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks............................................... Couriers and messengers....................................................................... Stock clerks and order fillers............................................................... All other material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers..........................................................................  (0*NET 43-5011.00) Nature of the Work Cargo and freight agents arrange for and track incoming and outgo­ ing cargo and freight shipments in airline, train, or trucking termi­ nals or on shipping docks. They expedite the movement of ship­ ments by determining the route that shipments are to take and by preparing all necessary shipping documents. The agents take or­ ders from customers and arrange for the pickup of freight or cargo for delivery to loading platforms. Cargo and freight agents may keep records of the properties of the cargo, such as its amount, type, weight, and dimensions. They keep a tally of missing items, record the conditions of damaged items, and document any excess sup­ plies. Cargo and freight agents arrange cargo according to its destina­ tion. They also determine the shipping rates and other charges that can sometimes apply to the freight. For imported or exported freight, they verify that the proper customs paperwork is in order. Cargo and freight agents often track shipments electronically, using bar codes, and answer customers’ inquiries on the status of their shipments. Employment Cargo and freight agents held about 59,000jobs in 2002. Most jobs were in transportation. Approximately 13 percent worked in the air transportation industry, and 9 percent worked in the truck transpor­ tation industry. Couriers employed another 14 percent. In addition, about 45 percent worked for firms engaged in support activities for the transportation industry. Job Outlook Employment of cargo and freight agents is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Although cargo traffic is expected to grow faster than it has in the past, em­ ployment of cargo and freight agents will not quite keep pace, be­ cause of technological advances. For example, the increasing use of bar codes on cargo and freight allows agents and customers to track these shipments quickly over the Internet, rather than manu­ ally tracking their location. In addition, customs and insurance pa-  $16.18 15.10 14.56 13.86 13.30 11.62 11.26 9.32 9.26 12.45  Workers in material-recording, -scheduling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally pro­ vide them or offer an allowance to purchase them. The sections that follow provide more information on cargo and freight agents; couriers and messengers; dispatchers; meter readers, utilities; production, planning, and expediting clerks; shipping, re­ ceiving, and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; and weigh­ ers, measurers, checkers, and samplers.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Cargo and Freight Agents  Cargo and freight agents expedite the movement of shipments by determining the route that shipments are to take and by preparing all necessary documents.  458 Occupational Outlook Handbook perwork now can be completed over the Internet by customers, re­ ducing the need for cargo and freight agents. Despite these advances in technology that dampen job growth among cargo and freight agents, job openings will continue to arise, due to increases in buying over the Internet, which will result in more shipments. Jobs also will open up because of the increasing importance of same-day delivery, which expands the role of agents. In addition, many job openings will be created to replace cargo and freight agents who leave the occupation. Related Occupations Cargo and freight agents plan and coordinate shipments of cargo by airlines, trains, and trucks. They also arrange freight pickup with customers. Others who do similar work are couriers and messen­ gers; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers; truck drivers and driver/sales workers; and Postal Service workers. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service. (See the introduction to the section on material-recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Couriers and Messengers (0*NET 43-5021.00) Nature of the Work Couriers and messengers move and distribute information, docu­ ments, and small packages for businesses, institutions, and govern­ ment agencies. They pick up and deliver letters, important business documents, or packages that need to be sent or received quickly within a local area. Trucks and vans are used for larger deliveries, such as legal caseloads and conference materials. By sending an item by courier or messenger, the sender ensures that it reaches its destination the same day or even within the hour. Couriers and messengers also deliver items that the sender is unwilling to entrust to other means of delivery, such as important legal or financial docu­ ments, passports, airline tickets, or medical samples to be tested. Couriers and messengers receive their instructions either in per­ son—by reporting to their office—or by telephone, two-way radio, or wireless data service. Then they pick up the item and carry it to its destination. After each pickup or delivery, they check in with their dispatcher to receive instructions. Sometimes the dispatcher will contact them while they are between stops, and they may be routed to go past a stop that recently called in a delivery. Because most couriers and messengers work on commission, they are carry­ ing more than one package at any given time of the day. Conse­ quently, most couriers and messengers spend much of their time outdoors or in their vehicle. They usually maintain records of de­ liveries and often obtain signatures from the persons receiving the items. Most couriers and messengers deliver items within a limited geo­ graphic area, such as a city or metropolitan area. Items that need to go longer distances usually are sent by mail or by an overnight de­ livery service. Some couriers and messengers carry items only for their employer, which typically might be a law firm, bank, or finan­ cial institution. Others may act as part of an organization’s internal mail system and carry items mainly within the organization’s build https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most couriers and messengers deliver items within a limited geographic area, such as a city or metropolitan area. ings or entirely within one building. Many couriers and messen­ gers work for messenger or courier services; for a fee, they pick up items from anyone and deliver them to specified destinations within  a local area. Most are paid on a commission basis. Couriers and messengers reach their destination by several meth­ ods. Many drive vans or cars or ride motorcycles. A few travel by foot, especially in urban areas or when making deliveries nearby. In congested urban areas, messengers often use bicycles to make deliveries. Bicycle messengers usually are employed by messenger or courier services. Although e-mail and fax machines can deliver information faster than couriers and messengers can, and although a great deal of information is available over the Internet, an elec­ tronic copy cannot substitute for the original document in many types of business transactions. Employment Couriers and messengers together held about 132,000 jobs in 2002. Approximately 28 percent were employed in the couriers and mes­ sengers industry. About 13 percent worked in health-care services, and around 9 percent worked in the legal services industry. Another 8 percent were employed in finance and insurance firms. Techni­ cally, many messengers are self-employed independent contractors, because they provide their own vehicles and, to a certain extent, set their own schedules. In many respects, however, they are like em­ ployees, because they usually work for one company. Job Outlook Employment of couriers and messengers is expected to grow more slowly than average through 2012, despite an increasing volume of parcels, business documents, promotional materials, and other writ­ ten information that must be handled and delivered as the economy expands. However, some jobs will arise out of the need to replace couriers and messengers who leave the occupation. Employment of couriers and messengers will continue to be ad­ versely affected by the more widespread use of electronic informa­ tion-handling technology, such as e-mail and fax. Many documents, forms, and other materials that people used to have delivered by hand are now downloaded from the Internet. Many legal and finan­ cial documents, which used to be delivered by hand because they required a handwritten signature, can now be delivered electroni­ cally with online signatures. However, couriers and messengers still will be needed to transport materials that cannot be sent elec­ tronically—such as blueprints and other oversized materials,  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 459 securities, and passports. Also, they still will be required by medi­ cal and dental laboratories to pick up and deliver medical samples, specimens, and other materials. Related Occupations Messengers and couriers deliver letters, parcels, and other items. They also keep accurate records of their work. Others who do simi­ lar work are Postal Service workers; truck drivers and driver/sales workers; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; and cargo and freight agents. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service. Per­ sons interested in courier and messenger jobs also may contact mes­ senger and courier services, mail-order firms, banks, printing and publishing firms, utility companies, retail stores, or other large com­ panies. (See the introduction to the section on material-recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Dispatchers (0*NET 43-5031.00, 43-5032.00)  Nature of the Work Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, equipment, or service vehicles for the conveyance of materials or passengers. They keep records, logs, and schedules of the calls they receive, the transporta­ tion vehicles they monitor and control, and the actions they take. They maintain information on each call and then prepare a detailed report on all activities occurring during their shifts. Many dispatch­ ers employ computer-aided dispatch systems to accomplish these tasks. The work of dispatchers varies greatly, depending on the industry in which they work. Regardless of where they work, all dispatchers are assigned a specific territory and have responsibility for all communications within that area. Many work in teams, especially those dispatchers in large communications centers or companies. One person usually handles all dispatching calls to the response units or company driv­ ers, while the other members of the team usually receive the incom­ ing calls and deal with the public. Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, also called public safety dispatchers, monitor the location of emergency services personnel from any one or all of the jurisdiction’s emergency services depart­ ments. These workers dispatch the appropriate type and number of units in response to calls for assistance. Dispatchers, or call takers, often are the first people the public contacts when emergency assis­ tance is required. If certified for emergency medical services, the dispatcher may provide medical instruction to those on the scene of the emergency until the medical staff arrives. Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers work in a variety of set­ tings: a police station, a fire station, a hospital, or, increasingly, a centralized communications center. In many areas, the police de­ partment serves as the communications center. In these situations, all emergency calls go to the police department, where a dispatcher handles the police calls and screens the others before transferring them to the appropriate service. When handling calls, dispatchers question each caller carefully to determine the type, seriousness, and location of the emergency. The information obtained is posted either electronically by com­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  puter or, with decreasing frequency, by hand. It is communicated immediately to uniformed or supervisory personnel, who quickly decide on the priority of the incident, the kind and number of units needed, and the location of the closest and most suitable units avail­ able. Typically, a team answers calls and relays the information to be dispatched. Responsibility then shifts to the dispatchers, who send response units to the scene and monitor the activity of the pub­ lic safety personnel answering the dispatched message. During the course of the shift, dispatchers may rotate these functions. When appropriate, dispatchers stay in close contact with other service providers—for example, a police dispatcher would monitor the response of the fire department when there is a major fire. In a medical emergency, dispatchers keep in close touch not only with the dispatched units, but also with the caller. They may give exten­ sive first-aid instructions before the emergency personnel arrive, while the caller is waiting for the ambulance. Dispatchers continu­ ously give updates on the patient’s condition to the ambulance per­ sonnel and often serve as a link between the medical staff in a hos­ pital and the emergency medical technicians in the ambulance. (A separate statement on emergency medical technicians and paramed­ ics appears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Other dispatchers coordinate deliveries, service calls, and related activities for a variety of firms. Truck dispatchers, who work for local and long-distance trucking companies, coordinate the move­ ment of trucks and freight between cities. They direct the pickup and delivery activities of drivers, receive customers’ requests for the pickup and delivery of freight, consolidate freight orders into truckloads for specific destinations, assign drivers and trucks, and draw up routes and pickup and delivery schedules. Bus dispatchers make sure that local and long-distance buses stay on schedule. They handle all problems that may disrupt service, and they dispatch other buses or arrange for repairs in order to restore service and sched­ ules. Train dispatchers ensure the timely and efficient movement of trains according to orders and schedules. They must be aware of track switch positions, track maintenance areas, and the location of other trains running on the track. Taxicab dispatchers, or starters, dispatch taxis in response to requests for service and keep logs on all road service calls. Tow-truck dispatchers take calls for emer­ gency road service. They relay the nature of the problem to a nearby service station or a tow-truck service and see to it that the road ser­ vice is completed. Gas and water service dispatchers monitor gaslines and water mains and send out service trucks and crews to take care of emergencies. :«4l  r ’  -"  Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, equipment, or service vehicles for the conveyance of materials or passengers.  460 Occupational Outlook Handbook Employment Dispatchers held 262,000 jobs in 2002. About one-third were po­ lice, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, almost all of whom worked for State and local governments—primarily local police and fire departments. About one-quarter of all dispatchers worked in the transportation and warehousing industry, and the rest worked in a wide variety of mainly service-providing sector industries. Although dispatching jobs are found throughout the country, most dispatchers work in urban areas, where large communications cen­ ters and businesses are located.  Job Outlook Employment of dispatchers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. In addition to those posi­ tions resulting from job growth, many openings will arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Population growth and economic expansion are expected to spur employment growth for all types of dispatchers. The growing and aging population will increase demand for emergency services and stimulate employment growth of police, fire, and ambulance dis­ patchers. Many districts are consolidating their communications centers into a shared areawide facility. Individuals with computer skills and experience will have a greater opportunity for employ­ ment as public-safety dispatchers. Employment of some dispatchers is more adversely affected by economic downturns than that of other dispatchers. For example, when economic activity falls, demand for transportation services declines. As a result, taxicab, train, and truck dispatchers may experience layoffs or a shortened workweek, and jobseekers may have some difficulty finding entry-level jobs. Employment of towtruck dispatchers, by contrast, is seldom affected by general economic conditions, because of the emergency nature of their business.  Related Occupations Other occupations that involve directing and controlling the move­ ment of vehicles, freight, and personnel, as well as distributing in­ formation and messages, include air traffic controllers, communi­ cations equipment operators, customer service representatives, and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks.  Meter Readers, Utilities (0*NET 43-5041.00)  Nature of the Work Meter readers read electric, gas, water, or steam consumption meters and record the volume used. They serve both residential and com­ mercial consumers, either walking or driving along the designated route. Their duties include inspecting the meters and their connec­ tions for any defects or damage, supplying repair and maintenance workers with the necessary information to fix damaged meters, keep­ ing track of the average usage, and recording reasons for any ex­ treme fluctuations in volume. Meter readers are constantly aware of any abnormal behavior or consumption that might indicate an unauthorized connection. They may turn off service for questionable behavior or nonpayment of charges, and they also are responsible for turning on service for new occupants. These workers usually keep a record of the fact that the meters on which they have completed work have been serviced. Employment Meter readers held about 54,000 jobs in 2002. About 43 percent were employed by electric, gas, and water utilities. Most of the rest were employed in local government, reading water meters or meters for other government-owned utilities. Job Outlook Employment of meter readers is expected to decline through 2012. New automated meter reading (AMR) systems allow meters to be monitored and billed from a central point, reducing the need for meter readers. However, because it will be many years before AMR systems can be implemented in all locations, there still will be some openings for meter readers, mainly to replace workers who leave the occupation. Related Occupations Other workers responsible for the distribution and control of utili­ ties include powerplant operators, distributors, and dispatchers. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service.  ■ ass: Sources of Additional Information For further information on training and certification for police, fire, and emergency dispatchers, contact either of the following organi­ zations: ► National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, 139 East South Temple, Suite 530, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Internet: http://www.emergencydispatch.org >• Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, International, 351 N. Williamson Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114-1112. Internet: http ://www.apco91 l.org  Information on job opportunities for police, fire, and emergency dispatchers is available from personnel offices of State and local governments or police departments. Information about work op­ portunities for other types of dispatchers is available from local employers and State employment service offices. (See the introduction to the section on material-recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  New automated meter-reading systems allow meters to be monitored and billedfrom a central point, reducing the needfor meter readers.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 461 (See the introduction to the section on material-recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks (0*NET 43-5061.00)  Nature of the Work Production, planning, and expediting clerks coordinate and expe­ dite the flow of information, work, and materials within or among offices. Most of their work is done according to production, work, or shipment schedules that are devised by supervisors who deter­ mine work progress and completion dates. Production, planning, and expediting clerks compile reports on the progress of work and on production problems. They also may schedule workers, esti­ mate costs, schedule the shipment of parts, keep an inventory of materials, inspect and assemble materials, and write special orders for services and merchandise. In addition, they may route and de­ liver parts to ensure that production quotas are met and that mer­ chandise is delivered on the date promised. Production and planning clerks compile records and reports on various aspects of production, such as materials and parts used, prod­ ucts produced, machine and instrument readings, and frequency of defects. These workers prepare work tickets or other production guides and distribute them to other workers. Production and plan­ ning clerks coordinate, schedule, monitor, and chart production and its progress, either manually or with electronic equipment. They also gather information from customers’ orders or other specifica­ tions and use the information to prepare a detailed production sheet that serves as a guide in assembling or manufacturing the product. Expediting clerks contact vendors and shippers to ensure that merchandise, supplies, and equipment are forwarded on the speci­ fied shipping dates. They communicate with transportation compa­ nies to prevent delays in transit, and they may arrange for the distri­ bution of materials upon their arrival. They may even visit work areas of vendors and shippers to check the status of orders. Expe­ diting clerks locate and distribute materials to specified production areas. They may inspect products for quality and quantity to ensure their adherence to specifications. They also keep a chronological  m  Production, planning, and expediting clerks coordinate and expedite theflow ofinformation, work, and materials within or among offices.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  list of due dates and may move work that does not meet the produc­ tion schedule to the front of the list. Employment In 2002, production, planning, and expediting clerks held 288,000 jobs. Jobs in manufacturing made up 45 percent. Another 13 per­ cent were in wholesale and retail trade establishments. Job Outlook Employment of production, planning, and expediting clerks is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. As increasing pressure is put on firms to manufacture and deliver their goods more quickly and efficiently, the need for pro­ duction, planning, and expediting clerks will grow. The work of production, planning, and expediting clerks is less likely to be auto­ mated than the work of many other administrative support occupa­ tions. In addition to openings due to employment growth, job open­ ings will arise from the need to replace production, planning, and expediting clerks who leave the labor force or transfer to other oc­ cupations. Related Occupations Other workers who coordinate the flow of information to assist the production process include cargo and freight agents; shipping, re­ ceiving, and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; and weigh­ ers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service. (See the introduction to the section on material-recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks (0*NET 43-5071.00)  Nature of the Work Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks keep records of all goods shipped and received. Their duties depend on the size of the estab­ lishment and the level of automation used. Larger companies typi­ cally are better able to finance the purchase of computers and other equipment to handle some or all of a clerk’s responsibilities. In smaller companies, a clerk maintains records, prepares shipments, and accepts deliveries. In both environments, shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks may lift cartons of various sizes. Shipping clerks keep records of all outgoing shipments. They prepare shipping documents and mailing labels and make sure that orders have been filled correctly. Also, they record items taken from inventory and note when orders were filled. Sometimes they fill the order themselves, obtaining merchandise from the stockroom, not­ ing when inventories run low, and wrapping or packing the goods in shipping containers. They also address and label packages, look up and compute freight or postal rates, and record the weight and cost of each shipment. In addition, shipping clerks may prepare invoices and furnish information about shipments to other parts of the com­ pany, such as the accounting department. Once a shipment is checked and ready to go, shipping clerks may move the goods from the plant—sometimes by forklift—to the shipping dock and direct its loading.  462 Occupational Outlook Handbook Employment Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks held about 803,000 jobs in 2002. About three-fourths were employed in manufacturing or by wholesale and retail establishments. Although jobs for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks are found throughout the country, most clerks work in urban areas, where shipping depots in factories and wholesale establishments usually are located. (For information on workers who perform duties similar to those of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks and who are employed by the U.S. Postal Service, see the statement on Postal Service workers elsewhere in the Hand­ book).  Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks typically use computers to keep records of all goods shipped and received.  Receiving clerks perform tasks similar to those of shipping clerks. They determine whether orders have been filled correctly by veri­ fying incoming shipments against the original order and the accom­ panying bill of lading or invoice. They make a record of the ship­ ment and the condition of its contents. In many firms, receiving clerks either use hand-held scanners to record barcodes on incom­ ing products or enter the information into a computer. These data then can be transferred to the appropriate departments. The ship­ ment is checked for any discrepancies in quantity, price, and dis­ counts. Receiving clerks may route or move shipments to the proper department, warehouse section, or stockroom. They also may ar­ range for adjustments with shippers whenever merchandise is lost or damaged. Receiving clerks in small businesses may perform some duties similar to those of stock clerks. In larger establish­ ments, receiving clerks may control all receiving-platform opera­ tions, such as scheduling of trucks, recording of shipments, and han­ dling of damaged goods. Traffic clerks maintain records on the destination, weight, and charges on all incoming and outgoing freight. They verify rate charges by comparing the classification of materials with rate charts. In many companies, this work may be automated. Information ei­ ther is scanned or is entered by hand into a computer for use by the accounting department or other departments within the company. Traffic clerks also keep a file of claims for overcharges and for damage to goods in transit.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Employment of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2012. Job growth will continue to be limited by automation as all but the smallest firms move to reduce labor costs by using computers to store and retrieve shipping and receiving records. Methods of handling materials have changed significantly in re­ cent years. Large warehouses are increasingly becoming automated, with equipment such as computerized conveyor systems, robots, computer-directed trucks, and automatic data storage and retrieval systems. Automation, coupled with the growing use of hand-held scanners and personal computers in shipping and receiving depart­ ments, has increased the productivity of these workers. Despite technology, job openings will continue to arise due to increasing economic and trade activity and because certain tasks cannot be automated. As an example of the latter circumstance, someone needs to check shipments before they go out and when they arrive, to ensure that everything is in order. In addition to those arising from job growth, openings will occur because of the need to replace shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks who leave the occu­ pation. Because this is an entry-level occupation, many vacancies are created by a worker’s normal career progression. Related Occupations Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks record, check, and often store materials that a company receives. They also process and pack goods for shipment. Other workers who perform similar duties are stock clerks and order fillers; production, planning, and expediting clerks; cargo and freight agents; and Postal Service workers. Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service. (See the introduction to the section on material recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Stock Clerks and Order Fillers (0*NET 43-5081.01, 43-5081.02,43-5081.03, 43-5081.04)  Nature of the Work Stock clerks and order fillers receive, unpack, check, store, and track merchandise or materials. They keep records of items entering or leaving the stockroom and inspect damaged or spoiled goods. They sort, organize, and mark items with identifying codes, such as price, stock, or inventory control codes, so that inventories can be located quickly and easily. They also may be required to lift cartons of various sizes. In larger establishments, where they may be respon­ sible for only one task, they may be called stock-control clerks,  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 463 warehouses, as well as catalogue, mail, telephone, and Internet shop­ ping services, should bolster employment of stock clerks and order fillers in these sectors of retail trade. Related Occupations Workers who also handle, move, organize, store, and keep records of materials include shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; produc­ tion, planning, and expediting clerks; cargo and freight agents; and procurement clerks. 1  if A  Stock clerks and order fillers keep records of items entering or leaving the stockroom. merchandise distributors, or property custodians. In smaller firms, they also may perform tasks usually handled by shipping and re­ ceiving clerks. (A separate statement on shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks appears elsewhere in this section of the Handbook.) In many firms, stock clerks and order fillers use hand-held scan­ ners connected to computers to keep inventories up to date. In retail stores, stock clerks bring merchandise to the sales floor and stock shelves and racks. In stockrooms and warehouses, stock clerks store materials in bins, on floors, or on shelves. Instead of putting the merchandise on the sales floor or on shelves, order fillers take cus­ tomers’ orders and either hold the merchandise until the customers can pick it up or send it to them. Employment Stock clerks and order fillers held about 1.6 million jobs in 2002; they were, by far, the largest material-recording, -scheduling, -dis­ patching, and -distributing occupation. About 75 percent work in wholesale and retail trade. The greatest numbers are found in gro­ cery stores, followed by department stores. Jobs for stock clerks are found in all parts of the country, but most work in large urban areas that have many large suburban shopping centers, warehouses, and factories. Job Outlook Employment of stock clerks and order fillers is projected to decline through 2012, due to the use of automation in factories and stores. Because the occupation is very large and many jobs are entry level, however, numerous job openings will occur each year to replace those who transfer to other jobs or leave the labor force. The growing use of computers for inventory control and the in­ stallation of new, automated equipment are expected to inhibit growth in demand for stock clerks and order fillers, especially in manufac­ turing and wholesale trade industries whose operations are most easily automated. In addition to utilizing computerized inventory control systems, firms in these industries are relying more on so­ phisticated conveyor belts and automatic high stackers to store and retrieve goods. Also, expanded use of battery-powered, driverless, automatically guided vehicles can be expected. Employment of stock clerks and order fillers who work in gro­ cery, general merchandise, department, apparel, and accessories stores is expected to be somewhat less affected by automation, be­ cause much of their work is done manually and is difficult to auto­ mate. In addition, the increasing role of large retail outlets and  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices can provide information about job openings for stock clerks and order fillers. Also, see office and administrative support occupations and sales occupations, elsewhere in the Handbook, for sources of additional information. (See introduction to the section on material-recording, -schedul­ ing, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, and Samplers, Recordkeeping (0*NET 43-5111.00)  Nature of the Work Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment in order to keep relevant records. Most of their duties are clerical. Using either manual or automated data processing systems, they verify the quantity, qual­ ity, and overall value of the items within their purview and check the condition of items purchased, sold, or produced against records, bills, invoices, or receipts. They check the items to ensure the accu­ racy of the recorded data. They prepare reports on warehouse in­ ventory levels and on uses of parts. Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers also check for any defects in the items and record the severity of the defects they find. These workers use weight scales, counting devices, tally sheets, and calculators to record information about the products. They usu­ ally move objects to and from the scales with a handtruck or fork­ lift. They issue receipts for the products when needed or requested.  m  WmC  Using either manual or automated data-processing systems, weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers check and document items.  464 Occupational Outlook Handbook Employment Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers held about 81,000 jobs in 2002. Their employment is spread across many industries. Re­ tail trade accounted for 18 percent of those jobs, manufacturing accounted for about 29 percent, and wholesale trade employed an­ other 13 percent. Job Outlook Employment of weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. The desire for accurate measurements and high-qual­ ity materials, as well as the use of records for verifying informa­ tion, is increasing the need for weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers. Furthermore, automation should not have a significant effect on employment in this occupation, because most of its duties need to be performed manually. In addition to job openings result­ ing from job growth, openings should arise from the need to re­ place workers who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Related Occupations Other workers who determine and document characteristics of ma­ terials or equipment include cargo and freight agents; production, planning, and expediting clerks; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; and procurement clerks.  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service. (See the introduction to the section on material-recording, -sched­ uling, -dispatching, and -distributing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)  Office and Administrative Support Worker Supervisors and Managers (0*NET 43-1011.01,43-1011.02)  Significant Points  •  •  •  Most jobs are filled by promoting office or administrative support workers from within the organization. Office automation will cause employment in some office and administrative support occupations to grow slowly or even decline, resulting in slower-thanaverage growth among supervisors and managers. Like those seeking other supervisory and managerial occupations, applicants are likely to encounter keen competition because their number should greatly exceed the number of job openings.  Nature of the Work All organizations need timely and effective office and administra­ tive support to operate efficiently. Office and administrative sup­ port supervisors and managers coordinate this support. These work­ ers are employed in virtually every sector of the economy, working in positions as varied as teller supervisor, customer services man­ ager, or shipping-and-receiving supervisor.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Although specific functions of office and administrative support supervisors and managers vary considerably, they share many com­ mon duties. For example, supervisors perform administrative tasks to ensure that their staffs can work efficiently. Equipment and ma­ chinery used in their departments must be in good working order. If the computer system goes down or a facsimile machine malfunc­ tions, the supervisors must try to correct the problem or alert repair personnel. They also request new equipment or supplies for their department when necessary. Planning the work and supervising the staff are key functions of this job. To do these effectively, the supervisor must know the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the staff, as well as the results required from and time allotted to each job. Supervisors must make allowances for unexpected staff absences and other dis­ ruptions by adjusting assignments or performing the work them­ selves if the situation requires it. After allocating work assignments and issuing deadlines, office and administrative support supervisors and managers oversee the work to ensure that it is proceeding on schedule and meeting estab­ lished quality standards. This may involve reviewing each person’s work on a computer—as in the case of accounting clerks—or lis­ tening to how a worker deals with customers—as in the case of customer services representatives. When supervising long-term projects, the supervisor may meet regularly with staff members to discuss their progress. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers also evaluate each worker’s performance. If a worker has done a good job, the supervisor records it in the employee’s personnel file and may recommend a promotion or other award. Alternatively, if a worker is performing poorly, the supervisor discusses the problem with the employee to determine the cause and helps the worker to improve his or her performance. This might require sending the employee to a training course or arranging personal counseling. If the situation does not improve, the supervisor may recommend a transfer, demotion, or dismissal. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers usu­ ally interview and evaluate prospective clerical employees. When new workers arrive on the job, the supervisor greets them and pro­ vides orientation to acquaint them with the organization and its op­ erating routines. Some supervisors may be actively involved in re­ cruiting new workers—for example, by making presentations at high schools and business colleges. They also may serve as the primary liaisons between their offices and the general public through direct contact and by preparing promotional information. Supervisors help train new employees in organization and of­ fice procedures. They may teach new employees how to use the telephone system and operate office equipment. Because much clerical work is computerized, they also must teach new employ­ ees to use the organization’s computer system. When new office equipment or updated computer software is introduced, supervi­ sors train experienced employees to use it efficiently. If this is not possible, they may arrange for special outside training for their employees. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers of­ ten act as liaisons between the clerical staff and the professional, technical, and managerial staff. This may involve implementing new company policies or restructuring the workflow in their de­ partments. They must also keep their superiors informed of their progress and any potential problems. Often, this communication takes the form of research projects and progress reports. Because supervisors and managers have access to information such as their department’s performance records, they may compile and present these data for use in planning or designing new policies.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 465 organizational structure and move among departments when necessary. In addition, supervisors must pay close attention to detail in or­ der to identify and correct errors made by the staff they oversee. Good working knowledge of the organization’s computer system also is an advantage. Many employers require postsecondary train­ ing—in some cases, an associate or even a bachelor’s degree. A clerk with potential supervisory abilities may be given occa­ sional supervisory assignments. To prepare for full-time supervi­ sory duties, he or she may attend in-house training or take courses in time management or interpersonal relations. Some office and administrative support supervisor positions are filled with people from outside the organization. These positions may serve as entry-level training for potential higher level manag­ ers. New college graduates may rotate through departments of an organization at this level to learn the work of the organization. Administrative support worker supervisors and managers plan work and supervise staff to ensure that the work remains on schedule.  