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356  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides (0*NET 31-2021.00, 31-2022.00)  Significant Points •  Employment is projected to increase much faster than average; physical therapist aides may face keen compe­ tition from the large pool of qualified applicants.  •  Physical therapist assistants generally have an associate degree, but physical therapist aides usually learn skills on the job.  •  - ... 1  About 60 percent of jobs are in hospitals or offices of physical therapists.  Nature of the Work  Physical therapist assistants and aides perform physical therapy procedures and related tasks.  Physical therapist assistants and aides perform components of physi­ cal therapy procedures and related tasks selected by a supervising physical therapist. These workers assist physical therapists in pro­ viding services that help improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Patients include accident victims and individu­ als with disabling conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy. Physical therapist assistants perform a variety of tasks. Com­ ponents of treatment procedures performed by these workers, under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, involve exer­ cises, massages, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. Physical therapist assistants record the patient’s responses to treatment and report the outcome of each treatment to the physical therapist. Physical therapist aides help make therapy sessions productive, under the direct supervision of a physical therapist or physical thera­ pist assistant. They usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized and for preparing for each patient’s therapy. When patients need assistance moving to or from a treatment area, aides push them in a wheelchair or provide them with a shoulder to lean on. Because they are not licensed, aides do not perform the clinical tasks of a physical therapist assistant. The duties of aides include some clerical tasks, such as ordering depleted supplies, answering the phone, and filling out insurance forms and other paperwork. The extent to which an aide or an assistant performs clerical tasks depends on the size and location of the facility.  ited physical therapist assistant program. Not all States require licensure or registration in order for the physical therapist assistant to practice. The States that require licensure stipulate specific educational and examination criteria. Complete information on practice acts and regulations can be obtained from the State licens­ ing boards. Additional requirements may include certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other first aid and a minimum number of hours of clinical experience. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, there were 238 accredited physical therapist assistant programs in the United States as of 2004. Accredited physical therapist assistant programs are designed to last 2 years, or 4 semesters, and culminate in an associate degree. Programs are divided into academic study and hands-on clinical experience. Academic course work includes algebra, anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, and psychology. Many programs require that stu­ dents complete a semester of anatomy and physiology and have certifications in CPR and other first aid even before they begin their clinical field experience. Both educators and prospective employers view clinical experience as integral to ensuring that students understand the responsibilities of a physical therapist assistant. Employers typically require physical therapist aides to have a high school diploma, strong interpersonal skills, and a desire to assist people in need. Most employers provide clinical on-the-job training.  Working Conditions  Employment  The hours and days that physical therapist assistants and aides work vary with the facility and with whether they are full- or part-time employees. Many outpatient physical therapy offices and clinics have evening and weekend hours, to help coincide with patients’ personal schedules. About 30 percent of all physical therapist as­ sistants and aides work part time. Physical therapist assistants and aides need a moderate degree of strength because of the physical exertion required in assisting patients with their treatment. In some cases, assistants and aides need to lift patients. Constant kneeling, stooping, and standing for long periods also are part of the job.  Physical therapist assistants and aides held about 101,000 jobs in 2004. Physical therapist assistants held about 59,000 jobs, physi­ cal therapist aides approximately 43,000. Both work with physical therapists in a variety of settings. About 60 percent of jobs were in hospitals or in offices of physical therapists. Others worked primar­ ily in nursing care facilities, offices of physicians, home health care services, and outpatient care centers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Physical therapist aides are trained on the job, but physical thera­ pist assistants typically earn an associate degree from an accred-   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Employment of physical therapist assistants and aides is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The impact of proposed Federal legislation imposing limits on reimbursement for therapy services may adversely affect the short-term job outlook for physical therapist assistants and aides. However, over the long run, demand for physical therapist assistants  Service Occupations  357  and aides will continue to rise, in accordance with the increasing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function. The growing elderly population is particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that require therapeutic services. These patients often need additional assistance in their treatment, making the roles of assistants and aides vital. The large baby-boom genera­ tion is entering the prime age for heart attacks and strokes, further increasing the demand for cardiac and physical rehabilitation. In addition, future medical developments should permit an increased percentage of trauma victims to survive, creating added demand for therapy services. Physical therapists are expected to increasingly utilize assistants to reduce the cost of physical therapy services. Once a patient is evaluated and a treatment plan is designed by the physical therapist, the physical therapist assistant can provide many aspects of treat­ ment, as prescribed by the therapist. Physical therapist assistants and aides with prior experience working in a physical therapy office or other health care setting will have the best job opportunities. Physical therapist aides may face keen competition from the large pool of qualified individuals with a high school diploma.  ings in the industries employing the largest numbers of physical therapists aides in May 2004 were:  Earnings  Sources of Additional Information  Median annual earnings of physical therapist assistants were $37,890 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,060 and $44,050. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,110. Median annual eam-  Career information on physical therapist assistants and a list of schools offering accredited programs can be obtained from: > The American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1488. Internet: http://www.apta.org  Nursing care facilities................................................................... $40,360 General medical and surgical hospitals........................................ 37,790 Offices of other health practitioners............................................. 37,120 Median annual earnings of physical therapist aides were $21,380 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,990 and $26,310. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33,550. Median annual earnings of physical therapist aides in May 2004 were $21,120 in general medical and surgical hospitals and $20,360 in offices of physical therapists.  Related Occupations Physical therapist assistants and aides work under the supervision of physical therapists. Other workers in the health care field who work under similar supervision include dental assistants, medical as­ sistants, occupational therapist assistants and aides, pharmacy aides, pharmacy technicians, and social and human service assistants.  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 are employed in State and Federal prisons. Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.  •  Nature of the Work Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individu­ als who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a jail, reformatory, or penitentiary. Correctional officers maintain security and inmate accountability to prevent disturbances, assaults, and escapes. Officers have no law enforcement re­ sponsibilities outside the institution where they work. (For more information on related occupations, see the statements on police and detectives and on probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, elsewhere in the Handbook.) Police and sheriffs’ departments in county and municipal jails or precinct station houses employ many correctional officers, also known as detention officers. Most of the approximately 3,400 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 population change constantly as some are released, some are convicted and transferred to prison, and new offenders are arrested and enter the system. Correctional   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  officers in local jails admit and process about 12 million people a year, with about 700,000 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 State and Federal pris­ ons, watching over the approximately 1.4 million offenders who are incarcerated there at any given time. Other correctional officers oversee individuals being held by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service pending release or deportation, or work for correctional institu­ tions that are run by private for-profit organizations. Although 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 order within the institution and enforce rules and regulations. To help ensure that inmates are orderly and obey rules, correctional officers monitor the activities and supervise the work assignments of inmates. Sometimes, officers must 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, checking cells and other areas of the institution for unsanitary conditions, contraband, fire hazards, and any evidence of infractions of rules. In addition, they routinely inspect locks, win­ dow 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 inmates. Officers also report security breaches, disturbances, violations of  358  Occupational Outlook Handbook  rules, and any unusual occurrences. They usually keep a daily log or record of their activities. Correctional officers cannot show favorit­ ism and must report any inmate who violates the rules. Should the situation arise, they help the responsible 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 communications 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 regula­ tions primarily through their interpersonal communications skills and through the use of progressive sanctions, such as the removal of some privileges. In the highest security facilities, where the most dangerous in­ mates are housed, correctional officers often monitor the activities of prisoners from a centralized control center with closed-circuit television cameras and a computer tracking system. In such an en­ vironment, the inmates may not see anyone but officers for days or weeks at a time and may leave their cells only for showers, solitary exercise time, or visitors. Depending on the offenders’ security classification within the institution, correctional officers may have to restrain inmates in handcuffs and leg irons to safely escort them to and from cells and other areas and to see authorized visitors. Of­ ficers also escort prisoners between the institution and courtrooms, medical facilities, and other destinations outside the institution. Bailiffs, also known as marshals or court officers, are law enforce­ ment officers who maintain safety and order in courtrooms. Their duties, which vary by location, include enforcing courtroom rules, assisting judges, guarding juries from outside contact, delivering court documents, and providing general security for courthouses.  Working Conditions Working in a correctional institution can be stressful and hazard­ ous. Every year, correctional officers are injured in confrontations with inmates. Correctional officers may work indoors or outdoors. Some correctional institutions are well lighted, temperature con­ trolled, and ventilated, but others are old, overcrowded, hot, and noisy. Correctional officers usually work an 8-hour day, 5 days a week, on rotating shifts. Because prison and jail security must be provided around the clock, officers work all hours of the day and night, weekends, and holidays. In addition, officers may be required to work paid overtime.  Will  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 education or its equivalent; demonstrate job stability, usually by accumulating 2 years of work experience; and have no felony convictions. Pro­ motion prospects may be enhanced by obtaining a postsecondary education. The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires entry-level correctional officers to have at least a bachelor’s degree; or 3 years of full-time experience in a field providing counseling, assistance, or supervision to individuals; or a combination of these two requirements. 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 jurisdic­ tions 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 that are available to local agencies. At the conclusion of formal instruction, all State and local correctional agencies provide on-the-job training, including training on legal restric­ tions and interpersonal relations. Many systems require firearms proficiency and self-defense skills. Officer trainees typically receive 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 in a number of subjects, including institutional policies, regulations, and opera­ tions, as well as custody and security procedures. New Federal correctional officers must undergo 200 hours of formal training within the first year of employment. They also must complete 120 hours of specialized training at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons residential training center at Glynco, GA, within 60 days of their appointment. Experienced officers receive annual in-service training to keep abreast of new developments and procedures. Some correctional officers are members of prison tactical re­ sponse teams, which are trained to respond to disturbances, riots, hostage situations, forced cell moves, and other potentially danger­ ous confrontations. Team members practice disarming prisoners wielding weapons, protecting themselves and inmates against the effects of chemical agents, and other tactics. With education, experience, and training, qualified officers may advance to the position of correctional sergeant. Correctional ser­ geants supervise correctional officers and usually are responsible for maintaining security and directing the activities of other officers during an assigned shift or in an assigned area. Ambitious and qualified correctional officers can be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions all the way up to warden. Officers some­ times transfer to related jobs, such as probation officers, parole officers, and correctional treatment specialists.  Employment  ■■  In high security facilities, correctional officers often monitor prisoners from a centralized control center.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers held about 484,000 jobs in 2004. About 3 of every 5 jobs were in State correctional institu­ tions such as prisons, prison camps, and youth correctional facili­ ties. About 16,000 jobs for correctional officers were in Federal correctional institutions, and about 15,000 jobs were in privately owned and managed prisons.  Service Occupations Most of the remaining jobs were in city and county jails or in other institutions run by local governments. Some 300 of these jails, all of them in urban areas, are large: they house over 1,000 inmates. Most correctional officers who work in jails, however, work in institutions located in rural areas with smaller inmate populations.  359  merit boards cover officers employed by the Federal Government and most State governments. Their retirement coverage entitles correctional officers to retire at age 50 after 20 years of service or at any age with 25 years of service.  Related Occupations 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 corrections agencies have experienced difficulty in attracting and keeping qualified applicants, largely because of low salaries, shift work, and the concentration of jobs in rural locations. This situation is expected to continue. Employment of correctional officers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. Increasing demand for correctional officers will stem from mandatory sentencing guidelines calling for longer sentences and reduced parole for inmates, and from expansion and new construction of corrections facilities. However, mandatory sentencing guidelines are being reconsidered in many States because of a combination of budgetary constraints, court deci­ sions, and doubts about their effectiveness. Instead, there may be more emphasis on reducing sentences or putting offenders on probation or in rehabilitation programs in many States. As a result, the prison population, and employment of correctional officers, will probably grow at a slower rate than in the past. 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 bargaining units, they are not allowed to strike.  Earnings Median annual earnings of correctional officers and jailers were $33,600 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,560 and $44,200. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,630, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,820. Median annual earnings in the public sector were $44,700 in the Federal Government, $33,750 in State government, and $33,080 in local government. In the facilities support services industry, where the relatively small number of officers employed by privately op­ erated prisons is classified, median annual earnings were $21,490. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the starting salary for Federal correctional officers was about $26,747 a year in 2005. Start­ ing Federal salaries were slightly higher in areas where prevailing local pay levels were higher. Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors/managers of correctional officers were $44,720 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,070 and $60,550. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $27,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,990. Median annual earnings were $41,080 in State government and $49,470 in local government. Median annual earnings of bailiffs were $33,870 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,710 and $44,240. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,770. Median annual earnings were $30,410 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 service systems or   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 maintain law and order, prevent crime, and arrest offenders. Probation of­ ficers and correctional treatment specialists monitor and counsel offenders and evaluate their progress in becoming productive members of society.  Sources of Additional Information Further information about correctional officers is available from: >• American Correctional Association, 4380 Forbes Boulevard, Lanham, MD 20706. Internet: http://www.aca.org >- American Jail Association, 1135 Professional Ct., Hagerstown, MD 21740. Internet: http://www.corrections.com/aja Information on entrance requirements, training, and career oppor­ tunities 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 through USAJOBS, the Federal Government’s official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or TDD (978) 461­ 8404. These numbers are not tollfree, and charges may result.  Fire Fighting 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 • • • •  Fire fighting involves hazardous conditions and long, irregular hours. About 9 out of 10 fire fighting workers were employed by municipal or county fire departments. Applicants for municipal fire fighting jobs generally must pass written, physical, and medical examinations. Although employment is expected to grow faster than the average, keen competition for jobs is expected because this occupation attracts many qualified candi­ dates.  Nature of the Work Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Fire fighters help protect the public against these dangers by rapidly responding to a variety of emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to put out a fire, treat injuries, or perform other vital functions. During duty hours, fire fighters must be prepared to respond immediately to a fire or any other emergency that arises. Because fighting fires is dangerous and complex, it requires organization and  360  Occupational Outlook Handbook  teamwork. At every emergency scene, fire fighters 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, provide emergency medical attention as needed, ventilate smoke-filled areas, and attempt to salvage the contents of buildings. 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. Fire fighters work in a variety of settings, including urban and suburban areas, airports, chemical plants, other industrial sites, and rural areas like grasslands and forests. They have also as­ sumed a range of responsibilities, including emergency medical services. In fact, most calls to which fire fighters respond involve medical emergencies, and 65 percent of all fire departments provide emergency medical service. In addition, some fire fighters work in hazardous materials units that are trained for the control, prevention, and cleanup of materials; for example, these fire fighters respond to oil spills. (For more information, see the Handbook statement on hazardous material removal workers.)Workers in urban and subur­ ban areas, airports, and industrial sites typically use conventional fire fighting equipment and tactics, while forest fires and major hazardous materials spills call for different methods. In national forests and parks, forestfire inspectors and preven­ tion specialists spot fires from watchtowers and report their find­ ings to headquarters by telephone or radio. Forest rangers patrol to ensure that travelers and campers comply with fire regulations. When fires break out, crews of fire fighters are brought in to sup­ press the blaze with heavy equipment, hand tools, and water hoses. Fighting forest fires, like fighting urban fires, is rigorous work. One of the most effective means of battling a blaze is creating fire lines—cutting down trees and digging out grass and all other combustible vegetation in the path of the fire— to deprive it of fuel. Elite fire fighters called smoke jumpers parachute from airplanes to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. This tactic, however, can be extremely hazardous because the crews have no way to escape if the wind shifts and causes the fire to burn toward them. Between alarms, fire fighters 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.  Firefighters help protect the public in the case offires and other emergencies.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most fire departments have a fire prevention division, usually headed by a fire marshal and staffed by fire inspectors. Workers in this division conduct inspections of structures to prevent fires and ensure compliance with fire codes. These fire fighters also work with developers and planners to check and approve plans for new buildings. Fire prevention personnel often speak on these subjects in schools and before public assemblies and civic organizations. Some fire fighters 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 Fire fighters spend much of their time at fire stations, which usually have features in common with a residential facility like a dormitory. When an alarm sounds, fire fighters respond rapidly, regardless of the weather or hour. Fire fighting involves the risk of death or injury from sudden cave-ins of floors, toppling walls, traffic acci­ dents when responding to calls, and exposure to flames and smoke. Fire fighters also may come in contact with poisonous, flammable, or explosive gases and chemicals, as well as radioactive or other hazardous materials that may have immediate 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 fire fighters 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 agen­ cies, fire fighters 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, fire fighters 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 fire fighters they supervise. Duty hours include time when fire fighters study, train, and perform fire prevention duties.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Applicants for municipal fire fighting jobs generally must pass a written exam; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical examination that includes drug screen­ ing. Workers may be monitored on a random basis for drug use after accepting employment. Examinations are generally 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 appointment. 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 training, the recruits study fire fighting techniques, fire prevention, haz­ ardous materials control, local building codes, and emergency medical procedures, including first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They also learn how to use axes, chain saws, fire extinguishers, ladders, and other fire fighting and rescue equipment. After suc­ cessfully completing this training, the recruits are assigned to a fire company, where they undergo a period of probation. Almost all departments require fire fighters to be certified as emer­ gency medical technicians. (For more information, see the Handbook statement on emergency medical technicians and paramedics.)  Service Occupations While most fire departments require the lowest level of certification, EMT-Basic, larger departments in major metropolitan areas are increasingly requiring paramedic certification. Some departments include this training in the fire academy, while others prefer that recruits have EMT certification beforehand, but will give them up to 1 year to become certified on their own. A number of fire departments have accredited apprenticeship programs lasting up to 4 years. These programs combine formal, technical instruction with on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced fire fighters. Technical instruction covers subjects such as fire fighting techniques and equipment, chemical hazards associated with various combustible building materials, emergency medical procedures, and fire prevention and safety. In addition to participating in advanced training programs con­ ducted by local fire departments, some fire fighters attend training sessions sponsored by the U.S. National Fire Academy. These training sessions cover topics such as executive development, anti-arson techniques, disaster preparedness, hazardous materials control, and public fire safety and education. Some States also have either voluntary or mandatory fire fighter 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 fire fighters incentives such as tuition reimbursement or higher pay for completing advanced training. Among the personal qualities fire fighters need are mental alertness, self-discipline, courage, mechanical aptitude, endur­ ance, strength, and a sense of public service. Initiative and good judgment also are extremely important, because fire fighters make quick decisions in emergencies. Members of a crew live and work closely together under conditions of stress and danger for extended periods, so they must be dependable and able to get along well with others. Leadership qualities are necessary for officers, who must establish and maintain discipline and efficiency, as well as direct the activities of fire fighters in their companies. Most experienced fire fighters continue studying to improve their job performance and prepare for promotion examinations. To progress to higher level positions, they acquire expertise in advanced fire fighting equipment and techniques, building construction, emergency medical technology, writing, public speaking, management and budgeting procedures, and public relations. Opportunities for promotion depend upon the results of written examinations, as well asjob performance, interviews, and seniority. Increasingly, fire departments are using 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, chief. For promotion to positions higher than battalion chief, many fire departments now require a bachelor’s degree, preferably in fire science, public administration, or a related field. An associate’s degree is required for executive fire officer certification from the National Fire Academy.  Employment  Employment figures in this Handbook statement include only paid career fire fighters—they do not cover volunteer fire fighters, who perform the same duties and may constitute the majority of fire fight­ ers in a residential area. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 70 percent of fire companies are staffed by volunteer fire fighters. In 2004, total employment in firefighting occupations was about 353.000. Fire fighters held about 282,000 jobs, first-line supervi­ sors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers held about 56.000, and fire inspectors held about 15,000.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  361  About 9 out of 10 fire fighting workers were employed by municipal or county fire departments. Some large cities have thousands of career fire fighters, while many small towns have only a few. Most of the remainder worked in fire departments on Federal and State installations, including airports. Private fire fighting companies employ a small number of fire fighters and usually operate on a subscription basis. In response to the expanding role of fire fighters, some mu­ nicipalities have combined fire prevention, public fire education, safety, and emergency medical services into a single organiza­ tion commonly referred to as a public safety organization. Some local and regional fire departments are being consolidated into countywide establishments in order to reduce administrative staffs, cut costs, and establish consistent training standards and work procedures.  Job Outlook Prospective fire fighters are expected to face keen competition for available job openings. Many people are attracted to fire fighting because (1) it is challenging and provides the opportunity to perform an essential public service, (2) a high school education is usually sufficient for entry, and (3) a pension is guaranteed upon retirement after 25 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 expected to persist in coming years. Applicants with the best opportunities are those who are physically fit and score the highest on physical conditioning and mechanical aptitude exams. Those who have completed some fire fighter educa­ tion at a community college and have EMT certification will have an additional advantage. Employment of fire fighters is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. Most job growth will oc­ cur as volunteer fire fighting positions are converted to paid positions in growing suburban areas. In addition to job growth, openings are expected to result from the need to replace fire fighters who retire, stop working for other reasons, or transfer to other occupations. Layoffs of fire fighters are uncommon. Fire protection is an essential service, and citizens are likely to exert considerable pres­ sure on local officials to expand or at least preserve the level of fire protection. Even when budget cuts do occur, local fire departments usually trim expenses by postponing purchases of equipment or by not hiring new fire fighters, rather than through staff reductions.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of fire fighters were $18.43 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.65 and $24.14. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.71, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $29.21. Median hourly earnings were $18.78 in local government, $17.34 in the Federal Government, and $14.94 in State government. Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers were $58,920 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $46,880 and $72,600. The low­ est 10 percent earned less than $36,800, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,860. First-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers employed in local government earned about $60,800 a year. Median annual earnings of fire inspectors and investigators were $46,340 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,030 and $58,260 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $71,490. Fire inspectors and investigators employed in local government earned about $48,020 a year.  362  Occupational Outlook Handbook  According to the International City-County Management Association, average salaries in 2004 for sworn full-time positions were as follows:  Minimum annual base salary Fire chief.................................................. $68,701 Deputy chief............................................. 63,899 Assistant fire chief...................................... 57,860 Battalion chief.......................................... 58,338 Fire captain............................................... 49,108 Fire lieutenant............................................. 44,963 Fire prevention/code inspector.................... 43,297 Engineer...................................................... 41,294  Maximum annual base salary $89,928 79,803 73,713 73A87 59,374 53 179 54,712 52,461  Fire fighters 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 fire fighter’s work period, which ranges from 7 to 28 days. Fire fighters often earn overtime for working extra shifts to maintain minimum staffing levels or for special emergencies. Fire fighters receive benefits that usually include medical and liability insurance, vacation and sick leave, and some paid holidays. Almost all fire departments provide protective clothing (helmets, boots, and coats) and breathing apparatus, and many also provide dress uniforms. Fire fighters generally are covered by pension plans, often providing retirement at half pay after 25 years of service or if the individual is disabled in the line of duty.  Related Occupations Like fire fighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics and police and detectives respond to emergencies and save lives.  Sources of Additional Information Information about a career as a fire fighter may be obtained from local fire departments and from either of the following organizations: > International Association of Fire Fighters, 1750 New York Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20006.1ntemet: http://www.iaff.org > U.S. Fire Administration, 16825 South Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, MD 21727. Internet: http://www.usfa.fema.gov Information about professional qualifications and a list of col­ leges and universities offering 2- or 4-year degree 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  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 and detective work can be dangerous and stressful.  •  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 oppor­ tunities.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 duties in a variety of ways, depending on the size and type of their organiza­ tion. In most jurisdictions, they are expected to exercise authority when necessary, whether on or off duty. Uniformed police officers have general law enforcement duties, including maintaining regular patrols and responding to calls for service. They may direct traffic at the scene of an accident, investi­ gate 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 involved in community policing—a practice in which an officer builds relationships with the citizens of local neighborhoods and mobilizes the public to help fight crime. Police agencies are usually organized into geographic districts, with uniformed officers assigned to patrol a specific area, such as part of the business district or outlying residential neighborhoods. Officers may work alone, but, in large agencies, they often patrol with a partner. While on patrol, officers attempt to become thor­ oughly familiar with their patrol area and remain alert for anything unusual. Suspicious circumstances and hazards to public safety are investigated or noted, and officers are dispatched to individual calls for assistance within their district. 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 facili­ ties are examples of special police agencies. These agencies have special geographic jurisdictions and enforcement responsibilities 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 chemical and microscopic analysis, training and firearms instruction, or handwriting and fingerprint identification. Others work with special units, such as horseback, bicycle, motorcycle or harbor patrol; canine corps; special weapons and tactics (SWAT); or emergency response teams. A few lo­ cal and special law enforcement 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 meticulous 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. Sheriffs’ departments tend to be relatively small, most having fewer than 50 sworn officers. Deputy sheriffs have law enforcement duties similar to those of officers in urban police departments. Police and sheriffs’ deputies who provide 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 Handbook.) State police officers (sometimes called State troopers or highway patrol officers) arrest criminals Statewide and patrol highways to enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations. State police officers are best known for issuing traffic citations to motorists. 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 assistance 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 work as investigators, perform court-related duties, or carry out administrative or other assignments.  Service Occupations  Detectives are plainclothes investigators who gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases. Some are assigned to inter­ agency 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 investigating 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 until the case is dropped. Fish and game wardens enforce fishing, hunting, and boating laws. They patrol hunting and fishing areas, conduct search and rescue operations, investigate complaints and accidents, and aid in prosecuting court cases. 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 inves­ tigating violations of more than 200 categories of Federal law and conducting sensitive national security investigations. Agents may conduct surveillance, monitor court-authorized wiretaps, examine business records, investigate white-collar crime, or participate in sensitive undercover assignments. The FBI investigates organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, fraud against the Govern­ ment, bribery, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, air piracy, terrorism, espionage, interstate 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 pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad. Agents may conduct complex criminal investigations, carry out surveillance of criminals, 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 addition, U.S. marshals pursue and arrest Federal fugitives.  363  ports 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 temporary residence in the United States. Customs inspectors enforce laws governing imports and exports by inspecting cargo, baggage, and articles worn or carried by people, vessels, vehicles, trains, and aircraft entering or leaving the United States. These inspectors examine, count, weigh, gauge, measure, and sample commercial and noncommercial cargoes entering and leaving the United States. Customs inspectors seize prohibited or smuggled articles; intercept contraband; and apprehend, search, detain, and arrest violators of U.S. laws. Customs agents investigate violations, such as narcotics smuggling, money laundering, child pornography, and customs fraud, and they enforce the Arms Export Control Act. During domestic and foreign investigations, they develop and use informants; conduct physical and electronic surveillance; and ex­ amine records from importers and exporters, banks, couriers, and manufacturers. They conduct interviews, serve on joint task forces with other agencies, and get and execute search warrants. Federal Air Marshals provide air security by fighting attacks targeting U.S. airports, passengers, and crews. They disguise themselves as ordinary passengers and board flights of U.S. air carriers to locations worldwide. 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.  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents regulate and investigate violations of Federal firearms and explosives laws, as well as Federal alcohol and tobacco tax regulations. 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 manage a complex range of security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information. In the United States, they investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, issue security clearances, and protect the Secretary of State and a number of foreign dignitaries. They also train foreign civilian police and administer a counter-terrorism reward program. The Department of Homeland Security employs numerous law enforcement officers under several different agencies, including Cus­  toms and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Secret Service. 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 United States; to appre­ hend those persons violating the immigration laws; and to interdict contraband, such as narcotics. Immigration inspectors interview and examine people seeking entrance to the United States and its territories. They inspect pass­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In most jurisdictions, police officers are expected to exercise arrest authority, whether they are on or off duty.  364  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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, and the National Park Service.  Working Conditions Police and detective work can be very dangerous and stressful. In addition to the obvious dangers of confrontations with criminals, police officers and detectives need to be constantly alert and ready to deal appropriately with a number of other threatening situations. Many law enforcement officers witness death and suffering resulting from accidents and criminal behavior. A career in law enforcement may take a toll on their private lives. Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and inspectors are usually 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 weekends, holidays, and nights. Police officers and detectives are required to work at any time their services are needed and may work long hours during in­ vestigations. In most jurisdictions, whether on or off duty, officers are expected to be armed and to exercise their 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 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.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Civil service regulations govern the appointment of police and detectives in most States, large municipalities, and special police agencies, as well as in many smaller jurisdictions. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually must be at least 20 years of age, and must meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications. Physical examinations for entrance into law enforcement often include tests of vision, hearing, strength, and agility. Eligibility for appointment usually depends on performance in competitive written examinations and previous education and experience. In larger departments, where the majority of law enforcement jobs are found, applicants usually must have at least a high school education, and some departments require a year or two of college coursework. Federal and State agencies typically require a col­ lege 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 psycholo­ gist 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. Train­ ing includes classroom instruction in constitutional 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  response. Police departments 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 detec­ tive or to specialize in one type of police work, such as working with juveniles. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain usually are made according to a candidate’s position on a promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and on-the-job performance. Most States require at least two years of college study to qualify as a fish and game warden. Applicants must pass written and physi­ cal examinations and vision, hearing, psychological, and drug tests similar to those taken by other law enforcement officers. Once hired, officers attend a training academy lasting from 3 to 12 months, sometimes followed by further training in the field. To be considered for appointment as an FBI agent, an applicant must be a graduate of an accredited law school or a college graduate with one of the followingta major in accounting, electrical engineer­ ing, or information technology; fluency in a foreign language; or three years of related full-time work experience. All new agents undergo 18 weeks of training at the FBI Academy 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, a minimum of three years’ related work experi­ ence, or a combination of education and experience. Prospective special agents undergo 11 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 DEA must have a col­ lege degree with at least a 2.95 grade point average or specialized skills or work experience, such as foreign language fluency, technical skills, law enforcement experience, or accounting experience. 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, be 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 experience that dem­ onstrates 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 combination 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 public accountant. They also must pass a background 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 subjects. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal postsecondary education, and a significant number are college graduates. Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer programs in law enforcement or administration of justice. Other courses helpful in preparing for a career in law enforcement include accounting, finance, electrical engineering, computer science, and  Service Occupations foreign languages. Physical education and sports are helpful in developing the competitiveness, 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 employees established by the States, and Federal agency training centers, instructors provide annual training in self-defense tactics, firearms, use-of-force policies, sensitivity and communications skills, crowd-control techniques, relevant legal developments, and advances in law enforcement equip­ ment. 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.  Employment Police and detectives held about 842,000 jobs in 2004. About 80 percent were employed by local governments. State police agencies employed about 12 percent, and various Federal agencies employed about 6 percent. A small proportion worked for educational services, rail transportation, and contract investigation 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 employ fewer than 25 officers each.  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 enforcement officers in many agencies may retire with a pension after 25 or 30 years of service, allowing them to pursue a second career while still in their 40s or 50s. Because of relatively attractive salaries and benefits, the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of job openings in Federal law enforcement agencies and in most State police departments—resulting in increased hir­ ing standards and selectivity by employers. Competition should remain keen for higher paying jobs with State and Federal agen­ cies 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 com­ munities where the crime rate is relatively high. Applicants with college training in police science, military police experience, or both should have the best opportunities. Employment of police and detectives is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. A more security-conscious society and concern about drug-related crimes should contribute to the increasing demand for police services. However, employment growth will be hindered by reductions in Federal hiring grants to local police departments and by expectations of low crime rates by the general public. The level of government spending determines the level of em­ ployment for police and detectives. The number of job opportuni­ ties, therefore, can vary from year to year and from place to place. Layoffs, on the other hand, are rare because retirements enable most staffing cuts to be handled through attrition. Trained law enforce­ ment 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.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  365  Earnings Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual earnings of $45,210 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,410 and $56,360. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,910, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $68,880. Median annual earnings were $44,750 in Federal Government, $48,980 in State government, and $45,010 in local government. In May 2004, median annual earnings of police and detective supervisors were $64,430. The middle 50 percent earned between $49,370 and $80,510. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $96,950. Me­ dian annual earnings were $86,030 in Federal Government, $62,300 in State government, and $63,590 in local government. In May 2004, median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $53,990. The middle 50 percent earned between $40,690 and $72,280. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,010. Me­ dian annual earnings were $75,700 in Federal Government, $46,670 in State government, and $49,650 in local government. Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees 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 2005, FBI agents entered Federal service as GS-10 em­ ployees on the pay scale at a base salary of $42,548, yet they earned about $53,185 a year with availability pay. They could advance to the GS-13 grade level in field nonsupervisory assignments at a base salary of $64,478, which was worth $80,597 with availability pay. FBI supervisory, management, and executive positions in grades GS-14 and GS-15 paid a base salary of about $76,193 and $89,625 a year, respectively, which amounted to $95,241 or $112,031 per year including availability pay. Salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where the prevailing local pay level was higher. Because Federal agents may be eligible for a special law enforcement benefits package, applicants should ask their recruiter for more information. According to the International City-County Management Association’s annual Police and Fire Personnel, Salaries, and Ex­ penditures Survey, average salaries for sworn full-time positions in 2004 were as follows:  Minimum annual base salary  Maximum annual base salary  Police chief............................................. $72,924...................... $92,983 Deputy chief........................................... 61,110...................... 76,994 Police captain.......................................... 60,908..................... 75,497 Police lieutenant....................................... 56,115 67,580 Police sergeant......................................... 49,895 59,454 Police corporal......................................... 41,793 51,661 Total earnings for local, State, and special police and detectives frequently exceed the stated salary because of payments for overtime, which can be significant. In addition to the common benefits—paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and life insurance—most police and sheriffs’ departments provide officers with special allowances for uniforms. Because police officers usually are covered by liberal pen­ sion plans, many retire at half-pay after 25 or 30 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, pri­ vate detectives and investigators, and security guards and gaming surveillance officers.  366  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Sources of Additional Information Information about entrance requirements may be obtained from Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies. For general information about sheriffs and to learn more about the National Sheriffs’ Association scholarship, contact: >- National Sheriffs’ Association, 1450 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.sheritTs.ory Information about qualifications for employment as a FBI Special Agent is available from the nearest State FBI office. The address and phone number are listed in the local telephone directory. Internet:  http://www.fbi.gov Information on career opportunities, qualifications, and training 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 Spe­ cial 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 train­ ing to become a deputy marshal is available from: >• U.S. Marshals Sendee, Human Resources Division—Lav.' Enforcement Re­ cruiting, Washington, DC 20530-1000. Internet: http://www.usmarshals.gov For information on operations and career opportunities in the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives opera­ tions, 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 Protec­ tion is available from: >• U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20229. Internet: http://www.cbp.gov Information about law enforcement agencies within the Depart­ ment of Homeland Security is available from: ► U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC20528. Internet: http://www.dhs.gov  Private Detectives and Investigators (0*Net 33-9021.00)  Significant Points •  Work hours are often irregular, and the work can be dangerous.  •  About 1 in 4 are self-employed.  •  Applicants typically have related experience in areas such as law enforcement, insurance, the military, or government investigative or intelligence jobs.  •  Despite faster-than-average employment growth, keen competition is expected because of the large number of qualified people who are attracted to this occupation; the most opportunities will be found in entry-level jobs with detective agencies or in stores that hire detectives on a part-time basis.  Nature of the Work Private detectives and investigators use many methods to deter­ mine the facts in a variety of matters. To carry out investigations, 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 workplace.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In other cases, especially those involving missing persons 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 legal, financial, and personal problems. Private detectives and investigators offer many services, includ­ ing executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; pre-employment verification; and individual background profiles. They investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft, harassing e-mails, and illegal downloading of copyrighted material. They also provide assistance in civil liability and personal injury cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody and protection cases, missing persons cases, and pre­ marital screening. They are sometimes hired to investigate individuals to prove or disprove infidelity. Most detectives and investigators are trained to perform physical surveillance. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject, from an inconspicuous location or a vehicle. They continue the surveillance, which is often carried out using still and video cameras, binoculars, and a cell phone, until the desired evidence is obtained. This watching and waiting often continues for a long time. Detectives also may perform computer database searches or work with someone who does. Computers allow investigators to quickly obtain massive amounts of information on individuals’ prior arrests, convictions, and civil legal judgments; telephone numbers; motor vehicle registrations; association and club memberships; and other matters. The duties of private detectives and investigators depend on the needs of their clients. In cases for employers that involve fraudulent workers’ compensation claims, for example, investi­ gators may carry out long-term covert observation of subjects. If an investigator observes a subject performing an activity that contradicts injuries stated in a worker’s 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, investigate and document acts of piracy, help clients stop illegal activity, and provide intelligence for prosecution and civil action. Other investi­ gators specialize in developing financial profiles and asset searches. Their reports reflect information gathered 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 frequently assist in preparing criminal defenses, locating witnesses, serving legal documents, interviewing police and prospective witnesses, and gathering and reviewing evidence. Legal investigators also may collect information on the parties to the litigation, take pho­ tographs, testify in court, and assemble evidence and reports for trials. Corporate investigators conduct internal and external investiga­ tions for corporations. In internal investigations, they may investi­ gate drug use in the workplace, ensure that expense accounts are not abused, or determine whether employees are stealing merchandise or information. External investigations are typically done to un­ cover criminal schemes originating outside the corporation, such as theft of company assets through fraudulent billing of products by suppliers. Financial investigators may be hired to develop confidential financial profiles of individuals or companies that are prospective parties to large financial transactions. These investigators often are certified public accountants (CPAs) who work closely with invest-  Service Occupations  367  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  it sm  h,  Some private detectives and investigators work in their offices most of the day, conducting computer searches and making phone calls. ment bankers and other 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 responsible for controlling losses and protecting assets. Store detectives, also known as loss prevention agents, safeguard the assets of retail stores by apprehending anyone attempting to steal merchandise or destroy store property. They prevent theft by shoplifters, ven­ dor representatives, delivery personnel and even store employ­ ees. Store detectives also conduct periodic inspections of stock areas, dressing rooms, and restrooms, and sometimes assist 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 be­ cause of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who are not available during normal working hours. Early morning, 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 em­ ploy other investigators may work primarily in an office and have normal business hours. When the investigator is working on a case away from the office, the environment 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 investigator to be armed, such as certain bodyguard assignments for corpo­ rate 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 the work is gathering information and not law enforcement or criminal apprehension. Owners of investigative agencies have the added stress of having to deal with demanding and sometimes Digitized fordistraught FRASER clients. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  There are no formal education requirements for most private detec­ tive and investigator jobs, although many private detectives have college degrees. Private detectives and investigators typically have previous experience in other occupations. Some work initially for insurance or collections companies, in the private security industry, or as paralegals. Many investigators enter the field after serving in law enforcement, the military, government auditing and investigative positions, or Federal intelligence jobs. Former law enforcement officers, military investigators, and government agents, who are frequently able to retire after 25 years of service, often become private detectives or investigators in a second career. Others enter from such diverse fields as finance, accounting, commercial credit, investigative reporting, insurance, and law. These individuals often can apply their prior work experience in a related investigative specialty. A few enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice or police science. The majority of States and the District of Colombia require private detectives and investigators to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, however. Seven States—Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota—have no statewide licensing requirements, some States have few re­ quirements, and many other States have stringent regulations. A growing number of States are enacting mandatory training programs for private detectives and investigators. For example, the Bureau of Security 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 science, criminal law, or justice and experience equaling 3 years (6,000 hours) of investigative experience; pass a criminal history background check by the California Department of Justice and the FBI (in most States, convicted felons cannot be issued a license); 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 can­ didate 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 enforcement or other fields. Because the courts often are the ultimate judge of a properly conducted investiga­ tion, the investigator must be able to present the facts in a manner that a jury will believe. Training in subjects such as criminal justice and police science is helpful to aspiring private detectives and investigators. Most corporate investigators must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business-related field. Some corporate investigators have a master’s degree in business administration or a law degree, while others are CPAs. Corporate investigators hired by large companies may receive formal training from their employers on business practices, management structure, and various finance-related topics. The screening process for potential employees typically includes a background check for a criminal history. Some investigators receive certification from a professional organization to demonstrate competency in a field. For example, the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) confers the Certified Legal Investigator designation to licensed investigators who devote a majority of their practice to negligence or criminal defense investigations. To receive the designation, applicants must satisfy experience, educational, and continuing-training requirements and must pass written and oral exams administered by the NALL  368  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 detective agencies at the beginning of their careers and, after a few years, start their own firms. Corporate and legal investigators may rise to supervisor or manager of the security or investigations department.  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 and about the Certified Legal Investigator credential, contact: ► National Association of Legal Investigators, 908 21st St., Sacramento, CA 95814-3118. Internet: http://www.nalionline.org  Employment Private detectives and investigators held about 43,000jobs in 2004. About 26 percent were self-employed, including many who held a secondary job as a self-employed private detective. Around 27 percent of jobs were in investigation and security services, including private detective agencies, while another 15 percent were in department or other general merchandise stores. The rest worked mostly in State and local government, legal services firms, employment services companies, insurance agencies, and credit mediation establishments, including banks and other depository institutions.  Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers (0*NET 33-9031.00, 33-9032.00)  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 individu­ als seeking a second or part-time job.  •  Some positions, such as those of armored car guards, are hazardous.  Job Outlook Keen competition is expected because private detective and inves­ tigator careers attract many qualified people, including relatively young retirees from law enforcement and military careers. The best opportunities will be in entry-level jobs with detective agen­ cies or in stores that hire detectives on a part-time basis. The best prospects for those seeking store detective jobs will be 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 2014. 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 in­ vestigators will result from fear of crime, increased litigation, and the need to protect confidential information and property of all kinds. The proliferation of criminal activity on the Inter­ net, such as identity theft, spamming, e-mail harassment, and illegal downloading of copyrighted materials, will increase the demand for private investigators. Employee background checks, conducted by private investigators, will become standard for an increasing number of jobs. Growing 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 investi­ gators were $32,110 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,080 and $43,260. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,470. Earnings of private detectives and investigators vary greatly by employer, specialty, and geographic area.  Related Occupations Private detectives and investigators often collect information and protect the property and other assets of companies and individu­ als. Others with related duties include bill and account collectors; claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators; police and detectives; and security guards and gaming surveillance officers. Investigators who specialize in conducting financial profiles and asset searches perform work closely related to that of accountants, auditors, financial analysts, and personal financial advisors.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 investment, enforce laws on the property, and deter criminal activity and other problems. They use radio and telephone communications to call for assistance from police, fire, or emergency medical services as the situation dictates. Security guards write comprehensive reports outlining their observations and activities during their assigned shift. They also may interview witnesses or victims, prepare case reports, and testify in court. Although all security guards perform many of the same duties, their specific duties vary with whether the guard works in a “static” security position or on a mobile patrol. Guards assigned to static security positions usually serve the client at one location for a speci­ fied length of time. These guards must become closely acquainted with the property and people associated with it and must often monitor alarms and closed-circuit TV cameras. In contrast, guards assigned to mobile patrol duty drive or walk from location to loca­ tion and conduct security checks within an assigned geographical zone. They may detain or arrest criminal violators, answer service calls concerning criminal activity or problems, and issue traffic violation warnings. The security guard’s 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 employees, and they help apprehend shoplifting suspects prior to the arrival of the police. Some shopping centers and theaters have officers who patrol their parking lots to deter car thefts 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  Service Occupations people, freight, property, and equipment. Using metal detectors and high-tech equipment, they may screen passengers and visitors for weapons and explosives, ensure that nothing is stolen while a vehicle is 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, labora­ tories, government buildings, data processing centers, and 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. Security guards stationed at the entrance to bars and places of adult entertain­ ment, such as nightclubs, prevent access by minors, collect cover charges at the door, maintain order among customers, and protect property and patrons. Armored car guards protect money and valuables during transit. In addition, they protect individuals responsible for making com­ mercial 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 track and the business can be extremely hazardous; because of this risk, armored car guards usually wear bulletproof vests. All security officers must show good judgment and common sense, follow directions and directives from supervisors, testify accurately in court, and follow company policy and guidelines. Guards should have a professional appearance and attitude 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 orga­ nization, the security manager often is in charge of a trained guard force divided into shifts; in a small organization, a single worker may be responsible for all security. Gaming surveillance officers, also known as surveillance agents, and gaming investigators act as security agents for casino managers and patrons. Using primarily audio and video equipment in an observation room, they observe casino operations for irregular activities, such as cheating or theft, by either employees or patrons. They keep record­ ings that are sometimes used as evidence against alleged criminals in police investigations. Some casinos use a catwalk over one-way mir­ rors located above the casino floor to augment electronic surveillance equipment. Surveillance agents occasionally leave the surveillance room and walk the casino floor.  ,s....ISagfei   Security guards patrol and inspect property to deter crime. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  369  Working Conditions Most security guards and gaming surveillance officers spend con­ siderable time on their feet, either assigned to a specific post or patrolling buildings and grounds. Guards may be stationed 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 community and may 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 and thus 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 divide daytime, weekend, and holiday work equally. Guards usually eat on the job instead of taking a regular break away from the site. In 2004, 16% of guards worked part time, and many individuals held a second job as a guard to supplement their primary earnings.  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 detention of suspected criminals. Drug testing often is required and may be random and ongoing. Many employers of unarmed guards do not have any specific educational requirements. For armed guards, employers usually prefer individuals who are high school graduates or who 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 occupations. Guards who carry weapons must be licensed by the appropri­ ate government authority, and some receive further certification as special police officers, allowing 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 with unarmed security guards, armed guards and special police typically enjoy higher earnings and benefits, greater job security, and more potential for advancement. Usually, they also are given more train­ ing and responsibility. Rigorous hiring and screening programs consisting of back­ ground, criminal record, and fingerprint checks arc 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 to cope with emergencies. Guards who have frequent contact with the public should communicate well. The amount of training guards receive varies. Training require­ ments are higher for armed guards because their employers are legally responsible for any use of force. Armed guards receive formal training in areas such as weapons retention and laws cover­ ing the use of force. Many employers give newly hired guards instruction before they start the job and provide on-the-job training. An increasing 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.  370  Occupational Outlook Handbook  The American Society for Industrial Security International has written voluntary training guidelines that are intended to provide regulating bodies consistent minimum standards for the quality of security services. These guidelines recommend that security guards receive at least 48 hours of training within the first 100 days of employment. The guidelines also suggest that security guards be required to pass a written or performance examination covering topics such as sharing information with law enforcement, crime prevention, handling evidence, the use of force, court testimony, report writing, interpersonal and communication skills, and emer­ gency response procedures. In addition, they recommend annual training and additional firearms training for armed officers. Guards who are 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—and even then, they perform their tasks only under close supervision. They are taught to use firearms, admin­ ister first aid, operate alarm systems and electronic security equipment, and spot and deal with security problems. Guards who are authorized to carry firearms may be periodically tested in their use. Because many people do not stay long in this occupation, oppor­ tunities for advancement are good for those who are career security officers. Most large organizations use a military type of ranking that offers the possibility of advancement in both position and salary. Some guards may advance to supervisor or security manager posi­ tions. Guards with management skills may open their own contract security guard agencies. Pay rates vary substantially with the security level of the establishment, so there is also the opportunity to move to higher paying jobs with increased experience and training. In addition to possessing the keen observation skills required to perform their jobs, gaming surveillance officers and gaming investi­ gators must have excellent verbal and writing abilities to document 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. Gaming surveillance officers and investigators usually need some training beyond high school, but not a bachelor’s degree; previous security experience is a plus. Several educational institutes offer certification programs. Training classes usually are conducted in a casino-like atmosphere and use surveillance camera equipment. Employers prefer either individuals with significant knowledge of casino operations through work experience or those with experience conducting investigations, such as former law enforcement officers.  Employment Security guards and gaming surveillance officers held over 1.0 million jobs in 2004. Over half of all jobs for security guards were in investigation and security services, including guard and armored car services. These organizations provide security 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, manufactur­ ing 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 primarily in gambling industries; traveler accommodation, which includes casino hotels; and local government. Gaming surveillance officers were employed only in those States and on those Indian reservations where gambling has been legalized. A significant number of law enforcement officers work as security guards when they are off duty, in order to supplement their incomes. Often working in uniform and with the official cars assigned to them,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  they add a high-profile security presence to the establishment with which they have contracted. At construction sites and apartment complexes, for example, their presence often deters crime. (Police and detectives are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)  Job Outlook Opportunities for security guards and gaming surveillance officers should be favorable. Numerous job openings will stem from em­ ployment growth attributable to the demand for increased security and from the need to replace those who leave this large occupation each year. In addition to full-time job opportunities, the limited training requirements and flexible hours attract many persons seek­ ing part-time or second jobs. However, competition 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 officers is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014 as concern about crime, vandalism, and terrorism continues to increase the need for security. Demand for guards also will grow as private security firms increasingly perform duties—such as provid­ ing security at public events and in residential neighborhoods—that were formerly handled by police officers. Casinos will continue to hire more surveillance officers as more States legalize gambling and as the number of casinos increases in States where gambling is already legal. In addition, casino security forces will employ more technically trained personnel as technology becomes increasingly important in thwarting casino cheating and theft.  Earnings Median annual earnings of security guards were $20,320 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $16,640 and $25,510. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33,270. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of security guards in May 2004 were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools............................................... $25,030 General medical and surgical hospitals......................................... 24,750 Local government ........................................................................ 23,690 Traveler accommodation............................................................... 21,710 Investigation and security services............................................... 19,030 Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators had median annual earnings of $25,840 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,430 and $33,790. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $42,420.  Related Occupations Guards protect property, maintain security, and enforce regulations and standards of conduct in the establishments at which they work. Related security and protective service occupations include cor­ rectional officers, police and detectives, and private detectives and investigators.  Sources of Additional Information Further information about work opportunities for guards is available 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  371  Food Preparation and Service 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 prepara­ tion workers—almost 19 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, because many of these workers transfer to other occupations with higher earnings or bum out from the fast work pace and pressure to fill orders quickly.  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 temperatures of ovens and stovetops. In general, chefs and cooks measure, mix, and cook ingredients 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 responsible for directing the work of other kitchen workers, estimating 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 foodpreparation work­ ers. 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 that 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 determine serving sizes, plan menus, order food supplies, and oversee kitchen operations to ensure uniform quality and presentation of meals. The terms chef and cook often are used interchangeably, but gen­ erally reflect the different types of chefs and the organizational structure of the kitchen staff. For example, an executive chef is in charge of all food service operations and also may supervise the many kitchens of a hotel, restaurant 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 bet­ ter trained than cooks. Many chefs earn fame both for themselves and for their kitchens because of the quality and distinctive nature of FRASER the food they serve. Digitized for https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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. Restaurant 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 ham­ burgers, prepare sandwiches, fry eggs, and cook French fries, often working 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. (Combinedfood preparation and service workers, who both prepare and serve items in fast-food restaurants, are included with the material on food and beverage serving and related workers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Some cooks do not work in restaurant or food service kitchens. Private household cooks (or personal chefs) plan and prepare meals in private homes according to the client’s tastes or dietary needs. They order groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen and wash dishes and utensils. They also may serve meals. Research chefs combine culinary skills with knowledge of food science to develop recipes and test new formulas, experiment with flavors and eye appeal of prepared foods, and test new products and equipment for chain restaurants, food growers and processors, and manufacturers and marketers. 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 ingredients, 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 responsibilities also include cleaning work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, and silverware. The number and types of workers employed in kitchens depends 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 shortorder specialties and ready-made desserts. 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 for cus­ tomers to carry out. Typically, entrees, side dishes, salads, or other items are prepared in large quantities and stored at an appropriate temperature. Servers portion and package items according to customer orders for serving at home.  Working Conditions Many restaurant and institutional kitchens have modem 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 properly 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.  372  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers must observe local health and sanitation standards. 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 standing for hours at a time, lifting heavy pots and kettles, and working 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 eve­ nings, holidays, and weekends. Work schedules of chefs, cooks and other kitchen workers in factory and school cafeterias may be more regular. In 2004, about 40 percent of cooks and 46 percent of food preparation workers had part-time schedules, compared to 16 percent of workers throughout the economy. Work schedules in fine-dining restaurants, however, tend to be longer, because of the time required to prepare ingredients in advance. Many executive chefs regularly work 12-hour days because they oversee the delivery of foodstuffs early in the day, plan the menu, and start preparing those menu items that take the greatest amount of preparation time or skill. The wide range in dining hours and the need for fully-staffed kitch­ ens during all open hours creates work opportunities for individuals seeking supplemental income, flexible work hours, or variable sched­ ules. For example, almost 19 percent of cooks and food preparation workers were 16-19 years old in 2004, and almost 11 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 usually only offer seasonal employment.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most fast-food or short-order cooks and food preparation workers require little education or training; most skills are learned on the job. Training generally starts with basic sanitation and workplace 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 general business and computer classes for those who want to manage or open their own place. Many school districts, in cooperation 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. Internships provide valuable experience and can lead to placement in more formal chef training programs.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Executive chefs and head cooks who work in fine-dining restau­ rants 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, profes­ sional 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 training programs require some form of apprenticeship, internship, or out-placement program jointly offered by the school and affiliated restaurants. Professional culinary institutes, industry associations, and trade unions also may sponsor formal apprenticeship programs in coordination with the U.S. De­ partment of Labor. Many chefs are trained on the job, receiving real work experience and training from chef mentors in the restaurants where they work. People who have had courses in commercial food preparation 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 voca­ tional 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-grant­ ing programs are open only to high school graduates. Chefs also may compete and test for certification as master chefs. Although certification is not required to enter the field, it can be a measure of accomplishment and lead to further advancement and higher-pay­ ing positions. The U.S. Armed Forces also are a good source of training and experience. Although curricula may vary, students in formal culinary train­ ing 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 equipment. Train­ ing programs often include courses in nutrition, menu planning, portion control, purchasing and inventory methods, 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 service are featured in some training programs. The number of formal and informal culinary training programs 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; cooking for banquets, buffets, or parties; and cuisines and cooking styles from around the world. The American Culinary Federation accredits more than 100 formal training programs and sponsors apprenticeship programs around the country. Typical apprenticeships last three years and combine classroom training and work experience. Accreditation is an indication that a culinary program meets recognized standards regarding course content, facilities, and quality of instruction. The American Culinary Federation also certifies pastry professionals, personal chefs, and culinary educators in addition to various levels of chefs. Certification standards are based primarily on experience 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.  Service Occupations Important characteristics for chefs, cooks, and food preparation 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 can be an asset because it may improve communication with other restaurant staff, vendors, and the restaurant’s clientele. Advancement opportunities for chefs, cooks, and food prepara­ tion 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 demonstrate 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 personal chefs or they open their own restaurant. Others become instructors in culinary training programs. A number of cooks and chefs advance to executive chef positions or food service management positions, particularly in hotels, clubs, or larger, more elegant restaurants where they may oversee operations in a number of kitchens or res­ taurants. (See the statement on food service managers elsewhere in the Handbook.)  Employment Chefs, cooks and food preparation workers held nearly 3.1 million jobs in 2004. The distribution of jobs among the various types of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers was as follows: Food preparation workers ......................................................... $889,000 Cooks, restaurant........................................................................ 783,000 Cooks, fast food ......................................................................... 662,000 Cooks, institution and cafeteria.................................................. 424,000 Cooks, short order...................................................................... 230,000 Chefs and head cooks................................................................. 125,000 Cooks, private household........................................................... 9,200 Nearly two-thirds of all chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers were employed in restaurants and other food services and drinking places. Almost one-fifth worked in institutions such as schools, universities, hospitals, and nursing care facilities. Grocery stores, hotels, gasoline stations with convenience stores, and other organizations employed the remainder.  