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Office and Administrative Support Occupations 601  Computer Operators (0*NET 43-9011.00)  Significant Points  •  •  •  Computer operators are projected to be among the most rapidly declining occupations over the 2006-16 decade because advances in technology are making the duties traditionally performed by computer opera­ tors 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 for­ mal computer education, are familiar with a variety of operating systems, and keep up with the latest tech­ nology.  Nature of the Work Computer operators oversee the operation of computer hard­ ware systems, ensuring that these machines are used as ef­ ficiently and securely as possible. They may work with main­ frames, minicomputers, or networks of personal computers. Computer operators must anticipate problems and take pre­ ventive action, as well as solve problems that occur during operations. The duties of computer operators vary with the size of the installation, 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 program-  WUUL  —V i.  -7 iff I.;-' 1:vv  !  ,  Computer operators monitor computer systems and watch for potential problems.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  mers, 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—computer operators monitor the control console and respond to operating and computer messages. Messages indicate the individual specifications of each job being run. If an error message occurs, operators must locate and solve the problem or terminate the program. Operators also maintain logbooks or operating records that list each job run and events that occur during their shift, such as machine malfunctions. Other computer operators perform and monitor routine tasks, such as tape backup, virus checking, software upgrading, and basic maintenance. In addition, computer op­ erators may help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs. A greater number of computer operators are working on personal computers (PCs) and minicomputers, as the num­ ber and complexity of computer networks continues to grow. In many offices, factories, and other work settings, PCs and minicomputers are connected in networks, often referred to as local area networks (LANs) or multi-user systems. While us­ ers in the area operate some of these computers, many require the services of full-time operators. The tasks they perform on PCs and minicomputers are very similar to those performed on large computers and include trying to keep the computer networks secure. As organizations continue to look for opportunities to in­ crease productivity, many tasks formerly performed by com­ puter operators are now being automated. New software en­ ables computers to perform many routine tasks, formerly done by computer operators, without human interaction. Schedul­ ing, loading, and downloading programs, mounting tapes, re­ routing messages, and running periodic reports can be done without the intervention of an operator. As technology ad­ vances, the responsibilities of many computer operators are shifting to areas such as network operations, user support, and database maintenance. Work environment. Computer operators generally work in well-lit, ventilated, comfortable rooms. Because many orga­ nizations 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 automated operations will lessen the need for shift work because many companies can let the computer take over operations during less desirable work­ ing hours. In addition, 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 prob­ lems for the next shift. Because computer operators generally spend a lot of time in front of a computer monitor and perform repetitive tasks such as loading and unloading printers, they may be susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.  602 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Computer operators........................................... ....................................  SOC Code  Employment, 2006  43-9011  130,000  Projected employment, 2016 98,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -32,000 -25  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Job Outlook  Computer operators generally require a high school degree and are trained by employers on the job. Most computer operators expect to advance to other positions in the information technol­ ogy field within a few years. Education and training. Computer operators usually receive on-the-job training 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 key to obtaining an operator job in many large establishments. Employers generally look for specific, handson experience with the type of equipment and related operat­ ing systems they use. Additionally, formal computer training, perhaps through a community college or technical school, can be useful. 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, employers will increasingly require candidates for operator jobs to have formal training and related experience. Other qualifications. Computer technology changes so rapidly that operators must be adaptable and willing to learn. Operators who work in automated data centers also need ana­ lytical and technical expertise to deal with unique or high-level problems that a computer is not programmed to handle. Oper­ ators must be able to communicate well and to work effectively with programmers, users, and other operators. Computer op­ erators also must be able to work independently because they may have little or no direct supervision. Advancement. Some computer operators may advance to supervisory jobs, although most management positions within data processing or computer operations centers require ad­ vanced formal education, such as a bachelor’s or graduate de­ gree. Computer operators may advance to jobs in areas such as network operations or support through on-the-job experi­ ence and additional formal education. As they gain experience in programming, some operators may advance to jobs as pro­ grammers or analysts, but a move into these types of jobs is becoming much more difficult because employers increasingly require at least a bachelor’s degree for more skilled computer jobs.  Computer operators continue to be one of the occupations with the most rapidly declining employment. Although computers are increasingly prevalent in the workplace, improved software and automation of many systems are quickly reducing the need for this occupation. Some job openings may, nevertheless, be available to replace workers who leave the occupation. Employment change. Employment of computer operators is projected to decline by 25 percent because advances in tech­ nology are making obsolete many of the duties traditionally performed by these workers. Technological advances have reduced both the size and cost of computer equipment while increasing the capacity for data storage and processing auto­ mation. Sophisticated computer hardware and software are now used in practically every industry in such areas as factory and office automation, telecommunications, health care, edu­ cation, and government. The expanding use of software that automates computer operations gives companies the option of making systems more efficient, but greatly reduces the need for operators. Such improvements require operators to moni­ tor a greater number of operations at the same time and solve 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. Opera­ tors who keep up with changing technology by updating their skills through additional training should have the best pros­ pects of moving into other areas such as network administra­ tion and technical support. Others may be retrained to perform different job duties, such as supervising an operations center, maintaining automation packages, or analyzing computer op­ erations to recommend ways to increase productivity. In the future, operators who wish to take advantage of changing job opportunities in the computer field will need to know more about programming, automation software, graphics interface, client-server environments, and open systems. Job prospects. Experienced operators are expected to face competition 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, familiarity with a variety of operating systems, and knowledge of the latest technology.  Employment Computer operators held about 130,000 jobs in 2006. Jobs are found in various industries such as government, health care, manufacturing, data processing services and other information industries, and finance and insurance. They are also employed by some firms in computer systems design and related services as more companies contract out their data processing opera­ tions.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings Median annual earnings of computer operators were $33,560 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,990 and $43,060 per year. The highest 10 percent earned more than $51,970, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,510.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 603  Related Occupations Other occupations involving work with computers include com­ puter software engineers; computer programmers; computer support specialists and systems administrators; computer sys­ tems analysts, and computer scientists and database administra­ tors. Other occupations in which workers operate electronic office equipment include data entry and information processing workers and secretaries and administrative assistants.  Sources of Additional Information  *'  For information about work opportunities in computer opera­ tions, 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 •  For many people, a job as a data entry and information processing worker is their first job after high school.  •  Although overall employment is projected to decline, the need to replace workers who leave this large oc­ cupation each year should produce job openings.  •  Job prospects should be best for those with expertise in appropriate computer software applications and who meet company requirements for keyboarding speed.  Nature of the Work Organizations need to process a rapidly growing amount of in­ formation. 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.” Data entry and information processing workers are known by various other titles, including word processors, typists, and data entry keyers, and less commonly, electronic data processors, keypunch technicians, and transcribers. Word processors and typists usually set up and prepare re­ ports, letters, mailing labels, and other text material. As entrylevel workers, 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 in­ dependent judgment. Senior word processors may work with highly technical material, plan and key complicated statistical tables, combine and rearrange materials from different sources, or prepare master copies.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Data entry and information processing workers rely on comput­ ers to do their work. Most keyboarding is now done on computers that normal­ ly are connected to a monitor, keyboard, and printer and may have “add-on” capabilities, such as optical character recogni­ tion readers. Word processors use this equipment to record, edit, store, and revise letters, memos, reports, statistical tables, forms, and other printed materials. Although it is becoming less common, some word processing workers are employed on centralized word processing teams that handle transcription and keying for several departments. In addition to fulfilling the duties mentioned above, word processors often perform other office tasks, such as answering telephones, filing, and operating copiers or other office ma­ chines. 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 standard 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 information, or proofread new entries into a database for accuracy. Some examples of data sources include custom­ ers’ 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 use it.  604 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Keyers use various types of equipment to enter data. Many use a machine that converts the information they type to mag­ netic impulses on tapes or disks for entry into a computer sys­ tem. Others prepare materials for printing or publication by using data entry composing software. Some keyers operate online terminals or personal computers. Increasingly, data en­ try keyers work 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. Work environment. Data entry and information processing workers usually work a standard 40-hour week in clean offices. They sit for long periods and sometimes must contend with high noise levels caused by various office machines. These workers are susceptible to repetitive strain injuries such as car­ pal tunnel syndrome, neck and back injuries, and eyestrain. To help prevent these conditions, many offices have adopted regu­ larly scheduled breaks, ergonomically designed keyboards, and workstations that allow workers to stand or sit as they wish. Some workers in this occupation 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 being able to produce printed copy in their offices.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many data entry and information processing workers are hired right out of high school. Most training occurs on the job, and can be learned in a short period of time. Education and training. Employers generally hire high school graduates who meet their requirements for accuracy and keyboarding speed. Increasingly, employers also expect ap­ plicants 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 software in high schools, community colleges, business schools, temporary help agencies, or self-teaching aids such as books, tapes, and Internet tutorials. Advancement. For many people, a job as a data entry and information processing worker is their first job after high school or after a period of full-time family responsibilities. This work frequently serves as a steppingstone to higher paying jobs with increased responsibilities. Large companies and government  agencies usually have training programs to help administra­ tive employees upgrade their skills and advance to higher level positions. It is common for data entry and information pro­ cessing 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 492,000 jobs in 2006 and were employed in virtually every sec­ tor of the economy. Of the data entry and information process­ ing workers, 313,000 were data entry keyers and 179,000 were word processors and typists. About 1 out of 5 data entry and information processing work­ ers held jobs in firms providing administrative and support ser­ vices, including temporary help and word processing agencies, and another 15 percent worked for State or local government.  Job Outlook Although employment of data entry and information processing workers is expected to decline, job prospects will be favorable for those who have good technical skills, familiarity with office equipment, and keyboarding speed and accuracy. Employment change. Overall employment of data entry and information processing workers is projected to moderately de­ cline by 7 percent through the year 2016. Although data entry and information processing workers are affected by productiv­ ity gains stemming from organizational restructuring and the implementation of new technologies, projected employment change 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 typ­ ists. Most professionals and managers, for example, now use desktop 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 prevalent. 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 elec­ tronically. These networks will permit more data to be entered  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Data entry and information processing workers Data entry keyers............................................. Word processors and typists............................  soc  Code 43-9020 43-9021 43-9022  Employment, 2006 492,000 313,000 179,000  Projected employment, 2016 457,000 299,000 158,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -35,000 -7 -15,000 -5 -21,000 -12  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 605  automatically into computers, reducing the demand for data en­ try keyers. In addition to being affected by technology, employment of data entry and information processing workers will be ad­ versely affected by businesses that are increasingly contract­ ing 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 em­ ploy workers in nations with relatively lower wages. As inter­ national 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. Job prospects. The need to replace workers 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 tech­ nical skills—in particular, expertise in appropriate computer software applications. Data entry and information processing workers must be willing to upgrade their skills continuously in order to remain marketable.  formation processing workers also must be comfortable work­ ing with office technology, and in this regard they are similar to court reporters, medical records and health information techni­ cians, secretaries and administrative assistants, and computer operators.  Sources of Additional Information For information about job opportunities for data entry and in­ formation processing workers, contact the nearest office of the State employment service. For information related to administrative occupations, includ­ ing educational programs and certified designations, contact: y International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW., Ambassador Dr., P.O. Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404. Internet: http://www.iaap-hq.org y American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Internet: http://www.amanet.org  Desktop Publishers (0*NET 43-9031.00)  Earnings Median annual earnings of word processors and typists in May 2006 were $29,430. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $24,180 and $35,950. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,200, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,330. The salaries of these workers vary by industry and by region. In May 2006, median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of word processors and typists were as follows: Local government............................................................... $31,210 Elementary and secondary schools............................................29,960  Federal government............................................................... 29,420 State government....................................................................28,520 Employment services............................................................ 25,220  Significant Points  •  About 35 percent work for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers, while almost 25 per­ cent work in the printing industry.  •  Overall employment is expected to experience little or no change over the 2006-2016 decade.  •  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 Median annual earnings of data entry keyers in May 2006 were $24,690. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,460 and $29,700. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,970. The fol­ lowing are median annual earnings for May 2006 in the indus­ tries employing the largest numbers of data entry keyers: Management, scientific, and technical consulting services........................................................... $25,860 Insurance carriers.................................................................. 25,760 Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services............................................................ 23,600 Data processing, hosting, and related services......................22,680 Employment services............................................................ 22,650  Related Occupations Data entry and information processing workers must transcribe information quickly. Other workers who deliver information in a timely manner are dispatchers, interpreters and translators, and communications equipment operators. Data entry and in­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Desktop publishers use computer software to format and com­ bine text, data, photographs, charts, and other graphic art or il­ lustrations into prototypes of pages and other documents that are to be printed. They then may print the document using a high resolution printer or they may send the materials, either in print form or electronically, to a commercial printer. Examples of materials produced by desktop publishers include books, brochures, calendars, magazines, newsletters and newspapers, packaging, and forms. Desktop publishers typically design and create the graphics that accompany text, convert photographs and illustrations into digital images, and manipulate the text and images to display information in an attractive and readable format. They design page layouts, develop presentations and advertising campaigns, and do color separation of pictures and graphics material. Some desktop publishers may write some of the text or headlines used in newsletters or brochures. They also may translate electron­ ic information onto film or other traditional media if the final product will be sent to an off-set printer. As companies bring the production of marketing, promotional, and other kinds of  606 Occupational Outlook Handbook  materials in-house, they increasingly employ desktop publish­ ers to produce such materials in house. Desktop publishers use a computer and appropriate software to enter and select formatting properties, such as the size and style of type, column width, and spacing. Print formats are stored in the computer and displayed on a computer monitor. Images and text can be rearranged, column widths altered, or material enlarged or reduced. New information, such as charts, pictures, or additional text can be added. Scanners are used to capture photographs, images, or art as digital data that can be either incorporated directly into electronic page layouts or further manipulated with the use of computer software. The desktop publisher can make adjustments or compensate for de­ ficiencies in the original color print or transparency. An en­ tire newspaper, catalog, or book page, complete with artwork and graphics, can be created on the screen exactly as it will appear in print. Digital files are then used to produce printing plates. Like photographers and multimedia artists and anima­ tors, desktop publishers also can create special effects or other visual images using film, video, computers, or other electronic media. (Separate statements on photographers and on artists and related workers appear elsewhere in the Handbook.) Desktop publishing encompasses a number of different kinds of jobs. Personal computers enable desktop publishers to more easily perform many of the design and layout tasks that would otherwise require large and complicated equipment and exten­ sive human effort. Advances in computer software and print­ ing technology continue to enhance desktop publishing work, making desktop publishing more economical and efficient than before. For example, desktop publishers get the material as computer files delivered over the Internet or on a portable disk drive instead of receiving simple typed text and instructions from customers. Other innovations in the occupation include digital color page makeup systems, electronic page layout sys­ tems, and off-press color proofing systems. In addition, most materials are reproduced on the Internet as well as printed; therefore, desktop publishers may need to know electronic pub­ lishing software, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and may be responsible for converting text and graphics to an Internet-ready format. Some desktop publishers may write and edit as well as lay out and design pages. For example, in addition to laying out articles for a newsletter, desktop publishers may be responsible for copyediting content or for writing original content them­ selves. Desktop publisher’s writing and editing responsibili­ ties may vary widely from project to project and employer to employer. Smaller firms typically use desktop publishers to perform a wide range of tasks, while desktop publishers at larger firms may specialize in a certain part of the publishing process. (Writers and editors are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Desktop publishers also may be called publications special­ ists, electronic publishers, DTP operators, desktop publishing editors, electronic prepress technicians, electronic publishing specialists, image designers, typographers, compositors, layout artists, and Web publications designers. The exact name may vary by the specific tasks performed or simply by personal pref­ erence.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Work environment. Desktop publishers usually work in clean, air-conditioned office areas with little noise. They gener­ ally work a standard workweek; however, some may work night shifts, weekends, or holidays depending upon the production schedule for the project or to meet deadlines. These workers 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, desktop publishers may be susceptible to eyestrain, back dis­ comfort, and hand and wrist problems.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most desktop publishers learn their skills by taking classes, completing a certificate program offered on line or through an accredited academic program, or through experience on the job. Experience is the best training and many desktop publishers get started just by experimenting with the software and developing a knack for designing and laying out material for publication. Education and training. There is generally no education­ al requirement for the job of desktop publisher. Most people learn on the job or by taking classes on line or through local learning centers that teach the latest software. For those who are interested in pursuing a career in desktop publishing, an as­ sociate degree or a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts, graphic communications, or graphic design is preferred. Graphic arts programs are a good way to learn about the desktop publishing software used to format pages; assign type characteristics; and import text and graphics into electronic page layouts. The pro­ grams 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, industry-sponsored update and retraining programs, and private trade and technical schools. Other qualifications. 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 commu­ nication skills, basic computer skills, and a strong work ethic. Desktop publishers should be able to deal courteously with people, because they have to interact with customers and cli-  Desktop publishers format and design photographs, art, and data with text for electronic page layouts.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 607  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Desktop publishers........................................... ....................................  SOC Code  Employment, 2006  43-9031  32,000  Projected employment, 2016 32,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 300 1  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  ents and be able to express design concepts and layout options with them. They also may have to do simple math calculations and compute ratios to scale graphics and artwork and estimate job costs. A basic understanding and facility with computers, printers, scanners, and other office equipment and technologies also is needed to work as a desktop publisher. Desktop publishers need good manual dexterity, and they must be able to pay attention to detail and work independently. Good eyesight, including visual acuity, depth perception, a wide field of view, color vision, and the ability to focus quickly also are assets. Artistic ability often is a plus. Employers also seek persons who are even tempered and adaptable—important qualities for workers who often must meet deadlines and learn how to operate new equipment. Advancement. Workers with limited training and experi­ ence assist more experienced staff on projects while they learn the software and gain practical experience. They advance on the basis of their demonstrated mastery of skills. Desktop pub­ lishing software continues to evolve and gain in technological sophistication. As a result, desktop publishers need to keep abreast of the latest developments and how to use new software and equipment. As they gain experience, they may advance to positions with greater responsibility. Some may move into supervisory or management positions. Other desktop publish­ ers may start their own companies or work as independent consultants, while those with more artistic talent and further education may find job opportunities in graphic design or com­ mercial art positions.  Employment Desktop publishers held about 32,000 jobs in 2006. About 35 percent worked for newspaper, periodical, book, and direc­ tory publishers, while 24 percent worked in the printing and related support activities industry. Other desktop publishers work for professional, scientific, and technical services firms and in many other industries that produce printed or published materials. The printing and publishing industries are two of the most geographically dispersed industries in the United States, and desktop publishing jobs are found throughout the country. Al­ though most jobs are in large metropolitan cities, electronic communication networks and the Internet allow some desktop publishers to work from other locations.  more organizations are formatting materials for display on the web rather than designing pages for print publication. Employment change. Employment of desktop publishers is expected to grow 1 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is considered little or no change in employment. Desktop publish­ ing has become a frequently used and common tool for design­ ing and laying out printed matter, such as advertisements, bro­ chures, newsletters, and forms. However, increased computer processing capacity and widespread availability of more elabo­ rate desktop publishing software will make it easier and more affordable to use for people who are not printing professionals. As a result, the need for people who specialize in desktop pub­ lishing will slow, as more people are able to do this work. In addition, organizations are increasingly moving their pub­ lished material to the Internet to save the cost of printing and distributing materials. This change will slow the growth of desktop publishers, especially in smaller membership and trade organizations, which publish newsletters and small reports. Companies that produce large reports and rely on high qual­ ity and high resolution color and graphics within their publica­ tions, however, will continue to use desktop publishers to lay out publications for offset printing. Job prospects. Despite the little to no change in projected employment, job opportunities for desktop publishers are ex­ pected to be good because of the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. However, job prospects will be better for those with experience as many employers prefer to hire ex­ perienced desktop publishers because of the long time it takes to become good at this work. Among individuals with little or no experience, opportunities should be best for those with com­ puter backgrounds, certification in desktop publishing, or who have completed a postsecondary program in desktop publish­ ing, graphic design, or web design.  Earnings Earnings for desktop publishers vary according to level of ex­ perience, training, geographic location, and company size. Me­ dian annual earnings of desktop publishers were $34,130 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,270 and $44,360. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $55,040 a year. Me­ dian annual earnings of desktop publishers in May 2006 were $36,460 in printing and related support services and $31,450 in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.  Job Outlook  Related Occupations  Employment of desktop publishers is expected to experience little or no change over the 2006-2016 decade because more people are learning basic desktop publishing skills as a part of their regular job functions in other occupations and because  Desktop publishers use artistic and editorial skills in their work. These skills also are essential for artists and related workers; commercial and industrial designers; prepress technicians and workers; public relations specialists; and writers and editors.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  608 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Sources of Additional Information Details about training programs may be obtained from local employers such as newspapers and printing shops or from local offices of the State employment service. For information on careers and training in printing, desktop publishing, and graphic arts, write to: >■ Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-4367. Internet: http://www.gaerf.org y Graphic Arts Information Network, 200 Deer Run Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143. Internet: http://www.gain.net  Office and Administrative Support Worker Supervisors and Managers (0*NET 43-1011.00)  Significant Points •  Most jobs are filled by promoting office or adminis­ trative support workers from within the organization.  •  Office automation will cause employment in some of­ fice 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 because their numbers should greatly exceed the num­ ber of job openings.  and meeting established 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 customer services representatives. When supervising long-term projects, the supervisor may meet regularly with staff members to discuss their progress. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers also evaluate each worker’s performance. If a worker has done a good job, the supervisor indicates that in the employee’s per­ sonnel 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 im­ prove, 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 pro­ vide orientation to acquaint them with their organization and its operating routines. Some supervisors may be actively involved in recruiting new workers—for example, by making presen­ tations at high schools and business colleges. They also may  Nature of the Work All organizations need timely and effective office and admin­ istrative support to operate efficiently. Office and administra­ tive 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 supervi­ sor. Although specific functions of office and administrative sup­ port supervisors and managers vary significantly, they share many common duties. For example, supervisors perform ad­ ministrative 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 malfunctions, the supervisors must try to correct the problem or alert repair personnel. They also request new equip­ ment or supplies for their department when necessary. Planning work and supervising 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 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  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Office and administrative support worker supervisors and man­ agers must ensure that offices operate efficiently.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 609  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title First-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers......................................................................................  SOC Code  Employment, 2006  Projected employment, 2016  43-1011  1,418,000  1,500,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 82,000  6  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ _______  tion Included in the Handbook.  serve as the primary liaisons between their offices and the gen­ eral 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 sys­ tem. 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 in­ volve implementing new company policies or restructuring the workflow in their departments. They also must keep their su­ periors 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 plan­ ning or designing new policies. Office and administrative support supervisors and managers also may have to resolve interpersonal conflicts among the staff. In organizations covered by union contracts, supervisors must know the provisions of labor-management agreements and run their departments accordingly. They also may meet with union representatives to discuss work problems or grievances. Work environment. Office and administrative support super­ visors 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 man­ agers work a standard 40-hour week. However, some organiza­ tions operate around the clock, so some 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.  bachelor’s degree. Good working knowledge of the organiza­ tion’s computer system is also an advantage. In addition, super­ visors must pay close attention to detail in order to identify and correct errors made by the staff they oversee. Most office and administrative support worker supervisors and managers are promoted from within the company. Several years of on-the-job experience are usually the best preparation to become a supervisor or manager. After acquiring some expe­ rience, the employee should have a thorough knowledge of other personnel and company operations. Administrative support workers with potential supervisory abilities may be given occasional supervisory assignments. To prepare for full-time supervisory duties, workers may attend in-house training or take courses in time management, project management, or interpersonal relations. Other qualifications. When evaluating candidates, supervi­ sors 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 per­ sonal flexibility to adapt to changes in organizational structure and move among departments when necessary. Advancement. For office and administrative supervisors and managers promoted from within, advancement opportunities may be limited without a postsecondary degree, depending on the company. The knowledge required to move into more busi­ ness and financial related occupations may not necessarily be learned through working in an office or administrative occupa­ tion. In some managerial positions, office and administrative sup­ port supervisor positions are filled with people from outside the organization. These positions may serve as entry-level training for potential higher level managers. New college graduates may rotate through departments of an organization at this level to learn the work of the organization before moving on to a higher level position.  Employment 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 workers must prove they are capable of handling addi­ tional responsibilities. Education and training. Many employers require office and administrative support supervisors and managers to have post­ secondary training—and in some cases, an associate or even a   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Office and administrative support supervisors and managers held 1.4 million jobs in 2006. Although jobs for office and adminis­ trative support supervisors and managers are found in practical­ ly every industry, the largest number are found in organizations with a large administrative support workforce, such as banks, wholesalers, government agencies, retail establishments, busi­ ness service firms, health care facilities, schools, and insurance companies. Because of most organizations’ need for continuity of supervision, few office and administrative support supervi­ sors and managers work on a temporary or part-time basis.  610 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Job Outlook Employment of office and administrative support supervisors and managers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. Keen competition is expected for prospective job applicants. Employment change. Employment is expected to grow by 6 percent during the 2006-16 period, which is more slowly than the average for all occupations. Employment of office and ad­ ministrative support supervisors and managers is determined largely by the demand for administrative 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 positions. These trends will cause employment in some administrative support occupations to grow slowly or even decline. As a result, supervisors will di­ rect smaller permanent staffs—supplemented by increased use of temporary administrative support staff—and perform more professional tasks. Office and administrative support managers will coordinate the increasing amount of administrative work and make sure that the technology is applied and running prop­ erly. However, organizational restructuring should continue to reduce employment in some managerial positions, distributing more responsibility to office and administrative support super­ visors. Job prospects. Like those seeking other supervisory and managerial occupations, applicants for jobs as office and admin­ istrative support worker supervisors and managers are likely to encounter keen competition because the number of applicants should greatly exceed the number of job openings. 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.  munications equipment operators; customer service representa­ tives; data entry and information processing workers; general office clerks; receptionists and information clerks; stock clerks and order fillers; and order clerks. Their supervisory and ad­ ministrative duties are similar to those of other supervisors and managers, such as education administrators and administrative services managers.  Sources of Additional Information For information related to a wide variety of management occu­ pations, including educational programs and certified designa­ tions, contact: 'y International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW. Ambassador Dr., P.O. Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404. Internet: http://www.iaap-hq.org y American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Internet: http://www.amanet.org y Association of Professional Office Managers, 1 Research Court, Suite 450, Rockville, MD 20850. Internet: http://www.apomonline.org  Office Clerks, General (0*NET 43-9061.00)  Significant Points •  Earnings Median annual earnings of office and administrative support su­ pervisors and managers were $43,510 in May 2006; the middle 50 percent earned between $33,730 and $56,130. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $26,530, while the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $71,340. In May 2006, median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of office and administrative support supervisors and managers were: Management of companies and enterprises........................ $49,160 Local government................................................................. 45,520 General medical and surgical hospitals.................................44,250 Offices of physicians............................................................. 42,110 Depository credit intermediation.......................................... 40,900 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 bo­ nuses 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; secretaries and administrative assistants; com­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 of­ fice clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the needs of the specific job and the employer. Some clerks spend their days filing or keyboarding. Others enter data at a com­ puter terminal. They also operate photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment; prepare mailings; proofread docu­ ments; and answer telephones and deliver messages. The specific duties assigned to a clerk vary significantly, de­ pending on the type of office in which he or she works. An of­ fice 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. Although all clerks may sort checks, keep payroll records, take inventory, and access information, they also perform duties unique to their employer, such as organizing medications in a doctor’s office, preparing materials for presentations in a corporate office, or filling orders received by fax machine for a wholesaler.  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 611  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  J.  . :  * A  General office clerks may send faxes and make photocopies as part of their administrative tasks. Clerks’ duties also vary by level of experience. Whereas in­ experienced employees make photocopies, stuff envelopes, or record inquiries, experienced clerks usually are given addition­ al responsibilities. For example, they may maintain financial or other records, set up spreadsheets, verify statistical reports for accuracy and completeness, 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. Work environment. For the most part, general office clerks work in comfortable office settings. Those on full-time sched­ ules usually work a standard 40-hour week; however, some work shifts or overtime during busy periods. About 26 percent of clerks work part time in 2006. Many clerks also work in temporary positions.  Office clerks often need to know how to use word processing and other business software and office equipment. Experience working in an office is helpful, but office clerks also learn skills on the job. Education and training. Although most office clerk jobs are entry-level 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, including 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 appli­ cations are particularly helpful. Other qualifications. Because general office clerks usually work with other office staff, they should be cooperative and able to work as part of a team. Employers prefer individuals who can 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. Advancement. General office clerks who exhibit strong com­ munication, interpersonal, and analytical skills may be promot­ ed to supervisory positions. Others may move into different, more senior administrative jobs, such as receptionist, secretary, or administrative assistant. After gaining some work experi­ ence or specialized skills, many workers transfer to jobs with higher pay or greater advancement potential. Advancement to professional occupations within an organization normally re­ quires additional formal education, such as a college degree. Employment General office clerks held about 3.2 million jobs in 2006. Most are employed in relatively small businesses. Although they work in every sector of the economy, about 43 percent worked in local government, health care and social assistance, admin­ istrative and support services, finance and insurance, or profes­ sional, scientific, and technical services industries.  