Office and administrative support supervisors and managers also may have to resolve interpersonal conflicts among the staff. In or­ ganizations covered by union contracts, supervisors must know the provisions of labor-management agreements and run their depart­ ments accordingly. They may meet with union representatives to discuss work problems or grievances. Working Conditions Office and administrative support supervisors and managers are employed in a wide variety of work settings, but most work in clean, well-lit, offices that usually are comfortable. Most work a standard 40-hour week. Because some organiza­ tions operate around the clock, office and administrative support supervisors and managers may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Sometimes, supervisors rotate among the 8-hour three shifts in a workday; in other cases, shifts are assigned on the basis of seniority. Employment Office and administrative support supervisors and managers held 1.5 million jobs in 2002. Although jobs for office and administra­ tive support supervisors and managers are found in practically ev­ ery industry, the largest number are found in organizations with a large administrative support workforce, such as banks, wholesalers, government agencies, retail establishments, business service firms, healthcare facilities, schools, and insurance companies. Because of most organizations’ need for continuity of supervision, few office and administrative support supervisors and managers work on a tem­ porary or part-time basis. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most firms fill office and administrative support supervisory and managerial positions by promoting office or administrative support workers from within their organizations. To become eligible for promotion to a supervisory position, clerical or administrative sup­ port workers must prove they are capable of handling additional responsibilities. When evaluating candidates, superiors look for strong teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills, as well as determination, loyalty, poise, and confidence. They also look for more specific supervisory attributes, such as the abil­ ity to organize and coordinate work efficiently, to set priorities, and to motivate others. Increasingly, supervisors need a broad base of office skills coupled with personal flexibility to adapt to changes in  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Like those seeking other supervisory and managerial occupations, applicants for jobs as office and administrative support worker su­ pervisors and managers are likely to encounter keen competition because the number of applicants should greatly exceed the number of job openings. Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2012. In addition to the job openings arising from growth, a larger number of openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave this large occupation for other reasons. Employment of office and administrative support supervisors and managers is determined largely by the demand for administra­ tive support workers. Continuing office automation due to new technology should increase office and administrative support work­ ers’ productivity and allow a wider variety of tasks to be performed by more people in professional positions. These trends will cause employment in some clerical occupations to grow slowly or even decline. Supervisors will direct smaller permanent staffs— supplemented by increased use of temporary clerical staff—and perform more professional tasks. Office and administrative sup­ port managers will coordinate the increasing amount of adminis­ trative work and make sure that the technology is applied and run­ ning properly. However, organizational restructuring should continue to reduce employment in some managerial positions, dis­ tributing more responsibility to office and administrative support supervisors. Earnings Median annual earnings of office and administrative support super­ visors and managers were $38,820 in 2002; the middle 50 percent earned between $29,960 and $50,660. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $23,630, while the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $65,180. In 2002, median annual earnings in the indus­ tries employing the largest numbers of office and administrative support supervisors and managers were: Insurance carriers................................................................................. Management of companies and enterprises................................... Local government................................................................................. Offices of physicians........................................................................... Depository credit intermediation.....................................................  $48,720 45,090 40,500 37,510 35,500  In addition to typical benefits, some office and administrative support supervisors and managers, particularly in the private sector, may receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses and stock options.  466 Occupational Outlook Handbook Related Occupations Office and administrative support supervisors and managers must understand and sometimes perform the work of those whom they oversee, including bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; cashiers; communications equipment operators; customer service representatives; data entry and information processing workers; general office clerks; receptionists and information clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; order clerks; and tellers. Their supervisory and administrative duties are similar to those of other supervisors and managers. Sources of Additional Information For a wide variety of information related to management occupa­ tions, including educational programs and certified designations, contact: ► American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-7420. Internet: http://www.amanet.org > National Management Association, 2210 Arbor Blvd., Dayton, OH 45439. Internet: http://www.nmal.org >- International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW Ambassador Dr., P.O. Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404. Internet: http://www.iaap-hq.org  Office Clerks, General (0*NET 43-9061.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  Although most jobs are entry level, applicants with previous office experience, computer skills, and sound communication abilities may have an advantage. Part-time and temporary positions are common. Plentiful job opportunities will stem from employment growth, the large size of the occupation, and high replacement needs.  Nature of the Work Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks often have daily responsibilities that change with the needs of the specific job and the employer. Whereas some clerks spend their days filing or typing, others enter data at a computer terminal. They also can be called upon to operate photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment; prepare mailings; proofread copies; and answer telephones and deliver messages. The specific duties assigned to a clerk vary significantly, depend­ ing upon the type of office in which he or she works. An office clerk in a doctor’s office, for example, would not perform the same tasks that a clerk in a large financial institution or in the office of an auto-parts wholesaler would perform. Although they may sort checks, keep payroll records, take inventory, and access informa­ tion, clerks also perform duties unique to their employer, such as organizing medications, making transparencies for a presentation, or filling orders received by fax machine. The specific duties assigned to a clerk also vary by level of expe­ rience. Whereas inexperienced employees make photocopies, stuff envelopes, or record inquiries, experienced clerks usually are given additional responsibilities. For example, they may maintain finan­ cial or other records, set up spreadsheets, verify statistical reports for accuracy and completeness, handle and adjust customer com­ plaints, work with vendors, make travel arrangements, take inven­ tory of equipment and supplies, answer questions on departmental  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  services and functions, or help prepare invoices or budgetary re­ quests. Senior office clerks may be expected to monitor and direct the work of lower level clerks. Working Conditions For the most part, general office clerks work in comfortable office settings. Those on full-time schedules usually work a standard 40hour week; however, some work shifts or overtime during busy pe­ riods. About 1 in 4 clerks works part time. Employment General office clerks held about 3 million jobs in 2002. Most are employed in relatively small businesses. Although they work in every sector of the economy, almost half worked in local govern­ ment; health care and social assistance; administrative and support services; finance and insurance; or professional, scientific, and tech­ nical services industries. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Although most office clerk jobs are entry-level administrative sup­ port positions, employers may prefer or require previous office or business experience. Employers usually require a high school di­ ploma, and some require typing, basic computer skills, and other general office skills. Familiarity with computer word-processing software and applications is becoming increasingly important. Training for this occupation is available through business educa­ tion programs offered in high schools, community and junior col­ leges, and postsecondary vocational schools. Courses in office prac­ tices, word processing, and other computer applications are particularly helpful. Because general office clerks usually work with other office staff, they should be cooperative and able to work as part of a team. Employers prefer individuals who are able to perform a variety of tasks and satisfy the needs of the many departments within a com­ pany. In addition, applicants should have good communication skills, be detail-oriented, and be adaptable. General office clerks who exhibit strong communication, inter­ personal, and analytical skills may be promoted to supervisory po­ sitions. Others may move into different, more senior clerical or administrative jobs, such as receptionist, secretary, or administra­ tive assistant. After gaining some work experience or specialized skills, many workers transfer to jobs with higher pay or greater ad­ vancement potential. Advancement to professional occupations  General office clerks have daily responsibilities that change with the needs of the specific job and the employer.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 467 within an establishment normally requires additional formal educa­ tion, such as a college degree.  Postal Service Workers (0*NET 43-5051.00, 43-5052.00, 43-5053.00)  Job Outlook Employment growth, the large size of the occupation, and high re­ placement needs should result in plentiful job opportunities for gen­ eral office clerks. In addition to those for full-time jobs, many job openings are expected for part-time and temporary general office clerks. Prospects should be brightest for those who have knowl­ edge of basic computer applications and office machinery, such as fax machines and scanners, and good writing and communication skills. As general clerical duties continue to be consolidated, em­ ployers will increasingly seek well-rounded individuals with highly developed communication skills and the ability to perform multiple tasks. Employment of general office clerks is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through the year 2012. The employment outlook for these workers will be affected by the in­ creasing use of computers, expanding office automation, and the consolidation of clerical tasks. Automation has led to productivity gains, allowing a wide variety of duties to be performed by fewer office workers. However, automation also has led to a consolida­ tion of clerical staffs and a diversification of job responsibilities. This consolidation increases the demand for general office clerks, because they perform a variety of clerical tasks. It will become increasingly common within small businesses to find a single gen­ eral office clerk in charge of all clerical work. Job opportunities may vary from year to year, because the strength of the economy affects demand for general office clerks. Compa­ nies tend to hire more workers when the economy is strong. Indus­ tries least likely to be affected by economic fluctuation tend to be the most stable places for employment.  Earnings Median annual earnings of general office clerks were $22,280 in 2002; the middle 50 percent earned between $17,630 and $28,190 annually. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34,890. Median annual sala­ ries in the industries employing the largest numbers of general of­ fice clerks in 2002 are shown below: Local government................................................................................. Elementary and secondary schools.................................................. General medical and surgical hospitals.......................................... Colleges, universities, and professional schools............................ Employment services..........................................................................  $25,020 23,310 23,250 22,540 20,630  Related Occupations The duties of general office clerks can include a combination of bookkeeping, typing, office machine operation, and filing. Other office and administrative support workers who perform similar du­ ties include financial clerks, information and records clerks, secre­ taries and administrative assistants, and data entry and information processing workers. Nonclerical entry-level workers include cash­ iers, counter and rental clerks, and food and beverage serving and related workers.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide infor­ mation about job openings for general office clerks.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Significant Points  • •  •  Qualification is based on an examination. Overall employment within the U.S. Postal Service is expected to shrink due to declining mail volume and increasing automation. Keen competition is expected because the number of qualified applicants should continue to exceed the number of job openings.  Nature of the Work Each week, the U.S. Postal Service delivers billions of pieces of mail, including letters, bills, advertisements, and packages. To do this in an efficient and timely manner, the Postal Service employs about 845,000 individuals. Most Postal Service workers are clerks, mail carriers, or mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators. Postal clerks wait on customers at post offices, whereas mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators sort in­ coming and outgoing mail at post offices and mail processing cen­ ters. Mail carriers deliver mail to urban and rural residences and businesses throughout the United States. Postal service clerks, also known as window clerks, sell stamps, money orders, postal stationary, and mailing envelopes and boxes. They also weigh packages to determine postage and check that pack­ ages are in satisfactory condition for mailing. These clerks register, certify, and insure mail and answer questions about postage rates, post office boxes, mailing restrictions, and other postal matters. Window clerks also help customers file claims for damaged packages. Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. These workers are commonly referred to as mail handlers, distribu­ tion clerks, mail processors, or mail processing clerks. They load and unload postal trucks and move mail around a mail processing center with forklifts, small electric tractors, or hand-pushed carts. They also load and operate mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery. Postal service mail carriers deliver mail, once it has been pro­ cessed and sorted. Although carriers are classified by their type of route—either city or rural—duties of city and rural carriers are simi­ lar. Most travel established routes, delivering and collecting mail. Mail carriers start work at the post office early in the morning, when they arrange the mail in delivery sequence. Automated equipment has reduced the time that carriers need to sort the mail, allowing them to spend more time delivering it. Mail carriers cover their routes on foot, by vehicle, or a combi­ nation of both. On foot, they carry a heavy load of mail in a satchel or push it on a cart. In most urban and rural areas, they use a car or small truck. Although the Postal Service provides vehicles to city carriers, most rural carriers must use their own automobiles. Deliv­ eries are made house-to-house, to roadside mailboxes, and to large buildings such as offices or apartments, which generally have all of their tenants’ mailboxes in one location. Besides delivering and collecting mail, carriers collect money for postage-due and COD (cash-on-delivery) fees and obtain signed receipts for registered, certified, and insured mail. If a customer is not home, the carrier leaves a notice that tells where special mail is being held. After completing their routes, carriers return to the post  468 Occupational Outlook Handbook —  Depending on the size of the post office in which they work, window clerks also may be required to sort mail. office with mail gathered from street collection boxes, homes, and businesses and turn in the mail, receipts, and money collected dur­ ing the day. Some city carriers may have specialized duties such as deliver­ ing only parcels or picking up mail from mail collection boxes. In contrast to city carriers, rural carriers provide a wider range of postal services, in addition to delivering and picking up mail. For ex­ ample, rural carriers may sell stamps and money orders and regis­ ter, certify, and insure parcels and letters. All carriers, however, must be able to answer customers’ questions about postal regula­ tions and services and provide change-of-address cards and other postal forms when requested. Working Conditions Window clerks usually work in the public portion of clean, wellventilated, and well-lit buildings. They have a variety of duties and frequent contact with the public, but they rarely work at night. However, they may have to deal with upset customers, stand for long periods, and be held accountable for an assigned stock of stamps and funds. Depending on the size of the post office in which they work, they also may be required to sort mail. Despite the use of automated equipment, the work of mail sort­ ers, processors, and processing machine operators can be physi­ cally demanding. Workers may have to move heavy sacks of mail around a mail processing center. These workers usually are on their feet, reaching for sacks and trays of mail or placing packages and bundles into sacks and trays. Processing mail can be tiring and boring. Many sorters, processors, and machine operators work at night or on weekends, because most large post offices process mail around the clock, and the largest volume of mail is sorted during the evening and night shifts. Workers can experience stress as they process ever-larger quantities of mail under tight production dead­ lines and quotas. Most earners begin work early in the morning—those with routes in a business district can start as early as 4 a.m. Overtime hours are frequently required for urban carriers. A carrier’s schedule has its advantages, however. Carriers who begin work early in the morn­ ing are through by early afternoon and spend most of the day on their own, relatively free from direct supervision. Carriers spend most of their time outdoors, delivering mail in all kinds of weather. Even those who drive often must walk periodically when making deliveries and must lift heavy sacks of parcel post items when load­ ing their vehicles. In addition, carriers must be cautious of poten­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tial hazards on their routes. Wet and icy roads and sidewalks can be treacherous, and each year dogs attack numerous carriers. Employment The U.S. Postal Service employed 77,000 clerks; 334,000 mail car­ riers; and 253,000 mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators in 2002. Most of them worked full time. Most postal clerks provided window service at post office branches. Many mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators sorted mail at major metropolitan post offices; others worked at mail process­ ing centers. The majority of mail carriers worked in cities and sub­ urbs, while the rest worked in rural areas. Postal Service workers are classified as casual, part-time flex­ ible, part-time regular, or full time. Casuals are hired for 90 days at a time to help process and deliver mail during peak mailing or vaca­ tion periods. Part-time flexible workers do not have a regular work schedule or weekly guarantee of hours but are called as the need arises. Part-time regulars have a set work schedule of fewer than 40 hours per week, often replacing regular full-time workers on their scheduled day off. Full-time postal employees work a 40-hour week over a 5-day period. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Postal Service workers must be at least 18 years old. They must be U.S. citizens or have been granted permanent resident-alien status in the United States, and males must have registered with the Selec­ tive Service upon reaching age 18. Applicants should have a basic competency of English. Qualification is based on a written exami­ nation that measures speed and accuracy at checking names and numbers and the ability to memorize mail distribution procedures. Applicants must pass a physical examination and drug test, and may be asked to show that they can lift and handle mail sacks weighing 70 pounds. Applicants for mail carrier positions must have a driver’s license and a good driving record, and must receive a passing grade on a road test. Jobseekers should contact the post office or mail processing center where they wish to work to determine when an exam will be given. Applicants’ names are listed in order of their examination scores. Five points are added to the score of an honorably discharged vet­ eran and 10 points are added to the score of a veteran who was wounded in combat or is disabled. When a vacancy occurs, the appointing officer chooses one of the top three applicants; the rest of the names remain on the list to be considered for future openings until their eligibility expires—usually 2 years after the examination date. Relatively few people become postal clerks or mail carriers on their first job, because of keen competition and the customary wait­ ing period of 1 to 2 years or more after passing the examination. It is not surprising, therefore, that most entrants transfer from other occupations. New Postal Service workers are trained on the job by experi­ enced workers. Many post offices offer classroom instruction on safety and defensive driving. Workers receive additional instruc­ tion when new equipment or procedures are introduced. In these cases, workers usually are trained by another postal employee or a training specialist. Postal clerks and mail carriers should be courteous and tactful when dealing with the public, especially when answering questions or receiving complaints. A good memory and the ability to read rapidly and accurately are important. Good interpersonal skills also are vital, because mail distribution clerks work closely with other postal workers, frequently under the tension and strain of meeting dispatch or transportation deadlines and quotas.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 469 Postal Service workers often begin on a part-time, flexible basis and become regular or full time in order of seniority, as vacancies occur. Full-time workers may bid for preferred assignments, such as the day shift or a high-level nonsupervisory position. Carriers can look forward to obtaining preferred routes as their seniority increases. Postal Service workers can advance to supervisory posi­ tions on a competitive basis. Job Outlook Employment of Postal Service workers is expected to decline through 2012. Still, many jobs will become available because of the need to replace those who retire or leave the occupation. Those seeking jobs as Postal Service workers can expect to encounter keen com­ petition. The number of applicants should continue to exceed the number of job openings due to low entry requirements and attrac­ tive wages and benefits. A small decline in employment is expected among window clerks over the 2002-12 projection period. Efforts by the Postal Service to provide better service may somewhat increase the demand for win­ dow clerks, but the demand for such clerks will be offset by the use of electronic communications technologies and private delivery com­ panies. Employment of mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators is expected to decline because of the increasing use of automated materials handling equipment and optical charac­ ter readers, barcode sorters, and other automated sorting equipment. Several factors are expected to influence demand for mail carri­ ers. The competition from alternative delivery systems and new forms of electronic communication could decrease the total volume of mail handled. Most of the decrease is expected to consist of firstclass mail. The Postal Service expects an increase in package deliv­ eries due to the rising number of purchases made through the Internet. Although total mail volume may decrease, the number of addresses to which mail must be delivered will continue to grow. However, increased use of the “delivery point sequencing” system, which al­ lows machines to sort mail directly by the order of delivery, should reduce the amount of time that carriers spend sorting their mail, allowing them more time to handle longer routes. In addition, the Postal Service is moving toward more centralized mail delivery, such as the use of cluster boxes, to cut down on the number of door-todoor deliveries. These trends are expected to increase carrier pro­ ductivity, resulting in a small decline in employment among mail carriers over the projection period. The increasing number of deliv­ ery points may result in greater demand for rural mail carriers than for city mail carriers, as much of the increase in delivery points will be seen in less urbanized areas. Currently, the role of the Postal Service as a government-ap­ proved monopoly is a topic of debate. Any legislative changes that would privatize or deregulate the Postal Service might affect em­ ployment of all its workers. Employment and schedules in the Postal Service fluctuate with the demand for its services. When mail vol­ ume is high, full-time workers work overtime, part-time workers get additional hours, and casual workers may be hired. When mail volume is low, overtime is curtailed, part-timers work fewer hours, and casual workers are discharged. Earnings Median annual earnings of postal mail carriers were $39,530 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,020 and $43,040. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $31,180, while the top 10 percent earned over $47,500. Rural mail carriers are reimbursed for mileage put on their own vehicles while delivering mail. Median annual earnings of Postal Service clerks were $39,700 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,160 and  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  $42,230. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $35,640, while the top 10 percent earned more than $43,750. Median annual earnings of mail sorters, processors, and process­ ing machine operators were $38,150 in 2002. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $30,140 and $41,450. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $21,680, while the top 10 percent earned more than $43,430. Postal Service workers enjoy a variety of employer-provided benefits similar to those enjoyed by Federal Government workers. The American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association together represent most of these workers. Related Occupations Other occupations with duties similar to those of postal clerks in­ clude cashiers; counter and rental clerks; file clerks; and shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks. Others with duties related to those of mail carriers include couriers and messengers, and truck drivers and driver/sales workers. Occupations whose duties are related to those of mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators in­ clude inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers, and mate­ rial-moving occupations. Sources of Additional Information Local post offices and State employment service offices can supply details about entrance examinations and specific employment op­ portunities for Postal Service workers.  Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (0*NET 43-6011.00, 43-6012.00, 43-6013.00, 43-6014.00)  Significant Points  •  •  •  Increasing office automation and organizational restructuring will lead to slow growth in overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants. Numerous job openings will result from the need to replace workers who leave this very large occupation each year. Opportunities should be best for applicants with extensive knowledge of software applications.  Nature of the Work As the reliance on technology continues to expand in offices across the Nation, the role of the office professional has greatly evolved. Office automation and organizational restructuring have led secre­ taries and administrative assistants to assume a wider range of new responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff. Many secretaries and administrative assistants now provide train­ ing and orientation for new staff, conduct research on the Internet, and operate and troubleshoot new office technologies. In the midst of these changes, however, their core responsibilities have remained much the same—performing and coordinating an office’s adminis­ trative activities, and storing, retrieving, and integrating informa­ tion for dissemination to staff and clients.  470 Occupational Outlook Handbook Secretaries and administrative assistants are responsible for a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to run an or­ ganization efficiently. They serve as an information manager for an office, plan and schedule meetings and appointments, organize and maintain paper and electronic files, manage projects, conduct re­ search, and provide information by using the telephone, postal mail, and e-mail. They also may handle travel arrangements. Secretaries and administrative assistants are aided in these tasks by a variety of office equipment, such as facsimile machines, pho­ tocopiers, and telephone systems. In addition, secretaries and ad­ ministrative assistants use personal computers to create spreadsheets, compose correspondence, manage databases, and create presenta­ tions, reports, and documents by using desktop publishing software and digital graphics—all tasks previously handled by managers and professionals. At the same time, these other office workers have assumed many tasks traditionally assigned to secretaries and ad­ ministrative assistants, such as word processing and answering the telephone. Because secretaries and administrative assistants often are not responsible for dictation and typing, they have time to sup­ port more members of the executive staff. In a number of organiza­ tions, secretaries and administrative assistants work in teams in or­ der to work flexibly and share their expertise. Specific job duties vary with experience and titles. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants, for example, perform fewer clerical tasks than do other secretaries. In addition to arranging conference calls and scheduling meetings, they may handle more complex responsibilities such as conducting research, preparing sta­ tistical reports, training employees, and supervising other clerical staff. Some secretaries and administrative assistants, such as legal and medical secretaries, perform highly specialized work requiring knowledge of technical terminology and procedures. For instance, legal secretaries prepare correspondence and legal papers such as summonses, complaints, motions, responses, and subpoenas under the supervision of an attorney or paralegal. They also may review legal journals and assist in other ways with legal research, as by verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs. Medical secretaries transcribe dictation, prepare correspondence, and assist physicians or medical scientists with reports, speeches, articles, and confer­ ence proceedings. They also record simple medical histories, ar­ range for patients to be hospitalized, and order supplies. Most medi­ cal secretaries need to be familiar with insurance rules, billing  ,+****•» Secretaries and administrative assistants are responsiblefora variety ofadministrative and clerical duties necessary to run an organization efficiently.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  practices, and hospital or laboratory procedures. Other technical secretaries who assist engineers or scientists may prepare correspon­ dence, maintain the technical library, and gather and edit materials for scientific papers. Working Conditions Secretaries and administrative assistants usually work in schools, hospitals, corporate settings, or legal and medical offices. Their jobs often involve sitting for long periods. If they spend a lot of time typing, particularly at a video display terminal, they may en­ counter problems of eyestrain, stress, and repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Office work can lend itself to alternative or flexible working ar­ rangements, such as part-time work or telecommuting—especially if the job requires extensive computer use. About 1 secretary in 6 works part time and many others work in temporary positions. A few participate in job-sharing arrangements in which two people divide responsibility for a single job. The majority of secretaries, how­ ever, are full-time employees who work a standard 40-hour week. Employment Secretaries and administrative assistants held about 4.1 million jobs in 2002, ranking among the largest occupations in the U.S. economy. The following tabulation shows the distribution of employment by secretarial specialty: Secrecretaries, except legal, medical, andexecutive.............. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants.................. Medical secretaries............................................................................ Legal secretaries................................................................................  1,975,000 1,526,000 339,000 264,000  Secretaries and administrative assistants are employed in orga­ nizations of every type. Around 9 out of 10 secretaries and admin­ istrative assistants are employed in service-providing industries, ranging from education and health to government and retail trade. Most of the rest work for firms engaged in manufacturing or construction. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement High school graduates who have basic office skills may qualify for entry-level secretarial positions. However, employers increasingly require extensive knowledge of software applications, such as word processing, spreadsheets, and database management. Secretaries and administrative assistants should be proficient in keyboarding and good at spelling, punctuation, grammar, and oral communica­ tion. Because secretaries and administrative assistants must be tactful in their dealings with people, employers also look for good cus­ tomer service and interpersonal skills. Discretion, good judgment, organizational or management ability, initiative, and the ability to work independently are especially important for higher level ad­ ministrative positions. As office automation continues to evolve, retraining and con­ tinuing education will remain an integral part of secretarial jobs. Changes in the office environment have increased the demand for secretaries and administrative assistants who are adaptable and ver­ satile. Secretaries and administrative assistants may have to attend classes or participate in online education in order to learn how to operate new office technologies, such as information storage sys­ tems, scanners, the Internet, or new updated software packages. They may also get involved in selecting and maintaining equipment. Secretaries and administrative assistants acquire skills in vari­ ous ways. Training ranges from high school vocational education programs that teach office skills and keyboarding to 1- and 2-year programs in office administration offered by business schools,  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 471 vocational-technical institutes, and community colleges. Many tem­ porary placement agencies also provide formal training in computer and office skills. However, many skills tend to be acquired through on-the-job instruction by other employees or by equipment and soft­ ware vendors. Specialized training programs are available for stu­ dents planning to become medical or legal secretaries or adminis­ trative technology specialists. Bachelor’s degrees and professional certifications are becoming increasingly important as business con­ tinues to become more global. Testing and certification for proficiency in entry-level office skills is available through organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals; NALS, Inc.; and Legal Secretaries International, Inc. As secretaries and adminis­ trative assistants gain experience, they can earn several different designations. Prominent designations include the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) or the Certified Administrative Pro­ fessional (CAP) designations, which can be earned by meeting certain experience and/or educational requirements and passing an examination. Similarly, those with 1 year of experience in the le­ gal field, or who have concluded an approved training course and who want to be certified as a legal support professional, can acquire the Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) designation through a testing process administered by NALS. NALS also offers two additional designations; an examination to confer the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) designation, considered an advanced certi­ fication for legal support professionals, as well as a paralegal ex­ amination and designation for proficiency as a paralegal. Legal Secretaries International confers the Certified Legal Secretary Spe­ cialist (CLSS) designation in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate, and business law, to those who have 5 years of law-related experience and pass an examina­ tion. In some instances, certain requirements may be waived. Secretaries generally advance by being promoted to other ad­ ministrative positions with more responsibilities. Qualified secre­ taries who broaden their knowledge of a company’s operations and enhance their skills may be promoted to other positions such as senior or executive secretary, clerical supervisor, or office manager. Secretaries with word processing or data entry experience can ad­ vance to jobs as word processing or data entry trainers, supervisors, or managers within their own firms or in a secretarial, word pro­ cessing, or data entry service bureau. Secretarial experience can also lead to jobs such as instructor or sales representative with manu­ facturers of software or computer equipment. With additional train­ ing, many legal secretaries become paralegals. Job Outlook Overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations over the 2002-12 period. In addition to those resulting from growth, numerous job openings will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave this very large occupa­ tion for other reasons each year. Opportunities should be best for applicants, particularly experienced secretaries, with extensive knowledge of software applications. Projected employment of secretaries will vary by occupational specialty. Employment growth in the health care and social assis­ tance and legal services industries should lead to average growth for medical and legal secretaries. Employment of executive secre­ taries and administrative assistants is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations. Rapidly growing industries— such as administrative and support services, health care and social assistance, educational services (private), and professional, scien­ tific, and technical services—will continue to generate most new  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  job opportunities. A decline in employment is expected for all other secretaries, except legal, medical, or executive. They account for almost half of all secretaries and administrative assistants. Increasing office automation and organizational restructuring will continue to make secretaries and administrative assistants more pro­ ductive in coming years. Personal computers, e-mail, scanners, and voice message systems will allow secretaries to accomplish more in the same amount of time. The use of automated equipment is also changing the distribution of work in many offices. In some cases, such traditional secretarial duties as keyboarding, filing, photocopy­ ing, and bookkeeping are being assigned to workers in other units or departments. Professionals and managers increasingly do their own word processing and data entry, and handle much of their own correspondence rather than submit the work to secretaries and other support staff. Also, in some law and medical offices, paralegals and medical assistants are assuming some tasks formerly done by secre­ taries. As other workers assume more of these duties, there is a trend in many offices for professionals and managers to “share” secretaries and administrative assistants. The traditional arrange­ ment of one secretary per manager is becoming less prevalent; in­ stead, secretaries and administrative assistants increasingly support systems, departments, or units. This approach often means that sec­ retaries and administrative assistants assume added responsibilities and are seen as valuable members of a team, but it also contributes to the projected decline in the overall number of secretaries and administrative assistants. Developments in office technology are certain to continue, and they will bring about further changes in the work of secretaries and administrative assistants. However, many secretarial and adminis­ trative duties are of a personal, interactive nature and, therefore, not easily automated. Responsibilities such as planning conferences, working with clients, and instructing staff require tact and commu­ nication skills. Because technology cannot substitute for these per­ sonal skills, secretaries and administrative assistants will continue to play a key role in most organizations. Earnings  Median annual earnings of executive secretaries and administrative assistants were $33,410 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,980 and $41,350. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,420. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest num­ bers of executive secretaries and administrative assistants in 2002 were: Management of companies and enterprises.................................. $36,770 Local government..................................................................................... 34,600 Colleges, universities, and professional schools............................... 32,210 State government.................................................................................. 31,220 Employment services.............................................................................. 29,700  Median annual earnings of legal secretaries were $35,020 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $27,540 and $44,720. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,990, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $54,810. Medical secretaries earned a me­ dian annual salary of $25,430 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,090 and $31,070. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 18,310, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,550. Median annual earnings of secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive, were about $25,290 in 2002. Salaries vary a great deal, however, reflecting differences in skill, experience, and level of responsibility. Salaries also vary in differ­ ent parts of the country; earnings are usually lowest in southern  472 Occupational Outlook Handbook cities, and highest in northern and western cities. Certification in this field usually is rewarded by a higher salary. Related Occupations A number of other workers type, record information, and process paperwork. Among them are bookkeeping, accounting, and audit­ ing clerks; receptionists and information clerks; court reporters; human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping; com­ puter operators; data entry and information processing workers; paralegals and legal assistants; medical assistants; and medical records and health information technicians. A growing number of secretaries share in managerial and human resource responsibili­ ties. Occupations requiring these skills include office and adminis­ trative support supervisors and managers, computer and informa­ tion systems managers, administrative services managers, and human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information State employment offices provide information about job openings for secretaries. For information on the Certified Professional Secretary or Certi­ fied Administrative Professional designations, contact: >■ International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW Ambassador Dr., P.O. Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404. Internet: http://www.iaap-hq.org  Information on the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) designation can be obtained from: >- Legal Secretaries International http://www.legalsecretaries.org  Inc.,  Internet:  Information on the Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS), Profes­ sional Legal Secretary (PLS), and Paralegal certifications is avail­ able from: > NALS, Inc., 314 East 3rd St., Suite 210, Tulsa, OK 74120. Internet: http://www.nals.org  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations Agricultural Workers (0*NET 45-2011.00, 45-2041.00, 45-2091.00, 45-2092.01, 45-2092.02, 45-2093.00, and 45-2099.99)  Significant Points  •  •  •  •  Duties and working conditions vary widely, from working in greenhouses, to producing crops and raising livestock outdoors, to inspecting agricultural products in plants. Most workers learn through short-term on-the-job training; agricultural inspectors need work experience or a college degree in a related field. Most farmworkers receive low pay and often must perform strenuous work outdoors in all kinds of weather, but many prefer to work and live in a rural area. Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average.  Nature of the Work Agricultural workers play a large role in getting food, plants, and other agricultural products to market. Working mostly on farms or ranches or in nurseries, slaughterhouses, or ports of entry, these workers have numerous and diverse duties. Among their activities are planting and harvesting crops, installing irrigation, delivering animals, and making sure that our food is safe. More than 4 out of 5 agricultural workers are farmworkers and laborers. Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse perform numerous activities related to growing and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fiber, trees, shrubs, and other crops. Among their activities are planting and seeding, pruning, irrigating, har­ vesting, and packing and loading crops for shipment. Farmworkers also apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to crops; repair fences; and help with irrigation. Nursery and greenhouse workers prepare land or greenhouse beds for growing horticultural prod­ ucts, such as trees, plants, flowers, and sod. Their duties include planting, watering, pruning, weeding, and spraying the plants. They may cut, roll, and stack sod; stake trees; tie, wrap, and pack plants to fill orders; and dig up or move field-grown and containerized shrubs and trees. Farmworkers, farm and ranch animals care for live farm, ranch, or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. The animals are usually raised to supply such products as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. The farmworkers’ duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, debeaking, weigh­ ing, catching, and loading animals. On dairy farms, farmworkers operate milking machines; they also may maintain records on ani­ mals, examine animals to detect diseases and injuries, assist in de­ livering animals at their birth, and administer medications, vaccina­ tions, or insecticides as appropriate. Daily duties of such farmworkers include cleaning and maintaining animal housing areas. Other farmworkers known as agricultural equipment operators operate a variety of farm equipment used in plowing, sowing, main­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  taining, and harvesting agricultural products. The equipment may include tractors, fertilizer spreaders, haybines, raking equipment, balers, combines, and threshers, as well as trucks. These farmworkers also operate machines used in moving and treating crops after their harvest, such as conveyor belts, loading machines, separators, clean­ ers, and dryers. In addition, they may make adjustments and minor repairs to equipment. When not operating machines, agricultural equipment operators may perform other farm duties that are not typical of other farmworkers. Agricultural inspectors, another type of agricultural worker, are employed by Federal and State governments to ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing the health, quality, and safety of agricultural commodities. Inspectors also make sure that the fa­ cilities and equipment used in processing the commodities meet quality standards. Meat safety is one of their prime responsibilities, and they try to ensure that the meat we eat is free of harmful ingre­ dients or bacteria. In meat-processing facilities, inspectors may collect samples of suspected diseased animals or materials and send the samples to a laboratory for identification and analysis. They also may inspect livestock to help determine the effectiveness of medication and feeding programs. Some inspectors are stationed at export and import sites to weigh and inspect agricultural shipments leaving and entering the country, to ensure the quality and quantity of the shipments. A few work at logging sites, making sure that safety regulations are enforced. Graders and sorters of agricultural products examine agricul­ tural commodities being prepared to be packed for market and clas­ sify them according to quality or size guidelines. They grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition and discard inferior or defective prod­ ucts. For example, graders sort eggs are by color and size and also examine the fat content, or marbling, of beef, assigning a grade of “Prime,” “Choice,” or something else, as appropriate. The grade that is assigned determines the price at which the commodity may be sold. Working Conditions Working conditions for agricultural workers vary widely. Much of the work of farmworkers and laborers on farms and ranches takes  Many agricultural workers work in nurseries and greenhouses.  473  474 Occupational Outlook Handbook place outdoors in all kinds of weather and is physical in nature. Harvesting fruits and vegetables, for example, may require much bending, stooping, and lifting. Workers may lack adequate sanita­ tion facilities while working in the field, and their drinking water may be limited. The year-round nature of much livestock produc­ tion work means that ranch workers must be out in the heat of sum­ mer, as well as the cold of winter. While some of these workers enjoy the day-to-day variability of the work, the rural setting, work­ ing on the land, and raising animals, the work hours are generally uneven and often long; work cannot be delayed when crops must be planted and harvested or when animals must be sheltered and fed. Weekend work is common, and farmworkers may work a 6- or 7day week during planting and harvesting seasons. Because much of the work is seasonal in nature, many workers also obtain other jobs during slow seasons. Migrant farmworkers, who move from location to location as crops ripen, live an unsettled lifestyle, which can be stressful. Work also is seasonal for farmworkers in nurseries; spring and summer are the busiest times of the year. Greenhouse workers en­ joy relatively comfortable working conditions while tending to plants indoors. However, during the busy seasons, when landscape con­ tractors need plants, work schedules may be more demanding, re­ quiring weekend work. Moreover, the transition from warm weather to cold weather means that nursery workers might have to work overtime with little notice given, in order to move plants indoors in case of a frost. Federal meat inspectors may work in highly mechanized plants or with poultry or livestock in confined areas with extremely cold temperatures and slippery floors. The duties often require working with sharp knives, moderate lifting, and walking or standing for long periods. Many inspectors work long and often irregular hours. Inspectors may find themselves in adversarial roles when the orga­ nization or individual being inspected objects to the inspection or its potential consequences. Some inspectors travel frequently to visit farms and processing facilities. Others work at ports, inspect­ ing cargo on the docks or on boats. Graders and sorters may work with similar products for an en­ tire shift, or they may be assigned a variety of items. They may be on their feet all day and may have to lift heavy objects, whereas others may sit during most of their shift and do little strenuous work. Some graders work in clean, air-conditioned environments, suit­ able for carrying out controlled tests. Some may work evenings or weekends because of the perishable nature of the products. Over­ time may be required to meet production goals. Farmworkers in crop production risk exposure to pesticides and other hazardous chemicals sprayed on crops or plants. However, exposure is relatively minimal if safety procedures are followed. Those who work on mechanized farms must take precautions to avoid injury when working with tools and heavy equipment. Those who work directly with animals risk being bitten or kicked. Employment Agricultural workers held about 795,000 jobs in 2002. Of these, farmworkers were the most numerous, holding 670,000jobs. Grad­ ers and sorters held 49,000 jobs, agricultural inspectors 16,000 jobs, and agricultural equipment operators 61,000 jobs. Approximately 69 percent of all agricultural workers worked for crop and livestock producers, while almost 5 percent worked for agricultural service providers, mostly farm labor contractors. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Farmworkers learn through short-term on-the-job training. Most do not have a high school diploma. The preponderance of workers  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  without a high school diploma is particularly high in the crop pro­ duction sector, where there are more labor-intensive establishments employing migrant farmworkers. In nurseries, entry-level workers must be able to follow direc­ tions and learn proper planting procedures. If driving is an essential part of a job, employers look for applicants with a good driving record and some experience driving a truck. Workers who deal di­ rectly with customers must get along well with people. Employers also look for responsible, self-motivated individuals, because nurs­ ery workers sometimes work with little supervision. For graders and sorters, training requirements vary on the basis of their responsibilities. For those who perform tests on various agricultural products, a high school diploma is preferred and may be required. Simple jobs requiring mostly visual inspection may be filled by beginners provided with short-term on-the-job training. Becoming an agricultural inspector requires relevant work ex­ perience or some college course work in a field such as biology or agricultural science. Inspectors are trained in the applicable laws or inspection procedures through some combination of classroom and on-the-job training. In general, people who want to enter this occu­ pation should be responsible, like detailed work, and be able to com­ municate well. Federal Government inspectors whose job perfor­ mance is satisfactory advance through a career ladder to a specified full-performance level. For positions above this level—usually su­ pervisory positions—advancement is competitive and based on agency needs and individual merit. Advancement opportunities in State and local governments and in the private sector often are simi­ lar to those in the Federal Government. Advancement of agricultural workers depends on motivation and experience. Farmworkers who work hard and quickly, have good communication skills, and take an interest in the business may ad­ vance to crew leader or other supervisory positions. Some agricul­ tural workers may aspire to become farm, ranch, and other agricul­ tural managers, or farmers or ranchers themselves. (Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) In addition, their knowledge of raising and harvesting produce may provide an excellent background for becoming pur­ chasing agents and buyers of farm products. Knowledge of work­ ing a farm as a business can help agricultural workers become farm and home management advisors. Those who earn a college degree in agricultural science could become agricultural and food scientists. Job Outlook Overall employment of agricultural workers is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations over the 2002-12 period, primarily reflecting the outlook for farmworkers, who make up the large majority of all agricultural workers. Low wages, the physical demands of the work, and high job turnover should result in abundant job opportunities, however. Continued consolidation of farms and technological advance­ ments in farm equipment will dampen employment growth. Never­ theless, those farms remaining in operation will still need workers to help with their operations, and farm labor contractors’ employ­ ment of farmworkers is expected to increase steadily. Nursery and greenhouse workers should have the most rapid job growth, reflect­ ing the increasing demand for landscaping services. Slower-than-average employment growth also is anticipated for agricultural inspectors. Governments at all levels are not expected to hire significant numbers of new inspectors, choosing to leave more of the routine inspection to businesses. Slower-than-average growth also is expected for graders and sorters, and agricultural equipment operators, reflecting the agriculture industry’s continu­ ing ability to produce more with fewer workers.  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 475 Earnings Median hourly earnings of the more numerous farmworkers in crops, nurseries, and greenhouses were $7.24 in 2002. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $6.85 and $8.37 an hour, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.24 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.32. Median hourly earnings for farmworkers who work with live­ stock were $8.22. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.98 and $10.32 an hour, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.27 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $13.01. Median hourly earnings of graders and sorters of agricultural products were $7.67 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $6.88 and $9.30. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.22, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.80. Median hourly earnings of agricultural inspectors were $13.76 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.44 and $18.79. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.10, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $23.94. Median hourly earnings for agricultural equipment operators in 2002 were $8.31. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.96 and $10.78. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.11, the highest 10 percent more than $13.89. Few agricultural workers are members of unions. Related Occupations The duties of farmworkers who perform outdoor labor are related to the work of fishers and operators of fishing vessels; forest, con­ servation, and logging workers; and grounds maintenance workers. Farmworkers who work with farm and ranch animals perform work related to that of animal care and service workers. Sources of Additional Information Information on agricultural worker jobs is available from >■ National FFA Organization, The National FFA Center, Career Informa­ tion Requests, P.O. Box 68690, Indianapolis, IN, 46268-0960. Internet: http://www.ffa.org  Information on farmworker jobs is available from > The New England Small Farm Institute, 275 Jackson St., Belchertown, MA 01007. Internet: http://www.smallfarm.org/newoof/newoof.htmI Information on obtaining a position as an agricultural inspector with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Per­ sonnel Management (OPM) through a telephone-based system. Consult your telephone directory under “U.S. Government” for a local number, or call (703) 724-1850; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339. The first number is not toll free, and charges may result. Information also is available from the OPM Internet site: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov  Fishers and Fishing Vessel Operators (0*NET 45-3011.00)  • • •  Significant Points More than half of all workers are self-employed, among the highest proportion in the workforce. Many jobs require strenuous work and long hours and provide only seasonal employment. Employment is projected to decline, due to the depletion of fish stocks and new Federal and State laws restricting both commercial and recreational fishing.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work Fishers and fishing vessel operators catch and trap various types of marine life for human consumption, animal feed, bait, and other uses. (Aquaculture—the raising and harvesting, under controlled conditions, of fish and other aquatic life in ponds or confined bod­ ies of water—is covered in the Handbook statement on farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers.) Fishing hundreds of miles from shore with commercial fishing vessels—large boats capable of hauling a catch of tens of thousands of pounds of fish—requires a crew that includes a captain, or skip­ per, a first mate and sometimes a second mate, a boatswain (called a deckboss on some smaller boats), and deckhands with specialized skills. The fishing boat captain plans and oversees the fishing opera­ tion—the fish to be sought, the location of the best fishing grounds, the method of capture, the duration of the trip, and the sale of the catch. The captain ensures that the fishing vessel is seaworthy; over­ sees the purchase of supplies, gear, and equipment, such as fuel, netting, and cables; obtains the required fishing permits and licenses; and hires qualified crew members and assigns their duties. The captain plots the vessel’s course, often using electronic navigational equipment such as autopilots, loran systems, and satellite naviga­ tion systems. However, traditional navigational equipment (for ex­ ample, compasses, sextants, and charts) is still in use. Ships also use radar to avoid obstacles and utilize depth sounders to indicate the water depth and whether there is marine life between the vessel and sea bottom. Sophisticated tracking technology allows captains to better locate and analyze schools of fish. The captain directs the fishing operation through the officers’ actions and records daily ac­ tivities in the ship’s log. Upon returning to port, the captain arranges for the sale of the catch—directly to buyers or through a fish auc­ tion—and ensures that each crew member receives the prearranged portion of adjusted net proceeds from the sale of the catch. Some captains have begun buying and selling fish via the Internet, and as electronic commerce grows as a method of finding buyers for fresh catch, more captains may use computers. The first mate—the captain’s assistant, who must be familiar with navigation requirements and the operation of all electronic equipment—assumes control of the vessel when the captain is off duty. Duty shifts, called watches, usually last 6 hours. The mate’s regular duty, with the help of the boatswain and under the captain’s oversight, is to direct the fishing operations and sailing responsi­ bilities of the deckhands, including the operation, maintenance, and repair of the vessel and the gathering, preservation, stowing, and unloading of the catch. The boatswain, a highly experienced deckhand with supervisory responsibilities, directs the deckhands as they carry out the sailing and fishing operations. Before departure, the boatswain directs the deckhands to load equipment and supplies, either by hand or with hoisting equipment, and to untie lines from other boats and the dock. When necessary, boatswains repair fishing gear, equipment, nets, and accessories. They operate the fishing gear, letting out and pull­ ing in nets and lines, and extract the catch, such as pollock, floun­ der, and tuna, from the nets or the lines’ hooks. Deckhands use dip nets to prevent the escape of small fish and gaffs to facilitate the landing of large fish. They then wash, salt, ice, and stow away the catch. Deckhands also must ensure that decks are clear and clean at all times and that the vessel’s engines and equipment are kept in good working order. Upon return to port, they secure the vessel’s lines to and from the docks and other vessels. Unless “lumpers” (laborers or longshore workers) are hired, the deckhands unload the catch.  476 Occupational Outlook Handbook Large fishing vessels that operate in deep water generally have technologically advanced equipment, and some may have facili­ ties on board where the fish are processed and prepared for sale. Such vessels are equipped for long stays at sea and can perform the work of several smaller boats. Some full-time and many part-time fishers work on small boats in relatively shallow waters, often in sight of land. Navigation and communication needs are vital and constant for almost all types of boats. Crews are small—usually, only one or two people collabo­ rate on all aspects of the fishing operation, which may include plac­ ing gill nets across the mouths of rivers or inlets, entrapment nets in bays and lakes, or pots and traps for fish or shellfish such as lobsters and crabs. Dredges and scrapes are sometimes used to gather shellfish such as oysters and scallops. A very small propor­ tion of commercial fishing is conducted as diving operations. Depending upon the water’s depth, divers—wearing regulation div­ ing suits with an umbilical (air line) or a scuba outfit and equip­ ment—use spears to catch fish and use nets and other equipment to gather shellfish, coral, sea urchins, abalone, and sponges. In very shallow waters, fish are caught from small boats having an out­ board motor, from rowboats, or by wading or seining from shore. Fishers use a wide variety of hand-operated equipment—for example, nets, tongs, rakes, hoes, hooks, and shovels—to gather fish and shellfish; catch amphibians and reptiles such as frogs and turtles; and harvest marine vegetation such as Irish moss and kelp. Although most fishers are involved in commercial fishing, some captains and deckhands use their expertise in fishing for sport or recreational purposes. For this type of fishing, a group of people charter a fishing vessel for periods ranging from several hours to a number of days and embark upon sportfishing, socializing, and relaxation, employing a captain and possibly several deckhands.  Working Conditions Fishing operations are conducted under various environmental con­ ditions, depending on the region of the country and the kind of species sought. Storms, fog, and wind may hamper fishing vessels or cause them to suspend fishing operations and return to port. Divers are affected by murky water and unexpected shifts in un­ derwater currents. In relatively busy fisheries, smaller boats have to take care not to be hit by larger vessels. Fishers and fishing vessel operators work under some of the most hazardous conditions of any occupation, and often help is not  Fishing vessel operators must check their gear before heading out.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  readily available when injuries occur. Malfunctioning navigation or communication equipment may lead to collisions or shipwrecks. The crew must be on guard against the danger of injury from mal­ functioning fishing gear, entanglement in fishing nets and gear, slippery decks resulting from fish-processing operations, ice for­ mation in the winter, or being swept overboard—a fearsome situa­ tion. Also, treatment for any serious injuries may have to await transfer to a hospital. Divers must guard against entanglement of air lines, malfunction of scuba equipment, decompression prob­ lems, and attacks by predatory fish. Fishers and fishing vessel operators face strenuous outdoor work and long hours. Commercial fishing trips may require a stay of several weeks or even months—hundreds of miles away from one’s home port. The pace of work may vary, but even during travel between the home port and the fishing grounds, deckhands on smaller boats try to finish their cleaning duties so that there are no chores remaining to be done at port. However, lookout watches are a regular responsibility, and crew members must be prepared to stand watch at prearranged times of the day or night. Although fishing gear has improved, and operations have become more mechanized, netting and processing fish are strenuous activities. Whereas newer vessels have improved living quarters and ameni­ ties such as television and shower stalls, crews still experience the aggravations of confined quarters, continuous close personal con­ tact, and the absence of family.  Employment Fishers and fishing vessel operators held an estimated 36,000 jobs in 2002. More than 5 out of 10 were self-employed. Most fishing takes place off the coasts, with Alaska, Louisiana, Virginia, Cali­ fornia, and Washington bringing in the greatest volume of fish. While fishing off the New England coast has declined in recent years because of restrictions on catching certain species, it still ranks high in total value of fish caught, according to the National Marine Fisheries Society.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Fishers usually acquire their occupational skills on the job, many as members of families involved in fishing activities. No formal academic requirements exist. Operators of large commercial fish­ ing vessels are required to complete a Coast Guard-approved train­ ing course. Students can expedite their entrance into these occu­ pations by enrolling in 2-year vocational-technical programs offered by secondary schools. In addition, some community colleges and universities offer fishery technology and related programs that in­ clude courses in seamanship, vessel operations, marine safety, navi­ gation, vessel repair and maintenance, health emergencies, and fish­ ing gear technology. Courses include hands-on experience. Secondary and postsecondary programs are normally offered in or near coastal areas. Experienced fishers may find short-term workshops offered through various postsecondary institutions especially useful. These programs provide a good working knowledge of electronic equip­ ment used in navigation and communication and offer the latest improvements in fishing gear. Captains and mates on large fishing vessels of at least 200 gross tons must be licensed. Captains of sportfishing boats used for char­ ter, regardless of the boats’ size, must also be licensed. Crew mem­ bers on certain fish-processing vessels may need a merchant mariner’s document. The U.S. Coast Guard issues these documents and licenses to individuals who meet the stipulated health, physi­  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 477 cal, and academic requirements. (For information about merchant marine occupations, see the statement on water transportation oc­ cupations elsewhere in the Handbook.) Fishers must be in good health and possess physical strength. Good coordination, mechanical aptitude, and the ability to work under difficult or dangerous conditions are necessary to operate, maintain, and repair equipment and fishing gear. Fishers need stamina to work long hours at sea, often under difficult conditions. On large vessels, they must be able to work as members of a team. Fishers must be patient, yet always alert, to overcome the boredom of long watches when they are not engaged in fishing operations. The ability to assume any deckhand’s functions on short notice is important. As supervisors, mates must be able to assume all duties, including the captain’s, when necessary. The captain must be highly experienced, mature, and decisive and also must possess the business skills needed to run business operations. On fishing vessels, most fishers begin as deckhands. Deckhands who acquire experience and whose interests are in ship engineer­ ing—the maintenance and repair of ship engines and equipment— can eventually become licensed chief engineers on large commer­ cial vessels after meeting the Coast Guard’s experience, physical, and academic requirements. Experienced, reliable deckhands who display supervisory qualities may become boatswains, who, in turn, may become second mates, first mates, and, finally, captains. Al­ most all captains become self-employed, and the overwhelming majority eventually own, or have an interest in, one or more fish­ ing ships. Some may choose to run a sport or recreational fishing operation. When their seagoing days are over, experienced indi­ viduals may work in or, with the necessary capital, own stores sell­ ing fishing and marine equipment and supplies. Some captains may assume advisory or administrative positions in industry trade associations or government offices, such as harbor development commissions, or in teaching positions in industry-sponsored work­ shops or educational institutions. Divers in fishing operations can enter a commercial diving activity—for example, repairing ships or maintaining piers and marinas—usually after the completion of a certified training program sponsored by an educational institu­ tion or industry association.  ment opportunities for fishers. Some States have issued various types of restrictions on harvesting, to allow stocks of fish and shell­ fish to replenish themselves, thereby idling many fishers. In addi­ tion, low prices for some species and rising seafood imports are adversely affecting fishing income. Sportfishing boats, however, will continue to provide some job opportunities. Governmental efforts to replenish stocks are having positive results, which should increase the stock of fish at some point in the future. Furthermore, efforts by private fishers’ associations on the West Coast to increase government monitoring of the fisheries may help significantly to prevent the type of decline in fish stocks found in waters off the East Coast. Nevertheless, fewer fishers and fish­ ing vessel operators are expected to make their living from the Nation’s waters in the years ahead.  Job Outlook Employment of fishers and fishing vessel operators is expected to decline through the year 2012. These workers depend on the natu­ ral ability of fish stocks to replenish themselves through growth and reproduction, as well as on governmental regulation of fisher­ ies. Many operations are currently at or beyond the maximum sustainable yield, partially because of habitat destruction, and the number of workers who can earn an adequate income from fishing is expected to decline. Many fishers and fishing vessel operators leave the occupation because of the strenuous and hazardous na­ ture of the job and the lack of steady, year-round income. Some job openings will nevertheless arise from the need to replace work­ ers who leave the occupation or retire. The use of sophisticated electronic equipment for navigation, for communication, and for locating fish has raised the efficiency of finding fish stocks. Also, improvements in fishing gear and the use of highly automated floating processors, where the catch is processed aboard the vessel, have greatly increased fish hauls. In many areas, particularly the North Atlantic and Pacific Northwest, damage to spawning grounds and excess fishing capacity have ad­ versely affected the stock of fish and, consequently, the employ­  Related Occupations Other occupations that involve outdoor work with fish and water­ craft include water transportation occupations and fish and game wardens.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings Based on limited information, the majority of full-time wage and salary fishers earn between $300 and $700 per week. Earnings of fishers and fishing vessel operators normally are highest in the summer and fall—when demand for services peaks and environ­ mental conditions are favorable—and lowest during the winter. Many full-time and most part-time workers supplement their in­ come by working in other activities during the off-season. For example, fishers may work in seafood-processing plants, in estab­ lishments selling fishing and marine equipment, in construction, or in a number of unrelated seasonal occupations. Earnings of fishers vary widely, depending upon their position, their ownership percentage of the vessel, the size of their ship, and the amount and value of the catch. The costs of the fishing opera­ tion—the physical aspects of operating the ship, such as the fuel costs, repair and maintenance of gear and equipment, and the crew’s supplies—are deducted from the sale of the catch. Net proceeds are distributed among the crew members in accordance with a pre­ arranged percentage. Generally, the ship’s owner—usually its cap­ tain—receives half of the net proceeds. From this amount, the owner pays for depreciation, maintenance and repair, and replace­ ment and insurance costs of the ship and its equipment; the money that remains is the owner’s profit.  Sources of Additional Information Names of postsecondary schools offering fishing and related ma­ rine educational programs are available from >- Marine Technology Society, 5565 Sterrett Place, Suite 108, Columbia, MD 21044. Internet: http://www.mtsociety.org Information on licensing of fishing vessel captains and mates and on requirements for merchant mariner documentation is avail­ able from the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Inspection Office or Ma­ rine Safety Office in your State. Or contact either of the following agencies: >- Office of Compliance, Commandant (G-MOC-3) 2100 Second St. SW., Washington, DC 20593. Internet: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_01/46cfr28_01.html  >- Licensing and Evaluation Branch, National Maritime Center, 4200 Wil­ son Blvd., Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22203-1804.  478 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Forest, Conservation, and Logging Workers (0*NET 45-4011.00, 45-4021.00, 45-4022.01, 45-4023.00) Significant Points  • • •  Workers spend all their time outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas. Most jobs are physically demanding and can be hazardous. A small decline in overall employment is expected in the occupation.  Nature of the Work The Nation’s forests are a rich natural resource, providing beauty and tranquility, varied recreational areas, and wood for commercial use. Managing forests and woodlands requires many different kinds of workers. Forest and conservation workers help develop, main­ tain, and protect the forests by growing and planting new seedlings, fighting insects and diseases that attack trees, and helping to control soil erosion. Timber-cutting and logging workers harvest thousands of acres of forests each year for the timber that provides the raw material for countless consumer and industrial products. Forest and conservation workers perform a variety of tasks to reforest and conserve timberlands and maintain forest facilities, such as roads and campsites. Some forest workers, called tree planters, use digging and planting tools called “dibble bars” and “hoedads” to plant seedlings to reforest timberland areas. Forest workers also remove diseased or undesirable trees with power saws or handsaws, spray trees with insecticides and fungicides to kill insects and to protect against disease, and apply herbicides on undesirable brush and trees to reduce competing vegetation. Forest workers in private industry usually work for professional foresters and paint boundary lines, assist with prescribed burning, and aid in marking and mea­ suring trees by keeping a tally of those examined and counted. For­ est workers who work for State and local governments or who are under contract to the Federal Government also clear away brush and debris from camp trails, roadsides, and camping areas under their employers’ jurisdiction. Some clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds. Other forest and conservation workers work in forest nurseries, sorting out tree seedlings and discarding those not meeting prescribed standards of root formation, stem development, and condition of foliage. Some forest workers are employed on tree farms, where they plant, cultivate, and harvest many different kinds of trees. Their duties vary with the type of farm. Those who work on specialty farms, such as farms growing Christmas or ornamental trees for nurseries, are responsible for shearing treetops and limbs to control the growth of the trees under their care, to increase the density of limbs, and to improve the shapes of the trees. In addition, these workers’ duties include planting the seedlings, spraying to control surrounding weed growth and insects, and harvesting the trees. Other forest workers gather, by hand or with the use of handtools, products from the woodlands, such as decorative greens, tree cones and barks, moss, and other wild plant life. Still others tap trees for sap to make syrup or to produce chemicals. The timber-cutting and logging process is carried out by a vari­ ety of workers who make up a logging crew. Falters cut down trees with hand-held power chain saws or, occasionally, axes. Usually  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  using gas-powered chain saws, buckers trim off the tops and branches and buck (cut) the resulting logs into specified lengths. Choke setters fasten chokers (steel cables or chains) around logs to be skidded (dragged) by tractors or forwarded by the cable-yard­ ing system to the landing or deck area, where the logs are separated by species and type of product, such as pulpwood, sawlogs, or ve­ neer logs, and loaded onto trucks. Rigging slingers and chasers set up and dismantle the cables and guy wires of the yarding system. Log sorters, markers, movers, and debarkers sort, mark, and move logs, based on species, size, and ownership, and tend machines that debark logs. Logging equipment operators on a logging crew perform a num­ ber of duties. They use tree harvesters to shear the tops off of trees, cut and limb the trees, and then cut the logs into desired lengths. They drive tractors mounted on crawler tracks called crawlers, and self-propelled machines called skidders or forwarders, which drag or transport logs from the felling site in the woods to the log landing area for loading. They operate grapple loaders, which lift and load logs into trucks, and tree fellers or shears, which cut the trees. Some logging equipment operators use tracked or wheeled equipment simi­ lar to a forklift to unload logs and pulpwood off of trucks or gon­ dola railroad cars, usually in a sawmill or a pulp-mill woodyard. Some newer, more efficient logging equipment is now equipped with state-of-the-art computer technology, requiring more skilled operators with more training. Log graders and scalers inspect logs for defects, measure logs to determine their volume, and estimate the marketable content or value of logs or pulpwood. These workers often use hand-held data col­ lection terminals to enter data about individual trees; later, the data can be downloaded or sent from the scaling area to a central com­ puter via modem. Other timber-cutting and logging workers have a variety of re­ sponsibilities. Some hike through forests to assess logging condi­ tions. Some clear areas of brush and other growth to prepare for logging activities or to promote the growth of desirable species of trees. The timber-cutting and logging industry is characterized by a large number of small crews of four to eight workers. A typical crew might consist of one or two fallers or one feller machine op­ erator, one bucker, two logging tractor operators to drag cut trees to the loading deck, and one equipment operator to load the logs onto trucks. Most crews work for self-employed logging contractors who possess substantial logging experience, the capital to purchase  '  IBlilgSB  Hm&mSmI Mostforestry and logging jobs are physically demanding and often require the use of dangerous equipment.  