Job Outlook Job openings for chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers are expected to be plentiful through 2014; however, competition should be keen for jobs in the top kitchens of higher end restaurants. While job growth will create new positions, primarily due to the expansion of family-casual dining, the overwhelming majority ofjob openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave this large occu­ pational group. Many chef, cook, and food preparation worker jobs are attractive to people seeking first-time or short-term employment, additional income, or a flexible schedule. Employers typically hire a large number of part-time workers and require minimal education and training for these lesser skilled entry-level positions. Many of these workers transfer to other occupations or stop working, creating numerous 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 2004-14 period. Employment growth will be spurred by increases in population, household income, and leisure  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  373  time that will allow people to more often dine out and take vacations. In addition, the large number of two-income households will lead more families to opt for the convenience of dining out. Projected employment growth, however, varies by specialty. The number of higher-skilled chefs and cooks working in full-service restaurants—those that offer table service and more varied menus—is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Much of the increase in this segment, however, will come from job growth in more casual dining, rather than up-scale full-service restaurants. Dining trends sug­ gest increasing numbers of meals eaten away from home and growth in family dining restaurants, but greater limits on expense-account meals. Similarly, employment of food preparation workers will grow faster than the average reflecting diners desires for convenience as they shop for carryout meals in a greater variety of places—full-service restaurants, limited-service eating places, or grocery stores. Employment of fast-food cooks is expected to grow about as fast as the average. Duties of cooks in fast-food restaurants 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 services 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. Employment of cooks, private household, however, is projected to decline, reflecting the general decline in private household service employment. Employment of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers who prepare meals-to-go, such as those who work in the prepared foods sections of grocery or specialty food stores, should increase much faster than the average as people continue to demand quality meals and con­ venience. Similarly, much faster than average growth also is expected among those who work in contract food service establishments, such as those that provide catering services, and those who support employee dining rooms or staff hotel restaurants on a contract basis. These changes reflect a continuing trend among large establishments to contract out food services so they may better focus on their core business of running a hospital, hotel, factory or school. Also, there is a growing consumer desire for healthier, made-from-scratch meals without sacrificing the convenience of pre-packaged prepared foods or fast-food dining.  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. Median hourly earnings of chefs and head cooks were $14.75 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.71 and $20.28. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.28, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.75 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest number of chefs and head cooks in May 2004 were: Other amusement and recreation industries.................................. $19.27 Traveler accommodations.............................................................. 18.25 Special food services...................................................................... 15.06 Full-service restaurants .................................................................. 13.57 Limited-service eating places ....................................................... 12.00 Median hourly earnings of cooks, private household were $9.42 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.08 and $12.79.  374  Occupational Outlook Handbook  The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.01, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $16.55 per hour. Median hourly earnings of restaurant cooks were $9.39 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.79 and $11.13. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.76, and the highest 10 percent earned more than$13.37 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employ­ ing the largest numbers of restaurant cooks in May 2004 were: Traveler accommodations.............................................................. $10.69 Other amusement and recreation industries................................... 10.55 Special food services...................................................................... 10.00 Full-service restaurants .................................................................. 9.34 Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)........................................... 9.27 Limited-service eating places ........................................................ 8.25 Median hourly earnings of institution and cafeteria cooks were $9.10 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.20 and $11.22. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.08, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $13.72 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of institution and cafeteria cooks in May 2004 were: General medical and surgical hospitals........................................... $10.38 Special food services....................................................................... 10.11 Community care facilities for the elderly....................................... 9.60 Nursing care facilities..................................................................... 9.33 Elementary and secondary schools................................................. 8.06 Median hourly earnings of short-order cooks were $8.11 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.90 and $9.92. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.97, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.50 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of short-order cooks in May 2004 were: Full-service restaurants..................................................................... $8.53 Drinking places (alcoholic beverages).............................................. 8.08 Other amusement and recreation industries...................................... 7.79 Limited-service eating places........................................................... 7.21 Gasoline stations............................................................................... 6.99 Median hourly earnings of food preparation workers were $8.03 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.89 and $9.78. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.97, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $ 11.90 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of food preparation workers in May 2004 were: Elementary and secondary schools................................................... $9.04 Grocery stores................................................................................... 8.54 Nursing care facilities....................................................................... 8.10 Full-service restaurants....................................................................... 7.94 Limited-service eating places............................................................. 7.27 Median hourly earnings of fast-food cooks were $7.07 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.20 and $8.22. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.68, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.63 per hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of fast-food cooks in May 2004 were: Grocery stores................................................................................... Special food services........................................ Gasoline stations............................................................................... Full-service restaurants..................................................................... Limited-service eating places.............................................................   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  $8.26 7.97 7.18 7.16 7.02  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 work­ ers 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 Res­ taurant 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 butch­ ers and meat cutters, and bakers. Others who work closely with these workers include food service managers and food and beverage serving and related workers  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local 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 careers, 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 information about becoming a personal chef, contact: >- American Personal Chef Association, 4572 Delaware St., San Diego, CA 92116. For general information on hospitality careers, contact: >■ International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Educa­ tion, 2613 North Parham Rd., 2nd Floor, Richmond, VA23294. 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 so many opportunities exist for young people—about one-fourth of these workers were 16 to 19 years old, almost six times the proportion for all workers.  •  Job openings are expected to be abundant through 2014 because many of these workers transfer to other occupations or stop working, creating numerous openings.  •  Tips comprise a major portion of earnings, so keen competition is expected for jobs where potential earnings from tips are greatest—bartenders, waiters and waitress­ es, and other jobs in popular restaurants and fine dining establishments.  Service Occupations  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 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 identification 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 perform these duties. Bartenders fill drink orders either taken directly from patrons 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 cus­ tomers. 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 main­ taining 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 talking 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 establishments, especially larger, higher volume ones, use equipment that automatically mea­ sures, pours and mixes drinks at the push of a button. 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 individual order. Hosts and hostesses welcome guests and maintain reservation 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  375  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 helpers 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, silver­ ware, 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. Cafeteria at­ tendants stock serving tables with food, trays, dishes, and silverware and may carry trays to dining tables for patrons. Bartender helpers keep bar equipment clean and wash glasses. Dishwashers clean dishes, cutlery, and kitchen utensils and equipment. 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 lunchrooms 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 containers. They clean counters, write itemized checks, and sometimes accept payment. Some counter attendants may prepare short-order items, such as sandwiches and salads. Some food and beverage serving workers take orders from cus­ tomers 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. Other workers serve food to patrons outside of a restaurant en­ vironment, 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.  *li®&  Waiters and waitresses are under pressure to serve customers quickly, courteously, and efficiently during busy dining periods.  376  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Part-time work is more common among food and beverage serving and related workers than among workers in almost any other occupation. In 2004, those on part-time schedules included half of all waiters and waitresses, and 40 percent of all bartenders. Food service and drinking establishments typically maintain long dining hours and offer flexible and varied work opportunities. Many food and beverage serving and related workers work evenings, weekends, and holidays. 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 serving and related workers were 16 to 19 years old—about six times the proportion for all workers.  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 work­ ers, counter attendants, dishwashers, and dining room attendants and bartender helpers. For many people a job as a food and beverage service worker serves as a source of immediate income, rather than a career. Many entrants 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 industry. Food and beverage serving and related workers who exhibit excellent personal qualities—such as a neat clean appearance, 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 confusing customers’ orders and to recall faces, names, and preferences of frequent patrons. These workers also should be comfortable 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 helpful 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 income potential from tips, but they may also have stiffer employment requirements than other establishments, such as prior table service experience or higher education. Usually, bartenders must be at least 21 years of age, but employ­ ers 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 full-service restaurants also provide new dining room employees with some form of classroom-type training that alternates with periods of actual on-the-job work experience. These training programs communicate the operating philosophy of the restaurant, help establish a personal rapport with other staff and instill a desire to work as a team. They also provide an opportunity to discuss cus­ tomer service situations and the proper ways of handling unpleasant circumstances or unruly patrons with new employees. Additionally, managers, chefs and servers may meet before each shift to discuss the menu and any new items or specials, review ingredients for any potential food allergies, or talk about any food safety concerns, coordination between the kitchen and the dining room, and any customer service issues from the previous day or shift.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, use self-instruction or on-line programs with audiovisual presentations and instructional booklets to teach new employees food preparation and service skills. Some public and private vocational schools, res­ taurant associations, and large restaurant chains provide classroom training in a generalized food service curriculum. All employees receive training on safe food handling procedures and sanitation practices. 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 regulations, cocktail recipes, proper 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 attainment, some specialized train­ ing is usually needed in food handling and legal issues surrounding serving alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Employers are more likely to hire and promote based on people skills and personal qualities rather than education. Due to the relatively small size of most food-serving establish­ ments, opportunities for promotion are limited. After gaining 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. Some bartenders, hosts and hostesses and waiters and waitresses advance to supervisory jobs, such as dining room supervisor, maitre d’hotel, assistant manager, or restaurant general manager. A few bartenders open their own businesses. 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 report on food service managers.)  Employment Food and beverage serving and related workers held 6.8 million jobs in 2004. The distribution of jobs among the various food and beverage serving workers was as follows: Waiters and waitresses ...................................................................... 2,252,000 Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food......................................................................... 2,150,000 Dishwashers .......................................................................................... 507,000 Bartenders .............................................................................................. 474,000 Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop ....................................................................................... 465,000 Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers..... 401,000 Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop .......... 328,000 Food servers, nonrestaurant ............................................................... 189,000 All other food preparation and serving related workers ............. 64,000  The overwhelming majority of jobs for food and beverage serv­ ing 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 em­ ployment, and some workers alternate between summer and winter resorts, instead of remaining in one area the entire year.  Job Outlook Job openings are expected to be abundant for food and beverage serving and related workers. Overall employment of these workers  Service Occupations is expected to increase as fast as the average over the 2004-14 period as population, personal incomes, and employment expand. While employment growth will create 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 substantial movement into and out of these occupations because education and training requirements are minimal and the predomi­ nance of part-time jobs are 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 establish­ ments, where potential earnings from tips are greatest. Projected employment growth between 2004 and 2014 varies somewhat by type of job; however, average employment growth is expected for almost all food and beverage serving and related oc­ cupations. Employment of combined food preparation and serving workers, which includes fast-food workers, is expected to increase as fast as the average in response to the continuing fast-paced life­ style of many Americans and the addition of healthier foods at many fast-food restaurants. Average employment growth is expected for waiters and waitresses and hosts and hostesses because increases in the number of families and the more affluent, 55-and-older popula­ tion will result in more restaurants that offer table service and more varied menus. Employment of bartenders, 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 and drinking places that employ more of these workers.  Earnings Food and beverage serving and related workers derive their earnings from a combination of hourly wages and customer tips. Earnings vary greatly, depending on the type of job and establishment. For example, fast-food workers and hosts and hostesses 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 typi­ cally earn more from tips than from wages. In some restaurants, workers contribute all or 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 feel a part of a team and to share in the rewards of good service. In May 2004, median hourly earnings (including tips) of waiters and waitresses were $6.75. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.04 and $8.34. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.60, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.27 an hour. For most waiters and waitresses, higher earnings are primarily 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, expensive restaurants earn the most. Bartenders had median hourly earnings (including tips) of $7.42 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.34 and $9.26. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.72, and the high­ est 10 percent earned more than $12.47 an hour. Like waiters and waitresses, bartenders employed in public bars may receive more than half of their earnings as tips. Service bartenders 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 $7.10 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.24 and $8.25. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.68, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.88 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  377  Median hourly earnings of hosts and hostesses were $7.52 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.48 and $8.63. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.77, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.49 an hour. Wages comprised the majority of their earnings. In some cases, wages were supplemented hy proceeds from tip pools. Median hourly earnings of combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, were $7.06 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.18 and $8.25. The low­ est 10 percent earned less than $5.65, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.85 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 $7.53 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.50 and $8.59 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.80, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.38 an hour. Median hourly earnings of dishwashers were $7.35 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.41 and $8.37. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.76, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $9.81 an hour. Median hourly earnings of nonrestaurant food servers were $7.95 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.64 and $9.98. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.86, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $12.53 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 circum­ stances 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 customarily 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 permit­ ted 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 Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union.  Related Occupations Other workers whose job involves serving customers and handling money include flight attendants, gaming services workers, and retail salespersons.  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from lo­ cal 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 ://w ww.chrie.org  378  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 because of their limited opportunities for training or advancement, low pay, and high incidence of only part-time or temporary work.  •  Most new jobs will occur in businesses providing jani­ torial and cleaning services on a contract basis.  Nature of the Work Building cleaning workers—including janitors, maids, housekeep­ ing cleaners, window washers, and rug shampooers—keep office buildings, hospitals, stores, apartment houses, hotels, and residences clean, sanitary, and in good condition. Some do only cleaning, while others have a wide range of duties. Janitors and cleaners perform a variety of heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rags, washing walls and glass, and removing rubbish. They may fix leaky faucets, empty trash cans, do painting and carpentry, replenish bathroom supplies, mow lawns, and see that heating and air-conditioning 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 repairs. While janitors typically perform most of the duties mentioned, 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 keep private households or commercial establishments such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes clean and orderly. In hotels, aside from cleaning and maintaining the  lilf  premises, maids and housekeeping cleaners may deliver ironing boards, cribs, and rollaway beds to guests’ rooms. In hospitals, they also may wash bed frames, brush mattresses, make beds, and disinfect and sterilize equipment and supplies with germicides and sterilizing equipment. Janitors, maids, and cleaners use many kinds of equipment, tools, and cleaning materials. For one job they may need standard cleaning implements; another may require an electric polishing machine and a special cleaning solution. Improved building materials, chemical cleaners, 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 inspect building areas to see that work has been done properly; they also issue supplies and equipment and inventory stocks to ensure that sup­ plies on hand are adequate. They also screen and hire job applicants; train new and experienced employees; and recommend promotions, transfers, or dismissals. Supervisors 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 ovens, 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. Building cleaning workers in large office and residential build­ ings, and more recently in large hotels, often work in teams con­ sisting of workers who specialize in vacuuming, picking up trash, and cleaning restrooms, among other things. Supervisors conduct inspections to ensure that the building is cleaned properly and the team is functioning efficiently. In hotels, one member of the team is responsible for reporting electronically to the supervisor when rooms are cleaned.  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 evenings and on weekends. Building cleaning workers usually work inside heated, welllighted buildings. However, they sometimes work outdoors, sweep­ ing walkways, mowing lawns, or shoveling snow. Working with machines can be noisy, and some tasks, such as cleaning bathrooms and trashrooms, can be dirty and unpleasant. Janitors may suffer cuts, braises, and burns from machines, handtools, and chemicals. They spend most of their time on their feet, sometimes lifting or pushing heavy furniture or equipment. Many tasks, such as dusting or sweeping, require constant bending, stooping, and stretching. As a result, janitors also may suffer back injuries and sprains.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A building cleaning worker operates a compacting machine.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  No special education is required for most janitorial or cleaning jobs, but beginners should know simple arithmetic and be able to follow  Service Occupations instructions. High school shop courses are helpful for jobs involving repair work. Most building cleaners learn their skills on the job. Beginners usually work with an experienced cleaner, doing routine cleaning. As they gain more experience, they are assigned more complicated tasks. In some cities, programs run by unions, government agencies, or employers teach janitorial skills. Students learn 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 learn to plan their work, to follow safety and health regulations, to interact positively with people in the buildings they clean, and to work with­ out 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 directions well, and get along with other people. Building cleaners usually find work by answering newspaper advertisements, applying directly to organizations where they would like to work, contacting local labor unions, or contacting 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 or to area supervisor or manager. A high school diploma improves the chances for advancement. Some janitors set up their own maintenance or cleaning businesses. Supervisors usually move up through the ranks. In many establish­ ments, they are required to take some inservice training 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 Association, which offers two kinds of certification programs for cleaning super­ visors 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 des­ ignation 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 methods. Those with the REH designation usually oversee the cleaning services of hotels, hospitals, casinos, and other large institutions that rely on well-trained experts for their cleaning needs.  Employment Building cleaning workers held more than 4 million jobs in 2004. More than 6 percent were self-employed. Janitors and cleaners work in nearly every type of establishment and held about 2.4 million jobs. They accounted for more than 58 per­ cent of all building cleaning workers. More than 29 percent worked for firms supplying building maintenance services on a contract basis, more than 20 percent were employed in public or private educational services, and 2 percent worked in hotels or motels. Other employers included hospitals; restaurants; religious institutions; manufacturing firms; government agencies; and operators of apartment buildings, office buildings, and other types of real estate. First-line supervisors of housekeeping and janitorial workers held about 236,000jobs. Approximately 23 percent worked in firms supplying building maintenance services on a contract basis, while approximately 13 percent were employed in hotels or motels. More than 20 percent worked for State and local governments, primarily at schools and colleges. Others worked for hospitals, nursing homes and other residential care facilities.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  379  Maids and housekeepers held about 1.4 million jobs. Private households employed the most maids and housekeepers—almost 28 percent—while hotels, motels, and other traveler accommoda­ tions employed the second most—almost 27 percent. Hospitals, nursing homes, and other residential care facilities employed large numbers, also. Although cleaning 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.  Job Outlook Overall employment of building cleaning workers is expected to grow as fast as average for all occupations through 2014, as more office complexes, apartment houses, schools, 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, busi­ nesses providing j anitorial and cleaning services on a contract basis are expected to have the greatest number of new jobs in this field. Although there have been some improvements in productivity in the way buildings are cleaned and maintained—using teams of cleaners, for example, and better cleaning supplies—cleaning still is very much a labor-intensive job. Faster than average growth is expected among janitors and cleaners and among cleaning supervisors, but as fast as average growth is projected for maids and housekeeping cleaners. In addition to job openings arising due to growth, numerous openings should result from the need to replace those who leave this very large occupation each year. Limited promotion potential, low pay, and the fact that many jobs are part-time and temporary, 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 clean­ ing 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 facilities for the elderly. These facilities, including assisted-living residences, generally provide housekeeping services as part of the rent.  Earnings Median annual earnings of janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners, were $18,790 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $15,320 and $24,420. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,010 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $31,780. Median annual earnings in 2004 in the industries employing the largest numbers of jani­ tors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners, were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools.............................................. $22,910 Local government ........................................................................ 22,860 Colleges, universities, and professional schools.......................... 21,860 Lessors of real estate..................................................................... 21,050 Services to buildings and dwellings............................................. 16,820 Median annual earnings of maids and housekeepers were $16,900 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $14,570 and $20,570. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,530, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25,220. Median annual earnings in 2004 in the industries employing the largest numbers of maids and housekeepers were as follows:  380  Occupational Outlook Handbook  General medical and surgical hospitals.............................................. $18,770 Services to buildings and dwellings.................................................... 17,130 Community care facilities for the elderly.......................................... 17,010 Nursing care facilities............................................................................ 16,960 Traveler accommodation........................................................................ 16,250  Median annual earnings of first-line supervisors and manag­ ers of housekeeping and janitorial workers were $29,510 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $22,720 and $38,790. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49,230. Median annual earnings in May 2004 in the industries employing the largest numbers of first-line supervisors and managers of housekeeping and janitorial workers were as follows: Local government .................................................................................. $34,780 Elementary and secondary schools..................................................... 33,760 Nursing care facilities............................................................................ 28,370 Services to buildings and dwellings.................................................... 27,760 Traveler accommodation........................................................................ 24,310  Related Occupations Workers who specialize in one of the many job functions of janitors and cleaners include pest control workers; general maintenance and repair workers; and grounds maintenance workers.  Sources of Additional Information Information about janitorial jobs may be obtained from State em­ ployment service offices. For information on certification in executive housekeeping, contact: >- International Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc., 1001 EastwindDr., 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, 37-3019.99)  Significant Points •  Opportunities should be very good, especially for workers willing to work seasonal or variable sched­ ules, because of 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, gardens, and grounds create a positive first impression, establish a peaceful mood, and increase property values. Grounds maintenance work­ ers 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 facilities, such as malls, hotels, and botanical gardens. The duties of landscaping workers and groundskeeping work­ ers are similar and often overlap. Landscaping workers physically install and maintain landscaped areas. They grade property, install lighting or sprinkler systems, and build walkways, terraces, patios,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  decks, and fountains. In addition to initially transporting and planting new vegetation, they transplant, mulch, fertilize, and water flower­ ing plants, trees, and shrubs and mow and water lawns. A growing number of residential and commercial clients, such as managers of office buildings, shopping malls, multiunit residential buildings, and hotels and motels, favor full-service landscape maintenance. Landscaping workers perform a range of duties, including mowing, edging, trimming, fertilizing, dethatching, and mulching for such clients on a regular basis during the growing season. Groundskeeping workers, also called groundskeepers, maintain a variety of facilities, including athletic fields, golf courses, cem­ eteries, university campuses, and parks. In addition to caring for sod, plants, and trees, they rake and mulch leaves, clear snow from walkways and parking lots, and use irrigation methods 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 natural and artificial turf in top condition, mark out boundaries, and before events paint turf with team logos and names. 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 harm­ ful bacteria, and they remove the turf and replace the cushioning pad periodically. Workers who maintain golf courses are called greenskeepers. Greenskecpers do many of the same things as other groundskee­ pers. In addition, greenskeepers periodically relocate 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 cemeteries 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 areas, 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 swim­ ming pools. These workers inspect buildings and equipment, make needed repairs, and keep everything freshly painted. 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 pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides and apply them through sprays, dusts, vapors into the soil, or onto trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Those working for chemical lawn service firms are more specialized, inspecting lawns for problems and applying fertilizers , herbicides, pesticides, and other chemi­ cals to stimulate growth and prevent or control weeds, diseases, or insect infestation. 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,  Service Occupations sidewalks, or utilities or to improve the appearance, health, and value of trees. Some of these workers also specialize in pruning, trimming and shaping ornamental trees and shrubs for private resi­ dences, 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.  Supervisors of landscaping and groundskeeping workers perform 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 ad­ dition, supervisors train workers in their tasks; keep employees’ time records and record work performed; and even assist workers when deadlines are near. Supervisors who own their own busi­ ness are also known as landscape contractors. They may also call themselves landscape designers if they create landscape design plans. Supervisors of tree trimmers and pruners are often referred to as arborists. Arborists specialize in the care of individual trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Some arborists plant trees, and most can recommend types of trees that are appropri­ ate for a specific location, as the wrong tree in the wrong location could lead to future problems as a result of limited growing space, insects, diseases, or poor growth. Arborists are employed by cities to improve urban green space, utilities to maintain power distribu­ tion networks, companies to care for residential and commercial properties, as well as many other settings.  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. Most of the work is performed outdoors in all kinds of weather. It can be physically demanding and repetitive, 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 chemicals, as well as dangerous equipment and tools such as power lawnmowers, chain saws, and power clippers, must exercise safety precautions. Workers who use motorized equipment must take care to protect themselves against hearing damage.  * •  ‘3 , -i  381  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no minimum educational requirements for en­ try-level positions in grounds maintenance, although a diploma is necessary for some jobs. In 2004, 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 equipment 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 and maintenance pro­ cedures for their localities. They also must learn how to repair the equipment they’re using. 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-motivated 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 busi­ ness 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 progressively more responsible experience. Most States require certification for workers who apply pesticides. Certification requirements vary, but usually include passing a test on the proper and safe use and disposal of insecticides, herbicides, and fungi­ cides. Some States require that landscape 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, environmental 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 Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) offers the des­ ignations “Certified Landscape Professional” (Exterior and Interior) and “Certified Landscape Technician” (Exterior or Interior) to those who meet established education and experience standards and who pass a specific examination. The hands-on test for technicians cov­ ers areas such as the operation of maintenance equipment and the installation of plants by reading a plan. A written safety test also is administered. PLANET also offers the designations “Certified Turfgrass Professional” (CTP) and “Certified Ornamental Landscape Professional” (COLP), which require written exams. Some workers with groundskeeping backgrounds may start their own businesses after several years of experience.  Employment Grounds maintenance workers held about 1.5 million jobs in 2004. Employment was distributed as follows: Landscaping and groundskeeping workers................................... First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers...................................................... Tree trimmers and pruners............................................................... Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation......... Grounds maintenance workers, all other......................................  ■Many grounds maintenance jobs are seasonal.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  1,177,000 184,000 55,000 30,000 21,000  About one-third of the workers in grounds maintenance were employed in companies providing landscaping services to buildings and dwellings. Others worked for property management and realestate development firms, lawn and garden equipment and supply  382  Occupational Outlook Handbook  stores, and amusement and recreation facilities, such as golf courses and racetracks. Some were employed by local governments, install­ ing and maintaining landscaping for parks, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities. Almost 1 out of every 4 grounds maintenance workers was selfemployed, providing landscape maintenance directly to customers on a contract basis. About 1 of every 7 worked part time; about 8% were of school age.  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, creating very good job opportuni­ ties. In addition, high turnover will generate a large number of job openings, including at the supervisory and managerial level. More workers also will be needed to keep up with increasing demand by lawn care and landscaping companies. Employment of grounds maintenance workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Expected growth in the construction of all types of buildings, from office buildings to shopping malls and residential housing, plus more highways and parks, will increase 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 im­ portance of “curb appeal” in attracting business and maintaining the value of the property and are expected to use grounds maintenance services more extensively to maintain and upgrade their properties. Grounds maintenance workers working for State and local govern­ ments, however, may face budget cuts, which may affect hiring. Homeowners are a growing source of demand for grounds maintenance workers. Many two-income households lack the time to take care of their lawn so 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 their backyards, as well as a desire to make the yards more attractive for outdoor entertaining. 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 maintain their yards. Job opportunities for tree trimmers and pruners should also in­ crease as utility companies step up pruning of trees around electric lines to prevent power outages. Additionally, tree trimmers and pruners will be needed to help combat infestations caused by new species of insects from other countries. Ash trees in Michigan, for example, have been especially hurt by a pest from China. Job opportunities for nonseasonal work are more numerous in regions with temperate climates, where landscaping and lawn ser­ vices are required all year. However, opportunities may vary with local economic conditions.  Earnings Median hourly earnings in May 2004 of grounds maintenance work­ ers were as follows: First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers............................................................. $16.99 Tree trimmers and pruners...................................................................... 12.57 Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation................ 12.30 Landscaping and groundskeeping workers.......................................... 9.82 Grounds maintenance workers, all other............................................. 9.57   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in May 2004 were as follows: Elementary and secondary schools....................................................... $13.25 Local government .................................................................................... 11.25 Services to buildings and dwellings...................................................... 9.78 Other amusement and recreation industries........................................ 9.14 Employment services................................................................................ 8.64  Related Occupations Grounds maintenance workers perform most of their work outdoors and have some knowledge of plants and soils. Others whose jobs may require that they work outdoors are agricultural workers; farm­ ers, 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 prun­ ers, contact: >- Tree Care Industry Association, 3 Perimeter Rd., Unit I, Manchester, NH 03103-3341. Internet: http://www.TreeCareIndustry.org >- International Society of Arboriculture, P.O. Box 3129, Champaign, IL 61826-3129. Internet:  http://www.isa-arbor.com/careersInArboriculture/careers.aspx For information on work as a landscaping and groundskeeping worker, contact either of the following organizations: >■ Professional Landcare Network, 950 Herndon Parkway, Suite 450, Herndon, VA 20170-5528. Internet: http://www.landcarenetwork.org/ >- Professional Grounds Management Association, 720 Light Street, Bal­ timore, MD 21230-3850 Internet: http://www.pgms.org  For information on becoming a licensed pesticide applicator, contact your State’s Department of Agriculture or Department of Environmental Protection or Conservation.  Pest Control Workers (0*NET 37-2021.00)  Significant Points •  Federal and State laws require that pest control workers be licensed.  •  Training on the safe use of pest control products and a passing score on an examination are required for licen­  •  sure, Job prospects should be favorable for qualified appli­ cants because many people leave 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 crea­ tures that infest households, buildings, or surrounding areas 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 re­ pel 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. 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  Service Occupations  i  ■Ml  ... -v!  MM  ■p-  383  Fumigators are applicators who control pests using poisonous gases called fumigants. Fumigators pretreat infested buildings by examining, measuring, and sealing the buildings. Then, using cyl­ inders, hoses, and valves, they fill structures with the proper amount and concentration of fumigant. They also monitor 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 service technicians and certified applicators. Supervisors are licensed to apply pesticides, but they usually are more involved in running the business. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring 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 need extensive training to work with pest control chemicals. to the public. Restricted use pesticides are available only to certified professionals for controlling the most severe infestations. Their registration, labeling, and application are regulated by Federal law, interpreted by the U.S. Environmental 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 man­ agement techniques, known as integrated pest management. One method involves using proper sanitation and creating physical barriers, for pests cannot survive without food and will not infest a building if they cannot enter it. Another method involves using baits, some of which destroy the pests, and others that prevent them from reproducing. Yet another method involves using mechani­ cal 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 pesticides in certain situations. Finally, an integrated pest management plan is more effective in the long term than use of a pesticide alone. New technology has been introduced that allows pest control workers to conduct home inspections, mainly of termites, in much less time. The technology works by implanting microchips 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 techni­ cians, applicators, or supervisors. Position titles vary by State, but the hierarchy—based on training and responsibility required— 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 applicator. 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 physical barriers, or bait systems around the structure. Some termite control technicians even repair structural damage caused by termites.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Pest control workers must kneel, bend, reach, and crawl to inspect, modify, and treat structures. They work both indoors and out, in all weather conditions. During warm weather, applicators may be un­ comfortable wearing the heavy protective gear—such as respirators, gloves, and goggles—required for working with pesticides. Almost half of all pest control workers work a 40-hour week, but 25% 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 prop­ erly. Health risks are minimized, however, by the extensive training required for certification and the use of recommended protective equipment, resulting in fewer reported cases of lost work. Because pest control workers travel to visit clients, the potential risk of motor vehicle accidents is another occupational hazard.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum qualification for most pest control jobs. Although a college degree is not required, more than 4 in 10 pest control workers have either attended college or earned a degree. Pest control workers must have basic skills in math, chemistry, and writing, either learned at school or through an employer. Because of the extensive interaction that pest control workers have with their customers, employers prefer to hire people who have good com­ munication and interpersonal skills. In addition, 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 they also must be able to withstand extreme conditions—such as the heat of climbing into an attic in the sum­ mertime 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 employees prepare. Workers may receive both formal classroom and on-the-job train­ ing, but they also must study on their own. Because the pest control industry is constantly changing, workers must attend continuing education classes to maintain their certification. Requirements for pest control workers vary by State. Pest con­ trol workers usually begin their careers as apprentice technicians. 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 control, rodent control, termite control, fumigation, and ornamental and turf control. In many States, training usually involves spending 10 hours in the classroom and 60 hours on the job for each category. After  384  Occupational Outlook Handbook  completing the required training, apprentices can provide supervised pest control services. To be eligible to become applicators, technicians must have a combination of experience and education and pass a test. This requirement is sometimes waived for individuals who have either a college degree in biological sciences or extensive related work expe­ rience. To become certified as applicators, technicians must pass an additional set of category exams. Depending on the State, applicators must attend additional classes eveiy 1 to 6 years to be recertified. Applicators with several years of experience often become supervi­ sors. To qualify as a pest control supervisor, applicators may have to pass State-administered exams and have experience in the industry, usually a minimum of 2 years.  Employment Pest control workers held about 68,000 jobs in 2004; about 83 percent of workers were employed in the services to buildings and dwellings industry, which includes pest control firms. Jobs are con­ centrated in States with warmer climates, due to the greater number of pests in these areas that thrive year round. About 12 percent of workers were self-employed.  tions limiting pesticide use will demand more complex integrated pest management strategies. Concerns about the effects of pesticide use in schools have increasingly prompted more school districts to investigate alterna­ tive means of pest control, such as integrated pest management. Furthermore, use of some newer materials for insulation around foundations has made many homes more susceptible to pest infesta­ tion. Finally, continuing population shifts to the more pest-prone sunbelt States should increase the number of households in need of pest control.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of full-time wage and salary pest control workers were $12.61 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.06 and $15.97. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.13, and the top 10 percent earned over $20.19. 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.  Job Outlook Job prospects should be favorable for qualified applicants because the nature of pest control work is not universally appealing and turnover in this occupation is relatively high. Thus, in addition to job open­ ings arising from employment growth, opportunities will result from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Employment growth of pest control workers is expected to be faster than the aver­ age for all occupations through 2014. One factor limiting growth in this occupation, however, is the lack of sufficient numbers 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 inspections by pest control workers. Also, more people are expected to use pest control services as environmental and health concerns, greater num­ bers of dual-income households, and improvements in the standard of living convince more people to hire professionals rather than attempt pest control work themselves. In addition, tougher regula­  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 workers who provide services to buildings include building cleaning workers; grounds maintenance workers; various construction trades workers, such as carpenters; and heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechan­ ics 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 (or Conserva­ tion) Agency.  Personal Care and Service Occupations Nature of the Work  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, physically and emotionally demanding, and sometimes dangerous.  •  Most workers are trained on the job, but employers generally prefer to hire people who have some expe­ rience with animals; some jobs require a bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, or a related field.  •  Good employment opportunities are expected for most positions; however, keen competition is expected for jobs as zookeepers.  •  Earnings are relatively low.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 companion­ ship, and observe behavioral changes that could indicate illness or injury. Boarding kennels, animal shelters, veterinary 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 working 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 attendants may provide basic animal healthcare, as well as bathe animals, trim nails, and attend to other grooming needs. Attendants who work in kennels also may sell pet food and supplies, assist in obedience training, help with breeding, or prepare animals for shipping.  Service Occupations Animal caretakers who specialize in grooming or maintaining 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 increasingly, by making house calls. Such mo­ bile services are growing rapidly as it offers convenience for pet own­ ers and flexible hours for groomers. Groomers answer telephones, schedule appointments, discuss pets’ grooming needs with clients, and collect information on the pet’s disposition and its veterinarian. Groomers 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 brash-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 clip­ ping 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 animals under the direction of a veterinarian or veterinary technician, and euthanize (painlessly put to death) seriously ill, severely injured, or unwanted animals. Animal caretakers in animal shelters also interact with the public, answering telephone inquiries, screening applicants for animal adoption, or educating visitors on neutering and other animal health issues.  litis  385  Caretakers in stables are called grooms. They saddle and unsaddle horses, give them rabdowns, 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, prepare the diets and clean the enclosures of animals, and sometimes 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. Keepers also may answer questions and ensure that the visiting public behaves responsibly toward the exhibited animals. Depending on the zoo, keepers may be assigned to work with a broad 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 trainers do this by accustoming the animal to human voice and contact, 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 condition­ ing process, trainers provide animals mental stimulation, physical exercise, and husbandry care. In addition to their hands-on work with the animals, trainers 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 unpleasant, physi­ cally 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, crawling, 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 animals or who assist in the euthanizing of unwanted, aged, or hopelessly injured animals may experience emotional distress. Those working for private humane societies and municipal animal shelters often deal with the public, some of whom might react with hostility to any implication that the owners are neglecting 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.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Animal caretakers who specialize in grooming or maintaining a  pet’s appearance are called groomers. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most animal care and service workers are trained on the job; how­ ever, employers generally prefer to hire people who have some experience with animals. Some training programs are available  386  Occupational Outlook Handbook  for specific types of animal caretakers, such as groomers, but formal training 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, ma­ rine 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 informal 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 America offers certification for master status as a groomer with a focus on four principle areas—non-sport­ ing, sporting, terrier, and masters. The examination consists of 400 questions 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. Groomers who work in large retail establishments or kennels may, with experience, move into supervisory or managerial positions. Experienced groomers often choose to open their own salons. Beginning animal caretakers in kennels learn on the job, and usually start by cleaning cages and feeding and watering ani­ mals. Kennel caretakers may be promoted to kennel supervisor, 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 three-stage, home-study program for individuals interested in pet care. The first two stages address basic and advanced principles of animal care, while the third stage focuses on indepth animal care and good business procedures. Those who complete 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 National Animal Control Association. Workshop topics include cruelty investiga­ tions, appropriate methods of euthanasia for shelter animals, proper guidelines for capturing animals techniques for preventing problems with wildlife, and dealing with the general public. Because shelter workers often deal with individuals who abandon their pets, excel­ lent communication skills, including the ability to handle emotional people, is vital. With experience and additional training, caretakers in animal shelters may become adoption coordinators, animal control officers, emergency rescue drivers, assistant shelter managers, or shelter directors.  Employment Animal care and service workers held 172,000 jobs in 2004. Almost 3 out of 4 worked as nonfarm animal caretakers; the remainder worked as animal trainers. Nonfarm animal caretakers worked   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 2004, nearly 1 out of every 3 nonfarm animal caretakers was self-employed. Employment of animal trainers was concentrated in animal services that specialize in training horses, pets, and other animal specialties; and in commercial sports, training racehorses and dogs. About 3 in 5 animal trainers were self-employed.  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, attract­ ing people seeking their first job, students, and others looking for temporary or part-time work, including retired people. 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 2014. The companion pet popula­ tion—which drives employment of animal caretakers in kennels, grooming shops, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics and hos­ pitals—is expected to increase. Pet owners—including a large number of baby boomers, whose disposable income is expected to increase as they age—are expected to increasingly take advan­ tage of grooming services, daily and overnight boarding services, training services, and veterinary services, resulting in more jobs for animal care and service workers. As many pet owners increas­ ingly consider their pet as part of the family, their demand for luxury animal services and willingness to spend greater amounts of money on their pet will continue to grow. Demand for animal care and service workers in animal shelters is expected to remain steady. Communities are increasingly recognizing the connection between animal abuse and abuse toward humans, and will probably continue to commit private funds to animal shelters, many of which are working hand-in-hand with social service agencies and law enforcement teams. Employment growth of personal and group animal trainers will stem from an increased number of animal owners seeking training services for their pets, including behavior modifica­ tion and feline behavior training. Job openings as shelter workers will continue to be driven by high turnover as the job is extremely demanding and stressful.  Earnings Earnings are relatively low. Median hourly earnings of nonfarm animal caretakers were $8.39 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.16 and $10.50. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $6.17, and the top 10 percent earned more than $13.66. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of nonfarm animal caretakers in May 2004 were: Spectator sports................................................................................. $8.48 Other personal services........................................................................ 8.47 Social advocacy organizations............................................................. 8.15 Other miscellaneous store retailers..................................................... 7.95 Other professional, scientific, and technical services......................... 7.86  Service Occupations Median hourly earnings of animal trainers were $10.60 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.10 and $15.23. The lowest lOpercent earned less than $7.07, and the top lOpercent earned more than $20.62.  Related Occupations Others who work extensively with animals include farmers, ranch­ ers, and agricultural managers; agricultural workers; veterinarians; veterinary technologists and technicians; veterinary assistants; 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: >- 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, certification, and earnings of animal control officers at Federal, State, and local levels, contact: ► National Animal Control Association, P.O. Box 1480851, Kansas City, MO 64148-0851. Internet: www.nacanet.org  For information on becoming an advanced pet care technician at a kennel, contact: >• American Boarding Kennels Association, 1702 East Pikes Peak Ave„ Colorado Springs, CO 80909.  387  A number of workers offer specialized services. Manicurists and pedicurists, called nail technicians in some States, work exclusively on nails and provide manicures, pedicures, coloring, and nail exten­ sions to clients. Another group of specialists is skin care specialists, or estheticians, who cleanse and beautify the skin by giving facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages and by removing hair through waxing. Electro log ists use an electrolysis machine to remove hair. Finally, in some larger salons, shampooers specialize in shampooing and conditioning hair. In addition to working with clients, personal appearance workers are expected to maintain clean work areas and sanitize all their work instruments. 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 care products and other cosmetic sup­ plies. Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers who operate their own salons have managerial duties that may include hiring, supervising, and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising.  Working Conditions Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good lighting and ventilation. Good health and stamina are important, because these workers are on their feet for most of their shift. Prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may cause irritation, so protective clothing, such as plastic gloves or aprons, may be worn.  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 compe­ tition is expected for jobs and clients at higher paying salons; opportunities will be best for those licensed to provide a broad range of services.  •  A State license is required for barbers, cosmetologists, and most other personal appearance workers, with the exception of shampooers; qualifications vary by State.  •  About 48 percent of workers are self-employed; many also work flexible schedules.  Nature of the Work Barbers and cosmetologists, also called hairdressers and hairstylists, provide hair care services to enhance the appearance of consumers. Other personal appearance workers, such as manicurists and pedi­ curists, shampooers, and skin care specialists provide specialized services that help clients look and feel their best. Barbers cut, trim, shampoo, and style hair. They also fit hairpieces and offer scalp treatments and facial shaving. In many States, barbers are licensed to color, bleach, or highlight hair and to offer permanent-wave services. Many barbers also provide skin care and nail treatments. Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists offer beauty ser­ vices, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair. They may advise clients on how to care for their hair, how to straighten their hair or give it a permanent wave, or how to lighten or darken their hair color. In addition, cosmetologists may be trained to give manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; provide analysis; and clean and style wigs and hairpieces. Digitized formakeup FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nearly half of workers are self-employed, and many work flexible schedules.  388  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Most full-time barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal ap­ pearance workers put in a 40-hour week, but longer hours are com­ mon, especially among self-employed workers. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends, the times when beauty salons and barbershops are busiest. Barbers and cosmetologists generally work on weekends and during lunch and evening hours; as a result, they may arrange to take breaks during less busy times. About 32 percent of cosmetologists and 17 percent of barbers work part time, and 14 percent of cosmetologists and 17 percent of barbers have variable schedules.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement All States require barbers, cosmetologists, and most other personal appearance workers, with the exception of shampooers, to be li­ censed; however, qualifications for a license vary by State. Gener­ ally, 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 demonstrate an ability to perform basic barbering or cosmetol­ ogy services. Some States have reciprocity agreements that allow licensed barbers and cosmetologists to obtain a license in a different State without additional formal training. Such agreements are uncom­ mon, however, and most States do not recognize training or licenses obtained from a different State. Consequently, 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 programs in barber­ ing and cosmetology usually last 9 to 24 months, but training for manicurists and pedicurists, skin care specialists, and electrologists requires significantly less time. An apprenticeship program can last from 1 to 3 years. Shampooers generally do not need formal training or a license. Formal training programs include classroom study, demonstrations, and practical work. Students study the basic services—cutting and styling hair, chemically treating hair, shaving customers, and giving hair and scalp treatments—and, under super­ vision, practice on customers in school “clinics.” Students attend lectures on the use and care of instruments, sanitation and hygiene, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and the recognition of simple skin ailments. Instruction also is provided in communication, sales, and general business practices. Experienced barbers and cosmetologists may take advanced courses in hairstyling, coloring, the sale and service of wigs and hairpieces, and sales and marketing. After graduating from a training program, students can take a 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 applicants are asked to explain the procedures they are following while taking the practical test. In many States, cosmetol­ ogy 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 separate licensing examinations for manicurists, pedicurists, and skin care specialists. For many barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appear­ ance workers, formal training and a license are only the first steps in a career that requires years of continuing education. Personal appearance workers must keep abreast of the latest fashions and beauty techniques as hairstyles change, new products are developed,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and services expand to meet clients’ needs. They attend training at salons, cosmetology schools, or industry trade shows. Through workshops and demonstrations of the latest techniques, industry representatives introduce cosmetologists 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 ever more vital for salon workers. Successful personal appearance workers should have an under­ standing 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 that 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 simplest procedures. Once they have demonstrated their skills, they are gradually permitted to perform more complicated tasks, such as coloring hair or applying permanent waves. As they continue to work in the field, more training usually is required to learn the techniques particular to 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 salons, lease booth space in salons, or open their own salons 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 examiners for State licensing boards.  Employment Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers held about 790,000 jobs in 2004. Of these, barbers, hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists held 670,000 jobs, manicurists and pedicurists 60,000, skin care specialists 30,000, and shampooers 27,000. Most of these workers are employed in beauty salons or barber shops, but they also are found in nail salons, day and resort spas, department stores, nursing and other residential care homes, and drug and cosmetics stores. Nearly every town has a barbershop or beauty salon, but employment in this occupation is concentrated in the most populous cities and States. About 48 percent of all barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal 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.  Job Outlook 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 cosmetolo­ gists for these positions. Opportunities will be best for those with previous experience and for those licensed to provide a broad range of services. 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 2014, because of an increasing population, rising incomes, and growing demand for personal ap­ pearance services. In addition to those arising from job growth, numerous job openings will come about from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons.  Service Occupations Employment trends are expected to vary among the different occupational specialties. On the one hand, slower-than-average growth is expected in employment of barbers because of the large number of retirements expected over the 2004-14 projection period and because of the relatively small number of cosmetology school graduates opting to obtain barbering licenses. On the other hand, employment of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists should grow about as fast as the average for all workers because many now cut and style both men’s and women’s hair and because the demand for hair treatment by teens and aging baby boomers is expected to remain steady or even grow. Continued growth in the number of nail salons and full-service day spas will generate numerous job openings for manicurists, pedicurists, skin care specialists, and shampooers. Employment of manicurists, pedicurists, and skin care specialists will grow faster than the average, while employment of shampooers will grow about as fast as the average. Nail salons specialize in providing manicures and pedicures. Day spas typically provide a full range of services, including beauty wraps, manicures and pedicures, facials, and massages.  Earnings A number of factors, including the size and location of the salon, clients’ tipping habits, and competition from other barber shops and salons, determine the total income of barbers, cosmetolo­ gists, and other personal appearance workers. They may receive commissions based on the price of the service, or a salary based on the number of hours worked, and many receive commissions on the products they sell. In addition, some salons pay bonuses to employees who bring in new business. A cosmetologist’s 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 workers are usually low; however, for those who stay in the profession, earnings can be considerably higher. Although some salons offer paid vacations and medical benefits, many self-employed and part-time workers in this occupation do not enjoy such benefits. Median annual earnings in May 2004 for salaried hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, including tips and commission, were $19,800. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 15,480 and $26,600. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,990. Median annual earnings in May 2004 for salaried barbers, in­ cluding tips, were $21,200. The middle 50 percent earned between $15,380 and $30,390. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,950, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,170. Among skin care specialists, median annual earnings, including tips, were $ 24,010, for manicurists and pedicurists $18,500, and for shampooers $14,610.  Related Occupations Other workers who provide a personal service to clients and usu­ ally must be professionally licensed or certified include massage therapists and fitness workers.  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 Sci­ ences, 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, IL 60611. Internet: http://www.ncacares.org Digitized forChicago, FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  389  For details on State licensing requirements and approved barber or cosmetology schools, contact the State boards of barber or cos­ metology examiners in your State.  Child Care Workers (0*NET 39-9011.00)  Significant Points •  About 1 out of 3 child care workers are self-employed; most of these are family child care providers.  •  Training requirements vary from a high school diploma to a college degree, although a high school diploma and little or no experience are adequate for many jobs.  •  Many workers leave these jobs every year, creating good job opportunities.  Nature of the Work Child care workers nurture and care for children who have not yet entered formal schooling and also work with older children in be­ fore- and after-school situations. 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. In addition to attending to children’s basic needs, child care workers organize activities that stimulate children’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and social growth. They help children explore individual interests, develop talents and independence, build self-esteem, and learn how to get along with others. Child care workers generally are classified in three different groups, depending on the setting in which they work: Workers who care for children at the children’s home, called private household workers; those who care for children in their own home, called family child care providers; and those that work at separate child care centers and centers that provide preschool services to 3- and 4-year-old children. Private household workers who are employed on an hourly basis usually are called babysitters. These child care workers bathe, dress, and feed children; supervise their play; wash their clothes; and clean their rooms. Babysitters also may put children to bed and wake 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 work full or part lime for a single family. They generally take care of children from birth to age 10 or 12, tending to the child’s early education, nutrition, health, and other needs, and also may perform the duties of a housekeeper, including cleaning and laundry. Family child care providers often work alone with a small group of children, though some work in larger settings with multiple adults. Child care centers generally have more than one adult per group of children; in groups of older children, a child care worker may assist a more experienced preschool teacher. Most child care workers perform a combination of basic care and teaching duties, but the majority of their time is spent on caregiving activities. Workers whose primary responsibility is teaching are clas­ sified as preschool teachers, covered in the separate Handbook state­ ment on teachers—preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary. However, many basic care activities also are 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. Child care programs help children leam about trust and gain a sense of security.  390  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Child care workers spend most of their day working with children. However, they do maintain contact with parents or guardians through informal meetings or scheduled conferences to discuss each child’s progress and needs. Many child care workers keep records of each child’s progress and suggest ways in which parents can stimulate their child’s learning and development at home. Some child care centers and before- and after-school programs actively recruit parent volunteers to work with the children and participate in administrative decisions and program planning. Young children learn mainly through play. Child care workers recognize this and capitalize on children’s play to further language development (storytelling and acting games), improve social skills (working together to build a neighborhood in a sandbox), and intro­ duce scientific and mathematical concepts (balancing and counting blocks when building a bridge or mixing colors when painting). Often a less structured approach is used to teach young children, including small-group lessons; one-on-one instruction; and creative activities such as art, dance, and music. Child care workers play a vital role in preparing children to build the skills they will need in school. Child care workers in child care centers or family child care homes greet young children as they arrive, help them to remove outer garments, and select an activity of interest. When caring for infants, they feed and change them. To ensure a well-balanced pro­ gram, child care workers prepare daily and long-term schedules of activities. Each day’s activities balance individual and group play, as well as quiet and active time. Children are given some freedom to participate in activities in which they are interested. Concern over school-aged 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-aged 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 activities may include field trips,  learning about computers, painting, photography, and participating in sports. Some child care workers may be responsible for taking children to school in the morning and picking them up from school in the afternoon. Before- and afterschool programs may be operated by public school systems, local community centers, or other private organizations. Helping keep young children healthy is an important part of the job. Child care workers serve nutritious meals and snacks and teach good eating habits and personal hygiene. They ensure that children have proper rest periods. They identify children who may not feel well and, in some cases, may help parents locate programs that will provide basic health services. Child care workers also watch for children who show signs of emotional or developmental problems and discuss these matters with their supervisor and the child’s parents. 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. Special education teachers often work with these preschool children to provide the individual attention they need. (Special education teachers are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)  Working Conditions Helping children grow, learn, and gain new skills can be very reward­ ing. Child care workers help to improve children’s communication, learning, and other personal skills. The work is sometimes routine; however, new activities and challenges mark each day. Child care 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 in child care centers receive proper supervi­ sion, State or local regulations may require a certain ratio of workers to children. The ratio varies with the age of the children. Child development 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-aged children (between 2 and 5 years old). In before- and afterschool programs, workers may be responsible for many school-aged children at a time. Family child care providers work out of their own homes. While this arrangement provides convenience, it also requires that their homes be accommodating to young children. Private household workers 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, though 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 the family. The work hours of child care workers vary widely. Child care 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 unable to take regular breaks during the day due to limited staffing. Public and many pri­ vate preschool programs operate during the typical 9- or 10-month school year, employing both full-time and part-time workers. Fam­ ily child care providers have flexible hours and daily routines, but they 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, although nannies may work evenings or weekends, they usually get other time off.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Child care workers help young children learn and develop through play.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The training and qualifications required of child care workers vary widely. Each State has its own licensing requirements that regu­  Service Occupations late caregiver training; these range from a high school diploma to community college courses to a college degree in child development or early childhood education. State requirements are generally higher for workers at child care centers than for family child care providers; child care workers in private settings who care for only a few children often are not regulated by States at all. Child care workers generally can obtain some form of employment with a high school diploma and little or no experience, but certain private firms and publicly funded programs have more demanding training and education requirements. Some employers prefer to hire child care workers who have earned a nationally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or the Certified Childcare Professional designation, have taken secondary or postsecondary courses in child development and early childhood education, or have work experience in a child care setting. Other employers require their own specialized training. An increasing number of employers require an associate degree in early childhood education. Child care 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 with other teachers and child care workers. Workers should be mature, patient, understanding, and articulate and have energy and physical stamina. Skills in music, art, drama, and storytelling also are important. Self-employed child care workers must have business sense and  391  temporarily to fulfill family responsibilities, to study, or for other reasons. Others leave permanently because they are interested in pursuing other occupations or because of dissatisfaction with hours, low pay and benefits, and stressful conditions. Employment of child care workers is projected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The number of women in the labor force of childbearing age (widely considered to be ages 15 to 44) and the number of children under 5 years of age are both expected to rise over the next 10 years. Also, the proportion of children being cared for exclusively by parents or other relatives is likely to continue to decline, spurring demand for additional child care workers. Concern about the behavior of school-aged children during nonschool hours also should increase demand for before- and afterschool programs and child care work­ ers to staff them. The growth in demand for child care workers will be moder­ ated, however, by an increasing emphasis on early childhood education programs. While only a few States currently pro­ vide targeted or universal preschool programs, many more are considering or currently implementing such programs. There also is likely to be a rise in enrollment in private preschools as the value of formal education before kindergarten becomes more widely accepted. Since the majority of workers in these programs are classified as preschool teachers, this growth in preschool enrollment will mean that relatively fewer child care workers will be needed for children old enough to participate  management abilities. Opportunities for advancement are limited. However, as child care workers gain experience, some may advance to su­ pervisory or administrative positions in large child care 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 parents on available child services. A few workers become involved in policy or advocacy work related to child care 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 child  in preschool.  care businesses.  Other residential care facilities........................................................ $9.66 Elementary and secondary schools.................................................. 9.22 Civic and social organizations.......................................................... 7.62 Other amusement and recreation industries..................................... 7.58 Child day care services..................................................................... 7.34  Employment  Child care workers held about 1.3 million jobs in 2004. Many worked part time. About 1 out of 3 child care workers were selfemployed; most of these were family child care providers. Seventeen percent of all child care workers are found in child day care services, and about 21 percent work for private households. The remainder worked primarily in local government educational ser­ vices; nursing and residential care facilities; religious organizations; amusement and recreation industries; private educational services; civic and social organizations; individual and family services; and local government, excluding education and hospitals. Some child care 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 programs. A very small percentage of private industry establishments operate onsite child care centers for the children of their employees.  Job Outlook High replacement needs should create good job opportunities for child care workers. Qualified persons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job. Many child care workers must be replaced each year as they leave the occupation   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 child care workers were $8.06 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.75 and $10.01. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.90, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $12.34. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of child care workers in 2004 were as follows:  Earnings of self-employed child care workers vary depending on the hours worked, the number and ages of the children, and the location. Benefits vary, but are minimal for most child care workers. Many employers offer free or discounted child care to employees. Some offer a full benefits package, including health insurance 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 receive free room and board.  Related Occupations Child care work requires patience; creativity; an ability to nurture, motivate, teach, and influence children; and leadership, organiza­ tional, and administrative skills. Others who work with children and need these qualities and skills include teacher assistants; teachers —preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary; and teachers—special education.  