Job Outlook Employment growth and high replacement needs in this large occupation is expected to result in numerous job openings for general office clerks. Employment change. Employment of general office clerks is expected to grow 13 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The employ­ ment outlook for these workers will continue to be affected by the increasing use of technology, expanding office automation, and the consolidation of administrative support tasks. These  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Change, 2006-16 Code Number Percent 404,000 13 3,200,000 43-9061 Office clerks, general.............................................. ............................. NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  Occupational Title  tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  soc  Employment, 2006  Projected employment, 2016 3,604.000  612 Occupational Outlook Handbook  factors have led to a consolidation of administrative support staffs and a diversification of job responsibilities. However, this consolidation will increase the demand for general office clerks because they perform a variety of administrative sup­ port tasks, as opposed to clerks with very specific functions. It will become increasingly common within businesses, espe­ cially those smaller in size, to find only general office clerks in charge of all administrative support work. Job prospects. Many job openings for general office clerks are expected to be for full-time jobs; there will also be a de­ mand for part-time and temporary positions. Prospects should be best for those who have good writing and communication skills and knowledge of basic computer applications and of­ fice machinery—such as fax machines, telephone systems, and scanners. As general administrative support duties continue to be consolidated, employers will increasingly seek well-round­ ed individuals with highly developed communication skills and the ability to perform multiple tasks. 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 em­ ployment.  Earnings Median annual earnings of general office clerks were $23,710 in May 2006; the middle 50 percent earned between $18,640 and $30,240 annually. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,600. Median annual salaries in the industries employing the largest numbers of general office clerks in May 2006 were: Local government............................................................... $26,590 General medical and surgical hospitals................................. 26,050 Elementary and secondary schools....................................... 24,230 Colleges, universities, and professional schools...................23,980 Employment services............................................................ 21,890  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; cus­ tomer service representatives; data entry and information pro­ cessing 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 bever­ age serving and related workers.  Sources of Additional Information State employment service offices and agencies can provide in­ formation about job openings for general office clerks.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  For information related to administrative occupations, in­ cluding educational programs and certified designations, con­ tact: 'y International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW. Ambassador Dr., P.O. Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404. Internet: http://www.iaap-hq.org y American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Internet: http://www.amanet.org  Secretaries and Administrative Assistants (C)*NET 43-6011.00, 43-6012.00, 43-6013.00, 43-6014.00)  Significant Points •  This occupation is expected to be among those with the largest number of new jobs.  •  Opportunities should be best for applicants with ex­ tensive knowledge of software applications.  •  Secretaries and administrative assistants today per­ form fewer clerical tasks and are increasingly taking on the roles of information and communication man­ agers.  Nature of the Work As the reliance on technology continues to expand in offices, the role of the office professional has greatly evolved. Office automation and organizational restructuring have led secre­ taries and administrative assistants to assume responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff. 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 activi­ ties and storing, retrieving, and integrating information for dis­ semination to staff and clients. Secretaries and administrative assistants perform a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to run an organiza­ tion efficiently. They serve as information and communication managers for an office; plan and schedule meetings and ap­ pointments; organize and maintain paper and electronic files; manage projects; conduct research; and disseminate informa­ tion by using the telephone, mail services, Web sites, and e­ mail. They also may handle travel and guest arrangements. Secretaries and administrative assistants use a variety of of­ fice equipment, such as fax machines, photocopiers, scanners, and videoconferencing and telephone systems. In addition, secretaries and administrative assistants often use computers to do tasks previously handled by managers and profession­ als, such as: create spreadsheets; compose correspondence; manage databases; and create presentations, reports, and docu­ ments 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 vari-  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 613  Secretaries and administrative assistants use computers to per­ form clerical and administrative tasks. ous sources. At the same time, managers and professionals have assumed many tasks traditionally assigned to secretaries and administrative assistants, such as keyboarding and answering the telephone. Because secretaries and administrative assistants do less dictation and word processing, they now 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. Many secretaries and administrative assistants now provide training and orientation for new staff, conduct research on the Internet, and operate and troubleshoot new office technologies. Specific job duties vary with experience and titles. Execu­ tive secretaries and administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. Generally, they perform fewer clerical tasks than do secretaries and more information management. In addi­ tion to arranging conference calls and supervising other clerical staff, they may handle more complex responsibilities such as reviewing incoming memos, submissions, and reports in order to determine their significance and to plan for their distribution. They also prepare agendas and make arrangements for meetings of committees and executive boards. They also may conduct research and prepare statistical reports. Some secretaries and administrative assistants, such as le­ gal 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 review legal journals and assist with legal re­ search—for example, by verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs. Additionally, legal secretaries often teach newly minted lawyers how to prepare documents for submission to the courts. Medical secretaries transcribe dictation, prepare correspon­ dence, and assist physicians or medical scientists with reports, speeches, articles, and conference proceedings. They also re­ cord simple medical histories, arrange for patients to be hospi­ talized, and order supplies. Most medical secretaries 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  their organization’s technical library, and gather and edit materi­ als for scientific papers. Secretaries employed in elementary schools and high schools perform important administrative functions for the school. They are responsible for handling most of the communications be­ tween parents, the community, and teachers and administrators who work at the school. As such, they are required to know de­ tails about registering students, immunizations, and bus sched­ ules, for example. They schedule appointments, keep track of students’ academic records, and make room assignments for classes. Those who work directly for principals screen inquiries from parents and handle those matters not needing a principal’s attention. They also may set a principal’s calendar to help set her or his priorities for the day. Work environment. Secretaries and administrative assistants usually work in schools, hospitals, corporate settings, govern­ ment agencies, or legal and medical offices. Their jobs often involve sitting for long periods. If they spend a lot of time key­ boarding, particularly at a computer monitor, they may encoun­ ter problems of eyestrain, stress, and repetitive motion ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Almost one-fifth of secretaries work part time and many oth­ ers work in temporary positions. A few participate in job-shar­ ing arrangements, in which two people divide responsibility for a single job. The majority of secretaries and administrative as­ sistants, however, are full-time employees who work a standard 40-hour week.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Word processing, writing, and communication skills are essen­ tial for all secretaries and administrative assistants. However, employers increasingly require extensive knowledge of software applications, such as desktop publishing, project management, spreadsheets, and database management. Education and training. High school graduates who have ba­ sic office skills may qualify for entry-level secretarial positions. They can acquire these skills in various ways. Training ranges from high school vocational education programs that teach of­ fice skills and typing to 1- and 2-year programs in office admin­ istration offered by business and vocational-technical schools, and community colleges. Many temporary placement agencies also provide formal training in computer and office skills. Most medical and legal secretaries must go through specialized train­ ing programs that teach them the language of the industry. Employers of executive secretaries increasingly are seek­ ing candidates with a college degree, as these secretaries work closely with top executives. A degree related to the business or industry in which a person is seeking employment may provide the job seeker with an advantage in the application process. Most secretaries and administrative assistants, once hired, tend to acquire more advanced skills through on-the-job instruc­ tion by other employees or by equipment and software vendors. Others may attend classes or participate in online education to learn how to operate new office technologies, such as informa­ tion storage systems, scanners, or new updated software pack­ ages. As office automation continues to evolve, retraining and continuing education will remain integral parts of secretarial jobs.  614 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Other qualifications. Secretaries and administrative assistants should be proficient in typing and good at spelling, punctuation, grammar, and oral communication. Employers also look for good customer service and interpersonal skills because secretar­ ies and administrative assistants must be tactful in their deal­ ings with people. Discretion, good judgment, organizational or management ability, initiative, and the ability to work indepen­ dently are especially important for higher-level administrative positions. Changes in the office environment have increased the demand for secretaries and administrative assistants who are adaptable and versatile. Certification and advancement. Testing and certification for proficiency in office skills is available through organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Pro­ fessionals; 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 Cer­ tified Professional Secretary (CPS) and the Certified Admin­ istrative 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 testing process administered by NALS. NALS offers two additional designations: Professional Legal Secretary (PLS), considered an advanced certification for legal support professionals, and a designation 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 litigation, 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 re­ sponsibilities. 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 ad­ ministrative 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 more than 4.2 mil­ lion jobs in 2006, ranking it 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............. 1,940,000 Executive secretaries and administrativeassistants.......... 1,618,000 Medical secretaries.............................................................. 408,000 Legal secretaries.................................................................. 275,000 Secretaries and administrative assistants are employed in or­ ganizations of every type. Around 9 out of 10 secretaries and administrative assistants are employed in service providing in­ dustries, ranging from education and health care to government and retail trade. Most of the rest work for firms engaged in manufacturing or construction.  Job Outlook Employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations. Sec­ retaries and administrative assistants will have among the larg­ est numbers of new jobs arise, about 362,000 over the 2006-16 period. Additional opportunities will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave this occupation. Employment change. Employment of secretaries and ad­ ministrative assistants is expected to increase about 9 percent, which is about as fast as average for all occupations, between 2006 and 2016. Projected employment varies by occupational specialty. Above average employment growth in the health care and social assistance industry should lead to faster than average growth for medical secretaries, while moderate growth in legal services is projected to lead to average growth in employment of legal secretaries. Employment of executive secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to grow faster than average for all occupations. Growing industries—such as administra­ tive and support services; health care and social assistance; and professional, scientific, and technical services—will continue to generate the most new jobs. Little or no change in employment is expected for secretaries, except legal, medical, or executive, who account for about 46 percent of all secretaries and admin­ istrative assistants. Increasing office automation and organizational restructuring will continue to make secretaries and administrative assistants  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Secretaries and administrative assistants..................... Executive secretaries and administrative assistants. Legal secretaries.......................................................... Medical secretaries...................................................... Secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive ....  soc Code  Employment, 2006  43-6000 43-6011 43-6012 43-6013 43-6014  4.241.000 1.618.000 275.000 408.000 1,940,000  Projected employment, 2016 4.603.000 1.857.000 308.000 477.000 1.962.000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 362.000 9 239.000 15 32.000 12 68.000 17 22,000 1  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Office and Administrative Support Occupations 615  more productive in coming years. Computers, e-mail, scanners, and voice message systems will allow secretaries and admin­ istrative assistants to accomplish more in the same amount of time. The use of automated equipment also is changing the dis­ tribution of work in many offices. In some cases, traditional sec­ retarial duties as typing, filing, photocopying, and bookkeeping are being done by clerks in other departments or by the profes­ sionals themselves. For example, professionals and managers increasingly do their own word processing and data entry, and handle much of their own correspondence. Also, in some law and medical offices, paralegals and medical assistants are as­ suming some tasks formerly done by secretaries. Developments in office technology are certain to continue. However, many secretarial and administrative duties are of a per­ sonal, interactive nature and, therefore, are not easily automated. Responsibilities such as planning conferences, working with cli­ ents, and instructing staff require tact and communication skills. Because technology cannot substitute for these personal skills, secretaries and administrative assistants will continue to play a key role in most organizations. As paralegals and medical assistants assume more of the du­ ties traditionally assigned to secretaries, there is a trend in many offices for professionals and managers to replace the traditional arrangement of one secretary per manager with secretaries and administrative assistants who support the work of systems, de­ partments, or units. This approach often means that secretaries and administrative assistants assume added responsibilities and are seen as valuable members of a team. Job prospects. In addition to jobs created from growth, nu­ merous job opportunities will arise from the need to replace sec­ retaries and administrative assistants who transfer to other oc­ cupations, especially exceptionally skilled executive secretaries and administrative assistants who often move into professional occupations. Job opportunities should be best for applicants with extensive knowledge of software applications and for expe­ rienced secretaries and administrative assistants. Opportunities also should be very good for those with advanced communica­ tion and computer skills. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree will be in great demand to act more as managerial assistants and to perform more complex tasks.  Earnings Median annual earnings of secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive, were $27,450 in May 2006. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $21,830 and $34,250. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $17,560, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $41,550. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of secretaries, except legal, med­ ical, and executive in May 2006 were: Local government............................................................... $30,350 General medical and surgical hospitals.................................28,810 Colleges, universities, and professional schools...................28,700 Elementary and secondary schools....................................... 28,120 Employment services............................................................ 26,810 Median annual earnings of executive secretaries and admin­ istrative assistants were $37,240 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,240 and $46,160. The lowest 10   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  percent earned less than $25,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,740. Median annual earnings in the in­ dustries employing the largest numbers of executive secretaries and administrative assistants in May 2006 were: Management of companies and enterprises......................$41,570 Local government.................................................................38,670 Colleges, universities, and professional schools.................. 36,510 State government................................................................... 35,830 Employment services............................................................31,600 Median annual earnings of legal secretaries were $38,190 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,650 and $48,520. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,770. Medical sec­ retaries earned a median annual salary of $28,090 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,250 and $34,210. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,750, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $40,870. Salaries vary a great deal, however, reflecting differences in skill, experience, and level of responsibility. Certification in this field may be rewarded by a higher salary.  Related Occupations Workers in a number of other occupations also type, record infor­ mation, and process paperwork. Among them are bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; receptionists and information clerks; communications equipment operators; court report­ ers; human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeep­ ing; computer operators; data entry and information processing workers; paralegals and legal assistants; medical assistants; and medical records and health information technicians. A grow­ ing number of secretaries and administrative assistants share in managerial and human resource responsibilities. Occupations requiring these skills include office and administrative support supervisors and managers; computer and information systems managers; administrative services managers; and human re­ sources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists.  Sources of Additional Information State employment offices provide information about job open­ ings for secretaries and administrative assistants. For information on the latest trends in the profession, career development advice, and the CPS or CAP designations, contact: y International Association of Administrative Professionals, 10502 NW. Ambassador Dr., P.O. Box 20404, Kansas City, MO 64195-0404. Internet: http://www.iaap-hq.org y Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals, Suite G-13, 900 South Washington Street, Falls Church, VA 22406-4009. Internet: http://www.theaeap.com Information on the CLSS designation can be obtained from: y Legal Secretaries International Inc., 2302 Fannin Street, Suite 500, Houston, TX 77002-9136. Internet: http://www.legalsecretaries.org Information on the ALS, PLS, and paralegal certifications are available from: y 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, 45-2092.00, 45-2092.01,45-2092.02, 45-2093.00, and 45­ 2099.99)  Significant Points •  Duties vary widely, from raising plants and livestock to inspecting agricultural products at border cross­ ings.  •  Farmworkers learn their jobs through short-term onthe-job training; agricultural inspectors and animal breeders require more work experience or a college degree.  •  Most farmworkers receive relatively low pay and do strenuous work in all kinds of weather, but many en­ joy the rural lifestyle.  •  Job openings are expected to be numerous for some types of work.  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, but also in nurseries, slaughterhouses, and even ports of entry, these workers have numerous and diverse duties. Among their activities are planting and harvesting crops, install­ ing irrigation, delivering animals, and inspecting our food for safety. While most agricultural workers have relatively few tech­ nical skills, some have college degrees that train them to breed animals with specific traits or to inspect food, protecting us from harmful bacteria. More than 80 percent of agricultural workers are farmwork­ ers and laborers. Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farmworkers and laborers perform numerous activities related to growing and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fiber, trees, shrubs, and other crops. They plant and seed, prune, irrigate, harvest, and pack and load crops for shipment. Farmworkers also apply pes­ ticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to crops and repair fences and some farm equipment. Nursery and greenhouse workers prepare land or greenhouse beds for growing horticultural products, such as trees, plants, flowers, and sod. Their duties include planting, watering, pruning, weeding, and spraying the plants. They may cut, roll, and stack sod; stake trees; tie, wrap, and pack plants to fill orders; and dig up or move field-grown and containerized shrubs and trees. Farm and ranch animal farmworkers care for live farm, ranch, or water animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, 616   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  goats, horses, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. The animals are usually raised to supply meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, or honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, graz­ ing, castrating, branding, debeaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. On dairy farms, farmworkers operate milking machines; they also may maintain records on animals, examine animals to detect diseases and injuries, assist in delivering ani­ mals at their birth, and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides. Many workers clean and maintain animal housing areas every day. Other agricultural workers known as agricultural equipment operators use a variety of farm equipment to plow, sow seeds, and maintain and harvest crops. Equipment may include trac­ tors, fertilizer spreaders, haybines, raking equipment, balers, combines, threshers, and trucks. These workers also operate machines, such as conveyor belts, loading machines, separators, cleaners, and dryers, used in moving and treating crops after their harvest. As part of the job, workers may make adjustments and minor repairs to equipment. Agricultural inspectors, another type of agricultural worker, are employed by Federal and State governments to ensure com­ pliance with laws and regulations governing the health, safety, and quality of agricultural commodities. Inspectors also make sure that the facilities and equipment used in processing the com­ modities meet legal standards. Meat safety is a prime respon­ sibility. Inspectors work to ensure that meat is free of harmful ingredients or bacteria. In meat-processing facilities, inspectors may collect samples of meat suspected to be diseased or con­ taminated and send them 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 agricul­ tural commodities being prepared for market, classifying them according to quality or size: they grade, sort, or classify unpro­ cessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition and discard inferior or defective products. For ex­ ample, graders sort eggs by color and size and also examine the fat content; others examine the marbling of beef, classifying the meat as “Prime,” “Choice,” or a lower grade, as appropriate. The grade assigned determines the meat’s price. Animal breeders select and breed animals using their knowl­ edge 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 desir­ able wool. Some animal breeders also breed and raise cats, dogs, and other household pets. Larger and more expensive animals, such as horses and cattle, are usually bred through artificial in­  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 617  semination, which requires the taking of semen from the male and then inseminating the female. This process ensures better re­ sults than conventional mating and also enables one prized male to sire many more offspring. To know which animals to breed and when, animal breeders keep detailed records, including the health of the animals, their size and weight, and the amount and quality of the product produced by them. They also keep track of the traits of the offspring. Some animal breeders work as con­ sultants for a number of farmers, but others breed and raise their own animals for sale or future breeding. For those who raise animals, tasks might include fixing and cleaning animal shel­ ters, feeding and watering the animals, and overseeing animals’ health. Some breeders supervise others who perform these tasks. Animal breeders also read journals and newsletters to learn the latest information on breeding and veterinary practices. Work environment. Working conditions for agricultural work­ ers vary widely. Much of the work of farmworkers and laborers on farms and ranches is physically strenuous and takes place out­ doors in all kinds of weather. Harvesting fruits and vegetables, for example, may require much bending, stooping, and lifting. Work­ ers may have limited access to sanitation facilities while working in the field and drinking water may also be limited. Nevertheless, some agricultural workers enjoy the variety of their work, the rural setting, the satisfaction of working the land, and raising animals. Farm work does not lend itself to a regular 40-hour work­ week. Work cannot be delayed when crops must be planted or  /JSll ? m ;-Lj  4 -f t , -.wim'  »!'" • •..  : • * AwExsai  harvested or when animals must be sheltered and fed. Long hours and weekend work is common in these jobs. For example, farmworkers and agricultural equipment operators may work 6or 7 days a week during planting and harvesting seasons. Some graders and sorters may work evenings or weekends because of the perishable nature of the products they inspect. Agricultural inspectors may also work long and irregular schedules. Many agricultural worker jobs are seasonal in nature, so some workers also do other jobs during slow seasons. Migrant farm­ workers, who move from location to location as crops ripen, live an unsettled lifestyle, which can be stressful. Work also is sea­ sonal 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 contractors 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. Farmworkers who work with ani­ mals usually have a more regular schedule; their work is steadier and year round, but they sometimes must come to work on short notice to help handle emergencies. Farmworkers risk exposure to pesticides and other hazardous chemicals sprayed on crops or plants. However, exposure can be 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 di­ rectly with animals risk being bitten or kicked. Federal meat inspectors may work in highly mechanized plants or with poultry or livestock in confined areas with extremely cold temperatures and slippery floors. Inspectors’ jobs often re­ quire working with sharp knives, moderate lifting, and walking or standing for long periods. Inspectors may find themselves in adversarial roles when the organization or individual being in­ spected objects to the inspection or its potential consequences. Some inspectors travel frequently to visit farms and processing facilities. Others work at ports, inspecting cargo on the docks or on boats. Graders and sorters may work with similar products for an en­ tire shift, or they may be assigned a variety of items. They may be on their feet ali day and may have to lift heavy objects, but oth­ ers may sit during most of their shift and do little strenuous work. Some graders work in clean, air-conditioned environments, suit­ able for carrying out controlled tests. Animal breeders spend most of their time outdoors around animals but can also work in offices or laboratories. Breeders who consult may travel from farm to farm. If they need to sell offspring, breeders may travel to attend shows and meet potential buyers. While tending to the animals, breeders may be bitten or kicked.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Agricultural workers tend to flowers or crops in nurseries and greenhouses.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The majority of agricultural workers learn their skills on the job in less than a month. Some occupations, however, require more work experience or formal education. Education and training. Most farmworkers learn their jobs quickly as they work; many do not have a high school diploma.  618 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Agricultural workers............................................................................. . Agricultural inspectors....................................................................... Animal breeders................................................................................ . Graders and sorters, agricultural products..................................... . Miscellaneous agricultural workers................................................ . Agricultural equipment operators............................................... . Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse...... . Farmworkers, farm and ranch animals........................................ , Agricultural workers, all other......................................................  soc Code 45-2000 45-2011 45-2021 45-2041 45-2090 45-2091 45-2092 45-2093 45-2099  Employment, 2006 859,000 16,000 11,000 42,000 790,000 59,000 603,000 107,000 20,000  Projected employment, 2016 838,000 16,000 11,000 41,000 769,000 56,000 583,000 110,000 20,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -21,000 -2 -200 -1 500 4 -800 -2 -20,000 -3 -3,000 -5 -20,000 -3 2,900 3 0 0  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  People without a high school diploma are particularly common in the crop production sector, which is more labor-intensive and employs more migrant farmworkers. Other agricultural work­ ers require a month to a year of training on the job and, maybe, coursework in related subjects. For graders and sorters, train­ ing requirements vary on the basis of their responsibilities. For those who perform tests on agricultural products, a high school diploma is preferred and may be required. Simple jobs requir­ ing mostly visual inspection might be filled by those without a high school diploma. The education and training requirements for animal breeders vary with the type of breeding they do. For those who breed livestock and other large or expensive animals, a bachelor’s or graduate degree in animal science is recommended. Courses include genetics, animal breeding, and animal physiology. For those with experience raising animals or who are breeding their own animals, a bachelor’s degree often is not needed, but an associate degree or other training in animal breeding is recom­ mended. Agricultural inspector jobs require relevant work experience or some college coursework in biology, agricultural science, or a related subject. Inspectors also must be trained in the appli­ cable laws and regulations governing inspection before they can start their jobs. Other qualifications. Experience working on a farm or around animals is helpful but not necessary to qualify for many jobs. For those who operate equipment on the road or drive a truck as part their job, a driver’s license or commercial driver’s license is required. Nursery workers who deal directly with customers must be friendly and tactful. Employers also look for responsible, self-motivated individuals because nursery workers sometimes work with little supervision. People who want to become agri­ cultural inspectors should be responsible, able to communicate well, and like detailed work. Advancement. 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 posi­ tions. The ability to speak both English and Spanish is quite helpful in supervisory work as well. Some agricultural workers aspire to become farm, ranch, or other agricultural managers, or own farms or ranches them­ selves. (Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers are dis­  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  cussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) In addition, their knowl­ edge of raising and harvesting produce may provide an excellent background for becoming purchasing agents and buyers of farm products. Knowledge of working a farm as a business can also help agricultural workers become farm and home management advisors. Those who earn a college degree in agricultural sci­ ence could become agricultural and food scientists. Federal Government inspectors whose job performance is satisfactory advance through a career ladder to a specified level. Positions above this level are usually supervisory, and advance­ ment to them 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. Employment Agricultural workers held about 859,000 jobs in 2006. More than 68 percent of all agricultural workers worked for crop and livestock producers, while about 5 percent worked for agricul­ tural service providers, mostly farm labor contractors. Agri­ cultural inspectors are employed mainly by Federal, State, and local governments. By far, the State with the largest employment of farmwork­ ers is California, followed by Oregon and Washington. Though these States produce a multitude of agricultural products, they are particularly known for raising grapes, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, apples, citrus, and nursery and greenhouse products. Job Outlook Job opportunities for agricultural workers occupations should be abundant because large numbers of workers leave these jobs due to their low wages and physical demands. Overall employ­ ment of agricultural workers is projected to undergo little or no change over the 2006-16 decade, reflecting in large part the outlook for farmworkers in crops, nurseries, and greenhouses, who make up the large majority of all agricultural workers. Employment change. Overall employment of agricultural workers is expected to decline about 2 percent, which is con­ sidered little or no change. Employment of farmworkers who work in crops, nurseries, or greenhouses and those who work with farm and ranch animals are projected to decline moderate­ ly, about 3 percent. Fewer farmworkers will be needed overall because of continued consolidation of farms and technologi­  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 619  cal advancements in farm equipment that make existing farm­ workers more efficient. Farmworkers will increasingly work for farm labor contractors rather than being hired directly by a farm. The agriculture industry also is expected to face in­ creased competition from foreign countries and rising imports, particularly from Central America and China because of free trade agreements with those regions. Nursery and greenhouse workers should experience some job growth in this period, re­ flecting the increasing demand for landscaping plants. Employment of agricultural inspectors is expected show little or no change. Governments at all levels are not expected to hire significant numbers of new inspectors, and instead to leave more of the routine inspections to businesses. Little or no change in employment is also expected for graders and sorters. Employ­ ment of agricultural equipment operators is expected to decline moderately, reflecting the agriculture industry’s continuing ability to produce more with fewer workers overall. Consolida­ tion is resulting in fewer small farmers and greater need to hire equipment operators, but on a temporary basis. Animal breed­ ers will grow more slowly than average, around 4 percent over the 2006-16 period, as large commercial farmers continue to try to improve their animals. However, because the occupation is so small, few new jobs are expected. Job prospects. Job openings should be plentiful because of relatively large numbers of workers who leave these jobs for other occupations. This is especially true for jobs as agricul­ tural inspectors, graders and sorters, agricultural equipment op­ erators, and crop, greenhouse, and nursery farmworkers. Job prospects will not be as good for animal breeders and ranch and animal farmworkers because fewer workers leave these jobs. Those who work with animals tend to have a more settled life­ style, as the work does not require them to follow crops for harvest.  Earnings Agricultural workers had the following median hourly earnings in May 2006: Agricultural inspectors.......................................................... $18.32 Animal breeders.......................................................................13.02 Agricultural equipment operators............................................. 9.72 Farmworkers, farm and ranch animals......................................9.17 Graders and sorters, agricultural products................................8.27 Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse....................................................................... 7.95 Farmworkers in crop production often are paid piece rates, with earnings based on how much they do instead of how many hours they work. Farmworkers tend to receive fewer benefits than those in many other occupations. Some employers supply seasonal workers with room and board. Agricultural inspectors employed by State and Federal Governments tend to have very good benefits.  Related Occupations The duties of farmworkers who perform outdoor labor are simi­ lar to the duties of grounds maintenance workers; fishers and operators of fishing vessels; and forest, conservation, and log­ ging workers. Farmworkers who work with farm and ranch ani­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  mals perform tasks similar to those of animal care and service workers. Animal breeders may perform some work similar to those of veterinary technologists or veterinarians.  Sources of Additional Information Information on agricultural worker jobs is available from: y National FFA Organization, The National FFA Center, Attention: Career Information Requests, RO. Box 68690, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960. Internet: http://www.ffa.org Information on obtaining positions as an agricultural inspec­ tor 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 toll free, and charges may result.  Fishers and Fishing Vessel Operators (0*NET 45-3011.00)  Significant Points  •  • • •  This occupation is characterized by strenuous work, long hours, seasonal employment, and some of the most hazardous conditions. About two out of three fishers are self-employed, among the highest proportion in the workforce. Fishers usually acquire their occupational skills on the job. Employment is projected to decline rapidly.  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 state­ ment on farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers.) Fishing hundreds of miles from shore with commercial fish­ ing vessels—large boats capable of hauling a catch of tens of thousands of pounds of fish—requires a crew that includes a captain, or skipper, a first mate and sometimes a second mate, a boatswain (called a deckboss on some smaller boats), and deck­ hands with specialized skills. The fishing boat captain plans and oversees the fishing op­ eration, 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 com-  620 Occupational Outlook Handbook  W WJ  Fishers often work near the coast. passes, charts, and electronic navigational equipment, such as loran systems or GPS navigation systems. Ships also use radar and sonar to avoid obstacles above and below the water and to detect fish. 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. In port, the captain sells the catch to wholesalers, food processors, or through a fish auction and ensures that each crew member receives the prearranged portion of the proceeds. Captains increasingly use the Internet to bypass processors and sell fish directly to consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants often even before they return to port. The first mate is the captain’s assistant and assumes control of the vessel when the captain is off duty. Duty shifts, called watches, usually last 6 hours. In this role, the first mate must be familiar with navigation requirements and the operation of all electronic equipment. The mate’s regular duty though, with the help of the boatswain and under the captain’s oversight, is to direct the fishing operations and sailing responsibilities of the deckhands, including the operation, maintenance, and repair of the vessel and the gathering, preservation, stowing, and unload­ ing of the catch. The boatswain, a highly experienced deckhand with supervi­ sory responsibilities, directs the deckhands as they carry out the sailing and fishing operations. Before departure, the deckhands load equipment and supplies. When necessary, boatswains re­ pair fishing gear, equipment, nets, and accessories. They oper­ ate the fishing gear, letting out and pulling in nets and lines, and extract the catch, such as cod, flounder, and tuna, from the nets or the lines’ hooks. Deckhands use dip nets to prevent the es­ cape of small fish and gaffs to facilitate the landing of large fish. They then wash, salt, ice, and stow away the catch. Deckhands also must ensure that decks are clear and clean at all times and that the vessel’s engines and equipment are kept in good work­ ing order. 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Some 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. On these small boats crews usually are small, often only one or two, who work on all aspects of the fishing operation. Their work might 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 with an outboard motor, from rowboats, or by wading from shore. Fishers use a wide variety of hand-oper­ ated equipment, for example, nets, tongs, rakes, hoes, hooks, and shovels, to gather fish and shellfish; catch amphibians and reptiles such as frogs and turtles; and harvest marine vegetation such as Irish moss and kelp. Although most fishers are involved in commercial fishing, some captains and deckhands use their expertise in fishing for sport or recreational purposes. For this type of fishing, a group of people charter a fishing vessel with a captain, and possibly several deckhands, for periods ranging from several hours to a number of days and embark upon sportfishing, socializing, and relaxation. Work environment. Fishing operations are conducted under various environmental conditions, 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 fish­ ing operations and return to port. In relatively busy fisheries, boats have to take care to avoid collisions. Fishers and fishing vessel operators work under some of the most hazardous conditions of any occupation, and transporta­ tion to a hospital or doctor is often not readily available when injuries occur. The crew must be on guard against the danger of injury from malfunctioning fishing gear, entanglement in fish­ ing nets and gear, slippery decks, ice formation in the winter, or being swept overboard by a wave. Malfunctioning navigation or communication equipment may lead to collisions or ship­ wrecks. 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 and maintenance duties so that there are no chores remaining to be done at port. However, lookout watches are a regular respon­ sibility, and crew members must be prepared to stand watch at prearranged times of the day or night. Although fishing gear has improved, and operations have become more mechanized, netting and processing fish are strenuous activities. Newer ves­ sels have improved living quarters and amenities such as televi­ sion and shower stalls, but crews still experience the aggrava­  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 621  tions 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. There are no formal academic training requirements. Education and training. Most fishers begin as deckhands and learn their trade on the job. Deckhands normally start by finding work through family, friends, or simply walking around the docks and asking for employment. Some larger trawlers and processing ships are run by larger companies. New workers can apply through the companies’ human resources department. Operators of large commercial fishing vessels are required to complete a Coast Guard-approved training course. Students can expedite their entrance into these occupations by enrolling in 2-year vocational-technical programs offered by secondary schools. In addition, some community colleges and universi­ ties offer fishery technology and related programs that include courses in seamanship, vessel operations, marine safety, navi­ gation, 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 espe­ cially useful. These generally are offered through various post­ secondary institutions and provide a good working knowledge of electronic equipment used in navigation and communication and offer information on the latest improvements in fishing gear. Licensure. Captains and mates on large fishing vessels of at least 200 gross tons must be licensed. Captains of sportfish­ ing 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 licenses to individuals who meet the stipulated health, physical, and academic require­ ments. States set licensing requirements for boats operating in State waters, defined as inland waters and waters within 3 miles of the coast. Fishers need a permit to fish in almost any water. Permits are distributed by States for State waters and by regional fishing councils for Federal waters. The permits specify the season when fishing is allowed, the type of fish that may be caught, and sometimes the type of fishing gear that is permissible. (For information about merchant marine occupations, see the section on water transportation occupations elsewhere in the  Handbook.) Other qualifications. 