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 479 equipment, and the skills needed to run a small business success­ fully. Most contractors work alongside their crews as supervisors and often operate one of the logging machines, such as the grapple loader or the tree harvester. Many manage more than one crew and function as owners-supervisors. Although timber-cutting and logging equipment has greatly im­ proved and operations are becoming increasingly mechanized, many logging jobs still are labor intensive. These jobs require various levels of skill, ranging from the unskilled task of manually moving logs, branches, and equipment to skillfully using chain saws, peavies (hooked poles), and log jacks to cut and position logs for further processing or loading. To keep costs down, some timber-cutting and logging workers maintain and repair the equipment they use. A skillful, experienced logger is expected to handle a variety of log­ ging operations.  or forest nurseries, or for contractors that supply services to agri­ culture and forestry industries. Some of those employed in forestry services work on a contract basis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. A small number of forest and conser­ vation workers work in sawmills and planing mills. Although for­ est and conservation workers are located in every State, employ­ ment is concentrated in the West and Southeast, where many national and private forests and parks are located. Self-employed forestry, conservation, and logging workers ac­ count for almost 3 of every 10 such workers—a much higher pro­ portion of self-employment than in most other occupations. Seasonal demand for forest, conservation, and logging workers varies by region. For example, in the northern States, winter work is common because the frozen ground facilitates logging. In the Southeast, logging and related activities occur year-round.  Working Conditions Forestry and logging jobs are physically demanding. Workers spend all their time outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in iso­ lated areas. The increased use of enclosed machines has decreased some of the discomforts caused by inclement weather. A few lum­ ber camps in Alaska house workers in bunkhouses or company towns. Workers in sparsely populated western States commute long dis­ tances between their homes and logging sites. In the more densely populated eastern and southern States, commuting distances are much shorter. Most logging occupations involve lifting, climbing, and other strenuous activities, although machinery has eliminated some of the heavy labor. Loggers work under unusually hazardous conditions. Falling trees and branches are a constant menace, as are the dangers associated with log-handling operations and the use of sawing equip­ ment, especially delimbing devices. Special care must be taken during strong winds, which can even halt operations. Slippery or muddy ground and hidden roots or vines not only reduce efficiency, but also present a constant danger, especially in the presence of moving vehicles and machinery. Poisonous plants, brambles, in­ sects, snakes, heat, and humidity are minor annoyances. If safety precautions are not taken, the high noise level of sawing and skid­ ding operations over long periods may impair one’s hearing. Expe­ rience, the exercise of caution, and the use of proper safety mea­ sures and equipment—such as hardhats, eye and ear protection, and safety clothing and boots—are extremely important to avoid injury. The jobs of forest and conservation workers generally are much less hazardous than those of loggers. It may be necessary for some forestry aides or forest workers to walk long distances through densely wooded areas to do their work.  IVaining, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most forest, conservation, and logging workers develop skills through on-the-job training, with instruction coming primarily from experienced workers. Logging workers must familiarize themselves with the character and dangers of the forest environment and the operation of logging machinery and equipment. However, large logging companies and trade associations, such as the Northeastern Loggers Association and the Forest Resources Association, Inc., offer special programs, particularly for workers training to operate large, expensive machinery and equipment. Often, a representative of the manufacturer or company spends several days in the field explain­ ing and overseeing the operation of newly purchased machinery. Safety training is a vital part of the instruction of all logging work­ ers. Many State forestry or logging associations provide training ses­ sions for fallers, whose job duties require more skill and experience than do other positions on the logging team. Sessions may take place in the field, where trainees, under the supervision of an expe­ rienced logger, have the opportunity to practice various felling tech­ niques. Fallers learn how to manually cut down extremely large or expensive trees safely and with minimal damage to the felled or surrounding trees. Training programs for loggers and foresters are becoming com­ mon in many States, largely in response to a collaborative effort by the American Forest & Paper Association and others in the forestry industry. Such programs are designed to encourage the health and productivity of the Nation’s forests through the Sustainable Forest Initiative program. Logger training programs vary by State, but generally include some type of classroom or field training in a num­ ber of areas: best management practices, safety, endangered spe­ cies, reforestation, and business management. Some programs lead to certification as a logger. Experience in other occupations can expedite one’s entry into some logging occupations. For example, equipment operators, such as truckdrivers and bulldozer and crane operators, can assume skid­ ding and yarding functions. Some loggers have worked in sawmills or on family farms with extensive wooded areas. Some logging contractors were formerly crew members of family-owned busi­ nesses operated over several generations. Generally, little formal education is required for most forest, conservation, and logging occupations. Many secondary schools, including vocational and technical schools and some community colleges, offer courses or a 2-year degree in general forestry, wild­ life, conservation, and forest harvesting, which could be helpful in obtaining a job. A curriculum that includes field trips to observe or participate in forestry or logging activities provides a particu­ larly good background. There are no educational requirements for  Employment Forest, conservation, and logging workers held about 81,000 jobs in 2002, distributed among the following occupations: Logging equipment operators................................................... Forest and conservation workers.............................................. Fallers..................................................................................... Log graders and scalers............................................................  43,000 14,000 14,000 10,000  Most wage and salary fallers and logging equipment operators are employed in logging camps and in the logging contractors in­ dustry, although some work in sawmills and planing mills. Em­ ployment of log graders and scalers is concentrated largely in saw­ mills and planing mills. More than half of all forest and conservation workers work for government, primarily at the State and local level. Twenty percent are employed by companies that operate timber tracts, tree farms,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  480 Occupational Outlook Handbook forest worker jobs. Many of these workers are high school or college students who are hired on a part-time or seasonal basis to perform short-term, labor-intensive tasks, such as planting tree seedlings. Forest, conservation, and logging workers must be in good health and able to work outdoors every day. They also must be able to work as part of a team. Many logging occupations require physical strength and stamina. Maturity and good judgment are important in making quick, intelligent decisions in dealing with hazards as they arise. Mechanical aptitude and coordination are necessary qualities for operators of machinery and equipment, who often are respon­ sible for repair and maintenance as well. Initiative and managerial and business skills are necessary for success as a self-employed logging contractor. Experience working at a nursery or as a laborer can be useful in obtaining a job as a forest or conservation worker. Logging work­ ers generally advance from occupations involving primarily manual labor to those involving the operation of expensive, sometimes com­ plicated, machinery and other equipment. Inexperienced entrants usually begin as laborers, carrying tools and equipment, clearing brush, and loading and unloading logs and brush. For some, famil­ iarization with logging operations may lead to jobs such as log­ handling equipment operator. Further experience may lead to jobs involving the operation of more complicated machinery and yard­ ing towers to transport, load, and unload logs. Those who have the motor skills required for the efficient use of power saws and other equipment may become fallers and buckers. Job Outlook Overall employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers is expected to decline slightly through the year 2012. Most job openings will result from replacement needs. Many logging work­ ers transfer to other jobs that are less physically demanding and dangerous, or else they retire. In addition, some forestry workers are youths who are not committed to the occupation on a long-term basis. Some take jobs to earn money for school; others work in this occupation only until they find a better paying job. Employment of forest and conservation workers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations. Setting aside more land to protect natural resources or wildlife habitats helps to create demand for more forest and conservation workers. In ad­ dition, under the latest farm bill, small, private farmowners were offered incentives to convert all or part of their land to forest for ecological purposes. This conversion may indirectly cause the hir­ ing of forest and conservation workers to work on the property. Despite steady demand for lumber and other wood products, employment of timber-cutting and logging occupations is expected to decline, primarily because of increased mechanization and in­ creasing imports. New federal policy allowing some access to fed­ eral timberland may moderate any decline, however, and job op­ portunities also will arise from owners of privately owned forests and tree farms. However, domestic timber producers face increas­ ing competition from foreign producers, who can harvest the same amount of timber at lower cost. As competition increases, the log­ ging industry is expected to continue to consolidate in order to re­ duce costs, thereby eliminating some jobs. Increased mechanization of logging operations and improvements in logging equipment will continue to depress demand for many timber-cutting and logging workers. Employment of fallers, buck­ ers, choke setters, and other workers—whose jobs are labor inten­ sive—should decline as safer laborsaving machinery and other equip­ ment are increasingly used. Employment of machinery and equipment operators, such as logging tractor and log-handling equip­ ment operators, should be less adversely affected.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Weather can force the curtailment of logging operations during the muddy spring season and the cold winter months, depending on the geographic region. Changes in the level of construction, par­ ticularly residential construction, also affect logging activities in the short term. In addition, logging operations must be relocated when timber in a particular area has been completely harvested. During prolonged periods of inactivity, some workers may stay on the job to maintain or repair logging machinery and equipment; others are forced to find jobs in other occupations or be without work. Earnings Earnings vary with the particular forestry or logging occupation and with experience. Earnings range from the minimum wage in some beginning forestry and conservation positions to about $28.23 an hour for some experienced fallers. Median hourly earnings in 2002 for forest, conservation, and logging occupations were as follows: Fallers........................................................................................................ Log graders and scalers........................................................................ Logging equipment operators.............................................................. Forest and conservation workers........................................................  $13.54 13.08 12.88 9.12  Earnings of logging workers vary by size of establishment and by geographic area. Workers in the largest establishments earn more than those in the smallest ones. Workers in Alaska and the North­ west earn more than those in the South, where the cost of living is generally lower. Forest and conservation workers who work for State and local governments or for large, private firms generally enjoy more gener­ ous benefits than do workers in smaller firms. Small logging con­ tractors generally offer timber-cutting and logging workers few ben­ efits. However, some employers offer full-time workers basic benefits, such as medical coverage, and provide safety apparel and equipment.  Related Occupations Other occupations concerned with the care of trees and their envi­ ronment include conservation scientists and foresters, forest and conservation technicians, and grounds maintenance workers. Log­ ging equipment operators have skills similar to material-moving equipment operators, such as industrial truck and tractor operators and crane and tower operators. Sources of Additional Information For information about timber-cutting and logging careers and about secondary and postsecondary programs offering training for log­ ging occupations, contact either of the following sources: ► Northeastern Loggers Association, P.O. Box 69, Old Forge, NY 13420. Internet: http://www.loggertraining.com >• Forest Resources Association, Inc., 600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 350, Rockville, MD 20852. Internet: http://www.forestresources.org  For information on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative training programs, contact ► American Forest & Paper Association, 1111 19th St. NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.afandpa.org  A list of State forestry associations and other forestry-related State associations is available at most public libraries. Schools of forestry at States’ land-grant colleges or universities also should be useful sources of information.  Construction Trades and Related Workers Boilermakers (0*NET 47-2011.00) Significant Points  •  A formal apprenticeship is the best way to learn this trade. Little or no employment growth is expected, but many openings will be created by the need to replace experienced workers who leave this occupation.  •  Nature of the Work Boilermakers and boilermaker mechanics make, install, and repair boilers, vats, and other large vessels that hold liquids and gases. Boilers supply steam to drive huge turbines in electric powerplants and to provide heat and power in buildings, factories, and ships. Tanks and vats are used to process and store chemicals, oil, beer, and hundreds of other products. Boilers and other high-pressure vessels usually are made in sec­ tions, by casting each piece out of molten iron or steel. Manufactur­ ers are increasingly automating this process to increase the quality of these vessels. Boiler sections are then welded together, often using automated orbital welding machines, which make more con­ sistent welds than are possible by hand. Small boilers may be as­ sembled in the manufacturing plant; larger boilers usually are as­ sembled on site. Following blueprints, boilermakers locate and mark reference points on the boiler foundation, using straightedges, squares, tran­ sits, and tape measures. Boilermakers attach rigging and signal crane operators to lift heavy frame and plate sections and other parts into place. They align sections, using plumb bobs, levels, wedges, and tumbuckles. Boilermakers use hammers, files, grinders, and cut­ ting torches to remove irregular edges, so that edges fit properly. They then bolt or weld edges together. Boilermakers align and at-  :  '.  iNil*S- J / ■&***j  nlllrnlgmi  Many boilermakers learn their trade through afonnal apprenticeship   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tach water tubes, stacks, valves, gauges, and other parts and test complete vessels for leaks or other defects. They also install refrac­ tory brick and other heat-resistant materials in fireboxes or pressure vessels. Usually, they assemble large vessels temporarily in a fab­ rication shop to ensure a proper fit before final assembly on the permanent site. Because boilers last a long time—35 years or more—boilermak­ ers regularly maintain them and update components, such as burn­ ers and boiler tubes, to increase efficiency. Boilermaker mechanics maintain and repair boilers and similar vessels. They inspect tubes, fittings, valves, controls, and auxiliary machinery and clean or su­ pervise the cleaning of boilers using scrapers, wire brushes, and cleaning solvents. They repair or replace defective parts, using hand and power tools, gas torches, and welding equipment, and may op­ erate metalworking machinery to repair or make parts. They also dismantle leaky boilers, patch weak spots with metal stock, replace defective sections, and strengthen joints. Working Conditions Boilermakers often use potentially dangerous equipment, such as acetylene torches and power grinders, handle heavy parts, and work on ladders or on top of large vessels. Work is physically demand­ ing and may be done in cramped quarters inside boilers, vats, or tanks that are often damp and poorly ventilated. In some instances, work may be done at high elevations for an extended period. To reduce the chance of injuries, boilermakers may wear hardhats, har­ nesses, protective clothing, safety glasses and shoes, and respira­ tors. Boilermakers may experience extended periods of overtime when equipment is shut down for maintenance. Overtime work also may be necessary to meet construction or production deadlines. Employment Boilermakers held about 25,000 jobs in 2002. Nearly 7 out of 10 worked in the construction industry, assembling and erecting boil­ ers and other vessels. More than 1 in 10 worked in manufacturing, primarily in boiler manufacturing shops, iron and steel plants, pe­ troleum refineries, chemical plants, and shipyards. Some also worked for boiler repair firms or railroads. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many boilermakers learn this trade through a formal apprentice­ ship. Others become boilermakers through a combination of trade or technical school training and employer-provided training. Ap­ prenticeship programs usually consist of 4 years of on-the-job train­ ing, supplemented by a minimum of 144 hours of classroom in­ struction each year in subjects such as set-up and assembly rigging, welding of all types, blueprint reading, and layout. Experienced boilermakers often attend apprenticeship classes or seminars to learn about new equipment, procedures, and technology. When an ap­ prenticeship becomes available, the local union publicizes the op­ portunity by notifying local vocational schools and high school vo­ cational programs. Some boilermakers advance to supervisory positions. Because of their broader training, apprentices usually have an advantage in promotion.  481  482 Occupational Outlook Handbook Job Outlook Little or no growth in employment of boilermakers is expected through the year 2012, but many openings will be created by the need to replace experienced workers who leave this occupation; boilermakers tend to retire early, partly due to the physically demanding nature of the work. Because the number of persons seeking entry to the occupation is relatively low, some areas cur­ rently are experiencing a shortage of applicants for apprenticeship programs. Growth may be limited by the trend toward repairing and retro­ fitting, rather than replacing, existing boilers; the use of small boil­ ers, which require less onsite assembly; and automation of produc­ tion technologies. However, demand for more boilermakers may stem from environmental upgrades required by Federal regulations such as the Clean Air Act. Most industries that purchase boilers are sensitive to economic conditions. Therefore, during economic downturns, boilermakers in the construction industry may be laid off. However, because maintenance and repairs of boilers must continue even during eco­ nomic downturns, boilermaker mechanics in manufacturing and other industries generally have stable employment.  Earnings In 2002, the median hourly earnings of boilermakers were about $20.17. The middle 50 percent earned between $16.24 and $25.09. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.24, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.96. Apprentices generally start at about half of journey wages, with wages gradually increasing to the jour­ ney wage as progress is made in the apprenticeship. About two-thirds of boilermakers belong to labor unions. The principal union is the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Other boilermakers are members of the International Association of Machinists, the United Automobile Workers, or the United Steel­ workers of America.  Related Occupations Workers in a number of other occupations assemble, install, or re­ pair metal equipment or machines. These occupations include as­ semblers and fabricators; machinists; industrial machinery installa­ tion, repair, and maintenance workers, except millwrights; millwrights; pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; sheet metal workers; tool-and-die makers; and welding, soldering, and brazing workers.  Sources of Additional Information For further information regarding boilermaking apprenticeships or other training opportunities, contact local offices of the unions pre­ viously mentioned, local construction companies and boiler manu­ facturers, or the local office of your State employment service. For information on apprenticeships and the boilermaking occu­ pation, contact: >- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Black­ smiths, Forgers, and Helpers, 753 State Ave., Suite 570, Kansas City, KS 66101. There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. Depart­ ment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more infor­ mation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their website: http://www.doleta.gov  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons________________ (0*NET 47-2021.00, 47-2022.00) Significant Points  • •  • •  Job prospects are expected to be excellent. Most entrants learn informally on the job, but apprenticeship programs provide the most thorough training. The work is usually outdoors and involves lifting heavy materials and working on scaffolds. More than lout of 4 are self-employed.  Nature of the Work Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons work in closely re­ lated trades creating attractive, durable surfaces and structures. The work varies in complexity, from laying a simple masonry walkway to installing an ornate exterior on a highrise building. Brickmasons and blockmasons—who often are called simply bricklayers—build and repair walls, floors, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures with brick, precast masonry panels, concrete block, and other masonry materials. Some brickmasons specialize in install­ ing 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 stone, such as marble, granite, and lime­ stone; and artificial stone made from concrete, marble chips, or other masonry materials. Stonemasons usually work on nonresidential structures, such as houses of worship, hotels, and office buildings. When building a structure, brickmasons use 1 of 2 methods, the corner lead or the corner pole. Using the comer lead method, they begin by constructing a pyramid of bricks at each comer—called a lead. After the corner leads are complete, less experienced brickmasons fill in the wall between the comers, using a line from comer to comer to guide each course, or layer, of brick. Due to the precision needed, comer leads are time-consuming to erect and re­ quire the skills of experienced bricklayers. Because of the expense associated with building comer leads, most brickmasons use comer poles, also called masonry guides, that enable them to build an entire wall at the same time. They fasten the comer poles (posts) in a plumb position to define the wall line and stretch a line between them. This line serves as a guide for each course of brick. Brickmasons then spread a bed of mortar (a ce­ ment, sand, and water mixture) with a trowel (a flat, bladed metal tool with a handle), place the brick on the mortar bed, and press and tap the brick into place. Depending on blueprint specifications, brickmasons either cut bricks with a hammer and chisel or saw them to fit around windows, doors, and other openings. Mortar joints are then finished with jointing tools for a sealed, neat, uniform appear­ ance. Although brickmasons typically use steel supports, or lintels, at window and door openings, they sometimes build brick arches, which support and enhance the beauty of the brickwork. Stonemasons often work from a set of drawings, in which each stone has been numbered for identification. Helpers may locate and carry these prenumbered stones to the masons. A derrick op­ erator using a hoist may be needed to lift large stone pieces into place. When building a stone wall, masons set the first course of stones into a shallow bed of mortar. They then align the stones with wedges, plumblines, and levels, and work them into position with a hard  Construction Trades and Related Workers 483 rubber mallet. Masons continue to build the wall by alternating layers of mortar and courses of stone. As the work progresses, ma­ sons remove the wedges, fill the joints between stones, and use a pointed metal tool, called a tuck pointer, to smooth the mortar to an attractive finish. To hold large stones in place, stonemasons attach brackets to the stone and weld or bolt these brackets to anchors in the wall. Finally, masons wash the stone with a cleansing solution to remove stains and dry mortar. When setting stone floors, which often consist of large and heavy pieces of stone, masons first use a trowel to spread a layer of damp mortar over the surface to be covered. Using crowbars and hard rubber mallets for aligning and leveling, they then set the stone in the mortar bed. To finish, workers fill the joints and wash the stone slabs. Masons use a special hammer and chisel to cut stone. They cut stone along the grain to make various shapes and sizes, and valu­ able pieces often are cut with a saw that has a diamond blade. Some masons specialize in setting marble, which, in many respects, is similar to setting large pieces of stone. Brickmasons and stonema­ sons also repair imperfections and cracks, and replace broken or missing masonry units in walls and floors. Most nonresidential buildings now are built with walls made of concrete block, brick veneer, stone, granite, marble, tile, or glass. In the past, masons doing nonresidential interior work mainly built block partition walls and elevator shafts, but because many types of masonry and stone are used in the interiors of today’s nonresiden-  mmi rtf*..  .  t c .."  tail.. *: . CVS  MM  More than 1 out of 4 brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are self-employed.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  rial structures, these workers now must be more versatile. For ex­ ample, some brickmasons and blockmasons now install structural insulated wall panels and masonry accessories used in many highrise buildings. Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in installing firebrick and refractory tile in high-temperature boilers, furnaces, cupolas, ladles, and soaking pits in industrial establishments. Most of these workers are employed in steel mills, where molten materi­ als flow on refractory beds from furnaces to rolling machines. Working Conditions Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons usually work outdoors and are exposed to the elements. They stand, kneel, and bend for long periods and often have to lift heavy materials. Common haz­ ards include injuries from tools and falls from scaffolds, but these can often be avoided when proper safety equipment is used and safety practices are followed. Employment Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons held 165,000 jobs in 2002. The vast majority were brickmasons. Workers in these crafts are employed primarily by building, specialty trade, or general con­ tractors. Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons work throughout the country but, like the general population, are concen­ trated in metropolitan areas. More than 1 out of 4 brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonema­ sons are self-employed. Many of the self-employed specialize in contracting to work on small jobs, such as patios, walkways, and fireplaces. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons pick up their skills informally, observing and learning from experienced work­ ers. Many others receive training in vocational education schools or from industry-based programs that are common throughout the country. Another way to learn these skills is through an apprentice­ ship program, which generally provides the most thorough training. Individuals who learn the trade on the job usually start as help­ ers, laborers, or mason tenders. These workers carry materials, move scaffolds, and mix mortar. When the opportunity arises, they leam from experienced craftworkers how to spread mortar, lay brick and block, or set stone. As they gain experience, they make the transi­ tion to full-fledged craftworkers. The learning period on the job may last longer than an apprenticeship program. Industry-based training programs offered through companies usually last between 2 and 4 years. Apprenticeships for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonema­ sons usually are sponsored by local contractors, trade associations, or by local union-management committees. The apprenticeship program requires 3 years of on-the-job training, in addition to a minimum 144 hours of classroom instruction each year in subjects such as blueprint reading, mathematics, layout work, and sketching. Apprentices often start by working with laborers, carrying ma­ terials, mixing mortar, and building scaffolds. This period gener­ ally lasts about a month and familiarizes the apprentice with job routines and materials. Next, apprentices leam to lay, align, and join brick and block. They also learn to work with stone and con­ crete, which enables them to be certified to work with more than one masonry material. Applicants for apprenticeships must be at least 17 years old and in good physical condition. A high school education is preferable; and courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop are help­ ful. The Associated Builders and Contractors and International  484 Occupational Outlook Handbook Masonry Institute (IMI), a joint trust of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers and the contractors who em­ ploy its members, operates training centers in several large cities that help jobseekers develop the skills needed to successfully com­ plete the formal apprenticeship program. In order to attract more entrants, IMI has expanded these centers in recent years to recruit and train workers before they enter apprenticeship programs. In addition, the IMI has a national training and education center at Fort Ritchie, MD. The national center’s programs teach basic job skills for brick, stone, tile, terrazzo, refractory, and restoration work, as well as safety and scaffolding training. Bricklayers who work in nonresidential construction usually work for large contractors and receive well-rounded training—normally through apprenticeship in all phases of brick or stone work. Those who work in residential construction usually work primarily for small contractors and specialize in only one or two aspects of the job. With additional training, brickmasons, blockmasons, and stone­ masons may become supervisors for masonry contractors. Some eventually become owners of businesses employing many workers and may spend most of their time as managers rather than as brickmasons, blockmasons, or stonemasons. Others move into closely related areas such as construction management or building inspection. Job Outlook Job opportunities for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are expected to be excellent through 2012. Many openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire, transfer to other occupations, or leave these trades for other reasons. There may be fewer applicants than needed because many potential workers pre­ fer to work under less strenuous, more comfortable conditions. Employment of brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations over the 2002-12 period, as population and business growth create a need for new houses, industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, offices, and other structures. Also stimulating demand will be the need to restore a growing stock of old masonry buildings, as well as the increasing use of brick and stone for decorative work on building fronts and in lobbies and foyers. Brick exteriors should remain very popular, reflecting a growing preference for durable exterior mate­ rials requiring little maintenance. Employment of brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to changes in the economy. When the level of construction activity falls, work­ ers in these trades can experience periods of unemployment. Earnings Median hourly earnings of brickmasons and blockmasons in 2002 were $20.11. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.36 and $25.32. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.55, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.66. Median hourly earn­ ings in the industries employing the largest number of brickmasons in 2002 are shown below: Nonresidential building construction................................................. Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors...............  $22.12 20.26  Median hourly earnings of stonemasons in 2002 were $16.36. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.06 and $20.76. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.43, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.59. Earnings for workers in these trades can be reduced on occasion because poor weather and downturns in construction activity limit the time they can work. Apprentices or helpers usually start at about  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers. Pay in­ creases as apprentices gain experience and learn new skills. Some brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are mem­ bers of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers. Related Occupations Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons combine a thorough knowledge of brick, concrete block, stone, and marble with manual skill to erect attractive, yet highly durable, structures. Workers in other occupations with similar skills include carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers; and plasterers and stucco masons. Sources of Additional Information For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in these trades, contact local bricklaying, stonemasonry, or marble-setting contractors; the Associated Builders and Contractors; a local of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers; a lo­ cal joint union-management apprenticeship committee; or the near­ est office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. For general information about the work of brickmasons, blockmasons, or stonemasons, contact: ► International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, 1776 I St. NW., Washington, DC. 20006.  For information on training for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, contact: >■ Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Depart­ ment, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. >- International Masonry Institute, Apprenticeship and Training, The James Brice House, 42 East St., Annapolis, MD 21401. Internet: http://www.imiweb.org  Information about the work of bricklayers also can be obtained from: ► Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 333 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.agc.org >- Brick Industry Association, 11490 Commerce Park Dr., Reston, VA 22091-1525. Internet: http://www.brickinfo.org >- National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW., Washing­ ton, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.nahb.org >- Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet http://www.hbi.org >- National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171-3499. Internet: http://www.ncma.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. Depart­ ment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more infor­ mation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their website: http ://ww w.doleta.gov  Carpenters  __  (0*NET 47-2031.01, 47-2031.02, 47-2031.03, 47-2031.04, 47-2031.05, 47-2031.06)  Significant Points  • • •  About 30 percent of all carpenters—the largest construction trade in 2002—were self-employed. Job opportunities should be excellent. Carpenters with all-round skills will have the best opportunities for steady work.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 485 Nature of the Work Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construction ac­ tivity. They cut, fit, and assemble wood and other materials for the construction of buildings, highways, bridges, docks, industrial plants, boats, and many other structures. Carpenters’ duties vary by type of employer. Builders increasingly are using specialty trade contrac­ tors who, in turn, hire carpenters who specialize in just one or two activities. Such activities include setting forms for concrete con­ struction; erecting scaffolding; or doing finishing work, such as in­ stalling interior and exterior trim. However, a carpenter directly employed by a general building contractor often must perform a variety of the tasks associated with new construction, such as fram­ ing walls and partitions, putting in doors and windows, building stairs, laying hardwood floors, and hanging kitchen cabinets. Car­ penters also build brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in un­ derground passageways to control the proper circulation of air through these passageways and to worksites. Because local building codes often dictate where certain materi­ als can be used, carpenters must know these regulations. Each car­ pentry task is somewhat different, but most involve the same basic steps. Working from blueprints or instructions from supervisors, carpenters first do the layout—measuring, marking, and arranging materials. They cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall, using hand and power tools, such as chisels, planes, saws, drills, and sanders. They then join the materials with nails, screws, staples, or adhesives. In the final step, carpenters check the accuracy of their work with levels, rules, plumb bobs, and framing squares, and make any necessary adjustments. When working with prefabricated com­ ponents, such as stairs or wall panels, the carpenter’s task is some­ what simpler than above, because it does not require as much layout work or the cutting and assembly of as many pieces. Prefabricated components are designed for easy and fast installation and gener­ ally can be installed in a single operation. Carpenters who remodel homes and other structures must be able to do all aspects of a job—not just one task. Thus, individuals with good basic overall training are at a distinct advantage, because they can switch from residential building to commercial construction or remodeling work, depending on which offers the best work opportunities. Carpenters employed outside the construction industry perform a variety of installation and maintenance work. They may replace panes of glass, ceiling tiles, and doors, as well as repair desks, cabi­ nets, and other furniture. Depending on the employer, carpenters  Carpenters employed outside the construction industry perform a variety of installation and maintenance work.