392  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Sources of Additional Information For an electronic question-and-answer service on child care, in­ formation on becoming a child care provider, and other resources, contact: >- National Child Care Information Center, 243 Church St. NW„ 2nd floor, Vienna, VA 22180. Internet: http://www.nccic.org 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 Certified Childcare Professional designation, contact: ► National Child Care 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 Junction, 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 child care workers.  Fitness Workers  exercise instructors are responsible for ensuring that their classes are motivating, safe, and challenging, yet not too difficult for the participants. Fitness directors oversee the fitness-related aspects of a health club or fitness center. Their work involves creating and maintain­ ing programs that meet the needs of the club’s members, including new member orientations, fitness assessments, and workout in­ centive programs. They also select fitness equipment; coordinate personal training and group exercise programs; hire, train, and supervise fitness staff; and carry out administrative duties. Fitness workers in smaller facilities with few employees may perform a variety of functions in addition to their fitness duties, such as tending the front desk, signing up new members, giving tours of the fitness center, writing newsletter articles, creating posters and flyers, and supervising the weight training and cardiovascular equipment areas. In larger commercial facilities, personal trainers are often required to sell their services to members and to make a specified number of sales. Some fitness workers may combine the duties of group exercise instructors and personal trainers, and in smaller facilities, the fitness director may teach classes and do personal training. (Workers in a related occupation—athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers—participate in organized sports; this occupation is described elsewhere in the Handbook.)  (Q*NET 39-9031.00)  Working Conditions  Significant Points •  Many group fitness and personal training jobs are part time, but many workers increase their hours by work­ ing at several different facilities or at clients’ homes.  •  Night and weekend working hours are common.  •  Most fitness workers need to be certified.  •  Employment prospects are expected to be good be­ cause of rapid growth in the fitness industry.  Nature of the Work Fitness workers lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching. They work in commercial and nonprofit health clubs, country clubs, hospitals, universities, yoga and Pilates studios, resorts, and clients’ homes. Increasingly, fitness workers also are found in workplaces, where they organize and direct health and fitness programs for employees of all ages. Although gyms and health clubs offer a variety of exercise activi­ ties such as weightlifting, yoga, cardiovascular training, and karate, fitness workers typically specialize in only a few areas. Personal trainers work one-on-one with clients either in a gym or in the client’s home. Trainers help clients assess their level of physical fitness and set and reach fitness goals. Train­ ers also demonstrate various exercises and help clients improve their exercise techniques. Trainers may keep records of their clients’ exercise sessions to assess clients’ progress toward physical fitness. Group exercise instructors conduct group exercise sessions that involve aerobic exercise, stretching, and muscle conditioning. Because cardiovascular conditioning classes often involve move­ ment to music, outside of class instructors must choose and mix the music and choreograph a corresponding exercise sequence. Pilates and yoga are two increasingly popular conditioning methods taught in exercise classes. Instructors demonstrate the different moves and positions of the particular method; they also observe students and correct those who are doing the exercises improperly. Group  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most fitness workers spend their time indoors at fitness centers and health clubs. Fitness directors and supervisors, however, typically spend most of their time in an office, planning programs and special events and tending to administrative issues. Those in smaller fitness centers may split their time among the office, personal training, and teaching classes. Directors and supervisors generally engage in less physical activity than do lower-level fit­ ness workers. Nevertheless, workers at all levels risk suffering injuries during physical activities. Since most fitness centers are open long hours, fitness workers often work nights and weekends and even occasional holidays. Some may have to travel from place to place throughout the day, to different gyms or to clients’ homes, to maintain a full work schedule. Fitness workers generally enjoy a lot of autonomy. Group exer­ cise instructors choreograph or plan their own classes, and personal trainers have the freedom to design and implement their clients’ workout routines.  IPS  Personal trainers work one-on-one with their clients to help them achieve their fitness goals.  Service Occupations  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Personal trainers must obtain certification in the fitness field to gain employment, while group fitness instructors do not necessarily need certification to begin working. The most important characteristic that an employer looks for in a new group fitness instructor is the ability to plan and lead a class that is motivating and safe. Group fitness instructors often get started by participating in exercise classes, and some become familiar enough to successfully audi­ tion and begin teaching class. They also may improve their skills by taking training courses or attending fitness conventions. Most organizations encourage their group instructors to become certified, and many require it. In the fitness field, there are many organizations—some of which are listed in the last section of this statement—that offer certification. Becoming certified by one of the top certification organizations is increasingly important, especially for personal trainers. One way to ensure that a certifying organization is reputable is to see whether it is accredited or seeking accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Most certifying organizations require candidates to have a high school diploma, be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and pass an exam. All certification exams have a writ­ ten component, and some also have a practical component. The exams measure knowledge of human physiology, proper exercise techniques, assessment of client fitness levels, and development of appropriate exercise programs. There is no particular train­ ing program required for certifications; candidates may prepare however they prefer. Certifying organizations do offer study materials, including books, CD-ROMs, other audio and visual materials, and exam preparation workshops and seminars, but exam candidates are not required to purchase materials to sit for the exams. Certification generally is good for 2 years, after which workers must become recertified by attending continuing education classes. Some organizations offer more advanced certification, requiring an associate or bachelor’s degree in an exercise-related subject for individuals interested in training athletes, working with people who are injured or ill, or advising clients on whole-life health. Training for Pilates and yoga teachers is changing. Because interest in these forms of exercise has exploded in recent years, the demand for teachers has grown faster than the ability to train them properly. However, because inexperienced teachers have contributed to student injuries, there has been a push toward more standardized, rigorous requirements for teacher training. Pilates and yoga teachers usually do not need group exercise certifications like the ones described above. It is more important that they have specialized training in their particular method of exercise. For Pilates, training options range from weekendlong workshops to year-long programs, but the trend is toward requiring more training. The Pilates Method Alliance has estab­ lished training standards that recommend at least 200 hours of training; the group also has standards for training schools and maintains a list of training schools that meet the requirements. However, some Pilates teachers are certified group exercise instructors who go through short Pilates workshops; currently, many fitness centers hire people with minimal Pilates training if the applicants have a fitness certification and group fitness experience. Training requirements for yoga teachers are similar to those for Pilates teachers. Training programs range from a few days to more than 2 years. Many people get their start by taking yoga; eventually, their teachers may consider them suited to assist or to substitute teach. Some students may begin teaching their classes when their yoga teachers think they are ready; the Digitized forown FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  393  teachers may even provide letters of recommendation. Those who wish to pursue teaching more seriously usually then pursue formal teacher training. Currently, there are many training pro­ grams through the yoga community as well as programs through the fitness industry. The Yoga Alliance has established training standards of at least 200 training hours, with a specified number of hours in areas including techniques, teaching methodology, anatomy, physiology, and philosophy. The Yoga Alliance also registers schools that train students to the standards. Because some schools may meet the standards but not be registered, prospective students should check the requirements and decide if particular schools meet them. 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 employers allow workers to substitute a college degree for certification, but most employers who require a bachelor’s degree require both a degree and certification. People planning fitness careers should be outgoing, good at moti­ vating people, and sensitive to the needs of others. Excellent health and physical fitness are important due to the physical nature of the job. Those who wish to be personal trainers in a large commercial fitness center should have strong sales skills. Fitness workers usually do not receive much on-the-job training; they are expected to know how to do their jobs when they are hired. The exception is newly certified personal trainers with no work expe­ rience, who sometimes begin by working alongside an experienced trainer before being allowed to train clients alone. Workers may receive some organizational training to learn about the operations of their new employer. They occasionally receive specialized training if they are expected to teach or lead a specific method of exercise or focus on a particular age or ability group. A bachelor’s degree, and in some cases a master’s degree, in exercise science, physical education, kinesiology, or a related area, along with experience, usually is required to advance to manage­ ment positions in a health club or fitness center. As in many fields, managerial skills are needed to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. College courses in management, business administra­ tion, accounting, and personnel management may be helpful for advancement to supervisory or managerial jobs, but many fitness companies have corporate universities in which they train employees for management positions. Personal trainers may advance to head trainer, with responsi­ bility for hiring and overseeing the personal training staff and for bringing in new personal training clients. Group fitness instructors may be promoted to group exercise director, responsible for hiring instructors and coordinating exercise classes. A next possible step is the fitness director, who manages the fitness budget and staff. The general manager’s main focus is on the financial aspect of the organization, particularly setting and achieving sales goals; in a small fitness center, however, the general manager usually is involved with all aspects of running the facility. Some workers go into business for themselves and open their own fitness centers.  Employment Fitness workers held about 205,000jobs in 2004. Almost all personal trainers and group exercise instructors worked in physical fitness facilities, health clubs, and fitness centers, mainly in the amusement and recreation industry or in civic and social organizations. About 7 percent of fitness workers were self-employed; many of these were personal trainers, while others were group fitness instructors working on a contract basis with fitness centers. Many fitness jobs are part time, and many workers hold multiple jobs, teaching and/or  394  Occupational Outlook Handbook  doing personal training at several different fitness centers and at clients’ homes.  Job Outlook Opportunities are expected to be good for fitness workers because of rapid growth in the fitness industry. Many job openings also will stem from the need to replace the large numbers of workers who leave these occupations each year. Employment of fitness workers—who are concentrated in the rap­ idly growing arts, entertainment, and recreation industry—is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. An increasing number of people spend more time and money on fitness, and more businesses are recognizing the benefits of health and fitness programs and other services such as wellness programs for their employees. Aging baby boomers are concerned with staying healthy, physi­ cally fit, and independent. They have become the largest demographic group of health club members. The reduction of physical education programs in schools, combined with parents’ growing concern about childhood obesity, has resulted in rapid increases in children’s health club membership. Increasingly, athletic youth also are hiring personal trainers, and weight-training gyms for children younger than 18 are expected to continue to grow. Health club membership among young adults also has grown steadily, driven by concern with physical fitness and by rising incomes. As health clubs strive to provide more personalized service to keep their members motivated, they will continue to offer personal training and a wide variety of group exercise classes. Participation in yoga and Pilates is expected to continue to grow, driven partly by the aging population demanding low-impact forms of exercise and relief from ailments such as arthritis.  Earnings Median annual earnings of personal trainers and group exercise in­ structors in May 2004 were $25,470. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,380 and $40,030. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $14,530 while the top 10 percent earned $55,560 or more. Earnings of successful self-employed personal trainers can be much higher. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of fitness workers in May 2004 were as follows: Other amusement and recreation industries...................................... $28,670 Other schools and instruction............................................................... 22,320 Civic and social organizations............................................................. 20,530  Because many fitness workers work part time, they often do not receive benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans from their employers. They do get the unusual benefit of the use of fitness facilities at no cost.  Related Occupations Occupations that focus on physical fitness, as do fitness workers, include athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers.  Sources of Additional Information For more information about fitness careers, and to find universi­ ties and other institutions offering programs in health and fitness, contact: ► IDEA Health and Fitness Association, 10455 Pacific Center Crt San Diego, CA 92121-4339.  For information about personal trainer and group fitness instmctor certifications, contact: >- American Council on Exercise, 4851 Paramount Dr., San Diego, CA 92123. Internet: http://www.acefitness.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  > American College of Sports Medicine, P.O. Box 1440, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1440. Internet: http://www.acsm.org >- National Academy of Sports Medicine, 26632 Agoura Rd., Calabasas, CA91302. Internet: http://www.nasm.org >- National Strength and Conditioning Association Certification Commission, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504. Internet:  http://www.nsca-cc.org For information about Pilates certification, and to find training programs, contact: >- Pilates Method Alliance, P.O. Box 370906, Miami, FL 33137-0906. Internet: http://www.pilatesmethodalliance.org  For information on yoga teacher training, and to find training programs, contact: > Yoga Alliance, 7801 Old Branch Ave., Suite 400, Clinton, MD 20735. Internet: http://www.yogaalliance.org  To find accredited fitness certification programs, contact: > National Commission for Certifying Agencies, 2025 M St., NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.noca.org/ncca/accredorg.htm  Flight Attendants (0*NET 39-6031.00)  Significant Points •  Job duties are learned through formal on-the-job training.  •  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.  •  A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement; however, applicants with a college degree and with experience in dealing with the public are likely to have the best employment opportunities.  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, attendants also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for passengers. At least 1 hour before each flight, attendants are briefed by the captain—the pilot in command—on such things as emergency 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 any other provided amenities. As passengers board the plane, flight attendants greet them, check their tickets, and tell them where to store 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 seatbelts 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 rough weather to directing passengers who must evacuate a plane following an emergency landing. Flight attendants also answer questions about the flight; distribute reading material, 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 attendants gener­  Service Occupations ally 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 and 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. Scheduled on-duty time usually is limited to 12 hours per day although some contracts provide daily actual maximums of 14 hours, with somewhat greater maximums for international flying. At­ tendants usually fly 65 to 90 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.  1  ST!  »m ,... ■:.....  ■  V ' •  J  .  gpsagH  alii Flight attendants are required, by law, on major airlines in order to the safety of the traveling public. Digitized forensure FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  395  Flight attendants must be flexible, reliable, and willing to relocate. However, many flight attendants elect to live in one place and com­ mute to their assigned home base. Home bases and routes worked are bid for on a seniority 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. Flight attendants stand during much of the flight and must remain pleasant and efficient, regardless of how tired they are or how demanding passengers may be. Oc­ casionally, flight attendants must deal with disruptive passengers. Also, turbulent flights can add to possible difficulties regarding service, including potential injuries to passengers. Working in a moving aircraft leaves flight attendants susceptible to injuries. For example, back injuries and mishaps can occur when opening overhead compartments or while pushing heavy service carts. 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.  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, although 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 citizens of the United States or registered aliens with legal rights to obtain employment in the United States. Airlines usually have physical and appearance requirements. There are height requirements for reaching overhead bins, which often contain emergency equipment, and most airlines want can­ didates with weight proportionate to height. Vision is required to be correctable to 20/30 or better with glasses or contact lenses (uncorrected 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. A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement. However, airlines increasingly prefer applicants with a college degree and with experience in dealing with the public. Applicants who attend schools and colleges that offer flight attendant training may have an advantage over other applicants. Highly desirable areas of concentration include people-oriented disciplines such as psychology and education. 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. In addition to education and training, airlines conduct a thorough background check as required by the FAA, which goes back as many as 10 years. Everything about an applicant is investigated, including date of birth, employment history, criminal record, school records, and gaps in employment. Employment is contingent on a successful background check. An applicant will not be offered a job or will be immediately dismissed if his or her background check shows any discrepancies. 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 training  396  Occupational Outlook Handbook  centers generally send new employees to the center of another airline. Some airlines may provide transportation to the training centers and an allowance for room, board, and school supplies, while other airlines charge individuals for training. New trainees are not considered employees of the airline until they success­ fully complete the training program. Trainees learn emergency procedures such as evacuating an airplane, operating emergency systems and equipment, administering first aid, and surviving in the water. In addition, trainees are taught how to deal with disruptive passengers and with hijacking and terrorist situations. New hires learn flight regulations and duties, gain knowledge of company operations and policies, and receive instruction on per­ sonal grooming and weight control. Trainees for the international routes get additional instruction in passport and customs regula­ tions. Trainees must perform many drills and duties unaided, in front of the training staff. Throughout training, they also take tests designed to eliminate unsuccessful trainees. Toward the end of their training, students go on practice flights. Upon suc­ cessful completion of training, flight attendants receive the FAA’s Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. Flight attendants also are required to go through periodic retraining and pass an FAA safety examination to continue flying. After completing initial training, flight attendants are assigned to one of their airline’s bases. New flight attendants are placed on reserve status and are called 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 remaining in this career longer than they used to. Some flight attendants become supervisors or take on additional duties such as recruiting and instmeting. Their experience also may qualify them for numerous airline-related jobs involving contact with the public, such as reservation ticket agent or public-relations specialist.  Employment Flight attendants held about 102,000 jobs in 2004. Commercial airlines employed the vast majority of flight attendants, most of whom lived in their employer’s home-base city. A small number of flight attendants worked for large companies that operated aircraft for business purposes.  Job Outlook In the long run, opportunities for persons seeking flight attendant jobs should improve as the airline industry continues to recover from the effects of September 11, 2001, 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 2014. Population growth and an improving economy are expected to boost the number of airline passengers. As airlines expand their capacity to meet rising demand by increasing the number and size of planes in operation, more flight attendants will be needed. Over the next decade, however, 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.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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. College graduates who have experience dealing with the public should have the best chance of being hired. Job opportunities may be better with the faster growing regional and commuter, low-fare, and charter airlines. There also are job opportunities for professionally trained flight attendants to work for companies operating private aircraft for their executives. The majority of job openings through the year 2014 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. With the job now viewed increasingly as a profession, however, fewer flight attendants leave 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 $43,440 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,310 and $67,590. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,450, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $95,850. According to data from the Association of Flight Attendants, beginning attendants had median earnings of about $15,552 a year in 2004. Beginning pay scales for flight attendants vary by carrier, however. New hires usually begin at the same pay scale regardless of experience, and all flight attendants receive the same future pay increases based on an established pay scale. Flight attendants receive extra compensation for increased hours. Further, some airlines offer incentive pay for working holidays, night and international flights, or taking positions that require additional 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 families are entitled to free or discounted fares on their own airline and reduced fares on most other airlines. Some airlines require that the flight at­ tendant be with an airline for 3 to 6 months before taking advantage of this benefit. Other benefits may include medical, dental, and life insurance; 401K or other retirement plan; sick leave; paid holidays; stock options; paid vacations; and tuition reimbursement. Flight attendants are required to purchase uniforms and wear them while on duty. The airlines usually pay for uniform replacement items, and may provide a small allowance to cover cleaning and upkeep of the uniforms. The majority of flight attendants hold union membership, pri­ marily with the Association of Flight Attendants. Other unions that represent flight attendants include the Transport Workers Union of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Related Occupations Other jobs that involve helping people as a safety professional, while requiring the ability to be calm even under trying circumstances, in­ clude emergency medical technicians and paramedics 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. For further information on flight attendants, contact: ► Association of Flight Attendants, 501 Third St. NW„ Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.afanet.org  Service Occupations  397  Gaming Services Occupations___ (0*NET 39-1011.00, 39-1012.00, 39-3011.00, 39-3012.00, 39-3019.99, 39-3099.99) MUi|  Significant Points •  Job opportunities are available nationwide and are no longer limited to Nevada and New Jersey.  •  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.  •  Employment is projected to grow faster than average.  •  Job prospects are best for those with a degree or certifi­ cation in gaining 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 gam­ ing, State lotteries, pari-mutuel wagering on contests such as horse or dog racing, and charitable gaming. Gaming, the playing of games of chance, is a multibillion-dollar industry that is 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 establishment to another. Despite differences in job title and task, however, work­ ers perform many of the same basic functions in all casinos. Some positions are associated with oversight and direction—supervision, surveillance, and investigation—while others involve working with the games or patrons themselves, performing such activities as tend­ ing slot machines, handling money, writing and running tickets, and dealing cards or running games. Like nearly every business establishment, casinos have workers who direct and oversee day-to-day operations. Gaming supervi­ sors 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 covered 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 supervisors 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 casino 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 patrons 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 coordinate and supervise the slot department and its workers. Their duties include verifying and handling payoff winnings 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 floor as frontline personnel,  they enforce safety rules and report hazards. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ' -r ” ' dv  Mff ■ .S L %  Gaming service workers must keep track ofall the money’ being paid to and received from patrons. Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners assist in the opera­ tions 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 oper­ ate the equipment that randomly selects the numbers. Others may announce numbers selected, pick up tickets from patrons, collect bets, or receive, verify, and record patrons’ cash wagers. Gaming dealers operate table games such as craps, blackjack, 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 competent 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 physically demanding. Most occupations require that workers stand for long periods; some require the lifting of heavy items. The atmosphere in casinos exposes workers to certain hazards, 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 headgear in areas where loud machinery is used to count money. Most casinos are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offer three staggered shifts.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no minimum educational requirements for entry-level gaming jobs, although most employers prefer at least a high school diploma or GED. Each casino establishes its own requirements for education, training, and experience. Some of the major casinos and slot manufacturers run their own training schools, and almost all provide some form of 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 certificates in gaming, as well as offering an associate, 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, gam­ ing supervision, slot attendant and slot repair technician work, slot department management, and surveillance and security.  398  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Gaming services workers are required to have a license issued by a regulatory agency, such as a State casino control board or com­ mission. Applicants for a license must provide photo identification, offer proof of residency in the State in which they anticipate work­ ing, 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 quality of their service contributes to an establishment’s success or failure. There­ fore, gaming workers need good communication skills, an outgoing personality, and the ability to maintain their composure even when dealing with angry or demanding patrons. Personal integrity also is important, because workers handle large amounts of money. Gaming services workers who manage money should have some experience handling cash or using calculators or computers. For such positions, most casinos administer a math test to assess an applicant’s level of competency. Most gaming supervisors have experience in. other gaming occupations, typically as dealers, and have a broad knowledge of casino rules, regulations, procedures, and games. While an associate or bachelor’s degree is beneficial, it is not a requirement for most positions. Gaming supervisors must have strong leadership, orga­ nizational, and communication skills. Excellent customer service and employee skills also are necessary. Slot key persons do not need to meet formal educational require­ ments 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 training during the first several weeks of employment. 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 excellent customer service skills. Most gaming dealers acquire their skills by attending a dealer school or vocational and technical school. Most of these schools are found in Nevada and New Jersey. They teach the rules and proce­ dures of the games as well as State and local laws and regulations. Graduation from one of these schools does not guarantee a job at many casinos, however, as most casinos require prospective dealers to also audition for open positions. During the audition, personal qualities are assessed along with knowledge of the games. Experi­ enced dealers, who often are able to attract 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 ability 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.  casinos, including land-based or riverboat casinos, in 11 States: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, and South Dakota. The largest num­ ber works in casinos in Nevada, and the second-largest group works in similar establishments in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mississippi, which boasts the greatest number of riverboat casinos in operation, employs the most workers in that venue. In addition, there are 28 States with Indian casinos. Legal lotteries are held in 40 States and the District of Columbia, and pari-mutuel wagering is legal in 40 States. Forty-seven States and the District of Columbia also allow charitable gaming. Other States have recently passed legislation to permit gambling, but no casinos have been opened as of yet. For most workers, gaming licensure requires proof of residency in the State in which gaming workers are employed. But some gam­ ing 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.  Job Outlook With demand for gaming showing no sign of waning, employment in gaming services occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. Even during the recent downturn in the economy, revenues at casinos have risen. In ad­ dition, the increasing popularity and prevalence of Indian casinos, particularly in California, and pari-mutuel casinos will provide sub­ stantial job openings that were not available in the past. With many States benefiting from casino gambling in the form of tax revenue or agreements with Indian tribes, additional States are reconsider­ ing their opposition to legalized gambling and will likely approve the construction of more casinos and other gaming establishments during the next decade. Some job growth will occur in established gaming areas in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, but most of the openings in these locations will come from job turnover. The increase in gaming reflects growth in the population and in its disposable income, both of which are expected to continue. Higher expectations for customer service among gaming patrons also should result in more jobs for gaming services workers. Job prospects in gaming services occupations will be best for those with previous casino gaming experience, a degree or techni­ cal or vocational training in gaming or a hospitality-related field, and strong interpersonal and customer service skills. As a direct result of increasing demand for additional table games in gaming establishments, the most rapid growth is expected among gaming dealers. However, there are generally more applicants than jobs for dealers, creating keen competition for jobs. In addition to job openings arising from employment growth, opportunities will result from the need to replace workers transferring to other occupations or leaving the labor force.  Earnings  Gaming services occupations provided 177,000 jobs in 2004. Em­ ployment by occupational specialty was distributed as follows:  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 earnings for various gaming services occupations in May 2004:  Gaming dealers............................................................................. Gaming supervisors...................................................................... Slot key persons............................................................................ Gaming and sports book writersand runners................................ Gaming service workers, all other................................................  83,000 38,000 23,000 18,000 15,000  Gaming supervisors...................................................................... $40,840 Slot key persons............................................................................ 23,010 Gaming service workers, all other.............................................. 20,820 Gaming and sports bookwriters and runners................................ 18,390 Gaming dealers............................................................................. 14,340  Gaming services workers are found mainly in the traveler accom­ modation and gaming industries. Most are employed in commercial  Gaming dealers generally receive a large portion of their earn­ ings from tokes, which are tips in the form of tokens received from  Employment   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Service Occupations players. Earnings from tokes can vary depending on the table games the dealer operates and the personal traits of the dealer.  Related Occupations Many other occupations provide hospitality and customer service. Some examples of related occupations are security guards and gam­ ing surveillance officers, 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 public 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  Personal and Home Care Aides (0*NET 39-9021.00)  Significant Points •  • •  Job opportunities are expected to be excellent because of rapid growth in home health care and high replace­ ment needs. Skill requirements are low, as is the pay.  399  and of clients’ condition and progress. They report changes in the client’s condition to the supervisor or case manager. In carrying out their work, aides cooperate with health care 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 and 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 instruc­ tions explaining when to visit clients and what services to perform for them. About one-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 lifting devices that are available in institutional settings are seldom available in patients’ homes, aides must be careful to avoid overexertion or injury when they assist clients.  —  —  About 33 percent 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.  Nature of the Work Personal and home care aides help elderly, disabled, ill, and mentally disabled persons live in their own homes or in residen­ tial care facilities instead of in health facilities. Most personal and home care aides work with elderly or physically or mentally disabled clients who need more extensive personal and home care than family or friends can provide. Some aides work with families in which a parent is incapacitated and small children need care. Others help discharged hospital patients who have relatively short-term needs. (Home health aides—who pro­ vide health-related services, rather than mainly housekeeping and routine personal care—are discussed in the statement on nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides, elsewhere in the  mm  Handbook.) Personal and home care aides—also called homemakers, caregiv­ ers, 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 get out of bed, bathe, dress, and groom. Some accompany clients to doctors’ appointments or on other errands. Personal and home care aides provide instruction and psychologi­ cal support to their patients. They may advise families and patients on nutrition, cleanliness, and household 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 health care agencies, a registered nurse, physical thera­ pist, or social worker assigns specific duties and supervises personal and home care aides. Aides keep records of services performed  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most aides provide routine personal care and housekeeping services to elderly or disabled patients.  400  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Earnings  In some States, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which generally is provided by most employers. Other States may require formal training, which is available from com­ munity colleges, vocational schools, elder care programs, and home health care agencies. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers national certification for personal and home care aides. Certification is a voluntary demonstration that the individual has met industry standards. Certification requires the completion of a standard 75-hour course and written exam developed by NAHC. Home care aides seeking certification are evaluated on 17 different skills by a registered nurse. Personal and home care aides should have a desire to help people and not mind hard work. They should be responsible, compassionate, 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-man­ dated tests such as those for tuberculosis, may be required. A criminal background check also may be required for employment. Additionally, personal and home care aides are responsible for their own transporta­ tion to reach patients’ homes. 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. Some aides choose to receive additional training to become nursing and home health aides, licensed practical nurses, or registered nurses. Some experienced personal and home care aides may start their own home care agency.  Median hourly earnings of personal and home care aides were $8.12 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.83 and $9.70 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.93, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $10.87 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of personal and home care aides in May 2004 were as follows:  Employment Personal and home care aides held about 701,000 jobs in 2004. The majority of jobs were in home health care services; individual and family services; residential care facilities; and private house­ holds. Self-employed aides have no agency affiliation or super­ vision and accept clients, set fees, and arrange work schedules on their own.  Job Outlook Excellent job opportunities are expected for this occupation, because rapid employment growth and high replacement needs are projected to 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 2014. The number of elderly people, an age group characterized by mounting health problems and requiring some assistance with daily activities, is projected to rise substantially. In addition to the elderly, other patients, such as the mentally disabled, will increasingly rely on home care. This trend re­ flects 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 improvement of medical technologies for in-home treatment. In addition to job openings created by the increase in demand for these workers, replacement needs are expected to lead to many openings. The relatively low skill requirements, 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 excel­ lent job prospects.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities....................................................... $9.09 Vocational rehabilitation services..................................................... 8.76 Community care facilities for the elderly......................................... 8.49 Individual and family services.......................................................... 8.48 Home health care services................................................................ 6.99 Most employers give slight pay increases with experience and added responsibility. Aides usually are paid only for the time they work in the home, not for travel time between jobs. Employers often hire on-call hourly workers and provide no benefits.  Related Occupations Personal and home care aides combine 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; physical therapist assistants and aides; and social and hu­ man service assistants.  Sources of Additional Information Information about employment opportunities may be obtained from local hospitals, nursing care facilities, home health care agencies, psychiatric facilities, residential mental health facilities, social assis­ tance agencies, and local offices of the State employment service.  Recreation Workers (0*NET 39-9032.00)  Significant Points  •  Educational requirements for recreation workers range from a high school diploma to a graduate degree.  •  Competition will remain keen for full-time career posi­ tions in recreation.  •  The recreation field offers an unusually large number of 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 arts and crafts, the per­ forming arts, camping, and sports. Recreation workers plan, organize, and direct these activities in local playgrounds and recreation areas, parks, community centers, religious organizations, camps, theme parks, and tourist attractions. Increasingly, recreation workers also are being found in workplaces, where they organize and direct leisure activities for employees. Recreation workers hold a variety of positions at different levels of responsibility. Recreation leaders, who are responsible for a recreation program’s daily operation, primarily organize and direct participants. They may lead and give instruction in dance, drama, crafts, games, and sports; schedule the use of facilities; keep records of equipment use; and ensure that recreation facilities and equip-  Service Occupations  401  Working Conditions  ditm 'SLr*.  Recreation workers may work in a variety of settings—for example, a cruise ship, a woodland recreational park, a summer camp, or a playground in the center of a large urban community. Regardless of the setting, most recreation workers spend much of their time outdoors and may work in a variety of weather conditions. Recreation directors and supervisors, however, typically spend most of their time in an of­ fice, planning programs and special events. Directors and supervisors generally engage in less physical activity than do lower level recreation workers. Nevertheless, recreation workers at all levels risk suffering injuries during physical activities. Many recreation workers work about 40 hours a week. People enter­ ing this field, especially camp counselors, should expect some night and weekend work and irregular hours. Many recreation jobs are seasonal.  HHi1  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement ;;  A lifesaving certificate is a prerequisite for teaching or coaching water-related activities. ment are used properly. Workers who provide instruction and coach groups in specialties such as art, music, drama, swimming, or tennis may be called activity specialists. Recreation supervisors oversee recreation leaders and plan, organize, and manage recreational ac­ tivities 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 specialized 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, playgrounds, and other settings. Directors usually serve as technical 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 occupa­ tion is described elsewhere in the Handbook.) Camp counselors lead and instruct children and teenagers in outdoor-oriented forms of recreation, such as swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and camping. In addition, counselors provide campers with specialized instruction in subjects such as archery, boating, music, drama, gymnastics, tennis, and computers. In resi­ dent camps, counselors also provide guidance and supervise daily living and general socialization. Camp directors typically supervise camp counselors, plan camp activities or programs, and perform the various administrative functions of a camp.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Educational requirements for recreation workers range from a high school diploma—or sometimes less for those seeking many summer jobs—to graduate degrees for some administrative positions in large public recreation systems. Full-time career professional positions usually require a college degree with a major in parks and recreation or leisure studies, but a bachelor’s degree in any liberal 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 background 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 certificate is a prerequisite for teaching or coaching water-related activities. Gradu­ ates of associate’s degree programs in parks and recreation, social work, and other human services disciplines also enter some career recreation positions. High school graduates occasionally enter career positions, but this is not common. Some college students work part time as recreation workers while earning degrees. A bachelor’s degree in a recreation-related discipline and ex­ perience are preferred for most recreation supervisor jobs and are required for higher level administrative jobs. However, an increasing number of recreation workers who aspire to administrative positions are obtaining master’s degrees in parks and recreation, business administration, or public administration. Certification in the rec­ reation 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’s 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 2004, about 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 administration; recreational needs of special populations, such as the elderly or disabled; and supervised fieldwork. Students may specialize in areas such as therapeutic recreation, park management, outdoor recreation, industrial or com­ mercial recreation, or camp management. The NRPA certifies individuals for professional and technical jobs. Certified Park and Recreation Professionals must pass an exam; earn a bachelor’s degree with a major in recreation, park resources, or leisure services from a program accredited by the NRPA and the American Association for Leisure and Recreation; or earn a bachelor’s degree and have at least 5 years of relevant full-time work experience. Continuing education is necessary to remain certified.  402  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Persons planning recreation careers should be outgoing, good at motivating people, and sensitive to the needs of others. Excellent health and physical fitness are often required, due to the physical nature of some jobs. 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 positions.  The large number of temporary, seasonal jobs in the recreation field typically are filled by high school or college students, gener­ ally do not have formal education requirements, and are open to anyone with the desired personal qualities. Employers compete for a share of the vacationing student labor force, and although salaries in recreation often are lower than those in other fields, the nature of the work and the opportunity to work outdoors are attractive to many.  Employment Recreation workers held about 310,000 jobs in 2004, and many ad­ ditional workers held summer jobs in the occupation. Of those with year-round jobs as recreation workers, about 35 percent worked for local governments, primarily in park and recreation departments. Around 11 percent of recreation workers were employed in civic and social organizations, such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or the Red Cross. Another 15 percent of recreation workers were employed by nursing and other personal care facilities. The recreation field has an unusually large number of part-time, seasonal, and volunteer jobs, including summer camp counselors, craft specialists, and afterschool and weekend recreation program leaders. In addition, many teachers and college students accept jobs as recreation workers when school is not in session. The vast majority of volunteers serve as activity leaders at local day camp programs, or in youth organizations, camps, nursing homes, hospitals, senior centers, and other settings.  Job Outlook Competition will remain keen for career positions as recreation workers because the field attracts many applicants and because the 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 supervisory or administrative positions. Job openings also will stem from the need to replace the large numbers of workers who leave the occupation each year. Overall employment of recreation workers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. People will spend more time and money on recreation, spurring growth in civic and social organizations and, to a lesser degree, State and local government. Much growth will be driven by retiring baby boomers, who, with more leisure time, high disposable income, and concern for health and fitness, are expected to increase their consumption of rec­ reation services. Job growth also will be driven by rapidly increasing employment in nursing and residential care facilities. Employment growth may be inhibited, however, by budget constraints that local governments may face over the 2004-14 projection period.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings In May 2004, median annual earnings of recreation workers who worked full time were $19,320. The middle 50 percent earned between $15,640 and $25,380. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $13,260, while the highest paid 10 percent earned $34,280 or more. However, earnings of recreation directors and others in supervisory or managerial positions can be substantially higher. Most public and private recreation agencies provide full-time recreation workers with typical benefits; part-time workers receive few, if any, benefits. In May 2004, median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of recreation workers were as follows: Nursing care facilities................................................................... $20,660 Local government ........................................................................ 19,650 Individual and family services...................................................... 19,260 Other amusement and recreation industries.................................. 17,060 Civic and social organizations...................................................... 16,950  Related Occupations Recreation workers must exhibit leadership and sensitivity when dealing with people. Other occupations that require similar per­ sonal qualities include counselors, probation officers and correc­ tional treatment specialists, psychologists, recreational therapists, and social workers.  Sources of Additional Information For information on jobs in recreation, contact employers such as local government departments of parks and recreation, nursing and personal care facilities, the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, or local social or religious organizations. For information on careers, certification, and academic programs in parks and recreation, contact: >- National Recreation and Park Association, Division of Professional Services, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashbum, VA 20148-4501. Internet: http://www.nrpa.org For career information about camp counselors, contact: >- American Camping Association, 5000 State Road 67 North, Martinsville, IN 46151-7902. Internet: http://www.acacamps.org  Sales and Related Occupations Advertising Sales Agents (0*NET 41-3011.00)  Significant Points  •  Overall earnings are higher than average but can vary considerably because they are usually based on a salary plus performance-based commissions and bonuses.  •  Pressure to meet monthly sales quotas can be stressful.  Nature of the Work Advertising sales agents—often referred to as account executives or advertising sales representatives—sell or solicit advertising, in­ cluding graphic art, advertising space in publications, custom-made signs, or television and radio advertising time. More than half of all advertising sales agents work in the information sector, mostly for media firms, including television and radio broadcasters, print and Internet publishers, and cable program distributors. Other agents work for firms engaged in direct mail advertising or display and outdoor advertising, such as billboards and signs. Because most revenue for magazines, newspapers, directories, and broadcasters is generated from advertising, advertising sales agents play an im­ portant role in their success. Outside sales agents call on clients and prospects at their place of business. They may have an appointment, or they may practice “cold calling,” arriving without an appointment. Inside sales agents work on their employer’s premises and handle sales to customers who walk in or telephone the firm to inquire about advertising. Some also may make telephone sales calls—calling prospects, attempting to sell the media firm’s advertising space or time, and arranging follow-up appointments between interested prospects and outside sales agents. Advertising sales agents should not be confused with telemarketers, whose duties are limited solely to soliciting orders for goods or services over the telephone and who work primarily in call centers that provide telemarketing services on contract. Within the advertising and related services industry, media rep­ resentative firms sell advertising space or time for media owners, including print and Internet publishers, radio and television stations, and cable systems. Media representative firms maintain offices in major cities and employ their own teams of advertising sales agents. These agents work exclusively with the executives at advertising agencies, called media buyers, who purchase advertising space for their clients. Media representative firms may represent any num­ ber of publications and radio or television stations, selling space to advertising agencies with clients who want to initiate a national advertising campaign or place advertisements outside their local market. Sales agents employed in media representation normally do not cultivate new advertisers but maintain contacts with existing advertisers through the advertising agencies. A local television or radio station or publication would have a national sales manager to promote its best interests and coordinate the efforts of all the media representative firms on its behalf. Local sales agents are employed by local publications or radio and television stations and are responsible for sales in a local territory. For these sales agents, obtaining new accounts is an important part of the job, and they may spend much of their time traveling to and visiting prospective advertisers and current clients. During a sales call, they  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  discuss the client’s advertising needs and suggest how their products and services can meet those needs. Acritical part of building arelationship with a client is to find out as much as possible about the client and its products. Sales agents inquire about the client’s current customers, prospective customers, and the geographic area of the target market. During the first meeting with a client, sales agents gather back­ ground information and explain how specific types of advertising will help promote a client’s products or services most effectively. Next, the advertising sales agent prepares an advertising proposal to present to the client. This entails determining the advertising medium to be used, preparing sample advertisements, and providing clients with estimates of the cost of the proposal. Consolidation in the media industries has brought the sale of different types of ad­ vertising under one roof. Sales are increasingly made of integrated packages that include advertisements to be placed in print, online, and with a broadcast subsidiary. After a contract has been established, advertising sales agents serve as the main contact between the client and the firm. They handle communication between the parties and assist the client in developing sample artwork or radio and television spots. They also arrange for commercial taping sessions and may accompany clients to the sessions. Beyond selling, advertising sales agents have other duties as well. They analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle the scheduling of their appointments and work hours. They read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors. In many firms, the advertising sales agent handles the drafting of contracts specifying the advertising work to be performed and its cost, as well as the billing and record­ keeping for their customers’ accounts—which may include customer service responsibilities such as answering questions or addressing any problems the client may have with the proposal. Sales agents also are responsible for developing sales tools, promotional plans, and media kits, which they use to help make the sale.  Working Conditions Selling can be stressful work because income and job security de­ pend directly on the agent’s ability to maintain and expand clientele. Companies generally set monthly sales quotas and place considerable  Calling clients to obtain new accounts is important to an advertising sales agent’s success. 403  404  Occupational Outlook Handbook  pressure on advertising sales agents to meet those quotas. The added stress of rejection places more pressure on the agent. Many advertising sales agents work more than 40 hours per week. Although the hours are long and often irregular, most have the freedom to determine their own schedule. The Internet and other electronic tools allow agents to do more work from home or while on the road, enabling them to send messages and documents to clients and coworkers, keep up with industry news, and access databases that help them target potential customers. Advertising sales agents use e-mail to conduct much of the business with their clients. Use of e-mail has considerably shortened the time it takes to negotiate a sale and place the ad. Sales agents may accomplish more in less time, but many work more hours than in the past, spending additional time on follow-up and service calls.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Some employers prefer applicants with a college degree, particularly for sales positions that require meeting with clients. Courses in marketing, leadership, communication, business, and advertising are helpful. For those who sell over the telephone or who have a proven record of successfully selling other products, a high school degree may be sufficient. After gaining entry into the occupation, successful sales experience becomes more important than education when looking for a position. In general, smaller companies are more willing to hire unproven individuals. Personality traits are equally important as academic back­ ground. Because they represent their employers to the executives of client organizations, advertising sales agents must have excel­ lent interpersonal and written communication skills. Employers look for applicants who possess a pleasant personality, honesty, and a neat professional appearance. Self-motivation, organiza­ tion, persistence, independence, and the ability to multitask are required because advertising sales agents set their own schedules and perform their duties without much supervision. Training takes place mainly on the job. In most cases, an experienced sales manager instructs a newly hired advertising sales agent who lacks sales experience. In this one-on-one environment, the supervisor typically coaches the new hire and observes as she makes sales calls and contacts clients. The super­ visor then advises the new hire on ways to improve. To conduct more specialized training—for example, in selling to a particular market segment, such as real estate professionals or automotive dealers—the employer may bring in a consultant. Advancement in the occupation means taking on bigger, more important clients. Agents with proven leadership ability and a strong sales record may advance to supervisory and managerial positions such as sales supervisor, sales manager, or vice president of sales. Frequent contact with managers of other departments and people in other firms provides sales agents with leads about job openings, enhancing advancement opportunities. In small firms, where the number of supervisory and management positions is limited, advancement may come slowly. Promotion may occur more quickly in large firms.  Employment Advertising sales agents held over 154,000 jobs in 2004. Workers were concentrated in three industries: More than 3 in 10 jobs were in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers; 3 in 10 in advertising and related services; and 2 in 10 in radio and televi­ sion broadcasting. A relatively small number of jobs were found in specialized design services, including industrial and graphic designers; printing and related support activities; computer systems design and related services; business support services; and cable and other program distribution.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment was spread around the country, but jobs in larger, well-known publications or radio and television stations were concentrated in big cities. Media representative firms also were concentrated in large cities with many advertising agencies. Part-time employment of advertising sales agents was most common in advertising and related services and less common in publishing and radio and television broadcasting. Self-em­ ployment also was more common in advertising and related services. Overall, relatively few advertising sales agents were self-employed.  Job Outlook Employment of advertising sales agents is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014 because of growth in population and advertising revenue.* Ris­ ing demand for advertising sales agents also will stem from fast growth in cable systems and from the expansion of firms into the growing Hispanic market. The industries employing advertising sales agents experienced considerable consolidation in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue over the next decade, although at a slower pace. This consolidation is not expected to affect employment of advertising sales agents significantly because prospective clients still will re­ quire sales agents to create and demonstrate advertising proposals. Technology has made advertising sales agents more productive, allowing them to take on additional duties and improve the quality of the services they provide, without substantially lessening overall demand. Productivity gains have occurred mostly in the account­ ing, proposal creation, and customer service responsibilities of sales agents, allowing them to provide improved services. In addition to the job openings generated by employment growth, openings will occur each year because of the need to replace sales representatives who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Each year, many advertising sales agents discover they are unable to earn enough money and leave the occupation. As a result, job opportunities should be good, especially for those with a college degree or a proven sales record. Advertising revenues are sensitive to economic downturns, which cause the industries and companies that advertise to reduce both the frequency of campaigns and the overall level of spending on advertising. Advertising sales agents must work hard to get the most out of every dollar spent on advertising under these conditions. Therefore, the number of job opportunities for advertising sales agents fluctuates with the business cycle.  Earnings Most employers pay a combination of salaries, commissions, and bonuses. Commissions are usually 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. For agents covering multiple areas or regions, commissions also may be based on the difficulty in making a sale in that particular area. Sales revenue is affected by the economic conditions and business expectations facing the industries that tend to advertise. Earnings from commissions are likely to be high when these industries are doing well, low when companies decide not to advertise as frequently. Median annual earnings for all advertising sales agents were $40,300 including commissions, in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $27,740 and $59,880 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,210, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $89,720 a year. Median annual earnings for sales agents in May 2004 in the industries employing the largest numbers of them were as follows:  Sales and Related Occupations Advertising and related services................................................... $44,900 Radio and television broadcasting................................................ 38,980 Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers............... 35,090 In addition to their earnings, advertising sales agents 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 plans, vacation and sick leave, personal use of a company car, and frequent flier mileage. Some companies offer incentives such as free vacation trips or gifts for outstanding sales workers.  Related Occupations Advertising sales agents must have sales ability and knowledge of their clients’ needs and businesses. Workers in other occupations requiring these skills include advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers; insurance sales agents; purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents; real estate brokers and sales agents; sales engineers; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; and securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.  Sources of Additional Information For information about advertising sales careers in newspaper pub­ lishing, contact: >■ The Newspaper Association of America, 1921 Gallows Rd., Suite 600, Vienna, VA 22182. Internet: http://www.naa.org  Cashiers (0*NET 41-2011.00,41-2012.00)  Significant Points •  Cashiers are trained on the job; this occupation pro­ vides opportunities for many young people with no previous work experience.  •  Nearly one-half of all cashiers work part time.  •  Despite projected slower-than-average employment growth, good employment opportunities are expected because of the large number of workers who leave this occupation each year.  •  Many cashiers start at minimum wage.  405  the store’s policies and procedures for each type of payment the store accepts. For checks and charges, they may request additional identification 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. At the end of their shifts, they once again count the drawers’ con­ tents and compare the totals with sales data. An occasional shortage of small amounts may be overlooked but, in many establishments, repeated shortages are grounds for dismissal. In addition to count­ ing the contents of their drawers at the end of their shifts, cashiers usually separate and total charge forms, return slips, coupons, and any other noncash items. Most cashiers now use scanners and computers, but some estab­ lishments still require price and product information to be entered manually. In a store with scanners, a cashier passes a product’s Universal Product Code over the scanning 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. 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 common duties for cashiers who work at movie theaters and ticket agencies. 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 persons 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. 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.  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 “tills.” They must count their tills to ensure that they con­ tain the correct amount of money and adequate supplies of change. Cashiers also handle returns and exchanges. They must ensure that returned merchandise 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, personal checks, credit cards, and debit cards. Cashiers must know   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Cashiers handle money and ineract with customers face-to-face.  406  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Most cashiers work indoors, usually standing in booths or behind counters. In addition, they often are unable to leave their worksta­ tions without supervisory approval because they are responsible for large sums of money. The work of cashiers can be very repetitious, 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 robberies and homicides is much higher than that of the total workforce, although more safety precautions are being taken to help deter robbers. Gaming change persons and booth cashiers can expect a safer work environment than cashiers in other industries. However, casinos are not without their hazards such as exposure to fumes from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes and noise from slot machines.  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. Gaming change persons and booth cashiers are required to obtain a license and background check from their State’s gaming board and must meet a certain age requirement, usually set at 21 years old. 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 covered 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 public, 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 working 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.  cupations or leave the labor force. There is substantial movement into and out of the occupation because education and training requirements are minimal, and the predominance of part-time jobs is attractive 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 2004, almost fifty percent of all cashiers were 24 years of age or younger. Some establishments have begun hiring elderly and disabled persons to fill some of their job openings. Cashier employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The rising popularity of purchasing goods online may reduce the employment growth of cashiers, although many customers still prefer the tra­ ditional method of purchasing goods at stores. Also, the growing use of self-service check-out systems in retail trade, especially at grocery stores, should have an adverse effect on employment of cashiers. These self-checkout systems may outnumber checkouts with clerks in the future in many establishments. The impact on employment growth of cashiers 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. Seasonal demand for cashiers also causes fluctuations in employment. Opportunities will be strong for gaming cashiers as more States legalize casinos and gaming becomes more popular. An increasing number of gaming venues and high turnover in this occupation will generate many job openings. However, many casinos are finding ways to use less cash in their operations, particularly the slot machines, which now generate tickets that can be accepted by other slot machines.  Earnings Many cashiers start at the Federal minimum wage, which was $5.15 an hour in 2005. 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 May 2004 were $7.81. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.72 and $9.10 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.91, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $11.30 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of cashiers in May 2004 were: Grocery stores.................................................................................... $7.90 Department stores.............................................................................. 7.89 Other general merchandise stores..................................................... 7.85 Health and personal care stores......................................................... 7.68 Gasoline stations................................................................................ 7.54  Employment Cashiers held about 3.5 million jobs in 2004. Of these, 29,000 were employed as gaming change persons and booth cashiers. Although cashiers are employed in almost every industry, 27 percent of all jobs were in food and beverage stores. Gasoline stations, department stores, other 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. Be­ cause cashiers are needed in businesses and organizations of all types and sizes, job opportunities are found throughout the country.  Job Outlook Opportunities for full-time and part-time cashier jobs should continue to be good, because of employment growth and the need Digitized FRASER to for replace the large number of workers who transfer to other oc­ https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Median hourly earnings for gaming cashiers in May 2004 were $9.87. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.23 and $ 11.74 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.07, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $ 13.51 an hour. 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 pur­ chases, and cashiers in restaurants may receive free or low-cost meals. Some employers also offer employee stock-option plans and education-reimbursement 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  Sales and Related Occupations workers, Postal Service workers, and retail salespersons, all of whom are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.  407  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.  Sources of Additional Information General information on retailing is available from: ► National Retail Federation, 325 7th St. NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004. General information on careers in grocery stores is available from: >■ Food Marketing Institute, 655 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. For information about employment opportunities as a cashier, contact: >■ National Association of Convenience Stores, 1605 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314-2792. ► United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Education Office, 1775 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20006-1502.  Counter and Rental Clerks  Working Conditions Firms employing counter and rental clerks usually operate nights and weekends for the convenience of their customers. As a result, 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 service establishments are clean, well lighted, and temperature controlled. However, clerks are on their feet much of the time and may be confined behind a small counter area or may be required to move, lift, or carry heavy machinery or other equipment. The job requires constant interaction with the public and can be stressful, especially during busy periods.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  (0*NET 41-2021.00)  Significant Points •  Jobs primarily are 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.  Most counter and rental clerk jobs are entry-level positions that require little or no experience and minimal formal education. How­ ever, many employers prefer workers with at least a high school diploma.  Mimm ■  .4  Nature of the Work Whether renting videos, air compressors, or moving vans or dropping off clothes to be drycleaned or appliances to be serviced, custom­ ers rely on counter and rental clerks to handle their transactions efficiently. Although the specific duties of these workers vary by establishment, counter and rental clerks answer questions involv­ ing 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 occupations with similar duties, are discussed elsewhere in the  ■M-  Handbook.) Regardless of where they work, counter and rental clerks must be knowledgeable about the company’s goods and services, policies, and procedures. 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 repair. For example, in the car rental industry, these workers inform customers about the features of different types of automobiles and about daily and weekly rental costs. They also ensure that customers 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 also must know how to operate and care for the machinery rented. In drycleaning establishments, counter clerks inform customers when items will be ready and about the effects, if any, of the chemicals used on garments. 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 barcode scanners. Most of these computer systems are user friendly, require very little data Digitized entry, for FRASER and are customized for each firm. Scanners read the product https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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.  408  Occupational Outlook Handbook  In most companies, counter and rental clerks are trained on the job, sometimes through the use of videos, brochures, and pamphlets. Clerks usually learn how to operate a firm’s equip­ ment and become familiar with the firm’s policies and procedures under the observation of a more experienced worker. However, some employers 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 different products and services rented or provided by their company 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 custom­ ers. They also should be able to handle several tasks at once, while continuing to provide friendly service. In addition, good oral and written communication skills are essential. Advancement opportunities depend on the size and type of company. Many establishments that employ counter or rental clerks tend to be small businesses, making advancement difficult. In larger establishments, however, jobs such as counter and rental clerks offer good opportunities for workers to learn about their company’s prod­ ucts and business practices. These jobs can lead to more responsible positions. It is common in many establishments to promote counter and rental clerks to event planner, assistant manager, or salesperson. Workers may choose to pursue related 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 workers who are unemployed or semiretired. For example, retired mechanics could prove invaluable at tool rental centers because of their knowledge of, and familiarity with, tools.  Employment Counter and rental clerks held 451,000 jobs in 2004. About 23 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 services; 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.  commissions, based on the number of contracts they complete or services they sell. Median hourly earnings of counter and rental clerks in May 2004 were $8.79. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.21 and$11.99 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.15 an hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $16.79 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of counter and rental clerks in May 2004 were as follows: Automobile dealers......................................................................... $ 17.87 Automotive equipment rental and leasing...................................... 10.42 Lessors of real estate....................................................................... 9.92 Consumer goods rental................................................................... 7.78 Drycleaning and laundry services................................................... 7.62 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 work for independent stores tend to be sig­ nificantly less than for those who work full time. Many companies offer discounts to both full-time and part-time employees on the goods or services they provide.  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, IL61265. Internet: http://www.ararental.org For more information about the work of counter clerks in dry­ cleaning and laundry establishments, contact: > International Fabricare Institute, 14700 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707. Internet: http://www.ifi.org  Demonstrators, Product Promoters, and Models (0*NET 41 -9011.00, 41 -9012.00)  Significant Points  Job Outlook Employment of counter and rental clerks is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014, 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 ser­ vices 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 expected 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 2004. In some States, the law sets the minimum wage higher, and establishments must pay at least that amount. Wages also tend to be higher in areas where there is intense competition for work­ ers. In addition to wages, some counter and rental clerks receive   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  •  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 sched­ ules, 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-  Sales and Related Occupations  Models often have to travel and go on location for shoots. 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 demonstration is an effective technique used by both to introduce new products or promote sales of old products because it allows face-to-face interaction with potential customers. Demonstrators and product promoters build current and future sales of both sophisticated and simple products, ranging from computer software to mops. They attract an audience by offering samples, administering contests, distributing prizes, and using direct-mail advertising. They must greet and catch the attention of 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 gener­ ate 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 customize exhibits for particular audiences. Results obtained by demonstrators and product promoters are analyzed, and presentations are adjusted to make them more effective. Demonstrators and product 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  409  A food product demonstration might require the use of cooking utensils, while a software demonstration could require the use of a multimedia computer. Demonstrators must be familiar with the product 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. Demonstrations 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 television 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 advertisements such as billboards. Catalog models appear in de­ partment 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 shoot on schedule. Stylists and makeup artists prepare the model for the photo shoot, provide touchups, and change the look of models 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 advertising 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 model­ ing, but provides exposure for a model and can lead to commercial 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 audi­ ences. 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 confidently walk a narrow runway before an audience of photogra­ phers, journalists, designers, and garment buyers. Live modeling also is done in apparel marts, department stores, and fitting rooms of clothing designers. In retail establishments, models display clothing directly for shoppers and may be required to describe the features and price of the clothing. Other models pose for sketching artists, painters, and sculptors. Models may compete with actors and actresses for work in television and may even receive speaking parts. Television work includes commercials, cable television programs, and even game  410  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 plus-size fashions are modeled by women whose dress size is smaller or larger than that worn by the typical model. Models who are disabled may be used to model fashions or products for disabled consumers. “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 main­ tain an ongoing relationship with the model. Agents find and nurture relationships with clients, arrange auditions called “go-sees,” and book shoots if a model is hired. They also provide bookkeeping and billing services to models and may offer them financial plan­ ning services. Relatively short careers and variable incomes make financial planning an important issue for many 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 car­ ried 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 image they should project. Some models research the client and the product being mod­ eled to prepare for a shoot. Models use a document 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 models work part time and about 1 in 4 have variable work schedules. 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 hectic, and demonstrators and product promoters may feel pressure to influence the greatest number of consumers possible in a very limited amount of time. However, many enjoy the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. Models work under a variety of conditions, which can often be both difficult and glamorous. The coming season’s fashions 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 despite 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Formal training and education requirements are limited for demonstra­ tors, product promoters, and models. Training usually is moderate term, lasting a month or more. Postsecondary education, while helpful, usually is not required: only 1 in 5 of these workers has a bachelor’s degree or higher. Demonstrators and product promoters usually receive on-the-job training. Training is primarily product oriented because a demon­ strator must be familiar with the product to demonstrate it properly. 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 comput­ ers. During the training process, demonstrators may be introduced 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. 