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 equip­  ment and fishing gear. Fishers need stamina to work long hours at sea, often under difficult conditions. On large vessels, they must be able to work as members of a team. Fishers must be patient, yet always alert, to overcome the boredom of long watches when they are not engaged in fishing operations. The ability to assume any deckhand’s functions on short notice is important. As supervisors, mates must be able to assume all duties, including the captain’s, when necessary. The captain must be highly experienced, mature, and decisive and also must possess the business skills needed to run business operations. Advancement. On fishing vessels, most fishers begin as deckhands. Experienced, reliable deckhands who display su­ pervisory qualities may become boatswains, who, in turn, may become second mates, first mates, and, finally, captains. Deck­ hands who acquire experience and whose interests are in ship engineering—the maintenance and repair of ship engines and equipment—can eventually become licensed 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 overwhelming major­ ity eventually own, or have an interest in, one or more fishing ships. Some may choose to run a sport or recreational fishing operation.  Employment Fishers and fishing vessel operators held an estimated 38,000 jobs in 2006. About two out of three were self-employed. Most fishing takes place off the coasts, particularly off Alaska, the Gulf Coast, Virginia, California, and New England. Alaska ranks the highest in total volume of fish caught, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Many fishers are seasonal workers and positions are usually filled by people who work primarily in other occupations, such as teachers, or by students. For example, salmon season causes employment of fishers in Alaska to more than double during the summer. Because fish­ ing is quite seasonal and workers are often self-employed, mea­ suring total employment is quite difficult.  Job Outlook Employment of fishers and fishing vessel operators is projected to decline rapidly as regulations relating to the replenishment of fish stocks reduce allowable fishing. Employment change. Employment of fishers and fishing vessel operators is expected to decline rapidly by 16 percent through the year 2016. Fishers and fishing vessel operators de­ pend 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. As the use of sophisticated electronic equipment for navigation, communica­ tion, and locating fish has raised the efficiency of finding fish stocks, the need for setting limits to catches has also risen. Ad-  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Fishers and related fishing workers.............................. .....................  soc  Employment,  Code  2006  45-3011  38,000  Projected employment,  2016 32,000  Change,  2006-16 Number  Percent  -6,200  -16  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  622 Occupational Outlook Handbook  ditionally, 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. Fisheries councils issue various types of restrictions to pre­ vent over-harvesting and to allow stocks of fish and shellfish to naturally replenish. Fishing councils are shifting to an individ­ ual quota system that tends to reduce employment. However, such a system is beneficial for those who remain in the industry because it allows for longer fishing seasons, better investment returns, and steadier employment. In addition, rising seafood imports and increasing competi­ tion from farm-raised fish are adversely affecting fishing in­ come and is also causing some fishers to leave the industry. However, competition from farm-raised and imported seafood tends to be concentrated in specific species and should have more of an impact in some regions than others. Governmental efforts to replenish stocks are having some positive 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 fisher­ ies may help 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. Job prospects. 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. Thus, some job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation or retire. Sportfishing boats will also continue to provide some job opportunities.  Earnings In May 2006, median annual earnings of wage-and-salary fishers were $27,250. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $15,280, while the top 10 percent earned more than $45,480. Earnings of fishers and fishing vessel operators normally are highest in the summer and fall when demand for their catch and environmen­ tal conditions are favorable and lowest during the winter. Many full-time and most part-time workers supplement their income by working in other activities during the off-season. Earnings of fishers vary widely, depending upon their posi­ tion, 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 such as fuel, repair and maintenance of gear and equipment, and the crew’s supplies are deducted from the sale of the catch. Net proceeds are distributed among the crew members in accordance with a prearranged percentage. Gener­ ally, the ship’s owner, usually its captain, receives half of the net proceeds. From this amount, the owner pays for depreciation, maintenance and repair, and replacement 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 wa­ tercraft include water transportation occupations and fish and game wardens. Many ships not only catch the fish but also cut, trim, and preserve it. Seafood processing work done on land is performed by meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information 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: y 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 y Licensing and Evaluation Branch, National Maritime Center, 4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22203-1804. Internet: http://www.uscg.mil/STCW/index.htm  Forest, Conservation, and Logging Workers (0*NET 45-4011.00, 45-4021.00, 45-4022.00, 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 haz­ ardous. Little to no change in overall employment is expect­ ed.  Nature of the Work The Nation’s forests are a rich natural resource, providing beauty and tranquility, varied recreational benefits, and wood for commercial use. Managing and harvesting the forests and woodlands require many different kinds of workers. Forest and conservation workers 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 ero­ sion. Timber-cutting and logging workers harvest thousands of acres of forests each year for the timber that provides the raw material for countless consumer and industrial products. Forest and conservation workers perform a variety of tasks to reforest and conserve timberlands and to maintain forest facilities, such as roads and campsites. Some forest work­ ers, called tree planters, use digging and planting tools called “dibble bars” and “hoedads” to plant seedlings in reforesting timberland areas. Forest workers also remove diseased or un­ desirable trees with power saws or handsaws, spray trees with insecticides and fungicides to kill insects and to protect against disease, and apply herbicides on undesirable brush to reduce competing vegetation. In private industry, forest workers usu­ ally working under the direction of professional foresters, paint boundary lines, assist with controlled burning, aid in marking and measuring trees, and keep tallies of trees examined and counted. Those who work for State and local governments or who are under contract with them also clear away brush and  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 623  debris from camp trails, roadsides, and camping areas. Some forest workers clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational fa­ cilities and campgrounds. Other forest and conservation workers work in forest nurser­ ies, sorting out tree seedlings and discarding those not meeting 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 oth­ ers tap trees for sap to make syrup or chemicals. Logging workers are responsible for cutting and hauling trees in large quantities. The timber-cutting and logging process is carried out by a logging crew. A typical crew might consist of one or two tree fallers or one tree harvesting machine operator to cut down trees, one bucker to cut logs, two logging skidder operators to drag cut trees to the loading deck, and one equip­ ment operator to load the logs onto trucks. Specifically, fallers, commonly known as tree fallers, 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 for­ warded 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 slingers and chasers set up and dismantle the cables and guy wires of the yarding system. Log sorters, mark­ ers, movers, and chippers sort, mark, and move logs, based on species, size, and ownership, and tend machines that chip up logs. Logging equipment operators use tree harvesters to fell the trees, shear the limbs off, and then cut the logs into desired lengths. They drive tractors mounted on crawler tracks and operate self-propelled machines called skidders or forward­ ers, which drag or transport logs from the felling site in the woods to the log landing area for loading. They also operate grapple loaders, which lift and load logs into trucks. Some logging equipment operators, usually at a sawmill or a pulpmill woodyard, use a tracked or wheeled machine similar to a forklift to unload logs and pulpwood off of trucks or gondola railroad cars. Some newer, more efficient logging equipment has state-of-the-art computer technology, requiring skilled op­ erators 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 conditions. Some clear areas of brush and other growth to pre­ pare for logging activities or to promote the growth of desirable species of trees. Most crews work for self-employed logging contractors who have substantial logging experience, the capital to purchase equipment, and the skills needed to run a small business suc­ cessfully. Many contractors work alongside their crews as su­ pervisors 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 improved and operations are becoming increasingly mecha­ nized, 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 logging operations. Work environment. Forestry and logging jobs are physically demanding. Workers spend all their time outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas. The increased use of enclosed machines has decreased some of the discomforts caused by inclement weather and has generally made tasks much safer. Workers in some sparsely populated western States, as well as northern Maine, commute long distances be­ tween their homes and logging sites. A few logging camps in Alaska and Maine house workers in bunkhouses. In the more densely populated eastern and southern States, commuting dis­ tances are shorter. Most logging occupations involve lifting, climbing, and other strenuous activities, although machinery has eliminated some heavy labor. Loggers work under unusually hazardous condi­ tions. Falling branches, vines, and rough terrain are constant  mm.  Logging workers use increasingly productive machinery to har­ vest logs.  624 Occupational Outlook Handbook  hazards, as are the dangers associated with tree-felling and log-handling operations. Special care must be taken during strong winds, which can even halt logging operations. Slip­ pery 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. Workers must be careful and use proper safety measures and equipment such as hardhats, eye and ear protection, safety clothing, and boots to reduce the risk of 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, learning from experienced work­ ers.  Education and training. Generally, a high school diploma is sufficient for most forest, conservation, and logging occupa­ tions. Many forest worker jobs offer only seasonal employ­ ment during warm-weather months, so many students are hired to perform short-term, labor-intensive tasks, such as planting tree seedlings or conducting precommercial tree thinning. Through on-the-job training, logging workers become famil­ iar with the character and dangers of the forest environment and the operation of logging machinery and equipment. Safety training is a vital and required part of the instruction of all log­ ging workers. Many State forestry or logging associations pro­ vide training sessions for tree fallers, whose job duties require more skill and experience than do other positions on the log­ ging team. Sessions may take place in the field, where trainees, under the supervision of an experienced logger, have the oppor­ tunity to practice various felling 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 encouraging the health and productivity of the Nation’s forests through the forest product industry’s Sustainable Forest Initia­ tive program. Logger training programs vary by State but gen­ erally include classroom or field training in a number of areas, including best management practices, environmental compli­ ance, wetlands, safety, endangered species, reforestation, and business management. Some programs lead to logger certifica­ tion. Logging companies and trade associations, such as the North­ eastern Loggers Association, the American Loggers Council, and the Forest Resources Association, Inc. also offer training programs for workers who operate large, expensive machinery and equipment. Often, a representative of the equipment manu­ facturer spends several days in the field explaining and oversee­ ing the operation of newly purchased machinery.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Some vocational and technical schools and community col­ leges offer courses leading to a 2-year technical degree in for­ estry, wildlife management, conservation, and forest harvesting, all of which are helpful in obtaining a job. A curriculum that includes field trips to observe or participate in forestry or log­ ging activities provides a particularly good background. Addi­ tionally, a few community colleges offer training for equipment operators. Other qualifications. Forest, conservation, and logging work­ ers 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 when hazards arise. Mechanical aptitude and coordi­ nation are necessary for operators of machinery and equipment, who often are responsible for repair and maintenance. Selfemployed loggers need initiative and managerial and business skills to be successful as logging contractors. Advancement. Logging workers generally advance from tasks requiring a lot of manual labor to those involving the oper­ ation of expensive, sometimes complicated logging equipment. Inexperienced entrants usually begin as laborers, carrying tools and equipment, clearing brush, performing equipment mainte­ nance, 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. Some experienced logging workers start their own logging contractor businesses, but to do so they also need some basic business skills, which are essential in today’s tight business cli­ mate.  Employment Forest, conservation, and logging workers held about 88,000 jobs in 2006 in the following occupations: Logging equipment operators............................................... 40,000 Forest and conservation workers........................................... 20,000 Fallers..................................................................................... 13,000 Log graders and scalers........................................................... 7,100 Logging workers, all others.................................................... 8,000 About 34 percent of all forest and conservation workers work for government, primarily at the State and local level. About 33 percent are employed by companies that operate timber tracts, tree farms, or forest nurseries, or for contractors that supply ser­ vices to agriculture and forestry industries. Some of those em­ ployed in forestry services work on a contract basis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Self-employed forest and conservation workers make up nearly 15 percent of the occupation. 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. Seasonal demand for forest, conservation, and logging work­  Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 625  ers can vary by region and time of year. For northern States in particular, winter weather can interrupt forestry and logging operations, although some logging can be done in winter. More than half of all logging workers work for the logging industry. Another 28 percent are self-employed, who mostly work under contract to landowners and the logging industry. About 10 percent work for sawmills and other businesses in the wood product manufacturing industry. Job Outlook Overall employment of forest, conservation, and logging work­ ers is expected to experience little or no change through the year 2016. Most job openings will result from replacement needs because some forestry workers are young people who are not committed to the occupation on a long-term basis. Employment change. Employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers overall is expected to decline slightly by 1 percent over the 2006-16 decade. Forest and conservation workers is the only occupation in this group that is expected to have job growth, increasing 6 percent over the 10 years. De­ mand for forest and conservation workers will increase as more land is set aside to protect natural resources or wildlife habitats. In addition, more jobs may be created by recent Federal legisla­ tion designed to prevent destructive wildfires by thinning the forests and setting controlled bums in dry regions susceptible to forest fires. Logging workers are expected to decline by 3 percent from 2006 to 2016. New policies allowing some access to Federal timberland may create some logging jobs, and job opportunities also will arise from timber sales of owners of privately owned forests and tree farms. Nevertheless, domestic timber produc­ ers continue to face increasing competition from foreign pro­ ducers, 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, 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. Employ­ ment of fallers, buckers, choke setters, and other workers whose jobs are labor intensive should decline as more laborsaving equipment is 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. Job prospects. Despite the projection for little to no change in overall employment, prospects for forest and conservation workers should be good. Job openings will come from the large numbers of workers who leave these jobs on a seasonal basis and from an increase in retirements expected over the next de­ cade. Also, many logging workers will transfer to other jobs that are less physically demanding, dangerous, and prone to layoffs. But employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers can sometimes be unsteady. Weather can curtail the work of forest and conservation workers during the muddy spring sea­ son and the cold winter months, depending on the geographic region. Changes in the level of construction, particularly resi­ dential construction, also cause slowdowns in logging activi­ ties 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 equip­ ment, but others are laid off or forced to find jobs in other oc­ cupations. Earnings Earnings vary with the particular forestry or logging occupa­ tion and with experience. Many beginning or inexperienced workers earn the Federal minimum wage of $5.85 an hour, but many States set minimum wages higher than the Federal mini­ mum. Under Federal law, this wage will increase to $6.55 in the summer of 2008 and to $7.25 in the summer of 2009. Earn­ ings range from the minimum wage in some beginning forestry and conservation positions to over $26.00 an hour for the most experienced fallers. Median hourly earnings in 2006 for forest, conservation, and logging occupations were as follows: Logging equipment operators...............................................$14.28 Log graders and scalers........................................................... 14.06 Fallers.......................................................................................13.80 Forest and conservation workers.............................................10.01 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  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Forest, conservation, and logging workers...................... ................. Forest and conservation workers.................................... ................. Logging workers...................................................... ................. Fallers........................................................................... ................. Logging equipment operators................................... ................. Log graders and scalers.............................................. ................. Logging workers, all other......................................... .................  SOC Code 45-4000 45-4011 45-4020 45-4021 45-4022 45-4023 45-4029  Employment, 2006 88,000 20,000 69,000 13,000 40,000 7,100 7,900  Projected employment, 2016 87,000 21,000 66,000 12,000 40,000 6,700 7,500  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -1,200 -1 1,100 6 -2,300 -3 -1,000 -7 -500 -1 -400 -5 -500 -6  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  626 Occupational Outlook Handbook  and the Northwest 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 log­ ging contractor firms generally offer timber-cutting and log­ ging workers few benefits beyond vacation days. 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 environment include conservation scientists and foresters, for­ est and conservation technicians, and grounds maintenance workers. Logging equipment operators have skills similar to material-moving occupations and construction equipment op­ erators.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information For information about timber-cutting and logging careers and about secondary and postsecondary programs offering training for logging occupations, contact: y Forest Resources Association, Inc., 600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 350, Rockville, MD 20852. Internet: http ://www.forestresources.org y American Loggers Council. P.O. Box 966, Hemphill, TX 75948. Internet: http://www.americanloggers.org For information on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative train­ ing programs, contact: y 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 can be useful sources of information.  Construction Trades and Related Workers Boilermakers (0*NET 47-2011.00)  Significant Points •  f  h if  Boilermakers use potentially dangerous equipment and the work is physically demanding.  •  Most boilermakers learn through a formal appren­ ticeship; people with a welding certification or other welding training get priority in selection to appren­ ticeship programs.  •  Excellent employment opportunities are expected.  Nature of the Work Boilermakers and boilermaker mechanics make, install, and re­ pair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases. Boilers heat water or other fluids under extreme pressure for use in generating electric power and to provide heat and power in buildings, factories, and ships. Chemicals, oil, beer, and hundreds of other products are pro­ cessed and stored in the tanks and vats made by the Nation’s boilermakers. In addition to installing and maintaining boilers and other vessels, boilermakers also help erect and repair air pollution equipment, blast furnaces, water treatment plants, storage and process tanks, and smoke stacks. Boilermakers also install re­ fractory brick and other heat-resistant materials in fireboxes or pressure vessels. Some install and maintain the huge pipes used in dams to send water to and from hydroelectric power genera­ tion turbines. Electric power plants harness highly pressurized steam in a boiler to spin the blades of a turbine, which is attached to an electric generator. In most plants, coal burned in a firebox is the dominant fuel used to generate steam in the boiler. Because boilers last a long time—sometimes 50 years or more—boilermakers regularly maintain them and upgrade components, such as boiler tubes, heating elements, and duc­ twork, to increase efficiency. They regularly inspect fittings, feed pumps, safety and check valves, water and pressure gaug­ es, boiler controls, and auxiliary machinery. For closed vats and other large vessels, boilermakers clean or supervise clean­ ing using scrapers, wire brushes, and cleaning solvents. They repair or replace defective parts using hand and power tools, gas torches, and welding equipment, and may operate metalwork­ ing machinery to repair or make parts. They also dismantle leaky boilers, patch weak spots with metal stock, replace defec­ tive sections, and strengthen joints. Boilers and other high-pressure vessels used to hold liquids and gases usually are made in sections by casting each piece  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  I  Many boilermakers learn their trade through a formal appren­ ticeship. out of steel, iron, copper, or stainless steel. Manufacturers are increasingly automating this process to improve the quality of these vessels. Boiler sections are then welded together, often using robotic welding systems or automated orbital welding machines, which make more consistent welds than are pos­ sible by hand and eliminates some of the monotony of the task. Small boilers may be assembled in the manufacturing plant; larger boilers usually are prefabricated in numerous pieces and assembled on site, although they may be temporarily assembled in a fabrication shop to ensure a proper fit before final assembly on the permanent site. Before making or repairing a fabricated metal product, a boil­ ermaker studies design drawings and creates full size patterns or templates, using straightedges, squares, transits, and tape measures. After the various sized shapes and pieces are marked out on metal, boilermakers use hand and power tools or flame cutting torches to make the cuts. The sections of metal are then bent into shape and accurately lined up before they are welded together. If the plate sections are very large, heavy cranes are used to lift the parts into place. Boilermakers align sections using plumb bobs, levels, wedges, and tumbuckles. They use hammers, files, grinders, and cutting torches to remove irregu­ lar edges so that metal pieces fit together properly. They then join them by bolting, welding, or riveting. Boilermakers also align and attach water tubes, stacks and liners, safety and check valves, water and pressure gauges, and other parts and test com­ plete vessels for leaks or other defects. Work environment. Boilermakers often use potentially dan­ gerous equipment, such as acetylene torches and power grind­ ers; handle heavy parts and tools; and work on ladders or on top of large vessels. Dams, boilers, storage tanks, and pres­ sure vessels are usually of substantial size, thus a major portion of boilermaker work is performed at great heights, sometimes hundreds of feet above the ground in the case of dams. The work is physically demanding and may be done in cramped 627  628 Occupational Outlook Handbook  quarters inside boilers, vats, or tanks that are often dark, damp, and poorly ventilated. Field construction work is performed outside so exposure to all types of weather conditions, includ­ ing extreme heat and cold, is common. To reduce the chance of injuries, boilermakers often wear hardhats, harnesses, protective clothing, ear plugs, 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 dead­ lines. However, since most field construction and repair work is contract work, there may be periods of unemployment when a contract is complete. Many boilermakers must travel to a proj­ ect and live away from home for long periods of time.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most boilermakers learn this trade through a formal apprentice­ ship. A few become boilermakers through a combination of trade or technical school training and employer-provided train­ ing. Education and training. Most boilermakers train in both boilermaking and structural fabrication. Apprenticeship pro­ grams usually consist of 6,000 hours or 4 years of paid onthe-job training, supplemented by a minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction each year in subjects such as set-up and assembly rigging, plate and pressure welding, blueprint read­ ing, and layout. Those who finish registered apprenticeships are certified as fully qualified journey-workers. Most apprentices must be high school graduates or have a GED or its equivalent. Those with welding training or a weld­ ing certification will have priority in applying for apprenticeship programs. Experienced boilermakers often attend apprentice­ ship classes or seminars to learn about new equipment, proce­ dures, and technology. When an apprenticeship becomes avail­ able, the local union publicizes the opportunity by notifying local vocational schools and high school vocational programs. Other qualifications. The work of boilermakers requires a high degree of technical skill, knowledge, and dedication. Be­ cause the tools and equipment used by boilermakers are typically heavier and more cumbersome than those in other construction trades, having physical strength and stamina is important. Good manual dexterity is also important. Most apprentices must be at least 18 years old. Advancement. Some boilermakers advance to supervisory positions. Because of their extensive training, those trained through apprenticeships usually have an advantage in getting promoted over those who have not gone through the full pro­  boilers and other vessels. Around 18 percent worked in manu­ facturing, primarily 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 Employment of boilermakers is expected to grow faster than av­ erage. Excellent employment opportunities are expected. Employment change. Overall employment of boilermakers is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2006 and 2016, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by the need to maintain and upgrade, rather than replace, the many existing boilers that are getting older, and by the need to meet the growing population’s demand for electric power. While boilers historically have lasted over 50 years, the need to replace com­ ponents, such as boiler tubes, heating elements, and ductwork, is an ongoing process that will continue to spur demand for boiler­ makers. To meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act, utility companies also will need to upgrade many of their boiler systems in the next few years. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is expected to lead to the con­ struction of many new clean-burning coal power plants, spur­ ring demand for boilermakers. The law, designed to promote conservation and use of cleaner technologies in energy produc­ tion through tax credits and higher efficiency standards, is ex­ pected to positively affect the occupation and the energy industry throughout the 2006-16 projection period. Installation of new boilers and pressure vessels, air pollution equipment, blast furnaces, water treatment plants, storage and process tanks, electric static precipitators, and stacks and liners, will further drive growth of boilermakers, although to a slightly lesser extent than repairs will. Job prospects. Job prospects should be excellent because of job growth and because the work of a boilermaker remains haz­ ardous and physically demanding, leading some new apprentices to seek other types of work. An even greater number of open­ ings will arise from the numerous boilermakers expected to retire over the projection decade. People who have welding training or a welding certificate should have the best opportunities for being selected for boiler­ maker apprenticeship programs. Most industries that purchase boilers are sensitive to economic conditions. Therefore, during economic downturns, boilermak­ ers in the construction industry may be laid off. However, main­ tenance and repairs of boilers must continue even during eco­ nomic downturns so boilermaker mechanics in manufacturing and other industries generally have more stable employment.  gram.  Earnings Employment Boilermakers held about 18,000 jobs in 2006. About 63 percent worked in the construction industry, assembling and erecting  In May 2006, the median annual earnings of wage and salary boilermakers were about $46,960. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,300 and $59,710. The lowest 10 percent earned  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Change, Projected 2006-16 employment, Code 2016 Number Percent 2,500 14 47-2011 18,000 20,000 Boilermakers............................................................ ............................. NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  Occupational Title  tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  soc  Employment, 2006  Construction Trades and Related Workers 629  less than $30,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $71,170. Apprentices generally start at about half of journeylevel wages, with wages gradually increasing to the journey wage as workers gain skills. Many boilermakers belong to labor unions, most to the In­ ternational Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Other boilermakers 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 mechanics and maintenance workers; millwrights; pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; sheet metal workers; tool and die makers; and welding, soldering, and brazing workers.  Sources of Additional Information For more information about boilermaking apprenticeships or other training opportunities, contact local offices of the unions previously mentioned, local construction companies and boiler manufacturers, or the local office of your State em­ ployment service. You can also find information on the regis­ tered apprenticeships together with links to State apprentice­ ship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For information on apprenticeships and the boilermaking oc­ cupation, contact: V International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers, 753 State Ave., Suite 570, Kansas City, KS 66101. Internet: http://www.boilermakers.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons (0*NET 47-2021.00, 47-2022.00)  Significant Points  •  Job prospects are expected to be very good, especially for workers with restoration skills.  •  Most entrants learn informally on the job, but appren­ ticeship programs provide the most thorough train­ ing. The work is usually outdoors and involves lifting heavy materials and working on scaffolds. About 24 percent were self-employed.  • •   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons create attrac­ tive, durable surfaces and structures. For thousands of years, these workers have built buildings, fences, roads, walkways, and walls using bricks, concrete blocks, and natural stone. The structures that they build will continue to be in demand for years to come. The work varies in complexity, from laying a simple masonry walkway to installing an ornate exterior on a highrise building. Workers cut or break the materials used to create walls, floors, and other structures. Once their building materials are properly sized, they are laid with or without a binding material. These workers use their own perceptions and a variety of tools to en­ sure that the structure meets the desired standards. After finish­ ing laying the bricks, blocks, or stone, these workers clean the finished product with a variety of cleaning agents. Brickmasons and blockmasons—who often are called simply bricklayers—build and repair walls, floors, partitions, fireplac­ es, chimneys, and other structures with brick, precast masonry panels, concrete block, and other masonry materials. Some brickmasons specialize in installing firebrick linings in indus­ trial furnaces. When building a structure, brickmasons use one of two meth­ ods, either the corner 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 cor­ ners 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 comer leads, some brickmasons use comer poles, also called masonry guides, which enable them to build an entire wall at the same time. They fasten the comer poles (posts) in a plumb position to define the wall line and stretch a line between them. This line serves as a guide for each course of brick. Brickmasons then spread a bed of mortar (a cement, lime, sand, and water mixture) with a trow­ el (a flat, bladed metal tool with a handle), place the brick on the mortar bed, and press and tap the brick into place. Depend­ ing on blueprint specifications, brickmasons either cut bricks with a hammer and chisel or saw them to fit around windows, doors, and other openings. Mortar joints are then finished with jointing tools for a sealed, neat, uniform appearance. Although brickmasons typically use steel supports, or lintels, at window and door openings, they sometimes build brick arches, which support and enhance the beauty of the brickwork. Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in install­ ing firebrick and refractory tile in high-temperature boilers, furnaces, cupolas, ladles, and soaking pits in industrial estab­ lishments. Most of these workers are employed in steel mills, where molten materials flow on refractory beds from furnaces to rolling machines. They also are employed at oil refineries, glass furnaces, incinerators, and other locations requiring high temperatures during the manufacturing process. After a structure is completed there is still work that often needs to be done. Pointing, cleaning, and caulking workers can be the final workers on a job or the primary workers on a  630 Occupational Outlook Handbook  .ev  Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons usually work out­ doors. restoration project. These workers use chemicals to clean the laid materials to give the structure a finished appearance. Older structures also need to be refurbished as the mortar or binding agents break down. In many cases a grinder or blade is used to carefully remove the old mortar. Special care is taken to not damage the main structural integrity or the bricks, blocks, or stone. New mortar is then inserted. Depending on how much mortar is being replaced and how, it may take several applica­ tions to allow the new mortar to cure properly. These same masons replace and repair damaged masonry materials as part of the building’s restoration process. 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. 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.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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, plumb lines, and levels, and work them into posi­ tion with various tools. Masons continue to build the wall by alternating layers 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 similar 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 be­ cause many types of masonry and stone are used in the interiors of today’s nonresidential structures, these workers now must be more versatile. For example, some brickmasons and blockmasons now install structural insulated concrete units and wall panels. They also install a variety of masonry anchors and other masonry-associated accessories used in many highrise build­ ings. Work environment. Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stone­ masons usually work outdoors, 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 vari­ ety 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. Most workers work a standard 40-hour week. 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.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons pick up their skills informally, observing and learning from experienced workers. Many others receive initial training in vocational education schools or from industry-based programs common throughout the country. Others complete an apprenticeship, which generally provides the most thorough training.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 631  Education and training. Individuals who learn the trade on the job usually start as helpers, laborers, or mason tenders. These workers carry materials, move or assemble scaffolds, and mix mortar. When the opportunity arises, they learn from ex­ perienced craftworkers how to mix and spread mortar, lay brick and block, or set stone. They also may learn restoration skills such as cleaning, pointing, and repointing. As they gain experi­ ence, they leam more difficult tasks and make the transition to full-fledged craftworkers. The learning period on the job may last longer than if trained in an apprenticeship program. Indus­ try-based training programs offered through construction com­ panies usually last between 2 and 4 years. Apprenticeships for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonema­ sons usually are sponsored by local contractors, trade associa­ tions, or local union-management committees. Apprenticeship programs usually require 3 years of on-the-job training, in ad­ dition to a minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction each year in blueprint reading, mathematics, layout work, sketching, and other subjects. 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 general shop. Apprentices often start by working with laborers, carrying materials, mixing mortar, and building scaffolds for about a month. Next, apprentices leam to lay, align, and join brick and block. They may also learn on the job to work with stone and concrete, which enables them to work with more than one ma­ sonry 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. Some workers leam at technical schools that offer masonry courses. Entrance requirements and fees vary depending on the school and who is funding the program. Some people take courses before being hired, and some take them later as part of the on-the-job training. Other qualifications. The most desired quality in workers is dependability and a strong work ethic. Knowledge of basic math including measurement, volume, mixing proportions, al­ gebra, plane geometry, and mechanical drawing are important in this trade. Advancement. With additional training and experience, brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons may become su­ pervisors for masonry contractors. Some eventually become owners of businesses employing many workers and may spend most of their time as managers. Others move into closely related  areas such as construction management or building inspection. Many unionized Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees offer continual “life long learning” through continuing educa­ tion courses that help those members who want to advance their technical knowledge and their careers.  Employment Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons held 182,000 jobs in 2006. The vast majority were brickmasons. Workers in these crafts are employed primarily by building, specialty trade, or general contractors. About 24 percent of brickmasons, blockmasons, and stone­ masons were self-employed. Many of the self-employed are contractors who work on small jobs, such as patios, walkways, and fireplaces.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is expected. Job prospects should be very good, especially for workers with restoration skills. Employment change. Jobs for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are expected to increase 10 percent over the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations, as population and business growth create a need for new houses, industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, offices, and other struc­ tures. Also stimulating demand for workers will be the need to restore a growing number of old brick buildings. Moreover, the use of brick and stone for decorative work on building fronts, sidewalks, and in lobbies and foyers is increasing. Brick exte­ riors should remain very popular, reflecting a growing prefer­ ence for durable exterior materials requiring little maintenance. Increased construction on hillsides also will spur the demand for new masons as designers create attractive areas that need retaining walls to hold soil in place. There is also an increased demand for durable homes that incorporate brick or stone in hur­ ricane-prone areas. Job prospects. Job opportunities for brickmasons, blockma­ sons, and stonemasons are expected to be very good through 2016. A large number of masons are expected to retire over the next decade. The large number of aging masonry buildings will increase opportunities for workers with restoration skills. Also, workers able to install new synthetic materials will have improved opportunities. Applicants who take masonry-related courses at technical schools will have better opportunities than those without these courses. Employment of brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonema­ sons, 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 unem­ ployment. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons. Brickmasons and blockmasons.................... Stonemasons..................................................  soc Code 47-2020 47-2021 47-2022  Employment, 2006 182,000 158,000 24,000  Projected employment, 2016 200,000 174,000 26,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 18,000 10 15,000 10 2,400 10  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  632 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Earnings Median hourly earnings of wage and salary brickmasons and blockmasons in May 2006 were $20.66. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.96 and $26.26. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.24, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $32.43. Median hourly earnings in the two industries employing the largest number of brickmasons in May 2006 were $20.57 in the foundation, structure, and build­ ing exterior contractors industry and $20.67 in the masonry contractors industry. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary stonemasons in May 2006 were $17.29. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.12 and $22.04. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.36, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.46. 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. Employ­ ers usually increase apprentices’ wages about every 6 months based on specific advancement criteria. Some brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are members of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers.  Related Occupations Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons combine a thor­ ough knowledge of brick, concrete block, stone, and marble with manual skill to erect attractive, yet highly durable, struc­ tures. 