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  install partitions, doors, and windows; change locks; and repair bro­ ken furniture. In manufacturing firms, carpenters may assist in moving or installing machinery. (For more information on workers who install machinery, see the discussion of millwrights as well as industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers, except millwrights, elsewhere in the Handbook.) Working Conditions As is true of other building trades, carpentry work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling often are necessary. Carpenters risk injury working with sharp or rough materials, using sharp tools and power equipment, and work­ ing in situations where they might slip or fall. Additionally, many carpenters work outdoors. Some carpenters change employers each time they finish a con­ struction job. Others alternate between working for a contractor and working as contractors themselves on small jobs. Employment Carpenters, who make up the largest building trades occupation, held about 1.2 million jobs in 2002. One-third worked for general building contractors and one-fifth worked for special trade contrac­ tors. Most of the rest of the wage and salary workers worked for manufacturing firms, government agencies, retail establishments and a wide variety of other industries. About 30 percent of all carpen­ ters were self-employed. Carpenters are employed throughout the country in almost every community. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Carpenters learn their trade through on-the-job training, as well as formal training programs. Most pick up skills informally by work­ ing under the supervision of experienced workers. Many acquire skills through vocational education. Others participate in employer training programs or apprenticeships. Most employers recommend an apprenticeship as the best way to learn carpentry. Apprenticeship programs are administered by local joint union-management committees of the United Brother­ hood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the Associated General Contractors, Inc., and the National Association of Home Builders. In addition, training programs are administered by local chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors and by local chapters of the Associated General Contractors, Inc. These programs combine on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. On the job, apprentices learn elementary structural design and become familiar with common carpentry jobs, such as layout, form building, rough framing, and outside and inside finishing. They also learn to use the tools, machines, equipment, and materials of the trade. Apprentices receive classroom instruction in safety, first aid, blueprint reading, freehand sketching, basic mathematics, and different carpentry techniques. Both in the classroom and on the job, they learn the relationship between carpentry and the other build­ ing trades. Usually, apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. For example, some union locals test an applicant’s aptitude for carpentry. The length of the program, usually 3 to 4 years, varies with the apprentice’s skill. Because the number of apprenticeship programs is limited, however, only a small proportion of carpenters learn their trade through these programs. Informal on-the-job training is normally less thorough than an apprenticeship. The degree of training and supervision often de­ pends on the size of the employing firm. A small contractor spe­ cializing in homebuilding may provide training only in rough  486 Occupational Outlook Handbook framing. In contrast, a large general contractor may provide train­ ing in several carpentry skills. Although specialization is becoming increasingly common, it is important to try to acquire skills in all aspects of carpentry and to have the flexibility to perform any kind of work. A high school education is desirable, including courses in car­ pentry, shop, mechanical drawing, and general mathematics. Manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance are important. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is helpful. Employers and apprentice­ ship committees generally view favorably any construction-related training and work experience obtained in the Armed Services or Job Corps. Carpenters may advance to carpentry supervisor or general con­ struction supervisor positions. Carpenters usually have greater op­ portunities than most other construction workers to become general construction supervisors, because carpenters are exposed to the en­ tire construction process. Some carpenters become independent contractors. To advance, these workers should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to properly complete a job. In addition, they must be able to accurately estimate how long a job should take to complete and what it will cost.  Job Outlook Job opportunities for carpenters are expected to be excellent over the 2002-12 period, largely due to the numerous openings arising each year as experienced carpenters leave this large occupation. Contributing to this favorable job market is the fact that many po­ tential workers prefer work that is less strenuous and that has more comfortable working conditions. Because there are no strict train­ ing requirements for entry, many people with limited skills take jobs as carpenters but eventually leave the occupation because they dis­ like the work or cannot find steady employment. Employment of carpenters is expected to increase about as fast as average for all occupations through 2012. Construction activity should increase in response to demand for new housing and com­ mercial and industrial plants and the need to renovate and modern­ ize existing structures. The demand for larger homes with more amenities and for second homes will continue to rise, especially as the baby boomers reach their peak earning years and can afford to spend more on housing. At the same time, the demand for manu­ factured housing, starter homes, and rental apartments also is ex­ pected to increase as the number of immigrants grows and as the relatively small baby bust generation, which followed the baby boom generation, is replaced by echo boomers (the children of the baby boomers) in the young adult age groups. However, some of the demand for carpenters will be offset by expected productivity gains resulting from the increasing use of pre­ fabricated components, such as prehung doors and windows and prefabricated wall panels and stairs, which can be installed very quickly. Prefabricated walls, partitions, and stairs are lifted into place in one operation; beams—and, in some cases, entire roof as­ semblies—are lifted into place using a crane. As prefabricated com­ ponents become more standardized, builders will use them more often. In addition, improved adhesives will reduce the time needed to join materials, and lightweight, cordless, and pneumatic tools— such as nailers and drills—all make carpenters more efficient. Carpenters can experience periods of unemployment because of the short-term nature of many construction projects and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. Building activity depends on many factors—interest rates, availability of mortgage funds, the season, government spending, and business investment—that vary  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  with the state of the economy. During economic downturns, the number ofjob openings for carpenters declines. New and improved tools, equipment, techniques, and materials have vastly increased carpenter versatility. Therefore, carpenters with all-round skills will have better opportunities for steady work than carpenters who can do only a few relatively simple, routine tasks. Job opportunities for carpenters also vary by geographic area. Construction activity parallels the movement of people and busi­ nesses and reflects differences in local economic conditions. There­ fore, the number ofjob opportunities and apprenticeship opportuni­ ties in a given year may vary widely from area to area.  Earnings In 2002, median hourly earnings of carpenters were $16.44. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.59 and $21.91. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.95, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.97. Median hourly earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of carpenters in 2002 are shown below: Nonresidential building construction................................................. Building finishing contractors.............................................................. Residential building construction....................................................... Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... Employment services.............................................................................  $ 18.31 17.30 16.02 16.01 12.58  Earnings can be reduced on occasion, because carpenters lose worktime in bad weather and during recessions when jobs are un­ available. Some carpenters are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.  Related Occupations Carpenters are skilled construction workers. Other skilled construc­ tion occupations include brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonema­ sons; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers; electricians; pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; and plasterers and stucco masons.  Sources of Additional Information For information about carpentry apprenticeships or other work op­ portunities in this trade, contact local carpentry contractors, locals of the union mentioned above, local joint union-contractor appren­ ticeship committees, or the nearest office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. For information on training opportunities and carpentry in gen­ eral, contact: >■ Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Depart­ ment, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. >- Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 333 John Carlyle St., Suite 200, Alexandria VA, 22314. Internet: http://www.agc.org >• Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org >■ National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW., Washing­ ton, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.nahb.org >■ United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 50 F St. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check the Web site: http ://www.doleta.gov  Construction Trades and Related Workers 487  Carpet, Floor, and Tile Installers and Finishers (0*NET 47-2041.00, 47-2042.00, 47-2043.00, 47-2044.00)  Significant Points  •  • • •  Forty-three percent of all carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are self-employed, compared with 19 percent of all construction trades workers. Most workers learn on the job. Carpet installers, the largest specialty, should have the best job opportunities. The employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is less sensitive to fluctuations in construction activity than that of other construction trades workers.  Nature of the Work Carpet, tile, and other types of floor coverings not only serve an important basic function in buildings, but their decorative qualities also contribute to the appeal of the buildings. Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers lay these floor coverings in homes, offices, hospitals, stores, restaurants, and many other types of buildings. Tile also is installed on walls and ceilings. Before installing carpet, carpet installers first inspect the sur­ face to be covered to determine its condition and, if necessary, cor­ rect any imperfections that could show through the carpet or cause the carpet to wear unevenly. They must measure the area to be carpeted and plan the layout, keeping in mind expected traffic pat­ terns and placement of seams for best appearance and maximum wear. When installing wall-to-wall carpet without tacks, installers first fasten a tackless strip to the floor, next to the wall. They then install the padded cushion or underlay. Next, they roll out, measure, mark, and cut the carpet, allowing for 2 to 3 inches of extra carpet for the final fitting. Using a device called a “knee kicker,” they position the carpet, stretching it to fit evenly on the floor and snugly against each wall and door threshold. They then cut off the excess carpet. Finally, using a power stretcher, they stretch the carpet, hooking it to the tackless strip to hold it in place. The installers then finish the edges using a wall trimmer. Because most carpet comes in 12-foot widths, wall-to-wall in­ stallations require installers to join carpet sections together for large rooms. The installers join the sections using heat-taped seams— seams held together by a special plastic tape that is activated by heat. On special upholstery work, such as stairs, carpet may be held in place with staples. Also, in commercial installations, carpet often is glued directly to the floor or to padding that has been glued to the floor. Carpet installers use handtools such as hammers, drills, staple guns, carpet knives, and rubber mallets. They also may use carpetlaying tools, such as carpet shears, knee kickers, wall trim­ mers, loop pile cutters, heat irons, and power stretchers. Floor installers, orfloor layers, apply blocks, strips, or sheets of shock-absorbing, sound-deadening, or decorative coverings to floors and cabinets using rollers, knives, trowels, sanding machines, and other tools. Some floor covering materials are designed to be purely decorative. Others have more specialized purposes, such as to deaden sound, to absorb shocks, or to create air-tight environments. Before installing the floor, floor layers inspect the surface to be covered  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and, if necessary, correct any imperfections in order to start with a smooth, clean foundation. They measure and cut floor covering materials, such as rubber, vinyl, linoleum, or cork, and any founda­ tion material, such as felt, according to designated blueprints. Next, they may nail or staple a wood underlayment to the surface or may use an adhesive to cement the foundation material to the floor; the foundation helps to deaden sound and prevents the top floor cover­ ing from wearing at board joints. Finally, floor layers install the top covering. They join sections of sheet covering by overlapping ad­ joining edges and cutting through both layers with a knife to form a tight joint. Floor sanders and finishers scrape and sand wooden floors to smooth surfaces using floor-sanding machines. They then inspect the floor for smoothness and remove excess glue from joints using a knife or wood chisel and may sand wood surfaces by hand, using sandpaper. Finally, they apply coats of finish. Tile installers, tilesetters, and marble setters apply hard tile and marble to floors, walls, ceilings, and roof decks. Tile is durable, impervious to water, and easy to clean, making it a popular building material in hospitals, tunnels, lobbies of buildings, bathrooms, and kitchens. Prior to installation, tilesetters use measuring devices and levels to ensure that the tile is placed in a consistent manner. To set tile, which generally ranges in size from 1 inch to 12 or more inches square, tilesetters use cement or “mastic,” a very sticky paste. When using cement, tilesetters nail a support of metal mesh to the wall or ceiling to be tiled. They use a trowel to apply a cement mortar— called a “scratch coat”—onto the metal screen, and scratch the sur­ face of the soft mortar with a small tool similar to a rake. After the scratch coat has dried, tilesetters apply another coat of mortar to level the surface, and then apply mortar to the back of the tile and place it onto the surface. To set tile in mastic or a cement adhesive, called “thin set,” tilesetters need a flat, solid surface such as drywall, concrete, plas­ ter, or wood. They use a tooth-edged trowel to spread mastic on the surface or apply cement adhesive, and then properly position the tile. Because tile varies in color, shape, and size, workers sometimes prearrange tiles on a dry floor according to a specified design. This allows workers to examine the pattern and make changes. In order to cover all exposed areas, including comers and around pipes, tubs, and wash basins, tilesetters cut tiles to fit with a machine saw or a special cutting tool. Once the tile is placed, they gently tap the  Prior to installing tile, tilesetters use measuring devices and levels to ensure that the tile is placed in a consistent manner.  488 Occupational Outlook Handbook surface with their trowel handle or a small block of wood to seat the tile evenly. When the cement or mastic has set, tilesetters fill the joints with “grout,” which is very fine cement. They then scrape the surface with a rubber-edged device called a grout float or a grouting trowel to dress the joints and remove excess grout. Before the grout sets, they finish the joints with a damp sponge for a uniform appearance. Marble setters cut and set marble slabs in floors and walls of build­ ings. They trim and cut marble to specified size using a power wet saw, other cutting equipment, or handtools. After setting the marble in place, they polish the marble to high luster using power tools or by hand. Working Conditions Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers generally work indoors and have regular daytime hours. However, when floor covering installers work in occupied stores or offices, they may work eve­ nings and weekends to avoid disturbing customers or employees. Installers and finishers usually work under better conditions than do most other construction workers. By the time workers install carpets, flooring, or tile in a new structure, most construction has been completed and the work area is relatively clean and unclut­ tered. Installing these materials is labor intensive; workers spend much of their time bending, kneeling, and reaching—activities that require endurance. Carpet installers frequently lift heavy rolls of carpet and may move heavy furniture. Safety regulations may re­ quire that they wear kneepads or safety goggles when using certain tools. Carpet and floor layers may be exposed to fumes from vari­ ous kinds of glue and to fibers of certain types of carpet. Although workers are subject to cuts from tools or materials, falls from ladders, and strained muscles, the occupation is not as hazardous as some other construction occupations. Employment Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers held about 164,000 jobs in 2002. Forty-three percent of all carpet, floor, and tile install­ ers and finishers were self-employed, compared with 19 percent of all construction trades workers. The following tabulation shows 2002 wage and salary employment by specialty: Carpet installers....................................................................................... Tile and marble setters.......................................................................... Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles............................ Floor sanders and finishers..................................................................  82,000 33,000 31,000 17,000  Many carpet installers worked for flooring contractors or floor covering retailers. Most salaried tilesetters were employed by tilesetting contractors who work mainly on nonresidential construc­ tion projects, such as schools, hospitals, and office buildings. Most self-employed tilesetters work on residential projects. Although carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are em­ ployed throughout the Nation, they tend to be concentrated in popu­ lated areas where there are high levels of construction activity. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The vast majority of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers learn their trade informally, on the job, as helpers to experienced workers. Others learn through formal apprenticeship programs, which include on-the-job training as well as related classroom instruction. Informal training for carpet installers often is sponsored by individual contractors. Workers start as helpers, and begin with simple assignments, such as installing stripping and padding, or helping to stretch newly installed carpet. With experience, helpers  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  take on more difficult assignments, such as measuring, cutting, and fitting. Persons who wish to begin a career in carpet installation as a helper or apprentice should be at least 18 years old and have good manual dexterity. Many employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma; courses in general mathematics and shop are helpful. Some employers may require a driver’s license and a criminal background check. Because carpet installers frequently deal directly with customers, they should be courteous and tactful. Many tile and floor layers learn their job through on-the-job train­ ing and begin by learning about the tools of the trade. They next learn to prepare surfaces to receive flooring. As they progress, tilesetters, marble setters, and floor layers learn to cut and install tile, marble, and floor coverings. Tile and marble setters also learn to apply grout and to do finishing work. Apprenticeship programs and some contractor-sponsored pro­ grams provide comprehensive training in all phases of the tilesetting and floor layer trades. Most apprenticeship programs are unionsponsored and consist of weekly classes and on-the-job training usually lasting 3 to 4 years. When hiring apprentices or helpers for floor layer and tilesetter jobs, employers usually prefer high school graduates who have had courses in general mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop. Good physical condition, manual dexterity, and a good sense of color harmony also are important assets. Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers may advance to positions as supervisors or become salespersons or estimators. Some carpet installers may become managers for large installation firms. Many carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers who begin work­ ing for a large contractor eventually go into business for themselves as independent subcontractors. Job Outlook Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012, reflecting the continued need to renovate and refur­ bish existing structures. However, employment of one specialty— floor sanders and finishers—is projected to grow more slowly than average due to the increasing use of prefinished hardwood and similar flooring. Carpet installers, the largest specialty, should have the best job opportunities. Carpet as a floor covering continues to be popular and its use is expected to grow in structures such as schools, offices, hospitals, and industrial plants. Employment of carpet installers also is ex­ pected to grow because wall-to-wall carpeting is a necessity in the many houses built with plywood, rather than hardwood, floors. Simi­ larly, offices, hotels, and stores often cover concrete floors with wallto-wall carpet, which must be periodically replaced. Demand for tile and marble setters will stem from population and business growth, which should result in more construction of shopping malls, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures in which tile is used extensively. Tile is expected to continue to increase in popularity as a building material and to be used more extensively, particularly in the growing number of more expensive homes, leading to faster than average growth for tile and marble setters. Demand for floor layers and sanders and finishers will ex­ pand as a result of growth in construction activity, particularly that related to residential homes and commercial buildings, and as some people decide to replace their plywood floors with hardwood floors. Job opportunities for tile and marble setters and for floor layers and sanders, relatively small specialties, will not be as plentiful as those for carpet installers.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 489 The employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is less sensitive to changes in construction activity than is that of most other construction occupations because much of the work in­ volves replacing carpet and other flooring in existing buildings. As a result, these workers tend to be sheltered from the business fluc­ tuations that often occur in new construction activity. Earnings In 2002, the median hourly earnings of carpet installers were $15.67. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.39 and $21.03. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.90, and the top 10 percent earned more than $27.15. In 2002, median hourly earnings of car­ pet installers working for building finishing contractors were $ 16.09, and in home furnishings stores, $14.64. Carpet installers are paid either on an hourly basis, or by the number of yards of carpet installed. The rates vary widely depend­ ing on the geographic location and whether the installer is affiliated with a union. Median hourly earnings of floor layers were $16.15 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.42 and $20.81. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.58, and the top 10 percent earned more than $26.87. Median hourly earnings of floor sanders and finishers were $13.22 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.38 and $16.97. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.96, and the top 10 per­ cent earned more than $22.51. Median hourly earnings of tile and marble setters were $17.20 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.96 and $22.39. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.21, and the top 10 per­ cent earned more than $28.22. Eamings of tile and marble setters also vary greatly by geographic location and by union membership status. Apprentices and other trainees usually start out earning about half of what an experienced worker earns, although their wage rate increases as they advance through the training program. Some carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers belong to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Some tilesetters belong to the International Union of Bricklayers and Al­ lied Craftsmen, while some carpet installers belong to the Interna­ tional Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. Related Occupations Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers measure, cut, and fit materials to cover a space. Workers in other occupations involving similar skills, but using different materials, include brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; carpenters; cement masons, con­ crete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers; dry wall in­ stallers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; painters and paperhangers; roofers; and sheet metal workers. Sources of Additional Information For details about apprenticeships or work opportunities, contact lo­ cal flooring or tilesetting contractors or retailers, locals of the unions previously mentioned, or the nearest office of the State apprentice­ ship agency or employment service, For general information about the work of carpet installers and floor layers, contact: ► Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association, 7439 Milwood Dr., West Bloomfield, MI 48322.  Additional information on training for carpet installers and floor layers is available from: ► International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.iupat.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  For general information about the work of tile installers and fin­ ishers, contact: ► International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, 1776 I St. NW., Washington, DC. 20006. >- International Masonry Institute, James Brice House, 42 East St. An­ napolis, MD 21401. Internet: http://www.imiweb.org >- Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org ► National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW., Washing­ ton, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.nahb.org  For more information about tile setting and tile training, contact: ► National Tile Contractors Association, P.O. Box 13629, Jackson MS 39236.  For information concerning training of carpet, floor, and tile in­ stallers and finishers, contact: >■ United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 50 F St. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check the Internet site: http://www.doleta.gov.  Cement Masons, Concrete Finishers, Segmental Pavers, and Terrazzo Workers (0*NET 47-2051.00, 47-2053.00, 47-4091.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  •  Job opportunities are expected to be favorable. Most learn on the job, either through formal 3-year or 4-year apprenticeship programs or by working as helpers. Like many other construction trades, these workers may experience reduced earnings and layoffs during downturns in construction activity. Cement masons often work overtime, with premium pay, because once concrete has been placed, the job must be completed.  Nature of the Work Cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers all work with concrete, one of the most common and durable materials used in construction. Once set, concrete—a mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water—becomes the foundation for everything from decorative patios and floors to huge dams or miles of roadways. Cement masons and concretefinishers place and finish the con­ crete. They also may color concrete surfaces; expose aggregate (small stones) in walls and sidewalks; or fabricate concrete beams, columns, and panels. In preparing a site for placing concrete, ce­ ment masons first set the forms for holding the concrete and prop­ erly align them. They then direct the casting of the concrete and supervise laborers who use shovels or special tools to spread it. Masons then guide a straightedge back and forth across the top of the forms to “screed,” or level, the freshly placed concrete. Imme­ diately after leveling the concrete, masons carefully smooth the con­ crete surface with a “bull float,” a long-handled tool about 8 by 48  490 Occupational Outlook Handbook inches that covers the coarser materials in the concrete and brings a rich mixture of fine cement paste to the surface. After the concrete has been leveled and floated, concrete finish­ ers press an edger between the forms and the concrete and guide it along the edge and the surface. This produces slightly rounded edges and helps prevent chipping or cracking. Concrete finishers use a special tool called a “groover” to make joints or grooves at specific intervals that help control cracking. Next, they trowel the surface using either a powered or hand trowel, a small, smooth, rectangular metal tool. Sometimes, cement masons perform all the steps of laying con­ crete, including the finishing. As the final step, they retrowel the concrete surface back and forth with powered and hand trowels to create a smooth finish. For a coarse, nonskid finish, masons brush the surface with a broom or stiff-bristled brush. For a pebble finish, they embed small gravel chips into the surface. They then wash any excess cement from the exposed chips with a mild acid solution. For color, they use colored premixed concrete. On concrete sur­ faces that will remain exposed after the forms are stripped, such as columns, ceilings, and wall panels, cement masons cut away high spots and loose concrete with hammer and chisel, fill any large in­ dentations with a Portland cement paste, and smooth the surface with a carborundum stone. Finally, they coat the exposed area with a rich Portland cement mixture, using either a special tool or a coarse cloth to rub the concrete to a uniform finish. Throughout the entire process, cement masons must monitor how the wind, heat, or cold affects the curing of the concrete. They must have a thorough knowledge of concrete characteristics so that, by using sight and touch, they can determine what is happening to the concrete and take measures to prevent defects. Segmental pavers lay out, cut, and install pavers, which are flat pieces of masonry usually made from compacted concrete or brick. Pavers are used to pave paths, patios, playgrounds, driveways, and steps. They are manufactured in various textures and often inter­ lock together to form an attractive pattern. Segmental pavers first prepare the site by removing the existing pavement or soil. They grade the remaining soil to the proper depth and determine the amount of base material that is needed, which depends on the local soil conditions. They then install and compact the base material, a granular material that compacts easily, and lay the pavers from the center out, so that any trimmed pieces will be on the outside rather than in the center. Then, they install edging materials to prevent the pavers from shifting and fill the spaces between the pavers with dry sand. Terrazzo workers create attractive walkways, floors, patios, and panels by exposing marble chips and other fine aggregates on the surface of finished concrete. Much of the preliminary work of ter­ razzo workers is similar to that of cement masons. Attractive, marblechip terrazzo requires three layers of materials. First, cement ma­ sons or terrazzo workers build a solid, level concrete foundation that is 3 to 4 inches deep. After the forms are removed from the foundation, workers add a 1-inch layer of sandy concrete. Before this layer sets, terrazzo workers partially embed metal divider strips in the concrete wherever there is to be a joint or change of color in the terrazzo. For the final layer, terrazzo workers blend and place into each of the panels a fine marble chip mixture that may be colorpigmented. While the mixture is still wet, workers toss additional marble chips of various colors into each panel and roll a lightweight roller over the entire surface. When the terrazzo is thoroughly dry, helpers grind it with a ter­ razzo grinder, which is somewhat like a floor polisher, only much heavier. Slight depressions left by the grinding are filled with a matching grout material and hand-troweled for a smooth, uniform  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sometimes, cement masons perform all the steps of laying concrete, including the finishing. surface. Terrazzo workers then clean, polish, and seal the dry sur­ face for a lustrous finish. Working Conditions Concrete, segmental paving, or terrazzo work is fast-paced and strenuous, and requires continuous physical effort. Because most finishing is done at floor level, workers must bend and kneel often. Many jobs are outdoors, and work is generally halted during in­ clement weather. The work, either indoors or outdoors, may be in areas that are muddy, dusty, or dirty. To avoid chemical bums from uncured concrete and sore knees from frequent kneeling, many workers wear kneepads. Workers usually also wear water-repellent boots while working in wet concrete. Employment Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers held about 190,000 jobs in 2002; segmental pavers and ter­ razzo workers accounted for only a small portion of the total. Most cement masons and concrete finishers worked for concrete contrac­ tors or for general contractors on projects such as highways; bridges; shopping malls; or large buildings such as factories, schools, and hospitals. A small number were employed by firms that manufac­ ture concrete products. Most segmental pavers and terrazzo work­ ers worked for special trade contractors who install decorative floors and wall panels. Only about 1 out of 20 cement masons, concrete finishers, seg­ mental pavers, and terrazzo workers were self-employed, a smaller proportion than in other building trades. Most self-employed ma­ sons specialized in small jobs, such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and ter­ razzo workers learn their trades either through on-the-job training as helpers, or through 3-year or 4-year apprenticeship programs. Many masons and finishers first gain experience as construction laborers. (See the statement on construction laborers elsewhere in the Handbook.) When hiring helpers and apprentices, employers prefer high school graduates who are at least 18 years old and in good physical condition, and who have a driver’s license. The ability to get along with others also is important because cement masons frequently work in teams. High school courses in general science, vocational-tech­ nical subjects, mathematics, blueprint reading, or mechanical draw­ ing provide a helpful background.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 491 On-the-job training programs consist of informal instruction, in which experienced workers teach helpers to use the tools, equipment, machines, and materials of the trade. Trainees begin with tasks such as edging, jointing, and using a straightedge on freshly placed con­ crete. As training progresses, assignments become more complex, and trainees can usually do finishing work within a short time. Three-year or four-year apprenticeship programs, usually jointly sponsored by local unions and contractors, provide on-the-job train­ ing in addition to a recommended minimum of 144 hours of class­ room instruction each year. A written test and a physical exam may be required. In the classroom, apprentices learn applied mathemat­ ics, blueprint reading, and safety. Apprentices generally receive special instruction in layout work and cost estimation. Some work­ ers learn their jobs by attending trade or vocational-technical schools. Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers should enjoy doing demanding work. They should take pride in craftsmanship and be able to work without close supervision. With additional training, cement masons, concrete finishers, seg­ mental pavers, or terrazzo workers may become supervisors for masonry contractors. Some eventually become owners of businesses employing many workers and may spend most of their time as man­ agers rather than practicing their original trade. Others move into closely related areas such as construction management, building inspection, or contract estimation. Job Outlook Opportunities for cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers are expected to be favorable as the demand meets the supply of workers trained in this craft. In addi­ tion, many potential workers may prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. These workers will be needed to build highways, bridges, subways, factories, office build­ ings, hotels, shopping centers, schools, hospitals, and other struc­ tures. In addition, the increasing use of concrete as a building ma­ terial will add to the demand. More cement masons also will be needed to repair and renovate existing highways, bridges, and other structures. In addition to job growth, other openings will become available as experienced workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of build­ ing activity. Earnings In 2002, the median hourly earnings of cement masons and con­ crete finishers were $14.74. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.52 and $20.02. The top 10 percent earned over $26.02, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $9.31. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of cement masons and concrete finishers in 2002 are shown below: Nonresidential building construction................................................. Highway, street, and bridge constmction......................................... Other specialty trade contractors........................................................ Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... Residential building construction.......................................................   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  $16.24 15.37 15.19 14.52 14.44  In 2002, the median hourly earnings of terrazzo workers and finishers were $ 13.42. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 10.46 and $17.72. The top 10 percent earned over $23.70, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $8.94. Like those of other construction trades workers, earnings of ce­ ment masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers may be reduced on occasion because poor weather and downturns in construction activity limit the amount of time they can work. Cement masons often work overtime, with premium pay, because once concrete has been placed, the job must be completed. Many cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers belong to the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada, or to the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. Some terrazzo workers belong to the United Brotherhood of Car­ penters and Joiners of the United States. Nonunion workers gener­ ally have lower wage rates than do union workers. Apprentices usually start at 50 to 60 percent of the rate paid to experienced workers. Related Occupations Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers combine skill with knowledge of building materials to con­ struct buildings, highways, and other structures. Other occupations involving similar skills and knowledge include brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; and plasterers and stucco masons. Sources of Additional Information For information about apprenticeships and work opportunities, con­ tact local concrete or terrazzo contractors, locals of unions previ­ ously mentioned, a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. For general information about cement masons, concrete finish­ ers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, contact: >• Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Depart­ ment, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. ► Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 333 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.agc.org ► International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Masonry Institute, The James Brice House, 42 East St., Annapolis, MD 21401. Internet: http://www.imiweb.org >- Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada, 14405 Laurel Place, Suite 300, Laurel, MD 20707. Internet: http://www.opcmia.org >- National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, 110 E. Market St., Suite 200 A, Leesburg, VA 20176. >- Portland Cement Association, 5420 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL 60077. Internet: http://www.portcement.org >• United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 50 F St. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org  For general information about cement masons and concrete fin­ ishers, contact: >• National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171-3499. Internet: http://www.ncma.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their website: http://www.doleta.gov  492 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Construction and Building Inspectors (0*NET 47-4011.00) Significant Points  •  •  •  Almost half of all inspectors worked for local governments, primarily municipal or county building departments. Opportunities should be best for experienced construction supervisors and craftworkers who have some college education, engineering or architectural training, or certification as construction inspectors or plan examiners. Home inspection is becoming a standard practice in the home purchasing process, creating more opportunities for home inspectors.  Nature of the Work Construction and building inspectors examine the construction, al­ teration, or repair of buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures to ensure compliance with building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and con­ tract specifications. Building codes and standards are the primary means by which building construction is regulated in the United States for the health and safety of the general public. Inspectors make an initial inspection during the first phase of construction, and followup inspections throughout the construction project to monitor compliance with regulations. However, no inspection is ever exactly the same. In areas where certain types of severe weather or natural disasters—such as earthquakes or hurricanes—are more common, inspectors monitor compliance with additional safety regu­ lations designed to protect structures and occupants during these events. In the past, most localities based their building codes on regional model codes established by the Building Officials and Code Ad­ ministration (BOCA), the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), or the Southern Building Code Congress Interna­ tional (SBCCI). Therefore, building inspectors in one region who were experts in one code found it difficult to move to an area of the country in which another code was used. To eliminate differences among the three sets of codes, these organizations jointly created the International Code Council (ICC) in 1994 and released the Nation’s first set of uniform building code regulations in 2000. In 2003, BOCA, ICBO and SBCCI consolidated their operations into the ICC. All code development and support services are now pro­ vided by the ICC. This makes it much easier for construction and building inspectors to work in different regions within the United States. There are many types of inspectors. Building inspectors inspect the structural quality and general safety of buildings. Some spe­ cialize in such areas as structural steel or reinforced concrete struc­ tures. Before construction begins, plan examiners determine whether the plans for the building or other structure comply with building code regulations and if they are suited to the engineering and envi­ ronmental demands of the building site. Inspectors visit the worksite before the foundation is poured to inspect the soil condition and positioning and depth of the footings. Later, they return to the site to inspect the foundation after it has been completed. The size and type of structure, as well as the rate of completion, determine the number of other site visits they must make. Upon completion of the project, they make a final, comprehensive inspection.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In addition to structural characteristics, a primary concern of building inspectors is fire safety. They inspect structures’ fire sprin­ klers, alarms, and smoke control systems, as well as fire exits. Inspectors assess the type of construction, building contents, ad­ equacy of fire protection equipment, and risks posed by adjoining buildings. Electrical inspectors examine the installation of electrical sys­ tems and equipment to ensure that they function properly and com­ ply with electrical codes and standards. They visit worksites to in­ spect new and existing sound and security systems, wiring, lighting, motors, and generating equipment. They also inspect the installa­ tion of the electrical wiring for heating and air-conditioning sys­ tems, appliances, and other components. Elevator inspectors examine lifting and conveying devices such as elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks, lifts and hoists, inclined railways, ski lifts, and amusement rides. Mechanical inspectors inspect the installation of the mechanical components of commercial kitchen appliances, heating and air-con­ ditioning equipment, gasoline and butane tanks, gas and oil piping, and gas-fired and oil-fired appliances. Some specialize in boilers or ventilating equipment as well. Plumbing inspectors examine plumbing systems, including pri­ vate disposal systems, water supply and distribution systems, plumb­ ing fixtures and traps, and drain, waste, and vent lines. Public works inspectors ensure that Federal, State, and local government construction of water and sewer systems, highways, streets, bridges, and dams conforms to detailed contract specifica­ tions. They inspect excavation and fill operations, the placement of forms for concrete, concrete mixing and pouring, asphalt paving, and grading operations. They record the work and materials used so that contract payments can be calculated. Public works inspec­ tors may specialize in highways, structural steel, reinforced con­ crete, or ditches. Others specialize in dredging operations required for bridges and dams or for harbors. Home inspectors conduct inspections of newly built or previ­ ously owned homes. Home inspection is becoming a standard prac­ tice in the home purchasing process. Prospective home buyers hire home inspectors to inspect and report the condition of a home’s systems, components, and structure. They typically are hired either immediately prior to a purchase offer on a home, or as a contin­ gency to a sales contract. In addition to structural quality, home inspectors inspect all home systems and features, including roofing as well as plumbing, electrical, and heating or cooling systems. The owner of a building or structure under construction employs specification inspectors to ensure that work is done according to design specifications. They represent the owner’s interests, not those of the general public. Insurance companies and financial institu­ tions also may use the services of specification inspectors. Details concerning construction projects, building and occupancy permits, and other documentation generally are stored on comput­ ers so that they can easily be retrieved, kept accurate, and updated. For example, inspectors may use laptop computers to record their findings while inspecting a site. Most inspectors use computers to help them monitor the status of construction inspection activities and keep track of issued permits. Many inspectors also use a paper checklist to detail their findings. Although inspections are primarily visual, inspectors may use tape measures, survey instruments, metering devices, and test equip­ ment such as concrete strength measurers. They keep a log of their work, take photographs, file reports, and, if necessary, act on their findings. For example, construction inspectors notify the construc­ tion contractor, superintendent, or supervisor when they discover a code or ordinance violation or something that does not comply with  Construction Trades and Related Workers 493 ers. Most of the remaining inspectors were employed in other ser­ vices industries or by State governments.  tss i € h&*:  m-% 4\ *.  . Wmf  Home inspection is becoming a standard practice in the home­ purchasing process. the contract specifications or approved plans. If the problem is not corrected within a reasonable or specified period, government in­ spectors have authority to issue a “stop-work” order. Many inspectors also investigate construction or alterations be­ ing done without proper permits. Inspectors who are employees of municipalities enforce laws pertaining to the proper design, con­ struction, and use of buildings. They direct violators of permit laws to obtain permits and submit to inspection. Working Conditions Construction and building inspectors usually work alone. How­ ever, several may be assigned to large, complex projects, particu­ larly because inspectors tend to specialize in different areas of con­ struction. Although they spend considerable time inspecting construction worksites, inspectors also spend time in a field office reviewing blueprints, answering letters or telephone calls, writing reports, and scheduling inspections. Inspection sites are dirty and may be cluttered with tools, mate­ rials, or debris. Inspectors may have to climb ladders or many flights of stairs, or crawl around in tight spaces. Although their work gen­ erally is not considered hazardous, inspectors, like other construc­ tion workers, wear hard hats and adhere to other safety require­ ments while at a construction site. Inspectors normally work regular hours. However, they may work additional hours during periods when a lot of construction is taking place. Also, if an accident occurs at a construction site, in­ spectors must respond immediately and may work additional hours to complete their report. Nongovernment inspectors may have a varied work schedule. At times, they may work evenings and weekends. Employment Construction and building inspectors held about 84,000jobs in 2002. Local governments, primarily municipal or county building depart­ ments, employed 48 percent. Employment of local government in­ spectors is concentrated in cities and in suburban areas undergoing rapid growth. Local governments employ large inspection staffs, including many plan examiners or inspectors who specialize in struc­ tural steel, reinforced concrete, boiler, electrical, and elevator inspection. Another 21 percent of construction and building inspectors worked for architectural and engineering services firms, conduct­ ing inspections for a fee or on a contract basis. Many of these were home inspectors working on behalf of potential real estate purchas­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Although requirements vary considerably depending upon where one is employed, construction and building inspectors should have a thorough knowledge of construction materials and practices in either a general area, such as structural or heavy construction, or a specialized area, such as electrical or plumbing systems, reinforced concrete, or structural steel. Applicants for construction or building inspection jobs need several years of experience as a construction manager, supervisor, or craftworker. Many inspectors previously worked as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, or pipefitters. Because inspectors must possess the right mix of technical knowl­ edge, experience, and education, employers prefer applicants who have formal training as well as experience. Most employers re­ quire at least a high school diploma or equivalent, even for workers with considerable experience. More often, employers look for per­ sons who have studied engineering or architecture, or who have a degree from a community or junior college, with courses in build­ ing inspection, home inspection, construction technology, drafting, and mathematics. Many community colleges offer certificate or associate degree programs in building inspection technology. Courses in blueprint reading, algebra, geometry, and English also are useful. Construction and building inspectors must be in good physical condition in order to walk and climb about construction sites. They must also have a driver’s license. In addition, Federal, State, and many local governments may require that inspectors pass a civil service exam. Construction and building inspectors usually receive much of their training on the job, although they must learn building codes and standards on their own. Working with an experienced inspec­ tor, they learn about inspection techniques; codes, ordinances, and regulations; contract specifications; and recordkeeping and report­ ing duties. They may begin by inspecting less complex types of construction, such as residential buildings, and then progress to more difficult assignments. An engineering or architectural degree is of­ ten required for advancement to supervisory positions. Because they advise builders and the general public on building codes, construction practices, and technical developments, construc­ tion and building inspectors must keep abreast of changes in these areas. Continuing education is imperative in this field. Many em­ ployers provide formal training programs to broaden inspectors’ knowledge of construction materials, practices, and techniques. Inspectors who work for small agencies or firms that do not con­ duct training programs can expand their knowledge and upgrade their skills by attending State-sponsored training programs, by tak­ ing college or correspondence courses, or by attending seminars sponsored by various related organizations, such as the building code organization. Most States and cities require some type of certification for em­ ployment; even if not required, certification can enhance an inspector’s opportunities for employment and advancement to more responsible positions. To become certified, inspectors with sub­ stantial experience and education must pass stringent examinations on code requirements, construction techniques, and materials. The ICC offers voluntary certification, as do other professional mem­ bership associations. In most cases, there are no education or expe­ rience prerequisites, and certification consists of passing an exami­ nation in a designated field. Many categories of certification are awarded for inspectors and plan examiners in a variety of disci­ plines, including the Certified Building Official (CBO) designation.  494 Occupational Outlook Handbook Job Outlook Job opportunities in construction and building inspection should be best for highly experienced supervisors and construction craftworkers who have some college education, engineering or ar­ chitectural training, or certification as inspectors or plan examiners. Thorough knowledge of construction practices and skills in areas such as reading and evaluating blueprints and plans is essential. Employment of construction and building inspectors is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. Growing concern for public safety and improvements in the quality of construction should continue to stimulate demand for construction and building inspectors. In addition to the expected employment growth, some job openings will arise from the need to replace inspectors who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Inspectors are involved in all phases of construction, including maintenance and repair work, and are therefore less likely to lose jobs when new construction slows during recessions. As the popu­ lation grows and the volume of real estate transactions increases, greater emphasis on home inspections should result in strong de­ mand for home inspectors. In addition, there should be job oppor­ tunities for inspectors in firms specializing in architectural, engi­ neering, and related services as governments—particularly Federal and State—contract out inspection work, and as private inspection services grow. Earnings Median annual earnings of construction and building inspectors were $41,620 in 2002. The median hourly earnings were $20.01. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.81 and $25.05. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.53, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.10. Median annual earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of construction and building inspectors in 2002 were: Local government................................................................................. Architectural, engineering, and related services.......................... State government..................................................................................  $42,260 40,770 39,610  Generally, building inspectors, including plan examiners, earn the highest salaries. Salaries in large metropolitan areas are sub­ stantially higher than those in small jurisdictions. Related Occupations Construction and building inspectors combine knowledge of con­ struction principles and law with an ability to coordinate data, diag­ nose problems, and communicate with people. Workers in other occupations using a similar combination of skills include architects, except landscape and naval; construction managers; civil engineers; cost estimators; drafters; engineering technicians; and surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying technicians. Sources of Additional Information Information about certification and a career as a construction or building inspector is available from the following model code organization: >- International Code Conference, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Falls Church, VA 22041. Internet: http://www.iccsafe.org  For more information about construction inspectors, contact: >■ Association of Construction Inspectors, 1224 North Nokomis NE., Al­ exandria, MN 56308. Internet: http://www.iami.org/aci  For more information about training and requirements for elec­ trical inspectors, contact: >• International Association of Electrical Inspectors, 901 Waterfall Way, Suite 602, Richardson, TX 75080-7702. Internet: http://www.iaei.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  For information about becoming a home inspector, contact: >- American Society of Home Inspectors, 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Internet: http://www.ashi.org ► National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, 1220 Valley Forge Rd., Building 47, P.O. Box 987, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0987. Internet: http://www.nachi.org >- Housing Inspection Foundation, 1224 North Nokomis NE., Alexandria, MN 56308. Internet: http://www.iami.org/hif.cfm >• National Association of Home Inspectors, 4248 Park Glen Rd., Minne­ apolis, MN, 55416. Internet: http://www.nahi.org  For information about a career as a State or local government construction or building inspector, contact your State or local em­ ployment service.  Construction Equipment Operators (0*NET 47-2071.00, 47-2072.00, 47-2073.01,47-2073.02)  Significant Points  •  • •  Many construction equipment operators acquire their skills on the job, but formal apprenticeship programs provide more comprehensive training. Job opportunities are expected to be good, with as fast as average employment growth. Hourly pay is relatively high but, because some construction equipment operators cannot work in inclement weather, total annual earnings may be reduced.  Nature of the Work Construction equipment operators use machinery to move construc­ tion materials, earth, and other heavy materials and to apply asphalt and concrete to roads and other structures. Operators control equip­ ment by moving levers or foot pedals, operating switches, or turn­ ing dials. The operation of much of this equipment is becoming more complex as a result of computerized controls. Construction equipment operators may also set up and inspect equipment, make adjustments, and perform some maintenance and minor repairs. Construction equipment operators include operating engineers and other construction equipment operators; paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators; and piledriver operators. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators operate one or several types of power construction equipment. They may oper­ ate excavation and loading machines equipped with scoops, shov­ els, or buckets that dig sand, gravel, earth, or similar materials and load it into trucks or onto conveyors. In addition to the familiar bulldozers, they operate trench excavators, road graders, and simi­ lar equipment. Sometimes, they may drive and control industrial trucks or tractors equipped with forklifts or booms for lifting mate­ rials or with hitches for pulling trailers. They also may operate and maintain air compressors, pumps, and other power equipment at construction sites. Construction equipment operators who are clas­ sified as operating engineers are capable of operating several differ­ ent types of construction equipment. Paving and surfacing equipment operators use levers and other controls to operate machines that spread and level asphalt or spread and smooth concrete for roadways or other structures. Asphalt pav­ ing machine operators turn valves to regulate the temperature and flow of asphalt onto the roadbed. They must take care that the ma­ chine distributes the paving material evenly and without voids, and  Construction Trades and Related Workers 495  vww.  be dangerous. As with most machinery, accidents generally can be avoided by observing proper operating procedures and safety prac­ tices. Construction equipment operators are cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and often get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty. Operators may have irregular hours because work on some con­ struction projects continues around the clock or must be performed late at night or early in the morning. Some operators work in re­ mote locations on large construction projects, such as highways and dams, or in factory or mining operations. Employment Construction equipment operators held about 416,000jobs in 2002. Jobs were found in every section of the country and were distrib­ uted among various types of operators as follows: Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators........................................................................... Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators .............. Pile-driver operators...............................................................  353,000 58,000 5,200  About three out of live construction equipment operators worked in the construction industry. Many equipment operators worked in heavy construction, building highways, bridges, or railroads. About one out of five of all construction equipment operators worked in State and local government. Others—mostly grader, bulldozer, and scraper operators—worked in mining. Some also worked in manu­ facturing and for utility companies. Less than one in twenty con­ struction equipment operators were self-employed.  Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators operate one or several types ofpower construction equipment. make sure that there is a constant flow of asphalt going into the hopper. Concrete paving machine operators control levers and turn handwheels to move attachments that spread, vibrate, and level wet concrete within forms. They must observe the surface of concrete to identify low spots into which workers must add concrete. They use other attachments to smooth the surface of the concrete, spray on a curing compound, and cut expansion joints. Tamping equip­ ment operators operate tamping machines that compact earth and other fill materials for roadbeds. They also may operate machines with interchangeable hammers to cut or break up old pavement and drive guardrail posts into the earth. Piledriver operators operate piledrivers—large machines, mounted on skids, barges, or cranes, that hammer piles into the ground. Piles are long heavy beams of wood or steel driven into the ground to support retaining walls, bulkheads, bridges, piers, or build­ ing foundations. Some piledriver operators work on offshore oil rigs. Piledriver operators move hand and foot levers and turn valves to activate, position, and control the pile-driving equipment. Working Conditions Many construction equipment operators work outdoors, in nearly every type of climate and weather condition, although in many ar­ eas of the country, construction operations must be suspended in winter and during periods of extremely wet weather. Bulldozers, scrapers, and especially tampers and piledrivers are noisy and shake or jolt the operator. Operating heavy construction equipment can  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Construction equipment operators usually learn their skills on the job. However, it is generally accepted that formal training provides more comprehensive skills. Some construction equipment opera­ tors train in formal 3-year operating engineer apprenticeship pro­ grams administered by union-management committees of the Inter­ national Union of Operating Engineers and the Associated General Contractors of America. Because apprentices learn to operate a wider variety of machines than do other beginners, they usually have better job opportunities. Apprenticeship programs consist of at least 3 years, or 6,000 hours, of on-the-job training and 144 hours a year of related classroom instruction. Employers of construction equipment operators generally prefer to hire high school graduates, although some employers may train nongraduates to operate some types of equipment. Technologically advanced construction equipment has computerized controls and improved hydraulics and electronics, requiring more skill to oper­ ate. Operators of such equipment may need more training and some understanding of electronics. Mechanical aptitude and high school training in automobile mechanics are helpful because workers may perform some maintenance on their machines. Also, high school courses in science and mechanical drawing are useful. Experience operating related mobile equipment, such as farm tractors or heavy equipment, in the Armed Forces or elsewhere is an asset. Private vocational schools offer instruction in the operation of certain types of construction equipment. Completion of such a pro­ gram may help a person get a job as a trainee or apprentice. How­ ever, persons considering such training should check the school’s reputation among employers in the area. Beginning construction equipment operators handle light equip­ ment under the guidance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment such as bulldozers and cranes. Operators need to be in good physical condition and have a good sense of balance, the ability to judge distance, and eye-hand-foot  496 Occupational Outlook Handbook coordination. Some operator positions require the ability to work at heights. Job Outlook Job opportunities for construction equipment operators are expected to be good through 2012—due, in part, to the shortage of adequate training programs. In addition, many potential workers may choose not to enter training programs because they prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. Employment of construction equipment operators is expected to increase as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012 even with improvements in equipment expected to continue to raise worker productivity and to moderate demand for these work­ ers. Employment is expected to increase as population and busi­ ness growth create a need for new houses, industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, offices, and other structures. More construction equipment operators also will be needed as a result of expected growth in highway, bridge, and street construction. Bridge con­ struction is expected to grow the fastest, due to the need to repair or replace structures before they become unsafe. Poor highway con­ ditions also will spur demand for highway maintenance and repair. In the last several years, Congress has passed substantial public works bills to provide money for such construction projects, including mass transit systems. In addition to job growth, many job openings will arise because of the need to replace experienced construction equip­ ment operators who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Like that of other construction workers, employment of construc­ tion equipment operators is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. Workers may experience periods of unemployment when the level of construction activity falls.  Related Occupations Other workers who operate heavy mechanical equipment include bus drivers; truck drivers and driver/sales workers; farmers, ranch­ ers, and agricultural managers; agricultural workers; and forest, conservation, and logging workers. Sources of Additional Information For further information about apprenticeships or work opportuni­ ties for construction equipment operators, contact a local of the In­ ternational Union of Operating Engineers, a local apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of the State apprenticeship agency or employment service. For general information about the work of construction equipment operators, contact: >- National Center for Construction Education and Research, University of Florida, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org ► Associated General Contractors of America, 333 John Carlyle St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.agc.org > International Union of Operating Engineers, 1125 17th St. NW., Wash­ ington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.iuoe.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their website: http://www.doleta.gov  Construction Laborers (0*NET 47-2061.00)  Significant Points Earnings Earnings for construction equipment operators vary. In 2002, me­ dian hourly earnings of operating engineers and other construction equipment operators were $16.94. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 12.96 and $22.98. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.61, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.93. Me­ dian hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest num­ bers of operating engineers in 2002 were: Highway, street, and bridge construction......................................... Other specialty trade contractors........................................................ Utility system construction.................................................................. Other heavy and civil engineering construction.............................. Local government...................................................................................  $19.81 17.56 17.48 16.89 14.88  Median hourly earnings of paving, surfacing, and tamping equip­ ment operators were $13.87 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.73 and $19.12. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.07, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.99. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators in 2002 were: Highway, street, and bridge construction......................................... Other specialty trade contractors........................................................ Local government...................................................................................  $14.46 14.40 13.07  In 2002, median hourly earnings of piledriver operators were $21.84. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.89 and $29.24. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.73, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33.97. Pay scales generally are higher in large metropolitan areas. An­ nual earnings of some workers may be lower than hourly rates would indicate because worktime may be limited by bad weather.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  • • •  •  Job opportunities should be good. The work can be physically demanding and sometimes dangerous. Most construction laborers learn through informal onthe-job training, but formal apprenticeship programs provide more thorough preparation. Like many other construction occupations, employment opportunities are affected by the cyclical nature of the construction industry and can vary greatly by State and locality.  Nature of the Work Construction laborers perform a wide range of physically demand­ ing tasks involving building and highway construction, tunnel and shaft excavation, hazardous waste removal, environmental remediation, and demolition. Although the term “laborer” implies work that requires relatively little skill or training, many tasks that these workers perform require a fairly high level of training and experience. Construction laborers clean and prepare construction sites to eliminate possible hazards, dig trenches, mix and place con­ crete, and set braces to support the sides of excavations. They load, unload, identify, and distribute building materials to the appropriate location according to project plans and specifications on building construction projects. They also tend machines; for example, they may mix concrete using a portable mixer or tend a machine that pumps concrete, grout, cement, sand, plaster, or stucco through a spray gun for application to ceilings and walls. Construction labor­ ers often help other craftworkers, including carpenters, plasterers, operating engineers, and masons.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 497 At heavy and highway construction sites, construction laborers clear and prepare highway work zones and rights of way; install traffic barricades, cones, and markers; and control traffic passing near, in, and around work zones. They also install sewer, water, and storm drain pipes, and place concrete and asphalt on roads. At hazardous waste removal sites, constmction laborers prepare the site and safely remove asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They operate, read, and maintain air monitoring and other sampling devices in confined and/or hazard­ ous environments. They also safely sample, identify, handle, pack, and transport hazardous and/or radioactive materials and clean and decontaminate equipment, buildings, and enclosed structures. Other highly specialized tasks include operating laser guidance equipment to place pipes, operating air, electric, and pneumatic drills, and trans­ porting and setting explosives for tunnel, shaft, and road construction. Construction laborers operate a variety of equipment including pavement breakers; jackhammers; earth tampers; concrete, mortar, and plaster mixers; electric and hydraulic boring machines; torches; small mechanical hoists; laser beam equipment; and surveying and measuring equipment. They may use computers and other hightech input devices to control robotic pipe cutters and cleaners. To perform their jobs effectively, construction laborers must be famil­ iar with the duties of other craftworkers and with the materials, tools, and machinery they use.  Construction laborers often work as part of a team with other skilled craftworkers, jointly carrying out assigned construction tasks. At other times, construction laborers may work alone, reading and interpreting instructions, plans, and specifications with little or no supervision. While most construction laborers tend to specialize in a type of construction, such as highway or tunnel construction, they are gen­ eralists who perform many different tasks during all stages of con­ struction. However, construction laborers who work in underground construction (such as in tunnels) or in demolition are more likely to specialize in only those areas. Working Conditions Most laborers do physically demanding work. They may lift and carry heavy objects, and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl in awkward positions. Some work at great heights, or outdoors in all weather conditions. Some jobs expose workers to harmful materials or chemicals, fumes, odors, loud noise, or dangerous machinery. To avoid injury, workers in these jobs wear safety clothing, such as gloves, hardhats, protective chemical suits, and devices to protect their eyes, respiratory system, or hearing. While working in under­ ground construction, construction laborers must be especially alert to safely follow procedures and must deal with a variety of hazards. Construction laborers generally work 8-hour shifts, although longer shifts also are common. They may work only during certain seasons, when the weather permits construction activity. Employment Construction laborers held about 938,000jobs in 2002. They worked throughout the country but, like the general population, were con­ centrated in metropolitan areas. Almost all construction laborers work in the construction industry and almost one-third work for special trade contractors. About 14 percent were self-employed in  2002.  Construction laborers often help other craftworkers, including carpenters, plasterers, operating engineers, and masons.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many construction laborer jobs require no experience or training related to the occupation. Although many workers enter the occu­ pation with few skills, training is encourage and available through apprenticeships and laborer training centers. However, the work requires more strength and stamina than do most occupations, as well as a basic education. The willingness to work outdoors or in confined spaces also is needed. Basic literacy is a must if a worker is to read and comprehend warning signs and labels and understand instructions and specifications. Most construction laborers learn their skills informally, observ­ ing and learning from experienced workers. Individuals who learn the trade on the job usually start as helpers. These workers perform routine tasks, such as cleaning and preparing the worksite and un­ loading materials. When the opportunity arises, they learn how to do more difficult tasks, such as operating tools and equipment, from experienced craftworkers. Becoming a fully skilled construction laborer by training on the job normally takes longer than the 2 to 4 years required to complete a construction craft laborer apprentice­ ship program. Formal apprenticeship programs provide more thorough prepa­ ration for jobs as construction laborers than does on-the-job train­ ing. Local apprenticeship programs are operated under guidelines established by the Laborers-Associated General Contractors of America Education and Training Fund. These programs typically require at least 4,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training and approximately 400 hours of classroom training. Depending on the  498 Occupational Outlook Handbook availability of work and on local training schedules, it can take an individual from 2 to 4 years to complete the apprenticeship. A core curriculum consisting of basic construction skills such as blueprint reading, the correct use of tools and equipment, and knowledge of safety and health procedures comprises the first 200 hours. The remainder of the curriculum consists of specialized skills training in three of the largest segments of the construction industry: Build­ ing construction, heavy/highway construction, and environmental remediation (cleaning up debris, landscaping, and restoring the en­ vironment to its original state). Workers who use dangerous equip­ ment or handle toxic chemicals usually receive specialized training in safety awareness and procedures. Apprentices must complete a minimum 144 hours of classroom work each year. Most apprenticeship programs require workers to be at least 18 years old and physically able to perform the work. Many apprenticeship programs require a high school diploma or equiva­ lent. High school and junior college courses in science, physics, chemistry, and mathematics are helpful. Vocational classes in welding, construction, and other general building skills can give anyone wishing to become a construction laborer a significant head start. Experience and training is helpful but usually is not necessary to obtain a job. Relevant work experience that provides constructionrelated job skills can often reduce or eliminate a wide range of train­ ing and apprenticeship requirements. Finally, most apprenticeship programs, local unions, and employers look very favorably on mili­ tary service and/or service in the Job Corps, as veterans and Job Corps graduates have already demonstrated a high level of respon­ sibility and reliability and may have gained many valuable job skills. Construction laborers need good manual dexterity, hand-eye co­ ordination, and balance. They also need the ability to read and comprehend all warning signs and labels on a construction site and reading skills sufficient to understand and interpret plans, draw­ ings, and written instructions and specifications. They should be capable of working as a member of a team and have basic prob­ lem-solving and math skills. Employers want workers who are hard-working, reliable, and diligent about being on time. Addi­ tionally, construction laborers who wish to work in environmental remediation must pass a physical test that measures the ability to wear protective equipment such as respirators. Computer skills also are important as construction becomes increasingly mechanized and computerized. Experience in many construction laborer jobs may allow some workers to advance to positions such as supervisor or construction superintendent. Some construction laborers become skilled craftworkers, either through extensive on the job training or ap­ prenticeships in a craft. A few become independent contractors.  Job Outlook Job opportunities for construction laborers are expected to be good due to the numerous openings arising each year as laborers leave the occupation. In addition, many potential workers are not at­ tracted to the occupation because they prefer work that is less strenu­ ous and has more comfortable working conditions. Opportunities will be best for workers who are willing to relocate to different worksites. Employment of construction laborers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. New jobs will arise from a continuing emphasis on environmental remediation and on rebuilding infrastructure—roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, and communications facilities, for example. How­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ever, employment growth will be adversely affected by automation as some jobs are replaced by new machines and equipment that improve productivity and quality. Employment of construction laborers, like that of many other construction workers, can be variable or intermittent due to the lim­ ited duration of construction projects and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. Employment opportunities can vary greatly by State and locality. During economic downturns, job openings for construction laborers decrease as the level of construction activ­ ity declines.