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. Specific requirements depend on the client, but most 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 physical beauty change; however, most fashion designers feel that their clothing looks its best on tall, thin models. Although physical requirements may be relaxed for some types of modeling jobs, opportunities 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 regularly, and get enough sleep in order to stay healthy. Haircuts, pedicures, 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 runway work, models must be able to move gracefully and confidently. Train­ ing 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 personal lives, financial matters, and busy work and travel schedules. Because competition for jobs is stiff and clients’ needs are very specific, 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 prefer beginning models with little or no previous experience and discourage 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  Sales and Related Occupations 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 snapshots or attend open calls are offered contracts. Agencies advise models on how to dress, wear makeup, and conduct 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 accumulate and display current tear sheets—examples of a model’s editorial 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 occupa­ tions or open their own businesses. Because modeling careers are rela­ tively short, most models eventually transfer to other occupations.  Employment  411  Earnings Demonstrators and product promoters had median hourly earnings of $9.95 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.18 and $13.29. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.25, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.08. Employers of demonstrators, product promoters, and models generally pay for job-related travel expenses. Median hourly earnings of models were $10.50 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.44 and $14.34. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.16, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $17.17. 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 earn­ ings 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 receive 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 expenses. Models must provide their own health and retirement benefits.  Demonstrators, product promoters, and models held about 120,000jobs in 2004. Of these, models held only about 2,200 jobs in 2004. About 23 percent of all salaried jobs for demonstrators, product promoters, and models were in retail trade, especially general merchandise stores, and 14 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, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.  Demonstrators, product promoters, and models create public interest in buying clothing, products, and services. Others who create interest in a product or service include actors, producers, and directors; insurance sales agents; real estate brokers; retail salespersons; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks.  Job Outlook  For information about modeling schools and agencies in your area, contact a local consumer affairs organization such as the Better Busi­ ness Bureau.  Employment of demonstrators, product promoters, and models is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. 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, product 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 demon­ strators 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 marketing 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Related Occupations  Sources of Additional Information  Insurance Sales Agents (0*NET 41-3021.00)  Significant Points  •  Agents increasingly offer comprehensive financial planning services, including retirement and estate plan­ ning; as a result, in addition to offering insurance poli­ cies, agents sell mutual funds, annuities, and securities.  •  Agents must obtain a license in the States where they plan to do their selling. Despite slower than average growth, job opportunities should be good for college graduates who have sales ability, excellent interpersonal skills, and expertise in a wide range of insurance and financial services.  •  •  Successful agents often have high earnings, but many beginning agents fail to earn enough from commissions to meet their income goals and eventually transfer to other careers.  Nature of the Work Most people have their first contact with an insurance company through an insurance sales agent. These workers help indi­ viduals, families, and businesses select insurance policies that  412  Occupational Outlook Handbook  nr*  An increasing number ofinsurance sales agents offer comprehensive financial planning services to their clients. provide the best protection for their lives, health, and property. Insurance sales agents who work exclusively for one insurance company are referred to as captive agents. Independent insur­ ance agents, or brokers, represent several companies and place insurance policies for their clients with the company that offers the best rate and coverage. 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 minimize 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 automobile accidents, fire, theft, storms, and other events that can damage 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 policyholder’s circumstances, a cash-value policy can be designed to provide retire­ ment income, funds for the education of children, or other benefits. Life insurance agents also sell annuities that promise a retirement income. Health insurance agents sell health insurance policies that cover the costs of medical care and loss of income due to illness or injury. They also may sell dental insurance and short-term and long-term-disability insurance policies. An increasing number of insurance sales agents are offering comprehensive financial planning services to their clients, such as retirement planning, estate planning, or assistance in setting up pension 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  (See the statement on securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents 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 gradu­ ally 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. Increas­ ingly, clients are obtaining insurance quotes from a company’s Web site and then contacting the company directly to purchase policies. This interaction 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 maintain regular contact with their clients to ensure that the clients’ financial 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 carriers and agents tafind new ways to keep their clients satisfied. One solution is to increase the use of call centers, which usually are accessible to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Insurance carriers and sales agents also are hiring customer service repre­ sentatives to 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 concentrate 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, appraisers, 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 offices, trav­ eling locally to meet with clients, close sales, or investigate claims. Agents usually determine their own hours of work and often schedule evening and weekend appointments for the convenience of clients. Although most agents work a 40-hour week, some work 60 hours a week or longer. Commercial sales agents, in particular, may meet with clients during business hours and then spend evenings doing paperwork and preparing presentations to prospective clients.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement For insurance sales agent jobs, most companies and indepen­ dent agencies prefer to hire college graduates—especially those who have majored in business or economics. High school graduates are occasionally hired if they have proven sales ability or have been successful in other types of work. In fact, many entrants to insurance sales agent jobs transfer from other occupations. In selling commercial 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 sell­ ing insurance. Many colleges and universities offer courses in insurance, and a few schools offer a bachelor’s degree in the field.  Sales and Related Occupations College courses in finance, mathematics, accounting, econom­ ics, business law, marketing, and business administration enable insurance sales agents to understand how social and economic conditions relate 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 packages has become very important. 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 insurance. In most States, licenses are issued only to applicants who complete specified prelicensing courses and who pass State examinations covering insurance fundamentals and State insurance laws. The insurance 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 consulting. For example, The National Alliance for Education and Research offers a wide variety of courses in health, life and property, and casualty insurance for independent insurance agents. Although voluntary, such programs assure clients and employers that an agent has a thorough understanding of the relevant specialty. 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 professional 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 services by taking courses at colleges and universities and by attending institutes, conferences, and seminars sponsored by insurance organizations. Most State licensing authorities also have mandatory continuing education requirements focusing on insurance laws, consumer pro­ tection, and the technical details of various insurance policies. As the demand for financial products and financial planning increases, many insurance agents are choosing to gain the proper licensing and certification to sell securities and other financial products. Doing so, however, requires substantial study and passing an additional examination—either the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, both of which arc 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 represen­ tatives. In addition, to further demonstrate competency in the area of financial planning, many agents find it worthwhile to earn the certified financial planner or chartered financial consultant designation. The Certified Financial Planner credential issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, requires relevant experience, completion of education requirements, passing a comprehensive examination, and adherence to an enforceable code of ethics. The CFP exams test the candidate’s knowledge of the financial planning process, insurance and risk management, employee benefits planning, taxes and retirement planning, and investment and estate planning. The Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation, issued by the American   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  413  College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, which requires experience and the completion of an eight-course program of study. The CFP and ChFC designation and other professional designations have continuing education requirements. Insurance sales agents should be flexible, enthusiastic, confi­ dent, 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—par­ ticularly in the property and casualty field—establish their own independent agencies or brokerage firms.  Employment Insurance sales agents held about 400,000 jobs in 2004. Most insurance sales agents employed in wage and salary positions work for insurance agencies and brokerages. A decreasing num­ ber work directly for insurance carriers. Although most insurance agents specialize in life and health insurance or property and casualty insurance, a growing 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 finance and insurance industries. Approximately 1 out of 4 insurance sales agents is self-employed. 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.  Job Outlook Although employment of insurance sales agents is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014, opportunities will be favorable for college graduates who have sales ability, excellent interpersonal skills, and expertise in a wide range of insurance and financial services. 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. Many beginning agents fail to earn enough from commissions to meet their income goals and eventually transfer to other careers. 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 over the next decade. Future demand for insurance sales agents depends largely on the volume of sales of insurance and other financial products. Sales of health insurance 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 valuables and equipment. As new businesses emerge and existing firms expand their insurance coverage, sales of com­ mercial insurance also should increase, including coverage such as product liability, workers’ 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 relying more on independent agents or direct marketing through the mail, by phone, or on the Internet.  414  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Agents who incorporate new technology into their existing businesses 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 policies. Because of increasing consolidation among insurance companies, 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 competitive. Call centers are another important way carriers and agents are offering better service to customers, because such centers 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 insur­ ance without the advice of an agent. Moreover, most individuals and businesses consider insurance a necessity, regardless of economic conditions. Therefore, agents are not likely to face unemployment because of a recession.  Sources of Additional Information Occupational information about insurance sales agents is available from the home office of many insurance companies. 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, contact: > Independent Insurance Agents of America, 127S. Peyton St., Alexandria, VA22314. Internet: http://www.iiaa.org > Insurance Vocational Education Student Training (InVEST), 127 S. Pey­ ton St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.investprogram.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, contact: >- 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.theamericancollege.edu  Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents Earnings The median annual earnings of wage and salary insurance sales agents were $41,720 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,980 and $66,160. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of $23,170 or less, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,800. Median annual earnings in May 2004 in the two industries employing the largest number of insurance sales agents were $42,010 for insurance carriers, and $41,840 for agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities. Many independent agents are paid by commission only, where­ as 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 insurance plans, office space, and clerical support services. Some companies also may pay for automobile and transportation expenses, 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.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  (Q*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 may be relatively easy, beginning workers may face competition from well-estab lished, more experienced agents and brokers in obtaining listings and in closing an adequate number of sales.  •  Employment is sensitive 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 fall.  Nature of the Work One of the most complex and significant financial events in peoples’ lives is the purchase or sale of a home or investment property. Because of this complexity and significance, people typically 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 communities. 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 commission earned from the agent’s sale of the property. Brokers are independent businesspeople who sell real estate owned by others; they also may  Sales and Related Occupations rent or manage properties for a fee. When selling real estate, brokers arrange for title searches and for meetings between buyers and sellers during which the 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 prospective buyer; often, this makes the difference between success and failure in closing a sale. In some cases, brokers and agents assume primary respon­ sibility for closing sales; in others, lawyers or lenders do. Brokers supervise agents who may have many of the same job duties. Brokers also supervise their own offices, advertise 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, both the agent who sold it and the agent who obtained the listing receive a portion of the commission. Thus, agents who sell a property that they themselves have listed can increase 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. Every specialty requires knowledge of that particular type of property 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 that the agent will be the only one to show houses to buyers. An agent or broker then gener­ ates 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 properties in which they are interested. With a computer, buyers can view interior and exterior images or floor plans without leaving the real estate office.  Real estate brokers and sales agents have a thorough knowledge of Digitized the for FRASER real estate market in their communities. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  415  Agents may meet several times with prospective buyers to discuss 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 bargaining over price becomes necessary, agents must follow their client’s instructions carefully and may have to present counteroffers 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 environmental problems as well, by making sure that the properties they sell meet environmental regulations. For example, they may be responsible for dealing with lead paint on the walls. While loan officers, attorneys, or other persons handle many details, the agent must ensure that they are carried out.  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, analyzing properties for sale, meeting with prospective clients, or researching 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. 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. Business usually is slower during the winter season.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advcement In every State and the District of Columbia, real estate brokers and sales agents must be licensed. Prospective agents must be high school graduates, be at least 18 years old, and pass a written test. The examination—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 instruction. 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 requirements for the broker’s license for ap­ plicants who have a bachelor’s degree in real estate. State licenses typically must be renewed every 1 or 2 years; usually, no examination needs to be taken. However, many States require continuing education for license renewals. Prospective agents and brokers should contact the real estate licensing commis­ sion of the State in which they wish to work in order to verify the exact licensing requirements. 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 significant as courses in real estate or finance.  416  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Personality traits are equally as important as one’s academic background. Brokers look for applicants who possess a pleasant per­ sonality, are honest, and present a neat appearance. Maturity, good judgment, trustworthiness, and enthusiasm for the job are required in order to encourage 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, beginners 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 estate associations that are members of the National Association of Realtors sponsor courses covering the fundamentals and legal aspects of the field. Advanced courses in mortgage financing, property develop­ ment and management, and other subjects also are available. Advancement opportunities for agents may take the form of higher rates of commission. As agents gain knowledge and expertise, they become more efficient in closing a greater number of transac­ tions and increase their earnings. In many large firms, experienced 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 property value may become real estate appraisers, and people familiar with operating and maintaining rental properties may become property managers. (See the Handbook statements on property, real estate, and com­ munity association managers; and appraisers and assessors of real estate.) Experienced agents and brokers with a thorough knowledge of business conditions and property values in their localities may enter mortgage financing or real estate investment counseling.  Employment In 2004, real estate brokers and sales agents held about 460,000 jobs; real estate sales agents held approximately 24 percent of these jobs. Many worked part time, combining their real estate activities with other careers. About 6 out of 10 real estate agents and brokers were self-employed. Real estate is sold in all areas, but employ­ ment is concentrated in large urban areas and in 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 broker pays a fee in exchange for the privilege of using the more widely known name of the parent organization. Although franchised brokers often receive help in training sales staff and running their offices, 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 return to the occupation, depending on the strength of the real estate market, their family responsibilities, or other personal circumstances. Recently, however, the attractiveness of part-time real estate work has declined, as increasingly complex   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  legal and technological requirements are raising startup costs as­ sociated with becoming an agent.  Job Outlook Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014, because of the increasing housing needs of a growing population, as well as the perception that real estate is a good investment. Relatively 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 ofjob openings will arise each year from the need to replace workers who trans­ fer to other occupations or leave the labor force. However, job growth will be somewhat limited by the increasing use of technology, which is improving the productivity of agents and brokers. For example, prospec­ tive customers often can perform their own searches for properties that meet their criteria by accessing real estate information on the Internet. The increasing use of technology is likely to be more detrimental to part­ time or temporary real estate agents than to full-time agents, because part-time agents generally are not able to compete with full-time agents who have invested in new technology. Changing legal requirements, such as disclosure laws, also may dissuade some who are not serious about practicing full time from continuing to work part time. This occupation is relatively easy to enter and is attractive because of its flexible working conditions; the high interest in, and familiarity with, 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 their well-established, more experienced counterparts in obtaining listings and in closing an adequate number of sales. Well-trained, ambitious people who enjoy selling—particularly those with extensive social and business connections in their communi­ ties—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 sales agents, including commissions, were $35,670 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,500 and $58,110 a year. The low­ est 10 percent earned less than $17,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,770. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of real estate sales agents in May 2004 were as follows: Residential building constmction................................................. $54,770 Offices of real estate agents and brokers....................................... 37,970 Activities related to real estate........................................................ 32,460 Lessors of real estate........................................................................ 25,840 Median annual earnings of salaried real estate brokers, including commission, were $58,720 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,480 and $99,820 a year. Median annual earning of real estate brokers were $61,550 in offices of real estate agents and brokers and $44,920 in activities related to real estate. 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 is typically higher than the percentage paid for selling a home.  Sales and Related Occupations Commissions may be divided among several agents and brokers. When the property is sold, the broker or agent who obtained the listing usually shares the commission with the broker or agent who made the sale and with the firm that employs each of 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 motivation, economic conditions, and the type and location of the property also affect earnings. Sales workers who are active in community 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 common with new employees. The beginner, therefore, should have enough money to live for about 6 months or until commis­ sions increase.  Related Occupations Selling expensive items such as homes requires maturity, tact, and a sense of responsibility. Other sales workers who find these character traits important in their work include insurance sales agents; retail salespersons; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; and securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. Although not involving sales, the work of property, real estate, and community association managers, as well as appraisers and assessors of real estate, requires an understanding of real estate.  417  specifications, the types of options and financing available, and the warranty. 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 courteous and efficient service to remain competitive. For example, when a customer wants an item that is not on the sales floor, the salesperson may check the stockroom, 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, debit, and charge payments; bag or package purchases; and give change and receipts. Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This work may include counting the money in the register; separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers; and making deposits at the cash office. Salespersons often are held responsible for the contents of their registers, and repeated shortages are cause for dismissal in many organizations. (Cashiers, who have similar 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 promotions. They also must recognize security risks and thefts and know how to handle or prevent such situations.  Working Conditions Sources of Additional Information Information on licensing 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. Most salespersons work evenings and weekends, par­ ticularly during sales and other peak retail periods.  Most salespersons in retail trade work in dean, comfortable, well-lighted stores. However, they often stand for long periods and may need super­ visory approval to leave the sales floor. They also may work outdoors if they sell items such as cars, plants, or lumber yard materials. The Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 workweek is the excep­ tion rather than the rule in retail trade. Most salespersons work evenings and weekends, particularly during sales and other peak retail periods. The end-of-year holiday season is the busiest time for most retailers. As a result, many employers restrict the use of vacation time to some period 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.  ■  ’  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 communi­ cate 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, the manufacturers’  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Retail salespersons describe a product’s features, demonstrate its use, or show various models and colors.  418  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no formal education requirements for this type of work, although a high school diploma or the 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 employ­ ers may conduct a background check, especially for a job selling high-priced 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 programs designed to provide information on the technical details of standard and optional equipment available on new vehicle models. Since providing the best possible 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 earnings potential usually lies in selling “big-ticket” items—such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronic equipment—although doing so often requires extensive knowledge of the product and an extraordinary 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. Large retail businesses usually prefer to hire college graduates as management trainees, making a college education increasingly important. How­ ever, motivated and capable employees without college degrees 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.  Employment  •  Retail salespersons held about 4.3 million wage and salary jobs in 2004. 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 clothing accessories stores, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, other general merchandise stores, and motor vehicle and parts 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 big-ticket items work full time and have substantial experience.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Because retail stores are found in every city and town, employ­ ment is distributed geographically in much the same way as the population.  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 as businesses seek to expand operations and enhance customer service. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014, reflecting 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 supplement 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 to complement their in-store sales; there are very few Internet-only apparel and specialty stores. Retail salespersons will remain important in assuring customers that they will receive specialized service and in improving customer satisfaction, something Internet services cannot do. Therefore, the impact of electronic commerce on employment of retail salespersons is expected to be minimal.  Earnings The starting wage for many retail sales positions is the Federal minimum wage, which was $5.15 an hour in 2004. In areas where employers have difficulty attracting and retaining workers, wages tend to be higher than the legislated minimum. Median hourly earnings of retail salespersons, including com­ missions, were $8.98 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.46 and $12.22 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.38, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $17.85 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of retail salespersons in May 2004 were as follows: Automobile dealers......................................................................... $ 18.61 Building material and suppliesdealers............................................ 10.85 Department stores........................................................................... g 47 Other general merchandise stores................................................... 8.36 Clothing stores................................................................................ 347 Compensation systems vary by type of establishment and mer­ chandise sold. Salespersons receive hourly wages, commissions, or a combination thereof. Under a commission system, salespersons receive a percentage of the sales 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 teamwork among the sales staff. Benefits may be limited in smaller stores, but benefits in large establishments usually are comparable to those offered by other  Sales and Related Occupations employers. In addition, nearly all salespersons are able to buy their store’s merchandise at a discount, with the savings depending on the type of merchandise.  Related Occupations Salespersons use sales techniques, coupled with their knowledge of merchandise, to assist customers and encourage purchases. Workers in other occupations who use these same skills include sales repre­ sentatives, wholesale and manufacturing; securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents; counter and rental clerks; real estate brokers and sales agents; purchasing managers, 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 personnel offices of local stores or from State merchants’ associa­ tions. 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 available from: >■ Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, 30 East 29th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016. 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: www.nada.org  Sales Engineers (0*NET 41-9031.00)  Significant Points •  A bachelor’s degree in engineering typically is re­ quired; many sales engineers have previous work experience in an engineering specialty.  •  Projected employment growth stems from the increasing number and technical nature of products and services to be sold.  •  More job opportunities are expected in independent  sales engineer is to demonstrate to the customer the usefulness of the product or service—for example, how much money new production machinery would save. Most sales engineers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and many 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 engineers specialize in an area related to an engineering specialty. For example, sales engineers selling chemical products may have chemical engineering backgrounds, while those selling business software or information systems may have degrees in computer engineering. Information on engineers, including 17 engineering specialties, appears elsewhere in the Handbook. Many of the 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 as turbines. Sales engineers often are teamed with other salespersons who concentrate on the marketing and sales, enabling the sales engineer to concentrate on the technical aspects of the job. By working on a sales team, each member is able to focus on his or her strengths and knowledge. (Information on other sales occupations, including sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, ap­ pears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Sales engineers tend to employ selling techniques that are dif­ ferent from those used by most other sales workers. They generally 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 service. This selling style differs from the “benefits and features” method, whereby the salesperson describes the product and leaves the customer to decide how it 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. Afterward, they may continue to serve as a liaison between the client and their company. Increasingly, sales engineers are asked to undertake tasks related to sales, such as market research, because of their familiarity with clients’ purchasing needs. Drawing on this same familiarity, sales engineers may help identify and develop new products. Sales engineers may work directly for manufacturers or service providers, or they may work in small independent sales firms. In an independent firm, they may sell complementary products from several different suppliers and be paid entirely on commission.  sales agencies. •  419  —  Earnings are based on a combination of salary and commissions.  Nature of the Work Many products and services, especially those purchased by large companies and institutions, are highly complex. Sales engi­ neers—who also ihay be called manufacturers’ agents, sales rep­ resentatives, or technical sales support workers—work with the production, engineering, or research and development departments of their companies, or with independent sales firms, to determine how products and services could be designed or modified to suit customers’ needs. They also may advise customers on how best to use the products or services provided. Selling, of course, is an important part of the job. Sales engi­ neers use their technical skills to demonstrate to potential customers 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  m  i  Ife  '  Sales engineers consult with their clients to offer them products or services that solve specific problems they may face.  420  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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. Others work near their home base and travel mostly by car. International travel, to secure contracts with foreign clients, is becoming more common. Although the hours may be long and often are 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 engineers do not earn any income while on vacation.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A bachelor’s degree in engineering usually is 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, trigonometry, and calculus) and the physical sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), as well as basic courses in English, social studies, humanities, and computer science. University programs vary in content, though all require the development of computer skills. For example, 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 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 specialize on the job or in graduate school. Most engineering degrees are granted in electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering. However, engineers trained in one branch may work in related branches. Many sales engineers first work as engineers. For some, the en­ gineering experience is necessary to obtain the technical background needed to sell their employers’ products or services effectively. Others move into the occupation because it offers better earnings and advancement potential or because they are looking for a new challenge. New graduates with engineering degrees may need sales experi­ ence and training before they can work directly as sales engineers. Training may involve teaming with a sales mentor who is familiar with the employer’s business practices, customers, procedures, and company culture. After the training period has been completed, sales engineers 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. Alternatively, sales engineers may leave their companies and form independent firms 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 engineering and sales education throughout their careers because much of their value to their employers depends on their knowledge of the latest technology and their ability to sell that technology. Sales engi­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  neers in high-technology areas, such as information technology or advanced electronics, may find that technical knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete.  Employment Sales engineers held about 74,000 jobs in 2004. About 35 percent were employed in wholesale trade and another 27 percent were employed in the manufacturing industries. Smaller numbers of sales engineers worked in information industries, such as software publishers and telecommunications; professional, scientific, and technical services, such as computer systems designs and related services and architectural, engineering, and related services; and other industries. Unlike workers in many other sales occupations, very few sales engineers are self-employed.  Job Outlook Employment of sales engineers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Projected employment growth stems from the increasing variety and technical nature of goods and services to be sold. Competitive pressures and advancing technology will force companies to improve and update product designs more frequently and to optimize their manufactur­ ing and sales processes. In addition to new positions created as companies expand their sales forces, some openings will arise each year from the need to replace sales engineers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Manufacturers, especially foreign manufacturers that sell their products in the United States, are expected to continue outsourcing more of their sales functions to independent sales agencies in an at­ tempt to control costs. This should result in more job opportunities for sales engineers in independent agencies. In wholesale trade, both outsourcing to independent sales agencies and the use of information technology are expected to affect employ­ ment opportunities for sales engineers. Although outsourcing should lead to more jobs in independent agencies, employment growth for sales engineers in wholesale trade likely will be dampened by the increasing ability of businesses to find, order, and track shipments directly from wholesalers through the Internet, without assistance from sales engineers. Since direct purchases from wholesalers are more likely to be of commodity products, their impact on sales en­ gineers should remain somewhat limited. 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 the product sold. Most employers offer a combination of salary and commission payments or a salary plus a bonus. Commissions usually are based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all workers in the group or dis­ trict, or on the company’s performance. Earnings from commissions and bonuses may vary greatly from year to year, depending on sales ability, the demand for the company’s products or services, and the overall economy. Median annual earnings of sales engineers, including com­ missions, were $70,620 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,270 and $91,500 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,430, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $117,260 a year. Median annual earnings of those employed by firms in the computer systems design and related services industry were $86,980.  Sales and Related Occupations In addition to their earnings, sales engineers who work for manu­ facturers usually are reimbursed for expenses such as transportation, meals, hotels, and customer entertainment. In addition to typical 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 products and services they sell, as well as technical and analytical skills. Other occupations that require similar skills include advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers; engineers; insurance sales agents; purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents; real estate brokers and sales agents; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing; 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.manaonline.org >• Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation, RO. Box 247, Geneva, IL 60134. Internet: http://www.mrerf.org  421  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. Many of these titles, however, 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 merchandise or services can meet those needs. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company stocks and inform customers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and boost productivity. Because a vast number of manufacturers and wholesalers sell similar products, sales representatives must emphasize any unique qualities of their products and services. Manufacturers’ agents or manufacturers’ representa­ tives might sell several complementary 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 in its use. 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 trom other clients, track advertisements in trade journals, participate in trade shows and conferences, and may visit potential clients unannounced. In addition, they may spend lime meeting with and entertaining prospective clients during evenings and weekends.  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)  ---- |  Significant Points •  Employment opportunities will be best for those with a college degree, the appropriate knowledge or technical expertise, and the personal traits necessary for success­ ful selling.  •  •  Job prospects for wholesale sales representatives will be better than those for manufacturing sales representa­ tives, particularly in small firms. Earnings of sales representatives usually are based on a combination of salary and commissions.  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 clients’ ques­ tions and concerns. Sales representatives represent one or several manufacturers or wholesale distributors by selling one product or a complementary line of products. Sales representatives demonstrate their products and advise clients on how using these products can reduce costs and increase sales. They market their company’s products to manufacturers, wholesale and retail establishments, construction contractors, government agencies, and other institu­ tions. (Retail salespersons, 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sales representatives demonstrate their products and advise clients on how using these products can reduce costs and increase sales.  422  Occupational Outlook Handbook  In a process that can take several months, sales representatives present their product to a customer and negotiate the sale. Aided by a laptop computer connected to the Internet, or other telecommunica­ tions device, they can make a persuasive audiovisual sales pitch and 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 technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—attends 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 knowledge. Af­ ter the sale, representatives may make followup visits to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly and may even help train cus­ tomers’ 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 products. They analyze sales statistics; prepare reports; and handle adminis­ trative duties, such as filing expense account reports, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans. They read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors. Manufacturers’ agents who operate a sales agency also must 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 consider­ ably. Because a sales region may cover several States, representa­ tives may be away from home for several days or weeks at a time. Others work near their home base and travel mostly by car. Because of the nature of the work and the amount of travel, sales representa­ tives may work more than 40 hours per week. Although the hours are long and often irregular, most sales repre­ sentatives have the freedom to determine their own schedule. Sales representatives often are on their feet for long periods and may carry heavy sample products, necessitating some physical stamina. Dealing with different types of people can be stimulating but demanding. Sales representatives often face competition from representatives of other companies. Companies usually set goals or quotas that representatives are expected to meet. Because their earnings depend on commissions, manufacturers’ agents are also under the added pressure to maintain and expand their clientele.  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, the new workers are given increasing responsibility until they are eventually assigned their own territory. As businesses 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 representatives 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. There are many certifications designed to raise standards and develop the skills of sales representatives, wholesale and manufac­ turing. A few examples are the Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representative, the Certified Sales Professional, and the Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative. Certification may involve completion of formal training and passing an examination. Those who want to become sales representatives should be goal oriented, persuasive, and able to 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. Patience and perseverance also are key to completing a sale, which can take several months. Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory where commissions are likely to be greater. Ex­ perienced sales representatives may move into jobs as sales trainers, who instruct new employees on selling techniques and on company 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 manufacturers’ agents go into business for themselves. Others find opportunities in purchasing, advertising, or marketing research.  Employment Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The background needed for sales jobs varies by product line and market. Many employers hire individuals with previous sales ex­ perience who lack a college degree, but they increasingly prefer or require a bachelor’s degree because job requirements have become more technical and analytical. Nevertheless, for some consumer products, factors such as sales ability, personality, and familiar­ ity 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 representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, 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 personality and desire to sell. Sales representatives need to be familiar with computer technology as computers are   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Manufacturers’ and wholesale sales representatives held about 1.9 million jobs in 2004. About half of all salaried representatives worked in wholesale trade. Others were employed in manufacturing, retail trade, information, and construction. Because of the diversity of products and services sold, employment opportunities are avail­ able in every part of the country in a wide range of industries. In addition to those working directly for a firm, many sales repre­ sentatives 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. Usually, however, manufacturers’ agents gain experience and recognition with a manufacturer or wholesaler before becoming self-employed.  Job Outlook Employment of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations  Sales and Related Occupations through the year 2014, primarily because of 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 occupations or leave the labor force. Prospective customers require sales workers to demonstrate or illustrate the particulars of a good or service. Computer technology makes sales representatives more effective and productive, for ex­ ample, by allowing them to provide accurate and current information to customers during sales presentations. Job prospects for sales representatives, wholesale and manu­ facturing, will be best for persons with the appropriate knowledge or technical expertise as well as the personal traits necessary for successful selling. Opportunities will be better for wholesale sales representatives than for manufacturing sales representatives because manufacturers are expected to continue contracting out sales duties to independent agents rather than using in-house or direct selling personnel. Agents are paid only if they sell, a practice that reduces the overhead 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 clients. Although the demand for independent sales agents will increase over the 2004-14 projection period, the supply is expected to remain stable, or possibly decline, because of the difficulties associated with self­ employment. This factor could lead to many opportunities for sales representatives to start their own independent sales agencies. Those interested in this occupation should keep in mind that direct 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 because 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 conditions, legislative issues, and consumer preferences.  Earnings  Compensation methods vary significantly by the type of firm and the product sold. Most employers use a combination of salary and commissions 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 $58,580, in­ cluding commissions, in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,660 and $84,480 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $ 114,540 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of sales representatives, technical and scientific products, in May 2004 were as follows: Computer systems design and related services........... Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers Drugs and druggists’ sundries merchant wholesalers.. Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers............................... Electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers  $70,220 65,990 60,130  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  $45,400, including commission, in May 2004. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $32,640 and $65,260 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,070, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,740 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of sales representatives, except tech­ nical and scientific products, in May 2004 were as follows: 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 wholesalers....  $50,680 46,030 45,320 44,210 40,240  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, personal use of a company car, and frequent flyer mileage. Some companies offer incentives such as free vacation trips or gifts for outstanding 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 they have, they can earn significantly more or less 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, 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, One Spectrum Pointe, Suite 150, Lake Forest, CA 92630. Internet: http://www.manaonline.org >- Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation, P.O. Box 247, Geneva, IL 60134. Internet: http://www.mrerf.org  Sales Worker Supervisors (0*NET41-1011.00,41-1012.00)  Significant Points •  Overall employment is projected to grow more slowly than average; the number of self-employed sales worker supervisors is expected to decline.  •  Applicants with retail experience should have the best job opportunities. In many retail establishments, managers are promoted from within the company; a postsecondary degree may speed a sales worker supervisor’s advancement into  •  59,080 52,870  Median annual earnings of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products, were   423  •  management. Long, irregular hours, including evenings and week­ ends, are common.  424  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Nature of the Work Sales worker supervisors oversee the work of sales and related workers, such as retail salespersons; cashiers; customer service representatives; stock clerks and order fillers; sales engineers; and sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing. Sales worker supervisors are responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training employees, as well as for preparing work schedules and assigning workers to specific duties. Many of these workers hold job titles such as sales manager or department manager. Under the occupational classification 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. (Related occupations discussed elsewhere in the Handbook are retail sales­ persons; cashiers; customer service representatives; stock clerks and order fillers; sales engineers; and sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing.) 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 responsibilities vary with the size and type of establishment. As the size of retail stores and the types of goods and services increase, supervisors tend to spe­ cialize in one department or one aspect of merchandising. (Managers in eating and drinking places are discussed in the Handbook statement on food service managers.) Sales worker supervisors in large retail establishments, often referred 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 supervise employees who price and ticket goods and place them on display; clean and organize shelves, displays, and inventories in stockrooms; and inspect merchandise to ensure that nothing is  '■■MBA wmm  L Sales worker supervisors ensure that customers receive satisfactory service and quality goods.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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, and ap­ prove sales contracts. 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 merchandise 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. Super­ visors generally work at least 40 hours a week. Long, irregular hours are common, particularly during sales, holidays, and busy shopping hours and at times when inventory is taken. Supervisors are expected to work evenings and weekends but usually are compensated with a day off during the week. Hours can change weekly, and managers sometimes must report to work on short notice, especially when employees are absent. Independent owners often can set their own schedules, but hours must be convenient to customers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Sales worker supervisors usually acquire knowledge of management principles and practices—an essential requirement for a supervisory or managerial position in retail trade—through work experience. Many supervisors begin their careers on the sales floor as sales­ persons, cashiers, or customer service representatives. In these positions, they learn merchandising, customer service, and the basic 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 computerized. Supervisors who have postsecondary education often hold as­ sociate 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 vary 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 more than 1 year in organizations that require trainees to 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 specific department while training on the job, or they may rotate through several departments to gain a well-rounded knowledge of the company’s operation. Training programs for retail franchises are generally extensive, covering all functions of the company’s  Sales and Related Occupations operation, including budgeting, marketing, management, finance, purchasing, product preparation, human resource management, and compensation. 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 conciliatory temperament are necessary when dealing with demanding customers. Sales worker supervisors also must be able to motivate, organize, and direct the work of subor­ dinates 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 degree may speed a sales worker supervisor’s advancement into management because employers view it 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 establish­ ments, where the number of positions is limited, advancement to a higher management position may come slowly. Large estab­ lishments often have extensive career ladder programs and may offer supervisors the opportunity to transfer to another store in the chain or to the central office if an opening occurs. Although promotions may occur 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, monitor sales, and propose adver­ tisements and promotions) or purchasing managers, buyers, or purchasing agents (workers who purchase goods and supplies for their organization or for resale). (These occupations 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 eventually go out of business. To prosper, owners usually need good business sense and strong customer service and public relations skills.  Employment  Sales worker supervisors held about 2.2 million jobs in 2004. Ap­ proximately 36 percent were self-employed, most of whom were store owners. About 43 percent were wage and salary sales worker supervisors employed in the retail sector; some of the largest employ­ ers were grocery stores, department stores, motor vehicle and parts dealers, and clothing and clothing accessory stores. The remaining sales worker supervisors worked in nonretail establishments.  Job Outlook Candidates who have retail experience—as a retail salesperson, cashier, 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 2014. 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 Digitized forisFRASER relatively low. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  425  The Internet and electronic commerce are creating new opportuni­ ties to reach and communicate with potential customers. Some firms are hiring Internet sales managers, who are in charge of maintaining an Internet site and answering inquiries relating to the product, to prices, and to the terms of delivery—a trend that will increase demand for these supervisors. Overall, Internet sales and electronic commerce may reduce the number of additional sales workers needed, thus reducing the number of additional supervisors 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 service-providing industries. In contrast, the number of self-employed sales worker su­ pervisors is expected to decline as independent retailers face increasing competition from national chains. Unlike mid-level and top-level managers, retail store managers generally will not be affected by the restructuring and consolidation taking place at the corporate headquarters of many retail chains.  Earnings  Salaries of sales worker supervisors vary substantially, depending on the level of responsibility the individual has; the person’s length of service; and the type, size, and location of the firm. In May 2004, median annual earnings of salaried supervisors of retail sales workers, including commissions, were $32,720. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,120 and $43,110 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,400 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of salaried supervisors of retail sales workers in May 2004 were as follows: Building material and supplies dealers Grocery stores...................................... Clothing stores..................................... Other general merchandise stores....... Gasoline stations.................................  $34,210 31,360 30,660 30,150 27,510  In May 2004, median annual earnings of salaried supervisors of nonretail sales workers, including commissions, were $59,300. The middle 50 percent earned between $43,350 and $87,580 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $127,870 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of salaried supervi­ sors of nonretail sales workers in May 2004 were as follows: Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers................................................... Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers.................... Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers.................................................. Grocery and related product wholesalers........ Postal Service...................................................  $79,480 72,320 61,150 59,130 52,490  Compensation systems vary by type of establishment and by merchandise sold. Many supervisors receive a commission or a combination of salary and commission. Under a commission system, supervisors receive a percentage of department or store sales. Thus, supervisors have the opportunity to increase their earnings considerably, but 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 receive bonuses or other awards.  426  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 service managers, lodging managers, and medical and health services managers.  Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for sales worker supervi­ sors may be obtained from the employment offices of various retail establishments or from 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 Washington Ct., Falls Church, VA 22046-4521. Internet: http://www.ifdaonline.org Information about management careers and training programs in the motor vehicle dealers industry is available from: > National Automobile Dealers Association, Public Relations Dept., S400 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., Alexandria VA 22314-3436.  Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents (0*NET 41 -3031.01,41 -3031.02)  Significant Points •  A college degree, sales ability, good interpersonal and communication skills, and a strong desire to succeed are important qualifications.  •  Securities and commodities sales agents must pass licensing exams.  •  Competition for entry-level jobs usually is keen, espe­ cially in larger firms; opportunities should be better in smaller firms.  •  Turnover is high for beginning agents, who often are unable to establish a sizable clientele; once established, securities and commodities sales agents have a very strong attachment to their occupation because of their high earnings and considerable investment in training.  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, insurance, tax planning, estate planning, and other financial matters. Securities and commodities sales agents, also called brokers, stockbrokers, registered representatives, account executives, or financial consultants, perform a variety of tasks, depending on their specific job duties. When an investor wishes to buy or sell a security, for example, sales agents may relay the order through   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  their firm’s computers to the floor of a securities exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange. There, securities and commodi­ ties 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 reselling 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 insur­ ance, 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 commodities sales agents furnish information about the advantages and disadvan­ tages of an investment. They also supply the latest price quotes on any securities, as well as information on the activities and financial 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 issued to finance the expansion of a plant. 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. Agents often join civic organizations and other social organizations to expand their networks. 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 bank­ ing and related services. They contact potential customers to explain their services and to ascertain customers’ banking and other financial 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 ser­ vices 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 into each other’s products and services. The agents’ jobs also are becoming more important as competition between the firms intensifies.  Sales and Related Occupations  427  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  jSfjJjS  >.«g s**"-* III!!!!  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 important 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 important, many employers prefer to hire those who have achieved success in other jobs. Most firms prefer candidates with sales experience, particularly those who have worked on commission in areas such as real estate or insurance. Therefore, most entrants to this occupation transfer from other jobs. Some begin working as securities 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 Association 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  People increasingly seek the advice and services of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents to realize their financial goals. Working Conditions Most securities and commodities sales agents work in offices under 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 unantici­ pated 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 usu­ ally work longer hours. New brokers spend a great deal of time learn­ ing the firm’s products and services and studying for exams in order to qualify to sell other products, such as insurance and commodities. Most securities and commodities sales agents accommodate custom­ ers by meeting with them in the evenings or on weekends. 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 pro­ spective 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  for at least 4 months. Most States require a second examination—the Uniform Se­ curities Agents State Law Examination. This test measures the prospective representative’s knowledge of the securities business in general, customer protection requirements, and recordkeeping procedures. Many take correspondence courses in preparation for the securities examinations. Within 2 years, brokers are encouraged 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 securities analysis, effective speaking, and the finer points of selling; may take courses offered by business schools and associa­ tions; 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 busi­ ness. 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 to improve their sales techniques. Computer training also is important, because the securities sales business is highly automated. It is mandatory for all registered securities and commodities sales agents to attend periodic continuing education classes to maintain their licenses. Courses consist of computer-based training in regulatory matters and company training on new products and services. In addition, more sales agents are taking courses to become certified financial planners. The Certified Financial Plan­ ner credential issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of  428  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Standards, requires relevant experience, completion of education requirements, passing a comprehensive examination, and adherence to an enforceable code of ethics. The CFP exams test the candidate’s knowledge of the financial planning process, insurance and risk management, employee benefits planning, taxes and retirement planning, and investment and estate planning. The principal form of advancement for securities and commodi­ ties sales agents is an increase in the number and size of the accounts they handle. Although beginners usually service the accounts of indi­ vidual investors, they may eventually handle very large institutional 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 provide 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 graduates 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 insur­ ance products may need to undergo formal training and pass some of the same exams required of securities sales agents.  Employment Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents held about 281,000 jobs in 2004. 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 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 out of 8 securities, com­ modities, and financial services sales agents were self-employed.  Job Outlook Employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. 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 financial goals. Growth in the volume of stocks traded over the Internet will limit job growth. Nevertheless, the overall increase in investment is expected to spur employment 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 increasing 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 trading hours to accommodate trading in foreign stocks and compete with foreign exchanges. Employment of sales agents is adversely affected by downturns in the stock market or the economy. Turnover is high for beginning agents, 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 considerable investment in training. Competition usually is keen, especially in larger companies with more applicants than jobs. Opportunities for beginning sales agents should be better in smaller firms. Employment of financial services sales agents in banks will in­ crease 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 $69,200 in May 2004. The middle half earned between $40,750 and $131,290. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents in 2004 were: Other financial investment activities............................................. $94,670 Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage.............................................................................. 85,350 Management of companies and enterprises ................................... 67,690 Nondepository credit intermediation............................................ 51,820 Depository credit intermediation..................................................... 44,670 Stockbrokers, who provide personalized service and more guidance with respect to a client’s investments, usually are paid a commission based on the amount of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, insurance, and other products they sell. Earnings from commissions are likely to be high when there is much buying and selling, and low when there is a slump in market activity. Most firms provide sales agents with a steady income by paying a “draw against com­ mission”—a minimum salary based on commissions they can be expected to earn. Securities and commodities sales agents who can provide their clients with the most thorough financial services should enjoy the greatest income stability. Trainee brokers usually are paid a salary until they develop a client base. The salary gradu­ ally 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 salary 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.  Sales and Related Occupations For information about job opportunities for financial services sales agents in various States, contact State bankers’ associations or write directly to a particular bank.  Travel Agents (0*NET 41-3041.00)  Significant Points  429  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 suggest company-sponsored trips to business managers. Travel agents no longer receive commission payments from domestic airlines, and agents face increasing competition from the Internet for low-cost fares. In an effort to find a niche in the market, many travel agents now specialize in travel to certain regions or for certain groups of people, such as honeymooners, grandparents, or ethnic groups.  Working Conditions  •  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. Travel agents increasingly specialize in specific desti­ nations or type of travel or traveler.  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, it is increasingly common for travel  Keen competition for jobs is expected.  agents to work at home.  • •  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 cruise lines, resorts, and specialty travel groups use travel agents to promote travel packages to millions of people every year. In general, travel agents give advice on destinations and make arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rentals, tours, and recreation. They also may advise on weather conditions, restaurants, and tourist attractions. For international 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.  ’  \  | rK. :  Travel agents give advice on destinations and make arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rentals, tours, and  recreation. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 computerization have increased the training needs, however, and many employers prefer applicants with more education, such as a postsecondary vocational award. 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 programs 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 travel or tourism, a college education sometimes is desired by employers to establish a background in fields such as computer science, geography, communication, foreign languages, and world history. Courses in accounting and business management also are important, especially for those who expect to manage or start their own travel agencies. The American Society of Travel Agents offers a correspondence 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 instruction. All employers require computer skills of workers whose jobs involve the operation of airline and centralized reservation systems. Continuing education is critical, as the abundance of travel in­ formation readily available through the Internet and other sources has resulted in a more informed consumer who wants to deal with an expert when choosing a travel agent. Experienced travel agents can take advanced self-study or group-study courses from the Travel Institute, leading to the Certified Travel Counselor designation. The Travel Institute also offers marketing and sales skills develop­ ment programs and destination specialist programs, which provide detailed knowledge of regions such as North America, Western Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. With the trend toward more specialization, these and other destination specialist courses are increasingly important. Personal travel experience or experience as an airline reserva­ tion agent is an asset because knowledge about a city or foreign country often helps 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. Also, agents who specialize in business travel must work quickly and efficiently because business travel often must be arranged on short notice.  430  Occupational Outlook Handbook  As the Internet has become an important tool for making travel arrangements, more travel agencies are using websites to provide their services to clients. This trend has increased the importance of computer skills in this occupation. Other desirable qualifica­ tions include good writing and 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 agent duties. In agencies with many offices, travel agents may advance to office manager or to other managerial positions. Those who start their own agencies generally have had experience in an established agency. Before they can receive commissions, these agents usually must gain formal approval from suppliers 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 airlines. 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. In 2004, however, 13 States required some form of registration or certification of retail sellers of travel services. More information may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Attorney General or Department of Commerce in each State.  Employment Travel agents held about 103,000jobs in 2004 and are found in every part of the country. More than 3 out of 5 agents worked for travel agencies. Around 14 percent were self-employed.  Job Outlook Employment of travel agents is expected to decline through 2014. Most openings will occur as experienced agents transfer to other oc­ cupations or leave the labor force. Because of the projected decline in employment and the fact that a number of people are attracted by the travel benefits associated with this occupation, keen competition for jobs is expected. Travel agents who specialize and can utilize the Internet to reduce their costs and better compete with other travel suppliers should have the best chance for success. The Internet increasingly allows people to access travel infor­ mation 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. As a result, demand will decline for travel agents who simply take orders, such as book­ ing tickets for a specified date and time. Also, domestic airlines no longer pay commissions to travel agencies, which has reduced revenues and caused some agencies to go out of business. This change also has led many travel agents to begin charging fees for their services. Tojustify those fees, customers expect travel agents to provide good service and travel expertise. Opportunities may be better for agents who specialize in specific destinations, luxury travel, or particular types of travelers such as ethnic groups or groups with a special interest or hobby. Many consumers still prefer to use a professional travel agent to plan a complete trip; to deal with some of the more complex transactions; to ensure reliability; to suggest excursions or destinations that might otherwise be missed; to save time; or, in some cases, to save money. Several factors should offset the adverse effect of Internet travel arrangement and the loss of revenues from airline bookings. For example, spending on tourism and travel is expected to increase over the next decade. With rising household incomes, smaller families,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 rebound from recession and terrorism-related declines as business activity expands. Business travel also should increase as U.S. busi­ nesses open more foreign operations and businesses increasingly sell their goods and services worldwide. In addition, luxury and specialty travel should increase among the growing number of Americans with the available time and money for these more expensive trips. Another positive factor is the increasing affordability of air travel. Greater competition among airlines, especially from low-cost carriers, has brought 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 demand for travel is sensitive to economic downturns and in­ ternational political crises, when travel plans are likely to be deferred. Therefore, the number of job opportunities for travel agents fluctu­ ates. Flowever, the number of travelers has risen recently, possibly reflecting demand from consumers who delayed travel because of terrorism and safety concerns. Demand for travel remains volatile, though, and trends could change at any time.  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 $27,640 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,600 and $35,070. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,180, while the top 10 percent earned more than $44,090. Median earnings in May 2004 for travel agents em­ ployed in the travel arrangement and reservation services industry were $27,490. Salaried agents usually enjoy standard employer-paid benefits that self-employed agents must provide for themselves. When traveling for personal reasons, agents usually get reduced rates for transportation and accommodations. In addition, agents sometimes take familiarization” trips, at lower cost or 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 self-employed agents to have low earnings. Established agents may have lower earnings during economic downturns.  Related Occupations Travel agents organize and schedule business, educational, or recre­ ational travel or activities. Other workers with similar responsibili­ ties include tour and travel guides, and reservation and transportation 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. Internet: http://www.travelsense.org For information on training and certification qualifications, contact: ► The Travel Institute, 148 Linden St., Suite 305, Wellesley, MA 02482.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations Financial Clerks Bill and Account Collectors (0*NET 43-3011.00)  Significant Points  •  •  •  About 1 in 5 collectors works for a collection agency; others work in banks, retail stores, government, physi­ cians’ offices, hospitals, and other institutions that lend money and extend credit. Most jobs in this occupation require only a high school diploma, though many employers prefer workers with some postsecondary training. Faster-than-average employment growth is expected as companies focus more efforts on collecting unpaid  mm  debts.  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 original 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, collectors 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 bureaus, or former neighbors to obtain the new address. The attempt to find the new address is called “skip tracing.” New computer systems assist in trac­ ing by automatically tracking when customers change their address or contact information on any of their open accounts. 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. Collectors 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. Collectors may have authority to grant an extension of time if customers 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 proceed­ ings, disconnect the customer’s service, or hand the account over to an attorney for legal action. Most collectors handle other administra­ tive 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Bill and account collectors calculate overdue accounts and arrange repayments. 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.  Working Conditions In-house bill and account collectors typically are employed in an office environment, while those who work for third-party collection agencies may work in a call-center environment. Workers spend most of their time on the phone tracking down and contacting people with debts. The work can be stressful as some customers can be confrontational when pressed about their debts, although some appreciate assistance in resolving their outstanding debt. Collectors may also feel pressured to meet targets for the amount of debt they are expected recover in a certain period. Bill and account collectors often have to work evenings and weekends, when it usually is easier to reach people. As a result, it is not uncommon for workers to work part time or on flexible work schedules, though the majority work 40 hours per week.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most bill and account collectors are required to have at least a high school diploma. However, employers prefer workers 431  432  Occupational Outlook Handbook  who have completed some college or who have experience in other occupations that involve contact with the public. Workers should have good communication skills and be computer liter­ ate; experience with advanced telecommunications equipment is also useful. Once hired, workers usually receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or some other senior worker, new em­ ployees learn company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specific computer software. Additional training topics usually include telephone techniques and negotiation skills. Workers are also instructed in the laws govern­ ing the collection of debt as mandated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which applies to all third party and some in-house collectors. Workers usually advance by taking on more duties in the same occupation for higher pay or by transferring to a closely related occupation. Many companies fill supervisory positions by pro­ moting individuals from within the organization, and workers who acquire additional skills, experience, and training improve their advancement opportunities.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of bill and account collectors were $13.20 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.87 and $16.28. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.22, and the high­ est 10 percent earned more than $20.10. In addition to a basic rate of pay, many bill and account collectors earn commissions based on the amount of debt they recover.  Related Occupations Bill and account collectors review and collect information on accounts. Other occupations with similar responsibilities include credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks; loan officers; and interviewers.  Sources of Additional Information Career information on bill and account collectors is available from > ACA International, The Association of Credit and Collection Pro­ fessionals, P.O. Box 390106, Minneapolis, MN 55439. Internet: http://www.acaintemational.org  Employment Bill and account collectors held about 456,000 jobs in 2004. About 1 in 5 collectors works for a collection agency. Many others work in banks, retail stores, government, physician’s offices, hospitals, and other institutions that lend money and extend credit.  Billing and Posting Clerks and Machine Operators (Q*NET 43-3021.01, 43-3021.02, 43-3021.03)  Job Outlook Employment of bill and account collectors is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. Cash flow is becoming increasingly important to companies, which are now placing greater emphasis on collecting unpaid debts sooner. Thus, the workload for collectors is expected to con­ tinue to increase 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 lend­ ing money and issuing their own credit cards, they will need to hire collectors, because debt levels will likely continue to rise. In addition to job openings from employment growth, a significant number of openings will result from the high level of turnover in the occupation. As a result, job opportunities should be favorable. Hospitals and physicians’ offices are two of the fastest growing industries 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 child-support 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. Despite the increasing demand for bill collectors, employ­ ment growth may be limited due to an increased use of third party debt collectors, who are generally more efficient than in-house collectors. Also, some firms are beginning to use offshore collection agencies, whose lower cost structures al­ low them to collect debts that are too small for domestic col­ lection agencies. Contrary to the pattern in most occupations, employment of bill and account collectors tends to rise during recessions, reflecting the difficulty that many people have in meeting their financial obligations. However, collectors usually have more success at getting people to repay their debts when the economy is good.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Significant Points •  The health care industry employs 1 out of 3 workers.  •  Most jobs in this occupation require only a high school diploma; however, many employers prefer to hire workers who have completed some college courses or a degree.  •  Slower-than-average employment growth is expected as increased automation of billing services reduces the need for billing clerks.  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 accumulated 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 compute the charges, using calculators or computers. They then prepare itemized statements, bills, or invoices used for billing and recordkeeping purposes. In one organization, the clerk might prepare a bill containing the amount due and the date and type of service; in another, the clerk would produce a detailed invoice with codes  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  433  computers on a daily basis, workers may have to sit for extended periods and also may experience eye and muscle strain, backaches, headaches, and repetitive motion injuries.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  ::  Billing clerks review statements for errors before sending them to customers. 