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 Con­ tractors; a local office of the International Union of Bricklay­ ers and Allied Craftsworkers; a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee; or the nearest office of the State employment service or apprenticeship agency. Apprentice­ ship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627 and online at: http ://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quar­ terly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, cre­ dentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” online at http ://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01 .pdf and in print in many libraries and career centers. For information on training for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, contact: y Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Division, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Masonry Institute National Training Center, 17101 Science Dr., Bowie, MD 20715. Internet: http://www.imiweb.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  y Mason Contractors Association of America, 33 South Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60193. Internet: http://www.masoncontractors.org y National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St.NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, 3600 NW., 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL 32606. Internet: http://www.nccer.org For general information about the work of bricklayers, con­ tact: y Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org y Brick Industry Association, 11490 Commerce Park Dr., Reston, VA 22091-1525. Internet: http://www.brickinfo.org y National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171-3499. Internet: http://www.ncma.org  Carpenters (0*NET 47-2031.00, 47-2031.01,47-2031.02)  Significant Points •  About 32 percent of all carpenters—the largest con­ struction trade—were self-employed.  •  Job opportunities should be best for those with the most training and skills.  •  Between 3 and 4 years of both on-the-job training and classroom instruction usually is needed to become a skilled carpenter.  Nature of the Work Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construc­ tion, 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. 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 drywall using hand and power tools, such as chisels, planes, saws, drills, and sanders. They then join the materials with nails, screws, staples, or adhesives. In the last step, carpen­ ters do a final check of the accuracy of their work with levels, rules, plumb bobs, framing squares, and surveying equipment, 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 much layout work or the cutting and assembly of as many pieces. Prefabricated components  Construction Trades and Related Workers 633  Most carpenters work a standard 40 hour week. Hours may be longer during busy periods.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Nt-'  Carpenters cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall using hand and power tools. are designed for easy and fast installation and generally can be installed in a single operation. Some carpenters do many different carpentry tasks, while others specialize in one or two. Carpenters who remodel homes and other structures, for example, need a broad range of carpentry skills. As part of a single job, for example, they might frame walls and partitions, put in doors and windows, build stairs, install cabinets and molding, and complete many other tasks. Because these carpenters are so well-trained, they often can switch from residential building to commercial con­ struction or remodeling work, depending on which offers the best work opportunities. Carpenters who work for large construction contractors or specialty contractors may perform only a few regular tasks, such as constructing wooden forms for pouring concrete, or erecting scaffolding. Some carpenters build tunnel bracing, or brattices, in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air through the passageways and to work­ sites. Others build concrete forms for tunnel, bridge, or sewer construction projects. Carpenters employed outside the construction industry per­ form a variety of installation and maintenance work. They may replace panes of glass, ceiling tiles, and doors, as well as repair desks, cabinets, 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 elsewhere in the Handbook.) Work environment. As is true of other building trades, carpentry work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling often are necessary. Carpen­ ters 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 carpenters work indoors, those that work outdoors are subject to variable weather conditions.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Carpenters learn their trade through formal and informal train­ ing programs. Between 3 and 4 years of both on-the-job train­ ing and classroom instruction usually is needed to become a skilled carpenter. There are a number of ways to train, but a more formal training program often improves job opportuni­ ties. Education and training. Learning to be a carpenter can start in high school. Classes in English, algebra, geometry, physics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and general shop will prepare students for the further training they will need. After high school, there are a number of different ways to obtain the necessary training. Some people get a job as a carpenter’s helper, assisting more experienced workers. At the same time, the helper might attend a trade or vocational school, or community college to receive further trade-related training and eventually become a carpenter. Some employers offer employees formal apprenticeships. These programs combine on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Apprentices usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. Apprenticeship programs usually last 3 to 4 years, but length varies with the apprentice’s skill. On the job, apprentices learn elementary structural design and become familiar with common carpentry jobs, such as lay­ out, form building, rough framing, and outside and inside fin­ ishing. They also learn to use the tools, machines, equipment, and materials of the trade. In the classroom, apprentices learn safety, first aid, blueprint reading, freehand sketching, basic mathematics, and various carpentry techniques. Both in the classroom and on the job, they learn the relationship between carpentry and the other building trades. The number of apprenticeship programs is limited, how­ ever, so only a small proportion of carpenters leam their trade through these programs. Most apprenticeships are offered by commercial and industrial building contractors with union membership. Some people who are interested in carpentry careers choose to get their classroom training before seeking a job. There are a number of public and private vocational-technical schools and training academies affiliated with 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. Other qualifications. Carpenters need manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, military service or a good work history is viewed favorably by employers. Certification and advancement. Carpenters who complete formal apprenticeship programs receive certification as journeypersons. Some carpenters earn other certifications in scaf­ fold building, high torque bolting, or pump work. These certi­  634 Occupational Outlook Handbook  fications prove that carpenters are able to perform these tasks, which can lead to additional responsibilities. Carpenters usually have more opportunities than most other construction workers to become general construction supervi­ sors because carpenters are exposed to the entire construction process. For those who would like to advance, it is increas­ ingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in order to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the constmction workforce in many areas. Carpenters may advance to carpentry supervisor or general construction super­ visor positions. Others may become independent contractors. Supervisors and contractors need good communication skills to deal with clients and subcontractors. They should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to com­ plete a job and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and what it will cost.  Employment Carpenters are employed throughout the country in almost every community and make up the largest building trades oc­ cupation. They held about 1.5 million jobs in 2006. About 32 percent worked in construction of buildings and about 23 percent worked for specialty trade contractors. Most of the rest of the wage and salary workers worked for manu­ facturing firms, government agencies, retail establishments, and a wide variety of other industries. About 32 percent of all carpenters were self-employed. Some carpenters change employers each time they finish a construction job. Others alternate between working for a contractor and working as contractors themselves on small jobs, depending on where the work is available.  Job Outlook Average job growth, coupled with replacement needs, create a large number of openings each year. Job opportunities should be best for those with the most training and skills. Employment change. Employment of carpenters is ex­ pected to increase by 10 percent during the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for carpenters should grow as construction activity increases in response to demand for new housing and office and re­ tail space, and for modernizing and expanding schools and industrial plants. A strong home remodeling market also will create demand for carpenters. Moreover, construction of roads and bridges as well as restaurants, hotels, and other businesses will increase the demand for carpenters in the coming decade. 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. Prefabricated wall panels, roof assemblies, and stairs, as well as prehung doors and windows can be installed very quickly. Instead of having to be built on the worksite, prefabri­ cated 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 prefabricated compo­ nents 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 pneu­ matic tools—such as nailers and drills—will all continue to make carpenters more productive. New and improved tools, equipment, techniques, and materials also have made carpen­ ters more versatile, allowing them to perform more carpentry tasks. Job prospects. Job opportunities should be best for those with the most training and skills. Job growth and replacement needs for those who leave the occupation create a large number of openings each year. Many people with limited skills take jobs as carpenters but eventually leave the occupation because they dislike the work or cannot find steady employment. Carpenters with all-around skills will have better opportuni­ ties for steady work than carpenters who can perform only a few relatively simple, routine tasks. Carpenters can experi­ ence periods of unemployment because of the short-term na­ ture of many construction projects, winter slowdowns in con­ struction activity in northern areas, and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. Employment of carpenters, like that of many other construc­ tion workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unemploy­ ment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas dur­ ing peak periods of building activity. Job opportunities for carpenters also vary by geographic area. Construction activity parallels the movement of people and businesses and reflects differences in local economic conditions. The areas with the largest population increases will also provide the best opportunities for jobs as carpen­ ters and for apprenticeships for people seeking to become carpenters.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary car­ penters were $17.57. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.55 and $23.85. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.87, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.45. Median hourly eamings in the industries employing the largest numbers of carpenters were as follows:  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Carpenters................................................................ .............................  soc Code 47-2031  Employment, 2006 1,462,000  . Projected employment, 2016 1,612,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 150,000 10  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on  tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Occupational Informa-  Construction Trades and Related Workers 635  Residential building construction.......................................... $17.39 Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors....... 17.03 Nonresidential building construction...................................... 15.12 Building finishing contractors................................................. 13.76 Employment services...............................................................10.88 Earnings can be reduced on occasion, because carpenters lose work time in bad weather and during recessions when jobs are unavailable. Earnings may be increased by overtime during busy periods. Some carpenters are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.  Carpet, Floor, and Tile Installers and Finishers (0*NET 47-2041.00, 47-2042.00, 47-2043.00, 47-2044.00)  Significant Points  •  About 42 percent of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are self-employed.  •  Most workers learn on the job.  •  Projected job growth varies by specialty; for example, tile and marble setters will have faster than average job growth, while little change is expected in the em­ ployment of carpet installers.  •  Employment is less sensitive to fluctuations in con­ struction activity than other construction trades work­ ers.  Related Occupations Carpenters are skilled construction workers. Other skilled construction occupations include brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmen­ tal pavers, and terrazzo workers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; electricians; pipelayers, plumbers, pip­ efitters, and steamfitters; and plasterers and stucco masons.  Nature of the Work  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-con­ tractor 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. Depart­ ment of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For information on training opportunities and carpentry in general, contact: V Associated Builders and Contractors, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org V Associated General Contractors  of America,  Inc.,  2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, 3600 NW., 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL, 32606. Internet: http://www.nccer.org y National Association of Flome Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St.NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org y United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Carpenters Training Fund, 6801 Placid St., Las Vegas, NV 89119. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quar­ terly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, cre­ dentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” online at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01 .pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Carpet, tile, and other types of floor coverings not only serve an important basic function in buildings, but their decorative quali­ ties also contribute to the appeal of the buildings. Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers lay 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 sur­ face to be covered to determine its condition and, if necessary, correct any imperfections that could show through the carpet or cause the carpet to wear unevenly. They 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 heattaped seams—seams held together by a special plastic tape that is activated by heat. On special upholstery work, such as stairs, carpet may be held in place with staples. Also, in commercial installations, carpet often is glued directly to the floor or to padding that has been glued to the floor. Carpet installers use hand tools such as hammers, drills, staple guns, carpet knives, and rubber mallets. They also may  636 Occupational Outlook Handbook  use carpetlaying tools, such as carpet shears, knee kickers, wall trimmers, loop pile cutters, heat irons, and power stretchers. Floor installers and floor layers lay floor coverings such as laminate, linoleum, vinyl, cork, and rubber for decorative pur­ poses, 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 deficiencies, such as a rotted or unleveled sub-floor, in order to start with a sturdy, smooth, clean foundation. They measure and cut floor covering materials. When installing linoleum or vinyl, they may use an adhesive to cement the material directly to the floor. For laminate floor installation, workers may unroll and install a polyethylene film which acts as a moisture barrier, along with a thicker, padded underlayer which helps reduce noise. Cork and rubber floors often can be installed directly on top of the sub-floor without any underlayer. Finally, floor layers install the floor covering to form a tight fit. After a carpenter installs a new hardwood floor or when a customer wants to refinish an old wood floor, floor sanders and finishers 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 remove excess glue from joints using a knife or wood chisel and may further sand the wood surfaces by hand, using sandpaper. Finally, they apply sealant using brushes or rollers, often applying multiple coats. Tile installers, tilesetters, and marble setters apply hard tile and marble to floors, walls, ceilings, countertops, patios, and roof decks. Tile and marble are durable, impervious to water, and easy to clean, making them a popular building material in bathrooms, kitchens, hospitals, and commercial buildings. Prior to installation, tilesetters use measuring devices and lev­ els to ensure that the tile is placed in a consistent manner. Tile varies 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 al­ lows 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. To cover all ex­ posed areas, including 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 drywall, concrete, plaster, or wood, 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, rub­ ber mallet, or a small block of wood to set the tile evenly and firmly. Spacers are used to maintain exact distance between tiles, and any excess thin set is wiped off the tile immediately after placement. 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 mor­ tar—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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  "■\u  Mr?  Prior to installing tile, tilesetters use measuring devices and levels to ensure that the tile is placed in a consistent manner. mortar to level the surface, and then apply mortar to the brown coat and place tile onto the surface. Hard backer board also is used in areas where there is excess moisture, such as a shower stall. 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 fill the joints and remove excess grout. Be­ fore the grout sets, they wipe the tiles and 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 sizes 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. Work environment. Carpet, floor, and tile installers and fin­ ishers usually work indoors and have regular daytime hours. However, when floor covering installers need to work in oc­ cupied stores or offices, they may work evenings and week­ ends to avoid disturbing customers or employees. 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 in­ tensive; workers spend much of their time bending, kneeling, and reaching—activities that require endurance. The work can be very hard on workers’ knees and back. Carpet installers frequently lift heavy rolls of carpet and may move heavy fur­ niture, which requires strength and can be physically exhaust­ ing. 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.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 637  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.  up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Workers who want to advance to supervisor jobs or become contractors also need good English skills to deal with clients and subcontractors.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The vast majority of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finish­ ers learn their trade informally on the job. A few, mostly tile setters, learn through formal apprenticeship programs, which include classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training. Education and training. Informal training for carpet install­ ers often is sponsored by individual contractors. Workers start as helpers, and begin with simple assignments, such as install­ ing stripping and padding, or helping to stretch newly installed carpet. With experience, helpers take on more difficult assign­ ments, such as measuring, cutting, and fitting. Tile and marble setters also learn their craft mostly through on-the-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 also learn to apply grout and sealants used in finishing the materials to give it its final appearance. Apprenticeship programs and some contrac­ tor-sponsored programs provide comprehensive training in all phases of the tilesetting and floor layer trades. Other floor layers also 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. Other qualifications. 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 bal­ ance and color. The ability to solve basic arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, reliability and a good work history are viewed favorably by contractors. Advancement. Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finish­ ers sometimes advance to become supervisors, salespersons, or estimators. In these positions, they must be able to estimate the time, money, and quantity of materials needed to complete a job. Some carpet installers may become managers for large instal­ lation firms. Many carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers who begin working for someone else eventually go into busi­ ness for themselves as independent subcontractors. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly im­ portant to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with lim­ ited understanding of English; Spanish-speaking workers make  Employment Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers held about 196,000 jobs in 2006. About 42 percent of all carpet, floor, and tile in­ stallers and finishers were self-employed, compared with 20 percent of all construction trades and related workers. The fol­ lowing tabulation shows 2006 wage-and-salary employment by specialty: Tile and marble setters..........................................................79,000 Carpet installers....................................................................73,000 Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles................. 29,000 Floor sanders and finishers.................................................... 14,000 Many carpet installers work for flooring contractors or floor covering retailers. Most salaried tilesetters are employed by tilesetting contractors who work mainly on nonresidential con­ struction projects, such as schools, hospitals, and office build­ ings. Most self-employed tilesetters work on residential proj­ ects. Although carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are employed throughout the Nation, they tend to be concentrated in populated areas where there are high levels of construction activity.  Job Outlook Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all oc­ cupations. Job growth and opportunities, however, will differ among the individual occupations. Employment change. Overall employment is expected to grow by 4 percent between 2006 and 2016, more slowly than the average for all occupations. Tile and marble setters, the largest specialty, will experience faster than average job growth because population and business growth will result in more construction of shopping malls, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures in which tile is used extensively. Tiles, including those made of glass, slate, and mosaic, and other less traditional materials, are also becoming more popular, particu­ larly in the growing number of more expensive homes. Carpet installers, the second largest specialty, will have lit­ tle or no job growth as residential investors and homeowners increasingly choose hardwood floors because of their durabil-  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers........................... .......... Carpet installers...................................................................... .......... Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles................ .......... Floor sanders and finishers..................................................... .......... Tile and marble setters........................................................... ..........  soc Code 47-2040 47-2041 47-2042 47-2043 47-2044  Employment, 2006 196,000 73,000 29,000 14,000 79,000  Projected employment, 2016 203,000 72,000 25,000 14,000 91,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 7,500 4 -900 -1 -3,500 -12 -300 -2 12,000 15  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  638 Occupational Outlook Handbook  ity, neutral colors, and low maintenance, and because owners feel these floors will add to the value of their homes. Carpets, on the other hand, stain and wear out faster than wood or tile, which contributes to the decreased demand for carpet installa­ tion. Nevertheless, carpet will continue to be used in nonresidential structures such as schools, offices, and hospitals. Also, many multifamily structures will require or recommend carpet because it provides sound dampening. Workers who install other types of flooring, including lami­ nate, cork, rubber, and vinyl, should experience rapidly declin­ ing employment because these materials are used less often and are often laid by other types of construction workers. Em­ ployment of floor sanders and finishers—a small specialty—is projected to have little or no job growth due to the increasing use of prefinished hardwood flooring and because their work is heavily concentrated in the relatively small niche market of residential remodeling. There should be some employment growth, however, resulting from restoration of damaged hard­ wood floors, which is typically more cost effective than install­ ing new floors. Job prospects. In addition to employment growth, job open­ ings are expected for carpet, floor, and tile installers and fin­ ishers because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. The strenuous nature of the work leads to high replacement needs because many of these workers do not stay in the occupation long. Few openings will arise for vinyl and linoleum floor install­ ers because the number of these jobs is comparatively small and because homeowners can increasingly take advantage of easy application products, such as self-adhesive vinyl tiles. Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finish­ ers is slightly less sensitive to changes in construction activ­ ity than most other construction occupations because much of the work involves replacing worn carpet and other flooring in existing buildings. However, workers in these trades may still experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these work­ ers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.  Earnings In May 2006, the median hourly earnings of wage and salary carpet installers were $16.62. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.06 and $23.26. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.46, and the top 10 percent earned more than $31.11. The median hourly earnings of carpet installers working for building finishing contractors were $17.17, and $15.69 for those working in home furnishings stores. Carpet installers are paid either on an hourly basis or by the number of yards of carpet installed. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary floor layers ex­ cept carpet, wood, and hard tiles were $16.44 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.71 and $23.78. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.77, and the top 10 percent earned more than $32.32. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary floor sanders and finishers were $13.89 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.84 and $18.47. The lowest 10 percent   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  earned less than $9.08, and the top 10 percent earned more than $24.21. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary tile and marble setters were $ 17.59 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.16 and $23.50. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.26, and the top 10 percent earned more than $29.95. Earnings of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers vary greatly by geographic location and by union membership status. Some carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers be­ long to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Some tilesetters belong to the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, and some carpet installers belong to the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. Apprentices and other trainees usually start out earning about half of what an experienced worker earn; their wage rates in­ crease as they advance through the training program.  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; ce­ ment masons, concrete 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, con­ tact local flooring or tilesetting contractors or retailers, locals of the unions previously mentioned, or the nearest office of the State apprenticeship agency or employment service. Appren­ ticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s tollfree helpline: (877) 872-5627. For general information about the work of carpet installers and floor layers, contact: y Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association, 7439 Milwood Dr., West Bloomfield, MI 48322. Internet: http://www.fcica.com/index2.html Additional information on training for carpet installers and floor layers is available from: y Finishing Trades Institute, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.finishingtradesinstitute.org For general information about the work of tile installers and finishers, contact: y International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Masonry Institute, TheJamesBriceHouse, 42East St., Annapolis, MD 21401. Internet: http://www.imiweb.org y National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St.NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org and http://www.nahb.org For more information about tile setting and tile training, con­ tact: y National Tile Contractors Association, P.O. Box 13629, Jackson, MS 39236. Internet: http://www.tile-assn.com For information concerning training of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers, contact:  Construction Trades and Related Workers 639 ■■■  y United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 50 F St.NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Appren­ ticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” in print at many libraries and career centers and online at: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf  Tyvek  Tyvel  ■ns  III 111  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, especially for those with the most experience and skills.  •  Most learn on the job or though a combination of classroom and on-the-job training that can take 3 to 4 years. 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 ma­ terials used in construction. Once set, concrete—a mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water—becomes the foun­ dation for everything from decorative patios and floors to huge dams or miles of roadways. Cement masons and concrete finishers place and finish con­ crete. They also may color concrete surfaces, expose aggre­ gate (small stones) in walls and sidewalks, or fabricate concrete beams, columns, and panels. In preparing a site to place con­ crete, cement masons first set the forms for holding the con­ crete 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, ma­ sons carefully float it—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 fin­ ishers 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. Con­ crete finishers use a special tool called a “groover” to make joints or grooves at specific intervals that help control cracking. Next, they smooth the surface using either a powered or hand trowel, a small, smooth, rectangular metal tool.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Cement masons first set the forms for holding the concrete and properly align them. Sometimes, cement masons perform all the steps of laying concrete, including the finishing. As the final step, they ret­ rowel the concrete surface back and forth with powered or hand trowels to create a smooth finish. For a coarse, nonskid finish, masons brush the surface with a broom or stiff-bristled brush. For a pebble finish, they embed small gravel chips into the surface. They then wash any excess cement from the exposed chips with a mild acid solution. For color, they use colored pre­ mixed 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 Port­ land cement paste, and smooth the surface with a carborundum stone. Finally, they coat the exposed area with a rich Portland cement mixture, using either a special tool or a coarse cloth to rub the concrete to a uniform finish. Throughout the entire process, cement masons must monitor how the wind, heat, or cold affects the curing of the concrete. They must have a thorough knowledge of concrete characteris­ tics so that, by using sight and touch, they can determine what is happening to the concrete and take measures to prevent de­ fects. Segmental pavers lay out, cut, and install pavers—flat pieces of masonry made from compacted concrete or brick. This ma­ sonry is typically installed in patios, sidewalks, plazas, streets, crosswalks, parking lots, and driveways. Installers usually begin their work on a previously prepared base that has been graded to the proper depth, although some projects may include the base preparation. A typical segmental paver installation be­ gins with leveling a layer of sand, followed by placement of the pavers, normally by hand but sometimes by machine. Usu­ ally the work includes constructing edges to prevent horizontal movement of the pavers. Sand is then added to fill the joints between the pavers. 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. There are six different types of terrazzo, but the focus of this description is on the most common standard terrazzo: Marblechip terrazzo, which requires three layers of materials. First,  640 Occupational Outlook Handbook  cement masons or terrazzo workers build a solid, level concrete foundation that is 3 to 4 inches deep. Second, 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 third and final layer, terrazzo workers blend and place into each of the panels a fine marble chip mixture that may be color-pig­ mented. While the mixture is still wet, workers add additional marble chips of various colors into each panel and roll a light­ weight roller over the entire surface. When the terrazzo is thoroughly set, helpers grind it with a terrazzo 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. Work environment. Concrete, segmental paving, or terrazzo work is fast-paced and strenuous, and requires continuous physi­ cal effort. Because most finishing is done at floor level, workers must bend and kneel often. Many jobs are outdoors, and work is generally halted during 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 workers wear kneepads. Workers usually also wear water-repellent boots while working in wet concrete. Most workers work 40 hours a week, although the number of hours can be increased or decreased by outside factors. Earn­ ings for workers in these trades can be reduced on occasion because poor weather and slowdowns in construction activity limit the time they can work.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers learn their trades through on-the-job training, either as helpers or in apprenticeship programs. Some workers also learn their jobs by attending trade or vocational-technical schools. Education and training. Many masons and finishers first gain experience as construction laborers. (See the section on construction laborers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Most on-thejob training programs consist of informal instmction, 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 concrete. As training progresses, assignments become more complex, and trainees can usually do finishing work with­ in a short time. Other workers train in formal apprenticeship programs usu­ ally sponsored by local contractors, trade associations, or local union-management committees. These earn while you learn programs provide on-the-job training and the recommended minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction each year. In the classroom, apprentices learn applied mathematics, blueprint reading, and safety. Apprentices generally receive special in­ struction in layout work and cost estimation. Apprenticeships may take 3 to 4 years to complete. Applying for an apprentice­ ship may require a written test and a physical exam. Many States have technical schools that offer courses in ma­ sonry which improve employment and advancement opportuni­ ties. Entrance requirements and fees vary depending on the school and who is funding the program. These schools may offer courses before hiring or after hiring as part of the on-thejob training. Other qualifications. The most important quality employers look for is dependability and a strong work ethic. When hiring helpers and apprentices, employers prefer high school gradu­ ates 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, math­ ematics, and vocational-technical subjects, such as blueprint reading and mechanical drawing provide a helpful background. Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and ter­ razzo workers should enjoy doing demanding work. They should take pride in craftsmanship and be able to work without close supervision. Advancement. With additional training, cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, or terrazzo workers may become supervisors for masonry contractors or move into con­ struction management, building inspection, or contract estima­ tion. Some eventually become owners of businesses, where they may spend most of their time managing rather than prac­ ticing their original trade. For those who want to own their own business, taking business classes will help them prepare.  Employment Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and ter­ razzo workers held about 229,000 jobs in 2006; segmental pav­ ers and terrazzo workers accounted for only a small portion of the total. Most cement masons and concrete finishers worked  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers....................................................................... Cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers............ Cement masons and concrete finishers....................................... Terrazzo workers and finishers....................................... Segmental pavers................................................  SOC Code  47-2050 47-2051 47-2053 47-4091  Employment, 2006 229,000 228,000 222,000 6,800 1,000  Projected employment, 2016 255,000 254,000 247,000 7,500 1,100  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 26,000 26,000 25,000 700 100  11 11 11 11 10  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction Trades and Related Workers 641  for specialty trade contractors, primarily foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors. They also worked for con­ tractors 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. Only about 2 percent of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers were self-employed, a smaller proportion than in other building trades. Most selfemployed masons specialized in small jobs, such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is expected, and job prospects are expected to be good, especially for those with the most experi­ ence and skills. Employment change. Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers is expected to grow 11 percent over the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. More workers will be needed to build new highways, bridges, factories, and other residential and nonresidential structures to meet the demands of a growing population. Additionally, cement masons will be needed to repair and renovate existing highways and bridges and other aging structures. The use of concrete for buildings is increasing. For example, residential construction in Florida is using more concrete as building requirements are changed in reaction to the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Concrete use is likely to expand into other hurricane-prone areas as the durability of the Florida homes are demonstrated. Job prospects. 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. There are expected to be a significant number of retirements over the next decade, which will create more job openings. Ap­ plicants who take masonry-related courses at technical schools will have better opportunities than those without these courses. Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, like that of many other construc­ tion workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unemploy­ ment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas dur­ ing peak periods of building activity.  Earnings In May 2006, the median hourly earnings of wage and salary cement masons and concrete finishers were $15.70. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.38 and $20.70. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $10.02, and the top 10 percent earned more than $27.07. Median hourly earnings in the industries   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  employing the largest numbers of cement masons and concrete finishers were as follows: Masonry contractors..............................................................$17.05 Nonresidential building construction......................................16.34 Highway, street, and bridge construction................................16.20 Other specialty trade contractors............................................16.15 Poured concrete foundation and structure contractors............15.38 In May 2006, the median hourly earnings of wage and sal­ ary terrazzo workers and finishers were $15.21. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.01 and $20.50. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $9.31, and the top 10 percent earned more than $27.22. In May 2006, the median hourly earnings of wage and salary segmental pavers were $13.80. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.47 and $17.05. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $8.41, and the top 10 percent earned more than $19.11. Like 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 per­ cent of the rate paid to experienced workers, and increases are generally achieved by meeting specified advancement require­ ments every 6 months. 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 Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of the United States.  Related Occupations Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and ter­ razzo workers combine skill with knowledge of building ma­ terials to construct buildings, highways, and other structures. Other occupations involving similar skills and knowledge in­ clude brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; and plasterers and stucco masons.  Sources of Additional Information For information about apprenticeships and work opportunities, contact local concrete or terrazzo contractors, locals of unions previously mentioned, a local joint union-management appren­ ticeship committee, or the nearest office of the State employ­ ment service or apprenticeship agency. Apprenticeship infor­ mation is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. You may also check the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site for information on apprentice­ ships and links to State apprenticeship programs. Internet: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat For general information about cement masons, concrete fin­ ishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, contact:  642 Occupational Outlook Handbook  > Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Division, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org y 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 y National Center for Construction Education and Research, 3600 NW., 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL 32606. Internet: http://www.nccer.org y National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171-3499. Internet: http://www.ncma.org y National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, 201 North Maple, Suite 208, Purcellville, VA 20132. y Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada, 11720 Beltsville Dr., Suite 700, Beltsville, MD 20705. Internet: http://www.opcmia.org y Portland Cement Association, 5420 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL 60077. Internet: http://www.cement.org y United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, 50 F St.NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org For more information about careers and training as a mason, contact: y Mason Contractors Association of America, 33 South Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60193. Internet: http://www.masoncontractors.org For general information on apprenticeships andhow togetthem, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Construction and Building Inspectors (0*NET 47-4011.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  About 41 percent of inspectors worked for local gov­ ernments, primarily municipal or county building de­ partments. Many home inspectors are self-employed. Opportunities should be best for experienced con­ struction supervisors and craftworkers who have some college education, engineering or architectural training, or certification as construction inspectors or plan examiners.  