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of construction laborers in 2002 were $11.90. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.33 and $17.06. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.58, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.36. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of construction laborers in 2002 were as follows: Highway, street, and bridge construction......................................... Nonresidential building construction................................................. Other specialty trade contractors........................................................ Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... Residential building construction.......................................................  $14.48 12.97 12.35 11.89 11.42  Earnings for construction laborers can be reduced by poor weather or by downturns in construction activity, which sometimes result in layoffs. Apprentices or helpers usually start at about 50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers. Pay increases as appren­ tices gain experience and learn new skills. Some laborers belong to the Laborers’ International Union of North America.  Related Occupations The work of construction laborers is closely related to other con­ struction occupations. Other workers who perform similar physical work include persons in material-moving occupations; forest, con­ servation, and logging workers; and grounds maintenance workers.  Sources of Additional Information For information about jobs as construction laborers, contact local building or construction contractors, local joint labor-management apprenticeship committees, apprenticeship agencies, or the local office of your State Employment Service. For general information about the work of construction laborers, contact: >- Laborers’ International Union of North America, 905 16th St. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.liuna.org  For information on education programs for laborers, contact: >- Laborers-AGC Education and Training Fund, 37 Deerfield Road, P.O. Box 37, Pomfret Center, CT 06259. Internet: http://www.laborersleam.org >• National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their website: http://doleta.gov  Construction Trades and Related Workers 499 WLJX  Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers (0*NET 47-2081.01, 47-2081.02, 47-2082.00) Significant Points  • • •  Most workers learn the trade on the job, either by working as helpers or through a formal apprenticeship. Job prospects are expected to be good. Inclement weather seldom interrupts work, but workers may be idled when downturns in the economy slow new construction activity.  Nature of the Work Drywall consists of a thin layer of gypsum between two layers of heavy paper. It is used for walls and ceilings in most buildings today because it is both faster and cheaper to install than plaster. There are two kinds of drywall workers—installers and tapers— although many workers do both types of work. Installers, also called applicators or hangers, fasten drywall panels to the inside frame­ work of residential houses and other buildings. Tapers, orfinishers, prepare these panels for painting by taping and finishing joints and imperfections. Because drywall panels are manufactured in standard sizes— usually 4 feet by 8 or 12 feet—drywall installers must measure, cut, and fit some pieces around doors and windows. They also saw or cut holes in panels for electrical outlets, air-conditioning units, and plumbing. After making these alterations, installers may glue, nail, or screw the wallboard panels to the wood or metal framework. Because drywall is heavy and cumbersome, a helper generally as­ sists the installer in positioning and securing the panel. Workers often use a lift when placing ceiling panels. After the drywall is installed, tapers fill joints between panels with a joint compound. Using the wide, flat tip of a special trowel, they spread the compound into and along each side of the joint with brush-like strokes. They immediately use the trowel to press a pa­ per tape—used to reinforce the drywall and to hide imperfections— into the wet compound and to smooth away excess material. Nail and screw depressions also are covered with this compound, as are imperfections caused by the installation of air-conditioning vents and other fixtures. On large projects, finishers may use automatic taping tools that apply the joint compound and tape in one step. Tapers apply second and third coats of the compound, sanding the treated areas where needed after each coat to make them as smooth as the rest of the wall surface. This results in a very smooth and almost perfect surface. Some tapers apply textured surfaces to walls and ceilings with trowels, brushes, or spray guns. Ceiling tile installers, or acoustical carpenters, apply or mount acoustical tiles or blocks, strips, or sheets of shock-absorbing mate­ rials to ceilings and walls of buildings to reduce reflection of sound or to decorate rooms. First, they measure and mark the surface ac­ cording to blueprints and drawings. Then, they nail or screw mold­ ings to the wall to support and seal the joint between the ceiling tile and the wall. Finally, they mount the tile, either by applying a ce­ ment adhesive to the back of the tile and then pressing the tile into place, or by nailing, screwing, stapling, or wire-tying the lath di­ rectly to the structural framework. Lathers also are included in this occupation. Lathers fasten metal or rockboard lath to walls, ceilings, and partitions of buildings. Lath forms the support base for plaster, fireproofing, or acoustical mate https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Because drywall is heavy and cumbersome, a helper generally assists the installer in positioning and securing the panel. rials. At one time, lath was made of wooden strips. Now, lathers work mostly with wire, metal mesh, or rockboard lath. Metal lath is used where the plaster application will be exposed to weather or water or for curved or irregular surfaces for which drywall is not a practical material. Using handtools and portable power tools, lath­ ers nail, screw, staple, or wire-tie the lath directly to the structural framework. Working Conditions As in many other construction trades, the work sometimes is strenu­ ous. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers spend most of the day on their feet, either standing, bending, or kneeling. Some tapers use stilts to tape and finish ceiling and angle joints. Installers have to lift and maneuver heavy panels. Hazards include falls from ladders and scaffolds and injuries from power tools and from work­ ing with sharp materials. Because sanding a joint compound to a smooth finish creates a great deal of dust, some finishers wear masks for protection. Employment Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers held about 176,000 jobs in 2002. Most worked for contractors specializing in drywall and ceiling tile installation; others worked for contractors doing many kinds of construction. About 33,000 were self-employed independent contractors. Most installers and tapers are employed in populous areas. In other areas, where there may not be enough work to keep a drywall or ceiling tile installer employed full time, carpenters and painters usually do the work. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers start as helpers and learn their skills on the job. Installer helpers start by carrying materials, lifting and holding panels, and cleaning up de­ bris. Within a few weeks, they learn to measure, cut, and install materials. Eventually, they become fully experienced workers. Taper apprentices begin by taping joints and touching up nail holes, scrapes, and other imperfections. They soon leam to install comer guards and to conceal openings around pipes. At the end of their training, drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn to estimate the cost of installing and finishing drywall. Some drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers leam their trade in an apprenticeship program. The United Brotherhood  500 Occupational Outlook Handbook of Carpenters and Joiners of America, in cooperation with local contractors, administers an apprenticeship program both in dry wall installation and finishing and in acoustical carpentry. Apprentice­ ship programs consist of at least 3 years, or 6,000 hours, of on-thejob training and 144 hours a year of related classroom instruction. In addition, local affiliates of the Associated Builders and Contrac­ tors and the National Association of Home Builders conduct train­ ing programs for nonunion workers. The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades conducts an apprenticeship program in drywall finishing that lasts 2 to 3 years. Employers prefer high school graduates who are in good physi­ cal condition, but they frequently hire applicants with less educa­ tion. High school or vocational school courses in carpentry provide a helpful background for drywall work. Regardless of educational background, installers must be good at simple arithmetic. Other useful high school courses include English, wood shop, metal shop, blueprint reading, and mechanical drawing. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers with a few years of experience and with leadership ability may become super­ visors. Some workers start their own contracting businesses. Job Outlook Job opportunities for drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers are expected to be good. Many potential workers are not attracted to this occupation because they prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. Experi­ enced workers will have especially favorable opportunities. Employment is expected to increase faster than average for all occupations over the 2002-12 period, reflecting increases in the numbers of new construction and remodeling projects. In addition to jobs involving traditional interior work, drywall workers will find employment opportunities in the installation of insulated exterior wall systems, which are becoming increasingly popular. Besides those resulting from job growth, many jobs will open up each year because of the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Some drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers with limited skills leave the occu­ pation when they find that they dislike the work or fail to find steady employment. Despite the growing use of exterior panels, most drywall instal­ lation and finishing is done indoors. Therefore, drywall workers lose less worktime because of inclement weather than do some other construction workers. Nevertheless, they may be unemployed be­ tween construction projects and during downturns in construction activity. Earnings In 2002, the median hourly earnings of drywall and ceiling tile in­ stallers were $16.21. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 12.43 and $21.50. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.76, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.03. The median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of drywall and ceiling tile installers in 2002 were: Building finishing contractors.............................................................. Nonresidential building construction.................................................  $16.50 14.66  In 2002, the median hourly earnings of tapers were $18.75. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.57 and $24.68. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.07, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $29.32. Trainees usually started at about half the rate paid to experi­ enced workers and received wage increases as they became more highly skilled.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Some contractors pay these workers according to the number of panels they install or finish per day; others pay an hourly rate. A 40-hour week is standard, but the workweek may sometimes be longer. Workers who are paid hourly rates receive premium pay for overtime. Related Occupations Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers combine strength and dexterity with precision and accuracy to make materials fit ac­ cording to a plan. Other occupations that require similar abilities include carpenters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; insulation workers; and plasterers and stucco masons. Sources of Additional Information For information about work opportunities in drywall application and finishing and ceiling tile installation, contact local drywall in­ stallation and ceiling tile installation contractors, a local of the unions previously mentioned, a local joint union-management apprentice­ ship committee, a State or local chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, or the nearest office of the State employment ser­ vice or apprenticeship agency. For details about job qualifications and training programs in drywall application and finishing and ceiling tile installation, contact: >- Associated Builders and Contractors, 1300 N. 17th St., Arlington, VA 22209. >• National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW. Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.nahb.org >■ Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW„ Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org >- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.iupat.org >- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 50 F St. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their Web site: http://www.doleta.gov.  Electricians (0*NET 47-2111.00)  Significant Points  • • •  Job opportunities are expected to be good. Most electricians acquire their skills by completing an apprenticeship program lasting 3 to 5 years. More than one-quarter of wage and salary electricians work in industries other than construction.  Nature of the Work Electricity is essential for light, power, air-conditioning, and refrig­ eration. Electricians install, connect, test, and maintain electrical systems for a variety of purposes, including climate control, secu­ rity, and communications. They also may install and maintain the electronic controls for machines in business and industry. Although most electricians specialize in construction or maintenance, a grow­ ing number do both. Electricians work with blueprints when they install electrical systems in factories, office buildings, homes, and other structures. Blueprints indicate the locations of circuits, outlets, load centers,  Construction Trades and Related Workers 501 panel boards, and other equipment. Electricians must follow the National Electric Code and comply with State and local building codes when they install these systems. In factories and offices, they first place conduit (pipe or tubing) inside designated partitions, walls, or other concealed areas. They also fasten to the walls small metal or plastic boxes that will house electrical switches and outlets. They then pull insulated wires or cables through the conduit to complete circuits between these boxes. In lighter construction, such as resi­ dential, plastic-covered wire usually is used instead of conduit. Regardless of the type of wire used, electricians connect it to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components. They join the wires in boxes with various specially designed connectors. After they finish the wiring, they use testing equipment, such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes, to check the circuits for proper connections, ensuring electrical compatibility and safety of compo­ nents. Electricians also may install low voltage wiring systems in addi­ tion to wiring a building’s electrical system. Low voltage wiring involves voice, data, and video wiring systems, such as those for telephones, computers and related equipment, intercoms, and fire alarm and security systems. Electricians also may install coaxial or fiber optic cable for computers and other telecommunications equip­ ment and electronic controls for industrial equipment. Maintenance work varies greatly, depending on where the elec­ trician is employed. Electricians who specialize in residential work may rewire a home and replace an old fuse box with a new circuit breaker box to accommodate additional appliances. Those who work in large factories may repair motors, transformers, generators, and electronic controllers on machine tools and industrial robots. Those in office buildings and small plants may repair all types of electrical equipment. Maintenance electricians spend much of their time doing pre­ ventive maintenance. They periodically inspect equipment, and lo­ cate and correct problems before breakdowns occur. Electricians may also advise management whether continued operation of equip­ ment could be hazardous. When needed, they install new electrical equipment. When breakdowns occur, they must make the neces­ sary repairs as quickly as possible in order to minimize inconve­ nience. Electricians may replace items such as circuit breakers, fuses, switches, electrical and electronic components, or wire. When working with complex electronic devices, they may work with en­ gineers, engineering technicians, or industrial machinery installa-  Electricians join the wires in boxes with specially designed connectors.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tion, repair, and maintenance workers. (Statements on these occu­ pations appear elsewhere in the Handbook.) Electricians use handtools such as screwdrivers, pliers, knives, hacksaws, and wire strippers. They also use a variety of power tools as well as testing equipment such as oscilloscopes, ammeters, and test lamps. Working Conditions Electricians’ work is sometimes strenuous. They bend conduit, stand for long periods, and frequently work on ladders and scaffolds. Their working environment varies, depending on the type of job. Some may work in dusty, dirty, hot, or wet conditions, or in confined ar­ eas, ditches, or other uncomfortable places. Electricians risk injury from electrical shock, falls, and cuts; to avoid injuries, they must follow strict safety procedures. Some electricians may have to travel great distances to jobsites. Most electricians work a standard 40-hour week, although over­ time may be required. Those in maintenance work may work nights or weekends, and be on call. Maintenance electricians may also have periodic extended overtime during scheduled maintenance or retooling periods. Companies that operate 24 hours a day may em­ ploy three shifts of electricians. Employment Electricians held about 659,000 jobs in 2002. More than one-quar­ ter of wage and salary workers were employed in the construction industry; while the remainder worked as maintenance electricians employed outside the construction industry. In addition, about one in ten electricians were self-employed. Because of the widespread need for electrical services, jobs for electricians are found in all parts of the country. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most people learn the electrical trade by completing an apprentice­ ship program lasting 3 to 5 years. Apprenticeship gives trainees a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the trade and generally im­ proves their ability to find a job. Although electricians are more likely to be trained through apprenticeship than are workers in other construction trades, some still learn their skills informally on the job. Others train to be residential electricians in a 3-year program. Apprenticeship programs may be sponsored by joint training committees made up of local unions of the International Brother­ hood of Electrical Workers and local chapters of the National Elec­ trical Contractors Association; company management committees of individual electrical contracting companies; or local chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Independent Elec­ trical Contractors Association. Because of the comprehensive train­ ing received, those who complete apprenticeship programs qualify to do both maintenance and construction work. The typical large apprenticeship program provides at least 144 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job train­ ing each year. In the classroom, apprentices learn blueprint read­ ing, electrical theory, electronics, mathematics, electrical code re­ quirements, and safety and first aid practices. They also may receive specialized training in welding, communications, fire alarm systems, and cranes and elevators. On the job, under the supervision of ex­ perienced electricians, apprentices must demonstrate mastery of the electrician’s work. At first, they drill holes, set anchors, and set up conduit. Later, they measure, fabricate, and install conduit, as well as install, connect, and test wiring, outlets, and switches. They also learn to set up and draw diagrams for entire electrical systems. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeymen often continue to learn about related electrical systems, such as low voltage voice,  502 Occupational Outlook Handbook data, and video systems. Many builders and owners want to work with only one contractor who can install or repair both regular elec­ trical systems and low voltage systems. Those who do not enter a formal apprenticeship program can begin to learn the trade informally by working as helpers for expe­ rienced electricians. While learning to install conduit, connect wires, and test circuits, helpers also learn safety practices. Many helpers supplement this training with trade school or correspondence courses. Regardless of how one learns the trade, previous training is very helpful. High school courses in mathematics, electricity, electron­ ics, mechanical drawing, science, and shop provide a good back­ ground. Special training offered in the U.S. Armed Forces and by postsecondary technical schools also is beneficial. All applicants should be in good health and have at least average physical strength. Agility and dexterity also are important. Good color vision is needed because workers frequently must identify electrical wires by color. Most apprenticeship sponsors require applicants for apprentice positions to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and be able to pass a skills test. For those interested in becoming maintenance electricians, a background in electronics is increasingly important because of the growing use of complex electronic controls on manufacturing equipment. Most localities require electricians to be licensed. Although li­ censing requirements vary from area to area, electricians usually must pass an examination that tests their knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local electric and building codes. Electricians periodically take courses offered by their em­ ployer or union to keep abreast of changes in the National Electrical Code, materials, or methods of installation. Experienced electricians can become supervisors and then su­ perintendents. Those with sufficient capital and management skills may start their own contracting business, although this may require an electrical contractor’s license. Many electricians become elec­ trical inspectors. Job Outlook Job opportunities for electricians are expected to be good. Numer­ ous openings will arise each year as experienced electricians leave the occupation. In addition, many potential workers may choose not to enter training programs because they prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. Employment of electricians is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. As the popu­ lation and economy grow, more electricians will be needed to in­ stall and maintain electrical devices and wiring in homes, factories, offices, and other structures. New technologies also are expected to continue to stimulate the demand for these workers. For example, buildings will be prewired during construction to accommodate use of computers and telecommunications equipment. More factories will be using robots and automated manufacturing systems. Addi­ tional jobs will be created by rehabilitation and retrofitting of exist­ ing structures. In addition to jobs created by increased demand for electrical work, many openings will occur each year as electricians transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Because the training for this occupation is long and difficult and the earnings are relatively high, a smaller proportion of electricians than of other craftworkers leave the occupation each year. The number of retirements is expected to rise, however, as more electricians reach retirement age. Employment of construction electricians, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to changes in the economy. This results from the limited duration of construction projects and the  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  cyclical nature of the construction industry. During economic down­ turns, job openings for electricians are reduced as the level of con­ struction activity declines. Apprenticeship opportunities also are less plentiful during these periods. Although employment of maintenance electricians is steadier than that of construction electricians, those working in the automotive and other manufacturing industries that are sensitive to cyclical swings in the economy may be laid off during recessions. Also, efforts to reduce operating costs and increase productivity through the increased use of contracting out for electrical services may limit opportunities for maintenance electricians in many industries. How­ ever, this should be partially offset by increased job opportunities for electricians in electrical contracting firms. Job opportunities for electricians also vary by area. Employ­ ment opportunities follow the movement of people and businesses among States and local areas, and reflect differences in local eco­ nomic conditions. The number of job opportunities in a given year may fluctuate widely from area to area. Earnings In 2002, median hourly earnings of electricians were $19.90. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.95 and $26.50. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.81, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33.21. Median hourly earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of electricians in 2002 are shown below: Motor vehicle parts manufacturing..................................................... $28.72 Local government.................................................................................... 21.15 Building equipment contractors............................................................... 19.54 Nonresidential building construction...................................................... 19.36 Employment services................................................................................. 15.46  Depending on experience, apprentices usually start at between 40 and 50 percent of the rate paid to fully trained electricians. As apprentices become more skilled, they receive periodic increases throughout the course of their training. Many employers also pro­ vide training opportunities for experienced electricians to improve their skills. Many construction electricians are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Among unions organizing main­ tenance electricians are the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the International Union, United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; and the United Steelworkers of America. Related Occupations To install and maintain electrical systems, electricians combine manual skill and knowledge of electrical materials and concepts. Workers in other occupations involving similar skills include heat­ ing, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; line installers and repairers; electrical and electronics installers and re­ pairers; electronic home entertainment equipment installers and re­ pairers; and elevator installers and repairers. Sources of Additional Information For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the State employment service, the State apprenticeship agency, local electrical contractors or firms that em­ ploy maintenance electricians, or local union-management electri­ cian apprenticeship committees. This information also may be avail­ able from local chapters of the Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc.; the National Electrical Contractors Association; the Home  Construction Trades and Related Workers 503 Builders Institute; the Associated Builders and Contractors; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. For information about union apprenticeship programs, contact: >• National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (NJATC), 301 Prince George’s Blvd., Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. Internet: http://www.njatc.org >- National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), 3 Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814. Internet: http://www.necanet.org >- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), 1125 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.ibew.org  For information about independent apprenticeship programs, contact: >- Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Depart­ ment, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. >• Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc., 4401 Ford Ave., Suite 1100, Alexandria, VA 22302. Internet: http://www.ieci.org >- National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW., Washing­ ton, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.nahb.org >- Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their Web site: http://www.doleta.gov.  Elevator Installers and Repairers (0*NET 47-4021.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Workers learn the trade through 4 years of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Job opportunities are expected to be limited in this small occupation; prospects should be best for those with postsecondary education in electronics. Elevator installers and repairers lose less worktime due to inclement weather than do other construction trades workers.  Nature of the Work Elevator installers and repairers—also called elevator constructors or elevator mechanics—assemble, install, and replace elevators, escalators, dumbwaiters, moving walkways, and similar equipment in new and old buildings. Once the equipment is in service, they maintain and repair it as well. They also are responsible for mod­ ernizing older equipment. To install, repair, and maintain modem elevators, which are al­ most all electronically controlled, elevator installers and repairers must have a thorough knowledge of electronics, electricity, and hy­ draulics. Many elevators are controlled with microprocessors, which are programmed to analyze traffic conditions in order to dispatch elevators in the most efficient manner. With these computer con­ trols, it is possible to get the greatest amount of service with the least number of cars. When installing a new elevator, installers and repairers begin by studying blueprints to determine the equipment needed to install rails, machinery, car enclosures, motors, pumps, cylinders, and plunger foundations. Once this has been done, they begin equip­ ment installation. Working on scaffolding or platforms, installers bolt or weld steel rails to the walls of the shaft to guide the elevator.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Elevator installers put in electrical wires and controls by run­ ning tubing, called conduit, along a shaft’s walls from floor to floor. Once the conduit is in place, mechanics pull plastic-covered elec­ trical wires through it. They then install electrical components and related devices required at each floor and at the main control panel in the machine room. Installers bolt or weld together the steel frame of an elevator car at the bottom of the shaft; install the car’s platform, walls, and doors; and attach guide shoes and rollers to minimize the lateral motion of the car as it travels through the shaft. They also install the outer doors and door frames at the elevator entrances on each floor. For cabled elevators, these workers install geared or gearless machines with a traction drive wheel that guides and moves heavy steel cables connected to the elevator car and counterweight. (The counterweight moves in the opposite direction from the car and bal­ ances most of the weight of the car to reduce the weight that the elevator’s motor must lift.) Elevator installers also install elevators in which a car sits on a hydraulic plunger that is driven by a pump. The plunger pushes the elevator car up from underneath, similar to a lift in an auto service station. Installers and repairers also install escalators. They put in place the steel framework, the electrically powered stairs, and the tracks, and install associated motors and electrical wiring. In addition to elevators and escalators, installers and repairers also may install devices such as dumbwaiters and material lifts—which are similar to elevators in design—as well as moving walkways, stair lifts, and wheelchair lifts. The most highly skilled elevator installers and repairers, called “adjusters,” specialize in fine-tuning all the equipment after instal­ lation. Adjusters make sure that an elevator is working according to specifications and is stopping correctly at each floor within a speci­ fied time. Once an elevator is operating properly, it must be main­ tained and serviced regularly to keep it in safe working condition. Elevator installers and repairers generally do preventive mainte­ nance—such as oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing worn parts, testing equipment with meters and gauges, and adjusting equip­ ment for optimal performance. They also troubleshoot and may be called to do emergency repairs. A service crew usually handles major repairs—for example, re­ placing cables, elevator doors, or machine bearings. This may re­ quire the use of cutting torches or rigging equipment—tools that an elevator repairer normally would not carry. Service crews also do  Once an elevator is operating properly, it must be maintained and serviced regularly to keep it in safe working condition.  504 Occupational Outlook Handbook major modernization and alteration work, such as moving and re­ placing electrical motors, hydraulic pumps, and control panels. Elevator installers and repairers usually specialize in installa­ tion, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally need greater knowledge of electricity and electronics than do installers, because a large part of maintenance and repair work is troubleshooting. Similarly, adjusters need a thorough knowledge of electricity, electronics, and computers to ensure that newly in­ stalled elevators operate properly. Working Conditions Most elevator installers and repairers work a 40-hour week. How­ ever, overtime is required when essential elevator equipment must be repaired, and some workers are on 24-hour call. Unlike most elevator installers, workers who specialize in elevator maintenance are on their own most of the day and typically service the same elevators periodically. Elevator installers lift and carry heavy equipment and parts, and may work in cramped spaces or awkward positions. Potential haz­ ards include falls, electrical shock, muscle strains, and other inju­ ries related to handling heavy equipment. Because most of their work is performed indoors in buildings under construction or in existing buildings, elevator installers and repairers lose less worktime due to inclement weather than do other construction trades work­ ers. Employment Elevator installers and repairers held about 21,000 jobs in 2002. Most were employed by special trade contractors. Others were employed by field offices of elevator manufacturers, wholesale dis­ tributors, small-elevator maintenance and repair contractors, gov­ ernment agencies, or businesses that do their own elevator mainte­ nance and repair. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most elevator installers and repairers apply for their jobs through a local of the International Union of Elevator Constructors. Appli­ cants for apprenticeship positions must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass an aptitude test. Good physical condition and mechanical aptitude also are important. Elevator installers and repairers learn their trade in a program administered by local joint educational committees representing the employers and the union. These programs, through which the ap­ prentice learns everything from installation to repair, combine onthe-job training with classroom instruction in blueprint reading, elec­ trical and electronic theory, mathematics, applications of physics, and safety. In nonunion shops, workers may complete training pro­ grams sponsored by independent contractors. Generally, apprentices must complete a 6-month probationary period. After successful completion, they work toward becoming fully qualified within 4 years. To be classified as a fully qualified elevator installer or repairer, union trainees must pass a standard examination administered by the National Elevator Industry Edu­ cational Program. Most States and cities also require elevator in­ stallers and repairers to pass a licensing examination. Both union and nonunion technicians may take the Certified Elevator Techni­ cian (CET) course offered by the National Association of Elevator Contractors. Most apprentices assist experienced elevator installers and re­ pairers. Beginners carry materials and tools, bolt rails to walls, and assemble elevator cars. Eventually, apprentices learn more difficult tasks such as wiring, which requires knowledge of local and na­ tional electrical codes.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  High school courses in electricity, mathematics, and physics pro­ vide a useful background. As elevators become increasingly so­ phisticated, workers may find it necessary to acquire more advanced formal education—for example, in postsecondary technical school or junior college—with an emphasis on electronics. Workers with more formal education, such as an associate degree, usually advance more quickly than do their counterparts. Many elevator installers and repairers also receive training from their employers or through manufacturers to become familiar with a particular company’s equipment. Retraining is very important if a worker is to keep abreast of technological developments in elevator repair. In fact, union elevator installers and repairers typically re­ ceive continual training throughout their careers, through correspon­ dence courses, seminars, or formal classes. Although voluntary, this training greatly improves one’s chances for promotion. Some installers may receive further training in specialized areas and advance to the position of mechanic-in-charge, adjuster, super­ visor, or elevator inspector. Adjusters, for example, may be picked for their position because they possess particular skills or are elec­ tronically inclined. Other workers may move into management, sales, or product design jobs. Job Outlook Job opportunities are expected to be limited in this small occupa­ tion. A large proportion of elevator installer and repairer jobs are unionized and involve a significant investment in training. As a result, workers tend to stay in this occupation for a long time. This investment in training, as well as good benefits and relatively high wages, results in fewer openings due to turnover, thus reducing job opportunities. Job prospects should be best for those with postsecondary education in electronics. Employment of elevator installers and repairers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Job growth is related to the growth of nonresidential construction, such as commercial office buildings and stores that have elevators and escalators. The need to continually update and modernize old equipment, expand and access, improve appearance, and install increasingly sophisticated equipment and computerized controls also should add to the demand for elevator installers and repairers. Because it is desirable that equipment always be kept in good working condition, economic downturns will have less of an effect on employment of elevator installers and repairers than on other construction trades. Earnings Median hourly earnings of elevator installers and repairers were $25.99 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $20.08 and $31.72. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14.60, and the top 10 percent earned more than $36.81. In 2002, median hourly earnings in the miscellaneous special trade contractors industry were $26.62. In addition to free continuing education, elevator install­ ers and repairers receive basic benefits enjoyed by most other workers. Related Occupations Elevator installers and repairers combine electrical and mechanical skills with construction skills, such as welding, rigging, measuring, and blueprint reading. Other occupations that require many of these skills are boilermakers; electricians; electrical and electronics in­ stallers and repairers; industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers; sheet metal workers; and structural and rein­ forcing iron and metal workers.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 505 Sources of Additional Information For further information on opportunities as an elevator installer and repairer, contact: > International Union of Elevator Constructors, 7154 Columbia Gateway Dr., Columbia, MD 21046. Internet: http://www.iuec.org  For additional information about the Certified Elevator Techni­ cian (CET) program, contact: ► National Association of Elevator Contractors, 1298 Wellbrook Circle, Suite A, Conyers, GA 30012. Internet: http://www.naec.