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 identification, if necessary, and the sales total. Computers and specialized billing software allow many clerks to calculate charges and prepare bills in one step. Computer packages prompt clerks to enter data from handwritten forms, and to manipulate the necessary entries of quantities, labor, and rates to be charged. Bill­ ing 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. Computer software also allows bills to be sent electronically if both the biller and the customer prefer not to use paper copies; this, coupled with the prevalence of electronic payment options, allows a completely paperless billing process. 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 discrepancies or errors. Finally, all changes must be entered in the accounting records.  Working Conditions Billing clerks typically are employed in an office environment, although a growing number—particularly medical billers—work at home. Most billing clerks work 40 hours per week during regular business hours, though about one in seven works part time. Because billing clerks use   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most billing clerks need at least a high school diploma. However, many employers prefer to hire workers who have completed some college courses or a degree. Workers with an associate or bachelor’s degree are likely to start at higher salaries and advance more easily than those without degrees. Employers also seek workers who are computer literate, and in particular those who have experience with billing software programs. Billing clerks usually receive on-the-job training from their supervi­ sor or some other senior worker. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in the specific computer software used by the company. Workers must be careful, orderly, and detail oriented with an aptitude for working with numbers in order to avoid making errors and to recognize errors made by others. Workers also should be discreet and trustworthy, because they frequently come in contact with confidential material. Medical billers in particular need to understand and follow the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which were enacted to maintain the confidentiality of patient medical records. A number of community and career colleges offer certificate programs in medical billing. Courses typically cover basic biology, anatomy, and physiology in addition to training on coding and computer billing software. Billing clerks usually advance by taking on more duties in the same occupation for higher pay or by transferring to a closely related occupa­ tion. Most companies fill office and administrative support supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individuals from within the organization. Workers who acquire additional skills, experience, and training improve their advancement opportunities. With appropriate experience and education, some billing clerks may become accountants, human resource specialists, or buyers.  Employment In 2004, billing and posting clerks and machine operators held about 523,000 jobs. Although all industries employ billing clerks, the health care industry employs the most, about a third of all billing clerks. The wholesale and retail trade industries also employ a large number of billing clerks. Third-party billing companies—companies that provide billing services for other companies—are employing a growing number of billing clerks. Industries that are providing this service are the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry and the office administrative and business support services industries. These industries currently employ around 5 percent of the occupation, although a portion of clerks in these in­ dustries are performing the function on their own accounts. Another 3 percent—mostly medical billers—were self employed.  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 2014. Automated and electronic billing processes are greatly simplifying billing and allowing companies to send out bills faster without hiring additional workers. In addition, as the billing process becomes simplified, other people, particularly accounting and bookkeeping clerks, are taking on the billing function. Strong growth in the health care industry, which employs many billing clerks due to the complicated nature of medical billing, will generate some jobs for billing clerks in the future. Although growth will be limited, many job openings will occur as workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Turnover in the occupation is relatively high,  434  Occupational Outlook Handbook  characteristic of an entry-level occupation that typically requires only a high school diploma. Employment growth will occur in the expanding health care in­ dustries, but growth will be limited as more hospitals and physicians’ offices use contract billing companies. Contract billing companies generally have much more sophisticated technology and software, enabling them to produce more bills per person. In all industries, including health care, the billing function is becoming increasingly automated and invoices and statements are automatically 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.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of billing and posting clerks and machine operators were $13.00 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.76 and $15.86. The lowest lOpercent earned less than $9.12, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.88.  Related Occupations Billing clerks process and send records of transactions for payment; other occupations with similar responsibilities include payroll and timekeeping clerks; bookkeeping, auditing, and accounting clerks; tellers; and order clerks.  Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for billing clerks is avail­ able from local offices of the State employment service.  Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks (0*NET 43-3031.00)  Significant Points  •  Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held more than 2 million jobs in 2004 and are employed in every industry.  •  Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average as the spread of office automation lifts worker productivity.  •  The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work; those who can carry out a wider range of bookkeeping and accounting activities will be in greater demand than specialized clerks.  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 represent a wide range of skills and knowledge from full-charge bookkeepers who can maintain an entire company’s books to ac­ counting clerks who handle specific accounts. All of these clerks make numerous computations each day and increasingly must be comfortable 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ESz.-. Mbi.  '  Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks update and maintain accounting records. 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 purchases, prepare invoices, and keep track of overdue accounts. In large offices and accounting departments, accounting clerks have more specialized tasks. Their titles, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk, often reflect the type of accounting they do. In addition, their responsibilities vary by level of experi­ ence. Entry-level accounting clerks post details of transactions, 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 the 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 computer printouts against manually maintained journals and make necessary 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 work­ ers. They check figures, postings, and documents to ensure that they are correct, mathematically accurate, and properly coded. 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 or as computer printouts (or both). The widespread use of comput­ ers 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.  Working Conditions Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work in an office environment. They may experience eye and muscle strain, back­  Office and Administrative Support Occupations aches, headaches, and repetitive motion injuries as a result of using computers on a daily basis. Clerks may have to sit for extended periods while reviewing detailed data. Many bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work regular business hours and a standard 40-hour week. A substantial number work just part time. Full-time and part-time clerks may work some evenings and weekends. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks may work longer hours to meet deadlines at the end of the fiscal year, during tax time, or when monthly or yearly accounting audits are performed. Those who work in hotels, restaurants, and stores may put in overtime during peak holiday and vacation seasons.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are required to have a high school degree at a minimum. However, having some col­ lege is increasingly important and an associate degree in business or accounting is required for some positions. Although a college degree is rarely required, graduates may accept bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerk positions to get into a particular company or to enter the accounting or finance field with the hope of eventually being promoted to professional or managerial positions. Experience in a related job and working in an office environment also is recommended. Employers prefer workers who are computerliterate; knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software is especially valuable. Once hired, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usu­ ally receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or other senior worker, new employees learn company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specific computer software. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing 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 confidential mate­ rial. In addition, all bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing 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 Profes­ sional Bookkeepers, assures employers that individuals have the skills and knowledge required to carry out all the bookkeeping and account­ ing functions up through the adjusted trial balance, including payroll functions. For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience, pass three tests, and adhere to a code of ethics. More than 100 colleges and universities offer a preparatory course for certification and another 150 offer a course online. The Universal Ac­ counting Center offers the Professional Bookkeeper designation. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usually advance by tak­ ing on more duties in the same occupation for higher pay or by transferring to a closely related occupation. Most companies fill office and administra­ tive support supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individu­ als from within their organizations, so clerks who acquire additional skills, experience, and training improve their advancement opportunities. With appropriate experience and education, some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks may become accountants or auditors.  in outsourcing of this occupation. About 1 out of 4 bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks worked part time in 2004.  Job Outlook Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. More job openings will stem from replacement needs than from job growth. Each year, numerous jobs will become avail­ able as these clerks transfer to other occupations 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 slower-than-average increase in employment. In addition, organizations of all sizes will continue to downsize and con­ solidate various recordkeeping functions, thus reducing the demand for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. Furthermore, some work performed by these workers will be outsourced to lower-wage foreign countries. Those who can carry out a wider range of bookkeeping and accounting activities will be in greater demand than specialized clerks. 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 financial transactions, from payroll to bill­ ing. Certified bookkeepers and those with several years of accounting or bookkeeper experience will have the best job prospects.  Earnings In May 2004, the median wage and salary annual earnings of book­ keeping, accounting, and auditing clerks were $28,570. The middle half of the occupation earned between $22,960 and $35,450. The top 10 percent of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks more than $43,570, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $18,580.  Related Occupations Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with financial records. Other clerks who perform similar duties include bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; brokerage clerks; credit authorizes, checkers, and clerks; payroll and timekeeping clerks; procurement clerks; and tellers.  Sources of Additional Information For information on the Certified Bookkeeper designation, contact: >- American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, 6001 Montrose Rd„ Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20852. Internet: http://www.aipb.org  Gaming Cage Workers (0*NET 43-3041.00)  Significant Points  •  Job opportunities are available nationwide and are no longer limited to Nevada and New Jersey.  •  Most employers prefer applicants who have at least a high school diploma as well as experience in handling money or previous casino employment.  •  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 and a background investigation.  Employment Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held more than 2 mil­ lion jobs in 2004. They are found in all industries and at all levels of government. Local government and the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry are among the individual industries employing the largest numbers of these clerks. A growing number work for employment services firms, the result of an increase   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  435  436  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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, tokens, or tickets to patrons or to other workers for resale to patrons and exchange chips and tokens for cash. They may use cash registers, adding machines, or computers to calculate and record transactions. At the end of their shift, cage cashiers must balance the books. Because gaming establishments are closely scrutinized, cage workers must follow a number of rules and regulations related to their handling of money. For example, they monitor large cash transactions for money laundering and tax purposes, and report these transactions to the Internal Revenue Service. Also, in de­ termining when to extend credit or cash a check, cage workers must follow detailed procedures.  Working Conditions The atmosphere in casinos is often considered glamorous. However, casino work can also be physically demanding. This occupation requires workers to stand for long periods with constant reaching and grabbing. Sometimes cage workers may be expected to lift and carry relatively heavy items. The casino atmosphere exposes workers to certain hazards, 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 headgear in areas where loud machinery is used to count money. Most casinos are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offer three staggered shifts. Casinos typically require cage workers to work on nights, weekends, and holidays.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement There usually are no minimum educational requirements, al­ though most employers prefer at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Experience in handling money or previous casino employment also is preferred. Prospective gaming cage workers are sometimes required to pass a basic math test. Good customer  service skills and computer proficiency are also necessary for this occupation. Each casino establishes its own requirements for education, training, and experience. Once hired, gaming cage workers usually receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or other senior worker, new employees learn company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specific gaming regulations and procedures. Gaming cage work­ ers 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 confidential material. All gaming workers are required to have a license issued by a regulatory agency, such as a State casino control board or commis­ sion. 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.  Employment Gaming cage workers held about 20,000 jobs in 2004. All of these individuals work in establishments that offer gaming, and employ­ ment is concentrated in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, a growing number of States and Indian reservations have legalized gambling, 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 2014. The outlook for gaming cage workers depends on the demand for gaming, which is expected to remain strong. No longer con­ fined to Nevada and New Jersey, gaming is becoming legalized in more States that consider gaming an effective way to increase revenues. A substantial portion of this growth will come from the construction of new Indian casinos and “racinos,” which are race tracks that offer casino games. Gaming cage workers, however, will have fewer job oppor­ tunities than others in gaming establishments, as casinos find ways to reduce the amount of cash handled by employees. For example, self-serve cash-out and change machines are com­ mon along with automated teller machines. In addition, slot machines are now able to make payouts in tickets, instead of coins, which can be read by other slot machines and the amount on the ticket transferred to the new machine. These technolo­ gies reduce the amount of cash needed to play and speed up the exchange process, which means less workers are needed to handle the cage than in the past. However, a fair number of openings 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, pre­ vious casino experience, some background in accounting or bookkeeping, and good customer service skills should have the best opportunities.  Earnings  Gaming cage workers perform credit checks for patrons trying to establish house credit accounts.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Wage earnings for gaming cage workers vary according to level of experience, training, location, and size of the gaming establishment. Median hourly earnings of gaming cage workers were $10.74 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.24 and $12.85 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.91, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $14.99 an hour.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  Related Occupations Many other occupations provide hospitality and customer service. Some examples of related occupations are credit authorizers, check­ ers, and clerks; gaming service occupations; sales worker supervi­ sors; cashiers; retail salespersons; and tellers.  Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for gaming cage workers is available from local offices of the State employment service. 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  Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks (0*NET 43-3051.00)  Significant Points  • • •  Payroll and timekeeping clerks are found in every industry. Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma; computer skills are very desirable. Those who have completed a certification program, indicating that they can handle more complex payroll issues, will have an advantage in the job market.  Nature of the Work Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform a vital function: ensuring that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are ac­ curate. If inaccuracies occur, 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 automated this function, however, payroll and timekeeping clerks still perform many of the traditional job functions. The fundamental task of timekeeping clerks is distributing and collecting timecards each pay period. These workers review em-  a •  Payroll and timekeeping clerks ensure that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  437  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 subtract­ ing allotments, including Federal and State taxes and contributions to retirement, insurance, and savings plans, from gross earnings. Increasingly, computers are performing these calculations and alerting payroll clerks to problems or errors in the data. In small organiza­ tions or for new employees whose records are not yet entered into a computer system, clerks may perform the necessary calculations manually. In some small offices, clerks or other employees 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 also issue and record adjustments to workers’ pay because of previous 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 special­ ized payroll and timekeeping clerks to perform these functions. In offices that have automated timekeeping systems, payroll clerks perform more analysis of the data, examine trends, and work with computer systems. They also spend more time answering employees’ questions and processing unique data.  Working Conditions Payroll and timekeeping clerks usually work in clean, pleasant, and comfortable office settings. Clerks usually work a standard 35- to 40-hour week; however, longer hours might be necessary during busy periods. Payroll and timekeeping clerks also may face stress at times, particularly from the pressure to meet deadlines.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or GED. Computer skills are very desirable. Payroll and timekeeping clerks learn their skills through a combination of on-the-job experi­ ence and informal training. Training also can be attained through programs in high schools, business schools, and community colleges. New workers receive training in payroll, timekeeping, personnel issues, workplace practices, and company policies. Payroll and timekeeping clerks must be able to interact and communicate with individuals at all levels of the organization. In addition, clerks should demonstrate poise, tactfulness, and diplo­ macy, and have a high level of interpersonal skills in order to handle sensitive and confidential situations. Most organizations specializing in payroll and timekeeping offer classes intended to enhance the marketable skills of their members. Some organizations offer certification programs; completion of a certification program indicates competence and can enhance one’s advancement opportunities. For example, the American Payroll As­  438  Occupational Outlook Handbook  sociation offers two levels of certification, the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP). The FPC is open to all individuals who wish to demonstrate basic payroll competency. The more advanced CPP is available those who have been employed in the practice of payroll for at least 3 years and who have obtained the FPC within the last 18 months. Both require experience and a passing score on a comprehensive exam.  Employment Payroll and timekeeping clerks held about 214,000jobs in 2004. They can be found in every industry, but a growing number work for employ­ ment services companies as temporary employees, or for accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services firms, which increas­ ingly are taking on the payroll function as a service to other companies. Approximately 18 percent of all payroll and timekeeping clerks worked part time in 2004.  Job Outlook Employment of payroll and timekeeping clerks is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. In ad­ dition to job growth, numerous job openings will arise each year as payroll and timekeeping clerks leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Those who have completed a certification program, indicating that they can handle more complex payroll issues, will have an advantage in the job market. As entering and recording payroll and timekeeping informa­ tion becomes more simplified, the job itself is becoming more complex, with companies now offering a greater variety of pension, 401 (k), and other investment plans to their employees. Also, the growing use of garnishment of wages for child support is adding to the complexity. These developments will fuel the demand for payroll and timekeeping clerks, who will be needed to record and monitor such information. Firms increasingly are outsourcing the payroll function. As a result, the best employment opportunities are expected to be in companies that specialize in payroll, including companies in the employment services industry and the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry. Many of these compa­ nies are data processing facilities, but accounting firms also are tak­ ing on the payroll function to supplement their accounting work. The increasing use of computers will limit employment growth of payroll and timekeeping clerks. For example, automated time clocks, which calculate employee hours, allow large organiza­ tions to centralize their timekeeping duties in one location. At individual sites, employee hours increasingly are tracked by computer and verified by managers. This information is compiled and sent to a central office to be processed by payroll clerks. In addition, the growing use of direct deposit will reduce the need to draft paychecks, because these funds are transferred automati­ cally each pay period. Also, more organizations are allowing employees to update their payroll records electronically. In smaller organizations, payroll and timekeeping duties are be­ ing assigned to secretaries, general office clerks, or accounting clerks. Furthermore, the greater complexity of the job, coupled with the automation of records that is simplifying data entry, is resulting in payroll professionals, not payroll and timekeeping clerks, doing more of the work.  Earnings Salaries of payroll and timekeeping clerks may vary considerably. The region of the country, size of city, and type and size of establish­ ment all influence salary levels. Also, the level of expertise required and the complexity and uniqueness of a clerk’s responsibilities may affect earnings.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Median annual earnings of payroll and timekeeping clerks in May 2004 were $30,350. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,430 and $36,930. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $44,270. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of payroll and timekeeping clerks in May 2004 were: Management of companies and enterprises................................. $32,600 Elementary and secondary schools............................................... 32,390 Local government ........................................................................... 31,620 Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. 29,040 Employment services....................................................................... 28,010 Some employers offer educational assistance to payroll and timekeeping clerks.  Related Occupations Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform a vital financial function— ensuring that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate. In addition, they may perform various other office and administrative support duties. Other financial clerks include bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; gaming cage workers; procurement clerks; and tellers.  Sources of Additional Information For general information about payroll and timekeeping clerks, contact: >- American Payroll Association, 660 North Main Ave., Suite 100, Suite660, San Antonio, TX 78205-1217. Internet: http://www.amcricanpayroll.org >■ WorldatWork, 14040 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260. In­ ternet: http://www.worIdatwork.org Information on employment opportunities for payroll and time­ keeping clerks is available from local offices of the State employ­ ment service.  Procurement Clerks (0*NET 43-3061.00)  Significant Points  •  About 3 in 10 procurement clerks work for Federal, State, and local governments.  •  Most employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma and who are computer-literate.  •  Overall employment is expected to decline through 2014 as a result of increasing automation.  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 technicians, 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. Orders 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.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 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-size companies, while others perform strictly clerical functions. In general, procure­ ment clerks process 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 invitation-to-bid forms and mail them to sup­ pliers or distribute them for public posting. Procurement clerks may interview potential suppliers by telephone or face-to-face 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 supplier, pur­ chase orders are prepared, mailed, and entered into computers. 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 arrives, 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 compa­ nies, 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 bookkeeping purposes. They may keep in­ ventory spreadsheets and place orders when materials on hand are insufficient.  Working Conditions Procurement clerks usually work a standard 40-hour week. Most procurement clerks work in areas that are clean, well lit, and rela­ tively quiet. These workers sit for long periods of time in front of computer terminals, which many cause eyestrain and headaches. Workers in this occupation may sometimes be expected to work overtime or varied shifts.  439  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or its equivalent or a mix of education and related experience. Most em­ ployers prefer workers who are computer-literate and have a working knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software. Most procurement clerks are trained on the job under close supervision of more experienced employees. Proficiency with desktop computer software is becoming increasingly important as most tasks, such as preparing purchase orders, are being filed electronically. Some procurement clerks that have more education and show a greater understanding of contracts and purchasing may be promoted to the position of purchasing agent or buyer.  Employment In 2004, procurement clerks held about 74,000 jobs. Procurement clerks are found in every industry, including manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, health care, and government. About 3 in 10 procurement clerks work for Federal, State, and local governments; most of these clerks work for the Federal Government.  Job Outlook Employment of procurement clerks is expected to decline through 2014 as a result of increasing automation. The need for procurement 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 com­ monplace. In addition, procurement authority for some purchases is now being given to employees in the departments originating the purchase. These departments may be issued procurement cards, which are similar to credit cards that enable a department to charge purchases up to a specified amount. Although overall employment in the occupation is expected to decline, job outlook varies by industry. For example, employment will decline in manufacturing, the primary employer of procurement clerks in the goods-producing sector of the economy. In contrast, employment of procurement clerks will increase in some industries in the service-providing sector—such as retail trade, professional services, and health care—which are beginning to realize that a centralized procurement department may be more cost effective than units making purchases independently, 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.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of procurement clerks in May 2004 were $ 14.85. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.82 and $18.11. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.52 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.03. Procurement clerks working for the Federal Government had an average annual income of $39,011 in 2005.  Related Occupations  ■Jk.  . . .... \.  Procurement clerks compile information and records to draw up pur­ chase orders for materials and services. Other workers who perform similar duties are purchasing agents and buyers, order clerks, file clerks, secretaries, and receptionists and information clerks.  Sources of Additional Information Procurement clerks process requests for purchases.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Information on employment opportunities for procurement clerks is available from local offices of the State employment service.  440  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Tellers (0*NET 43-3071.00)  Significant Points •  Most jobs require only a high school diploma; tellers should enjoy public contact, must feel comfortable handling large amounts of money, and should be dis­ creet and trustworthy.  •  About 3 out of 10 tellers work part time.  •  Most job openings will arise from replacement needs because turnover is high.  •  Although the job outlook for tellers has improved recently, employment is projected to grow more slowly than average.  1||  t ■'  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 legality 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 pay­ ments during the day and are responsible for its safe and accurate handling. Before leaving, tellers count their cash on hand, list the currency-received tickets on a balance sheet, make sure that the ac­ counts balance, and sort checks and deposit slips. Over the course of a workday, 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 adhered 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, 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 financial services, tellers are being trained to identify sales opportunities.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  M®i  Tellers must pay attention to detail.  This task requires them to learn about the various financial products and services the bank offers so that they can briefly explain them to customers and refer interested customers to appropriate special­ ized sales personnel. In addition, tellers in many banks are being cross-trained to perform some of the functions of customer service representatives. (Customer service representatives are discussed separately in the Handbook.)  Working Conditions Tellers work in an office environment. They may experience eye and muscle strain, backaches, headaches, and repetitive motion injuries as a result of using computers on a daily basis. Tellers may have to sit for extended periods while reviewing detailed data. Many tellers work regular business hours and a standard 40-hour week. A substantial number work just part time. Full-time and part­ time tellers may work some evenings and weekends.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most tellers are required to have at least a high school diploma. Some have some college training or even a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, or liberal arts. Although a degree is rarely required, graduates may accept teller positions to get into a particular company or to enter the banking field with the hope of eventually being promoted to professional or managerial positions. Experience working in an office environment or in customer service, and particularly cash-handling experience, can be important for tellers. Regardless of experience, employers prefer workers who have good communication skills and who are computer-liter­ ate; knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software also is valuable. Once hired, tellers usually receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or other senior worker, new employees leam company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specific computer software. Tellers should enjoy contact with the public. They must have a strong aptitude for numbers and feel comfortable handling large amounts of money. They should be discreet and trustworthy,  Office and Administrative Support Occupations because they frequently come in contact with confidential mate­ rial. Tellers also must be careful, orderly, and detail-oriented in order to avoid making errors and to recognize errors made by others. Tellers can prepare for better jobs by taking courses offered throughout the country by banking and financial institutes, colleges and universities, and private training institutions. Tellers usually advance by taking on more duties in the same oc­ cupation or by being promoted to head teller or to another supervisory job. Many banks and other employers fill supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individuals from within their organizations, so outstanding tellers who acquire additional skills, experience, and training improve their advancement opportunities.  441  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 centers allow a customer to interact with a bank representative at a distant location, either by telephone or by video terminal. Such centers usually are staffed by customer service representatives, who can handle a wider variety of transactions than tellers can, including applications for loans and credit cards.  Employment Tellers held about 558,000 jobs in 2004. The overwhelming ma­ jority worked in commercial banks, savings institutions, or credit unions. The remainder worked in a variety of other finance and other industries. About 3 out of 10 worked part time.  Job Outlook Employment prospects for tellers have improved recently. Employ­ ment is projected to grow, but more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. Banks are looking at their branch offices as places to attract customers for the increasing number and variety of financial products the banks sell. As recently as a few years ago, banks were closing branch offices and discourag­ ing the use of tellers in an effort to cut costs, but in a turnaround, banks are now opening branch offices in more locations. They also are keeping them open longer during the day and on week­ ends, a practice that is expected to increase opportunities 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  Earnings Salaries of tellers may vary with their experience and with the re­ gion of the country, size of city, and type and size of establishment. Median annual earnings of tellers were $21,120 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,320 and $23,900 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28,100 a year. As in other occupations, part-time tellers may not enjoy the same benefits—such as vacations, health and life insurance, and pensions—as full-time workers.  Related Occupations Tellers enter data into a computer, handle cash, and keep track of financial transactions. Other clerks who perform similar duties include bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; gaming cage workers; brokerage clerks; and credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks.  Sources of Additional Information Information on employment opportunities for tellers is available from banks and other employers and local offices of the State em­ ployment service and from: > Bank Administration Institute, 1 North Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60606.  Information and Record Clerks Brokerage Clerks (0*NET 43-4011.00)  Significant Points •  More than 9 out of 10 worked for securities and com­ modities, banks, and other finance industries. • Brokerage clerks may be high school or college gradu­ ates, but positions dealing with the public, such as broker’s or sales assistant and those dealing with more complicated financial records are increasingly being held by college graduates. • Although a growing economy will result in more finan­ cial transactions that require these workers, the con­ tinuing spread of office automation and the emergence of online trading will result in slower-than-average growth in employment.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work Brokerage clerks handle much of the day-to-day operations of broker­ ages, performing a number of differentjobs with a wide range of respon­ sibilities; 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 trading floors, and in branch offices, also are called margin clerks, dividend clerks, transfer clerks, and broker’s assistants. The broker’s assistant, also called sales assistant, is the most common type of brokerage clerk. These workers typically assist two brokers, for whom they take calls from clients, write up order tickets, process the paperwork for opening and closing accounts, record a client’s purchases and sales, and inform clients of changes to their accounts. All broker’s assistants must be knowledgeable about in­ vestment products so that they can communicate clearly with clients. Those with a “Series 7” license can make recommendations to clients  442  Occupational Outlook Handbook  at the instruction of the broker. This license, issued to securities and commodities sales representatives by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), allows them to provide advice on securi­ ties to the public. (Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Brokerage clerks in the operations areas of securities firms perform 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 them depend upon the type of work that they perform. Purchase-and-sale clerks, for example, 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 payments of stock or cash dividends to clients of a particular bro­ kerage firm. Transfer clerks execute customer requests for changes to security registration and examine stock certificates to make sure that they adhere to banking regulations. Receive-and-deliver clerks facilitate the receipt and delivery of securities among firms and institutions. Margin clerks record and monitor activity in custom­ ers’ 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 signif­ icant and growing number of brokerage clerks use custom-designed software programs to process transactions more quickly. Only a few customized accounts are still handled manually. Furthermore, the rapid expansion of online trading reduces the amount of paperwork because brokerage clerks are able to make trades electronically.  Working Conditions Brokerage clerks work in offices. Usually the work flow is fairly regular; however, when sales activity increases, the pace can be­ come hectic. Brokerage clerks generally work a standard 40-hour week, but, they may work overtime during particularly busy periods. Most brokerage clerks work in areas that are clean and well lit, but may be noisy at times.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Depending on the job description, brokerage clerks can be high school or college graduates. Positions dealing with the public, such as broker’s or sales assistant, and those dealing with more complicated financial records are increasingly being held by college graduates. Brokerage clerk jobs require good organizational and commu­ nication skills, as well as attention to detail. Computer skills also  Brokerage clerks record data pertaining to securities transactions.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  are important in order to enter and retrieve data quickly. A Series 7 brokerage license can make a clerk more valuable to the broker because it gives the assistant the ability to answer more of a client’s questions and to pass along securities recommendations from the broker. Before clerks can obtain a license, however, 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 new employees are trained on the job, working under the close supervision of more experienced employees. Some firms of­ fer formal training that may include courses in telephone etiquette, computer use, and customer service skills. Clerks may be promoted to sales representative positions or other professional positions within the securities industry. Some of the larger firms have training programs, especially for their college graduates, that provide clerks with the skills they need for advancement.  Employment Brokerage clerks held about 75,000 jobs in 2004. More than 9 out of 10 worked for securities and commodities, banks, and other finance industries.  Job Outlook Employment of brokerage clerks is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Although a growing economy will result in more financial transactions and other activities that require these workers, the continuing spread of office automation will lift worker productivity and restrict job growth. With people increasingly investing in securities, brokerage clerks will be required to process larger volumes of transactions. Moreover, some brokerage clerks will still be needed to update records, enter changes into customers’ accounts, and verify transfers of securities. However, the emergence of online trading and widespread automation in the securities and commodities industry will limit demand for brokerage clerks in the coming decade. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace clerks who transfer to other occupations or stop working.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of brokerage clerks were $16.94 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.52 and $21.60. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.22 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.11.  Related Occupations Brokerage clerks compute and record data. Other workers who perform calculations and record data include bill and account collec­ tors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; order clerks; and tellers.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide informa­ tion about job openings for brokerage clerks.  Credit Authorizers, Checkers, and Clerks (0*NET 43-4041.01, 43-4041.02)  Significant Points •  Most jobs require only a high school diploma.  •  Employment is expected to decline.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  443  Nature of the Work  reports. These workers often are called credit investigators or credit  Credit authorizes, 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 their day on the telephone or on the Internet obtaining information from credit bureaus, employers, banks, credit institutions, and other sources to determine applicants’ credit history and ability to repay what they borrow or charge. Credit authorizes, 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, contacting credit bureaus for a credit rating, and obtaining any other information necessary to determine applicants’ creditworthiness. If clerks work in a department store or other establishment that offers instant credit, they enter the applicant’s information into a computer at the point of sale. A credit rating is then 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 contact credit departments of businesses and service companies to obtain information about an applicant’s credit standing. Credit reporting agencies and bureaus hire checkers to secure, update, and verify information for credit  reporters. Credit authorizes 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 associated 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 approve new charges.  Working Conditions Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks usually work a standard 40hour week. However, they may work overtime during particularly busy periods, such as holiday shopping seasons and store sales. Most credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks work in areas that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. These workers sit for long periods of time in front of computer screens, which may cause eyestrain and headaches. Part-time work is available, and temporary workers are often hired during peak workloads.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually the minimum re­ quirement for these workers. Other requirements of the job include good telephone and organizational skills and the ability to pay close attention to details and meet tight deadlines. Computer skills also are important in order to enter and retrieve data quickly. Most new employees are trained on the job, working under close supervision of more experienced employees. Some firms offer formal training that may include courses in telephone etiquette, computer use, and customer service skills. Some credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks also take courses in credit offered by banking and credit associations, public and private vocational schools, and colleges and universities. These workers typically can advance to loan or credit department supervisor or team leader of a small group of clerks.  Employment  fill!  authorizers process applications for credit cards. DigitizedCredit for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks held about 67,000 jobs in 2004. Nearly half of these workers were employed by finance and insurance industries, mainly firms in credit intermediation and related activities, such as commercial and savings banks; credit unions; and mortgage, finance, and loan companies. Credit bureaus, collection agencies, and wholesale and retail trade establishments also employ these clerks.  Job Outlook Employment of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks is expected to decline through 2014. Despite a projected increase in the number of credit applications, technology will allow these applications to be pro­ cessed, checked, and authorized by fewer workers than were required in the past. Credit scoring is a major development that has improved the productivity of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks, thus limiting employment growth in the occupation. Companies and credit bureaus now can purchase software that quickly analyzes an applicant’s creditworthiness and summarizes it with 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 directly linked to credit bureaus that provide immediate 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  444  Occupational Outlook Handbook  credit. Even in slow economic times, however, job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for various reasons.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks in May 2004 were $13.97. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.27 and $17.56. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.90. Median hourly earnings in nondepository credit intermediation were $13.74 in 2004, while median earnings in depository credit intermediation were $13.62.  Related Occupations Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks obtain and analyze credit his­ tories. Other workers who review account information include bill and account collectors, loan officers, and insurance underwriters.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide infor­ mation about job openings for credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks.  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 but edu­ cational requirements are rising.  •  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 services and to handle and resolve complaints. They communicate with customers through a variety of means—by telephone; by e-mail, fax, or regular mail correspondence; or in person. 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 provide a customer with their credit card 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 customer service representative. In handling customers’ complaints, customer service representatives must attempt to resolve the problem according to guidelines established by the company. These proce­ dures may involve asking questions to determine the validity of a complaint; offering possible solutions; or providing customers with   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  refunds, exchanges, or other offers, such as discounts or coupons. In some cases, customer service representatives are required to fol­ low 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. Although the primary function of customer service representatives is not sales, some may spend a part of their time with customers encouraging them to purchase additional products or services. (For information on workers whose primary function is sales, see the statements on sales and related occupations elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Customer service representatives also may 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 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 question or situation to which they do not know how to respond, workers 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, the customer service representative must 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 so that they can fairly distribute 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 whose conversations often are required to be kept within set time limits. For customer service representatives working in call centers, there usually is very little time between telephone calls; as soon as repre­ sentatives have finished with one call, they must 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 reviewed by supervisors to ensure that company policies and procedures are being followed, or a supervisor may listen in on conversations. Job responsibilities can differ, depending on the industry in which a customer service representative is employed. For ex­ ample, a customer service representative working in the branch office of a bank may assume the responsibilities of other work­ ers, 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 poli­ cies. They answer questions regarding 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  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  Illli!  Si© i  Ijpfifs  445  The occupation also offers the opportunity for seasonal work in certain industries, often through temporary help agencies. Call centers may be crowded and noisy, and work may be repeti­ tious and stressful, with little time between calls. Workers usually must attempt to minimize the length of each call, while still provid­ ing excellent service. To ensure that these procedures are followed, conversations may be monitored by supervisors, something that 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 center environment may interact with customers through several different 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 work a standard 40-hour week; however, their hours generally depend on the hours of operation of the establishment in which they are employed. Work environ­ ments outside of a call center also vary accordingly. Most customer service representatives 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, the ability to resolve customers’ problems has the potential to be very rewarding.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Customer service representatives interact with customers to provide information about products or services.  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 potential customers. Customer service representatives employed by utilities and com­ munications companies assist individuals interested in opening accounts for various utilities such as electricity and gas, or for communication services such as cable television and telephone. They explain various options and receive orders for services to be installed, turned on, turned off, or changed. They also may look into and resolve complaints about billing and service provided by utility, telephone, and cable television 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 environ­ ment, workers generally have their own workstation or cubicle space equipped with a telephone, headset, and computer. Because many call centers are open extended hours, beyond the traditional work day, or arc 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. 1 out of 5 customer service representatives work part time. Digitized Nearly for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most customer service representative jobs require only a high school diploma. However, due to employers demanding a higher skilled workforce, many customer service jobs now require an associate or bachelor’s degree. Basic to intermediate computer knowledge and good interpersonal skills also are important qualities for people who wish to be successful in the field. Because customer service repre­ sentatives constantly interact with the public, good communication and problem-solving skills are a must. Verbal communication and listening skills are especially important. Additionally, for workers who communicate through e-mail, good typing, spelling, and writ­ ten 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 providing an interface between customer and company, and for this reason employers seek out people who come across in a friendly and professional manner. The ability to deal patiently with problems and complaints and to remain courteous when faced with difficult or angry people is very important. Also, a customer service repre­ sentative needs to be able to work independently within specified time constraints. Workers should have a clear and pleasant speak­ ing voice and be fluent in English. However, the ability to speak a foreign language is becoming increasingly necessary, and bilingual skills are considered a plus. Training requirements vary by industry. Almost all customer service representatives are provided with some training prior to beginning work, and training continues once on the job. This training generally covers customer service and phone skills, products and services and common customer problems with them, the use or operation of the telephone and/or computer systems, and company policies and regulations. Length of train­ ing 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 receive instruction and train­ ing throughout their career. This is particularly true of workers in industries such as banking, in which regulations and products are continually changing.  446  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 usually is 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.  Employment Customer service representatives held about 2.1 million jobs in 2004. Although they were found in a variety of industries, about 1 in 4 customer service representatives worked in finance and insurance. The largest numbers were employed by insurance carriers, insurance agencies and brokerages, and banks and credit unions. About 1 in 8 customer service representatives were employed in administrative and support services. These workers were con­ centrated in the business support services industry (which includes telephone call centers) and employment services (which includes temporary help services and employment placement agencies). Another lin 8 customer service representatives were employed in retail trade establishments such as general merchandise stores, food and beverage stores, or nonstore retailers. Other industries that employ significant numbers of customer service representatives include 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 representa­ tives who work in call centers tend to be concentrated geographically. Four States—California, Texas, Florida, and New York—employ 30 percent of customer service representatives. Delaware, Arizona, South Dakota, and Utah, have the highest concentration of workers in this occupation, with customer service representatives comprising over 2 percent of total employment in these States.  Job Outlook Prospects for obtaining a job in this field are expected to be excel­ lent, with more job openings thanjobseekers. Bilingual jobseek­ ers, 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 experienced customer service representatives who transfer to other occupations 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 available, particularly as organizations attempt to cut labor costs by hiring more temporary workers. Employment of customer service representatives is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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, gaining a competitive edge and retaining customers will be increas­ ingly important over the next decade. This is particularly true in industries such as financial services, communications, and utilities, which already employ numerous customer service representatives. As the trend toward consolidation in industries continues, central­ ized call centers will provide an effective method for delivering a high level of customer service. As a result, employment of customer service representatives may grow at a faster rate in call centers than in other areas. However, this growth may be tempered: a variety of factors, including technological improvements, make it increasingly feasible and cost-effective for call centers to be built or relocated outside of the United States. Technology is affecting the occupation in many ways. The Internet and automated teller machines have provided customers with means of obtaining information and conducting transactions 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. The use of computer software to filter e-mails, generating automatic responses or di­ recting messages to the appropriate representative, and the use of similar systems to answer or route telephone inquiries are likely to become more prevalent in the future. Also, with rapidly improving telecommunications, some organizations have begun to position their call centers overseas. Despite such developments, the need for customer service representatives is expected to remain strong. In many ways, tech­ nology has heightened consumers’ expectations for information and services, and availability of information online seems to have generated more need for customer service representatives, particu­ larly to respond to e-mail. Also, technology cannot replace human skills. As more sophisticated technologies are able to resolve 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 rep­ resentatives are expanding. As companies downsize or take other measures to increase 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 representatives 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 af­ fected by economic downturns, the customer service occupation is generally resistant to major fluctuations in employment.  Earnings In May 2004, median annual earnings for wage and salary customer service representatives were $27,020. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,510 and $34,560. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $44,160. 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 largest numbers of these workers in May 2004 are shown below: Insurance carriers.......................................................................... $29,790 Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities...... 28,800 Depository credit intermediation.................................................. 26,140 Employment services.................................................................... 23,100 Business support services................................................................ 21,390  Office and Administrative Support Occupations In addition to receiving an hourly wage, full-time customer service representatives who work evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays 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 be­ ing able to work a schedule that does not conform to the traditional workweek. Other benefits can include life and health insurance, pensions, bonuses, employer-provided training, and discounts on the products and services the company offers.  Related Occupations Customer service representatives interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services 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, commodities, and financial services sales agents; retail salespersons; computer support specialists; and gaming services workers.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices can provide information about employment opportunities for customer service representatives.  447  paper stored in a file cabinet or an image on microform. In the former case, the clerk retrieves the document manually and hands or forwards 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 borrowed files are returned. Increasingly, file clerks are using computerized filing and retrieval systems that have a variety of storage devices, such as a mainframe 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. Ac­ cessing files in a computer database is much quicker than locating and physically retrieving paper files. Still, even when files are stored elec­ tronically, backup paper or electronic copies usually are also kept.  Working Conditions File clerks usually work in areas that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. The work is not overly strenuous but may involve a lot of standing, walking, reaching, pulling, and bending, depending on the method used to retrieve files. Prolonged exposure to computer screens may lead to eyestrain for the many file clerks who work with computers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  File Clerks (0*NET 43-4071.00)  Significant Points •  About 3 out of 10 file clerks work part time.  •  A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement.  •  Employment is expected to decline through the year 2014.  Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or its equivalent or a mix of education and related experience. File clerks must be able to work with others since part of the job may consist of helping fellow workers. These workers must be alert, accurate, and able to make quick decisions. Also, willingness to do routine and detailed work is important. Most new employees are trained on the job under close super­ vision of more experienced employees. Proficiency with desktop computer software is becoming increasingly important as more files are now being stored electronically. These workers can advance to more senior clerical office positions such as receptionist or book­ keeping clerk.  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 responsibilities, 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 record, information, or record center clerks, examine incoming material and code it numerically, alphabetically, or by subject matter. They then store paper forms, letters, receipts, or reports or enter necessary information into other storage devices. Some clerks operate mechanized files that rotate to bring the needed records to them; others convert documents to film that is then stored on microforms, such as microfilm or microfiche. A growing number of file clerks use imaging systems that scan paper files or film and store the material on computers. In order for records to be useful, they must be up to date and ac­ curate. 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. Clerks also check files at regular intervals to make sure that all items are correctly sequenced and placed. When records cannot be found, file clerks attempt to locate the missing material. As an organization’s needs for information change, file clerks implement changes to the filing system. When records are requested, file clerks locate them and give them to the person requesting them. A record may be a sheet of  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  mm  lillllllliiiliS  File clerks classify, store, and retrieve large amounts of information.  448  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Employment  Nature of the Work  File clerks held about 255,000 jobs in 2004. Although file clerk jobs are found in nearly every sector of the economy, more than 90 percent of these workers are employed in service-providing indus­ tries, including government. Healthcare establishments employed around 1 out of every 4 file clerks. About 3 out of every 10 file clerks worked part time in 2004.  Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks perform a variety of services for guests of hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments. Regard­ less of the type of accommodation, most desk clerks have similar responsibilities. 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 information 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 typically are the first line of customer service for a lodging property. Their attitude and behavior greatly influence the public’s impressions of the estab­ lishment. And as such, they always must be courteous and helpful. Desk clerks answer questions about services, checkout times, the local community, or other matters of public interest. Clerks also report problems with guest rooms or public facilities to members of the housekeeping or maintenance staff for them to correct the problems. In larger hotels or in larger cities, desk clerks may refer queries about area attractions to a concierge and may direct more complicated questions to the appropriate manager. In some smaller hotels and motels, where smaller staffs are em­ ployed, clerks may take on a variety of additional responsibilities, such as bringing fresh linens to rooms, which usually are performed by employees in other departments of larger lodging establishments. In the smaller places, desk clerks often are responsible for all frontoffice operations, information, and services. For example, they may perform the work of a bookkeeper, advance reservation agent, cashier, laundry attendant, and telephone switchboard operator.  Job Outlook Employment of file clerks is expected to decline through the year 2014 largely due to productivity gains stemming from office automation and the consolidation of clerical jobs. Most files are stored digitally and can be retrieved electronically, reducing the demand for file clerks. Nonetheless, there will be some job opportunities for file clerks as a large number of workers 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. Demand for file clerks stems from the need for these workers to record and retrieve information in organizations across the economy Jobseekers who have typing and other secretarial skills and who arc familiar with a wide range of office machines, especially personal computers, should have the best job opportunities. File clerks should find opportunities for temporary or part-time work, especially during peak business periods.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of file clerks in May 2004 were $10.11. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.22 and $12.59. The low­ est 10 percent earned less than $6.97, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $15.72. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of file clerks in May 2004 are shown below: Local government .......................................................................... General medical and surgical hospitals........................................... Legal services.................................................................................. Employment services...................................................................... Offices of physicians.........................................................................  $11.79 10.38 10.32 10.06 9.07  Related Occupations File clerks classify and retrieve files. Other workers who perform similar duties include receptionists and information clerks and stock clerks and order fillers.  Working Conditions Hotels are open around the clock creating the need for night and weekend work. Extended hours of operation also afford the many part-time job seekers an opportunity to find work in these establish­ ments, especially on evenings and late-night shifts or on weekends and holidays. About half of all desk clerks work a 35 to 40 hour week—most of the rest work fewer hours—so the jobs are attractive to persons seeking part-time work or jobs with flexible schedules. Most clerks work in areas that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet, although lobbies can become crowded and noisy when busy. Many hotels have stringent dress guidelines for desk clerks. Desk clerks may experience particularly hectic times during check-in and check-out limes or incur the pressures encountered when dealing with convention guests or large groups of tourists  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide informa­ tion about job openings for file clerks.  Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks (0*NET 43-4081.00)  Significant Points •  Job opportunities should be plentiful, because of sub­ stantial replacement needs.  •  Evening, weekend, and part-time work hours create potential for flexible schedules.  •  Professional appearance and personality are more im­ Digitized for portant FRASERthan formal academic training in landing a job. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks answer questions about lodging services, checkout times, the local community, or other matters of public interest.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations at one time. Moreover, dealing with irate guests can be stressful. Computer failures can further complicate an already busy time and add to stress levels. Hotel desk clerks may be on their feet most of the time and may occasionally be asked to lift heavy guest luggage.  TVaining, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks deal directly with the public, so a professional appearance and a pleasant personality are important. A clear speaking voice and fluency in English also are essential, because these employees talk directly with hotel guests and the public and frequently use the telephone or public-address systems. Good spelling and computer literacy are needed, because most of the work involves use of a computer. In addition, speaking a foreign language fluently is increasingly helpful, because of the growing international clientele of many properties. Most hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks receive orientation and training on the job. Orientation may include an explanation of the job duties and information about the establishment, such as the arrangement of sleeping rooms, availability of additional services, such as a business or fitness center, and location of guest facilities, such as ice and vending machines, restaurants and other nearby retail stores. New employees learn job tasks through on-the-job training under the guidance of a supervisor or an experienced desk clerk. They often receive additional training on interpersonal or customer service skills and on how to use the computerized reserva­ tion, room assignment, and billing systems and equipment. Desk clerks typically continue to receive instruction on new procedures and on company policies after their initial training ends. Formal academic training generally is not required so many stu­ dents take jobs as desk clerks on evening or weekend shifts or during school vacation periods. Most employers look for people who are friendly and customer-service oriented, well groomed, and display the maturity and self confidence to demonstrate good judgment. Desk clerks, especially in high-volume and higher-end properties should be quick-thinking, show initiative, and be able to work as a member of a team. Hotel managers typically look for these personal characteristics when hiring first-time desk clerks, because it is easier to teach company policy and computer skills than personality traits. Large hotel and motel chains may offer better opportunities for advancement than small, independently owned establishments. The large chains have more extensive career ladder programs and may of­ fer desk clerks an opportunity to participate in a management training program. Also, the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Motel Association offers home-study or group-study courses in lodging management, which may help some obtain promotions more rapidly.  Employment Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks held about 195,000jobs in 2004. Virtually all were in hotels, motels, and other establishments in the accommodation industry. Few were self employed.  Job Outlook Employment of hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014, 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, because these businesses typically are 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  449  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. While many lower budget and extended-stay establishments are being built to cater to families and the leisure traveler, many new luxury and resort ac­ commodations also are opening to serve the upscale client. With the increased number of units requiring staff, employment opportunities for desk clerks should be good. Growth of hotel, motel, and resort desk clerk jobs will be moder­ ated by technology. Automated check-in and check-out procedures reduce the backlog of guests waiting for desk service and may reduce peak front desk staffing needs in many establishments. Nevertheless, the front desk remains the principal point of contact for guests at most properties and most will continue to have clerks on duty. 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 desk clerks. Similarly, employment is affected by special events, business and convention business, and seasonal fluctuations.  Earnings Median annual earnings of hotel, motel and resort desk clerks were $ 17,700 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 15,190 and $21,270. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 13,040, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $25,200. Earnings of hotel, motel and resort desk clerks vary by a number of seasonal or geographic factors, such as whether the establishment is in a major metropolitan area, a resort community, or other economic or regional characteristic. Earnings also will vary according to the size of the hotel and the level of service offered. For example, luxury hotels that offer guests more personal attention and a greater number of services typically have stricter and more demanding requirements for their desk staff. However, these higher standards of service also result in higher earnings for employees.  Related Occupations Other positions in the hospitality industry include lodging managers. Occupations that also require workers to deal face-to-face with the public include counter and rental clerks, customer service representa­ tives, receptionists and information clerks, and retail salespersons.  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 Asso­ ciation, 800 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 1800, Orlando, FL 32803. Internet: http://www.ei-ahma.org  Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping __ (0*NET 43-4161.00)  Significant Points • • •  About 1 out of 4 work for Federal, State, and local governments. Employment will grow as human resources assistants assume more responsibilities. Computer, communication, and interpersonal skills are important.  450  Occupational Outlook Handbook include interviewing applicants; corresponding with law enforce­ ment authorities; and preparing badges, passes, and identification cards.  Working Conditions Human resources assistants usually work in clean, pleasant, and comfortable office settings. Assistants usually work a standard 35- to 40-hour week. Prolonged exposure to video display terminals may lead to eyestrain for assistants who work with computers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Human resources assistants maintain the records of an organization’s employees. Nature of the Work Human resources assistants maintain the human resource 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 as­ sistants record information and answer questions about employee absences 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 small organizations, some human resources assistants perform a variety of other clerical duties, including answering telephone or written inquiries from the public, sending out announcements of job openings or job examinations, and issuing application forms. When credit bureaus and finance companies request confirmation of a person’s employment, the human resources assistant provides authorized information from the employee’s personnel records. Assistants also may contact payroll departments and insurance 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 qualified 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 denial 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 positions. 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 review and verify the information in them, using personnel records. After a selection for a position is made, they notify all of the ap­ plicants of their acceptance or rejection. As another example, identification clerks are responsible for security 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 duties   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or GED. Generally, training beyond high school is not required. However, training in computers, in filing and maintaining filing systems, in organizing, and in human resources practices is desirable. Proficiency using Microsoft Word, Excel, and other computer ap­ plications also is very desirable. Many of these skills can be learned in a vocational high school program aimed at office careers, and the remainder can be learned on the job. Formal training is available at a small number of colleges, most of which offer diploma programs in office automation. Many pro­ prietary schools also offer such programs. Human resources assistants must be able to interact and commu­ nicate with individuals at all levels of the organization. In addition, assistants should demonstrate poise, tactfulness, diplomacy, and good interpersonal skills in order to handle sensitive and confiden­ tial situations.  Employment Human resources assistants held about 172,000jobs in 2004. About 1 out of 4 work for Federal, State, and local governments. Other jobs for human resources assistants were in various industries such as health care; management of companies and enterprises; finance and insurance; and administrative and support services.  Job Outlook Employment of human resources assistants is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014, as assistants assume more responsibilities. For example, workers conduct Internet research to locate resumes, they must be able to scan resumes of job candidates quickly and efficiently, and they must be increasingly sensitive to confidential information such as salaries and Social Security numbers. In a favorable job mar­ ket, more emphasis is placed on human resources departments, thus increasing the demand for assistants. However, even in economic downturns there is demand for assistants, as human resources departments in all industries try to make their organi­ zations more efficient by determining what type of employees to hire and strategically filling job openings. 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 research, 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 as­ sistants can be eliminated, as employees themselves enter the data and send the electronic file to the human resources office. Such an arrangement, which is most feasible in large organizations with multiple 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  Office and Administrative Support Occupations assistants as they advance within the human resources department, take jobs unrelated to human resources administration, or leave the labor force.  Earnings Median annual earnings of human resources assistants in May 2004 were $31,750. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,780 and $38,770. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,250 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,780. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest number of human resources assistants in May 2004 were: Federal Government.................................... Elementary and secondary schools............ Local government...................................... Management of companies and enterprises General medical and surgical hospitals......  $35,490 33,030 32,460 30,930 29,390  In 2005, the Federal Government typically paid salaries rang­ ing from $20,984 to $88,103 a year. Beginning human resources assistants with a high school diploma or 6 months of experience were paid an average annual salary of $20,984. The average sal­ ary for all human resources assistants employed by the Federal Government was $36,576 in 2005. Some employers offer educational assistance to human resources assistants.  Related Occupations Human resources assistants maintain the personnel records of an organization’s employees. On a daily basis, these assistants record information and answer questions about employee absences and supervisory reports on employees’job performance. Other workers with similar skills and expertise in interpersonal relations include bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; communications equipment operators; customer service representatives; data entry and information processing workers; order clerks; receptionists and information clerks; secretaries and administrative assistants; stock clerks and order fillers; and tellers.  Sources of Additional Information For information about human resource careers and certification, contact: >• Society for Human Resource Management, 1800 Duke St., Alexandria, VA22314. Internet: http://www.shrm.org  Interviewers  ________  (0*NET 43-4061.01,43-4061.02, 43-4111.00,43-4131.00)  Significant Points •  A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement.  •  The number of interviewers, except eligibility and loan, is projected to grow faster than average; however, the number of loan interviewers and clerks, and eligibility interviewers for government programs, is projected to decline.  Nature of the Work Interviewers obtain information from individuals and business rep­ resentatives who are opening bank accounts, trying to obtain loans, seeking admission to medical facilities, participating in consumer   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  451  surveys, applying to receive aid from government programs, or providing data for various other purposes. By mail, by 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 eligibility 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 individual is eligible for health benefits or to work out financing options for those who might need them. . Other duties of interviewers in health care include assigning patients to rooms and summoning escorts to take patients to their rooms; sometimes, interviewers may escort patients themselves. Using the facility’s computer system, interviewers schedule labora­ tory work, x rays, and surgeries; prepare admission and discharge records; and route these medical records to appropriate departments. They also may bill patients, receive payments, and answer the telephone. In an outpatient or office setting, interviewers schedule appointments, keep track of cancellations, and provide general in­ formation about care. In addition, the role of the admissions staff, particularly in hospitals, is expanding to include a wide range of patient services, from assisting patients with financial and medical questions to helping family members 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. Almost all interviewers use computers or similar devices to enter the responses to questions. Eligibility interviewers, government programs, determine the eligibility of individuals applying to receive government assistance, such as welfare, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, and public housing. These interviewers gather the relevant personal 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 program in question. They also help to detect fraud committed by persons who try to obtain benefits that they are not eligible to receive. Loan interviewers and clerks review individuals’ credit history and obtain the information needed to determine the creditworthiness 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, process the paperwork associated with the loan, and ensure that all informa­ tion is complete and verified. Mortgage loans are the primary 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.  452  Occupational Outlook Handbook fill open positions by promoting qualified individuals from within the company. Interviewers who obtain additional skills or training will have the best opportunities. For certain managerial positions, a college degree may be required.  Employment  v: Interviewers ask specific questions, record answers, and may assist persons with completing applications.  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, property insurance papers, and title commitments. They set the time and place for the closing, make sure that all parties are present, and ensure that all conditions for settlement have been met. After the settlement, the loan closer records all of the documents involved and submits 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 insur­ ance 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 applications for loans; investigate the applicant’s background and references; verify the information on the application; and forward 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.  Working Conditions Working conditions vary for different types of interviewers, but most of these workers work in areas that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. Most of these workers work a standard 35 to 40 hour week, but evening and weekend work may be required in some establish­ ments. Some interviewers may conduct surveys on the street or in shopping malls, or they may even go door to door.