Nature of the Work Construction and building inspectors examine buildings, high­ ways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures. They ensure that their construction, alteration,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  or repair complies with building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. Building codes and standards are the primary means by which building construc­ tion is regulated in the United States for the health and safety of the general public. National model building and construction 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 inspec­ tion during the first phase of construction and follow up with further inspections throughout the construction project. How­ ever, 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 mon­ itor 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 specialize in for example, structural steel or reinforcedconcrete structures. Before construction begins, plan examin­ ers determine whether the plans for the building or other struc­ ture comply with building codes and whether they are suited to the engineering and environmental 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 in­ spect 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, com­ prehensive inspection. In addition to structural characteristics, a primary concern of building inspectors is fire safety. They inspect structures’ fire sprinklers, alarms, smoke control systems, and fire exits. Inspectors assess the type of construction, contents of the build­ ing, 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 vis­ it 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. For information on Fire inspectors, see the Handbook state­ ment on Fire fighting occupations. Home inspectors conduct inspections of newly built or pre­ viously owned homes, condominiums, town homes, manufac­ tured homes, apartments, and at times commercial buildings. Home inspection has become a standard practice in the home­ purchasing process. Home inspectors are most often hired by prospective home buyers to inspect and report on the condition of a home’s systems, components, and structure. Although they look for and report violations of building codes, they do not  Construction Trades and Related Workers 643  Construction and building inspectors must check building mea­ surements against construction codes. have the power to enforce compliance with the codes. Typi­ cally, they 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, attached garage or carport, foundation, interior, plumbing, and electrical, heating, and cooling systems. Some home inspec­ tions are done for homeowners who want an evaluation of their home’s condition, for example, prior to putting the home on the market or as a way to diagnose problems. Mechanical inspectors inspect the installation of the mechan­ ical components of commercial kitchen appliances, heating and air-conditioning equipment, gasoline and butane tanks, gas and oil piping, and gas-fired and oil-fired appliances. Some special­ ize in boilers or ventilating equipment as well. 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 lo­ cal government construction of water and sewer systems, high­ ways, streets, bridges, and dams conforms to detailed contract specifications. 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   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and materials used so that contract payments can be calculated. Public works inspectors may specialize in highways, structur­ al steel, reinforced concrete, or ditches. Others specialize in dredging operations required for bridges and dams or for har­ bors. 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 pub­ lic. Insurance companies and financial institutions also may use their services. Details concerning construction projects, building and occu­ pancy permits, and other documentation generally are stored on computers so that they can easily be retrieved and updated. For example, inspectors may use laptop computers to record their findings while inspecting a site. Most inspectors use comput­ ers 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 find­ ings. 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 in­ spectors 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 out the results. If neces­ sary, they act on their findings. For example, government and construction inspectors notify the construction contractor, su­ perintendent, 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 corrected within a reasonable or otherwise specified period, government inspectors have authority to issue a “stop-work” order. Many inspectors also investigate construction or alterations being done without proper permits. Inspectors who are em­ ployees 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. Work environment. Construction and building inspectors usually work alone. However, several may be assigned to large, complex projects, particularly because inspectors tend to spe­ cialize in different areas of construction. Although they spend considerable time inspecting construction worksites, inspectors also spend time in a field office reviewing blueprints, answer­ ing 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 lad­ ders 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.  644 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Inspectors normally work regular hours. However, they may work additional hours during periods when a lot of construc­ tion is taking place. Also, if an accident occurs at a construc­ tion site, inspectors must respond immediately and may work additional hours to complete their report. Non-government 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, construction and building inspectors should have a thorough knowledge of con­ struction materials and practices. In some States, construction and building inspectors are required to obtain a special license or certification, so it is important to check with the appropriate State agency. Education and training. 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 technology, drafting, and mathematics. Many community col­ leges offer certificate or associate 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 occu­ pation with a college degree, which often can substitute for previous experience. The distribution of all construction and building inspectors by their highest level of educational at­ tainment in 2006 was: Percent High school graduate or less........................................................ 31 Some college, no degree.............................................................. 28 Associate’s degree.........................................................................12 Bachelor’s degree......................................................................... 26 Graduate degree............................................................................. 2 The level of training requirements varies by type of inspector and State. In general, construction and building inspectors re­ ceive 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 inspec­ tions 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.  Licensure and certification. Many States and local jurisdic­ tions require some type of license or certification for employ­ ment as a construction and building inspector. Requirements may vary by State or local municipality. Typical requirements for licensure or certification include previous experience, a minimum educational attainment level, such as a high school diploma, and possibly the passing of a State-approved exami­ nation. Some States have individual licensing programs for inspectors, while others may require certification by such as­ sociations as the International Code Council, International As­ sociation of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and National Fire Protection Association. Similarly, some States require home inspectors to obtain a State issued license or certification. Currently, 33 States have regulations affecting home inspectors. Requirements for a li­ cense or certification vary by State, but may include obtaining a minimum level of education, having a set amount of experience with inspections, purchasing liability insurance of a certain amount, and the passing of an examination. Renewal is usu­ ally every few years and annual continuing education is almost always required. Other qualifications. Because inspectors must possess the right mix of technical knowledge, experience, and education, employers prefer applicants who have both formal training and experience. For example, many inspectors previously worked as carpenters, electricians, or plumbers. Home inspectors com­ bine knowledge of multiple specialties, so many of them come into the occupation having a combination of certifications and previous experience in various construction trades. Construction and building inspectors must be in good physi­ cal 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. Advancement. Being a member of a nationally recognized inspection association enhances employment opportunities and may be required by some employers. Even if it is not required, certification can enhance an inspector’s opportunities for em­ ployment and advancement to more responsible positions. To become certified, inspectors with substantial experience and education must pass examinations on topics including code requirements, construction techniques and materials, stan­ dards of practice, and codes of ethics. The International Code Council offers multiple voluntary certifications, as do many other professional associations. Many categories of certifica­ tion 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 Build­ ing 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,  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Construction and building inspectors....................  ....................  soc  Employment,  Code  2006  47-4011  110,000  Projected employment,  2016 130.000  Change,  2006-16 Number  Percent  20,000  18  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction Trades and Related Workers 645  State, and many local governments may require inspectors to pass a civil service exam. 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 required by many States and certifying organizations. Numerous employ­ ers provide formal training to broaden inspectors’ knowledge of construction materials, practices, and techniques. Inspec­ tors 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 pro­ grams, by taking college or correspondence courses, or by at­ tending seminars and conferences sponsored by various related organizations, including professional organizations. An engi­ neering or architectural degree often is required for advance­ ment to supervisory positions.  Employment Construction and building inspectors held about 110,000 jobs in 2006. Local governments—primarily municipal or county building departments—employed 41 percent. Employment of local government inspectors is concentrated in cities and in suburban areas undergoing rapid growth. Local governments in larger jurisdictions may employ large inspection staffs, in­ cluding many plan examiners or inspectors who specialize in structural steel, reinforced concrete, and boiler, electrical, and elevator inspection. In smaller jurisdictions, only one or a few inspectors who specialize in multiple areas may be on staff. Another 26 percent of construction and building inspectors worked for architectural and engineering services firms, con­ ducting inspections 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 em­ ployed in other service-providing industries or by State govern­ ments. 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.  Job Outlook Job opportunities in construction and building inspection should be best for highly experienced supervisors and construction craft workers who have some college education, engineering or architectural training, or certification as inspectors or plan examiners. Inspectors should experience faster than average employment growth. Employment change. Employment of construction and building inspectors is expected to grow by 18 percent over the 2006-2016 decade, which is faster than the average for all oc­ cupations. Concern for public safety and a desire for improve­ ment in the quality of construction should continue to stimulate demand for construction and building inspectors in government as well as in firms specializing in architectural, engineering, and related services. As the result of new technology such as building information modeling (BIM), the availability of a rich­ er set of buildings data in a more timely and transparent manner will make it easier to conduct plan reviews. This will lead to more time and resources spent on inspections. In addition, the  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  growing focus on natural and manmade disasters is increasing the level of interest in and need for qualified inspectors. Issues such as green and sustainable design are new areas of focus that will also drive the demand for construction and building inspectors. The routine practice of obtaining home inspections is a rela­ tively recent development, causing employment of home in­ spectors to increase rapidly. Although employment of home in­ spectors 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 pay­ ing work, may result in reduced growth of home inspectors in some areas. In addition, increasing State regulations are start­ ing to limit entry into the specialty only to those who have a given level of previous experience and are certified. Job prospects. Inspectors are involved in all phases of con­ struction, including maintenance and repair work, and are there­ fore less likely to lose their jobs when new construction slows during recessions. Those who are self-employed, such as home inspectors, are more likely to be affected by economic down­ turns or fluctuations in the real estate market. However, those with a thorough knowledge of construction practices and skills in areas such as reading and evaluating blueprints and plans will be better off. Inspectors with previous related experience in construction, a postsecondary degree, and engineering or ar­ chitectural training will have the best prospects. In addition to openings stemming from the expected employment growth, some job openings will arise from the need to replace inspec­ tors who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.  Earnings Median annual earnings of wage and salary construction and building inspectors were $46,570 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,610 and $58,780. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,210, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $72,590. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of construction and building inspectors were: Architectural, engineering, and related services................ $46,850 Local government.................................................................46,040 State government...................................................................43,680 Building inspectors, including plan examiners, generally earn the highest salaries. Salaries in large metropolitan areas are substantially higher than those in small jurisdictions. Benefits vary by place of employment. Those working for the government and private companies typically receive standard benefits, including health and medical insurance, a retirement plan, and paid annual leave. Those who are self-employed may have to provide their own benefits. More than a quarter of all construction and building inspec­ tors belonged to a union in 2006.  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  646 Occupational Outlook Handbook  combine knowledge of construction principles and law with an ability to coordinate data, diagnose problems, and communi­ cate with people. Workers in other occupations using a similar combination of skills include architects, except landscape and naval; appraisers and assessors of real estate; construction man­ agers; civil engineers; cost estimators; engineering technicians; and surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying technicians.  Sources of Additional Information Information about building codes, certification, and a career as a construction or building inspector is available from: > International Code Council, 500 New Jersey Avenue, NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20001-2070. Internet: http://www.iccsafe.org > National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, Massachusetts, 02169-7471. Internet: http://www.nfpa.org For more information about construction inspectors, contact: y Association of Construction Inspectors, 1224 North Nokomis NE., Alexandria, MN 56308. For more information about electrical inspectors, contact: y International Association of Electrical Inspectors, 901 Waterfall Way, Suite 602, Richardson, TX 75080-7702. Internet: http ://www.iaei.org For more information about elevator inspectors, contact: y National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities International, 6957 Littlerock Rd SW„ Ste A, Tumwater, WA 98512. Internet: http://www.naesai.org For more information about education and training for me­ chanical and plumbing inspectors, contact: > International Association for Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, 5001 E. Philadelphia St., Ontario, CA 91761. Internet: http://www.iapmo.org/iapmo For information about becoming a home inspector, contact any of the following organizations: y American Society of Home Inspectors, 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Internet: http://www.ashi.org y National Association of Home Inspectors, 4248 Park Glen Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55416. Internet: http://www.nahi.org For information about a career as a State or local government construction or building inspector, contact your State or local employment service.  Nature of the Work Construction equipment operators use machinery to move con­ struction materials, earth, and other heavy materials at con­ struction sites and mines. They operate equipment that clears and grades land to prepare it for construction of roads, build­ ings, and bridges. They use machines to dig trenches to lay or repair sewer and other pipelines and hoist heavy construction materials. They may even work offshore constructing oil rigs. Construction equipment operators also operate machinery that spreads asphalt and concrete on roads and other structures. These workers also set up and inspect the equipment, make adjustments, and perform some maintenance and minor repairs. Construction equipment operators control equipment by mov­ ing levers, foot pedals, operating switches, or joysticks. Con­ struction equipment is more complicated to use than it was in the past. For example, Global Positioning System (GPS) tech­ nology is now being used to help with grading and leveling ac­ tivities. Included in the construction equipment operator occupation are paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators; piledriver operators; and operating engineers. Paving and surfac­ ing equipment operators use levers and other controls to oper­ ate machines that spread and level asphalt or spread and smooth concrete for roadways or other structures. Asphalt paving ma­ chine operators turn valves to regulate the temperature and flow of asphalt onto the roadbed. They must take care that the ma­ chine distributes the paving material evenly and without voids, and 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 in 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 expan­ sion joints. Tamping equipment operators operate tamping ma­ chines that compact earth and other fill materials for roadbeds or other construction sites. They also may operate machines with interchangeable hammers to cut or break up old pavement and drive guardrail posts into the earth.  Construction Equipment Operators (0*NET 47-2071.00,47-2072.00, 47-2073.00)  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 very good. Hourly pay is relatively high, but operators of some types of equipment cannot work in inclement weath­ er, so total annual earnings may be reduced.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Piledriver operators use large machines to hammer piles into the ground.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 647  Piledriver operators use large machines, mounted on skids, barges, or cranes to 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 founda­ tions. 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. Operating engineers and other construction equipment oper­ ators use one or several types of power construction 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 trucks or onto conveyors. In addition to the familiar bulldozers, they operate trench exca­ vators, road graders, and similar equipment. Sometimes, they may drive and control industrial trucks or tractors equipped with forklifts or booms for lifting materials or with hitches for pull­ ing trailers. They also may operate and maintain air compres­ sors, pumps, and other power equipment at construction sites. Construction equipment operators who are classified as operat­ ing engineers are capable of operating several different types of construction equipment. Work environment. Construction equipment operators work outdoors, in nearly every type of climate and weather condition, although in many areas of the country, some types of construc­ tion operations must be suspended in winter. Bulldozers, scrap­ ers, 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 are cold in the winter and hot in the summer and often get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty. Some operators work in remote locations on large construction projects, such as highways and dams, or in factory or mining operations. Operators may have irregular hours because work on some construction projects continues around the clock or must be per­ formed late at night or early in the morning. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Construction equipment operators usually learn their skills on the job, but formal apprenticeship programs provide more com­ prehensive training. Education and training. Employers of construction equip­ ment operators generally prefer to hire high school graduates, although some employers may train non-graduates to operate some types of equipment. High school courses in automobile mechanics are helpful because workers may perform mainte­ nance on their machines. Also useful are courses in science and mechanical drawing. On the job, workers may start by operating light equipment under the guidance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment, such as bulldozers and cranes. Tech­ nologically advanced construction equipment with computer­ ized controls and improved hydraulics and electronics requires more skill to operate. Operators of such equipment may need more training and some understanding of electronics. It is generally accepted that formal training provides more comprehensive skills. Some construction equipment opera­ tors train in formal operating engineer apprenticeship programs   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  administered by union-management committees of the Interna­ tional 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 paid on-the-job training to­ gether with and 144 hours of related classroom instruction each year. 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. However, people consid­ ering such training should check the school’s reputation among employers in the area and find out if the school offers the op­ portunity to work on actual machines in realistic situations. A large amount of information can be learned in classrooms. But to become a skilled construction equipment operator, a worker needs to actually perform the various tasks. The best training fa­ cilities have equipment on-site so that students can do the tasks that they are learning about. Licensure. Construction equipment operators often obtain a commercial driver’s license so that they can haul their equip­ ment to the various job sites. Commercial driver’s licenses are issued by States according to each State’s rules and regulations. (See the statement on truck drivers and driver/sales workers elsewhere in the Handbook for more information on commer­ cial driver’s licenses.) Certification and other qualifications. Mechanical aptitude and experience operating related mobile equipment, such as farm tractors or heavy equipment, in the Armed Forces or elsewhere is an asset. 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. Certification or training in the right school will allow a worker to have opportunities across the country. While attending some vocational schools, operators are able to qualify for or attain various certifications. These certifications prove to potential employers that an operator is able to handle specific types of equipment. Certifications last from 3 to 5 years and must be renewed. Advancement. Construction equipment operators can ad­ vance to become supervisors. Some operators choose to teach in training facilities to pass on their knowledge. Other operators start their own contracting businesses although this may be dif­ ficult because of high start-up costs.  Employment Construction equipment operators held about 494,000 jobs in 2006. 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.........................................................424,000 Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators.......... 64,000 Pile-driver operators................................................................5,600 About 63 percent of construction equipment operators worked in the construction industry. Many equipment operators worked in heavy construction, building highways, bridges, or railroads.  648 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Construction equipment operators........................ Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators.................. Pile-driver operators................................................ Operating engineers and other constmction equipment operators  SOC Code  Employment, 2006  47-2070 47-2071 47-2072 47-2073  494,000 64,000 5,600 424,000  Projected employment, 2016 536,000 70,000 6,000 460,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 42,000 8 5,800 9 500 8 35,000 8  NOTE. Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  About 17 percent of construction equipment operators worked in State and local government. Others—mostly grader, bulldozer, and scraper operators—worked in mining. Some also worked for manufacturing or utility companies. About 5 percent of con­ struction equipment operators were self-employed.  Job Outlook Average job growth, reflecting increased demand for their ser­ vices, and the need to replace workers who leave the occupa­ tion should result in very good job opportunities for construction equipment operators. Employment change. Employment of construction equip­ ment operators is expected to increase 8 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Even though improvements in equipment are expected to continue to raise worker productivity and to moderate the demand for new workers somewhat, employment is expected to increase be­ cause population and business growth will create a need for new houses, industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, offices, and other structures. Specifically, more paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators will be needed as a result of expected growth in high­ way, bridge, and street construction. There has been consistent Congressional support for road projects. Bridge construction is expected to increase most because bridges will need to be re­ paired or replaced before they become unsafe. In some areas, deteriorating highway conditions also will spur demand for high­ way maintenance and repair. More piledriver operators will be needed as construction con­ tinues to move into areas that are challenging to build in and require the use of piles as supports. Increases in bridge construc­ tion will also create demand for piledriver operators. Demand for operating engineers and other construction equip­ ment operators will be driven by the demand for new construc­ tion. Increases in pipeline construction will also create demand. These operators work in all sectors of construction. Job prospects. Job opportunities for construction equipment operators are expected to be very good. Some potential workers may choose not to enter training programs because they prefer work that has more comfortable working conditions and is less seasonal in nature. This reluctance makes it easier for willing workers to get operator jobs. In addition, many job openings will arise from job growth and from the need to replace experienced construction equipment op­ erators who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the job for other reasons. Construction equipment operators who can use a large variety of equipment will have the best prospects. Operators with pipeline experience will have especially good op­ portunities.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment of construction equipment operators, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations in 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 Earnings for construction equipment operators vary. In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary operating en­ gineers and other construction equipment operators were $17.74. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.89 and $23.98. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.54, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.83. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of operating engineers were: Highway, street, and bridge construction..............................$19.88 Utility system constmction......................................................18.62 Other specialty trade contractors.............................................18.00 Other heavy and civil engineering construction...................... 17.63 Local government.................................................................... 15.95 Median hourly earnings of wage and salary paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators were $15.05 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.98 and $19.71. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.97, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $25.30. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators in were as follows: Other specialty trade contractors.......................................... $15.26 Highway, street, and bridge construction................................ 15.11 Local government....................................................................14.86 In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary piledriver operators were $22.20. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $16.31 and $31.65. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.83, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37.28. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of pile driver operators were as follows: Other heavy and civil engineering construction....................$28.60 Highway, street, and bridge construction................................22.50 Other specialty trade contractors............................................ 20.60 Utility system construction......................................................18.62 Hourly pay is relatively high, particularly in large metropolitan areas. However, annual earnings of some workers may be lower  Construction Trades and Related Workers 649  than hourly rates would indicate because work time may be lim­ ited by bad weather. About 28 percent of construction equipment operators belong to a union.  Related Occupations Other workers who operate mechanical equipment include ag­ ricultural equipment operators; truck drivers, heavy and tractor trailer; logging equipment operators; and a variety of material moving occupations.  Sources of Additional Information For further information about apprenticeships or work opportu­ nities for construction equipment operators, contact a local of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a local apprentice­ ship committee, or the nearest office of the State apprenticeship agency or employment service. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeship system with links to State appren­ ticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For general information about the work of construction equip­ ment operators, contact: V AssociatedGeneralContractorsofAmerica,2300WilsonBlvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org ^■International Union of Operating Engineers, 1125 17th St.NW., Washington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.iuoe.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org y Pile Driving Contractors Association, P.O. Box 66208, Orange Park, FL 32065. Internet: http://www.piledrivers.org For general i nformation on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Construction Laborers  Nature of the Work Construction laborers can be found on almost all construction sites performing a wide range of tasks from the very easy to the potentially hazardous. They can be found at building, highway, and heavy construction sites; residential and commercial sites; tunnel and shaft excavations; and demolition sites. Many of the jobs they perform require physical strength, training, and experience. Other jobs require little skill and can be learned in a short amount of time. While most construction laborers specialize in a type of construction, such as highway or tunnel construction, some are generalists who perform many different tasks during all stages of construction. 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. They 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 materi­ als 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. They often help other craftworkers, including carpenters, plasterers, oper­ ating engineers, and masons. Construction laborers are responsible for oversight of the in­ stallation and maintenance of traffic control devices and pat­ terns. At highway construction sites, this work may include clearing and preparing 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 drain pipes, and place concrete and asphalt on roads. Other highly specialized tasks include operating laser guidance equipment to place pipes; op­ erating air, electric, and pneumatic drills; and transporting and setting explosives for tunnel, shaft, and road construction. Some construction laborers help with the removal of hazard­ ous materials, such as asbestos, lead, or chemicals. (Workers who specialize in and are certified for the removal of hazardous  (0*NET 47-2061.00)  I si  Significant Points  •  •  •  •  Many construction laborer jobs require a variety of basic skills, but others require specialized training and experience. Most construction laborers learn on the job, but for­ mal apprenticeship programs provide the most thor­ ough preparation. Job opportunities vary by locality, but in many areas there will be competition, especially for jobs requir­ ing limited skills. Laborers who have specialized skills or who can re­ locate near new construction projects should have the best opportunities.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  /. ■»-< ?,  K#. -AN '  Construction laborers remove excess materials after a job is completed.  650 Occupational Outlook Handbook  materials are discussed in the Handbook statement on hazardous materials removal workers.) Construction laborers operate a variety of equipment including pavement breakers; jackhammers; earth tampers; concrete, mor­ tar, and plaster mixers; electric and hydraulic boring machines; torches; small mechanical hoists; laser beam equipment; and sur­ veying and measuring equipment. They may use computers and other high-tech 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. Work environment. 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 dur­ ing 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 un­ derground 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. In some parts of the country, con­ struction laborers may work only during certain seasons. They may also experience weather-related work stoppages at any time of the year.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many construction laborer jobs require a variety of basic skills, but others require specialized training and experience. Most con­ struction laborers learn on the job, but formal apprenticeship pro­ grams provide the most thorough preparation. Education and training. While some construction laborer jobs have no specific educational qualifications or entry-level train­ ing, apprenticeships for laborers require a high school diploma or equivalent. High school classes in English, mathematics, phys­ ics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, welding, and general shop can be helpful. Most workers start by getting a job with a contractor who pro­ vides on-the-job training. Increasingly, construction laborers find work through temporary help agencies that send laborers to con­ struction sites for short-term work. Entry-level workers generally  help more experienced workers. They perform routine tasks, such as cleaning and preparing the worksite and unloading materials. When the opportunity arises, they learn from experienced con­ struction trades workers how to do more difficult tasks, such as operating tools and equipment. Construction laborers may also choose or be required to attend a trade or vocational school or community college to receive further trade-related training. Some laborers receive more formal training. A number of em­ ployers, particularly large nonresidential construction contractors with union membership, offer employees formal apprenticeships, which provide the best preparation. These programs include be­ tween 2 and 4 years of classroom and on-the-job training. In the first 200 hours, workers learn basic construction skills such as blueprint reading, the correct use of tools and equipment, and safety and health procedures. The remainder of the curriculum consists of specialized skills training in three of the largest seg­ ments of the construction industry: building construction, heavy and highway construction, and environmental remediation, such as lead or asbestos abatement, and mold or hazardous waste re­ mediation. Workers who use dangerous equipment or handle toxic chemi­ cals usually receive specialized safety training. Laborers who re­ move hazardous materials are required to take union or employersponsored Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety training. Apprenticeship applicants usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. Because the number of apprentice­ ship programs is limited, however, only a small proportion of la­ borers learn their trade in this way. Other qualifications. Laborers need manual dexterity, eyehand coordination, good physical fitness, a good sense of balance, and an ability to work as a member of a team. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately may be required. In addition, military service or a good work history is viewed favor­ ably by contractors. Certification and advancement. Laborers may earn certifica­ tions in welding, scaffold erecting, and concrete finishing. These certifications help workers prove that they have the knowledge to perform more complex tasks. 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 in­ structions and safety precautions to workers with limited under­ standing of English; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Supervisors and contractors need good communication skills to deal with cli­ ents and subcontractors. In addition, supervisors and contractors should be able to iden­ tify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete a job, and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Construction laborers............................................................................  SOC Code 47-2061  Employment, 2006 1,232,000  Projected employment, 2016 1,366,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 134,000 II  NOTE. Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction Trades and Related Workers 651  and what it will cost. Computer skills also are important for ad­ vancement as construction becomes increasingly mechanized and computerized.  Employment Construction laborers held about 1.2 million jobs in 2006. They worked throughout the country but, like the general population, were concentrated in metropolitan areas. About 67 percent of construction laborers work in the construction industry, includ­ ing 30 percent who work for specialty trade contractors. About 17 percent were self-employed in 2006.  Job Outlook Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average. In many areas, there will be competition for jobs, especially for those requiring limited skills. Laborers who have specialized skills or who can relocate near new construction projects should have the best opportunities. Employment change. Employment of construction laborers is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The construction industry in general is expected to grow more slowly than it has in recent years. Due to the large variety of tasks that laborers perform, demand for laborers will mirror the level of overall construction activity. Construction laborer jobs will be adversely affected by auto­ mation as some jobs are replaced by new machinery and equip­ ment that improves productivity and quality. Also, laborers will be increasingly employed by staffing agencies that will contract out laborers to employers on a temporary basis, and in many areas employers will continue to rely on day laborers instead of full­ time laborers on staff. Job prospects. In many geographic areas there will be compe­ tition, especially for jobs requiring limited skills, due to a plenti­ ful supply of workers who are willing to work as day laborers. In other areas, however, opportunities will be better. Overall op­ portunities will be best for those with experience and specialized skills and for those who can relocate to areas with new construc­ tion projects. Opportunities will also be better for laborers spe­ cializing in road construction. Employment of construction laborers, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the econ­ omy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unem­ ployment 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 Median hourly earnings of wage and salary construction labor­ ers in May 2006 were $12.66. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.95 and $17.31. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.16, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.19. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of construction laborers were as follows: Nonresidential building construction.................................... $13.62 Other specialty trade contractors............................................ 12.93 Residential building construction............................................ 12.82 Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors....... 12.41 Employment services................................................................ 9.90   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  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 out earning about 60 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 construction occupations. Other workers who perform similar physical work include persons in material moving occupations; forest, conservation, and logging workers; and grounds mainte­ nance workers.  Sources of Additional Information For information about jobs as a construction laborer, contact lo­ cal building or construction contractors, local joint labor-man­ agement apprenticeship committees, apprenticeship agencies, or the local office of your State Employment Service. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeships together with links to State apprenticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Appren­ ticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For general in­ formation on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Oc­ cupational Outlook Quarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” online at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers. For information on education programs for laborers, contact: V Laborers-AGC Education and Training Fund, 37 Deerfield Rd., RO. Box 37, Pomfret Center, CT 06259. Internet: http ://www.laborerslearn.org 'y National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org  Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers (0*NET 47-2081.00, 47-2082.00)  Significant Points  •  Most workers learn this trade on the job by starting as helpers to more experienced workers; additional classroom 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 construction activity.  Nature of the Work Drywall consists of a thin layer of gypsum between two layers of heavy paper. It is used to make walls and ceilings in most  652 Occupational Outlook Handbook  buildings today because it is faster and cheaper to install than plaster. There are two kinds of drywall workers—installers and ta­ pers—although many workers do both types of work. Install­ ers, also called framers or hangers, fasten drywall panels to the inside framework of houses and other buildings. Tapers or fin< ishers, prepare these panels for painting by taping and finishing joints and imperfections. In addition to drywall workers, ceiling tile installers and lathers also help to build walls and ceilings. Because drywall panels are manufactured in standard sizes— usually 4 feet by B or 12 feet—drywall installers must measure, cut, fit, and fasten them to the inside framework of buildings. Workers cut smaller pieces to go around doors and windows. In­ stallers saw, drill, or cut holes in panels for electrical outlets, air-conditioning units, and plumbing. After making these altera­ tions, installers may glue, nail, or screw the wallboard panels to the wood or metal framework, called studs. Because drywall is heavy and cumbersome, another worker usually helps the in­ staller to position and secure the panel. Installers often use a lift when placing ceiling panels. After the drywall is installed, tapers fill joints between panels with a joint compound, also called spackle or “mud.” 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 im­ mediately 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 depres­ sions also are covered with this compound, as are imperfections caused by the installation of air-conditioning vents and other fix­ tures. On large projects, finishers may use automatic taping tools that apply the joint compound and tape in one step. Using in­ creasingly wider trowels, tapers apply second and third coats of the compound, sanding the treated areas after each coat to make them as smooth as the rest of the wall surface. This results in a seamless and almost perfect surface. For hard to reach heights and ceilings, sanding poles are commonly used. Some tapers ap­ ply 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. Making walls out of plaster requires the work of lathers. Lath­ ers apply the support base for plaster coatings, fireproofing, or acoustical materials. This support base, called lath, is put on walls, ceilings, ornamental frameworks, and partitions of build­ ings before plaster and other coatings are added. Lathers use handtools and portable power tools, to nail, screw, staple, or wire-tie the lath directly to the structural framework of a build­ ing. At one time, lath was made of wooden strips, but now, it is usually made of wire, metal mesh, or gypsum, also known as rockboard. Metal lath is used when the plaster on top of it will  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  be exposed to weather or water or when a surface is curved or irregular and not suitable for drywall. Work environment. As in many other construction trades, this work is sometimes physically strenuous. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, lathers, and tapers spend most of the day on their feet, either standing, bending, stretching, or kneeling. Some tapers use stilts to tape and finish ceiling and angle joints. Installers have to lift and maneuver heavy, cumbersome drywall panels. Hazards include falls from ladders and scaffolds and in­ juries from power tools and from working with sharp tools, such as utility knives. Because sanding a joint compound to a smooth finish creates a great deal of dust, most finishers wear masks and goggles for protection. A 40-hour week is standard, but the workweeks often fluctuate depending on the workload. Workers who are paid hourly rates receive premium pay for overtime.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade through formal and informal training programs. It can take 3 to 4 years of both classroom and paid on-the-job training to become a fully skilled worker, but many skills can be learned within the first year. In general, the more formal the training process, the more skilled the individual becomes, and the more in demand by employers. Education and training. Training for this profession can be­ gin in a high school, where classes in English, math, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and general shop are recommended. The most common way to get a first job is to find an employer who will provide on-the-job training. Entry-level workers gen­ erally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. Em­ ployers may also send new employees to a trade or vocational school or community college to receive classroom training. Some employers, particularly large nonresidential construc­ tion contractors with union membership, offer employees formal apprenticeships. These programs combine on-the-job training with related classroom instruction—at least 144 hours of instruc­ tion each year. The length of the apprenticeship program, usu­ ally 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 this way.  Most beginners learn this trade on the job by helping experi­ enced workers.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 653  Helpers and apprentices 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. With­ in a few weeks, they learn to measure, cut, and install materials. Eventually, 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 comer guards and to conceal openings around pipes. At the end of their training, drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn to esti­ mate the cost of installing and finishing drywall. Other jobseekers may choose to obtain their classroom training before seeking a job. There are a number of vocational-techni­ cal schools and training academies affiliated with the unions and contractors that offer training in these occupations. Employers often look favorably upon graduates of these training programs and usually start them at a higher level than those without the training. Other qualifications. 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 basic arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, a good work history or military service is viewed favorably by contractors. Supervisors and contractors need 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 com­ plete a job, and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and at what cost. Apprentices usually must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Those who complete apprentice­ ships registered with the Federal or State Government receive a journey worker certificate, recognized Nationwide. Advancement. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers may advance to carpentry supervisor or general construc­ tion supervisor positions. Others may become independent con­ tractors. 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 because Spanish-speak­ ing workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Knowing English well also makes it easier to advance.  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.  Job Outlook Employment is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations, largely reflecting overall growth of the con­ struction industry. Good job prospects are expected overall. Employment change. Employment is expected to grow by 7 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth reflects the number of new construction and remodeling projects. New residential construction projects are expected to provide the majority of new jobs during the pro­ jection decade, but home improvement and renovation projects are also expected to create jobs because existing residential and nonresidential buildings are getting old and need repair. Job prospects. Job opportunities for drywall installers, ceil­ ing 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. Experienced workers will have especially favorable opportunities. Besides those resulting from job growth, many jobs will open up each year because of the need to replace workers who trans­ fer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Despite the growing use of exterior panels, most drywall instal­ lation and finishing is done indoors. Therefore, drywall workers lose less work time because of inclement weather than do some other construction workers. Nevertheless, like many other con­ struction workers, employment 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  Employment  In May 2006, the median hourly earnings of wage and salary drywall and ceiling tile installers were $17.38. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.60 and $22.58. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $10.90, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.85. The median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of drywall and ceiling tile in­ stallers were as follows:  Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers held about 240,000 jobs in 2006. Most worked for contractors specializing in drywall and ceiling tile installation; others worked for con­ tractors doing many kinds of construction. About 56,000 were self-employed independent contractors.  Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors.....$18.10 Drywall and insulation contractors.........................................17.42 Nonresidential building construction......................................17.26 Residential building construction............................................17.26  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix OccuDational Title S0C Employment, Projected Change, occupational title 21)06 employment, 2006-16 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 2016_______Number_____Percent Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers.......................... 47-2080 240,000 258,000 17,000 7 Drywall and ceiling tile installers.................................................... 47-2081 186,000 199^000 14*000 7 —TaPers..................................................................................................  47-208254,00058,000  3,900]_  NOTE. Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  654 Occupational Outlook Handbook  In May 2006, the median hourly earnings of wage and sala­ ry tapers were $19.85. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.65 and $25.70. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.59, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $31.23. Some contractors pay these workers according to the num­ ber of panels they install or finish per day; others pay an hour­ ly rate. Trainees usually start at about half the rate paid to expe­ rienced workers and receive wage increases as they became more skilled.  Related Occupations Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers combine strength and dexterity with precision and accuracy to make materials fit according to a plan. Other occupations that re­ quire similar abilities include carpenters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; insulation workers; and plasterers and stucco masons.  Sources of Additional Information For information about work opportunities in drywall applica­ tion and finishing and ceiling tile installation, contact local drywall installation and ceiling tile installation contractors, a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee, a State or local chapter of the Associated Builders and Contrac­ tors, 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 appren­ ticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site; http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship infor­ mation is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 282-5627. For details about job qualifications and training programs in drywall application and finishing and ceiling tile installation, contact: > Associated Builders and Contractors, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet:  www.trytools.org y Finishing Trades Institute, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.finishingtradesinstitute.org > National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Institute, 1201 15th St.NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104. Internet: http://www.nccer.org > United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Carpenters Training Fund, 6801 Placid St., Las Vegas, NV 89119. Internet: http://www.carpenters.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quar­ terly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, cre­ dentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” online at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Electricians (0*NET 47-2111.00)  Significant Points  •  Job opportunities should be very good, especially for those with the broadest range of skills.  •  Most electricians acquire their skills by completing an apprenticeship program lasting 4 to 5 years.  •  About 4 out of 5 electricians work in the construction industry or are self-employed, but there also will be opportunities for electricians in other industries.  Nature of the Work Electricians bring electricity into homes, businesses, and fac­ tories. They install and maintain the wiring, fuses, and other components through which electricity flows. Many electricians also install and maintain electrical machines in factories. Electricians usually start their work by reading blueprints. Blueprints are technical diagrams that show the locations of circuits, outlets, load centers, panel boards, and other equip­ ment. To ensure public safety, electricians follow the National Electrical Code, and State and local building codes. Electricians connect all types of wires to circuit breakers, transformers, outlets, or other components. They join the wires in boxes with various specially designed connectors. When installing wiring, electricians use hand tools such as conduit benders, screwdrivers, pliers, knives, hacksaws, and wire strip­ pers, as well as power tools such as drills and saws. Later, they use ammeters, ohmmeters, voltmeters, oscilloscopes, and other equipment to test connections and ensure the compatibility and safety of components. Electricians generally focus on either construction or main­ tenance, although many do both. Electricians specializing in construction primarily install wiring systems into factories, businesses, and new homes. Electricians specializing in main­ tenance work fix and upgrade existing electrical systems and repair electrical equipment. When electricians install wiring systems in factories and com­ mercial settings, they first place conduit (pipe or tubing) inside partitions, walls, or other concealed areas as designated by the blueprints. They also fasten small metal or plastic boxes to the walls that will house electrical switches and outlets. They pull insulated wires or cables through the conduit to complete cir­ cuits between these boxes. The diameter and number of wires installed depends on how much power will need to run through it. The greater the diameter of the wire, the more electricity it can handle. In residential constmction, electricians usually install insulated wire encased in plastic, which does not need to run through conduit. Some electricians also install low-voltage wiring systems in addition to electrical systems, although line installers and repair­ ers specialize in this work. Low-voltage wiring accommodates voice, data, and video equipment, such as telephones, comput­ ers, intercoms, and fire alarm and security systems. Electricians  Construction Trades and Related Workers 655  also may install coaxial or fiber optic cable for telecommunica­ tions equipment and electronic controls for industrial uses. Maintenance electricians repair or replace electric and elec­ tronic equipment when it breaks. They make needed repairs as quickly as possible in order to minimize inconvenience. They may replace items such as circuit breakers, fuses, switches, electrical and electronic components, or wire. Electricians also periodically inspect all equipment to ensure it is operating prop­ erly and to correct problems before breakdowns occur. Maintenance work varies greatly, depending on where an electrician works. Electricians who focus on residential work perform a wide variety of electrical work for homeowners. They may rewire a home and replace an old fuse box with a new circuit breaker box to accommodate additional appliances, or they may install new lighting and other electric household items, such as ceiling fans. These electricians might also do some construction and installation work. Electricians in large factories usually do maintenance work that is more complex. They may repair motors, transformers, generators, and electronic controllers on machine tools and in­ dustrial robots. Electricians also advise management whether continued operation of equipment could be hazardous. When working with complex electronic devices, they may consult with engineers, engineering technicians, line installers and re­ pairers, or industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers. (Statements on these occupations appear elsewhere in the Handbook.) Work environment. Electricians work indoors and out, at construction sites, in homes, and in businesses or factories. Work may be strenuous at times and may include bending con­ duit, lifting heavy objects, and standing, stooping, and kneeling for long periods. Electricians risk injury from electrical shock, falls, and cuts. They must follow strict safety procedures to avoid injuries. When working outdoors, they may be subject to inclement weather conditions. Some electricians may have to travel long distances to jobsites. Most electricians work a standard 40-hour week, although overtime may be required. Those who do maintenance work may work nights or weekends and be on call to go to the work­ site when needed. Electricians in industrial settings may have  SStossa  A  Electricians may rewire a home and replace an old fuse box with a new circuit breaker box to accommodate additional ap­ pliances.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  periodic extended overtime during scheduled maintenance or retooling periods. Companies that operate 24 hours a day may employ three shifts of electricians.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most electricians learn their trade through apprenticeship pro­ grams. These programs combine on-the-job training with re­ lated classroom instruction. Education and training. Most electricians leam their trade through apprenticeship programs. These programs combine paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Joint training committees made up of local unions of the Inter­ national Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and local chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association; individual electrical contracting companies; or local chapters of the As­ sociated Builders and Contractors and the Independent Elec­ trical Contractors Association usually sponsor apprenticeship programs. Because of the comprehensive training received, those who complete apprenticeship programs qualify to do both mainte­ nance and construction work. Apprenticeship programs usually last 4 years. Each year includes at least 144 hours of class­ room instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. In the classroom, apprentices leam electrical theory, blueprint read­ ing, mathematics, electrical code requirements, and safety and first aid practices. They also may receive specialized training in soldering, communications, fire alarm systems, and cranes and elevators. On the job, apprentices work under the supervision of expe­ rienced electricians. At first, they drill holes, set anchors, and attach conduit. Later, they measure, fabricate, and install con­ duit and install, connect, and test wiring, outlets, and switches. They also learn to set up and draw diagrams for entire electrical systems. Eventually, they practice and master all of an electri­ cian’s main tasks. Some people start their classroom training before seeking an apprenticeship. A number of public and private vocational-tech­ nical schools and training academies offer training to become an electrician. Employers often hire students who complete these programs and usually start them at a more advanced level than those without this training. A few people become electricians by first working as helpers—assisting electricians by setting up job sites, gathering materials, and doing other nonelectri­ cal work—before entering an apprenticeship program. All ap­ prentices need a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.). Electricians may also need classes in math­ ematics because they solve mathematical problems on the job. Education can continue throughout an electrician’s career. Electricians often complete regular safety programs, manu­ facturer-specific training, and management training courses. Classes on installing low-voltage voice, data, and video systems have recently become common as these systems become more prevalent. Other courses teach electricians how to become con­ tractors. Licensure. Most States and localities require electricians to be licensed. Although licensing requirements vary from State to State, electricians usually must pass an examination that tests their knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical  656 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Electricians.............................................................................................  SOC Code 47-2111  Employment, 2006 705,000  Projected employment, 2016 757,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 52,000 7  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. ________ __________  Code, and local electric and building codes. Experienced elec­ tricians periodically take courses offered by their employer or union to learn about changes in the National Electrical Code. Electrical contractors who do electrical work for the public, as opposed to electricians who work for electrical contractors, often need a special license. In some States, electrical contrac­ tors need certification as master electricians. Most States re­ quire master electricians to have at least 7 years of experience as an electrician. Some States require a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field. Other qualifications. Applicants for apprenticeships usually must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. They also may have to pass a test and meet other requirements. Other skills needed to become an electrician include manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. They also need good color vision because workers frequently must identify electrical wires by color. In addition, apprenticeship committees and employers view a good work history or military service favorably. Advancement. Experienced electricians can advance to jobs as supervisors. In construction, they also may become project managers or construction superintendents. Those with suffi­ cient capital and management skills can start their own con­ tracting business, although this often requires a special electri­ cal contractor’s license. Supervisors and contractors should be able to identify and estimate costs and prices and the time and materials needed to complete a job. Many electricians also become electrical inspectors. For those who seek 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 lim­ ited understanding of English; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Spanish-speaking workers who want to advance in this occu­ pation need very good English skills to understand electrician classes and installation instructions, which are usually written in English, and are highly technical.  Employment Electricians held about 705,000 jobs in 2006. About 68 percent of wage-and-salary workers were employed in the construction industry and the remainder worked as maintenance electricians in other industries. In addition, about 11 percent of electricians were self-employed.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is expected. Job prospects should be very good, particularly for workers with the widest range of skills, including voice, data, and video wiring.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment change. Employment of electricians should increase 7 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the population and economy grow, more electricians will be needed to install and maintain electrical devices and wiring in homes, factories, offices, and other structures. An increase in power plant construction over the next ten years will require many additional electricians. New technologies also are expected to continue to spur de­ mand for these workers. For example, buildings increasingly need wiring to accommodate computers and telecommunica­ tions equipment. Robots and other automated manufacturing systems in factories also will require the installation and main­ tenance of more complex wiring systems. As the economy re­ habilitates and retrofits older structures, which usually require electrical improvements to meet modem codes, it will create additional jobs. Job prospects. In addition to jobs created by the increased demand for electrical work, many openings are expected over the next decade as a large number of electricians retire. This will create very good job opportunities, especially for those with the widest range of skills, including voice, data, and video wiring. Job openings for electricians will vary by location and specialty, however, and will be best in the fastest growing re­ gions of the country, especially those areas where power plants are being constructed. Employment of electricians, like that of many other construc­ tion workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unemploy­ ment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas dur­ ing peak periods of building activity. Although employment of maintenance electricians is steadi­ er than that of construction electricians, those working in the automotive and other manufacturing industries that are sensi­ tive to cyclical swings in the economy may experience lay offs during recessions. In addition, opportunities for maintenance electricians may be limited in many industries by the increased contracting out for electrical services in an effort to reduce op­ erating costs. However, increased job opportunities for electri­ cians in electrical contracting firms should partially offset job losses in other industries.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary elec­ tricians were $20.97. The middle 50 percent earned between $16.07 and $27.71. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.76, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.95. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of electricians were:  Construction Trades and Related Workers 657  Motor vehicle parts manufacturing....................................... $31.90 Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.................................................................... 26.32 Local government................................................................... 23.80 Nonresidential building construction......................................20.58 Electrical contractors.............................................................. 20.47 Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors.............. 19.56 Employment services...............................................................17.15 Apprentices usually start at between 40 and 50 percent of the rate paid to fully trained electricians, depending on experience. As apprentices become more skilled, they receive periodic pay increases throughout their training. Some electricians are members of the International Brother­ hood of Electrical Workers. Among unions representing main­ tenance electricians are the International Brotherhood of Elec­ trical Workers; the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Inter­ national Union, United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; and the United Steelworkers of America.  y Associated  Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Department, 4250 North Fairfax Dr„ 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org > Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc., 4401 Ford Ave., Suite 1100, Alexandria, VA 22302. Internet: http://www.ieci.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, 3600 NW 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL 32606. Internet: http://www.nccer.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Appren­ ticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” in print at many libraries and career centers and online at: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf  Elevator Installers and Repairers (0*NET 47-4021.00)  Related Occupations To install and maintain electrical systems, electricians combine manual skill and knowledge of electrical materials and con­ cepts. Workers in other occupations involving similar skills include heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; line installers and repairers; electrical and elec­ tronics installers and repairers; electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers; and elevator installers and repairers.  Sources of Additional Information For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the State employment service, the State apprenticeship agency, local electrical contractors or firms that employ maintenance electricians, or local unionmanagement electrician apprenticeship committees. Appren­ ticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. Information also may be available from local chapters of the Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc.; the National Electrical Contractors Association; the Home Builders Institute; the Asso­ ciated Builders and Contractors; and the International Brother­ hood of Electrical Workers. For information about union apprenticeship and training pro­ grams, contact: > National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, 301 Prince George’s Blvd., Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. Internet: http://www.njatc.org y National Electrical Contractors Association, 3 Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814. Internet: http://www.necanet.org > International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 1125 15th St.NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.ibew.org For information about independent apprenticeship programs, contact:   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Significant Points  •  Most workers belong to a union and enter the occupa­ tion through a 4-year apprenticeship program.  •  Excellent employment opportunities are expected.  •  Elevator installers and repairers are less affected by downturns in the economy and inclement weather than other construction trades workers.  Nature of the Work Elevator installers and repairers—also called elevator con­ structors or elevator mechanics—assemble, install, and replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts, dumbwaiters, moving walk­ ways, and similar equipment in new and old buildings. Once the equipment is in service, they maintain and repair it as well. They also are responsible for modernizing older equipment. To install, repair, and maintain modem elevators, which are almost all electronically controlled, elevator installers and re­ pairers must have a thorough knowledge of electronics, electric­ ity, and hydraulics. Many elevators are controlled with micro­ processors, which are programmed to analyze traffic conditions in order to dispatch elevators in the most efficient manner. With these controls, it is possible to get the greatest amount of ser­ vice with the fewest number of cars. Elevator installers and repairers usually specialize in instal­ lation, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally need greater knowledge of electricity and electronics than do installers because a large part of mainte­ nance and repair work is troubleshooting. When installing a new elevator, installers and repairers begin by studying blueprints to determine the equipment needed to in­ stall rails, machinery, car enclosures, motors, pumps, cylinders, and plunger foundations. Then, they begin equipment instal­  658 Occupational Outlook Handbook  lation. Working on scaffolding or platforms, installers bolt or weld steel rails to the walls of the shaft to guide the elevator. Elevator installers put in electrical wires and controls by run­ ning tubing, called conduit, along a shaft’s walls from floor to floor. Once the conduit is in place, mechanics pull plasticcovered electrical wires through it. They then install electrical components and related devices required at each floor and at the main control panel in the machine room. Installers bolt or weld together the steel frame of an elevator car at the bottom of the shaft; install the car’s platform, walls, and doors; and attach guide shoes and rollers to minimize the lateral motion of the car as it travels through the shaft. They also install the outer doors and door frames at the elevator en­ trances on each floor. For cabled elevators, these workers install geared or gearless machines with a traction drive wheel that guides and moves heavy steel cables connected to the elevator car and counter­ weight. (The counterweight moves in the opposite direction from the car and balances most of the weight of the car to re­ duce the weight that the elevator’s motor must lift.) Elevator installers also install elevators in which a car sits on a hydraulic plunger that is driven by a pump. The plunger pushes the eleva­ tor car up from underneath, similar to a lift in an auto service station. Installers and repairers also install escalators. They place the steel framework, the electrically powered stairs, and the tracks and install associated motors and electrical wiring. In addition to elevators and escalators, installers and repairers also may in­ stall devices such as dumbwaiters and material lifts—which are similar to elevators in design—as well as moving walkways, stair lifts, and wheelchair lifts. Once an elevator is operating properly, it must be maintained and serviced regularly to keep it in safe working condition. Elevator installers and repairers generally do preventive main­ tenance—such as oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing worn parts, testing equipment with meters and gauges, and ad­ justing equipment for optimal performance. They insure that the equipment and rooms are clean. They also troubleshoot and may be called to do emergency repairs. Unlike most elevator installers, those who specialize in elevator maintenance are on their own most of the day and typically service the same eleva­ tors periodically. A service crew usually handles major repairs—for example, replacing cables, elevator doors, or machine bearings. This may require the use of cutting torches or rigging equipment—tools that an elevator repairer would not normally carry. Service crews also do major modernization and alteration work, such as moving and replacing electrical motors, hydraulic pumps, and control panels. The most highly skilled elevator installers and repairers, called “adjusters,” specialize in fine-tuning all the equipment after installation. Adjusters make sure that an elevator works according to specifications and stops correctly at each floor within a specified time. Adjusters need a thorough knowledge of electricity, electronics, and computers to ensure that newly installed elevators operate properly. Work environment. Elevator installers lift and carry heavy equipment and parts, and they may work in cramped spaces   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  or awkward positions. Potential hazards include falls, electri­ cal shock, muscle strains, and other injuries related to handling heavy equipment. Most of their work is performed indoors in existing buildings or buildings under construction. Most elevator installers and repairers work a 40-hour week. However, overtime is required when essential equipment must be repaired, and some workers are on 24-hour call. Because most of their work is performed indoors in buildings, elevator installers and repairers lose less work time due to inclement weather than do other construction trades workers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most elevator installers receive their education through an ap­ prenticeship program. High school classes in mathematics, sci­ ence, and shop may help applicants compete for apprenticeship openings. Education and training. Most elevators installers and re­ pairers learn their trade in an apprenticeship program admin­ istered by local joint educational committees representing the employers and the union—the International Union of Elevator Constructors. In nonunion shops, workers may complete train­ ing programs sponsored by independent contractors. Apprenticeship programs teach a range of skills, usually dur­ ing a 4-year period. Programs combine paid on-the-job train­ ing with classroom instruction in blueprint reading, electrical and electronic theory, mathematics, applications of physics, and safety. Most apprentices assist experienced elevator installers and re­ pairers. Beginners carry materials and tools, bolt rails to walls, and assemble elevator cars. Eventually, apprentices learn more difficult tasks such as wiring. Applicants for apprenticeship positions must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. High school courses in elec­ tricity, mathematics, and physics provide a useful background. As elevators become increasingly sophisticated, workers may need to get more advanced education—for example, a certifi­ cate or associate degree in electronics. Workers with education beyond high school usually advance more quickly than their counterparts without a degree. Many elevator installers and repairers receive additional training in their particular company’s equipment. B| 1. Ili  II  I;* * j  Repairers make sure that an elevator operates according to specifications and stops at each floor within a specified time.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 659  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Projected Change, employment, 2006-16 2016 Number Percent Elevator installers and repairers.............. a.7-Am 1 22.000 24.000 1 900 9 NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  Occupational Title  ^OC Code  Employment, 2006  tion Included in the Handbook.  Licensure. Most cities and States require elevator installers and repairers to pass a licensing examination. Other require­ ments for licensure vary. Certification and other qualifications. Workers who also complete an apprenticeship registered by the U.S. Department of Labor or their State board earn a journey worker certificate recognized Nationwide. Applicants for apprenticeship posi­ tions must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a drug test and an aptitude test. Good physical condition and mechanical aptitude also are important. Jobs with many employers require membership in the union. To be considered fully qualified by the union, workers must complete an apprenticeship and pass a standard exam adminis­ tered by the National Elevator Industry Educational Program. The National Association of Elevator Contractors also offers certification as a Certified Elevator Technician or Certified Ac­ cessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician. Advancement. Ongoing training is very important if a work­ er is to keep up with technological developments in elevator re­ pair. In fact, union elevator installers and repairers typically re­ ceive training throughout their careers, through correspondence courses, seminars, or formal classes. This training greatly im­ proves one’s chances for promotion and retention. Some installers may receive further training in specialized areas and advance to the position of mechanic-in-charge, ad­ juster, supervisor, or elevator inspector. Adjusters, for example, may be picked for their position because they possess particular skills or are electronically inclined. Other workers may move into management, sales, or product design jobs.  Employment Elevator installers and repairers held about 22,000 jobs in 2006. Most were employed by specialty trades contractors, particu­ larly elevator maintenance and repair contractors. Others were employed by field offices of elevator manufacturers, machinery wholesalers, government agencies, or businesses that do their own elevator maintenance and repair.  Job Outlook Even with average job growth, excellent job opportunities are expected in this occupation. Employment change. Employment of elevator installers and repairers is expected to increase 9 percent during the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. De­ mand for additional elevator installers depends greatly on growth in nonresidential construction, such as commercial of­ fice buildings and stores that have elevators and escalators. This sector of the construction industry is expected to grow during the decade as the economy expands. In addition, the need to continually update and repair old equipment, provide access to the disabled, and install increasingly sophisticated equipment   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and controls should add to the demand for elevator installers and repairers. The demand for elevator installers and repairers will also increase as a growing number of the elderly require easier access to their homes through stair lifts and residential elevators. Job prospects. Workers should have excellent opportunities when seeking to enter this occupation. Elevator installer and repairer jobs have relatively high earnings and good benefits. However, the dangerous and physically challenging nature of this occupation and the significant training it requires reduces the number of applicants and creates better opportunities for those who apply. Job prospects should be best for those with postsecondary education in electronics or experience in the military. Elevators, escalators, lifts, moving walkways, and related equipment need to be kept in good working condition year round, so employment of elevator repairers is less affected by economic downturns and seasonality than other construction trades.  Earnings Earnings of elevator installers and repairers are among the highest of all construction trades. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary elevator installers and repairers were $30.59 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $23.90 and $35.76. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17.79, and the top 10 percent earned more than $42.14. Median hourly earnings in the building equipment contractors industry were $30.74. Earnings for members of the International Union of Elevator Constructors vary based on the local and specialty. Check with a local in your area for exact wages. About three out of four elevator installers and repairers were members of unions or covered by a union contract, one of the highest proportions of all occupations. The largest numbers were members of the International Union of Elevator Con­ structors. In addition to free continuing education, elevator installers and repairers receive basic benefits enjoyed by most other workers.  Related Occupations Elevator installers and repairers combine electrical and me­ chanical skills with construction skills, such as welding, rig­ ging, measuring, and blueprint reading. Other occupations that require many of these skills are boilermakers; electricians; electrical and electronics installers and repairers; industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers; millwrights; sheet metal workers; and structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers.  660 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Sources of Additional Information For information about apprenticeships or job opportunities as an elevator mechanic, contact local contractors, a local chap­ ter of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, a lo­ cal joint union-management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of your State employment service or appren­ ticeship agency. You can also find information on the regis­ tered apprenticeship system with links to State apprentice­ ship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For further information on opportunities as an elevator in­ staller and repairer, contact: V International Union of Elevator Constructors, 7154 Columbia Gateway Dr., Columbia, MD 21046. Internet: http://www.iuec.org For additional information about the Certified Elevator Tech­ nician (CET) program or the Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician (CAT) program, contact: > National Association of Elevator Contractors, 1298 Wellbrook Circle, Suite A, Conyers, GA 30012. Internet: http://www.naec.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to getthem, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credenti als—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Glaziers (0**NET 47-2121.00)  Significant Points •  Many glaziers learn the trade by helping experienced workers.  •  Job opportunities are expected to be good.  ments such as supermarkets, auto dealerships, or banks. In the construction of large commercial buildings, glaziers build metal framework extrusions and install glass panels or curtain walls. (Workers who replace and repair glass in motor vehicles are not covered in this statement. See the statement on automotive body and related repairers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Besides working with glass, glaziers also may work with plastics, granite, marble, and other similar materials used as glass substitutes and with films or laminates that improve the durability or safety of the glass. They may mount steel and aluminum sashes or frames and attach locks and hinges to glass doors. For most jobs, the glass is precut and mounted in frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop. It arrives at the jobsite ready for glaziers to position and secure it in place. They may use a crane or hoist with suction cups to lift large, heavy pieces of glass. They then gently guide the glass into position by hand. Once glaziers have the glass in place, they secure it with mas­ tic, putty, or other paste-like cement, or with bolts, rubber gas­ kets, glazing compound, metal clips, or metal or wood mold­ ings. When they secure glass using a rubber gasket—a thick, molded rubber half-tube with a split running its length—they first secure the gasket around the perimeter within the opening, then set the glass into the split side of the gasket, causing it to clamp to the edges and hold the glass firmly in place. When they use metal clips and wood moldings, glaziers first secure the molding to the opening, place the glass in the mold­ ing, and then force springlike metal clips between the glass and the molding. The clips exert pressure and keep the glass firmly in place. When a glazing compound is used, glaziers first spread it neatly against and around the edges of the molding on the in­ side of the opening. Next, they install the glass. Pressing it against the compound on the inside molding, workers screw or nail outside molding that loosely holds the glass in place. To hold it firmly, they pack the space between the molding and the glass with glazing compound and then trim any excess material with a glazing knife. For some jobs, the glazier must cut the glass manually at the jobsite. To prepare the glass for cutting, glaziers rest it either  Nature of the Work Glass serves many uses in modem life. Insulated and specially treated glass keeps in warmed or cooled air and provides good condensation and sound control. Tempered and laminated glass makes doors and windows more secure. In large commercial buildings, glass panels give office buildings a distinctive look while reducing the need for artificial lighting. The creative use of large windows, glass doors, skylights, and sunroom additions makes homes bright, airy, and inviting. Glaziers are responsible for selecting, cutting, installing, re­ placing, and removing all types of glass. They generally work on one of several types of projects. Residential glazing involves work such as replacing glass in home windows; installing glass mirrors, shower doors, and bathtub enclosures; and fitting glass for tabletops and display cases. On commercial interior proj­ ects, glaziers install items such as heavy, often etched, decora­ tive room dividers or security windows. Glazing projects also may involve replacement of storefront windows for establish­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Bp? Ip ...  ■  .■..■ -VV . : >  _______  Most glaziers learn their trade by helping experienced workers, sometimes with supplemental classroom training.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 661  on edge on a rack, or “A-frame,” or flat against a cutting table. They then measure and mark the glass for the cut. Glaziers cut glass with a special tool that has a small, very hard metal wheel. Using a straightedge as a guide, the glazier presses the cutter’s wheel firmly on the glass, guiding and roll­ ing it carefully to make a score just below the surface. To help the cutting tool move smoothly across the glass, workers brush a thin layer of oil along the line of the intended cut or dip the cutting tool in oil. Immediately after cutting, the glazier presses on the shorter end of the glass to break it cleanly along the cut. In addition to handtools such as glasscutters, suction cups, and glazing knives, glaziers use power tools such as saws, drills, cutters, and grinders. An increasing number of glaziers use computers in the shop or at the jobsite to improve their lay­ out work and reduce the amount of wasted glass. Work environment. Glaziers often work outdoors, some­ times in inclement weather. Their work can, at times, result in injuries as they work with sharp tools and may need to remove broken glass. They must be prepared to lift heavy glass panels and work on scaffolding, sometimes at great heights. Glaziers do a considerable amount of bending, kneeling, lifting, and standing during the installation process.