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­ formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their Web site: http://www.doleta.gov.  Glaziers (0*NET 47-2121.00)  Significant Points  •  •  Many glaziers learn the trade by working as helpers to experienced glaziers; however, employers recommend a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship program. Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.  Nature of the Work Glass serves many uses in modern life. Insulated and specially treated glass keeps in warmed or cooled air and provides good condensa­ tion and sound control qualities; tempered and laminated glass makes doors and windows more secure. In large commercial buildings, glass panels give office buildings a distinctive look while reducing the need for artificial lighting. The creative use of large windows, glass doors, skylights, and sunroom additions makes homes bright, airy, and inviting. Glaziers are responsible for selecting, cutting, installing, replac­ ing, and removing all types of glass. They generally work on one of several types of projects. Residential glazing involves work such as replacing glass in home windows; installing glass mirrors, shower doors, and bathtub enclosures; and fitting glass for tabletops and display cases. On commercial interior projects, glaziers install items such as heavy, often etched, decorative room dividers or security windows. Glazing projects also may involve replacement of store­ front windows for establishments such as supermarkets, auto dealerships, or banks. In the construction of large commercial build­ ings, glaziers build metal framework extrusions and install glass panels or curtain walls. Besides working with glass, glaziers also may work with plas­ tics, granite, marble, similar materials used as glass substitutes, and films or laminates that improve the durability or safety of the glass. They may mount steel and aluminum sashes or frames and attach locks and hinges to glass doors. For most jobs, the glass is precut and mounted in frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop. It arrives at the jobsite ready for glaziers to position and secure it in place. They may use a crane or hoist with suction cups to lift large, heavy pieces of glass. They then gently guide the glass into position by hand. Once glaziers have the glass in place, they secure it with mastic, putty, or other pastelike cement, or with bolts, rubber gaskets, glaz­ ing compound, metal clips, or metal or wood moldings. When they secure glass using a rubber gasket—a thick, molded rubber half­ tube with a split running its length—they first secure the gasket  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  around the perimeter within the opening, then set the glass into the split side of the gasket, causing it to clamp to the edges and hold the glass firmly in place. When they use metal clips and wood moldings, glaziers first se­ cure the molding to the opening, place the glass in the molding, and then force springlike metal clips between the glass and the molding. The clips exert pressure and keep the glass firmly in place. When a glazing compound is used, glaziers first spread it neatly against and around the edges of the molding on the inside of the opening. Next, they install the glass. Pressing it against the com­ pound on the inside molding, workers screw or nail outside mold­ ing that loosely holds the glass in place. To hold it firmly, they pack the space between the molding and the glass with glazing compound and then trim any excess material with a glazing knife. For some jobs, the glazier must cut the glass manually at the jobsite. To prepare the glass for cutting, glaziers rest it either on edge on a rack, or “A-frame,” or flat against a cutting table. They then measure and mark the glass for the cut. Glaziers cut glass with a special tool that has a small, very hard metal wheel. Using a straightedge as a guide, the glazier presses the cutter’s wheel firmly on the glass, guiding and rolling it care­ fully to make a score just below the surface. To help the cutting tool move smoothly across the glass, workers brush a thin layer of oil along the line of the intended cut or dip the cutting tool in oil. Im­ mediately after cutting, the glazier presses on the shorter end of the glass to break it cleanly along the cut.  .:  I mm §  7  ;:  •. !  '  For somejobs, the glazier must cut the glass manually at the jobsite.  506 Occupational Outlook Handbook In addition to handtools such as glasscutters, suction cups, and glazing knives, glaziers use power tools such as saws, drills, cut­ ters, and grinders. An increasing number of glaziers use computers in the shop or at the jobsite to improve their layout work and reduce the amount of glass that is wasted. Working Conditions Glaziers often work outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather. At times, they work on scaffolds at great heights. They do a consider­ able amount of bending, kneeling, lifting, and standing. Glaziers may be injured by broken glass or cutting tools, by falls from scaf­ folds, or by improperly lifting heavy glass panels. Employment Glaziers held 49,000 jobs in 2002. Almost two-thirds of glaziers worked for glazing contractors engaged in new construction, alter­ ation, and repair. About 1 in 5 glaziers worked in retail glass shops that install or replace glass and for wholesale distributors of prod­ ucts containing glass. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many glaziers leam the trade informally on the job. They usually start as helpers, carrying glass and cleaning up debris in glass shops. They often practice cutting on discarded glass. After a while, they are given an opportunity to cut glass for a job. Eventually, helpers assist experienced workers on simple installation jobs. By working with experienced glaziers, they eventually acquire the skills of a fully qualified glazier. Employers recommend that glaziers leam the trade through a for­ mal apprenticeship program that lasts 3 to 4 years. Apprenticeship programs, which are administered by the National Glass Association and local union-management committees or local contractors’ asso­ ciations, consist of on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction or home study each year. On the job, appren­ tices leam to use the tools and equipment of the trade; handle, mea­ sure, cut, and install glass and metal framing; cut and fit moldings; and install and balance glass doors. In the classroom, they are taught basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construc­ tion techniques, safety practices, and first aid. Learning the trade through an apprenticeship program usually takes less time and pro­ vides more complete training than acquiring skills informally on the job, but opportunities to obtain apprenticeships are declining. Local apprenticeship administrators determine the physical, age, and educational requirements needed by applicants for apprentice­ ships and for helper positions. In general, applicants must be in good physical condition and be at least 18 years old. High school or vocational school graduates are preferred. In some areas, appli­ cants must take mechanical-aptitude tests. Courses in general math­ ematics, blueprint reading or mechanical drawing, general construc­ tion, and shop provide a good background. Standards for acceptance into apprenticeship programs are ris­ ing to reflect changing skill requirements associated with the use of new products and equipment. In addition, the growing use of com­ puters in glass layout requires that glaziers be familiar with per­ sonal computers. Because many glaziers do not leam the trade through a formal apprenticeship program, some associations offer a series of written examinations that certify an individual’s competency to perform glazier work at three progressively more difficult levels of profi­ ciency. These levels include Level I, Glazier; Level II, Commercial Interior/Residential Glazier or Storefront/Curtainwall Glazier; and Level III, Master Glazier. There also is a certification program for auto-glass repair.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Advancement generally consists of increases in pay for most gla­ ziers; some advance to supervisory jobs or become contractors or estimators. Job Outlook Job opportunities are expected to be excellent for glaziers, largely due to the numerous openings arising each year as experienced gla­ ziers leave the occupation. In addition, many potential workers may choose not to enter this occupation because they prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. Employment of glaziers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012, as a result of growth in residential and nonresidential construction. Demand for glaziers will be spurred by the continuing need to modernize and repair existing structures and the popularity of glass in bathroom and kitchen design. Improved glass performance related to insula­ tion, privacy, safety, condensation control, and noise reduction also are expected to contribute to the demand for glaziers in both resi­ dential and nonresidential remodeling. A continuing emphasis on energy management, which encourages people to replace their old windows and doors with high-efficiency products, also should re­ sult in more jobs for glaziers. The increased level of security con­ sciousness should spur demand for specialized safety glass in many commercial and government buildings. Like other construction trades workers, glaziers employed in the construction industry should expect to experience periods of unem­ ployment resulting from the limited duration of construction projects and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. During bad economic times, job openings for glaziers are reduced as the level of construction declines. Because construction activity varies from area to area, job openings and apprenticeship opportunities fluctu­ ate with local economic conditions. Employment and apprentice­ ship opportunities should be greatest in metropolitan areas, where most glazing contractors and glass shops are located. Earnings In 2002, median hourly earnings of glaziers were $15.20. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.56 and $20.53. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $9.14, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.18. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of glaziers in 2002 are shown below: Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... Building material and supplies dealers..............................................  $16.36 13.13  Glaziers covered by union contracts generally earn more than their nonunion counterparts. Apprentice wage rates usually start at 40 to 50 percent of the rate paid to experienced glaziers and in­ crease as they gain experience in the field. Because glaziers can lose time due to weather conditions and fluctuations in construction activity, their overall earnings may be lower than their hourly wages suggest. Many glaziers employed in constmction are members of the In­ ternational Union of Painters and Allied Trades. Related Occupations Glaziers use their knowledge of construction materials and tech­ niques to install glass. Other construction workers whose jobs also involve skilled, custom work are brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; carpenters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finish­ ers; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers; and painters and paperhangers. Other related occu­ pations include automotive body and related repairers who install broken or damaged glass on vehicles that they repair.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 507 Sources of Additional Information For more information about glazier apprenticeships or work oppor­ tunities, contact local glazing or general contractors, a local of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, alocal joint unionmanagement apprenticeship agency, or the nearest office of the State employment service or State apprenticeship agency. For general information about the work of glaziers, contact: >- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.iupat.org  For information concerning training for glaziers, contact: >- National Glass Association, Education and Training Department, 8200 Greensboro Dr., Suite 302, McLean, VA 22102-3881. Internet: http://www.glass.org >- Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Depart­ ment, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203.  Hazardous Materials Removal Workers (0*NET 47-4041.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Working conditions can be hazardous, and the use of protective clothing often is required. Formal education beyond high school is not required, but a training program leading to a Federal license is mandatory. Good job opportunities are expected.  Nature of the Work Increased public awareness and Federal and State regulations are resulting in the removal of hazardous materials from buildings, fa­ cilities, and the environment to prevent further contamination of natural resources and to promote public health and safety. Hazard­ ous materials removal workers identify, remove, package, transport, and dispose of various hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead, and radioactive and nuclear materials. The removal of hazardous materials, or “hazmats,” from public places and the environment also is called abatement, remediation, and decontamination. Hazardous materials removal workers use a variety of tools and equipment, depending on the work at hand. Equipment ranges from brooms to personal protective suits that completely isolate workers from the hazardous material. The equipment required varies with the threat of contamination and can include disposable or reusable coveralls, gloves, hardhats, shoe covers, safety glasses or goggles, chemical-resistant clothing, face shields, and devices to protect one’s hearing. Most workers also are required to wear respirators while working, to protect them from airborne particles. The respirators range from simple versions that cover only the mouth and nose to self-contained suits with their own air supply. In the past, asbestos was used to fireproof roofing and flooring, for heat insulation, and for a variety of other purposes. Today, as­ bestos is rarely used in buildings, but there still are structures that contain the material. Embedded in materials, asbestos is fairly harm­ less; airborne, however, it can cause several lung diseases, includ­ ing lung cancer and asbestosis. Similarly, lead was a common build­ ing component found in paint and plumbing fixtures and pipes until the late 1970s. Because lead is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, often from breathing lead dust or from eating chips of paint con­ taining lead, it can cause serious health risks, especially in children.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Due to these risks, it has become necessary to remove lead-based products and asbestos from buildings and structures. Asbestos abatement workers and lead abatement workers remove asbestos, lead, and other materials from buildings scheduled to be renovated or demolished. Using a variety of hand and power tools, such as vacuums and scrapers, these workers remove the asbestos and lead from surfaces. A typical residential lead abatement project involves the use of a chemical to strip the lead-based paint from the walls of the home. Lead abatement workers apply the compound with a putty knife and allow it to dry. Then they scrape the hazard­ ous material into an impregnable container for transport and stor­ age. They also use sandblasters and high-pressure water sprayers to remove lead from large structures. The vacuums utilized by asbes­ tos abatement workers have special, highly efficient filters designed to trap the asbestos, which later is disposed of or stored. During the abatement, special monitors measure the amount of asbestos and lead in the air, to protect the workers; in addition, lead abatement workers wear a personal air monitor that indicates the amount of lead to which a worker has been exposed. Workers also use moni­ toring devices to identify the asbestos, lead, and other materials that need to be removed from the surfaces of walls and structures. Transportation of hazardous materials is safer today than it was in the past, but accidents still occur. Emergency and disaster re­ sponse workers clean up hazardous materials after train derailments and trucking accidents. These workers also are needed when an immediate cleanup is required, as would be the case after an attack by biological or chemical weapons. Radioactive materials are classified as either high- or low-level wastes. High-level wastes are primarily nuclear-reactor fuels used to produce electricity. Low-level wastes include any radioactively contaminated protective clothing, tools, filters, medical equipment, and other items. Decontamination technicians perform duties similar to those of janitors and cleaners. They use brooms, mops, and other tools to clean exposed areas and remove exposed items for decon­ tamination or disposal. With experience, these workers can advance to radiation-protection technician jobs and use radiation survey meters to locate and evaluate materials, operate high-pressure clean­ ing equipment for decontamination, and package radioactive mate­ rials for transportation or disposal. Decommissioning and decontamination workers remove and treat radioactive materials generated by nuclear facilities and power plants. With a variety of handtools, they break down contaminated items such as “gloveboxes,” which are used to process radioactive materi­ als. At decommissioning sites, the workers clean and decontami­ nate the facility, as well as remove any radioactive or contaminated materials. Treatment, storage, and disposal workers transport and prepare materials for treatment or disposal. To ensure proper treatment of the materials, laws require these workers to be able to verify ship­ ping manifests. At incinerator facilities, treatment, storage, and dis­ posal workers transport materials from the customer or service cen­ ter to the incinerator. At landfills, they follow a strict procedure for the processing and storage of hazardous materials. They organize and track the location of items in the landfill and may help change the state of a material from liquid to solid in preparation for its storage. These workers typically operate heavy machinery, such as forklifts, earthmoving machinery, and large bucks and rigs. Mold remediation is a new and growing part of the work of some hazardous materials removal workers. Some types of mold can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are susceptible to them. Although mold is present in almost all structures, some mold—es­ pecially the types that cause allergic reactions—can infest a build­ ing to such a degree that extensive efforts must be taken to remove it  508 Occupational Outlook Handbook done. As a result, workers employed by treatment, storage, or dis­ posal facilities may commute long distances to their jobs. Decommissioning and decontamination workers, decontamina­ tion technicians, and radiation protection technicians work at nuclear facilities and electric power plants. Like treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, these sites often are far from urban areas. Work­ ers, who often perform jobs in cramped conditions, may need to use sharp tools to dismantle contaminated objects. A hazardous materi­ als removal worker must have great self-control and a level head to cope with the daily stress associated with handling hazardous mate­ rials. Hazardous materials removal workers may be required to travel outside their normal working areas in order to respond to emergen­ cies, the cleanup of which sometimes take several days or weeks to complete. During the cleanup, workers may be away from home for the entire time. Most hazardous materials removal workers are required to wear respirators to protect them from airborne particles. safely. Mold typically grows in damp areas, in heating and air­ conditioning ducts, within walls, and in attics and basements. Although some mold remediation work is undertaken by other con­ struction workers, mold often must be removed by hazardous mate­ rials removal workers, who take special precautions to protect them­ selves and surrounding areas from being contaminated. Hazardous materials removal workers also may be required to construct scaffolding or erect containment areas prior to abatement or decontamination. In most cases, government regulation dictates that hazardous materials removal workers be closely supervised on the worksite. The standard usually is 1 supervisor to every 10 work­ ers. The work is highly structured, sometimes planned years in ad­ vance, and team oriented. There is a great deal of cooperation among supervisors and workers. Because of the hazard presented by the materials being removed, work areas are restricted to licensed haz­ ardous materials removal workers, thus minimizing exposure to the public. Working Conditions Hazardous materials removal workers function in a highly struc­ tured environment, to minimize the danger they face. Each phase of an operation is planned in advance, and workers are trained to deal with safety breaches and hazardous situations. Crews and supervi­ sors take every precaution to ensure that the worksite is safe. Whether they work in asbestos, mold, or lead abatement or in radioactive decontamination, hazardous materials removal workers must stand, stoop, and kneel for long periods. Some must wear fully enclosed personal protective suits for several hours at a time; these suits may be hot and uncomfortable and may cause some individuals to expe­ rience claustrophobia. Hazardous materials removal workers face different working conditions, depending on their area of expertise. Although many work a standard 40-hour week, overtime and shift work are com­ mon, especially in asbestos and lead abatement. Asbestos abate­ ment and lead abatement workers are found primarily in structures such as office buildings and schools. Because they are under pres­ sure to complete their work within certain deadlines, workers may experience fatigue. Completing projects frequently requires night and weekend work, because hazardous materials removal workers often work around the schedules of others. Treatment, storage, and disposal workers are employed primarily at facilities such as land­ fills, incinerators, boilers, and industrial furnaces. These facilities often are located in remote areas, due to the kinds of work being  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment Hazardous materials removal workers held about 38,000 jobs in 2002. About 7 in 10 were employed in waste management and remediation services. About 6 percent were employed by specialty trade contractors, primarily in asbestos abatement and lead abate­ ment. A small number worked at nuclear and electric plants as de­ commissioning and decontamination workers and radiation safety and decontamination technicians.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement No formal education beyond a high school diploma is required for a person to become a hazardous materials removal worker. Federal regulations require an individual to have a license to work in the occupation, although, at present, there are few laws regulating mold removal. Most employers provide technical training on the job, but a formal 32- to 40-hour training program must be completed if one is to be licensed to as an asbestos abatement and lead abatement worker or a treatment, storage, and disposal worker. The program covers health hazards, personal protective equipment and clothing, site safety, recognition and identification of hazards, and decon­ tamination. In some cases, workers discover one hazardous mate­ rial while abating another. If they are not licensed to work with the newly discovered material, they cannot continue to work with it. Many experienced workers opt to take courses in additional disci­ plines to avoid this situation. Some employers prefer to hire work­ ers licensed in multiple disciplines. For decommissioning and decontamination workers employed at nuclear facilities, training is more extensive. In addition to the standard 40-hour training course in asbestos, lead, and hazardous waste, workers must take courses dealing with regulations govern­ ing nuclear materials and radiation safety. These courses add up to approximately 3 months of training, although most are not taken consecutively. Many agencies, organizations, and companies throughout the country provide training programs that are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other regulatory bodies. Workers in all fields are required to take refresher courses every year in order to maintain their license. Workers must be able to perform basic mathematical conver­ sions and calculations, and should have good physical strength and manual dexterity. Because of the nature of the work and the time constraints sometimes involved, employers prefer people who are dependable, prompt, and detail-oriented. Because much of the work is done in buildings, a background in construction is helpful.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 509 Job Outlook Job opportunities are expected to be good for hazardous materials removal workers. The occupation is characterized by a relatively high rate of turnover, resulting in a number of job openings each year stemming from experienced workers leaving the occupation. In addition, many potential workers are not attracted to this occupa­ tion, because they may prefer work that is less strenuous and has safer working conditions. Experienced workers will have especially favorable opportunities, particularly in the private sector, as more State and local governments contract out hazardous materials re­ moval work to private companies. Employment of hazardous materials removal workers is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012, reflecting increasing concern for a safe and clean environment. Special-trade contractors will have strong demand for the largest segment of these workers, namely, asbestos abate­ ment and lead abatement workers; lead abatement should offer par­ ticularly good opportunities. Mold remediation is an especially rap­ idly growing part of the occupation at the present time, but it is unclear whether its rapid growth will continue: until a few years ago, mold remediation was not considered a significant problem, and perhaps a few years from now, less attention will be paid to it again. Employment of decontamination technicians, radiation safety technicians, and decommissioning and decontamination workers is expected to grow in response to increased pressure for safer and cleaner nuclear and electric generator facilities. In addition, the number of closed facilities that need decommissioning may con­ tinue to grow, due to Federal legislation. These workers also are less affected by economic fluctuations, because the facilities in which they work must operate, regardless of the state of the economy. Earnings Median hourly earnings of hazardous materials removal workers were $15.61 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.37 and $22.18 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.29 per hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.60 per hour. The median hourly earnings in remediation and other waste management services, the largest industry employing hazardous materials removal workers in 2002, were $14.92 in 2002. According to the limited data available, treatment, storage, and disposal workers usually earn slightly more than asbestos abate­ ment and lead abatement workers. Decontamination and decom­ missioning workers and radiation protection technicians, though constituting the smallest group, tend to earn the highest wages. Related Occupations Asbestos abatement workers and lead abatement workers share skills with other construction trades workers, including painters and paperhangers; insulation workers; and sheet metal workers. Treat­ ment, storage, and disposal workers, decommissioning and decon­ tamination workers, and decontamination and radiation safety technicians work closely with plant and system operators, such as power-plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers and water and wastewater treatment plant operators. Sources of Additional Information For more information on hazardous materials removal workers, in­ cluding information on training, contact ► Laborers-AGC Education and Training Fund, 37 Deerfield Rd., P.O. Box 37, Pomfret, CT 06259. Internet: http://www.laborersleam.org  There are more than 500 occupations registered by the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s National Apprenticeship system. For more in­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  formation on the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship sys­ tem, and links to State apprenticeship programs, check their website: http:// www.doleta.gov.  Insulation Workers (0*NET 47-2131.00, 47-2132.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Workers must follow strict safety guidelines to protect themselves from the dangers of insulating irritants. Most insulation workers learn their work informally on the job; others complete formal apprenticeship programs. Job opportunities in the occupation are expected to be excellent.  Nature of the Work Properly insulated buildings reduce energy consumption by keep­ ing heat in during the winter and out in the summer. Refrigerated storage rooms, vats, tanks, vessels, boilers, and steam and hot-water pipes also are insulated to prevent the wasteful transfer of heat. In­ sulation workers install the materials used to insulate buildings and equipment. Insulation workers cement, staple, wire, tape, or spray insula­ tion. When covering a steampipe, for example, insulation workers measure and cut sections of insulation to the proper length, stretch it open along a cut that runs the length of the material, and slip it over the pipe. They fasten the insulation with adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands. Sometimes, they wrap a cover of aluminum, plastic, or canvas over the insulation and cement or band the cover in place. Insulation workers may screw on sheet metal around insulated pipes to protect the insulation from weather conditions or physical abuse. When covering a wall or other flat surface, workers may use a hose to spray foam insulation onto a wire mesh that provides a rough surface to which the foam can cling and that adds strength to the finished surface. Workers may then install drywall or apply a final coat of plaster for a finished appearance. In attics or exterior walls of uninsulated buildings, workers blow in loose-fill insulation. A helper feeds a machine with fiberglass, cellulose, or rock-wool insulation, while another worker blows the insulation with a compressor hose into the space being filled. In new construction or on major renovations, insulation workers staple fiberglass or rock-wool batts to exterior walls and ceilings before drywall, paneling, or plaster walls are put in place. In mak­ ing major renovations to old buildings or when putting new insula­ tion around pipes and industrial machinery, insulation workers of­ ten must first remove the old insulation. In the past, asbestos—now known to cause cancer in humans-was used extensively in walls and ceilings and to cover pipes, boilers, and various industrial equip­ ment. Because of this danger, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations require that asbestos be removed before a building un­ dergoes major renovations or is demolished. When asbestos is present, specially trained workers must remove the asbestos before insulation workers can install the new insulating materials. (See the statement on hazardous materials removal workers elsewhere in the Handbook.)  510 Occupational Outlook Handbook  t®  f i■  Insulation workers install the materials used to insulate buildings and equipment.  Insulation workers use common handtools—trowels, brushes, knives, scissors, saws, pliers, and stapling guns. They use power saws to cut insulating materials, welding machines to join sheet metal or secure clamps, and compressors to blow or spray insulation. Working Conditions Insulation workers generally work indoors. They spend most of the workday on their feet, either standing, bending, or kneeling. Some­ times, they work from ladders or in tight spaces. The work requires more coordination than strength. Insulation work often is dusty and dirty, and the summer heat can make the insulation worker very uncomfortable. Minute particles from insulation materials, espe­ cially when blown, can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory sys­ tem. Workers must follow strict safety guidelines to protect them­ selves from the dangers of insulating irritants. They keep work areas well ventilated; wear protective suits, masks, and respirators; and take decontamination showers when necessary. Employment Insulation workers held about 53,000 jobs in 2002. The construc­ tion industry employed 4 out of 5 workers; most worked for build­ ing finishing contractors. Small numbers of insulation workers held jobs in the Federal Government, in wholesale trade, and in ship­ building and other manufacturing industries that have extensive in­ stallations for power, heating, and cooling. Most worked in urban areas. In less populated areas, carpenters, heating and air-condi­ tioning installers or drywall installers may do insulation work. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most insulation workers learn their trade informally on the job, al­ though some complete formal apprenticeship programs. For entrylevel jobs, insulation contractors prefer high school graduates who are in good physical condition and licensed to drive. High school courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, science, sheet metal layout, woodworking, and general construction provide a helpful background. Applicants seeking apprenticeship positions should have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be at least 18 years old. Trainees who learn on the job receive instruction and supervi­ sion from experienced insulation workers. Trainees begin with simple tasks, such as carrying insulation or holding material while it is fastened in place. On-the-job training can take up to 2 years, depending on the nature of the work. A certification program is  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  being developed by insulation contractor organizations to help all workers prove their skills and knowledge. Learning to install insu­ lation in homes generally requires less training than does learning to apply insulation in commercial and industrial settings. As they gain experience, trainees receive less supervision, more responsi­ bility, and higher pay. In contrast, trainees in formal apprenticeship programs receive indepth instruction in all phases of insulation. Apprenticeship pro­ grams may be provided by a joint committee of local insulation contractors and the local union of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers, to which many insulation workers belong. Programs normally consist of 4 years of on-the-job training coupled with classroom instruction, and train­ ees must pass practical and written tests to demonstrate their knowl­ edge of the trade. Skilled insulation workers may advance to supervisor, shop su­ perintendent, or insulation contract estimator, or they may set up their own insulation business. Job Outlook Job opportunities are expected to be excellent for insulation work­ ers. Because there are no strict training requirements for entry, many people with limited skills work as insulation workers for a short time and then move on to other types of work, creating many job openings. In addition, many potential workers may prefer work that is less strenuous and that has more comfortable working condi­ tions. Other opportunities will arise from the need to replace work­ ers who leave the labor force. In addition to opening up as a result of replacement needs, new jobs will arise as employment of insulation workers increases about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012, due to growth in residential and nonresidential construction. Demand for insulation workers will be spurred by continuing concerns about the efficient use of energy to heat and cool buildings, resulting in increased demand for these workers in the construction of new resi­ dential, industrial, and commercial buildings. In addition, renova­ tion and efforts to improve insulation in existing structures will in­ crease demand. Insulation workers in the construction industry may experience periods of unemployment because of the short duration of many construction projects and the cyclical nature of construction activ­ ity. Workers employed in industrial plants generally have more stable employment because maintenance and repair must be done on a continuing basis. Most insulation is applied after buildings are en­ closed, so weather conditions have less effect on the employment of insulation workers than on that of some other construction occupations. Earnings In 2002, median hourly earnings of insulation workers were $13.91. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.58 and $18.36. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.45, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.29. Median hourly eamings in the industries employing the largest numbers of insulation workers in 2002 are shown in the following tabulation; Building equipment contractors.......................................................... Building finishing contractors..............................................................  $15.30 12.97  Union workers tend to earn more than nonunion workers. Ap­ prentices start at about one-half of the journey worker’s wage. In­ sulation workers doing commercial and industrial work earn sub­ stantially more than those working in residential construction, which does not require as much skill.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 511 Related Occupations Insulation workers combine their knowledge of insulation materi­ als with the skills of cutting, fitting, and installing materials. Work­ ers in occupations involving similar skills include carpenters; car­ pet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; roofers; and sheet metal workers. Sources of Additional Information For information about training programs or other work opportuni­ ties in this trade, contact a local insulation contractor, the nearest office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency, or either of the following organizations: > National Insulation Association, 99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 222, Al­ exandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.insulation.org/ >- Insulation Contractors Association of America, 1321 Duke St., Suite 303, Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.insulate.org  Painters and Paperhangers (0*NET 47-2141.00, 47-2142.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  •  Largely due to worker turnover, employment prospects should be good. Most workers learn informally on the job as helpers; however, training authorities recommend completion of an apprenticeship program. Two in five painters and paperhangers are selfemployed, compared with one in five of all construction trades workers. Working conditions can be hazardous.  Nature of the Work Paint and wall coverings make surfaces clean, attractive, and bright. In addition, paints and other sealers protect exterior surfaces from wear caused by exposure to the weather. Apprentices learn both painting and paperhanging, even though each requires different skills. Painters apply paint, stain, varnish, and other finishes to build­ ings and other structures. They choose the right paint or finish for the surface to be covered, taking into account durability, ease of handling, method of application, and customers’ wishes. Painters first prepare the surfaces to be covered, so that the paint will adhere properly. This may require removing the old coat of paint by strip­ ping, sanding, wire brushing, burning, or water and abrasive blast­ ing. Painters also wash walls and trim to remove dirt and grease, fill nail holes and cracks, sandpaper rough spots, and brash off dust. On new surfaces, they apply a primer or sealer to prepare the sur­ face for the finish coat. Painters also mix paints and match colors, relying on knowledge of paint composition and color harmony. In large paint shops or hardware stores, these functions are automated. There are several ways to apply paint and similar coverings. Painters must be able to choose the right paint applicator for each job, depending on the surface to be covered, the characteristics of the finish, and other factors. Some jobs need only a good bristle brush with a soft, tapered edge; others require a dip or fountain pressure roller; still others can best be done using a paint sprayer. Many jobs need several types of applicators. The right tools for  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  each job not only expedite the painter’s work but also produce the most attractive surface. When working on tall buildings, painters erect scaffolding, in­ cluding “swing stages,” scaffolds suspended by ropes, or cables at­ tached to roof hooks. When painting steeples and other conical structures, they use a bosun’s chair, a swing-like device. Paperhangers cover walls and ceilings with decorative wall cov­ erings made of paper, vinyl, or fabric. They first prepare the surface to be covered by applying “sizing,” which seals the surface and makes the covering stick better. When redecorating, they may first remove the old covering by soaking, steaming, or applying solvents. When necessary, they patch holes and take care of other imperfections before hanging the new wall covering. After the surface has been prepared, paperhangers must prepare the paste or other adhesive. Then, they measure the area to be cov­ ered, check the covering for flaws, cut the c