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or its equivalent or a mix of education and related experience. Because interviewers deal with the public, they must have a pleasant personal­ ity, clear speaking voice, and professional appearance. Familiarity with computers and strong interpersonal skills are very important. Fluency in a foreign language also can be beneficial. New employees are generally trained on the job, working under the close supervision of more experienced employees, although some firms offer formal training. Some loan interviewers also take courses in credit offered by banking and credit associations, public and private vocational schools, and colleges and universities. Experienced interviewers may advance to positions with added responsibilities or supervisory duties. Many organizations elect to   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Interviewers held about 515,000 jobs in 2004. Approximately 199,000 were interviewers, except eligibility and loan; 218,000 were loan interviewers and clerks; and 98,000 were eligibility interviewers, government programs. About 2 out of every 5 in­ terviewers, except eligibility and loan, worked in health care and social assistance industries, while most loan interviewers and clerks worked in financial institutions. Almost all eligibility interview­ ers, government programs, worked in State and local government. Around 1 out of every 4 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 2014. However, the projected change in employment varies by specialty. Most job openings should arise from the need to replace the numerous interviewers who leave the occupation or the labor force each year. Prospects 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, opportunities also should be available for part-time and temporary jobs. The number of interviewers, except eligibility and loan, is projected to grow faster than average, reflecting growth in the health care and social assistance sector. This sector will hire more admissions inter­ viewers as health care facilities consolidate staff and expand the role of the admissions staff and as an aging and growing population requires more visits to health care practitioners. In addition, an increasing use of market research will create more jobs requiring interviewers to col­ lect 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 workers more productive. Despite a projected increase in the number of applica­ tions for loans, automation will increase productivity so that fewer workers will be required to process, check, and authorize applica­ tions than in the past. The effects of automation on employment will be moderated, however, by the many interpersonal aspects of the job. Mortgage loans, for example, require loan processors 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 consolida­ tion 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 eligibil­ ity interviewers for government programs also is projected to decline due to advances in technology and the transformation of govern­ ment aid programs over the last decade. Automation should have a significant effect on these workers because, as with credit and loan  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 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 sensitive to overall economic activity; a severe slowdown in the economy will cause more people to apply for government aid programs, increasing demand for eligibility interviewers.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of eligibility interviewers, government programs, in May 2004 were $ 15.92. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.04 and $19.32. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.19, and the highest lOpercent earned more than $21.83. Median hourly earnings of eligibility interviewers, government programs, was $15.67 in State government and $16.43 in local government in May 2004. Median hourly earnings of loan interviewers and clerks in May 2004 were $13.94. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.45and $17.26. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.48, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.20. Median hourly earnings of loan interviewers and clerks in depository credit intermediation was $ 13.13 in May 2004, while median hourly earnings in nondepository credit intermediation was $14.48. Median hourly earnings of interviewers, except eligibility and loan, in May 2004 were $11.38. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.19 and $13.93. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.57, and the highest lOpercent earned more than$16.98. Median hourly earn­ ings in the industries employing the largest number of interviewers, except eligibility and loan, in May 2004 were as follows: State government ........................................................................... $16.78 Colleges, universities, and professional schools............................ 13.55 General medical and surgical hospitals.......................................... 11-94 Scientific research and development services................................ 10.71 Other professional, scientific, and technical services.................... 8.89  453  them available to users. (Librarians and library technicians are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Library assistants register patrons so that they can borrow materials from the library and then issue a library card. At the circulation desk, library assistants lend and collect books, periodicals, videotapes, and other materials. When an item is borrowed, assistants scan the patron’s library card and the material to record the transaction in the library database; they then print a receipt with the due date or stamp the due date on the item. When an item is returned, assistants inspect returned materials for damage and enter the materials into the circulation database. Electronic circulation systems are able to automatically generate overdue notices reminding patrons that their materials are overdue, but library assistants review the record for accuracy before sending out the notice. They also answer patrons’ questions 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 lent, to either a patron or another library. Because nearly all card catalogues are computerized, library assistants must be familiar with computers. Before reshelving returned materials, if they notice any damage, these workers try to repair it. For example, they may use tape or paste to repair tom pages or book covers and use other specialized processes to repair more valuable 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.  Working Conditions  Related Occupations Interviewers obtain information from individuals. Other workers who perform similar duties include procurement clerks, customer service representatives, and bill and account collectors.  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, 1919 PennsylvaniaAve. NW„ Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.mortgagebankers.org  Library assistants who prepare library materials may sit at desks or computer terminals for long periods and can develop headaches or eyestrain from working with the terminals. Some duties can be repetitive and boring, such as shelving new or returned materials. Others can be rewarding, such as assisting patrons who are perform­ ing computer searches with the use of local and regional library networks and cooperatives. Library assistants may lift and carry books, climb ladders to reach high stacks, and bend low to shelve books on bottom shelves.  Library Assistants, Clerical (0*NET 43-4121.00)  Significant Points •  Minimal training requirements and flexible schedules make this occupation appealing to students, retirees, and others interested in part-time work.  •  Most libraries use electronic cataloging systems so computers skills are essential.  Nature of the Work Library assistants, clerical—sometimes referred to as library media assistants, library aides, or circulation assistants—assist librarians and library technicians in organizing library resources and making   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Library assistants sort and reshelve returned items.  454  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Library assistants in school libraries work regular school hours. Those in public libraries and college and university (academic) libraries also work weekends, evenings and some holidays. About half of all library assistants work part time, making the job appealing to retirees, students, and others interested in flexible schedules.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Training requirements for library assistants are generally minimal; most libraries prefer to hire workers with a high school diploma or GED, but little to no formal postsecondary training is expected. Some employers hire individuals with experience in other clerical jobs, while others train inexperienced workers on the job. Given the rapid spread of automation in libraries, computer skills are needed for most jobs; knowledge of databases and other library automation systems is especially useful. Library assistants usually advance by assuming added respon­ sibilities. Many begin by performing simple jobs such as shelving books or cataloging new books and periodicals when they arrive. After gaining experience, they may move into positions that allow them to interact with patrons, such as manning the circulation desk. Experienced aids may be able to advance into library technician positions, which involve more responsibility in providing library services to patrons.  Employment Library assistants held about 109,000jobs in 2004. More than half of these workers were employed by local governments in public librar­ ies; most of the remaining employees worked in school, college, and university libraries. Opportunities for flexible schedules are abun­ dant; nearly half of these workers were on part-time schedules.  Job Outlook Employment of library assistants is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. 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. Many library assistants leave this relatively low-paying occupation for other jobs that offer higher pay or full-time work, so job opportuni­ ties should be good for persons interested in jobs as library assistants. The work is often 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. Some positions become available as library assistants move within the organization. Library assistants can be promoted to library technicians and, eventually, supervisory positions in publicservice or technical-service areas. Advancement opportunities are greater in large libraries. Because most are employed by public institutions, library assis­ tants are not directly affected by the ups and downs of the business cycle. However, some of these workers may lose their jobs if there are cuts in government budgets.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of library assistants, clerical were $9.96 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.77 and $12.89. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.41, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $16.08.  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, P.O. Box 42048, Mesa, AZ 85274-2048. Internet: http://colt.ucr.edu   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ► 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.  Order Clerks (Q*NET 43-4151.00)  Significant Points •  Employment is expected to decline because of growth in online retailing and in business-to-business electron­ ic commerce, and the use of automated systems that make placing orders easy and convenient.  •  A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement.  Nature of the Work Order clerks receive and process orders for a 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 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 catalog 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 in­ formation such as stock numbers, prices, and inventory. The successful filling of an order frequently depends on having the right products in stock and being able to determine which products are most appropriate 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. However, a rapidly increasing number of orders now are received through com­ puter 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 sometimes 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 infor­ mation, 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 final cost is calculated. The clerk then routes the order to the proper  Office and Administrative Support Occupations lllfllfpll  HIIHII®  Order clerks review orders for completeness and clarity. department—such as the warehouse—which actually sends out or delivers the item in question. In organizations with sophisticated computer systems, inven­ tory records are adjusted automatically, as sales are made. In less automated 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 ap­ propriate action.  Working Conditions Order clerks usually work a standard 40-hour workweek. Most order clerks work in areas that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. These workers sit for long periods of time in front of com­ puter terminals, which may cause eyestrain and headaches. Order clerks in retail establishments typically work overtime during peak holiday seasons, when sales volume is high.  455  productivity. While overall employment of order clerks is expected to decline through the year 2014, numerous openings will occur 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 catalog companies or online retailers catering to holiday gift buyers. The growth in online retailing and in business-to-business electronic commerce, and 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 increas­ ingly 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 placing the order. Some com­ panies also use automated phone menus that are accessible with a touch-tone phone to receive orders, and others use answering machines. Developments in voice recognition technology may further reduce the demand for order clerks. Furthermore, increased automation will allow current order clerks to be more productive, with each clerk able to handle an increas­ ingly higher volume of orders. Sophisticated inventory control and automatic billing systems permit companies to track inventory and accounts with much less help from order clerks than in the past.  Earnings  Median hourly earnings of order clerks in May 2004 were $12.07. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.45 and $15.53. The low­ est 10 percent earned less than $7.75, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.34. Median hourly earnings in electronic shopping and mail-order houses was $9.83 while median earnings in machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers was $14.05 in May 2004. In business support services, median hourly earning was $9.71 in May 2004.  Related Occupations Order clerks receive and process orders. Other workers who perform similar duties include stock clerks and order fillers as well as hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or its equivalent or a mix of education and related experience. Most em­ ployers prefer workers who are computer literate and have a working knowledge of word-processing and spreadsheet software. Most order clerks are trained on the job under the close supervi­ sion of more experienced employees. Proficiency with computer software is becoming increasingly important because most orders are being filed electronically. By taking on more duties, ambitious order clerks can receive higher pay or become eligible for advance­ ment opportunities. Some use their experience as an order clerk to  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide informa­ tion about job openings for order clerks.  Receptionists and Information Clerks (0*NET 43-4171.00)  Significant Points  move into sales positions.  Employment  Order clerks held about 293,000 jobs in 2004. Over 50 percent of order clerks were employed in wholesale and retail trade establish­ ments, and another 16 percent were employed in manufacturing firms. Other jobs for order clerks were in industries such as information, warehousing and storage, couriers, and business support services.  Job Outlook Job openings for order clerks likely will be limited, as improvements in technology and office automation continue to increase worker   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  _________  •  Good interpersonal skills are critical.  •  A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement. Employment is expected to grow faster than average.  •  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 that a visitor may encounter,  456  Occupational Outlook Handbook work environment, however, may be very friendly and motivating for individuals who enjoy greeting customers face to face and making them feel comfortable  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Receptionists answer telephones, mute calls, greet visitors, and provide information about the organization.  so good interpersonal skills—being courteous, professional, and helpful—are critical. Receptionists answer telephones, route and screen calls, greet visitors, respond to inquiries from the public, and provide information about the organization. Some reception­ ists 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 visitors—a function that has become increasingly important since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, heightened security concerns. Whereas some tasks are common to most receptionists and information 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 waiting rooms. In corporate headquarters, receptionists may greet visitors and manage the scheduling of the board room or common conference area. In beauty or hair salons, by contrast, receptionists arrange appointments, direct custom­ ers to the hairstylist, and may serve as cashiers. In factories, large corporations, and government offices, they may provide identification cards and arrange for escorts 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 use 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 office duties, including opening and sorting mail, collecting and distributing parcels, transmitting and delivering facsimiles, updating appointment calendars, preparing travel vouchers, and performing basic bookkeeping, word processing, and filing.  Working Conditions Receptionists who greet customers and visitors usually work in areas that are highly visible and designed and furnished to make a good impression. Most work stations are clean, well lighted, and relatively quiet. The work performed by some receptionists and information clerks may be tiring, repetitious, and stressful as many receptionists spend all day answering continuously ringing telephones and sometimes encounter difficult or irate callers. The  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Although hiring requirements for receptionists and information clerks vary by industry, a high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement. Good interpersonal skills and being technologically proficient also are important to employers. Receptionists and information clerks generally receive on-the-job training. However, employers often look for applicants who already possess certain skills, such as prior computer experience or answering telephones. Some employers also may prefer some formal office edu­ cation or training. On the job, they learn how to operate the telephone system and computers. They also learn the proper procedures for greeting visitors and for distributing mail, faxes, and parcels. Advancement for receptionists generally comes about either by transferring to a more responsible occupation or by being promoted to a supervisory position. Receptionists with especially strong com­ puter skills may advance to a better paying job as a secretary or an administrative assistant.  Employment Receptionists and information clerks held about 1.1 million jobs in 2004. More than 90 percent worked in service-providing industries. Among service-providing industries, healthcare and social assistance industries—including doctors’ and dentists’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, urgent-care centers, surgical centers, and clinics—employed about one-third of all reception­ ists and information clerks. Manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, government, and real estate industries also employed large numbers of receptionists and information clerks. More than 3 of every 10 receptionists and information clerks worked part time.  Job Outlook Employment of receptionists and information clerks is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. This increase will result from rapid growth in service­ providing industries—including 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 receptionists 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 will have conflicting effects on the demand for receptionists and information clerks. The increasing use of voice 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 grow­ ing demand for workers with diverse clerical and technical skills. Because receptionists and information clerks may perform a wide variety of clerical tasks, they should continue to be in demand. Further, they perform many tasks that are interpersonal in nature and are not easily automated, ensuring continued demand for their services in a variety of establishments.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of receptionists and information clerks in May 2004 were $10.50. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.62 and $12.88. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.21,  Office and Administrative Support Occupations and the highest 10 percent earned more than $15.53. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of reception­ ists and information clerks in May 2004 are shown below: Offices of dentists........................................................................... $12.37 General medical and surgical hospitals.......................................... 11 -07 Offices of physicians....................................................................... 10.92 Employment services...................................................................... 10.28 Personal care services..................................................................... 8.16 In 2005, the Federal Government typically paid salaries ranging from $22,937 to $27,818 a year to beginning receptionists with a high school diploma or 6 months of experience. The average annual salary for all receptionists employed by the Federal Government was about $29,185 in 2005.  Related Occupations Receptionists deal with the public and often direct people to others who can assist them. Other workers who perform similar duties include dispatchers, secretaries and administrative assistants, and customer service representatives.  Sources of Additional Information State employment offices can provide information on job openings for receptionists.  457  quickly as possible, information needed to make, change, or cancel reservations for customers.  Transportation ticket agents are sometimes known as passen­ ger service agents, passenger booking clerks, reservation clerks, airport service agents, ticket clerks, or ticket sellers. They work in airports, train stations, 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. They may be required assist customers who have trouble operating self-service ticket printing machines, which also are known as kiosks. 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 tickets and seat assignments, make boarding announcements, and provide 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 member services counselors or travel counselors, plan trips, calculate mile­ age, 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.  .....  Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks______ __ (0*NET 43-4181.01,43-4181.02)  ;  mm  __________  Significant Points •  • •  •  Most jobs are found in large metropolitan airports, downtown ticket offices, large reservation centers, and train or bus stations. A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement. Employment is expected to grow more slowly than average because of the significant impact of technology on worker productivity. Applicants for jobs are likely to encounter considerable competition; those who have previous experience in the travel industry, in sales, or in customer service should have the best chances.  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 arrangements, 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks sell tickets, confirm reservations, check baggage, and provide tourists with travel information.  458  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Passenger rate clerks generally work for bus companies. They sell tickets for regular bus routes and arrange nonscheduled or chartered trips. They plan travel routes, compute rates, and keep customers informed of appropriate details. They also may arrange travel accommodations. Working Conditions Most reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks work in areas that are clean and well lit. This is especially true for agents who greet customers and visitors in person. Reservation and ticket agents may spend much of their day talking on the tele­ phone; however, they commonly work away from the public, often in large centralized reservation or phone centers. Because a large number of agents or clerks may share the same workspace, it may be crowded and noisy. Although most reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks work a standard 40-hour week, about 2 out of 10 work part time. Some high school and college students are employed part time in this occupation, working after school or during vacations. Some agents work evenings, late nights, weekends, and holidays. In general, employees with the most seniority tend to be assigned the more desirable shifts. The work performed by reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks may be repetitive and stressful. They often work under stringent time constraints or must meet quotas on the number of calls answered or reservations made. Difficult or angry customers also can create stressful situations as agents usually bear the bmnt of customers’ dissatisfaction. Agents may work on their feet for a large portion of their shift, and may have to lift heavy baggage. In addition, prolonged exposure to a computer monitor, which is common in this occupation, may lead to eyestrain.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common edu­ cational requirement for reservation and transportation ticket agent and travel clerk jobs. Some employers, however, prefer applicants who have completed college coursework in management or business. Experience with computers, including good typing skills, also is usually required. Some jobs require applicants to be over 18 years of age and posses a valid driver’s license. Agents who handle pas­ senger luggage must be able to lift heavy objects. Most airline reservation and ticket agents learn their skills through formal company training programs that can last several weeks. Here, they learn company and industry policies as well as ticketing procedures. Trainees also learn to use the airline’s computer system to obtain information on schedules, fares, and the availability of seats; to make reservations for passengers; and to plan passenger itineraries. In addition, they must become familiar with airport and airline code designations, regulations, and safety procedures. After completing classroom instruction, new agents work under the direct guidance of a supervisor or experienced agent. During this time the supervisors may, for example, monitor telephone conversations to improve the quality of customer service so that agents learn to provide customer service in a courteous manner, while limiting the time spent on each call. In contrast to those who work for airlines, reservation and trans­ portation ticket agents and travel clerks who work for automobile clubs, bus lines, and railroads are trained on the job through short in-house classes that last several days. Many reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks deal directly with the public, so a professional appearance and a pleasant personality are important. A clear speaking voice and fluency in the English language also are essential, because these employees frequently use the telephone or public-address systems.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In addition, fluency in a foreign language is becoming increasingly helpful for those seeking reservation and ticket agent jobs. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks may advance by being transferred to a position with more responsibilities, or by being promoted to a supervisory position. Many travel compa­ nies fill supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individu­ als within their organization, so those who acquire additional skills, experience, and training improve their opportunities for advancement. Some companies require that candidates for supervisory positions have an associate degree in a business-related field, such as management, business administration, or marketing. Within the airline industry, a ticket agent may advance to lead worker on the shift.  Employment Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks held about 163,000 jobs in 2004. About 6 out of 10 are employed by airlines. Others work for automobile clubs, hotels and other lodg­ ing places, railroad companies, bus lines, 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, regional airports, or 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 will exceed the expected number of job openings. Entry requirements for these jobs are minimal, and many people seeking to get into the airline industry or another travel-related business often start out in such positions. The jobs provide excellent travel benefits, and many people view airline and other travel-related jobs as glamorous. Applicants who have previous experience in the travel industry, in sales, or in customer service should have the best chances. Employment of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. 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 worker 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 self-service ticket printing machines, called kiosks, which enable passengers to make reservations, purchase tickets, and check-in for train rides and flights themselves. Many passengers also are able to check flight times and fares, make reservations, purchase tickets, and check-in for flights on the Internet. Nevertheless, not all travelrelated passenger services can be fully automated, primarily for safety and security reasons. As a result, job openings will continue to become available as the occupation grows and as workers transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force altogether. 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.  Earnings Median annual earnings of reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks in May 2004 were $27,750. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,430 and $39,410. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,100. Many employers offer discounts on travel services  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  459  to their employees. In May 2004, median annual earnings in the industries employing the larges number of agents were:  customers include counter and rental clerks, order clerks, customer service representatives, and receptionists and information clerks.  Scheduled air transportation......................................................... $31,750 Travel arrangement and reservation services............................... 22,370 Traveler accommodation............................................................... 22,050  Sources of Additional Information  Related Occupations  For information about job opportunities as reservation and transpor­ tation ticket agents and travel clerks, write to the personnel manager of individual transportation companies. Addresses of airlines are  Other occupations that provide travel-related services include hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks; travel agents; and flight attendants. Other occupations that make sales and provide information to  available from: > Air Transport Association of America, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave.NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004-1707. Internet: http://www.airlines.org  Material Recording, Scheduling, Dispatching, and Distributing Occupations Cargo and Freight Agents (Q*NET 43-5011.00)  Working Conditions  Significant Points • •  freight agents often track shipments electronically, using bar codes, and answer customers’ inquiries on the status of their shipments.  Many jobs are entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Although cargo traffic is expected to grow faster than in the past, employment of cargo and freight agents will not keep pace because of technological advances.  Nature of the Work Cargo and freight agents arrange for and track incoming and outgoing cargo and freight shipments in airline, train, or trucking terminals or on shipping docks. They expedite shipments by determining the route that shipments are to take and by preparing all necessary shipping documents. The agents take orders 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 cargo, such as its amount, type, weight, and dimensions. They keep a tally of missing items, record the condition of damaged items, and document any excess supplies. 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  Cargo andfreight agents take ordersfrom customers and arrangefor the pickup offreight or cargo for delivery to loading platforms.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Cargo and freight agents work in a wide variety of businesses, insti­ tutions, and industries. Some work in warehouses, stockrooms, or shipping and receiving rooms that may not be temperature controlled. Others may spend time in cold storage rooms or outside on loading platforms, where they are exposed to the weather. Most jobs for 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 less­ ened the physical demands of this occupation, their use remains some­ what 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 and may be required in other jobs when large shipments are involved.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many jobs are entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers. Typing, filing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills also are important. 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. Training in the use of automated equipment usually is done informally, on the job. As this occupation becomes more automated, however, workers may need longer periods of training in order to master the use of the equipment. Advancement opportunities for cargo and freight agents vary with the place of employment.  Employment Cargo and freight agents held about 70,000 jobs in 2004. Most jobs were in transportation. Approximately 20 percent worked in the air transportation industry and 8 percent worked in the truck transporta­ tion industry. Couriers employed another 11 percent. In addition, about 43 percent worked for firms engaged in support activities for the transportation industry.  Job Outlook Employment of cargo and freight agents is expected to decline through 2014. Although cargo traffic is expected to grow faster than in the past, employment of cargo and freight agents will not keep pace because of technological advances. For example, the  460  Occupational Outlook Handbook  increasing use of bar codes on cargo and freight allows agents and customers to track these shipments quickly over the Internet, rather than manually tracking their location. In addition, customs and insurance paperwork now can be completed over the Internet by customers, reducing 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.  Earnings Median annual earnings of cargo and freight agents in May 2004 were $34,250. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,720 and $43,250. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,480. These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  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, recordkeeping; 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.  Couriers and Messengers (0*NET 43-5021.00)  Significant Points •  Most jobs as couriers and messengers do not require more than a high school diploma.  •  Employment is expected to decline, reflecting the more widespread use of electronic information-handling technologies such as e-mail and fax.  Most couriers and messengers spend much of their time outdoors or in their vehicle. contact them while they are between stops, and they may be routed to go past a stop that recently called in a delivery. Consequently, most couriers and messengers spend much of their time outdoors or in their vehicle. They usually maintain records of deliveries 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 delivery service. Some couriers and messengers carry items only for their em­ ployer, which typically might be a law firm, bank, medical laboratory, or financial institution. Others may act as part of an organization’s internal mail system and carry items mainly within the organization’s buildings or entirely within one building. Many couriers and mes­ sengers 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 methods. Many drive vans or cars or ride motorcycles. A few travel by foot, es­ pecially 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 electronic copy cannot substitute for the original document in many types of business transactions.  Working Conditions 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 entmst 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Couriers and messengers spend most of their time alone, making deliveries, and usually are not closely supervised. Those who de­ liver by bicycle must be physically fit and are exposed to all weather conditions, as well as to the many hazards associated with heavy traf­ fic. Car, van, and truck couriers must sometimes carry heavy loads, either manually or with the aid of a hand truck. They also have to deal with difficult parking situations, as well as traffic jams and road construction. The pressure of making as many deliveries as possible to increase one’s earnings can be stressful and may lead to unsafe driv­ ing or bicycling practices. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday; however, evening and weekend hours are common.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most couriers and messengers are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. Because communication with other people is  Office and Administrative Support Occupations an integral part of some courier and messenger jobs, good oral and written communication skills are essential. Couriers and messengers usually learn on the job, training with an experienced worker for a short time. Those who work as independent contractors for a messenger or delivery service may be required to have a valid driver’s license, a registered and inspected vehicle, a good driving record, and insurance coverage. Many couriers and messengers who are employees, rather than independent contrac­ tors, 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 and a good sense of direction also are important. Couriers and messengers, especially those who work for mes­ senger or courier services, have limited advancement opportunities; a few move into the office to learn dispatching or to take service requests by phone.  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service. Persons interested in courier and messenger jobs also may con­ tact messenger and courier services, mail-order firms, banks, printing and publishing firms, utility companies, retail stores, or other large companies.  Dispatchers (0*NET 43-5031.00, 43-5032.00)  Significant Points •  • Employment Couriers and messengers together held about 147,000 jobs in 2004. Approximately 23 percent were employed in the couriers and mes­ sengers industry. About 13 percent worked in healthcare, and around 8 percent worked in the legal services industry. Another 8 percent were employed in finance and insurance firms. Technically, 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 employees, because they usually work for one company.  Job Outlook Employment of couriers and messengers is expected to decline through 2014, despite an increasing volume of parcels, business documents, promotional materials, and other written information that must be handled and delivered as the economy expands. However, some jobs will arise out of the need to replace couriers and mes­ sengers who leave the occupation. Employment of couriers and messengers will continue to be ad­ versely affected by the more widespread use of electronic information­ handling technologies 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 financial documents, which used to be delivered by hand because they required a handwritten signature, now can be delivered electronically with online signatures. However, couriers and messengers still will be needed to transport materials that cannot be sent electronically—such as blueprints and other oversized materials, securities, and passports. Also, they still will be required by medical and dental laboratories to pick up and deliver medical samples, specimens, and other materials.  Earnings Median annual earnings of couriers and messengers in May 2004 were $20,190. The middle 50 percent earned between $16,390 and $24,720. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30,510. These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  Related Occupations Messengers and couriers deliver letters, parcels, and other items. They also keep accurate records of their work. Others who do similar work are Postal Service workers; truck drivers and driver/sales workers; receiving, and traffic clerks; and cargo and freight agents. Digitized shipping, for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  461  •  Population growth and economic expansion are expected to spur employment growth for all types of dispatchers. Many dispatchers are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Although there are no mandatory licensing or certifica­ tion requirements, some States require public safety dispatchers to be certified.  Nature of the Work Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, equipment, or service vehicles to carry materials or passengers. They keep records, logs, and schedules of the calls that they receive, the transportation vehicles that they monitor and control, and the actions that they take. They maintain information on each call and then prepare a detailed report on all activities occurring during their shifts. Many dispatchers 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 dispatchers in large communications centers or companies. One person usually handles all dispatching calls to the response units or company drivers, while the other members of the team usually receive the incoming 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 as­ sistance 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 settings: 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 puter or, with decreasing frequency, by hand. The request for help is communicated immediately to uniformed or supervisory personnel, who quickly decide on the priority of the incident, the  462  Occupational Outlook Handbook  kind and number of units needed, and the location of the closest and most suitable units available. 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 public 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 extensive first-aid instructions before the emergency personnel arrive, while the caller is waiting for the ambulance. Dispatchers continuously give updates on the patient’s condition to the ambulance personnel and often serve as a link between the medical staff in a hospital and the emergency medical technicians in the ambulance. (A separate statement on emergency medical technicians and paramedics appears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Other dispatchers coordinate deliveries, service calls, and re­ lated activities for a variety of firms. Truck dispatchers, who work for local and long-distance trucking companies, coordinate the movement of trucks and freight between cities. These dispatchers direct the pickup and delivery activities of drivers, receive custom­ ers’ 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 schedules. 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 emergency road ser­ vice. They relay the nature of the problem to a nearby service station or a tow-truck service and see to it that the road service is completed. Gas and water service dispatchers monitor gaslines and water mains and send out service trucks and crews to take care of emergencies.  Working Conditions 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 provocations, 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, 7-day-per-week operations.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  4  ,  Dispatchers may sitfor long periods, using telephones, computers, maps, and two-way radios.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Many dispatchers are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire people familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. 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, de­ pending on the complexity of the job. Public safety dispatchers usually require the most extensive training. While working with an experienced dispatcher, new employees monitor calls and learn how to operate a variety of communications equipment, includ­ ing telephones, radios, and various wireless devices. As trainees gain confidence, they begin to handle calls themselves. In smaller operations, dispatchers sometimes act as customer service rep­ resentatives, processing orders. Many public safety dispatchers also participate in structured training programs sponsored by their employer. Increasingly, public safety dispatchers receive train­ ing in stress and crisis management as well as family counseling. This training helps them to provide effective services to others;  Office and Administrative Support Occupations and, at the same time, it helps them manage the stress involved in their work. Communication skills and the ability to work under pressure are important personal qualities for dispatchers. Residency in the city 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 shipping schedules caused by bad weather, road construction, or accidents. Although there are no mandatory licensing or certification requirements, some States require that public safety dispatch­ ers possess a certificate to work on a State network, such as the Police Information Network. Many dispatchers participate in these programs in order to improve their prospects for career advancement. 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 super­ visor or chief of communications, or they may move to higher paying administrative jobs. Some become police officers or firefighters.  Employment Dispatchers held 266,000 jobs in 2004. About 36 percent were police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, almost all of whom worked for State and local governments—primarily local police and fire departments. About 26 percent of all dispatchers worked in the transportation and warehousing industry, and the rest worked in a wide variety of mainly service-providing industries. Although dispatching jobs are found throughout the country, most dispatchers work in urban areas, where large communications centers and businesses are located.  Median annual earnings of police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers in 2004 were $28,930. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,060 and $35,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $44520. Dispatchers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers.  Related Occupations Other occupations that involve directing and controlling the move­ ment of vehicles, freight, and personnel, as well as distributing information and messages, include air traffic controllers, communi­ cations equipment operators, customer service representatives, and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks.  Sources of Additional Information For further information on training and certification for police, fire, and emergency dispatchers, contact: >- Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, International, 351 N. Williamson Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114-1112. Internet:  http://www.apco91 l.org > International Municipal Signal Association (TMSA), PO Box 359, 165 E. Union Street, Newark, NY 14513-0539. Internet: http://www.IMSAsafety.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.  Meter Readers, Utilities (0*NET 43-5041.00)  Significant Points  Job Outlook Employment of dispatchers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. In addition to those positions 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 dispatchers. Many districts are consolidating their communications centers into a shared area-wide facility. Individuals with computer skills and experience will have a greater opportunity for employment as public safety dispatchers. Employment of some dispatchers is more adversely affected by economic downturns than employment 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 tow-tmck dispatchers, by contrast, is seldom affected by general economic conditions, because of the emergency nature of their business.  463  •  Employment is expected to decline, as a result of new automated meter reading (AMR) systems that allow meters to be monitored and billed from a central point.  •  Most meter readers are employed by electric, gas, or water utilities or by local governments.  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 a 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, keeping track of the average usage, and recording reasons for any extreme 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 nonpay­ ment of charges, and they also are responsible for turning on service for new occupants. These workers usually keep records showing that the meters on which they have completed work have been serviced.  Earnings Median annual earnings of dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance in May 2004 were $30,920. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,480 and $41,040. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,440.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Working Conditions Meter readers, who usually work 40 hours a week, work outdoors in all types of weather as they travel through communities and neighborhoods taking readings. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday.  464  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Postal Service Workers (0*NET 43-5051.00, 43-5052.00, 43-5053.00)  Significant Points  Most meter readers are employed by electric, gas, or water utilities or by local governments. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many meter readers are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office and busi­ ness equipment. Typing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills 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 learn the route that they need to travel to read all their customers’ meters. Advancement opportunities for meter readers vary with the place of employment.  Employment Meter readers held about 50,000 jobs in 2004. About 44 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 2014. New 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 leaving the occupation.  Earnings Median annual earnings of utility meter readers in May 2004 were $29,440. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,000 and $38,890. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,830. These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  Related Occupations Other workers responsible for the distribution and control of utilities include power plant 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  •  Employment of Postal Service workers is expected to decline because of the increasing use of automation and electronic communication, such as the Internet.  •  Keen competition is expected because the number of qualified applicants should continue to exceed the num­ ber of job openings.  •  Qualification is based on an examination.  •  Applicants customarily wait I to 2 years or more after passing the examination before being hired.  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 619,000 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 incoming and outgoing mail at post offices and mail processing centers. 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 packages are in satisfactory condition for mailing. These clerks register, certify, and insure mail and answer questions about post­ age rates, post office boxes, mailing restrictions, and other postal matters. Window clerks also help customers file claims for dam­ aged 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 similar. Most travel established routes, delivering and collecting mail. Mail carriers start work at the post office early in the morn­ ing, 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 combina­ tion 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. Deliveries 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  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  465  and sidewalks can be treacherous, and each year dogs attack nu­ merous carriers.  HI  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Si* fitSII  iifiilt  Although machines increasingly are used to sort mail, some mail still is sorted by hand.  home, the carrier leaves a notice that tells where special mail is being held. After completing their routes, carriers return to the post office with mail gathered from street collection boxes, homes, and businesses and turn in the mail, receipts, and money collected during the day. Some city carriers may have specialized duties such as delivering 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 example, rural carriers may sell stamps and money orders and register, certify, and insure parcels and letters. All carriers, however, must be able to answer customers’ questions about postal regulations 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 physically 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 mail under tight production deadlines and quotas. Most carriers 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 sched­ ule has its advantages, however. Carriers who begin work early in the morning are through by early afternoon and spend most of the day on their own, relatively free from direct supervision. Carri­ ers 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 loading their vehicles. In addition, carriers must be of potential hazards on their routes. Wet and icy roads Digitized cautious for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 Selective Service upon reaching age 18. Applicants should have a basic competency of English. Qualification is based on a written examination 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 examina­ tion scores. Five points are added to the score of an honorably discharged veteran and 10 points are added to the score of a veteran who was wounded in combat or is disabled. When a vacancy oc­ curs, 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 waiting period of 1 to 2 years or more after passing the examina­ tion. It is not surprising, therefore, that most entrants transfer from other occupations. New Postal Service workers are trained on the job by expe­ rienced workers. Many post offices offer classroom instruction on safety and defensive driving. Workers receive additional instruction 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. 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.  Employment The U.S. Postal Service employed 75,000 clerks; 335,000 mail car­ riers; and 209,000 mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators in 2004. 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 processing centers. The majority of mail carriers worked in cities and suburbs, while the rest worked in rural areas. Postal Service workers are classified as casual, part-time flexible, 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 vacation peri­  466  Occupational Outlook Handbook  ods. 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.  Job Outlook Employment of Postal Service workers is expected to decline through 2014. 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 competition. The number of applicants should continue to exceed the number of job openings because of the occupation’s low entry requirements and attractive wages and benefits. A small decline in employment is expected among window clerks over the 2004-14 projection period. Efforts by the Postal Service to provide better service may somewhat increase the demand for window clerks, but the demand for such clerks will be offset by the use of electronic communication, such as the Internet, and private delivery companies. 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 character readers, barcode sort­ ers, and other automated sorting equipment. A small decline in employment among mail carriers is expect­ ed through 2014. Competition from alternative delivery systems and the increasing use of electronic communication are expected to influence the demand for mail carriers. 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 doorto-door deliveries. The best employment opportunities for mail carriers are expected to be in less urbanized areas as the number of addresses to which mail must be delivered continues to grow, especially in fast growing rural areas. However, increased use of the “delivery point sequencing” system, which allows 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. The role of the Postal Service as a government-approved mo­ nopoly continues to be a topic of debate. Any legislative changes that would privatize or deregulate the Postal Service might affect employment of all its workers. Employment and schedules in the Postal Service fluctuate with the demand for its services. When mail volume is high, full-time employees 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 Service mail carriers were $44,450 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,590 and $50,580. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $31,980, while the top 10 percent earned more than.$54,240. Rural mail carriers are reimbursed for mileage put on their own vehicles while delivering mail. Median annual earnings of Postal Service clerks were $40,950 in 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,880 and $44,030. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $36,040, while the top 10 percent earned more than $50,510. Median annual earnings of Postal Service mail sorters, proces­ sors, and processing machine operators were $39,430 in 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,240 and $42,620. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $24,290, while the top 10 percent earned more than $44,540.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 Service clerks include cashiers; counter and rental clerks; file clerks; and shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks. Others with duties related to those of Postal Service mail carriers include couriers and messengers, and truck drivers and driver/sales workers. Occupations whose du­ ties are related to those of Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators include inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers, and material 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.  Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks (0*NET 43-5061.00)  Significant Points •  Many production, planning, and expediting jobs are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma.  •  Manufacturing firms and wholesale and retail trade establishments are the primary employers.  •  Production, planning, and expediting clerks work closely with supervisors who must approve production and work schedules.  Nature of the Work Production, planning, and expediting clerks coordinate and expedite the flow of information, work, and materials within or among of­ fices. Most of their work is done according to production, work, or shipment schedules that are devised by supervisors who determine 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, estimate costs, schedule the shipment of parts, keep an inventory of materi­ als, inspect and assemble materials, and write special orders for services and merchandise. In addition, they may route and deliver parts to ensure that production quotas are met and that merchandise 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, products produced, machine and instrument readings, and frequency of defects. These workers prepare work tickets or other production guides and distribute them to other workers. Produc­ tion and planning clerks coordinate, schedule, monitor, and chart production and its progress, either manually or with electronic equipment. They also gather information from customers’ or­ ders or other specifications and use the information to prepare a detailed production sheet that serves as a guide in assembling or manufacturing the product.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  467  Job Outlook  , mm?  As increasing pressure is put on firms to manufacture and deliver their goods more quickly and efficiently, the need for production, planning, and expediting clerks will grow, although the expected decline in overall employment in manufacturing will result in slower than average employment growth for production, planning, and expediting clerks through 2014. The work of production, planning, and expediting clerks is less likely to be automated than the work of many other administrative support occupations. In addition to openings due to employment growth, job openings will arise from the need to replace production, planning, and expediting clerks who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations.  Earnings  Employers prefer to hire production, planning, and expediting clerks who are familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment.  Expediting clerks contact vendors and shippers to ensure that merchandise, supplies, and equipment are forwarded on the specified shipping dates. They communicate with transportation companies to prevent delays in transit, and they may arrange for the distribution of materials upon their arrival. They may even visit work areas of vendors and shippers to check the status of orders. Expediting clerks locate and distribute materials to specified production areas. They may inspect products for quality and quantity to ensure their adherence to specifica­ tions. They also keep a chronological list of due dates and may move work that does not meet the production schedule to the top of the list. Working Conditions Production, planning, and expediting clerks work closely with su­ pervisors who must approve production and work schedules. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday.  Median annual earnings of production, planning, and expediting clerks in May 2004 were $36,340. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $27,690 and $45,880. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $55,850. These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  Related Occupations Other workers who coordinate the flow of information to assist the production process include cargo and freight agents; shipping, receiving, 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 from local offices of the State employment service.  Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks _ (0*NET 43-5071.00)  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many production, planning, and expediting jobs are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Em­ ployers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. Applicants who have taken business courses or have specific job-related experience may be preferred. Because communication with other people is an integral part of some jobs in the occupation, good oral and written communication skills are essential. Typing, filing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills also are important. Production, planning, and expediting 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 tak­ ing inventory. Strength, stamina, good eyesight, and an ability to work at repetitive tasks, sometimes under pressure, are important characteristics. Production, planning, and expediting clerks must learn both how their company operates and the company’s priori­ ties before they can begin to write production and work schedules efficiently. Advancement opportunities for production, planning, and expe­ diting clerks vary with the place of employment.  Employment In 2004, production, planning, and expediting clerks held 292,000 jobs. Jobs in .manufacturing made up 42 percent. Another 14 percent in wholesale and retail trade establishments. Digitizedwere for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Significant Points •  Many shipping, receiving, and traffic clerk positions are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma.  •  Slower-than-average employment growth is expected, as a result of increasing automation and the growing use of computers to store and retrieve shipping and receiving records.  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 they work for and the level of automation used. Larger companies typically 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  468  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 company, 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 their loading. Receiving clerks perform tasks similar to those of shipping clerks. They determine whether orders have been filled correctly by verifying incoming shipments against the original order and the accompanying bill of lading or invoice. They make a record of the shipment and the condition of its contents. In many firms, receiving clerks either use hand-held scanners to record barcodes on incoming products or manually enter the information into a computer. These data then can be transferred to the appropriate departments. The shipment is checked for any discrepancies in quantity, price, and discounts. Receiving clerks may route or move shipments to the proper department, warehouse section, or stockroom. They also may arrange 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 establishments, receiving clerks may control all receiving platform operations, such as scheduling of trucks, recording of shipments, and handling 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.  Working Conditions Most jobs for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks involve frequent standing, bending, walking, and stretching. Some lifting and car­ rying 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.  mm  Due to automation and the growing use of computers to store and retrieve product information, employment ofshipping and receiving clerks will grow more slowly than average.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The typical workweek is Monday through Friday; however, evening and weekend hours are common in some jobs and may be required in other jobs when large shipments are involved.  TVaining, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many shipping, receiving, and traffic clerk positions are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employ­ ers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks usually leam the job by doing routine tasks under close supervision. They first leam how to count and mark stock, and then they start keeping records and taking inventory. Strength, stamina, good eyesight, and an ability to work at repetitive tasks, sometimes under pressure, are important characteristics. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks who handle jewelry, liquor, or drugs may be bonded. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks check items to be shipped and attach labels to them, making sure that the addresses are correct. Training in the use of automated equipment usually is done informally, on the job. As these occupations become more automated, however, workers in them may need longer periods of training to master the use of the equipment. Advancement op­ portunities for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks vary with the place of employment. 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.  Employment Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks held about 751,000 jobs in 2004. Almost three out of four 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, receiv­ ing, and traffic clerks and who are employed by the U.S. Postal Service, see the statement on Postal Service workers elsewhere in the Handbook.)  Job Outlook Employment of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks is ex­ pected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupa­ tions through 2014. 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 shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks. Despite technology, job openings will continue to arise be­ cause of increasing economic and trade activity and because certain tasks cannot be automated. For example, someone needs to check shipments before they go out and when they arrive, to ensure that everything is in order. In addition, openings will oc­ cur because of the need to replace shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks who leave the occupation. Because this is an entry-level occupation, many vacancies are created by a worker’s normal career progression.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  Earnings Median annual earnings of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks in May 2004 were $24,400. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,600 and $30,720. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,290, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,610. These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  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.  Stock Clerks and Order Fillers  469  perform tasks usually handled by shipping and receiving clerks. (A separate statement on shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks appears elsewhere in 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 customers’ orders and either hold the merchandise until the custom­ ers can pick it up or send it to them.  Working Conditions Working conditions vary considerably by employment setting. Most jobs for stock clerks and order fillers involve frequent stand­ ing, 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. Even though mechanical material­ handling equipment is employed to move heavy items, the work still can be strenuous. The typical workweek is Monday through Friday; however, evening and weekend hours are common and may be required when large shipments are involved or when inventory is taken.  (0*NET 43-5081.01, 43-5081.02,43-5081.03,43-5081.04)  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Significant Points •  Employers prefer to hire stock clerks and order fillers who are familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment.  •  Employment is projected to decline, due to the use of automation in factories, warehouses, and stores.  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 responsible for only one task, they may be called stock-control clerks, merchandise distributors, or property custodians. In smaller firms, they also may  JEsafili  Many stock clerk and order filler positions are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. Typing, filing, record­ keeping, and other clerical skills also are important. Stock clerks and order fillers 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 inventory. Strength, stamina, good eyesight, and an ability to work at repetitive tasks, sometimes under pressure, are impor­ tant characteristics. Stock clerks whose sole responsibility is to bring merchandise to the sales floor to stock shelves and racks need little training. Stock clerks and order fillers who handle jewelry, liquor, or drugs may be bonded. Training in the use of automated equipment usually is done in­ formally, on the job. As this occupation becomes more automated, however, workers may need longer periods of training to master the use of the equipment. Advancement opportunities for stock clerks and order fillers vary with the place of employment. With additional training, some stock clerks and order fillers advance to jobs as warehouse manager or purchasing agent.  Employment Stock clerks and order fillers held about 1.6 million jobs in 2004. More than three out of four work in wholesale and retail trade. The greatest numbers are found in grocery 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  Mostjobs for stock clerks and orderfillers involvefrequent standing, walking, and stretching. Digitized bending, for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment of stock clerks and order fillers is projected to decline through 2014 as a result of the use of automation in factories, warehouses, 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.  470  Occupational Outlook Handbook  The growing use of computers for inventory control and the instal­ lation of new, automated equipment are expected to inhibit growth in demand for stock clerks and order fillers, especially in manufacturing and wholesale trade industries, where operations are most easily auto­ mated. In addition to using computerized inventory control systems, firms in these industries are relying more on sophisticated 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 grocery, general merchandise, department, apparel, and accessories stores is expected to be somewhat less affected by automation because much of their work is done manually and is difficult to automate. In addition, the increasing role of large retail outlets and warehouses, as well as catalog, mail, telephone, and Internet shopping services, should bolster employ­ ment of stock clerks and order fillers in these sectors of retail trade.  Earnings  mm*  f-  w Many workers use weight scales, counting devices, tally sheets, and calculators to obtain information about products.  Median annual earnings of stock clerks and order fillers in May 2004 were $20,100. The middle 50 percent earned between $16,250 and $25,910. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13,970, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33,420. These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  These workers use weight scales, counting devices, tally sheets, and calculators to obtain information about the products. They usu­ ally move objects to and from the scales with a handtruck or forklift. They issue receipts for the products when needed or requested.  Related Occupations  Working Conditions  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.  Sources of Additional Information  Working conditions vary considerably by employment setting. Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers work in a wide variety of businesses, institutions, and industries. Some work in warehouses, stockrooms, or shipping and receiving rooms that may not be tem­ perature controlled. Others may spend time in cold storage rooms or on loading platforms where they are exposed to the weather.  State employment service offices can provide information about job openings for stock clerks and order fillers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping  Many weigher, measurer, checker, and sampler jobs are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire those familiar with computers. Applicants who have specific job-related experience may be preferred. Typing, filing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills also are important. Advancement opportunities vary with the place of employment.  (0*NET 43-5111.00)  Employment  Significant Points •  Many jobs are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma.  •  Employment of weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers is expected to decline because of the in­ creased use of automated equipment that performs the function of these workers.  Nature of the Work Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment in order to keep accurate records. Most of their duties are clerical. Using either manual or automated data-processing systems, they verify the quantity, quality, and overall value of the items they are responsible for and check the condition of items purchased, sold, or produced against records, bills, invoices, or receipts. They check the items to ensure the ac­ curacy of the recorded data. They prepare reports on warehouse inventory levels and on use of parts. Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers also check for any defects in the items and record the severity of the defects they find.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers held about 88,000 jobs in 2004. Their employment is spread across many industries. Retail trade accounted for 20 percent of those jobs, manufacturing accounted for about 21 percent, and wholesale trade employed another 13 percent.  Job Outlook Employment of weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers is expected to decline through 2014 because of the increased use of automated equipment that performs the function of these workers. Also, many of the industries that employ these workers are expected to decrease employment. In addition to job open­ ings resulting from job growth, openings should arise from the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations.  Earnings Median annual earnings of weighers, measurers, checkers, and sam­ plers in May 2004 were $24,570. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $19,360 and $32,560. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $42,190.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations These workers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers. If uniforms are required, employers generally provide them or offer an allowance to purchase them.  471  planning, and expediting clerks; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; and procurement clerks.  Sources of Additional Information Related Occupations Other workers who determine and document characteristics of ma­ terials or equipment include cargo and freight agents; production,  Information about job opportunities may be obtained from local employers and local offices of the State employment service.  Other 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 4 out of 5 jobs.  •  Workers train on the job.  •  Employment is expected to decline.  work for companies that provide business services. Automated systems now handle many of the responsibilities once performed by directory assistance operators. The systems prompt callers for a listing and may even connect the call after providing the telephone number. However, directory assistance operators monitor many of the calls received by automated systems. The operators listen to recordings of the customer’s request and then key information into electronic directories to access the correct telephone numbers. Directory assistance operators also provide personal assistance to customers 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.  Nature of the Work Most communications equipment operators work as switchboard operators for a wide variety of businesses, such as hospitals, hotels, telephone call centers, and government agencies. Switchboard operators use private branch exchange (PBX) or voice over Inter­ net protocol (VoIP) switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice 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 correct 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, usually under special circumstances. Directory assistance operators provide customers with information such as telephone numbers or area codes. When callers dial “0,” they usually reach a central office operator, also known as a local, long-distance, or call completion operator. Most of these operators work for telephone companies, and many of their responsibilities have been automated. For example, call­ ers 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 operators provide callers with emergency phone contacts. They also assist callers who are having difficulty with automated phone systems. 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 work for telephone companies; increasingly, they also Digitizedoperators for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 accessible to customers 24 hours a day; therefore, they work a variety of shifts. Some operators work split shifts, coming on duty during peak calling  Many communications equipment operators also perform clerical work.  472  Occupational Outlook Handbook  periods in the late morning and early evening and going 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 operators may have less desirable schedules, including late evening, split-shift, and weekend work. Tele­ phone company operators may work overtime during emergencies. Approximately 1 in 6 communications equipment operators works part time. Because of the irregular nature of telephone op­ erator 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.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Switchboard operators usually receive informal on-the-job training, last­ ing only a few days or weeks. Because they are often the first contact with the public or client, switchboard operators often receive some training in customer service. Training may also vary by place of employment—a switchboard operator in a hospital would need training on how to handle different emergencies. Since switchboard operators’ duties may include clerical work, basic computer skills training may also be required. Entry-level central office and directory assistance operators at telecommunications companies may receive both classroom and on-the-job instruction that can last several weeks. These operators may be paired with experienced personnel who provide hands-on instruction. New employees in both occupations are trained in the operation of their equipment and in procedures designed to maximize efficiency. They are familiarized with company policies, including the expected level of customer service. Instructors monitor both the time and quality of trainees’ responses to customer requests. Supervisors may continue to monitor new employees closely after they complete their initial training session. Employers generally require a high school diploma. Applicants should have clear speech, good hearing, and strong reading, spell­ ing, and numerical skills. Computer literacy and typing skills also are important, and familiarity with a foreign language is helpful for some positions because of the increasing diversity of the population. Candidates for positions may be required to take an examination 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.) Operators 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 telecommu­ nications equipment installers and repairers, and line installers and repairers.) Promotion to supervisory positions also is possible.  Employment Communications equipment operators held about 256,000 jobs in 2004. About 4 out of 5 worked as switchboard operators. Employ­ ment was distributed as follows: Switchboard operators, including answering service................... 213,000 Telephone operators...................................................................... 39,000 All other communications equipment operators.......................... 4,200   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Switchboard operators work in almost all industries, but are con­ centrated in telephone call centers, hospitals, and hotels. Many work as temporary employees in the employment services industry.  Job Outlook Employment of communications equipment operators is projected to decline through 2014, due largely to new labor-saving communica­ tions technologies, the movement of jobs to foreign countries, and consolidation of telephone operator jobs into fewer locations, often staffed by temporary or contract workers. Virtually all job openings will result from the need to replace communications equipment op­ erators 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 communi­ cations equipment operators. Voice recognition technology allows automated telephone systems to recognize human speech. Call­ ers speak directly 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. The proliferation of cell phones has negatively affected both switchboard operators and telephone operators. By allowing for di­ rect communication between persons, cell phones have eliminated the need for operators to transfer calls in certain situations. Cell phones have reduced the demand for directory ass istance and collect calls, and have resulted in decreasing use of pay phones that often required operators to assist with the call. The increasing use of cell phones also have reduced demand for switchboard operators in hotels, because hotel guests now use in-room phones less frequently. Electronic communication through the Internet or e-mail pro­ vides alternatives to telephone communication and requires no operators. Internet directory assistance services are reducing the need for directory assistance operators. Local telephone companies currently 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. As communications technologies have improved and the price of long-distance service has fallen, companies are finding other ways to reduce costs by consolidating operator jobs in low cost locations. Increasingly this has entailed the movement of telephone operator jobs offshore to other lower-wage countries in order to reduce costs.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of switchboard operators, including answer­ ing service, were $ 10.38 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.69 and $12.64. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.35, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $15.13. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of switchboard operators in May 2004 are: Offices of physicians....................................................................... $10.54 General medical and surgical hospitals........................................... 10.47 Traveler accommodation................................................................. 10.25 Automobile dealers.......................................................................... 9.60 Business support services............................................................... 8.91  Office and Administrative Support Occupations Median hourly earnings of telephone operators in May 2004 were $13.65. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.28 and $19.32. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.91, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.32. 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 posi­ tion 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. Median hourly earnings of communication equipment operators, all other, in May 2004 were $15.23. The middle 50 percent earned between$12.27 and$18.99. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.23, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.70.  Related Occupations Other workers who provide information to the general public include dispatchers; hotel, motel, and resort desk 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. For more information on training in customer service and customer relations, contact: >- International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW Ambassador Dr., PO Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404.  473  securely as possible. They may work with mainframes, minicomput­ ers, or networks 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 digital computer or a group of minicomputers. Working from operating instructions prepared by programmers, users, or operations managers, computer operators set controls on the computer and on peripheral devices required to run a particular job. Computer operators load equipment with tapes, disks, and paper, 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 mes­ sage occurs, operators must locate and solve the problem or terminate the program. Operators also maintain logbooks or operating records, listing each job that is run and events, such as machine malfunctions, that occur during their shift. In addition, computer operators may help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs. (See the statements on computer programmers and computer systems analysts, elsewhere in the Handbook.) As the number and complexity of computer networks continue to grow, a greater number of computer operators are working on personal computers (PCs) and minicomputers. In many offices, factories, and other work settings, PCs and minicomputers are connected in networks, often referred to as local area networks (FANs) or multi-user systems. Whereas users in the area operate some of these computers, many require the services of full-time operators. The tasks performed on PCs and minicomputers are very similar to those performed on large computers. This includes trying to keep computer networks secure in the face of a increasing number of cyber-attacks. As organizations continue to look for opportunities to increase productivity, automation is expanding into additional areas of computer operations. Sophisticated software, coupled with robotics, enables a computer to perform many routine tasks formerly done by computer  Computer Operators (Q*NET 43-9011.00)  Significant Points •  Computer operators rank among the most rapidly declining occupations over the 2004-14 period because advances in technology are making many of the duties traditionally performed by computer operators obsolete.  •  Computer operators usually receive on-the-job train­ ing; the length of training varies with the job and the experience of the worker.  •  Opportunities will be best for operators who have formal computer 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 and   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Computer operators oversee the operation of computer hardware systems.  474  Occupational Outlook Handbook  operators. Scheduling, loading and downloading programs, mount­ ing tapes, rerouting messages, and running periodic reports can be done without the intervention of an operator. Consequently, 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 operations, user support, and database maintenance.  Computer operators held about 149,000jobs in 2004. Jobs are found in various industries such as government, health care,, manufactur­ ing, data processing services and other information industries, and fi­ nance and insurance. A number of computer operators are employed by firms in computer systems design and related services, as more companies contract out their data processing operations.  Working Conditions  Job Outlook  Computer operators generally work in well-lighted, well-ventilated, comfortable rooms. Because many organizations use their computers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, computer operators may be required to work evening or night shifts and weekends. Shift assignments usually are made based on seniority. However, increasingly auto­ mated 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 operators 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 eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.  Employment of computer operators is projected to decline signifi­ cantly. In fact, computer operators rank among the most rapidly declining occupations over the 2004-14 period because advances in technology are making many of the duties traditionally performed by computer operators obsolete. Experienced operators are expected to compete for the few job openings that will arise each year to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Opportunities will be best for operators who have formal computer 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, health care, education, and government. 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 operators. 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 networks or assist other members of the organization. Operators who keep up with changing technology, by updating their skills through additional training, should have the best prospects of moving into other areas such as network administration and technical support. Others may be retrained to perform different job duties, such as supervising an operations center, maintaining automation packages, or analyzing computer operations to rec­ ommend ways 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.  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. Employ­ ers generally look for specific, hands-on experience with the type of equipment and related operating systems they use. Addition­ ally, formal computer training, perhaps through a community college or technical school, is recommended. Related training also can be obtained through the U.S. Armed Forces and from some computer manufacturers. As computer technology changes and data processing centers become more automated, employ­ ers will increasingly require candidates to have formal training and experience for operator jobs. And, although not required, a bachelor’s degree in a computer field can be helpful when one is seeking employment 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 expertise also are needed, particularly by operators who work in automated 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 program­ mers, users, 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, although most management positions within data processing or computer operations centers require advanced formal education, such as a bachelor’s or higher degree. Through on-the-job experi­ ence and additional formal education, some computer operators may advance 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment  Earnings Median annual earnings of computer operators were $31,070 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,190 and $39,900 a year. The highest 10 percent earned more than $48,720, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,250. Median annual earn­ ings in the industries employing the largest numbers of computer operators in May 2004 are shown below: Management of companies and enterprises.................................. $34,370 Computer systems design and related services............................. 31,780 Colleges, universities, and professional schools........................... 28,990 Data processing, hosting, and related services.............................. 28,930 Depository credit intermediation.................................................. 24,880 The average salary for computer operators employed by the Federal Government was $45,158 in 2005. According to Robert Half International, the average starting salaries for computer operators ranged from $27,250 to $39,500  Office and Administrative Support Occupations in 2005. 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; computer systems analysts, and computer scientists and database administrators. Other occupations in which workers operate electronic office equipment include data entry and information processing workers, as well as secretaries and administrative assistants.  Sources of Additional Information For information about a career as a computer operator, contact: > Association for Computer Operations Management (AFCOM), 722 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92860. For information about work opportunities in computer operations, contact establishments with large computer centers, such as banks, manufacturing firms, insurance companies, colleges and universities, and data processing service organizations. The local office of the State employment service can supply information about employment and training opportunities.  Data Entry and Information Processing Workers (0*NET 43-9021.00, 43-9022.00)  Significant Points •  Employers generally hire high school graduates who meet company requirements for keyboarding speed; for many people, a job as a data entry and information pro­ cessing worker is their first job after graduating from high school.  •  Although overall employment is projected to decline, the need to replace workers who leave this large oc­ cupation each year should produce many job openings.  •  Job prospects should be best for those with expertise in appropriate computer software applications.  475  combine and rearrange materials from different sources, or prepare master copies. Most keyboarding is now done on computers that normally are connected to a monitor, keyboard, and printer and may have “add-on” capabilities, such as optical character recognition read­ ers. 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 centralized word processing teams that handle transcription and keying for several departments. In addition to fulfilling the duties mentioned above, word proces­ sors often perform other office tasks, such as answering telephones, filing, and operating copiers or other office machines. Job titles of these workers frequently vary to reflect these duties. For example, administrative clerks combine word processing with filing, sorting mail, answering telephones, and other general office work. Note readers transcribe stenotyped notes of court proceedings into stan­ dard formats. 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 into 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 impulses 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 personal computers. Increasingly, data entry keyers are working with nonkeyboard forms of data entry, such as scanners and electronically 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 equip­ ment 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  Nature of the Work Organizations need to process a rapidly growing amount of informa­ tion. Data entry and information processing workers help ensure the smooth and efficient handling of information. By keying in 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 various other titles, including electronic data processors, keypunch technicians, and transcribers. Word processors usually set up and prepare reports, letters, mailing labels, and other text material. As entry-level work­ ers, word processors may begin by keying headings on form letters, addressing envelopes, or preparing standard forms on computers. As they gain experience, they often are assigned tasks requiring a higher degree of accuracy and independent judgment. Senior word processors may work with highly technical material, plan and key complicated statistical tables,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Data entry and information processing workers help ensure the smooth and efficient handling of information.  476  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 eyestrain. To help prevent these conditions, many offices have adopted regularly scheduled exercise breaks, ergonomically designed keyboards, and workstations that allow workers to stand or sit as they wish.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Employers generally hire high school graduates who meet their requirements for keyboarding speed. Increasingly, employers also are expecting applicants to have training or experience in word processing 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 processing worker is their first job after graduating from high school or after a period of full-time family responsibilities. This work frequently serves as a steppingstone to higher pay­ ing jobs with increased responsibilities. Large companies and government agencies usually have training programs to help administrative employees upgrade their skills and advance to higher level positions. It is common for data entry and informa­ tion processing workers to transfer to other administrative jobs, such as secretary, administrative assistant, or statistical clerk, or to be promoted to a supervisory job in a word processing or data entry center.  Employment Data entry and information processing workers held about 525,000 jobs in 2004 and were employed in every sector of the economy; 330,000 were data entry keyers and 194,000 were word processors. 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 key in material at home while still be­ ing 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 another 1 in 5 worked for State or local government.  Job Outlook Overall employment of data entry and information processing work­ ers is projected to decline through 2014. 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 computer software applications. Data entry and information processing work­ ers must be willing to upgrade their skills continuously in order to remain marketable. Although data entry and information processing workers are affected by productivity gains stemming from organizational restructuring and the implementation of new technologies, pro­ jected growth differs among these workers. Employment of word processors and typists is expected to decline because of the pro­ liferation 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  personal computers to do their own word processing. However, because technologies affecting 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 be dampened by productivity gains as various data-capturing technologies, such as barcode scanners, voice recognition technologies, and sophisticated character recognition readers, become more preva­ lent. These technologies can be applied to a variety of business transactions, such as inventory tracking, invoicing, and placing orders. Moreover, as telecommunications technology improves, many organizations will increasingly take advantage of computer networks that allow data to be transmitted electronically. These networks will permit more data to be entered automatically into computers, reducing 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 relatively lower wages. As international trade barriers continue to fall and telecommunications technology improves, this transfer of jobs will mean reduced demand for data entry keyers in the United States.  Earnings Median annual earnings of word processors and typists in May 2004 were $28,030. The middle 50 percent earned between $22,850 and $34,900. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,960, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,190. The salaries of these workers vary by industry and by region. In May 2004, median annual earnings in the industries employ­ ing the largest numbers of word processors and typists were as follows: Legal services................................................................................ $36,890 Local government ........................................................................... 29,190 Elementary and secondary schools................................................. 27,630 State government ............................................................................ 27,210 Employment services....................................................................... 25,450 Median annual earnings of data entry keyers in May 2004 were $23,250. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,630 and $28,150. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34,410. The following are median annual earnings for May 2004 in the industries employing the largest numbers of data entry keyers: Insurance carriers.......................................................................... $23,980 Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. 23,120 Depository credit intermediation.................................................. 21,950 Employment services.................................................................... 21,550 Data processing, hosting, and related services............................. 20,750  Related Occupations Data entry and information processing workers must transcribe information quickly. Other workers who deliver information in a timely manner are dispatchers and communications equipment operators. Data entry and information processing workers also must be comfortable working with office technology, and in this regard they are similar to court reporters, medical records and health information technicians, secretaries and administrative assistants, and computer operators.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations  Sources of Additional Information For information about job opportunities for data entry and infor­ mation processing workers, contact the nearest office of the State employment service.  Desktop Publishers (0*NET 43-9031.00)  Significant Points •  About 4 out of 10 work for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers, while 1 out of 4 work in printing and related support activities.  •  Employment is expected to grow faster than the aver­ age for all occupations.  •  Most employers prefer to hire experienced desktop publishers; among persons without experience, op­ portunities should be best for those with certificates or degrees in desktop publishing or graphic design.  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 translate electronic information onto film or other traditional forms. Materials produced by desktop publishers include books, business cards, cal­ endars, magazines, newsletters and newspapers, packaging, 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 formatting 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 computer monitor. An entire newspaper, catalog, or book page, complete with artwork and graphics, can be created on the screen exactly as it will appear in print. Operators transmit the pages for production either into film and then into printing plates, or directly into plates. Desktop publishing is a rapidly changing field that encompasses a number of different kinds ofjobs. Personal computers enable desktop publishers to perform publishing tasks that would otherwise require complicated equipment and extensive 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 occupation include digital color page makeup systems, electronic page layout systems, and off-press color proofing systems. In addition, because most materials today often are published on the Internet, desktop pub­ lishers may need to know electronic publishing technologies, 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 Digitizedpage-layout for FRASER work formerly done by prepress workers, posing new https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  477  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, 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, im­ ages, or art as digital data that can be either incorporated directly into electronic page layouts or further manipulated with the use of computer software. The desktop publisher then can correct mistakes or compensate for deficiencies in the original color print or transparency. Digital files are used to produce printing plates. Like photographers 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 state­ ments on photographers and on artists and related workers appear elsewhere in the Handbook.) Desktop publishers often perform writing and editing tasks as well as page layout and design. For example, in addition to laying out articles for a newsletter, desktop publishers may be responsible for editing content they receive or for writing original content themselves. A desktop publisher’s writing and editing responsibili­ ties vary widely from employer to employer. Small firms typically need desktop publishers to perform a wide range of tasks, while desktop publishers at large firms specialize in a certain part of the publishing process. (Writers and editors are discussed elsewhere 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. 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.  Using computer software, desktop publishers capture photographs, images, or art as digital data that can be incorporated directly into electronic page layouts.  478  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most workers qualify for jobs as desktop publishers by taking classes or completing certificate programs at vocational schools, universities, 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 company. 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 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 produce printed materials such as advertisements, brochures, newsletters, 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 degree programs are designed to train skilled workers. Students also develop finely tuned skills in typography, print media, packaging, branding and identity, Web site design, and motion graphics. The programs teach print and graphic design fundamentals and provide an extensive background in imaging, prepress operations, print reproduction, and emerging media. Courses in other aspects of printing also are available at vocational-technical institutes, indus­ try-sponsored update and retraining programs, and private trade and technical schools. Although formal training is not always required, those with certificates or degrees will have the best job opportunities. Most employers prefer to hire people who have at least a high school diploma 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, multiply, divide, and compute ratios to estimate job costs. Persons interested in working for firms us­ ing 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 work­ ers who often must meet deadlines and learn how to operate new equipment. Workers with limited training and experience may start as helpers. They begin with instruction from an experienced desktop publisher 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 equip­ ment. As workers gain experience, they advance to positions with greater responsibility. 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 commercial art.  Employment Desktop publishers held about 34,000 jobs in 2004. About 4 out of 10 worked for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers, while I out of 4 worked in printing and related support activities; the rest worked in a wide variety of industries.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Firms in the publishing industry publish newspapers, periodicals, books, directory and mailing lists, and greeting cards. Printing and related support activities firms print a wide range of products—news­ papers, books, labels, business cards, stationery, inserts, catalogs, pamphlets, and advertisements—while business form establishments print material such as sales receipts and business forms and perform support activities such as data imaging and bookbinding. Establish­ ments in printing and related support activities typically perform custom composition, platemaking, and related prepress services. (A separate statement on prepress technicians and workers appears else­ where 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.  Job Outlook Employment of desktop publishers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, as more page layout and design work is performed in-house using computers and sophis­ ticated 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 publishers, 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 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 complete 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 $32,340 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,660 and $42,070. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,460 a year. Median annual earnings of desktop publishers in May 2004 were $36,040 in printing and related support services and $29,040 in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.  Related Occupations Desktop publishers use artistic and editorial skills in their work. These skills also are essential for artists and related workers; com­  Office and Administrative Support Occupations mercial and industrial designers; news analysts, reporters, and correspondents; prepress technicians and workers; public relations specialists; and writers and editors.  Sources of Additional Information Details about training programs may be obtained from local employ­ ers such as newspapers and printing shops or from local offices of the State employment service. For information on careers and training in printing, desktop publishing, and graphic arts, write to; >- Graphic Communications Council, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-4367. Internet: http://www.makeyourmark.org >- Graphic Arts Information Network, 200 Deer Run Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143. Internet: http://www.gain.org  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 administra­ tive 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-than-average growth among supervisors and managers.  •  Applicants are likely to encounter keen competition be­ cause their numbers should greatly exceed the number of job openings.  Nature of the Work All organizations need timely and effective office and administrative support to operate efficiently. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers coordinate this support. These workers are employed in virtually every sector of the economy, working in positions as varied as teller supervisor, customer services manager, or shipping and receiving supervisor. Although specific functions of office and administrative sup­ port supervisors and managers vary significantly, they share many common duties. For example, supervisors perform administrative tasks to ensure that their staffs can work efficiently. Equipment and machinery used in their departments must be in good working order. If the computer system goes down or a fax 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. Supervi­ sors must make allowances for unexpected staff absences and other disruptions by adjusting assignments or performing the work themselves 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 listening to how a worker deals with customers—as in the case of services representatives. When supervising long-term Digitizedcustomer for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  479  projects, the supervisor may meet regularly with staff members to discuss their progress. Office and administrative support supervisors and manag­ ers also evaluate each worker’s performance. If a worker has done a good job, the supervisor indicates that in the employee’s personnel file and may recommend a promotion or other award. Alternatively, if a worker is performing inadequately, the super­ visor 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 usually interview and evaluate prospective employees. When new workers arrive on the job, supervisors greet them and provide ori­ entation to acquaint them with their organization and its operating routines. Some supervisors may be actively involved in recruiting 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 most administrative support work is computerized, they also must teach new employees to use the organization’s computer system. When new office equipment or updated computer software is introduced, supervisors train experienced employees to use it efficiently or, if this is not possible, arrange for their employees to receive special outside training. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers often act as liaisons between the administrative support staff and the professional, technical, and managerial staff. This may involve implementing new company policies or restructuring the workflow in their departments. They also must 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 supervisors and managers also may have to resolve interpersonal conflicts among the staff. In  mm.  Office and administrative support supervisors and managers interview and evaluate prospective employees.  480  Occupational Outlook Handbook  organizations covered by union contracts, supervisors must know the provisions of labor-management agreements and run their depart­ ments accordingly. They also 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 and well-lit offices that usually are comfortable. Most office and administrative support supervisors and managers work a standard 40-hour week. However, because some organiza­ tions operate around the clock, supervisors may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Sometimes, supervisors rotate among the three 8-hour shifts in a workday; in other cases, shifts are assigned on the basis of seniority.  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, administrative support work­ ers must prove they are capable of handling additional responsi­ bilities. When evaluating candidates, supervisors 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 ability 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 organizational structure and move among departments when necessary. In addition, supervisors must pay close attention to detail 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 training—in some cases, an associate or even a bachelor’s degree. Administrative support workers with potential supervisory abili­ ties may be given occasional supervisory assignments. To prepare for full-time supervisory duties, workers may attend in-house train­ ing or take courses in time management, project 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.  Employment Office and administrative support supervisors and managers held 1.5 million jobs in 2004. Although jobs for office and administra­ tive support supervisors and managers are found in practically every industry, the largest number are found in organizations with a large administrative support workforce, such as banks, wholesalers, gov­ ernment agencies, retail establishments, business service firms, health care facilities, schools, and insurance companies. Because of most organizations’ need for continuity of supervision, few office and ad­ ministrative support supervisors and managers work on a temporary or part-time basis.  Job Outlook Like those seeking other supervisory and managerial occupa­ tions, applicants for jobs as office and administrative support worker supervisors and managers are likely to encounter keen  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 2014. Besides the job openings arising from growth, a large 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. New technology should increase office and administrative support workers’ productivity and allow a wider variety of tasks to be performed by people in professional posi­ tions. These trends will cause employment in some administrative support occupations to grow slowly or even decline. As a result, supervisors will direct smaller permanent staffs—supplemented by increased use of temporary administrative support staff—and perform more professional tasks. Office and administrative sup­ port managers will coordinate the increasing amount of admin­ istrative work and make sure that the technology is applied and running properly. However, organizational restructuring should continue to reduce employment in some managerial positions, distributing more responsibility to office and administrative sup­ port supervisors.  Earnings Median annual earnings of office and administrative support supervi­ sors and managers were $41,030 in May 2004; the middle 50 percent earned between $31,860 and $53,110. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $25,190, while the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $67,800. In May 2004, median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of office and administra­ tive support supervisors and managers were: Insurance carriers.......................................................................... $49,610 Local government ........................................................................... 42,100 State government ............................................................................ 40,930 Offices of physicians........................................................................ 39,690 Depository credit intermediation.................................................... 36,980 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.  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 information related to a wide variety of management occupa­ tions, including educational programs and certified designations, contact: >• 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 and Administrative Support Occupations  481  Working Conditions  Office Clerks, Genera[ (0*NET 43-9061.00)  Significant Points •  Employment growth and high replacement needs in this large occupation will result in numerous job  •  •  openings. Prospects should be best for those with knowledge of basic computer applications and office machinery as well as good communication skills. Part-time and temporary positions are common.  Nature of the Work Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the needs of the specific job and the employer. Whereas some clerks spend their days filing or keyboarding, others enter data at a computer terminal. They also can be called on to operate photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment; prepare mailings; proofread documents; and answer telephones and deliver messages. The specific duties assigned to a clerk vary significantly, depend­ ing on 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 both may sort checks, keep payroll records, take inventory, and access information, clerks also perform duties unique to their employer, such as organizing medications, making transparencies for a presentation, or filling orders received by fax machine. Clerks’ duties also vary by level of experience. Whereas inex­ perienced employees make photocopies, stuff envelopes, or record inquiries, experienced clerks usually are given additional responsibili­ ties. For example, they may maintain financial or other records, set up spreadsheets, verify statistical reports for accuracy and complete­ ness, handle and adjust customer complaints, work with vendors, make travel arrangements, take inventory of equipment and supplies, answer questions on departmental services and functions, or help prepare invoices or budgetary requests. Senior office clerks may be expected to monitor and direct the work of lower level clerks.  For the most part, general office clerks work in comfortable office settings. Those on full-time schedules usually work a standard 40-hour week; however, some work shifts or overtime during busy periods. About 16 percent of clerks work part time. Many clerks also work in temporary positions.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Although most office clerk jobs are entry-level administrative support positions, employers may prefer or require previous office or business experience. Employers usually require a high school diploma or equivalent, and some require basic computer skills, in­ cluding familiarity with word processing software, as well as other general office skills. Training for this occupation is available through business education programs offered in high schools, community and junior colleges, and postsecondary vocational schools. Courses in office practices, 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. Em­ ployers prefer individuals who are able to perform a variety of tasks and satisfy the needs of the many departments within a company. In addition, applicants should have good communication skills, be detail oriented, and adaptable. General office clerks who exhibit strong communication, in­ terpersonal, and analytical skills may be promoted to supervisory positions. Others may move into different, more senior administra­ tive jobs, such as receptionist, secretary, or administrative assistant. After gaining some work experience or specialized skills, many workers transfer to jobs with higher pay or greater advancement potential. Advancement to professional occupations within an organization normally requires additional formal education, such as a college degree.  Employment General office clerks held about 3.1 million jobs in 2004. Most are employed in relatively small businesses. Although they work in every sector of the economy, about 46 percent worked in local government; health care and social assistance; administrative and support services; finance and insurance; or professional, scientific, and technical services industries.  Job Outlook  Office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the needs of the specific job and the employer.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment growth and high replacement needs in this large oc­ cupation will result in numerous job openings for general 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 best for those who have knowledge of basic computer applications and office machinery—such as fax machines, telephone systems, and scanners—and good writing and commu­ nication skills. As general administrative support duties continue to be consolidated, employers 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 more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The employment outlook for these workers will be affected by the increasing use of technology, expanding office automation, and the consolidation of administrative support 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 consolidation of administrative support staffs and a diver­  482  Occupational Outlook Handbook  sification of job responsibilities. This consolidation increases the demand for general office clerks because they perform a variety of administrative support tasks. It will become increasingly common within small businesses to find a single general office clerk in charge of all administrative support work. Job opportunities may vary from year to year because the strength of the economy affects demand for general office clerks. Companies tend to employ more workers when the economy is strong. Industries least likely to be affected by economic fluctuations tend to be the most stable places for employment.  Earnings Median annual earnings of general office clerks were $22,770 in May 2004; the middle 50 percent earned between $18,090 and $28,950 annually. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,530, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,810. Median annual salaries in the industries employing the largest numbers of general office clerks in May 2004 were: Local government ........................................................................ $25,880 State government ......................................................................... 24,970 Elementary and secondary schools................................................. 23,500 Colleges, universities, and professional schools..............................  23,160  Employment services....................................................................  20,910  Related Occupations The duties of general office clerks can include a combination of bookkeeping, keyboarding, office machine operation, and filing. Other office and administrative support workers who perform similar duties include bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; communications equipment operators; customer service representa­ tives; data entry and information processing workers; order clerks; receptionists and information clerks; secretaries and administrative assistants; stock clerks and order fillers; and tellers. Nonclerical entry-level workers include cashiers; counter and rental clerks; and food and beverage serving and related workers.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide informa­ tion about job openings for general office clerks. For information related to administrative occupations, including educational programs and certified 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  Nature of the Work As the reliance on technology continues to expand in offices, the role of the office professional has greatly evolved. Office auto­ mation and organizational restructuring have led secretaries and administrative assistants to assume responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff. Many secretaries and ad­ ministrative assistants now provide training and orientation for new staff, conduct research on the Internet, and operate and troubleshoot new office technologies. In spite of these changes, however, the core responsibilities for secretaries and administrative assistants have remained much the same: Performing and coordinating an office’s administrative activities and storing, retrieving, and inte­ grating information for dissemination to staff and clients. Secretaries and administrative assistants are responsible for a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to ran an organization efficiently. They serve as information and commu­ nication managers for an office; plan and schedule meetings and appointments; organize and maintain paper and electronic files; manage projects; conduct research; and disseminate information by using the telephone, mail services, Web sites, and e-mail. They also may handle travel and guest arrangements. Secretaries and administrative assistants are aided in these tasks by a variety of office equipment, such as fax machines, photo­ copiers, scanners, and videoconferencing and telephone systems. In addition, secretaries and administrative assistants often use computers to do tasks previously handled by managers and pro­ fessionals: create spreadsheets; compose correspondence; manage databases; and create presentations, reports, and documents using desktop publishing software and digital graphics. They also may negotiate with vendors, maintain and examine leased equipment, purchase supplies, manage areas such as stockrooms or corporate libraries, and retrieve data from various sources. At the same time, managers and professionals have assumed many tasks tradition­ ally assigned to secretaries and administrative assistants, such as keyboarding and answering the telephone. Because secretaries and administrative assistants often are not responsible for dictation and word processing, they have time to support more members of the executive staff. In a number of organizations, secretaries and administrative assistants work in teams to work flexibly and share their expertise. Specific job duties vary with experience and titles. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants, for example, may perform  Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (0*NET 43-6011.00, 43-6012.00,43-6013.00, 43-6014.00)  Significant Points •  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 exten­ sive knowledge of software applications.  Increasing office automation and organizational restruc­ turing will lead to slower than average growth in overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants, but average growth is projected for legal and medical Digitized forsecretaries. FRASER  g  •  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Secretaries and administrative assistants are responsible for a variety ofadministrative and clerical duties necessary to efficiently run an organization.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations fewer clerical tasks than do secretaries. In addition to arranging conference calls and scheduling meetings, they may handle more complex responsibilities such as conducting research, preparing statistical reports, training employees, and hiring 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 a paralegal. They also may re­ view legal journals and assist with legal research—for example, 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 conference proceedings. They also record simple medical histories, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, and order supplies. Most medical secre­ taries need to be familiar with insurance rules, billing practices, and hospital or laboratory procedures. Other technical secretaries who assist engineers or scientists may prepare correspondence, maintain their organization’s technical library, and gather and edit materials for scientific papers.  Working Conditions Secretaries and administrative assistants usually work in schools, hospitals, corporate settings, government agencies, or legal and medical offices. Their jobs often involve sitting for long periods. If they spend a lot of time keyboarding, particularly at a computer monitor, they may encounter problems of eyestrain, stress, and repetitive motion ailments 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 19 percent of secretaries work 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 and administrative assistants, however, are full-time employees who work a standard 40-hour week.  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 communication. Employers also look for good customer service and interpersonal skills because secretaries and administrative as­ sistants must be tactful in their dealings with people. Discretion, good judgment, organizational or management ability, initiative, and the ability to work independently are especially important for higher level administrative positions. As office automation continues to evolve, retraining and continu­ ing education will remain integral parts of secretarial jobs. Changes in the office environment have increased the demand for secretaries and administrative assistants who are adaptable and versatile. Secretaries and administrative assistants may have to attend classes or participate in online education to learn how to operate new office technologies, such as information storage systems, scanners, the Internet, or new updated software packages. They also may assist in selecting and maintaining office 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 https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  483  programs in office administration offered by business schools, vocational-technical institutes, and community colleges. Many temporary placement agencies also provide formal training in com­ puter and office skills. However, many skills tend to be acquired through on-the-job instruction by other employees or by equipment and software vendors. Specialized training programs are avail­ able for students planning to become medical or legal secretaries or administrative technology specialists. Bachelor’s degrees and professional certifications are becoming increasingly important as business continues to become more global. Testing and certification for proficiency in entry-level office skills is available through organizations such as the International As­ sociation of Administrative Professionals; National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), Inc.; and Legal Secretaries International, Inc. As secretaries and administrative assistants gain experience, they can earn several different designations. Prominent designations include the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and the Certi­ fied Administrative Professional (CAP), which can be earned by meeting certain experience or educational requirements and passing an examination. Similarly, those with 1 year of experience in the legal 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 test­ ing process administered by NALS. NALS offers two additional designations: Professional Legal Secretary (PLS), considered an advanced certification for legal support professionals, and a designa­ tion for proficiency as a paralegal. Legal Secretaries International confers the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) designation in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litiga­ tion, probate, and business law to those who have 5 years of legal experience and pass an examination. In some instances, certain requirements may be waived. Secretaries and administrative assistants generally advance by being promoted to other administrative positions with more responsibilities. Qualified administrative assistants who broaden their knowledge of a company’s operations and enhance their skills may be promoted to senior or executive secretary or administrative assistant, clerical supervisor, or office manager. Secretaries with word processing or data entry experience can advance to jobs as word processing or data entry trainers, su­ pervisors, or managers within their own firms or in a secretarial, word processing, or data entry service bureau. Secretarial and administrative support experience also can lead to jobs such as instructor or sales representative with manufacturers of software or computer equipment. With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals.  Employment Secretaries and administrative assistants held about 4.1 million jobs in 2004, ranking among the largest occupations in the U.S. economy. The following tabulation shows the distribution of employment by secretarial specialty: Secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive.................... Executive secretaries and administrative assistants................. Medical secretaries.................................................................... Legal secretaries........................................................................  1,934,000 1,547,000 373,000 272,000  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 care to government and retail trade. Most of the rest work for firms engaged in manufacturing or construction.  484  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Job Outlook Overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupa­ tions over the 2004-14 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 occupation for other reasons each year. Opportunities should be best for applicants with extensive knowledge of software appli­ cations, particularly experienced secretaries and administrative assistants. Projected employment of secretaries and administrative as­ sistants varies by occupational specialty. Employment growth in the health care and social assistance and legal services industries should lead to average growth for medical and legal secretaries. Employment of executive secretaries and administrative assis­ tants is projected to grow average for all occupations. Growing industries—such as administrative and support services; health care and social assistance; educational services (private); and professional, scientific, and technical services—will continue to generate most new job opportunities. A decline in employment is expected for secretaries, except legal, medical, or executive; they account for about 47 percent of all secretaries and admin­ istrative assistants. Increasing office automation and organizational restructuring will continue to make secretaries and administrative assistants more productive in coming years. Computers, e-mail, scanners, and voice message systems will allow secretaries and administrative assistants to accomplish more in the same amount of time. The use of automated equipment also is changing the distribution of work in many offices. In some cases, such traditional secretarial duties as keyboarding, filing, photocopying, and bookkeeping are being assigned to workers in other units or departments. Profes­ sionals 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 secretaries. As other workers assume more of these duties, there is a trend in many offices for professionals and managers to replace the tradi­ tional arrangement of one secretary per manager with secretaries and administrative assistants who support the work of systems, departments, or units. This approach often means that secretaries 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 secretarial and administrative assistant positions. 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 com­ munication skills. Because technology cannot substitute for these personal skills, secretaries and administrative assistants will continue to play a key role in most organizations.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings Median annual earnings of executive secretaries and administrative assistants were $34,970 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,500 and $43,430. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,810, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $53,460. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of executive secretaries and administrative assistants in May 2004 were: Management of companies and enterprises.................................. $38,950 Local government ........................................................................ 36,940 Colleges, universities, and professional schools.......................... 34,280 Employment services.................................................................... 31 _620 State government ......................................................................... 30,750 Median annual earnings of legal secretaries were $36,720 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,070 and $46,390. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,590. Medical secretaries earned a median annual salary of $26,540 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,980 and $32,690. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 19,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $39,140. Median annual earnings of secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive, were $26,110 in May 2004. Salaries vary a great deal, however, reflecting differences in skill, experience, and level of responsibility. Certification in this field usually is rewarded by a higher salary.  Related Occupations Workers in a number of other occupations type, record information, and process paperwork. Among them are bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; receptionists and information clerks; commu­ nications equipment operators; court reporters; human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping; computer operators; data entry and information processing workers; paralegals and legal assis­ tants; medical assistants; and medical records and health information technicians. A growing number of secretaries and administrative assistants share in managerial and human resource responsibilities. Occupations requiring these skills include office and administra­ tive support supervisors and managers; computer and information systems managers; administrative services managers; and human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists.  Sources of Additional Information State employment offices provide information about job openings for secretaries and administrative assistants. For information on the latest trends in the profession, career development advice, and the CPS or CAP 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 CLSS designation can be obtained from: >- Legal Secretaries International Inc. Internet: http://www.legalsecretaries.org Information on the ALS, PLS, and paralegal certifications are available from: >- National Association of Legal Secretaries, Inc., 314 East Third St., Suite 210, Tulsa, OK 74120. Internet: http://www.nals.org  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations Agricultural Workers  _____  (0*NET 45-2011.00, 45-2021.00, 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 raising plants in greenhouses, to harvesting crops and tending to livestock outdoors, to inspecting agricultural products at border crossings.  •  Farmworkers learn through short-term on-the-job train­ ing; agricultural inspectors and animal breeders require work experience or a college degree.  •  Most farmworkers receive low pay and perform strenu­ ous work outdoors in all kinds of weather but many enjoy the rural lifestyle.  •  Employment is projected to decline slightly.  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 8 out of 10 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, harvesting, and packing and loading crops for shipment. Farmwork­ ers 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 products, such as trees, plants, flowers, and sod. Their duties include plant­ ing, 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 shmbs 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, wa­ tering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, debeaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. On dairy farms, farmworkers oper­ ate milking machines; they also may maintain records on animals, examine animals to detect diseases and injuries, assist in delivering animals at their birth, and administer medications, vaccinations, 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, maintaining, and harvesting agricultural products. The equipment may include tractors, fertilizer spreaders, haybines, raking equip­ ment, balers, combines, and threshers, as well as trucks. These  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  farmworkers also operate machines used in moving and treating crops after their harvest, such as conveyor belts, loading machines, separators, cleaners, and dryers. In addition, they may make ad­ justments 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 facilities and equipment used in processing the commodities meet quality standards. Meat safety is one of their prime responsibili­ ties, and they try to ensure that the meat we eat is free of harmful ingredients or bacteria. In meat-processing facilities, inspectors may collect samples of suspected diseased animals or materi­ als 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 inspec­ tors 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 agricultural commodities being prepared to be packed for market and classify 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 products. For example, graders sort eggs 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 as­ signed determines the price at which the commodity may be sold. Animal breeders select and breed animals using their knowledge of genetics and animal science to produce offspring with desired traits and characteristics, such as chickens that lay more eggs, pigs that produce leaner meat, and sheep with more desirable wool. Animal breeders also raise and breed animals simply to sell their offspring for money, including cats and dogs and other household pets. The larger and more expensive animals that are bred, such as horses and cattle, are usually bred through artificial insemina­ tion, which requires the taking of semen from the male and then inseminating the female with it. Using this process insures better results and also enables one prized male to sire many more offspring than through conventional mating. To know when and which ani­ mals to breed, breeders keep detailed records, including the health of the animal, its size and weight, and the amount and quality of the product produced by the animal. They also keep track of the traits of the offspring. Some breeders work as consultants for a number of farmers, while others breed and raise their own animals for eventual sale or to breed. For breeders that raise animals, they may also have to care and clean animal shelters, feed and water the animals, and oversee their day-to-day health or supervise others that perform these jobs. Additionally, animal breeders read journals and newsletters to remain current with the latest information on animal breeding and veterinary advice.  Working Conditions Working conditions for agricultural workers vary widely. Much of the work of farmworkers and laborers on farms and ranches takes place outdoors in all kinds of weather and is physical in nature. 485  486  Occupational Outlook Handbook  .. . M ' ^rC^'lVL: Vi  MS " >'■  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, suitable for carrying out controlled tests. Some may work evenings or weekends because of the perishable nature of the products. Overtime may be required to meet production goals. Animal breeders spend most of their time outdoors around ani­ mals, but can also work in offices or in laboratories. If consulting, breeders may have to travel from farm to farm. If they need to sell the offspring, breeders may have to travel to attend shows and to meet with potential buyers. While tending to the animals, breeders may be bitten or kicked. 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.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement mm Many agricultural workers are found in nurseries, growing flowers and other plants. Harvesting fruits and vegetables, for example, may require much bending, stooping, and lifting. Workers may lack adequate sanitation facilities while working in the field, and their drinking water may be limited. The year-round nature of much livestock production work means that ranch workers must be out in the heat of summer, as well as the cold of winter. While some of these workers enjoy the day-to-day variability of the work, the rural setting, working on the land, and raising animals, the work hours are generally uneven and often long, and 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 enjoy relatively comfortable working conditions while tending to plants indoors. However, during the busy seasons, when landscape contrac­ tors need plants, work schedules may be more demanding, requiring 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 to protect them from 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 work­ ing 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 organization 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 entire shift, or they may be assigned a variety of items. They may be on   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Farmworkers learn through short-term on-the-job training. Most do not have a high school diploma. Workers without a high school diploma are particularly common in the crop production sector, where there are more labor-intensive establishments employing migrant farmworkers. In nurseries, entry-level workers must be able to follow directions 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 directly with customers must get along well with people. Employers also look for responsible, self-motivated individuals, because nursery 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 occupation should be responsible, like detailed work, and be able to communicate well. Federal Government inspectors whose job performance is satisfactory advance through a career ladder to a specified full-performance level. For positions above this level -usu­ ally supervisory 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 similar to those in the Federal Government. The education and training requirements for animal breeders vary with the type of breeding they do. For those whose primary activ­ ity is breeding, particularly livestock and other large or expensive animals, rather than raising animals, a bachelor’s degree or higher in the animal sciences is recommended with courses in genetics, animal breeding, and animal physiology. For those with experience raising animals or those who are breeding their own animals, an associate’s degree or other postsecondary training in animal breeding is recom­ mended. Experience working around animals, especially on a farm, is helpful, even for those getting a degree. 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 advance to crew leader or other supervisory positions. Some  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations agricultural workers may aspire to become farm, ranch, and other agricultural managers, or farmers or ranchers themselves. (Farm­ ers, ranchers, and agricultural managers are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) In addition, their knowledge of raising and har­ vesting produce may provide an excellent background for becom­ ing purchasing agents and buyers of farm products. Knowledge of working 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  Related Occupations  and food scientists.  Sources of Additional Information  Employment Agricultural workers held about 834,000 jobs in 2004. Of these, farmworkers were the most numerous, holding about 690,000 jobs. Graders and sorters held about 45,000 jobs, agricultural inspectors 14,000jobs, agricultural equipment operators 60,000 jobs, and ani­ mal breeders 12,000 jobs. More than 66 percent of all agricultural workers worked for crop and livestock producers, while more than 5 percent worked for agricultural service providers, mostly farm labor contractors.  Job Outlook Overall employment of agricultural workers is projected to decline slightly over the 2004-14 period, primarily reflecting the outlook for farmworkers in crops, nurseries, and greenhouses, who make up the large majority of all agricultural workers. Low wages, the physical demands of the work, and the large numbers of workers who leave these jobs for other occupation should result in abundant job op­ portunities, however. Continued consolidation of farms and technological advance­ ments in farm equipment that make farmworkers both more efficient and less needed will cause fewer of them to be hired. Farmworkers will increasingly work for farm labor contractors rather than being hired directly by the farm. The agriculture industry also is expected to undergo increased competition from foreign countries and rising imports, particularly from Central America, owing to the passing of a free trade agreement with that region. Nursery and greenhouse workers should experience some growth in this period, reflecting the increasing demand for landscaping services. Slower-than-average employment growth 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, while employment of agricultural equipment operators is expected to decline slightly, reflecting the agriculture industry’s continuing ability to produce more with fewer workers. Animal breeders also will grow more slowly than the average, as large commercial farmers continue to attempt to breed the perfect animal. However, because the occupation is so small there will be few job openings.  Earnings Median hourly earnings in May 2004 for each of the occupations found in this statement are as follows: Agricultural inspectors........................................................ Animal breeders.................................................................. Agricultural workers, all other........................................... Agricultural equipment operators...................................... Farmworkers, farm and ranch animals............................... Graders and sorters, agricultural products......................... Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse Few agricultural workers are members of unions.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  $14.92 13.55 10.15 8.88  8.31 7.90 7.70  487  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. Animal breeders may perform some duties related to those of veterinary technologists or veterinarians.  Information on agricultural worker jobs is available from: > National FFA Organization, The National FFA Center, Attention: Career Information Requests, P.O. Box 68690, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960. In­ ternet: http://www.ffa.org Information on farmworker jobs is available from: >- Growing New Farmers Consortium, c/o New England Small Farm Institute, RO. Box 11, Belchertown, MA 01007. Internet: http://www.northeastnewfarmers.org Information on obtaining positions as an agricultural inspector with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Per­ sonnel Management through US AJOBS, the Federal Government’s official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Inter­ net at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or TDD (978) 461­ 8404. These numbers are not tollfree, and charges may result.  Fishers and Fishing Vessel Operators (0*NET 45-3011.00)  ______  Significant Points •  More than 50 percent 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 deple­ tion of fish stocks and new Federal and State laws restricting both commercial and recreational fishing.  •  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 bodies of water is covered in the Handbook section 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; oversees 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 using compasses, charts, and often electronic  488  Occupational Outlook Handbook  navigational equipment such as autopilots, loran systems, and satel­ lite navigation systems. 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 activities 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 auction 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 responsibili­ ties 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 pulling in nets and lines, and extract the catch, such as pollock, flounder, and tuna, from the nets or the lines’ hooks. Deckhands use dip nets to prevent the escape of small fish and gaffs to facili­ tate 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. Large fishing vessels that operate in deep water generally have technologically advanced equipment, and some may have facilities 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 collaborate on all aspects of the fishing operation, which may include placing 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 proportion of commercial fishing is conducted as diving operations. Depending upon the water’s depth, divers wearing regulation diving suits with an umbilical (air line) or a scuba outfit and equipment 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 outboard 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.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  mSm  ifiimn Fishing vessel workers must be mechanically inclined in order to maintain their equipment. Although most fishers are involved in commercial fishing, some cap­ tains 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, the captain, and possibly several deckhands for periods ranging from several hours to a number of days and embark upon sportfishing, socializing, and relaxation.  Working Conditions Fishing operations are conducted under various environmental condi­ tions, 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 af­ fected by murky water and unexpected shifts in underwater 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 readily available when injuries occur. Treatment for any serious injuries may have to await transfer to a hospital. The crew must be on guard against the danger of injury from malfunctioning fishing gear, entanglement in fishing nets and gear, slippery decks resulting from fish-processing operations, ice formation in the winter, or being swept overboard a fearsome situation. Malfunctioning navigation or communication equipment may lead to collisions or shipwrecks. Divers must guard against entanglement of air lines, malfunction of scuba equipment, decompression problems, 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. Flowever, 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 opera­ tions have become more mechanized, netting and processing fish are strenuous activities. Newer vessels have improved living quarters and amenities such as television and shower stalls, but crews still experience the aggravations of confined quarters, continuous close personal contact, and the absence of family.  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  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations academic requirements exist. Operators of large commercial fishing vessels are required to complete a Coast Guard-approved training course. Students can expedite their entrance into these occupa­ tions 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 include courses in seamanship, vessel operations, marine safety, navigation, vessel repair and maintenance, health emergencies, and fishing 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 information on 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 charter, regardless of the boats’ size, must also be licensed. Crew members on certain fish-processing vessels may need a merchant mariner s document. The U.S. Coast Guard issues these documents and li­ censes to individuals who meet the stipulated health, physical, and academic requirements. (For information about merchant marine occupations, see the section on water transportation occupations 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 du­ ties, 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. Experi­ enced, reliable deckhands who display supervisory qualities may become boatswains, who, in turn, may become second mates, first mates, and, finally, captains. Deckhands who acquire experience and whose interests are in ship engineering the maintenance and repair of ship engines and equipment can eventually become li­ censed chief engineers on large commercial vessels after meeting the Coast Guard’s experience, physical, and academic requirements. Almost all captains become self-employed, and the overwhelm­ ing majority eventually own, or have an interest in, one or more fishing ships. Some may choose to run a sport or recreational fishing operation. When their seagoing days are over, experienced individuals may work in or, manage, or own stores selling 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 workshops or edu­ cational institutions. Divers with experience 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 institution or industry association.  Employment  Fishers and fishing vessel operators held an estimated 38,000 jobs in 2004. One out of two was self-employed. Most fishing takes  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  489  place off the coasts, with Alaska, Louisiana, Virginia, California, and Massachusetts 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 Service.  Job Outlook Employment of fishers and fishing vessel operators is expected to de­ cline through the year 2014. Some job openings will nevertheless arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation or retire. Fishers and fishing vessel operators depend on the natural ability of fish stocks to replenish themselves through growth and reproduction, as well as on governmental regulation to promote replenishment of fisheries. 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 nature of the job and the lack of steady, year-round income. 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 fish harvesting capacity have adversely affected the stock of fish and, consequently, the employment opportunities for fishers. Some fisheries councils have issued various types of restrictions on harvesting, to allow stocks of fish and shellfish to naturally replenish, thereby idling many fishers. In addition, low prices for some species and rising seafood imports are adversely affecting fishing income and also causing some fishers to leave the industry. Fishers are also facing competition from farm-raised fish. Sportfishing boats, however, will continue to provide some job opportunities. Governmental efforts to replenish stocks are having some posi­ tive results, which should increase the stock of fish 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 fishing vessel operators are expected to make their living from the Nation s waters in the years ahead.  Earnings  Based on limited information, the majority of full-time wage and salary fishers earn between $322 and $775 per week. Earnings of fishers and fishing vessel operators normally are highest in the sum­ mer and fall when demand for services peaks and environmental conditions are favorable and lowest during the winter. Many full­ time and most part-time workers supplement their income by work­ ing in other activities during the off-season. For example, fishers may work in seafood-processing plants, in establishments 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 operation 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 pro­ ceeds are distributed among the crew members in accordance with a prearranged percentage. Generally, the ship’s owner usually its captain receives half of the net proceeds. From this amount, the  490  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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.  Related Occupations Other occupations that involve outdoor work with fish and water­ craft include water transportation occupations and fish and game wardens.  Sources of Additional Information Names of postsecondary schools offering fishing and related marine 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 available from the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Inspection Office or Marine 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 Wilson Blvd., Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22203-1804.  Forest, Conservation, and Logginq Workers (Q*NET 45-4011.00, 45-4021.00, 45-4022.01, 45-4023.00, 45-4029.99)  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 slight increase in overall employment is expected.  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 and harvesting the forests and woodlands require many different kinds of workers. Forest and conservation workers  * 1  '» i  WF- >1  uni  ________  A logging equipment operator uses a feller to cut trees.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  help develop, maintain, 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 log­ ging 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 to 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 bmsh and trees to reduce competing vegetation. Forest workers in private industry, usually working under the direction of professional foresters, paint boundary lines, assist with prescribed burning, aid in marking and measuring trees, and keep tallies of those trees examined and counted. Forest workers who work for State and local governments or who are under contract to the Federal Govern­ ment also clear away brush and debris from camp trails, roadsides, and camping areas. Some of these workers clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds. Other forest and conservation workers work in forest nurser­ ies, 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 variety of workers who make up a logging crew. Falters, commonly known as tree falters, cut down trees with hand-held power chain saws or mobile felling machines. Usually 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-yarding system to the landing or deck area, where the logs are separated by species and type of product, such as pulpwood, saw logs, or veneer logs, and loaded onto trucks. Rigging stingers and chasers set up and dismantle the cables and guy wires of the yarding system. Log sorters, markers, movers, and chippers sort, mark, and move logs, based on species, size, and ownership, and tend machines that chip up logs. Logging equipment operators on a logging crew perform a num­ ber of duties. They use tree harvesters to fell the trees, shear the limbs off trees, and then cut the logs into desired lengths. They drive trac­ tors 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 load­ ing. They also operate grapple loaders, which lift and load logs into trucks. Some logging equipment operators use tracked or wheeled equipment similar to a forklift to unload logs and pulpwood off of  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations trucks or gondola railroad cars, usually at 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 collection devices to enter data about individual trees; later, the data can be downloaded or sent from the scaling area to a central computer via modem. Other timber-cutting and logging workers have a variety of responsibilities. Some hike through forests to assess logging con­ ditions. 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 tree fallers or one tree harvesting machine operator, one bucker, two logging skidder 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 equipment, and the skills needed to run a small busi­ ness successfully. Many contractors work alongside their crews as supervisors and often operate one of the logging machines, such as the grapple loader or the tree harvester. Some manage more than one crew and function as owner-supervisors. Although timber-cutting and logging equipment has greatly im­ proved and operations are becoming increasingly mechanized, many logging jobs still are dangerous and very 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 to fell trees, and heavy equipment to skid and load logs onto trucks. To keep costs down, many timber-cutting and logging workers maintain and repair the equipment they use. A skillful, experienced logging worker is expected to handle a variety of log­ ging operations.  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 and in general made the tasks to be performed much safer. A few logging camps in Alaska and Maine house workers in bunkhouses. Workers in some sparsely populated western States, as well as northern Maine, commute long distances between their homes and logging sites. In the more densely populated eastern and southern States, commuting distances are 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 branches, vines, and rough terrains are constant hazards, as are the dangers associated with tree-felling and log-handling opera­ tions. Special care must be taken during strong winds, which can even halt logging operations. Slippery or muddy ground, 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, insects, snakes, heat, humidity, and extreme cold are everyday occurrences where loggers work. The use of hearing protection devices is required on logging operations because the high noise level of felling and skidding operations over long periods may impair one’s hearing. Experience, the exercise of caution, and the use of proper safety measures and equipment such  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  491  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 accomplish their work tasks.  Training, 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, logging companies and trade associations, such as the Northeastern Log­ gers Association, the American Loggers Council, and the Forest Resources Association, Inc., offer training programs for workers who operate large, expensive machinery and equipment. Often, a representative of the equipment manufacturer spends several days in the field explaining and overseeing the operation of newly pur­ chased machinery. Safety training is a vital and required part of the instruction of all logging workers. Many State forestry or logging associations provide training sessions for tree 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 experienced logger, have the opportunity to practice various fell­ ing techniques. 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 common in many States. These training programs also include sessions on encourag­ ing the health and productivity of the Nation’s forests through the forest product industry’s Sustainable Forest Initiative program. Logger training programs vary by State, but generally include classroom or field training in a number of areas: best management practices, environmental compliance, safety, endangered species, reforestation, and business management. Some programs lead to logger certification. Generally, a college education is not required for most forest, conservation, and logging occupations. Many secondary schools, including vocational and technical schools and some community colleges, offer courses leading to a two-year technical degree in forestry, wildlife management, conservation, and forest harvest­ ing, all of which are helpful in obtaining a job. A curriculum that includes field trips to observe or participate in forestry or logging activities provides a particularly good background. Generally, there are no educational requirements for 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 or conducting precommercial tree thinnings. Experience working at a nursery or as a laborer can be useful in obtaining a job as a forest or conservation worker. Logging workers generally advance from occupations involving primarily manual labor to those involving the operation of expensive, sometimes complicated logging equipment. Inexperienced entrants usually begin as laborers, carrying tools and equipment, clearing brush, performing equipment maintenance, and loading and unloading logs and brush. For some, familiarization 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 yarding 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.  492  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 responsible for repair and maintenance as well. Initiative and managerial and business skills are necessary for success as a self-employed logging contractor.  Employment Forest, conservation, and logging workers held about 92,000 jobs in 2004, distributed among the following occupations: Logging equipment operators....................................................... 43,000 Forest and conservation workers.................................................. 17,000 Fallers............................................................................................ 15,000 Log graders and scalers................................................................. 9,000 Logging workers, all other............................................................... 7,000 Most tree fallers, and almost half of all logging equipment opera­ tors, are employed in logging, although some work for sawmills and planing mills. Employment of log graders and scalers is concentrated largely in sawmills and planing mills. About 45 percent of all forest and conservation workers work for government, primarily at the State and local level. Twenty one percent are employed by companies that operate timber tracts, tree farms, or forest nurseries, or for contractors that supply services to agriculture 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 forest and conservation workers are located in every State, employment is concentrated in the West and Southeast, where many national and private forests and parks are located. Self-employed forest, conservation, and logging workers account for more than 3 of every 10 such workers a much higher proportion 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, except during periods of very wet weather.  Job Outlook Overall employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers is expected to increase more slowly than the average for all occupa­ tions through the year 2014. Most job openings will result from replacement needs. Many logging workers 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. 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 addition, recent Federal legislation designed to prevent destructive wildfires by thinning the forests and setting controlled burns may create more jobs for forest and conservation workers in those areas of the Nation with drier climates and higher susceptibility to forest fires. New federal policy allowing some access to federal timberland may create some logging jobs, and job opportunities also will arise from owners of privately owned forests and tree farms. Nevertheless,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  domestic timber producers continue to face increasing competition from foreign producers, who can harvest the same amount of timber at lower cost. As competition increases, the logging industry is expected to continue to consolidate in order to reduce costs, thereby eliminating some jobs. Increased mechanization of logging operations and improve­ ments in logging equipment will continue to depress demand for many manual timber-cutting and logging workers. Employment of fallers, buckers, choke setters, and other workers whose jobs are labor intensive should decline as safer laborsaving machinery and other equipment are increasingly used. Employment of machinery and equipment operators, such as tree harvesting, skidding, and log-handling equipment operators, will be less adversely affected and should rise slightly as logging companies switch away from manual tree felling. 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, particularly 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 harvested. During prolonged periods of inactivity, some workers may stay on the job to maintain or repair logging machinery and equipment; while others are laid off or forced to find jobs in other occupations.  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 $25.46 an hour for some experienced fallers. Median hourly earnings in May 2004 for forest, conservation, and logging occupations were as follows: Logging workers, all other.............................................................. $14.29 Fallers............................................................................................... ,323 Logging equipment operators......................................................... 13 j 8 Log graders and scalers................................................................... 12.29 Forest and conservation workers.................................................... 9.51 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 lo­ cal governments or for large, private firms generally enjoy more generous benefits than do workers in smaller firms. Small logging contractor firms generally offer timber-cutting and logging workers few benefits beyond vacation leAVE. 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 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 logging occupations, contact:  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations >• Forest Resources Association, Inc., 600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 350, Rockville, MD 20852. Internet: http://www.forestresources.org >■ American Loggers Council. P.O. Box 966, Hemphill, TX 75948. Internet: http://www.americanloggers.org For information on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative training programs, contact:   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  493  >• 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 State land-grant colleges or universities also should be useful sources of information.  Construction Trades and Related Workers Boilermakers (Q*NET 47-2011.00)  Significant Points •  A formal apprenticeship is the best way to learn this trade.  •  Average employment growth is expected; additional openings will be created because many boilermakers are expected to retire.  •  fans S'a I  wBBli  Persons with a welding certification or other weld­ ing training get priority in selection to apprenticeship programs.  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 sections, by casting each piece out of molten iron or steel. Manu­ facturers 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 consistent welds than are possible by hand. Small boilers may be assembled in the manufacturing plant; larger boilers usually are assembled on site. Following blueprints, boilermakers locate and mark reference points on the boiler foundation, using straightedges, squares, transits, 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 turnbuckles. Boilermakers use hammers, files, grinders, and cutting torches to remove irregular edges, so that edges fit properly. They then bolt or weld edges together. Boilermakers align and attach water tubes, stacks, valves, gauges, and other parts and test complete vessels for leaks or other defects. They also install refractory brick and other heat-resistant materials in fireboxes or pressure vessels. Usually, they assemble large vessels temporarily in a fabrication shop to ensure a proper fit before final assembly on the permanent site. Because boilers last a long time—35 years or more—boiler­ makers regularly maintain them and update components, such as burners 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 supervise 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 equip­ ment, and may operate 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 Digitized 494for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Because boilers last a long time, boilermakers need to regularly maintain them and replace components, such as burners and boiler tubes. work on ladders or on top of large vessels. Work is physically demanding 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, harnesses, protective clothing, safety glasses and shoes, and respirators. 