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most glaziers learn their trade by helping experienced work­ ers, sometimes with supplemental classroom training. A few formal apprenticeship programs are available. Education and training. Glaziers learn their trade through formal and informal training programs. Usually 3 years of classroom and on-the-job training are required to become a skilled glazier. There are a number of different avenues that one can take to obtain the necessary training. Most glaziers start by obtaining a job with a contractor who then provides onthe-job training. Entry-level workers generally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. During this time, employ­ ers may send the employee to a trade or vocational school or community college to receive further classroom training. Some employers offer formal apprenticeships. These pro­ grams combine paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Apprenticeship applicants usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. The length of the program is usually 3 years, but varies with the apprentice’s skill. Because the number of apprenticeship programs is lim­ ited, however, only a small proportion of glaziers learn their trade through these programs. On the job, apprentices or helpers often start by carrying glass and cleaning up debris in glass shops. They often practice cutting on discarded glass. Later, they are given an opportunity to cut glass for a job and assist experienced workers on simple installation jobs. By working with experienced glaziers, they eventually acquire the skills of a fully qualified glazier. On the  job, they learn to use the tools and equipment of the trade; han­ dle, measure, cut, and install glass and metal framing; cut and fit moldings; and install and balance glass doors. In the class­ room, they are taught about glass and installation techniques as well as basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid. Licensure. Only the State of Connecticut currently requires glaziers to have a license. In addition to passing a test, work­ ers need education, experience, and an apprenticeship to be li­ censed. There is a voluntary license in Florida. Other States may require licenses in the future. Other qualifications. Skills needed to become a glazier in­ clude manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, 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 employers. Certification and advancement. Glaziers who learn the trade through a formal registered apprenticeship program become certified journey workers. Some associations offer other certifi­ cations. The National Glass Association, for example, offers a series of written examinations that certify an individual’s com­ petency to perform glazier work at three progressively difficult levels of proficiency: Level I Glazier; Level II Commercial In­ terior or Residential Glazier, or Storefront or Curtainwall Gla­ zier; and Level III Master Glazier. Advancement for glaziers generally consists of increases in pay; some advance to glazier supervisors, general construction supervisors, independent contractors, or cost estimators. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in or­ der to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English because Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Supervisors and contractors need good communi­ cation skills to deal with clients and subcontractors and 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 Glaziers held 55,000 jobs in 2006. About 68 percent of glaziers worked for glazing contractors engaged in new construction, alteration, and repair. About 16 percent of glaziers worked in retail glass shops that install or replace glass, and for wholesale distributors of products containing glass.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is projected. Good job opportuni­ ties are expected, especially for those with a range of skills.  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title  SOC Code  Employment,  Projected employment,  Change,  2006-16Percent 2006 Number 2016 12 55,000 62,000 6,600 NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Infonna-  Glaziers................................................................................................... tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  47-2121  662 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Employment change. Employment is expected to grow 12 percent from 2006 to 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of glaziers is expected to increase as a result of growth in residential and nonresidential construc­ tion. Demand for glaziers also will be spurred by the continu­ ing need to modernize and repair existing structures, which of­ ten involves installing new windows. Also, more homeowners now prefer rooms with more sunlight and are adding sunrooms and skylights to houses. Demand for specialized safety glass and glass coated with protective laminates is also growing in response to a higher need for security and the need to withstand hurricanes, particularly in many commercial and government buildings. Homes and buildings that have been built recently are less likely to need replacement windows than older struc­ tures. Counteracting these factors, however, is the ability of other workers such as carpenters to install windows, which reduces employment growth for glaziers. Job prospects. Job opportunities for glaziers are expected to be good. Since employers prefer workers who can do a variety of tasks, glaziers with a range of skills will have the best op­ portunities. Like other construction trades workers, glaziers employed in the construction industry should expect to experience periods of unemployment because of the limited duration of construction projects and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. During downturns in the economy, job openings for glaziers are reduced as the level of construction declines. However, construction activity varies from area to area, so job openings fluctuate with local economic conditions. Employment oppor­ tunities should be greatest in metropolitan areas, where most glazing contractors and glass shops are located.  mental pavers, and terrazzo workers; sheet metal workers; and painters and paperhangers. In addition, automotive body and related repairers install broken or damaged glass on the vehicles they repair.  Sources of Additional Information For more information about glazier apprenticeships or work opportunities, contact local glazing or general contractors, a lo­ cal of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, a local joint union-management apprenticeship agency, or the nearest office of the State employment service or State appren­ ticeship agency. You can also find information on the regis­ tered apprenticeships together with links to State apprentice­ ship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For general information about the work of glaziers, contact: X International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.iupat.org For information concerning training for glaziers, contact: > Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Department, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: www.trytools.org > National Glass Association, Education and Training Department, 8200 Greensboro Dr., Suite 302, McLean, VA 22102. Internet: http://www.glass.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to getthem, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credential s—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary glaziers were $16.64. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.85 and $22.18. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.52. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry were $17.03. Me­ dian hourly earnings for glaziers employed by building materi­ als and supply dealers, where most glass shops are found, were $15.51. Glaziers covered by union contracts generally earn more than their nonunion counterparts. Apprentice wage rates usually start at 40 to 50 percent of the rate paid to experienced glaziers and increase as they gain experience. Because glaziers can lose work time due to weather conditions and fluctuations in con­ struction activity, their overall earnings may be lower than their hourly wages suggest. Some glaziers employed in construction are members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.  Related Occupations Glaziers use their knowledge of construction materials and techniques to install glass. Other construction workers whose jobs also involve skilled, custom work are brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; carpenters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; cement masons, concrete finishers, seg­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Hazardous Materials Removal Workers (0*NET 47-4041.00)  Significant Points •  Working conditions can be hazardous.  •  Formal education beyond high school is not required, but government standards require specific types of onthe-job training.  •  Good job opportunities are expected, mainly due to the need to replace workers who leave the occupa­ tion.  Nature of the Work Increased public awareness and Federal and State regulations are resulting in the removal of more hazardous materials from buildings, facilities, and the environment to prevent further con­ tamination of natural resources and to promote public health and safety. Hazardous materials typically possess at least one of four characteristics—ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or  Construction Trades and Related Workers 663  toxicity. Hazardous materials removal workers identify, re­ move, package, transport, and dispose of various hazardous materials, including asbestos, radioactive and nuclear materi­ als, arsenic, lead, and mercury. These workers are sometimes called abatement, remediation, or decontamination workers. Removal workers often respond to emergencies where harmful substances are present. Hazardous materials removal workers use a variety of tools and equipment, depending on the work at hand. Equipment ranges from brooms to personal protective suits that completely isolate workers from the hazardous material. Because of the threat of contamination, workers often wear disposable or reus­ able coveralls, gloves, hardhats, shoe covers, safety glasses or goggles, chemical-resistant clothing, face shields, and devices to protect one’s hearing. Most workers are also required to wear respirators while working, to protect them from airborne particles or noxious gases. The respirators range from simple versions that cover only the mouth and nose to self-contained suits with their own air supply. Asbestos and lead are two of the most common contaminants that hazardous materials removal workers encounter. Through the 1970s, asbestos was used to fireproof roofing and flooring, for heat insulation, and for a variety of other purposes. It was durable, fire retardant, resisted corrosion, and insulated well, making it ideal for such applications. Embedded in materials, asbestos is fairly harmless; airborne, however, it can cause sev­ eral lung diseases, including lung cancer and asbestosis. Today, asbestos is rarely used in buildings, but there are still structures that contain the material that must be remediated. Similarly, lead was a common building component found in paint and plumbing fixtures and pipes until the late 1970s. Because lead is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, often from breathing lead dust or from eating chips of paint containing lead, it can cause serious health risks, especially in children. Due to these risks, it has become necessary to remove lead-based products from buildings and structures. Asbestos abatement workers and lead abatement workers re­ move asbestos, lead, and other materials from buildings sched­ uled to be renovated or demolished. Using a variety of hand and power tools, such as vacuums and scrapers, these workers remove the asbestos and lead from surfaces. A typical resi­ dential lead abatement project involves the use of a chemical to strip the lead-based paint from the walls of the home. Lead abatement workers apply the compound with a putty knife and allow it to dry. Then they scrape the hazardous material into an impregnable container for transport and storage. They also use sandblasters and high-pressure water sprayers to remove lead from large structures. The vacuums utilized by asbestos abate­ ment workers have special, highly efficient filters designed to trap the asbestos, which later is disposed of or stored. During the abatement, special monitors measure the amount of asbes­ tos and lead in the air, to protect the workers; in addition, lead abatement workers wear a personal air monitor that indicates the amount of lead to which a worker has been exposed. Work­ ers also use monitoring devices to identify the asbestos, lead, and other materials that need to be removed from the surfaces of walls and structures.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Transportation of hazardous materials is safer today than it was in the past, but accidents still occur. Emergency and disas­ ter response workers clean up hazardous materials after train derailments and trucking accidents. These workers also are needed when an immediate cleanup is required, as would be the case after an attack by biological or chemical weapons. Some hazardous materials removal workers specialize in ra­ dioactive substances. These substances range from low-level contaminated protective clothing, tools, filters, and medical equipment, to highly radioactive nuclear reactor fuels used to produce electricity. Decontamination technicians perform du­ ties similar to those of janitors and cleaners, but the items and areas they clean are radioactive. They use brooms, mops, and other tools to clean exposed areas and remove exposed items for decontamination or disposal. Some of these jobs are now being done by robots controlled by people away from the con­ tamination site. Increasingly, many of these remote devices are being used to automatically monitor and survey surfaces, such as floors and walls, for contamination. With experience, decontamination technicians can advance to radiation-protection technician jobs and use radiation survey meters and other remote devices to locate and evaluate materi­ als, operate high-pressure cleaning equipment for decontami­ nation, and package radioactive materials for transportation or disposal. Decommissioning and decontamination workers remove and treat radioactive materials generated by nuclear facilities and power plants. With a variety of handtools, they break down contaminated items such as “gloveboxes,” which are used to process radioactive materials. At decommissioning sites, the workers clean and decontaminate the facility, as well as remove any radioactive or contaminated materials. Treatment, storage, and disposal workers transport and pre­ pare materials for treatment or disposal. To ensure proper treat­ ment of the materials, laws, typically regulated by the U.S. En­ vironmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), require these workers to be able to verify shipping manifests. At incinerator facilities, treat­ ment, storage, and disposal workers transport materials from the customer or service center to the incinerator. At landfills, they follow a strict procedure for the processing and storage of hazardous materials. They organize and track the location of items in the landfill and may help change the state of a mate­ rial from liquid to solid in preparation for its storage. These workers typically operate heavy machinery, such as forklifts, earthmoving machinery, and large trucks and rigs. To help clean up the Nation’s hazardous waste sites, a Federal program, called Superfund, was created in 1980. Under the Su­ perfund program, abandoned, accidentally spilled, or illegally dumped hazardous waste that poses a current or future threat to human health or the environment is cleaned up. In doing so, the EPA along with potentially responsible parties, communities, local, State, and Federal authorities, identify hazardous waste sites, test site conditions, formulate cleanup plans, and clean up the sites. Mold remediation is a new aspect of some hazardous ma­ terials removal work. Some types of mold can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are susceptible to them. Al­  664 Occupational Outlook Handbook  though mold is present in almost all structures and is not usu­ ally defined as a hazardous material, some mold—especially the types that cause allergic reactions—can infest a building to such a degree that extensive efforts must be taken to remove it safely. Molds are fungi that typically grow in warm, damp conditions both indoors and outdoors year round. They can be found in heating and air-conditioning ducts, within walls, and in showers, attics, and basements. Although mold remediation is often undertaken by other construction workers, large scale mold removal is usually handled by hazardous materials remov­ al workers, who take special precautions to protect themselves and surrounding areas from being contaminated. Hazardous materials removal workers also may be required to construct scaffolding or erect containment areas prior to abatement or decontamination. In most cases, government regulation dictates that hazardous materials removal workers be closely supervised on the worksite. The standard usually is 1 supervisor to every 10 workers. The work is highly structured, sometimes planned years in advance, and team oriented. There is a great deal of cooperation among supervisors and work­ ers. Because of the hazard presented by the materials being removed, work areas are restricted to licensed hazardous mate­ rials removal workers, thus minimizing exposure to the public. Work environment. Hazardous materials removal workers function in a highly structured environment to minimize the danger they face. Each phase of an operation is planned in ad-  •  ,  fc  14  if n 1  ' ' ir -m j  FMBil I Rtt... i______ __  vance, and workers are trained to deal with safety breaches and hazardous situations. Crews and supervisors take every precau­ tion to ensure that the worksite is safe. Whether they work with asbestos, mold, lead abatement, or in radioactive decontamina­ tion, hazardous materials removal workers must stand, stoop, and kneel for long periods. Some must wear fully enclosed personal protective suits for several hours at a time; these suits may be hot and uncomfortable and may cause some individuals to experience claustrophobia. Hazardous materials removal workers face different work­ ing conditions, depending on their area of expertise. Although many work a standard 40-hour week, overtime and shift work are common, especially for emergency and disaster response workers. Asbestos and lead abatement workers usually work in structures such as office buildings, schools, or historic buildings under renovation. Because they are under pressure to complete their work within certain deadlines, workers may experience fatigue. Completing projects frequently requires night and weekend work, because hazardous materials removal workers often work around the schedules of others. Treatment, storage, and disposal workers are employed primarily at facilities such as landfills, incinerators, boilers, and industrial furnaces. These facilities often are located in remote areas, due to the kinds of work being done. As a result, workers employed by treatment, storage, or disposal facilities may commute long distances to their jobs. Decommissioning and decontamination workers, decontami­ nation technicians, and radiation protection technicians work at nuclear facilities and electric power plants. Like treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, these sites often are far from urban areas. Workers, who often perform jobs in cramped con­ ditions, may need to use sharp tools to dismantle contaminated objects. A hazardous materials removal worker must have great self-control and a level head to cope with the daily stress associ­ ated with handling hazardous materials. Hazardous materials removal workers may be required to travel outside their normal working areas in order to respond to emergencies, the cleanup of which sometimes take several days or weeks to complete. During the cleanup, workers may be away from home for the entire time.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  ■■Mipiif  OXIDI/tR  Most hazardous materials removal workers are required to wear respirators to protect them from airborne particles.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  No formal education beyond a high school diploma is required for a person to become a hazardous materials removal worker. However, Federal, State, and local government standards re­ quire specific types of on-the-job training. The regulations vary by specialty and sometimes by State or locality. Employers are responsible for employee training. Education and training. Hazardous materials removal work­ ers usually need at least 40 hours of formal on-the-job training. For most specialties, this training must meet specific require­ ments set by the Federal Government or individual States. Licensure. Workers who treat asbestos and lead, the most common contaminants, must complete a training program through their employer that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Employer-spon­ sored training is usually performed in-house, and the employer  Construction Trades and Related Workers 665  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Hazardous materials removal workers.........  soc Code  Employment, 2006 39,000  Projected employment, 2016 44.000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 4,400 11  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Information Included in the Handbook.  is responsible for covering all technical and safety subjects out­ lined by OSHA. To become an emergency and disaster response worker and treatment, storage, and disposal worker, candidates must ob­ tain a Federal license as mandated by OSHA. Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees complete a formal 40hour training program, given either in house or in OSHA-approved training centers. The program covers health hazards, personal protective equipment and clothing, site safety, recog­ nition and identification of hazards, and decontamination. In some cases, workers may discover one hazardous material while abating another. If they are not licensed to work with the newly discovered material, they cannot continue to work with it. Many experienced workers opt to take courses in ad­ ditional types of hazardous material removal to avoid this situa­ tion. Mold removal is not regulated by OSHA, but is regulated by each State. For decommissioning and decontamination workers em­ ployed at nuclear facilities, training is most extensive. In addi­ tion to obtaining licensure through the standard 40-hour training course in hazardous waste removal, workers must take courses dealing with regulations governing nuclear materials and radia­ tion safety as mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commis­ sion. These courses add up to approximately 3 months of train­ ing, although most are not taken consecutively. Many agencies, organizations, and companies throughout the country provide training programs that are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other regulatory bodies. Workers in all fields are required to take re­ fresher courses every year to maintain their license. Other qualifications. Workers must be able to perform basic mathematical conversions and calculations when mixing solu­ tions that neutralize contaminants and should have good physi­ cal strength and manual dexterity. Because of the nature of the work and the time constraints sometimes involved, employers prefer people who are dependable, prompt, and detail-oriented. Because much of the work is done in buildings, a background in construction is helpful.  Employment Hazardous materials removal workers held about 39,000 jobs in 2006. About 79 percent were employed in waste management and remediation services. Another 5 percent were employed in construction, primarily in asbestos abatement and lead abate­ ment. A small number worked at nuclear and electric plants as decommissioning and decontamination workers and radiation safety and decontamination technicians.  Job Outlook Employment of hazardous materials removal workers is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as average. Good job opportunities   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  are expected because of the need to replace the large number of workers who leave the occupation each year. Employment change. Employment of hazardous materials removal workers is expected to grow 11 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Since the 1970s, asbestos and lead-based paints and plumbing fixtures and pipes have not been used and much of the remediation stem­ ming from those products has taken place. With the continuing decline in the number of structures that contain asbestos and lead, demand for asbestos and lead abatement workers will be somewhat limited. Some growth, however, will result from the need to abate lead and asbestos from Federal and historic build­ ings. Mold remediation is a small and previously rapidly grow­ ing part of the occupation. However, builders have reduced the mold problem by improving the quality of construction to pre­ vent moisture from entering buildings, limiting job growth for this specialty. Also, as more workers in other occupations, such as painters and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning work­ ers, are able to perform mold, lead, and asbestos removal on small-scale projects, employment growth of hazardous materi­ als removal workers will continue to be negatively impacted. Employment of decontamination technicians, radiation safety technicians, and decommissioning and decontamination work­ ers, however, is expected to grow in response to increased pres­ sure for safer and cleaner nuclear and electric generation facili­ ties. Renewed interest in nuclear power production could lead to the construction of additional facilities, resulting in the need for many new workers. Numerous Superfund projects will require cleanup of haz­ ardous materials waste sites, spurring demand for hazardous materials removal workers. However, employment growth will largely be determined by Federal funding, which has been de­ clining in recent years. Job prospects. In addition to some job openings from em­ ployment growth, many openings are expected for hazardous materials removal workers because of the need to replace work­ ers who leave the occupation, leading to good opportunities. The often dangerous aspects of the job lead to high turnover because many workers do not stay in the occupation long. Op­ portunities for decontamination technicians, radiation safety technicians, and decontamination workers should be particular­ ly good as a number of new workers will be needed to replace those who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons. Lead and asbestos workers will have some opportunities at specialty remediation companies as restoration of Federal buildings and historic structures continues, although at a slower pace. The best employment opportunities for mold remediation workers will be in Southeast, and parts of the Northeast and Northwest, where mold tends to thrive.  666 Occupational Outlook Handbook  These workers are not greatly affected by economic fluctua­ tions because the facilities in which they work must operate, regardless of the state of the economy.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of wage and salary hazardous materials removal workers were $17.04 in May 2006. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $13.31 and $22.75 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.02 per hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.45 per hour. The median hourly earnings in remediation and other waste management services, the largest industry employing hazardous materials removal workers, were $16.75.  Related Occupations Asbestos abatement workers and lead abatement workers share skills with other construction trades workers, including painters and paperhangers; insulation workers; and sheet metal work­ ers. Treatment, storage, and disposal workers, decommission­ ing and decontamination workers, and decontamination and radiation safety technicians work closely with plant and system operators, such as power plant operators, distributors, and dis­ patchers and water and liquid waste treatment plant and sys­ tem operators. Police officers and firefighters also respond to emergencies and often are the first ones to respond to incidents where hazardous materials may be present.  Sources of Additional Information For more information on hazardous materials removal workers in the construction industry, including information on training, contact: > Laborers-AGC Education and Training Fund, 37 Deerfield Rd., P.O. Box 37, Pomfret, CT 06259. Internet: http://www.laborerslearn.org  Insulation Workers (0*NET 47-2131.00, 47-2132.00)  Insulation workers cement, staple, wire, tape, or spray insu­ lation. When covering a steam pipe, for example, insulation workers measure and cut sections of insulation to the proper length, stretch it open along a cut that runs the length of the material, and slip it over the pipe. They fasten the insulation with adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands. Sometimes, they wrap a cover of aluminum, plastic, or canvas over the insula­ tion and cement or band the cover in place. Insulation workers may screw on sheet metal around insulated pipes to protect the insulation from weather conditions or physical abuse. When covering a wall or other flat surface, workers may use a hose to spray foam insulation onto a wire mesh that provides a rough surface to which the foam can cling and that adds strength to the finished surface. Workers may then install drywall or ap­ ply a final coat of plaster for a finished appearance. In attics or exterior walls, workers may blow in loose-fill in­ sulation. A helper feeds a machine with fiberglass, cellulose, or rock-wool insulation, while another worker blows the insula­ tion with a compressor hose into the space being filled. In new construction or on major renovations, insulation workers staple fiberglass or rock-wool batts to exterior walls and ceilings before drywall, paneling, or plaster walls are put in place. In making major renovations to old buildings or when putting new insulation around pipes and industrial machinery, insulation workers often must first remove the old insulation. In the past, asbestos—now known to cause cancer in humans— was used extensively in walls and ceilings and to cover pipes, boilers, and various industrial equipment. Because of this dan­ ger, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations require that asbestos be removed before a building undergoes major renovations or is demolished. When asbestos is present, spe­ cially trained workers must remove it before insulation workers can install the new insulating materials. (See the statement on hazardous materials removal workers elsewhere in the Hand­ book.) Insulation workers use common handtools, including trow­ els, brushes, knives, scissors, saws, pliers, and stapling guns. They may use power saws to cut insulating materials, welding machines to join sheet metal or secure clamps, and compressors to blow or spray insulation.  Significant Points •  Workers must follow strict safety guidelines to protect themselves from insulating irritants.  •  Most insulation workers learn their work informally on the job; others complete formal apprenticeship  •  programs. Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.  Nature of the Work Properly insulated buildings reduce energy consumption by keeping heat in during the winter and out in the summer. Vats, tanks, vessels, boilers, steam and hot-water pipes, and refriger­ ated storage rooms also are insulated to prevent the wasteful loss of heat or cold and to prevent bums. Insulation also helps to reduce the noise that passes through walls and ceilings. In­ sulation workers install the materials used to insulate buildings and equipment.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  mmm mu  " 11 III11 1 !'  \ rmn m i  Insulation workers must follow strict safety guidelines to pro­ tect themselves.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 667  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Projected Change, employment, 2006-16 Code 2016 Number Percent Insulation workers....................................... ............... 47-2130 61,000 66,000 5,200 8 Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall............... ............... 47-2131 32,000 35,000 2,700 8 Insulation workers, mechanical....................................... 28,000 31.000 2.500 9 NOTE. Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational InformaOccupational Title  soc  Employment, 2006  tion Included in the Handbook.  Work environment. Insulation workers generally work in­ doors in residential and industrial settings. They spend most of the workday on their feet, either standing, bending, or kneeling. They also work from ladders or in confined spaces. Their work usually requires more coordination than strength. In industrial settings, these workers often insulate pipes and vessels at tem­ peratures that may cause bums. Minute particles from insu­ lation materials, especially when blown, can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Workers must follow strict safety guidelines to protect themselves. They keep work areas well ventilated; wear protective suits, masks, and respirators; and take decontamination showers when necessary. Most insula­ tion is applied after buildings are enclosed, so weather condi­ tions have less effect on the employment of insulation workers than some other constmction workers.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most insulation workers learn their trade informally on the job, although some complete formal apprenticeship programs. Education and training. Employers prefer to hire high school graduates. High school courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, science, sheet metal layout, woodworking, and general construction provide a helpful background. Most new workers receive instruction and supervision from experienced insulation workers. Trainees begin with simple tasks, such as carrying insulation or holding material while it is fastened in place. On-the-job training can take up to 2 years, depending on the nature of the work, but most training is com­ pleted in 3 to 6 months. Learning to install insulation in homes generally requires less training than does learning to apply in­ sulation in commercial and industrial settings. As they gain experience, trainees receive less supervision, more responsibil­ ity, and higher pay Trainees in formal apprenticeship programs receive in-depth instruction in all phases of insulation. Apprenticeships are gen­ erally offered by contractors that install and maintain indus­ trial insulation. Apprenticeship programs may be provided by a joint committee of local insulation contractors and the local union of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insula­ tors and Asbestos Workers, to which some insulation workers belong. Programs normally consist of 4 or 5 years of on-the-job training coupled with classroom instruction, and trainees must pass practical and written tests to demonstrate their knowledge of the trade. Licensure. The Environmental Protection Agency offers mandatory certification for insulation workers who remove and handle asbestos. Other qualifications. For entry-level jobs, insulation con­ tractors prefer to hire workers who are in good physical condi­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tion and licensed to drive. Applicants seeking apprenticeship positions should have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be at least 18 years old. Supervisors and contractors, espe­ cially, need good communication skills to deal with clients and subcontractors. Certification and advancement. A voluntary certification program has been developed by insulation contractor organi­ zations to help workers prove their skills and knowledge of residential insulation. Certification in insulation of industrial settings is being developed. Workers need at least 6 months of experience before they can complete certification. The North American Insulation Manufacturer’s Association also offers a certification for insulation energy appraisal. Skilled insulation workers may advance to supervisor, shop superintendent, or insulation contract estimator, or they may set up their own insulation business. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly im­ portant to be able to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers in both English and Spanish because Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas.  Employment Insulation workers held about 61,000 jobs in 2006. The con­ struction industry employed 91 percent of workers; 53 percent work for dry wall and insulation contractors. Other insulation workers held jobs in the Federal Government, in wholesale trade, and in shipbuilding and other manufacturing industries that have extensive installations for power, heating, and cool­ ing. In less populated areas, carpenters, heating and air-condi­ tioning installers or dry wall installers may do insulation work.  Job Outlook Insulation workers should have excellent employment opportu­ nities due to about average job growth coupled with the need to replace many workers who leave this occupation. Employment change. Employment of insulation workers is expected to increase 8 percent during the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for insulation workers will be spurred by the continuing need for energy efficient buildings and power plant constmction, both of which will generate work in existing structures and new con­ stmction. Growth might be tempered as other workers—such as carpenters, heating and air-conditioning installers, or dry wall installers—do some insulation work. Job prospects. Job opportunities for insulation workers are expected to be excellent. In addition to opportunities created by job growth, there will be a need to replace many workers. The irritating nature of many insulation materials, combined with  668 Occupational Outlook Handbook  the often difficult working conditions, causes many insulation workers to leave the occupation each year. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons. Insulation workers in the construction industry may experi­ ence periods of unemployment because of the short duration of many construction projects and the cyclical nature of construc­ tion activity. Workers employed to perform industrial plant maintenance generally have more stable employment because maintenance and repair must be done continually.  is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the OccupationalOutlookQuarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Earnings  (0*NET 47-2141.00,47-2142.00)  In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary in­ sulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall were $14.67. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 11.26 and $20.00. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.25, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.76. Median hourly earnings of insulation workers, mechanical were $17.74. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.55 and $25.12. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $10.51, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33.39. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of insulation workers were: Insulation workers, mechanical Building finishing contractors............................................ $18.69 Building equipment contractors............................................16.60 Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall Building finishing contractors............................................ $14.53 Union workers tend to earn more than nonunion workers. Ap­ prentices start at about one-half of the journey worker’s wage. Insulation workers doing commercial and industrial work earn substantially more than those working in residential construc­ tion, which does not require as much skill.  Related Occupations Insulation workers combine their knowledge of insulation ma­ terials with the skills of cutting, fitting, and installing materials. Workers in occupations involving similar skills include car­ penters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; roofers; and sheet metal workers.  Sources of Additional Information For information about training programs or other work oppor­ tunities in this trade, contact a local insulation contractor, the nearest office of the State employment service or apprentice­ ship agency, or the following organization; > National Insulation Association, 99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 222, Alexandria, VA 22314. Intemet: http ://www.insulation.org For more information about residential insulation, contact: > Insulation Contractors Association of America, 1321 Duke St., Suite 303, Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.insulate.org You can also find information on the registered ap­ prenticeships together with links to State apprenticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Painters and Paperhangers  Significant Points •  Employment prospects for painters should be excel­ lent due to the large numbers of workers who leave the occupation for other jobs; paperhangers will face very limited opportunities.  •  Most workers learn informally on the job as helpers, but some experts recommend completion of an ap­ prenticeship program.  •  About 42 percent of painters and paperhangers are self-employed.  Nature of the Work Paint and wall coverings make surfaces clean, attractive, and bright. In addition, paints and other sealers protect exterior sur­ faces from wear caused by exposure to the weather. Painters apply paint, stain, varnish, and other finishes to build­ ings and other stmctures. They choose the right paint or finish for the surface to be covered, taking into account durability, ease of handling, method of application, and customers’ wish­ es. Painters first prepare the surfaces to be covered, so that the paint will adhere properly. This may require removing the old coat of paint by stripping, sanding, wire brushing, burning, or water and abrasive blasting. Painters also wash walls and trim to remove dirt and grease, fill nail holes and cracks, sandpaper rough spots, and brush off dust. On new surfaces, they apply a primer or sealer to prepare the surface for the finish coat. Paint­ ers also mix paints and match colors, relying on knowledge of paint composition and color harmony. In large paint shops or hardware stores, mixing and matching are automated. There are several ways to apply paint and similar coverings. Painters must be able to choose the right paint applicator for each job, depending on the surface to be covered, the charac­ teristics of the finish, and other factors. Some jobs need only a good bristle brush with a soft, tapered edge; others require a dip or fountain pressure roller; still others are best done using a paint sprayer. Many jobs need several types of applicators. In fact, painters may use an assortment of brushes, edgers, and rollers for a single job. The right tools speed the painter’s work and also produce the most attractive surface. Some painting artisans specialize in creating unique finishes by using one of many decorative techniques. These techniques often involve “broken color,” a process created by applying one or more colors in broken layers over a different base coat to pro-  Construction Trades and Related Workers 669  '■  *  >  Self-employed, independent painting contractors account for 2 out of 5 painters and paperhangers. duce a mottled or textured effect. Often these techniques em­ ploy glazes or washes applied over a solid colored background. Glazes are made of oil-based paints and give a sleek glow to walls. Washes are made of latex-based paints that have been thinned with water and can add a greater sense of depth and texture. Other decorative painting techniques include spong­ ing, rag-rolling, stippling, sheen striping, dragging, distressing, color blocking, marbling, and faux finishes. Some painters specialize in painting industrial structures to prevent deterioration. One example is applying a protective coating to steel bridges to fight corrosion. The coating most commonly used is a waterborne acrylic solvent that is easy to apply and environmentally friendly, but other specialized and sometimes difficult-to-apply coatings may be used. Painters may also coat interior and exterior manufacturing facilities and equipment such as storage tanks, plant buildings, lockers, pip­ ing, structural steel, and ships. When painting any industrial structure, workers must take necessary safety precautions depending on their project. Those who specialize in interior applications such as painting the inside of storage tanks, for example, must wear a full-body protective suit. When working on bridges, painters are often suspended by cables and may work at extreme heights. When working on tall buildings, painters erect scaffolding, including “swing stages,”  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  scaffolds suspended by ropes, or cables attached to roof hooks. When painting steeples and other conical structures, they use a bosun’s chair, a swing-like device. Paperhangers cover walls and ceilings with decorative wall coverings made of paper, vinyl, or fabric. They first prepare the surface to be covered by applying “sizing,” which seals the sur­ face and makes the covering adhere better. When redecorating, they may first remove the old covering by soaking, steaming, or applying solvents. When necessary, they patch holes and take care of other imperfections before hanging the new wall covering. After the surface has been prepared, paperhangers must pre­ pare the paste or other adhesive, unless they are using pretreated paper. They then measure the area to be covered, check the covering for flaws, cut the covering into strips of the proper size, and closely examine the pattern in order to match it when the strips are hung. Much of this process can now be handled by specialized equipment. The next step is to brush or roll the adhesive onto the back of the covering, if needed, and to then place the strips on the wall or ceiling, making sure the pattern is matched, the strips are straight, and the edges are butted together to make tight, closed seams. Finally, paperhangers smooth the strips to remove bub­ bles and wrinkles, trim the top and bottom with a razor knife, and wipe off any excess adhesive. Work environment. Most painters and paperhangers work 40 hours a week or less; about 24 percent have variable sched­ ules or work part time. Painters and paperhangers must stand for long periods, often working from scaffolding and ladders. Their jobs also require a considerable amount of climbing, bending, and stretching. These workers must have stamina be­ cause much of the work is done with their arms raised overhead. Painters, especially industrial painters, often work outdoors, al­ most always in dry, warm weather. Those who paint bridges or building infrastructure may be exposed to extreme heights and uncomfortable positions; some painters work suspended with ropes or cables. Some painting jobs can leave a worker covered with paint. Drywall dust created by electric sanders prior to painting re­ quires workers to wear protective safety glasses and a dust mask. Painters and paperhangers sometimes work with materi­ als that are hazardous or toxic, such as when they are required to remove lead-based paints. In the most dangerous situations, painters work in a sealed self-contained suit to prevent inhala­ tion of or contact with hazardous materials. Although workers are subject to falls from ladders, the occupation is not as haz­ ardous as some other construction occupations.