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. At other times there may be periods of unemployment between jobs.  TY-aining, 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. Apprenticeship programs usually consist of 4 years of on-the-job training, supplemented by a minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction each year in subjects such as set-up and assembly rig­ ging, welding of all types, blueprint reading, and layout. Those with welding training or a welding certification will have priority in applying for apprenticeship programs. Experienced boilermakers often attend apprenticeship classes or seminars to learn about new equipment, procedures, and technology. When an apprenticeship becomes available, the local union publicizes the opportunity by notifying local vocational schools and high school vocational programs. Some boilermakers advance to supervisory positions. Because of their broader training, apprentices usually have an advantage in promotion over those who have not gone through the full program.  Construction Trades and Related Workers  Employment Boilermakers held about 19,000 jobs in 2004. Nearly 7 out of 10 worked in the construction industry, assembling and erecting boilers and other vessels. More than 1 in 7 worked in manufacturing, primar­ ily in boiler manufacturing shops, iron and steel plants, petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and shipyards. Some also worked for boiler repair firms or railroads.  Job Outlook Average growth in employment of boilermakers is expected through the year 2014. Additional openings will be created by the need to replace experienced workers who are expected to retire in great numbers in the next 10 years. Unionized boilermakers are eligible to retire earlier than many other workers, partly due to the physically demanding nature of the work. Persons who have welding training or a welding certificate should have the best opportunities for being selected for boilermaker apprenticeship programs. Growth will be limited by trends toward repairing and retrofit­ ting, rather than replacing, existing boilers; the growing use of small boilers, which require less onsite assembly; and automation of production technologies. However, many boilers are getting older and will need replacing, which will create some demand for more boilermakers. In addition, utility companies will need to upgrade many of their boiler systems in the next few years to meet the Federal Clean Air Act. Also, as more power companies convert to coal as their primary source of fuel, additional boilers will be needed. Most industries that purchase boilers are sensitive to economic conditions. Therefore, during economic downturns, boilermakers in the construction industry may be laid off. However, mainte­ nance and repairs of boilers must continue even during economic downturns so boilermaker mechanics in manufacturing and other industries generally have more stable employment.  Earnings In May 2004, the median hourly earnings of boilermakers were about $21.68. The middle 50 percent earned between $17.80 and $26.82. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14.07, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $32.46. Apprentices generally start at about half of journey-level wages, with wages gradually increasing to the journey wage as progress is made in the apprenticeship. About half of all boilermakers belong to labor unions. The principal union is the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Other boiler­ makers are members of the International Association of Machinists, the United Automobile Workers, or the United Steelworkers of America.  Related Occupations Workers in a number of other occupations assemble, install, or repair metal equipment or machines. These occupations include assemblers and fabricators; machinists; industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers, except millwrights; millwrights; pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; sheet metal workers; tooland-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 previ­ ously mentioned, local construction companies and boiler manufac­ turers, or the local office of your State employment service. For information on apprenticeships and the boilermaking oc­ cupation, contact: >- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Black­ smiths, Forgers, and Helpers, 753 State Ave., Suite 570, Kansas City, KS 66101. Internet: http://www.boilermakers.org  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  495  Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons (0*NET 47-2021.00, 47-2022.00)  Significant Points •  Job prospects are expected to be very good.  •  Most entrants learn informally on the job, but appren­ ticeship programs provide the most thorough training.  •  The work is usually outdoors and involves lifting heavy materials and working on scaffolds.  •  Nearly 1 out of 3 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 installing 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 limestone; 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, but they also work on residences. When building a structure, brickmasons use 1 of 2 methods, either the comer lead or the comer pole. Using the comer lead method, they begin by constructing a pyramid of bricks at each comer—called a lead. After the comer 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 require the skills of experienced bricklayers. Because of the expense associated with building corner leads, some brickmasons use comer poles, also called masonry guides, that enable them to build an entire wall at the same time. They fasten the corner 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 cement, lime, 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 blue­ print 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 appearance. Although brickmasons typi­ cally 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 operator 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,  496  Occupational Outlook Handbook  plumblines, and levels, and work them into position with a hard rubber mallet. Masons continue to build the wall by alternating lay­ ers of mortar and courses of stone. As the work progresses, masons 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 clean 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 valuable pieces often are cut with a saw that has a diamond blade. Some masons specialize in setting marble, which, in many respects, is simi­ lar to setting large pieces of stone. Brickmasons and stonemasons 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 nonresi­ dential structures, these workers now must be more versatile. For example, 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 materials flow on refractory beds from furnaces to rolling machines.  T  Stonemasons often workfrom a set ofdrawings in which each stone has been numberedfor identification •  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Working Conditions Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons usually work out­ doors, but in contrast to the past when work slowed down in the winter months, new processes and materials are allowing these masons to work in a greater variety of weather conditions. Masons stand, kneel, and bend for long periods and often have to lift heavy materials. Common hazards 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.  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. Knowledge of algebra, geometry, and mechanical drawing are important in this trade. Individuals who learn the trade on the job usually start as helpers, laborers, or mason tenders. These workers carry materials, move scaffolds, and mix mortar. When the opportunity arises, they learn from experienced craftworkers how to spread mortar, lay brick and block, or set stone. As they gain experience, they make the transition to full-fledged craftworkers. The learning period on the job may last longer than if trained in an apprenticeship program. Industry-based training programs offered through construction companies usually last between 2 and 4 years. Apprenticeships for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons 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. Applicants for apprenticeships must be at least 17 years old and in good physical condition. A high school education is preferable with courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop helpful. Apprentices often start by working with laborers, carrying mate­ rials, mixing mortar, and building scaffolds. This period generally lasts about a month and familiarizes the apprentice with job routines and materials. Next, apprentices learn to lay, align, and join brick and block. They may also learn on the job or before they are hired to work with stone and concrete, which enables them to work with more than one masonry material. . 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 and experience, brickmasons, block­ masons, and stonemasons may become supervisors for masonry contractors. Some eventually become owners of businesses employ­ ing 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.  Employment Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons held 177,000 jobs in 2004. The vast majority were brickmasons. Workers in these crafts are employed primarily by building, specialty trade, or gen­ eral contractors. Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons work throughout the country but, like the general population, are concentrated in metropolitan areas.  Construction Trades and Related Workers Nearly 1 out of 3 brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are self-employed. Many of the self-employed are contractors that work on small jobs, such as patios, walkways, and fireplaces.  Job Outlook Job opportunities for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are expected to be very good through 2014. A large number of masons are expected to retire over the next decade and in some areas there are not enough applicants for the skilled masonry jobs to replace those that are leaving. Jobs for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are also expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations over the 2004-14 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 materials 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, workers in these trades can experience periods of unemployment.  497  For information on training for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, contact: >- Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Divi­ sion, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytooIs.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 >- National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW„ Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org ► National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org For general information about the work of bricklayers, contact: >- Associated General Contractors ofAmerica, Inc., 2300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org >- Brick Industry Association, 11490 Commerce Park Dr., Reston, VA 22091-1525. Internet: http://www.brickinfo.org >- National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171-3499. Internet: http://www.ncma.org  Carpenters  _______  (0*NET 47-2031.01, 47-2031.02, 47-2031.03,47-2031.04, 47-2031.05, 47-2031.06)  Significant Points Earnings Median hourly earnings of brickmasons and blockmasons in May 2004 were $20.07. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.34 and $25.20. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.68, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.43. Median hourly earnings in the two industries employing the largest number of brickmasons in 2004 were $22.98 in the nonresidential building construction industry and $19.95 in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry. Median hourly earnings of stonemasons in 2004 were $16.82. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.74 and $21.45. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.97, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.23. Earnings for workers in these trades can be reduced on occasion because poor weather and slowdowns in construction activity limit the time they can work. Apprentices or helpers usually start at about 50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers. Pay increases as apprentices gain experience and learn new skills. Some brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are members 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 office of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers; a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee; or the near­ est office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. For overall information on apprenticeship programs registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, including links to State apprenticeship see Internet: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Digitized sites, for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  •  About one-third of all carpenters—the largest construction trade—were self-employed.  •  Job opportunities should be excellent for those with the most training and all-round skills. To become a skilled carpenter usually takes between 3 and 4 years of both on-the-job training and classroom instruction.  •  Nature of the Work Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construction activity, from the building of highways and bridges, to the instal­ lation of kitchen cabinets. Carpenters construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials. Depending on the type of work and the employer, carpenters may specialize in one or two activities or may be required to know how to perform many different tasks. Small home builders and remodel­ ing companies may require carpenters to learn about all aspects of building a house—framing walls and partitions, putting in doors and windows, building stairs, installing cabinets and molding, and many other tasks. Large construction contractors or specialty contractors, however, may require their carpenters to perform only a few regular tasks, such as framing walls, constructing wooden forms for pouring concrete, or erecting scaffolding. Carpenters also build tunnel brac­ ing, or brattices, in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air through the passageways and to worksites. Each carpentry 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—in accordance with local building codes. They cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or dry wall 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, framing squares, or electronic versions of these tools, and make any necessary adjustments. When working with prefabricated components, such as stairs or wall panels, the carpenter’s task is somewhat simpler because it does not require as  498  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Carpenters construct, erect, install, and repair structures andfixtures made primarily of wood.  much layout work or the cutting and assembly of as many pieces. Prefabricated components are designed for easy and fast installation and generally can be installed in a single operation. Carpenters who remodel homes and other structures need a broad range of carpentry skills because they must be able to perform any of the many different tasks these jobs may require. Since they are so well-trained, these carpenters often 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 install partitions, doors, and windows; change locks; and repair broken 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 working in situations where they might slip or fall. Although many carpen­ ters work indoors, those that work outdoors are subject to variable weather conditions. 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, depending on where the work is available.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Carpenters learn their trade through formal and informal training programs. To become a skilled carpenter usually takes between   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  3 and 4 years of both classroom and on-the-job training. While there are a number of different ways to obtain this training, in general, the more formalized the process, the more skilled you will become, and the more in demand by employers. For some, this training can begin in a high school, where classes in English, algebra, geometry, physics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and general shop are recommended. After high school, there are a number of different avenues that one can take to obtain the necessary training. One of the ways is to obtain a job with a contractor who will then provide on-the-job training. Entry-level workers generally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. During this time, the carpenter’s helper may elect to attend a trade or vocational school, or community college to receive further trade-related training. Some employers, particularly large nonresidential construction contractors with union membership, offer employees formal ap­ prenticeships. These programs combine on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Apprenticeship applicants usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements; some union locals, for example, test an applicant’s aptitude for carpentry. Apprenticeship programs are usually 3 to 4 years in length, but vary with the apprentice’s skill. The number of apprenticeship programs is limited, however, so only a small proportion of carpenters learn their trade through these programs, mostly those working for com­ mercial and industrial building contractors. 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 various carpen­ try techniques. Both in the classroom and on the job, they learn the relationship between carpentry and the other building trades. Some persons aiming for carpentry careers choose to obtain their classroom training before seeking ajob. There are a number of public and private vocational-technical schools and training academies af­ filiated with the unions and contractors that offer training to become a carpenter. Employers often look favorably upon these students and usually start them at a higher level than those without the training. Some skills needed to become a carpenter include manual dexter­ ity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of bal­ ance. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, a good work history or military service is viewed favorably by contractors. Carpenters usually have greater opportunities than most other construction workers to become general construction supervisors because carpenters are exposed to the entire construction process. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in order to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Carpenters may advance to carpentry supervisor or general construction supervisor positions. Others may become independent contractors. Supervi­ sors and contractors need good communication skills to deal with clients and subcontractors, should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete ajob, and accurately estimate how long ajob will take to complete and at what cost.  Employment Carpenters are employed throughout the country in almost every community and make up the largest building trades occupation. They held about 1.3 million jobs in 2004. About one-third worked in building construction and about one-fifth worked for special trade contractors. Most of the rest of the wage and salary workers worked  Construction Trades and Related Workers for manufacturing firms, government agencies, retail establishments and a wide variety of other industries. About one-third of all car­ penters were self-employed.  Job Outlook Job opportunities for carpenters are expected to be excellent over the 2004-14 period, particularly for those with the most skills. Employ­ ment of carpenters is expected to increase about as fast as average for all occupations through 2014, and turnover also creates a large number of openings each year. Contractors report having trouble finding skilled carpenters to fill many of their openings, due in part to the fact that many jobseekers are not inclined to go into construction, preferring work that is less strenuous with more comfortable working condi­ tions. Also, many people with limited skills take jobs as carpenters but eventually leave the occupation because they dislike the work or cannot find steady employment. The need for carpenters is expected to grow as construction activity increases in response to demand for new housing, office and retail space, and for modernizing and expanding schools and industrial plants. A strong home remodeling market also will create a large demand for carpenters. Some of the demand for carpenters, however, will be offset by expected productivity gains resulting from the increasing use of prefabricated components and improved fasteners and tools. Pre­ fabricated wall panels, roof assemblies and stairs and prehung doors and windows can be installed very quickly. Instead of having to be built on the worksite, prefabricated walls, partitions, and stairs can be lifted into place in one operation; beams—and, in some cases, entire roof assemblies—are lifted into place using a crane. As prefabri­ cated components become more standardized, builders will use them more often. In addition, improved adhesives are reducing the time needed to join materials, and lightweight, cordless, and pneumatic tools—such as nailers and drills—will all continue to make carpenters more efficient. New and improved tools, equipment, techniques, and materials also have vastly increased carpenter versatility. Carpenters with all-round skills will have better opportunities for steady work than carpenters who can perform only a few rela­ tively simple, routine tasks. Carpenters can experience periods of unemployment because of the short-term nature of many construc­ tion projects, winter slowdowns in construction activity in northern areas, and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. During economic downturns, the number of job openings for carpenters declines. Building activity depends on many factors that vary with the state of the economy—interest rates, availability of mortgage funds, government spending, and business investment. 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. The areas with the largest population increases will also provide the best job opportunities for carpenters and apprenticeship opportunities for persons seeking to enter carpentry.  Earnings In May 2004, median hourly earnings of carpenters were $16.78. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.91 and $22.62. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.36, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.65. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of carpenters in May 2004 were as follows: Nonresidential building construction.............................................. $18.70 Building finishing contractors......................................................... 17.51 Residential building construction................................................... 16.48 Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... 16.40 Employment services...................................................................... 13.94  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  499  Earnings can be reduced on occasion, because carpenters lose worktime in bad weather and during recessions when jobs are unavailable. Some carpenters are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.  Related Occupations Carpenters are skilled construction workers. Other skilled con­ struction occupations include brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; 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 opportunities in this trade, contact local carpentry contractors, locals of the union mentioned above, local joint union-contrac­ tor apprenticeship committees, or the nearest office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeship system with links to State apprenticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat For information on training opportunities and carpentry in gen­ eral, contact: >■ Associated Builders and Contractors, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: www.trytools.org ► Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 2300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org >■ National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org > National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org >■ United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Carpen­ ters Training Fund, 6801 Placid Street Las Vegas, NV 89119. Internet: http ://ww w.carpenters.org  Carpet, Floor, and Tile Installers and Finishers (0*NET 47-2041.00, 47-2042.00, 47-2043.00, 47-2044.00)  Significant Points •  Around two-fifths of all carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are self-employed.  •  Most workers learn on the job.  •  Tile installers and setters will see the fastest growth; carpet installers will have the most job openings.  •  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 may be installed on walls and ceilings. Before installing carpet, carpet installers first inspect the surface to be covered to determine its condition and, if necessary, correct any imperfections that could show through the carpet or cause the  500  Occupational Outlook Handbook  carpet to wear unevenly. They must measure the area to be carpeted and plan the layout, keeping in mind expected traffic patterns 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 installations 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 acti­ vated 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 hand tools such as hammers, drills, staple guns, carpet knives, and rubber mallets. They also may use carpet­ laying tools, such as carpet shears, knee kickers, wall trimmers, loop pile cutters, heat irons, and power stretchers. Floor installers andfloor layers lay floor coverings such as lami­ nate, linoleum, vinyl, cork, and rubber for decorative purposes, or to deaden sounds, absorb shocks, or create air-tight environments. Although they also may install carpet, wood or tile, that is not their main job. Before installing the floor, floor layers inspect the surface to be covered and, if necessary, correct any imperfections in order to start with a smooth, clean foundation. They measure and cut floor covering materials according to plans or 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 covering from wearing at board joints. Finally, floor layers install the floor covering to form a tight fit. After a carpenter installs a new hardwood floor or when a cus­ tomer wants to refinish an old wood floor, floor sanders andfinishers are called in to smooth any imperfections in the wood and apply finish coats of varnish or polyurethane. To remove imperfections and smooth the surface, they will scrape and sand wooden floors using floor-sanding machines. They then inspect the floor and re­ move excess glue from joints using a knife or wood chisel and may further sand the 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, countertops, and roof decks. Tile and marble are durable, impervious to water, and easy to clean, mak­ ing them 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. Tile var­ ies in color, shape, and size, ranging in size from 1 inch to 24 or more inches on a side, so tilesetters sometimes prearrange tiles on a dry floor according to the intended design. This allows them to examine the pattern, check that they have enough of each type of tile, and determine where they will have to cut tiles to fit the design in the available space. In order to cover all exposed areas, includ­ ing corners and around pipes, tubs, and wash basins, tilesetters cut tiles to fit with a machine saw or a special cutting tool. To set tile on a flat, solid surface such as dry wall, concrete, plaster, or wood,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tilesetters first use a tooth-edged trowel to spread a “thin set,” or thin layer, of cement adhesive or “mastic,” a very sticky paste. They then properly position the tile and gently tap the surface with their trowel handle, rubber mallet, and/or a small block of wood to seat the tile evenly and firmly. To apply tile to an area that lacks a solid surface, tilesetters nail a support of metal mesh or tile backer board 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 surface of the soft mortar with a small tool similar to a rake. After the scratch coat has dried, tilesetters apply a brown coat of mortar to level the surface, and then apply mortar to the brown coat and place tile it onto the surface. When the cement or mastic has set, tilesetters fill the joints with “grout,” which is very fine cement and includes sand for joints l/8th of an inch and larger. They then apply the grout to 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 buildings. 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. Flowever, when floor covering installers need to work in occupied stores or offices, they may work evenings 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 uncluttered. Installing these materials is labor intensive; workers spend much of  IIIIIS  In order to coverall exposed areas, including in comers and around pipes, tilesetters use a machine saw or a special cutting tool to cut tiles to fit.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 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 require that they wear kneepads or safety goggles when using certain tools. Carpet and floor layers may be exposed to fumes from various 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.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The vast majority of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers learn their trade informally on the job. A few, mostly tile setters, learn through formal apprenticeship programs taking nearly 3 years to complete, which include on-the-job training as well as related classroom instruction. Informal training for carpet installers often is sponsored by indi­ vidual 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 take on more difficult assignments, such as measuring, cutting, and fitting. Tile and marble setters also learn their craft mostly through onthe-job training. They start by helping carry materials and learning about the tools of the trade. They then learn to prepare the subsurface for tile or marble. As they progress they learn to cut the tile and marble to fit the job. They will also learn to apply grout and seal­ ants used in finishing the materials to give it its final appearance. Apprenticeship programs and some contractor-sponsored programs provide comprehensive training in all phases of the tilesetting and floor layer trades. Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tile, learn on the job and begin by learning how to use the tools of the trade. They next learn to prepare surfaces to receive flooring. As they progress, they learn to cut and install the various floor coverings. Some skills needed to become carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers include manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance and color. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, reliability and a good work history is viewed favorably by contractors. Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers may advance to posi­ tions as supervisors or become salespersons or estimators. In these positions, they should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete a job, and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and at what cost. Some carpet installers may become managers for large installa­ tion firms. Many carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers who begin working for someone else eventually go into business for themselves as independent subcontractors. Around two-fifths of all carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are self-employed. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in order to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Workers who want to advance supervisor jobs or become contractors need good English skills to deal with clients and subcontractors.  Tile and marble setters.................................................................. Carpet installers............................................................................ Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles......................... Floor sanders and finishers............................................................  501  44,000 41,000 16,000 7,000  Many carpet installers work for flooring contractors or floor cov­ ering retailers. Most salaried tilesetters are employed by tilesetting contractors who work mainly on nonresidential construction 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.  Job Outlook Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupa­ tions through the year 2014, reflecting the continued need to renovate and refurbish existing structures. Job growth and opportunities, however, will differ among the individual occu­ pations. Tile and marble setters will have faster than average job growth and excellent job opportunities as demand for these workers outstrips the supply; however, because it is a small occupation, job openings will be limited. Carpet installers, the largest specialty, should have the most job openings due to high turnover in this occupation. Employment of floor sanders and finishers—a small specialty—is projected to grow more slowly than average due to the increasing use of prefinished hardwood and laminate flooring. Carpet is expected to increasingly be used as a floor covering in nonresidential structures such as schools, offices, and hospitals. Residential homes will also continue to use carpet in many areas of the house, although other flooring types are currently more popular. Carpet is also required or highly recommended in many multifamily structures as it provides sound dampening. Demand for tile and marble setters will stem from population and business growth, which will result in more construction of shopping malls, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures in which tile is used extensively. Tile is also becoming more popular as a building material in residential structures, particularly in the growing number of more expensive homes. Demand for floor sanders and finishers will be primarily based on growth in the residential construction and remodeling market, as homeowners increasingly choose hardwood as their flooring of choice. The need to periodically refinish older wood floors will also continue to generate demand, but growth will be slowed by the use of more prefinished hardwood and more durable finishes and laminate products that look like wood. Slow employment growth, together with the small size of this occupation, will result in relatively few job openings for these workers. Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finish­ ers is less sensitive to changes in construction activity than most other construction occupations because much of the work involves replacing worn carpet and other flooring in existing buildings. As a result, these workers tend to be less affected by slowdowns in new construction activity.  Earnings Employment Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers held about 184,000 jobs in 2004. About 42 percent of all carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers were self-employed, compared with 19 percent of all construction trades workers. The following tabulation shows 2004 wage and salary employment by specialty:  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In May 2004, the median hourly earnings of carpet installers were $16.39. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.94 and $22.20. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.16, and the top 10 percent earned more than $29.27. In May 2004, median hourly earnings of carpet installers were $16.55 working for building finishing contrac­ tors, and $15.43 for home furnishings stores.  502  Occupational Outlook Handbook  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 except carpet, wood, and hard tiles were $15.68 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.80 and $20.93. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.98, and the top 10 percent earned more than $28.09. Median hourly earnings of floor sanders and finishers were $12.88 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.30 and $16.47. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.91, and the top 10 percent earned more than $21.03. Median hourly earnings of tile and marble setters were $17.02 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.69 and $22.59. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.85, and the top 10 percent earned more than $29.35. Earnings of tile and marble setters also vary greatly by geographic location and by union mem­ bership 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 Allied Craftsmen, while some carpet installers belong to the International 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; drywall installers, 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 local 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: ► Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund, International Union of Paint­ ers and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.jatf.org For general information about the work of tile installers and finishers, contact: >- 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 >- National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.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 installers and finishers, contact: >- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners ofAmerica, 50 F St. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Cement Masons, Concrete Finishers, Segmental Pavers, and Terrazzo Workers (Q*NET 47-2051.00,47-2053.00,47-4091.00)  Significant Points  •  Job opportunities are expected to be good due to a combination of job growth and a growing number of retirements.  •  Most learn the job though a combination of classroom and on-the-job training that can take 3 to 4 years.  •  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 concrete finishers 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, cement masons first set the forms for holding the concrete and properly 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. Immediately after leveling the concrete, masons carefully smooth the concrete surface with a “bull float,” a long-handled tool about 8 by 48 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 finishers 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 solu­ tion. For color, they use colored premixed concrete. On concrete surfaces 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 indentations 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.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 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 interlock 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, depending 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 terrazzo workers is similar to that of cement masons. Attractive, marble-chip terrazzo requires three layers of materials. First, cement masons 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. Terrazzo workers partially embed, or attach with adhesive, 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 add additional marble chips of various colors into each panel and roll a lightweight roller over the entire surface. When the terrazzo is thoroughly set, helpers grind it with a ter­ razzo grinder, which is somewhat like a floor polisher, only much heavier. Any depressions left by the grinding are filled with a matching grout material and hand-troweled for a smooth, uniform surface. Terrazzo workers then clean, polish, and seal the dry surface 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 ofivi in  mi m■>■ a;  NWl lib  503  ten. Many jobs are outdoors, and work is generally halted during inclement 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 work­ ers wear kneepads. Workers usually also wear water-repellent boots while working in wet concrete.  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. Some workers also learn their jobs by attending trade or vocationaltechnical schools. Many masons and finishers first gain experience as construction laborers. (See the section on construction laborers elsewhere in the Handbook.) When hiring helpers and apprentices, employers prefer high school graduates who are at least 18 years old, possess a driver’s license, and are in good physical condition. The ability to get along with others is also important because cement masons frequently work in teams. High school courses in general science, mathematics, and vocational-technical subjects, such as blueprint reading and mechanical drawing provide a helpful background. 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. Apprenticeship programs usually are sponsored by local contractors, trade associations, or by local union-management committees. They provide on-the-job training in addition to the recommended minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction each year. A written test and a physical exam may be required. In the classroom, apprentices leant applied mathematics, blueprint reading, and safety. Apprentices gener­ ally receive special instruction in layout work and cost estimation. 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, segmental pavers, or terrazzo workers may become supervisors for masonry contractors, or move into construction management, build­ ing inspection, or contract estimation. Some eventually become owners of businesses, where they may spend most of their time managing rather than practicing their original trade. For those who want to own their own business, taking business classes will help to prepare workers for operating a business.  Employment  /  liili! w '  *mm  Cement masons and concretefinishers spread the concrete, and then smooth and finish the surfaces.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers held about 209,000jobs in 2004; segmental pavers and ter­ razzo workers accounted for only a small portion of the total. Most cement masons and concrete finishers worked for specialty trade contractors, primarily foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors. They also worked for contractors in residential and nonresidential building construction and in heavy and civil engineering construction 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 manufacture concrete products. Most segmental pavers and terrazzo workers worked for specialty trade contractors who install decorative floors and wall panels. Less than 5 percent of cement masons, concrete finishers, seg­ mental pavers, and terrazzo workers were self-employed, a smaller proportion than in other building trades. Most self-employed masons specialized in small jobs, such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios.  504  Occupational Outlook Handbook  Job Outlook Opportunities for cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers are expected to be good, particularly for those with the most experience and skills. Employers report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills, as many qualified jobseekers often 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 as fast as average for all occupations through 2014. These workers will be needed to build new highways, bridges, factories, and other residential and nonresidential structures to meet the demand of a growing popula­ tion. Additionally, cement masons will be needed to repair and renovate existing highways and bridges, which are deteriorating rapidly, and other aging structures. The increasing use of concrete as a building material, particularly since September 2001, will add to the demand. In addition to job growth, there are expected to be a significant number of retirements over the next decade, which will create more job openings. 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 building activity.  Earnings In May 2004, the median hourly earnings of cement masons and concrete finishers were $15.10. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $11.76 and $20.11. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $9.53, and the top 10 percent earned over $25.89. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of cement masons and concrete finishers in May 2004 were as follows: Residential building construction................................................... $16.28 Nonresidential building construction.............................................. 15.91 Other specialty trade contractors.................................................... 15.58 Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... 14.98 Highway, street, and bridge construction........................................ 14.86  construct buildings, highways, and other structures. Other occupa­ tions 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 general information about cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, contact: ► National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171 -3499. Internet: http://www.ncma.org >- Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Divi­ sion, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org >- Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 2300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. 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 >- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, 50 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org >- Operative Plasterers’ and Ceme'nt 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. >- National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org >■ Portland Cement Association, 5420 Old Orchard Rd„ Skokie, IL 60077. Internet: http://www.cement.org For information about apprenticeships and work opportuni­ ties, contact local concrete or terrazzo contractors, locals of unions previously mentioned, a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. You may also check the U.S. Department of Labor’s Website for information on apprenticeships and links to State apprenticeship programs. Internet: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat  Construction and Building Inspectors (Q*NET 47-4011.00)  In May 2004, the median hourly earnings of terrazzo workers and finishers were $13.45. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.44 and $19.57. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $9.07, and the top 10 percent earned over $25.72. Like those of other construction trades workers, earnings of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers may be reduced on occasion because poor weather and slowdowns in construction activity limit the amount of time they can work. Nonunion workers generally have lower wage rates than union workers. Apprentices usually start at 50 to 60 percent of the rate paid to experienced workers. Cement masons often work overtime, with premium pay, because once concrete has been placed, the job must be completed. Some cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers belong to unions, mainly the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. A few terrazzo workers belong to the United Brother­ hood of Carpenters and Joiners of the United States.  Related Occupations Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrafczo combine skill with knowledge of building materials to Digitizedworkers for FRASER https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Significant Points •  About 45 percent of inspectors worked for local governments, primarily municipal or county building departments.  •  Many home inspectors are self-employed.  •  Opportunities should be best for experienced construc­ tion supervisors and craftworkers who have some col­ lege education, engineering or architectural training, or certification as construction inspectors or plan examin­  •  ers. Home inspection has become a standard practice in the home-purchasing process, creating more opportunities for home inspectors.  Nature of the Work Construction and building inspectors examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other struc­ tures to ensure that their construction, alteration, or repair complies with building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. Building codes and standards are the primary means  Construction Trades and Related Workers by which building construction is regulated in the United States for the health and safety of the general public. National model build­ ing codes are published by the International Code Council (ICC), although many localities have additional ordinances and codes that modify or add to the National model codes. To monitor compliance with regulations, inspectors make an initial inspection during the first phase of construction and follow up with further inspections throughout the construction project. 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 regulations designed to protect structures and occupants during those events. There are many types of inspectors. Building inspectors inspect the structural quality and general safety of buildings. Some special­ ize in such areas as structural steel orreinforced-concrete structures. Before construction begins, plan examiners determine whether the plans for the building or other structure comply with building code regulations and whether they are suited to the engineering and en­ vironmental demands of the building site. To inspect the condition of the soil and the positioning and depth of the footings, inspectors visit the worksite before the foundation is poured. 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 at which it proceeds toward completion, determine the number of other site visits they must make. Upon completion of the project, they make a final, comprehensive inspection. In addition to structural characteristics, a primary concern of building inspectors is fire safety. They inspect structures’ fire sprin­ klers, alarms, smoke control systems, fire exits. Inspectors assess the type of construction, contents of the building, adequacy of fire protection equipment, and risks posed by adjoining buildings. Electrical inspectors examine the installation of electrical systems and equipment to ensure that they function properly and comply with electrical codes and standards. They visit worksites to inspect new and existing sound and security systems, wiring, lighting, motors, and generating equipment. They also inspect the installation of the electrical wiring for heating and air-conditioning systems, 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. Home inspectors conduct inspections of newly built or previ­ ously owned homes, condominiums, town homes, manufactured homes, residential-unit living (apartments), and at times commercial buildings. Home inspection has become a standard practice in the home-purchasing process. Typically, home inspectors are hired by prospective home buyers to inspect and report on the condi­ tion of a home’s systems, components, and structure. Although they look for and report violations of building codes, they do not have the power to enforce compliance with the codes. Typically, are hired either immediately prior to a purchase offer on a home or as a contingency to a sales contract. In addition to examining structural quality, home inspectors inspect all home systems and features, including roofing as well as the exterior, site, attached garage or carport, foundation, interior, plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems. Some home inspections are done for homeowners who want an evaluation of their home’s condition or as a way to diagnose problems. 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  505  Plumbing inspectors examine plumbing systems, including private disposal systems, water supply and distribution systems, plumbing 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 inspectors may specialize in highways, structural steel, reinforced concrete, or ditches. Others specialize in dredging operations required for bridges and dams or for harbors. The owner of a building or structure under construction employs specification inspectors to ensure that work is done according to design specifications. Specification inspectors represent the owner’s interests, not those of the general public. Insurance companies and financial institutions also may use the services of specification inspectors. Details concerning construction projects, building and occupancy permits, and other documentation generally are stored on computers so that they can easily be retrieved, kept accurate, and be 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 permits issued, and some can access all construction and building codes from their computers on the jobsite, decreasing the need for paper binders. However, many inspectors continue to use a paper checklist to detail their findings. Although inspections are primarily visual, inspectors may use tape measures, survey instruments, metering devices, and equipment such as concrete strength measurers. They keep a log of their work, take photographs, and file reports. Many inspectors also use laptops or other portable electronic devices onsite to facilitate the accuracy of their written reports, as well as e-mail and fax machines to send  mm  About 45 percent of all construction and building inspectors work for local governments, while many home inspectors are selfemployed.  506  Occupational Outlook Handbook  out the results. If necessary, they act on their findings. For example, government and construction inspectors notify the construction con­ tractor, superintendent, or supervisor when they discover a violation of a code or ordinance or something that does not comply with the contract specifications or approved plans. If the problem is not cor­ rected within a reasonable or otherwise specified period, government inspectors 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, construction, and use of buildings. They direct violators of permit laws to obtain permits and to submit to inspection.  Working Conditions Construction and building inspectors usually work alone. However, several may be assigned to large, complex projects, particularly because inspectors tend to specialize in different areas of construc­ tion. 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. Many construction sites are dirty and may be cluttered with tools, materials, or debris. Inspectors may have to climb ladders or many flights of stairs or crawl around in tight spaces. Although their work generally is not considered hazardous, inspectors, like other construction workers, wear hardhats and adhere to other safety requirements 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, inspectors must respond immediately and may work additional hours to complete their report. Nongovernment inspectors—especially those who are self-employed—may have a varied work schedule, at times working evenings and weekends.  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. Home inspectors combine a knowledge of multiple specialties, so many of them have a combination of certifications, as well as previous experience in various construc­ tion trades. For example, many inspectors previously worked as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, or pipefitters. Because inspectors must possess the right mix of technical knowledge, experience, and education, employers prefer applicants who have both formal training and experience. Most employers require at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, even for workers with considerable experience. More often, employers look for persons who have studied engineering or architecture or who have a degree from a community or junior college with courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technol­ ogy, drafting, and mathematics. Many community colleges offer certificate or associate’s degree programs in building inspection technology. Courses in blueprint reading, algebra, geometry, and English also are useful. A growing number of construction and building inspectors are entering the occupation with a college degree, which often can substitute for previous experience. Construction and building inspectors must be in good physical condition in order to walk and climb about construction and building sites. They also must have a driver’s license, so that they can get to scheduled appointments.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The level of training requirements varies by type of inspector and State. In general, construction and building inspectors receive much of their training on the job, although they must learn building codes and standards on their own. Working with an experienced inspector, they learn about inspection techniques; codes, ordinances, and regulations; contract specifications; and recordkeeping and reporting duties. Supervised onsite inspections also may be a part of the training. Other requirements can include various courses and assigned reading. Some courses and instructional material are available online as well as through formal venues. An engineer­ ing or architectural degree often is required for advancement to supervisory positions. Most States and local jurisdictions require some type of certification for employment. Even if not required, certification can enhance an inspector’s opportunities for employment and advancement to more responsible positions. To become certified, inspectors with substantial experience and education must pass examinations on code requirements, construction techniques and materials, standards of practice, and codes of ethics. The Inter­ national Code Council (ICC) offers multiple voluntary certifica­ tions, as do other professional associations. Many categories of certification are awarded for inspectors and plan examiners in a variety of specialties, including the Certified Building Official (CBO) certification, for code compliance, and the Residential Building Inspector (RBI) certification, for home inspectors. In a few cases, there are no education or experience prerequisites, and certification consists of passing an examination in a designated field either at a regional location or online. In addition, Federal, State, and many local governments may require inspectors to pass a civil service exam. Being a member of a nationally recognized inspection association enhances employment opportunities and may be required by some employers. Because they advise builders and the general public on build­ ing codes, construction practices, and technical developments, construction and building inspectors must keep abreast of changes in these areas. Continuing education is imperative and is required by many States and certifying organizations. Numerous employ­ ers provide formal training to broaden inspectors’ knowledge of construction materials, practices, and techniques. Inspectors who work for small agencies or firms that do not conduct their own 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 and conferences sponsored by various related organizations, such as the ICC.  Employment Construction and building inspectors held about 94,000 jobs in 2004. Local governments—primarily municipal or county building departments—employed 45 percent. Employment of local govern­ ment inspectors is concentrated in cities and in suburban areas un­ dergoing rapid growth. Local governments employ large inspection staffs, including many plan examiners or inspectors who specialize in structural steel, reinforced concrete, and boiler, electrical, and elevator inspection. Another 25 percent of construction and building inspectors worked for architectural and engineering services firms, conducting inspec­ tions for a fee or on a contract basis. Many of these were home inspectors working on behalf of potential real estate purchasers. Most of the remaining inspectors were employed in other service-providing industries or by State governments. About 1 in 10 construction and building inspectors was self-employed. Since many home inspectors are self-employed, it is likely that most self-employed construction and building inspectors were home inspectors.  Construction Trades and Related Workers  Job Outlook Job opportunities in construction and building inspection should be best for those highly experienced supervisors and construction craft workers who have some college education, engineering or architectural training, or certification as inspectors or plan exam­ iners. 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 faster than the average for most occupations through 2014. Concern for public safety and a desire for improvement in the quality of construction should continue to stimulate demand for construction and building inspectors in government as well as in firms special­ izing in architectural, engineering, and related services. Inspectors are involved in all phases of construction, including maintenance and repair work, and are therefore less likely to lose their jobs when new construction slows during recessions. In addition to openings stemming from 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. The routine practice of obtaining home inspections is a rela­ tively recent development, causing employment of home inspec­ tors to increase rapidly. Although employment of home inspectors is expected to continue to increase, the attention given to this specialty, combined with the desire of some construction workers to move into less strenuous and potentially higher paying work, may result in competition in some areas. In addition, increasing State regulations are starting to limit entry into the specialty only to those who have a given level of previous experience and are certified.  Earnings Median annual earnings of construction and building inspectors were $43,670 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,620 and $54,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,760, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,380. Me­ dian annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of construction and building inspectors in May 2004 were: Local government......................................................................... $43,960 Architectural, engineering, and related services.......................... 43,880 State government ......................................................................... 39,310 Building inspectors, including plan examiners, generally earn the highest salaries. Salaries in large metropolitan areas are substantially higher than those in small jurisdictions.  Related Occupations Because construction and building inspectors are familiar with construction principles, the most closely related occupations are construction occupations, especially carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. Construction and building inspectors also combine knowledge of construction principles and law with an ability to coordinate data, diagnose problems, and communicate with people. Workers in other occupations using a similar combination of skills include architects, except landscape and naval; appraisers and as­ sessors of real estate; construction managers; civil engineers; cost estimators; 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: >- International Code Council, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Falls Church, VAFRASER 22041. Internet: http://www.iccsafe.org Digitized for https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  507  For more information about constmction inspectors, contact: ► Association of Construction Inspectors, 1224 North Nokomis N.E., Alexandria, MN 56308. Internet: http://www.iami.org/aci/home.cfm For more information about training and requirements for electri­ cal inspectors, contact: >- International Association of Electrical Inspectors, 901 Waterfall Way, Suite 602, Richardson, TX 75080-7702. Internet: http://www.iaei.org For information about becoming a home inspector, contact any of the following organizations: ► American Society of Home Inspectors, 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Internet: http://www.ashi.org >• Housing Inspection Foundation, 1224 North Nokomis N.E., Alexandria, MN 56308. Internet: http://www.iami.org/hif.cfm >- National Association of Home Inspectors, 4248 Park Glen Rd., Min­ neapolis, MN 55416. Internet: http://www.nahi.org For information about a career as a State or local government con­ struction or building inspector, contact your State or local employment 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 em­ ployment growing about as fast as the average for all occupations.  •  Hourly pay is relatively high, but some construction equipment operators cannot work in inclement weather, so total annual earnings may be reduced.  Nature of the Work Constmction equipment operators use machinery to move constmction materials, earth, and other heavy materials at constmction sites, mines, and sometimes your back yard. They operate equipment that clears and grades land to prepare it for constmction of roads, buildings, and neighborhoods. They dig trenches to lay or repair sewer and other pipelines, and they hoist heavy constmction materials. They may even work offshore constructing oil rigs. Constmction equipment operators also operate machinery that applies asphalt and concrete to roads and other stmetures. Operators control equipment by moving levers or foot pedals, operating switches, or turning dials. The operation of much of this equipment is becoming more complex as a result of computerized controls. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology also is be­ ing used to help with grading and leveling activities. In addition to controlling the equipment, construction equipment operators also set up and inspect the equipment, make adjustments, and perform some maintenance and minor repairs. Constmction equipment operators include: paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators; piledriver operators; and operating engineers and other constmction equipment operators. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators operate one or several types of power constmction equipment. They may operate excavation and loading machines equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets that dig sand, gravel, earth, or similar materials and load it into tmeks or onto conveyors. In addition to the familiar bulldozers, they operate trench excavators, road graders, and similar equipment. Sometimes, they may drive and control industrial tmeks  508  Occupational Outlook Handbook  or tractors equipped with forklifts or booms for lifting materials or with hitches for pulling trailers. They also may operate and maintain air compressors, pumps, and other power equipment at construc­ tion sites. Construction equipment operators who are classified as operating engineers are capable of operating several different 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 paving machine operators turn valves to regulate the temperature and flow of asphalt onto the roadbed. They must take care that the machine distributes the paving material evenly and without voids, and 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 equipment 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, mount­ ed 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 building 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, some types of construction operations must be suspended in winter. Also, during periods of extremely wet weather grading and leveling activities can be difficult to perform and may be suspended. Bulldozers, scrapers, and especially tampers and piledrivers are noisy and shake or jolt the operator. Operating heavy construction equipment can be dangerous. As with most machinery, accidents generally can be avoided by observing proper operating procedures and safety practices. Construction equipment operators  — .r  dK «—  I HF | ■  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Construction equipment operators usually learn their skills on the job. They may start by operating light equipment under the guid­ ance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment, such as bulldozers and cranes. However, it is generally accepted that formal training provides more comprehensive skills. Some construction equipment operators train in formal operating en­ gineer apprenticeship programs administered by union-management committees of the International 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-thc-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 computer­ ized controls and improved hydraulics and electronics, requiring more skill to operate. 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 equip­ ment, 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 programs may help a person get a job as a trainee or apprentice. However, persons considering such training should check the school’s reputation among employers in the area and find out if it offers the opportunity to work on actual machines in realistic situations. Operators need to be in good physical condition and have a good sense of balance, the ability to judge distance, and eye-hand-foot coordination. Some operator positions require the ability to work at heights.  Employment  ■„ 3*  mm  Construction equipment operators use machinery to move construction materials, earth, and other heavy materials at construction sites.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 remote locations on large construction projects, such as highways and dams, or in factory or mining operations.  Construction equipment operators held about 449,000jobs in 2004. Jobs were found in every section of the country and were distributed among various types of operators as follows: Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 382,000 Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators.................. 63,000 Pile-driver operators...................................................................... 4,400 About three out of five 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 manufacturing and for utility companies. Less than one in twenty construction equipment operators were self-employed.  Construction Trades and Related Workers  509  Job Outlook  Sources of Additional Information  Job opportunities for construction equipment operators are expected to be good through 2014. Some potential workers may choose not to enter training programs because they prefer work that 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 2014 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 business growth create a need for new houses, industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, offices, and other structures. More construction equip­ ment operators also will be needed as a result of expected growth in highway, bridge, and street construction. Bridge construction is expected to grow the fastest, due to the need to repair or replace structures before they become unsafe. Highway conditions also will spur demand for highway maintenance and repair. In addition to job growth, many job openings will arise because of the need to replace experienced construction equipment operators who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the job for other reasons. 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.  For further information about apprenticeships or work opportuni­ ties for construction equipment operators, contact a local of the International 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, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org >■ Associated General Contractors of America, 2300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org >• International Union of Operating Engineers, 1125 17th St. NW., Wash­ ington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.iuoe.org  Construction Laborers (0*NET 47-2061.00)  Significant Points •  Job opportunities should be good.  •  With training and experience, construction laborers can move into other skilled craft occupations.  •  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.  Earnings Earnings for construction equipment operators vary. In May 2004, median hourly earnings of operating engineers and other construc­ tion equipment operators were $17.00. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.19 and $23.00. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.98, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $29.34. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of operating engineers in May 2004 were:  Nature of the Work Highway, street, and bridge construction........................................ $19.20 Utility system constmction............................................................. 18.13 Other specialty trade contractors...........................................................  17.73  Local government .......................................................................... State government............................................................................  15.20 13.52  Median hourly earnings of paving, surfacing, and tamping equip­ ment operators were $14.42 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.35 and $19.30. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.47, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.51. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest num­ bers of paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators in May 2004 were as follows: Other specialty trade contractors.................................................... $15.03 Highway, street, and bridge construction........................................ 14.56 Local government .......................................................................... 13.70 In May 2004, median hourly earnings of piledriver operators were $21.29. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.50 and $30.23. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.78, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.04. 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.  Related Occupations Other workers who operate mechanical equipment include: agricul­ tural equipment operators; truck drivers, heavy and tractor trailer; logging equipment operators; and a variety of material moving occupations.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction laborers can be found on almost all construction sites performing a wide range of tasks from the very easy to the poten­ tially hazardous. They can be found at building, highway, and heavy construction sites; tunnel and shaft excavations; and demolition sites. Many of the jobs they perform require physical strength and some training and experience. Other jobs require little skill and can be learned in a short amount of time. While most construction laborers tend to specialize in a type of construction, such as highway or tunnel construction, they are generalists who perform many different tasks during all stages of construction. However, construction laborers who work in underground construction, such as in tunnels, or in demolition are more likely to specialize in only those areas. Construction laborers clean and prepare construction sites, which may require them to remove asbestos or lead-based paint from build­ ings. Laborers also remove trees and debris, tend pumps, compressors and generators, and build forms for pouring concrete. They erect and disassemble scaffolding and other temporary structures. They load, unload, identify, and distribute building materials to the appropriate location according to project plans and specifications. Laborers 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 laborers often help other craftworkers, including carpenters, plasterers, operating engineers, and masons. Construction laborers are responsible for oversight of the installation and maintenance of traffic control devices and patterns. At heavy and highway construction sites, this work may include clearing and prepar­ ing highway work zones and rights of way; installing traffic barricades, cones, and markers; and controlling traffic passing near, in, and around work zones. They also dig trenches, install sewer, water, and storm  510  Occupational Outlook Handbook  drain pipes, and place concrete and asphalt on roads. Other highly specialized tasks include operating laser guidance equipment to place pipes, operating air, electric, and pneumatic drills, and transporting 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 familiar 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.  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. Some laborers may be exposed to lead-based paint, asbestos, or other hazardous substances during their work especially when working in confined spaces. 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 underground 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 are common. Overnight work may be required when working on highways. Construction laborers may work only during certain seasons in certain parts of the country. They may also experi­ ence weather-related work stoppages at any time of the year.  52  mm  TVaining, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many construction laborer jobs require few skills, but others require specialized training and experience. Many workers enter the occupation with few skills by obtaining a job with a contractor who will then provide on-the-job training. Entry-level workers generally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. A growing route of entry is through temporary help agencies that send laborers to construction sites for short-term work. Beginning laborers perform routine tasks, such as cleaning and preparing the worksite and unloading materials. When the opportunity arises, they learn from experienced construction trades workers how to do more difficult tasks, such as operating tools and equipment. During this time, the construction laborer may elect to attend a trade or vocational school, or community college to receive further trade-related training. The most skilled laborers usually have more formalized train­ ing. Some employers, particularly large nonresidential construc­ tion contractors with union membership, offer employees formal apprenticeships. These programs include between 2 and 4 years of classroom and on-the-job training. 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: Building construc­ tion; heavy/highway construction; and environmental remediation, such as lead or asbestos abatement, and mold or hazardous waste remediation. Workers who use dangerous equipment or handle toxic chemicals usually receive specialized training in safety awareness and procedures. Apprenticeship applicants usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. Be­ cause the number of apprenticeship programs is limited, however, only a small proportion of laborers learn their trade through these programs. High school classes in English, mathematics, physics, me­ chanical drawing, blueprint reading, welding, and general shop are recommended. Laborers need manual dexterity, eye-hand coordi­ nation, good physical fitness, an ability to work as a member of a team, and a good sense of balance. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, a good work history or military service is viewed favorably by contractors. Computer skills also are important for advancement as construction becomes increasingly mechanized and computerized. Through training and experience, laborers can move into other construction occupations. Laborers may also advance to become construction supervisors or general contractors. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in order to relay instruc­ tions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Supervisors and contractors need good English skills in order to deal with clients and subcon­ tractors. Supervisors and contractors should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete a job, and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and at what cost.  Employment .. s  ■BIB  Construction laborers can be found on almost all construction sites performing a wide range of tasks from simple to potentially hazardous.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction laborers held about 1 million jobs in 2004. They worked throughout the country but, like the general population, were concentrated in metropolitan areas. Most construction labor­ ers work in the construction industry and almost one-third work for special trade contractors. About 15 percent were self-employed in 2004.  Construction Trades and Related Workers  Job Outlook Employment of construction laborers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014 as the construction industry in general grows more slowly than it has in the recent past. However, job opportunities are expected to be good due to the numerous openings that rise each year as labor­ ers leave the occupation. Opportunities will be best for those with experience and specialized skills, and for those willing to relocate to areas with new construction projects. Opportunities will also be good for laborers specializing in lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials removal. Although construction will continue to grow, construction laborer jobs will be adversely affected by automation as some jobs are replaced by new machines and equipment that improve productiv­ ity and quality. Also, laborers will be increasingly employed by staffing agencies that will contract laborers out to employers on a temporary basis. Employment of construction laborers, like that of many other construction workers, can be variable or intermittent due to the limited 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 open­ ings for construction laborers decrease as the level of construction activity declines.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of construction laborers in May 2004 were $12.10. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.47 and $16.88. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.71, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.61. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of construction laborers in May 2004 were as follows: • Highway, street, and bridge construction........................................ $13.55 Nonresidential building construction.............................................. 12.94 Other specialty trade contractors.................................................... 12.43 Residential building construction................................................... 12.18 Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors............... 11.90 Earnings for construction laborers can be reduced by poor weather or by downturns in construction activity, which some­ times result in layoffs. Apprentices or helpers usually start at about 50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers. Pay increases as apprentices 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 physi­ cal work include persons in material-moving occupations; forest, conservation, 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 information on education programs for laborers, contact: >- Laborers-AGO Education and Training Fund, 37 Deerfield Road, P.O. Box 37, Pomfret Center, CT 06259. Internet: http://www.laborerslearn.org >- National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  511  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 by starting as helpers to more experienced workers; additional class­ room instruction may also be needed.  •  Job prospects are expected to be good.  •  Inclement weather seldom interrupts work, but work­ ers 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 in­ side framework of residential houses and other buildings. Tapers or finishers, 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 paper 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 im­ perfections 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 materials to ceilings and walls of buildings to reduce reflection of sound or to decorate rooms. First, they measure and mark the surface according to blueprints and drawings. Then, they nail or screw moldings 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 cement adhesive to the back of the tile and then pressing the tile into place, or by nailing, screwing, stapling, or wire-tying the lath directly to the structural framework. Lathers also are included in this occupation. Lathers fasten metal orrockboard lath to walls, ceilings, and partitions of buildings. Lath forms the support base for plaster, fireproofing, or acoustical materi­ als. At one time, lath was made of wooden strips. Now, lathers work  512  Occupational Outlook Handbook  After the drywall is installed, tapers fill joints between panels with a joint compound. 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, lathers 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 strenuous. 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 working with sharp materials. Because sanding a joint compound to a smooth finish creates a great deal of dust, some finishers wear masks for protection.  to obtain a job with a contractor who will then provide on-the-job training. Entry-level workers generally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. During this time, employers may send the employee to a trade or vocational school, or community college to receive further classroom training. Some employers, particularly large nonresidential construction contractors with union membership, offer employees formal appren­ ticeships. These programs combine on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Usually, apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. 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 drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade through these programs. Other jobseekers may choose to obtain their classroom training before seeking a job. There are a number of public and private vocational-technical schools and training academies affiliated with the unions and contractors that offer training to become a drywall installer, ceiling tile installer, and taper. Employers often look fa­ vorably upon these students and usually start them at a higher level than those without the training. Installer helpers start by carrying materials, lifting and holding panels, and cleaning up debris. They also learn to use the tools, machines, equipment, and materials of the trade. Within a few weeks, they learn to measure, cut, and install materials. Eventu­ ally, they become fully experienced workers. Tapers learn their job by taping joints and touching up nail holes, scrapes, and other imperfections. They soon learn to install corner 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. Training for this profession can begin in a high school, where classes in English, math, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and general shop are recommended. Some skills needed to become a drywall installer, ceiling tile installer, and taper include manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, good physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, a good work history or military service is viewed favorably by contractors. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers may ad­ vance to carpentry supervisor or general construction supervisor positions. Others may become independent contractors. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in order to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Hispanic workers who want to advance should learn English. Supervisors and contractors nee'd good English skills in order to deal with clients and subcontractors. They also should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete a job, and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and at what cost.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade through formal and informal training programs. To become a skilled drywall installer, ceiling tile installer, or taper, between 3 and 4 years of both classroom and on-the-job training may be required, but many of the skills can be learned within the first year. While there arc a number of different ways to obtain this training, in general the more formalized the process, the more skilled the individual becomes, and the more in demand they are by employers. There are a number of different avenues that one can take to obtain the necessary training. The most common entry route is  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers held about 196,000 jobs in 2004. Most worked for contractors specializing in drywall and ceiling tile installation; others worked for contractors doing many kinds of construction. About 43,000 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.  Construction Trades and Related Workers  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 more slowly than average for all occupations over the 2004-14 period reflecting the number of new construction and remodeling projects. In addition to jobs involving traditional interior work, drywall workers will find em­ ployment 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 install­ ers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers with limited skills leave the occupation 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 between construction projects and during downturns in construction activity.  Earnings In May 2004, the median hourly earnings of drywall and ceil­ ing tile installers were $16.36. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.59 and $21.82. The lowest 10 percent earned les