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Painting and paperhanging is learned mostly on the job, but some experts recommend completion of an apprenticeship pro­ gram. Education and training. Most painters and paperhangers learn through on-the-job training and by working as a helper to an experienced painter. However, there are a number of formal and informal training programs that provide more thorough in­ struction and a better career foundation. In general, the more formal the training received, the more likely the individual will  670 Occupational Outlook Handbook  enter the profession at a higher level. There are limited infor­ mal training opportunities for paperhangers because there are fewer paperhangers and helpers are usually not required. If available, apprenticeships generally provide a mixture of classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training. Apprentice­ ships for painters and paperhangers consist of 2 to 4 years of on-the-job training, supplemented by a minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction each year. A high school edu­ cation or its equivalent, with courses in mathematics, usually is required to enter an apprenticeship program. Apprentices receive instruction in color harmony, use and care of tools and equipment, surface preparation, application techniques, paint mixing and matching, characteristics of different finishes, blue­ print reading, wood finishing, and safety. Besides apprenticeships, some workers gain skills by attend­ ing technical schools that offer training prior to employment. These schools can take about a year to complete. Others re­ ceive training through local vocational high schools. Whether a painter learns the trade through a formal appren­ ticeship or informally as a helper, on-the-job instruction covers similar skill areas. Under the direction of experienced workers, trainees carry supplies, erect scaffolds, and do simple painting and surface preparation tasks while they learn about paint and painting equipment. As they gain experience, trainees learn to prepare surfaces for painting and paperhanging, to mix paints, and to apply paint and wall coverings efficiently and neatly. Near the end of their training, they may learn decorating con­ cepts, color coordination, and cost-estimating techniques. In addition to learning craft skills, painters must become familiar with safety and health regulations so that their work complies with the law. Other qualifications. Painters and paperhangers should have good manual dexterity, vision, and color sense. They also need physical stamina and balance to work on ladders and platforms. Apprentices or helpers generally must be at least 18 years old and in good physical condition, in addition to the high school diploma or equivalent that most apprentices need. Certification and advancement. Some organizations offer training and certification to enhance the skills of their members. People interested in industrial painting, for example, can earn several designations from the National Association of Corro­ sion Engineers in several areas of specialization, including one for coating applicators, called Protective Coating Specialist. Courses range from 1 day to several weeks depending on the certification program and specialty. Painters and paperhangers may advance to supervisory or es­ timating jobs with painting and decorating contractors. Many establish their own painting and decorating businesses. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important  to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in or­ der to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited English skills; Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Paint­ ing contractors need good English skills to deal with clients and subcontractors. Employment Painters and paperhangers held about 473,000 jobs in 2006; about 98 percent were painters. Around 38 percent of painters and paperhangers work for painting and wall covering contrac­ tors engaged in new construction, repair, restoration, or remod­ eling work. In addition, organizations that own or manage large buildings—such as apartment complexes—may employ paint­ ers, as do some schools, hospitals, factories, and government agencies. Self-employed independent painting contractors accounted for 42 percent of all painters and paperhangers, significantly greater than the 20 percent of all construction trades workers combined.  Job Outlook Employment of painters and paperhangers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, reflecting in­ creases in the stock of buildings and other structures that re­ quire maintenance and renovation. Excellent employment op­ portunities are expected for painters due to the need to replace the large number of workers who leave the occupation; paperhangers will have very limited opportunities. Employment change. Overall employment is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Driving employment growth will be retiring baby boomers who either purchase second homes or otherwise leave their existing homes that then require interior painting. Investors who sell properties or rent them out will also require the services of painters prior to completing a trans­ action. The relatively short life of exterior paints in residential homes as well as changing color and application trends will continue to support demand for painters. Painting is labor-in­ tensive and not susceptible to technological changes that might make workers more productive and slow employment growth. Growth of industrial painting will be driven by the need to prevent corrosion and deterioration of the many industrial structures by painting or coating them. Applying a protective coating to steel bridges, for example, is cost effective and can add years to the life expectancy of a bridge. Employment of paperhangers should decline rapidly as many homeowners take advantage of easy application materials and resort to cheaper alternatives, such as painting.  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Painters and paperhangers..................................................................... Painters, construction and maintenance.......................................... Paperhangers......................................................................................  soc Code  Employment, 2006  47-2140 473,000 47-2141 463,000 47-21429J9008,700  Projected employment, 2016 526,000 517,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 53,000 11 54,000 12 -1,200-12  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. _______________________________________________ _   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction Trades and Related Workers 671  Job prospects. Job prospects for painters should be excellent because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupa­ tion for other jobs. There are no strict training requirements for entry into these jobs, so many people with limited skills work as painters or helpers for a relatively short time and then move on to other types of work with higher pay or better working conditions. Opportunities for industrial painters should be excellent as the positions available should be greater than the pool of quali­ fied individuals to fill them. While industrial structures that require painting are located throughout the Nation, the best em­ ployment opportunities should be in the petrochemical industry in the Gulf Coast region, where strong demand and the largest concentration of workers exists. Very few openings will arise for paperhangers because the number of these jobs is comparatively small and cheaper, more modem decorative finishes such as faux effects and sponging have gained in popularity at the expense of paper, vinyl, or fab­ ric wall coverings. Jobseekers considering these occupations should expect some periods of unemployment, especially until they gain experience. Many constmction projects are of short duration, and construc­ tion activity is cyclical in nature. Remodeling, restoration, and maintenance projects, however, should continue as homeown­ ers undertake renovation projects and hire painters even in eco­ nomic downturns. Nonetheless, workers in these trades may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these work­ ers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary paint­ ers, construction and maintenance, were $15.00, not including the earnings of the self-employed. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.19 and $19.51. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.97, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.62. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of painters were as follows: Local government................................................................. $20.11 Drywall and insulation contractors......................................... 16.18 Nonresidential building construction...................................... 15.68 Residential building construction............................................ 15.04 Painting and wall covering contractors................................... 14.62 In May 2006, median earnings for wage and salary paperhangers were $16.21. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.12 and $20.62. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.34, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.77. Earnings for painters may be reduced on occasion because of bad weather and the short-term nature of many construction jobs. Hourly wage rates for apprentices usually start at 40 to 50 percent of the rate for experienced workers and increase pe­ riodically. Some painters and paperhangers are members of the Interna­ tional Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. Some paint­ ers are members of other unions.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Related Occupations Painters and paperhangers apply various coverings to decorate and protect wood, dry wall, metal, and other surfaces. Other construction occupations in which workers do finishing work include carpenters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finish­ ers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; painting and coating workers, except construction and maintenance; and plasterers and stucco masons.  Sources of Additional Information For details about painting and paperhanging apprenticeships or work opportunities, contact local painting and decorating con­ tractors, local trade organizations, a local of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, a local joint union-man­ agement apprenticeship committee, or an office of the State ap­ prenticeship agency or employment service. For information about the work of painters and paperhangers and training opportunities, contact: y Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Department, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.iupat.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614. Internet: http://www.nccer.org y Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, 1801 Park 270 Dr., Suite 220, St.Louis, MO 63146. Internet: http://www.pdca.org For general information about the work of industrial painters and opportunities for training and certification as a protective coating specialist, contact: y National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1440 South Creek Dr., Houston, TX 77084. Internet: http://www.nace.org  Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters (0*NET 47-2151.00, 47-2152.00, 47-2152.01,47-2152.02)  Significant Points  • •  • •  Job opportunities should be very good, especially for workers with welding experience. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters comprise one of the largest and highest paid construc­ tion occupations. Most States and localities require plumbers to be li­ censed. Apprenticeship programs generally provide the most comprehensive training, but many workers train in ca­ reer or technical schools or community colleges.  672 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Nature of the Work Most people are familiar with plumbers who come to their home to unclog a drain or install an appliance. In addition to these ac­ tivities, however, pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install, maintain, and repair many different types of pipe systems. For example, some systems move water to a munici­ pal water treatment plant and then to residential, commercial, and public buildings. Other systems dispose of waste, provide gas to stoves and furnaces, or provide for heating and cooling needs. Pipe systems in powerplants carry the steam that pow­ ers huge turbines. Pipes also are used in manufacturing plants to move material through the production process. Specialized piping systems are very important in both pharmaceutical and computer-chip manufacturing. Although pipelaying, plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting sometimes are considered a single trade, workers generally spe­ cialize in one of five areas. Pipelayers lay clay, concrete, plas­ tic, or cast-iron pipe for drains, sewers, water mains, and oil or gas lines. Before laying the pipe, pipelayers prepare and grade the trenches either manually or with machines. After laying the pipe, they weld, glue, cement, or otherwise join the pieces together. Plumbers install and repair the water, waste disposal, drainage, and gas systems in homes and commercial and indus­ trial buildings. Plumbers also install plumbing fixtures—bath­ tubs, showers, sinks, and toilets—and appliances such as dish­ washers and water heaters. Pipefitters install and repair both high-pressure and low-pressure pipe systems used in manufac­ turing, in the generation of electricity, and in the heating and cooling of buildings. They also install automatic controls that are increasingly being used to regulate these systems. Some pipefitters specialize in only one type of system. Steamfitters install pipe systems that move liquids or gases under high pres­ sure. Sprinklerfitters install automatic fire sprinkler systems in buildings. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters use many different materials and construction techniques, depending on the type of project. Residential water systems, for example, in­ corporate copper, steel, and plastic pipe that can be handled and installed by one or two plumbers. Municipal sewerage systems, on the other hand, are made of large cast-iron pipes; installation normally requires crews of pipefitters. Despite these differenc­ es, all pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters must be able to follow building plans or blueprints and instructions from supervisors, lay out the job, and work efficiently with the materials and tools of their trade. Computers and specialized software are used to create blueprints and plan layouts. When construction plumbers install piping in a new house, for example, they work from blueprints or drawings that show the planned location of pipes, plumbing fixtures, and appli­ ances. Recently, plumbers have become more involved in the design process. Their knowledge of codes and the operation of plumbing systems can cut costs. They first lay out the job to fit the piping into the structure of the house with the least waste of material. Then they measure and mark areas in which pipes will be installed and connected. Construction plumbers also check for obstructions such as electrical wiring and, if neces­ sary, plan the pipe installation around the problem.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  - *!'  SSssi  •  sggaaat  mmm %  Wm  !*£»£**■"*«*'  . . .. . .H,:-: Pipelayers lay clay, concrete, plastic, or cast-iron pipe for drains, sewers, water mains, and oil or gas lines. Sometimes, plumbers have to cut holes in walls, ceilings, and floors of a house. For some systems, they may hang steel sup­ ports from ceiling joists to hold the pipe in place. To assemble a system, plumbers—using saws, pipe cutters, and pipe-bending machines—cut and bend lengths of pipe. They connect lengths of pipe with fittings, using methods that depend on the type of pipe used. For plastic pipe, plumbers connect the sections and fittings with adhesives. For copper pipe, they slide a fitting over the end of the pipe and solder it in place with a torch. After the piping is in place in the house, plumbers install the fixtures and appliances and connect the system to the outside water or sewer lines. Finally, using pressure gauges, they check the system to ensure that the plumbing works properly. Work environment. Pipefitters and steamfitters most often work in industrial and power plants. Plumbers work in com­ mercial and residential settings where water and septic systems need to be installed and maintained. Pipelayers work outdoors, sometime in remote areas, as they build the pipelines that con­ nect sources of oil, gas, and chemicals with the users of these materials. Sprinklerfitters work in all buildings that require the use of fire sprinkler systems. Because pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters frequently must lift heavy pipes, stand for long periods, and sometimes work in uncomfortable or cramped positions, they need physical strength and stamina. They also may have to work outdoors in inclement weather. In addition, they are sub­ ject to possible falls from ladders, cuts from sharp tools, and bums from hot pipes or soldering equipment. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters engaged in construction generally work a standard 40-hour week; those involved in maintaining pipe systems, including those who pro­ vide maintenance services under contract, may have to work evening or weekend shifts and work on call. These mainte­ nance workers may spend a lot of time traveling to and from worksites.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters train in career or technical schools or community colleges, and on the job through apprenticeships.  Construction Trades and Related Workers 673  Education and training. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters enter into the occupation in a variety of ways. Most residential and industrial plumbers get their training in career and technical schools and community colleges and from on-the-job training. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters who work for nonresidential enterprises are usually trained through formal apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs generally provide the most com­ prehensive training available for these jobs. They are adminis­ tered either by union locals and their affiliated companies or by nonunion contractor organizations. Organizations that sponsor apprenticeships include: the United Association of Journey­ men and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Indus­ try of the United States and Canada; local employers of either the Mechanical Contractors Association of America or the Na­ tional Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors; a union associated with a member of the National Fire Sprinkler Association; the Associated Builders and Contractors; the Na­ tional Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors; the American Fire Sprinkler Association, or the Home Builders Institute of the National Association of Home Builders. Apprenticeships—both union and nonunion—consist of 4 or 5 years of paid on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of related classroom instruction per year. Classroom subjects include drafting and blueprint reading, mathematics, applied physics and chemistry, safety, and local plumbing codes and regulations. On the job, apprentices first learn basic skills, such as identifying grades and types of pipe, using the tools of the trade, and safely unloading materials. As apprentices gain ex­ perience, they learn how to work with various types of pipe and how to install different piping systems and plumbing fixtures. Apprenticeship gives trainees a thorough knowledge of all as­ pects of the trade. Although most pipelayers, plumbers, pipefit­ ters, and steamfitters are trained through apprenticeship, some still learn their skills informally on the job. Licensure. Although there are no uniform national licensing requirements, most States and communities require plumbers to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, but most localities require workers to have 2 to 5 years of experience and to pass an examination that tests their knowledge of the trade and of local plumbing codes before working independently. Several States require a special license to work on gas lines. A few States re­ quire pipe fitters to be licensed. These licenses usually require a test, experience, or both. Other qualifications. Applicants for union or nonunion ap­ prentice jobs must be at least 18 years old and in good physical condition. A drug test may be required. Apprenticeship com­ mittees may require applicants to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Armed Forces training in pipelaying, plumbing,  and pipefitting is considered very good preparation. In fact, people with this background may be given credit for previous experience when entering a civilian apprenticeship program. High school or postsecondary courses in shop, plumbing, gen­ eral mathematics, drafting, blueprint reading, computers, and physics also are good preparation. Advancement. With additional training, some pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters become supervisors for mechanical and plumbing contractors. Others, especially plumbers, go into business for themselves, often starting as a self-employed plumber working from home. Some eventually become owners of businesses employing many workers and may spend most of their time as managers rather than as plumb­ ers. Others move into closely related areas such as construction management or building inspection. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly im­ portant 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 work­ ers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Supervisors and contractors need good communication skills to deal with clients and subcontractors. Employment Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters constitute one of the largest construction occupations, holding about 569,000 jobs in 2006. About 55 percent worked for plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors engaged in new con­ struction, repair, modernization, or maintenance work. Others did maintenance work for a variety of industrial, commercial, and government employers. For example, pipefitters were em­ ployed as maintenance personnel in the petroleum and chemi­ cal industries, both of which move liquids and gases through pipes. About 12 percent of pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were self-employed.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is projected. Job opportunities are expected to be very good, especially for workers with weld­ ing experience. Employment change. Employment of pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is expected to grow 10 percent be­ tween 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all oc­ cupations. Demand for plumbers will stem from new construc­ tion and building renovation. Bath remodeling, in particular, is expected to continue to grow and create more jobs for plumb­ ers. In addition, repair and maintenance of existing residential systems will keep plumbers employed. Demand for pipefitters and steamfitters will be driven by maintenance and construe -  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters................. ........... Pipelayers.............................................................. ........... Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters................................ ...........  soc Code 47-2150 47-2151 47-2152  Employment, 2006 569.000 67,000 502.000  Projected employment, 2016 628,000 72,000 555,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 59.000 10 5,800 9 53.000 11  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  674 Occupational Outlook Handbook  tion of places such as powerplants, water and wastewater treat­ ment plants, office buildings, and factories, with extensive pipe systems. Growth of pipelayer jobs will stem from the build­ ing of new water and sewer lines and pipelines to new oil and gas fields. Demand for sprinklerfitters will increase because of changes to State and local rules for fire protection in homes and businesses. Job prospects. Job opportunities are expected to be very good, as demand for skilled pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is expected to outpace the supply of workers well trained in this craft in some areas. Some employers report difficulty finding workers with the right qualifications. In addi­ tion, many people currently working in these trades are expect­ ed to retire over the next 10 years, which will create additional job openings. Workers with welding experience should have especially good opportunities. Traditionally, many organizations with extensive pipe sys­ tems have employed their own plumbers or pipefitters to main­ tain equipment and keep systems running smoothly. But, to reduce labor costs, many of these firms no longer employ full­ time, in-house plumbers or pipefitters. Instead, when they need a plumber, they rely on workers provided under service con­ tracts by plumbing and pipefitting contractors. Construction projects generally provide only temporary em­ ployment. When a project ends, some pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters may be unemployed until they can begin work on a new project, although most companies are try­ ing to limit these periods of unemployment to retain workers. In addition, the jobs of pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are generally less sensitive to changes in economic conditions than jobs in other construction trades. Even when construction activity declines, maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of existing piping systems, as well as the increas­ ing installation of fire sprinkler systems, provide many jobs for pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.  Earnings Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are among the highest paid construction occupations. Median hourly earn­ ings of wage and salary plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were $20.56. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.62 and $27.54. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.30, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.79. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were: Natural gas distribution......................................................... $24.91 Nonresidential building construction...................................... 21.30 Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors..............20.44 Utility system construction......................................................19.18 Local government....................................................................17.86 In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary pi­ pelayers were $14.58. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.75 and $19.76. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.73, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.73. Apprentices usually begin at about 50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers. Wages increase periodically   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  as skills improve. After an initial waiting period, apprentices receive the same benefits as experienced pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters. About 30 percent of pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters belonged to a union. Many of these workers are members of the United Association of Journeymen and Ap­ prentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada.  Related Occupations Other workers who install and repair mechanical systems in buildings include boilermakers; electricians; elevator install­ ers and repairers; heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers; millwrights; sheet metal workers; and stationary engineers and boiler operators. Other related oc­ cupations include construction managers and construction and building inspectors.  Sources of Additional Information For information about apprenticeships or work opportunities in pipelaying, plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting, contact lo­ cal plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors; a local or State chapter of the National Association of Plumbing, Heat­ ing, and Cooling Contractors; a local chapter of the Mechanical Contractors Association; a local chapter of the United Associa­ tion of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pip­ efitting Industry of the United States and Canada; or the near­ est office of your State employment service or apprenticeship agency. Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For information about apprenticeship opportunities for pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters, contact: y United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.ua.org For more information about training programs for pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters, contact: y Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Department, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y Home Builders Institute, National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St.NW., Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org For general information about the work of pipelayers, plumb­ ers, and pipefitters, contact: y MechanicalContractorsAssociationofAmerica, 1385Piccard Dr., Rockville, MD 20850. Internet: http://www.mcaa.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, 3600 NW 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL 32606. Internet: http://www.nccer.org y Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association, 180 S. Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22040. Internet: http://www.phccweb.org For general information about the work of sprinklerfitters, contact: y American Fire Sprinkler Association, Inc., 12750 Merit Dr., Suite 350 Dallas, TX 75251. Internet:http://www.firesprinkler.org  Construction Tracies and Related Workers 675  y National Fire Sprinkler Association, 40 Jon Barrett Rd., Patterson, NY 12563. Internet: http://www.nfsa.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Appren­ ticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” in print at many libraries and career centers and online at: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf  ::s>*  :  Plasterers and Stucco Masons (0*NET 47-2161.00)  Significant Points  •  Plastering is physically demanding work.  •  Becoming a skilled plasterer or stucco mason gener­ ally requires 3 or 4 years of training, either informally on the job or through a formal apprenticeship. Good employment opportunities are expected.  • •  The best employment opportunities should continue to be in Florida, California, and the Southwest.  Nature of the Work Plastering—one of the oldest crafts in the building trades—re­ mains popular due to the durability and relatively low cost of the material. Plasterers apply plaster to interior walls and ceilings to form fire-resistant and relatively soundproof surfaces. They also apply plaster veneer over dry wall to create smooth or tex­ tured abrasion-resistant finishes. In addition, plasterers install prefabricated exterior insulation systems over existing walls— for good insulation and interesting architectural effects—and cast ornamental designs in plaster. Stucco masons apply dura­ ble plasters, such as polymer-based acrylic finishes and stucco, to exterior surfaces. Plasterers and stucco masons should not be confused with drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and ta­ pers—discussed elsewhere in the Handbook—who use drywall instead of plaster to make interior walls and ceilings. Plasterers can plaster either solid surfaces, such as concrete block, or supportive wire mesh called lath. When plasterers work with hard interior surfaces, such as concrete block and concrete, they first apply a brown coat of gypsum plaster that provides a base, which is followed by a second, or finish coat, also called “white coat,” made of a lime-based plaster. When plastering metal-mesh lath foundations, they apply a prepa­ ratory, or “scratch coat” with a trowel. They spread this rich plaster mixture into and over the metal lath. Before the plaster sets, plasterers scratch its surface with a rake-like tool to pro­ duce ridges, so that the subsequent brown coat will bond tightly. They then apply the brown coat and the finish, white coat. Applying different types of plaster coating requires different techniques. When applying the brown coat, plasterers spray or trowel the mixture onto the surface, then finish by smoothing it to an even, level surface. Helpers usually prepare this mixture. For the finish, or white coat, plasterers themselves usually prepare a mixture of lime, plaster of Paris, and water. They quickly apply this using a “hawk,” that is a light, metal plate   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Most plasterers and stucco masons are employed in Florida, Texas, California, and the Southwest, where exterior stucco with decorative finishes is very popular. with a handle, along with a trowel, brush, and water. This mix­ ture, which sets very quickly, produces a very smooth, durable finish. Plasterers also work with a plaster material that can be fin­ ished in a single coat. This “thin-coat” or gypsum veneer plas­ ter is made of lime and plaster of Paris and is mixed with water at the jobsite. This plaster provides a smooth, durable, abra­ sion-resistant finish on interior masonry surfaces, special gyp­ sum baseboard, or drywall prepared with a bonding agent. Plasterers create decorative interior surfaces as well. One way that they do this is by pressing a brush or trowel firmly against a wet plaster surface and using a circular hand motion to create decorative swirls. Plasterers sometimes do more com­ plex decorative and ornamental work that requires special skill and creativity. For example, they may mold intricate wall and ceiling designs, such as cornice pieces and chair rails. Follow­ ing an architect’s blueprint, plasterers pour or spray a special plaster into a mold and allow it to set. Workers then remove the molded plaster and put it in place, according to the plan. Stucco masons usually apply stucco—a mixture of Portland cement, lime, and sand—over cement, concrete, masonry or wire lath. Stucco may also be applied directly to a wire lath with a scratch coat, followed by a brown coat, and then a finish coat. Stucco masons may also embed marble or gravel chips into the finish coat to achieve a pebblelike, decorative finish. When required, plasterers and stucco masons apply insula­ tion to the exteriors of new and old buildings. They cover the outer wall with rigid foam insulation board and reinforcing mesh, and then trowel on a polymer-based or polymer-modified base coat. They may apply an additional coat of this material with a decorative finish. Work environment. Most plasters work indoors, except for the few who apply decorative exterior finishes. Stucco masons, however, work outside when applying stucco or exterior wall insulation. Plasterers and stucco masons may work on scaf­ folds high above the ground. Plastering and stucco work is physically demanding, requir­ ing considerable standing, bending, lifting, and reaching over­ head, sometimes causing neck and upper back cramps. The  676 Occupational Outlook Handbook  work can also be dusty and dirty. It can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs unless protective masks and gloves are used.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Becoming a skilled plasterer or stucco mason generally requires 3 or 4 years of training, either informally on the job or through a formal apprenticeship. Education and training. Preparation for a career as a plas­ terer or stucco mason can begin in high school, with classes in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop. After high school, there are many different ways to train. The most common way is to get a job with a contractor who will provide on-the-job training. Entry-level workers usually start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. They may start by carrying materials, setting up scaffolds, and mixing plaster. Later, they leam to apply the scratch, brown, and fin­ ish coats and may also leam to replicate plaster decorations for restoration work. Some employers enroll helpers in an employ­ er-provided training program or send the employee to a trade or vocational school, or community college to receive further classroom training. Depending on the region, some employers say a formal ap­ prenticeship is the best way to leam plastering. Apprenticeship programs, sponsored by local joint committees of contractors and unions, usually include 3 or 4 years of paid on-the-job training and 160 hours of classroom instruction each of those years. In class, apprentices leam drafting, blueprint reading, and basic mathematics for layout work. They also leam how to estimate materials and costs and how to cast ornamental plaster designs. On the job, apprentices leam about lath bases, plaster mixes, methods of plastering and safety practices. They leam how to use various tools, such as hand and powered trowels, floats, brushes, straightedges, power tools, plaster-mixing machines, and piston-type pumps. Some apprenticeship programs also al­ low individuals to train in related occupations, such as cement masonry and bricklaying. Applicants for apprentice or helper jobs who have a high school education are preferred. Courses in general mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop provide a useful background. Other qualifications. Workers need to be in good physical condition and have good manual dexterity. Artistic creativity is helpful for those who apply decorative finishes. Applicants for apprenticeships usually must be at least 18 years old. Certification and advancement. Some organizations related to masonry trades offer training and certification intended to enhance the skills of their members. For example, the Interna­ tional Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Interna­ tional Masonry Institute confers designations in several areas of specialization, including one for plastering. Candidates who complete a 12-week certification program can earn a designa­  tion as a “journey level plasterer” by passing a competency based exam. Experienced candidates can become trainers and earn a designation as “Certified Instructor of Journeyworkers and Apprentices in the Trowel Trades.” With additional training and experience, plasterers and stucco masons may advance to jobs as supervisors, superintendents, or estimators for plastering contractors. Many become self-em­ ployed contractors. Others become building inspectors.  Employment Plasterers and stucco masons held about 61,000 jobs in 2006. Many plasterers and stucco masons are employed in Florida, Texas, California, and the Southwest, where exterior stucco with decorative finishes is very popular. Use of exterior stucco on homes in other parts of the country is gaining popularity as well. Most plasterers and stucco masons work for independent contractors. About 16 percent of plasterers and stucco masons are self-employed.  Job Outlook Employment of plasterers and stucco masons is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations as a result of increased appreciation for the durability and attractiveness of troweled finishes. Good job prospects are expected. Employment change. Employment is expected to grow by 8 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. In recent years, there has been an increased appreciation for the attractive finishes and durability that plaster provides. Thin-coat plastering—or veneering—in particular, is gaining wide acceptance as more builders recognize its ease of application, durability, quality of finish, and sound-proof­ ing and fire-retarding qualities, although the increased use of fire sprinklers will reduce the demand for fire-resistant plaster work. Prefabricated wall systems and new polymer-based or polymer-modified acrylic exterior insulating finishes also are gaining popularity, particularly in the South and Southwest re­ gions of the country, because of their relatively low cost. In addition, plasterers will be needed to renovate plasterwork in old structures and to create special architectural effects, such as curved surfaces, which are not practical with drywall materi­ als. Job prospects. Job opportunities for plasterers and stucco masons are expected to be good because many potential candi­ dates prefer work that is less strenuous and more comfortable. Additionally, some prospects may be deterred by the lengthy apprenticeship. This creates more opportunity for people who want these jobs. Job openings will come from employment growth and from the need to replace plasterers and stucco masons who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Skilled, experienced  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Plasterers and stucco masons.................................. ............................  soc Code 47-2161  Employment, 2006 61,000  Projected employment, 2016 66,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 5,000 8  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction Trades and Related Workers 677  plasterers with artistic ability should have excellent opportuni­ ties, especially with restoration projects. The best employment opportunities should continue to be in Florida, California, and the Southwest, where the use of stucco is expected to remain popular. But decorative custom finishes, expensive homes, and large-scale restoration projects will continue to drive demand for plastering in the Northeast, particularly in urban areas. Employment of plasterers and stucco masons, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience peri­ ods of unemployment when the overall level of construction ac­ tivity falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity. Bad weather affects plastering less than other construction trades because most work is indoors. On exterior surfacing jobs, however, plasterers and stucco masons may lose time be­ cause plastering materials cannot be applied under wet or freez­ ing conditions.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary plas­ terers and stucco masons were $16.68. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.53 and $21.25. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.84, and the top 10 percent earned more than $27.31. The median hourly earnings in the largest industries employ­ ing plasterers and stucco masons were $16.92 in drywall and insulation contractors and $15.55 in masonry contractors. Apprentices begin by earning about half the rate paid to ex­ perienced workers. Annual earnings for plasterers and stucco masons can be less than the hourly rate suggests because poor weather and periodic declines in construction activity can limit work hours.  y Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada, 11720 Beltsville Dr., Suite 700, Beltsville, MD 20705. Internet: http://www.opcmia.org For information on certification and the training of plasterers and stucco masons, contact: y 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 For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Appren­ ticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” in print at many libraries and career centers and online at: http ://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01 .pdf.  Roofers (0*NET 47-2181.00)  Significant Points  •  Most roofers learn their skills informally on the job; some roofers train through 3-year apprenticeships.  •  Most job openings will arise from the need to replace those who leave the occupation because the work is hot, strenuous, and dirty, causing many people to switch to jobs in other construction trades.  •  Demand for roofers is less susceptible to downturns in the economy than demand for other construction trades because most roofing work consists of repair and reroofing.  Related Occupations Other construction workers who use a trowel as their primary tool include brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons; ce­ ment masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers; and drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers.  Sources of Additional Information For information about apprenticeships or other work opportu­ nities, you may contact local plastering contractors, locals of the unions mentioned below, local joint union-management ap­ prenticeship committees, or the nearest office of your State ap­ prenticeship agency or employment service. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeship system with links to State apprenticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Appren­ ticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 282-5627. For general information about the work of plasterers and stucco masons, contact: y Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries International, 803 West Broad St., Falls Church, VA 22046. Internet: http://www.awd.org For information about plasterers, contact:  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work A leaky roof can damage ceilings, walls, and furnishings. Roof­ ers repair and install roofs made of tar or asphalt and gravel; rubber or thermoplastic; metal; or shingles to protect buildings and their contents from water damage. Repair and reroofing— replacing old roofs on existing buildings—makes up the major­ ity of work for roofers. There are two types of roofs—low-slope and steep-slope. Low-slope roofs rise 4 inches per horizontal foot or less and are installed in layers. Steep-slope roofs rise more than 4 inches per horizontal foot and are usually covered in shingles. Most commercial, industrial, and apartment buildings have low-slope roofs. Most houses have steep-slope roofs. Some roofers work on both types; others specialize. Most low-slope roofs are covered with several layers of ma­ terials. Roofers first put a layer of insulation on the roof deck. Over the insulation, they often spread a coat of molten bitu­ men, a tarlike substance. Next, they install partially overlap­ ping layers of roofing felt—a fabric saturated in bitumen—over the surface. Roofers use a mop to spread hot bitumen over the felt before adding another layer of felt. This seals the seams and makes the surface watertight. Roofers repeat these steps to build up the desired number of layers, called “plies.” The top  678 Occupational Outlook Handbook  _  ;  Mm Most residential steep-slope roofs are covered with shingles. layer is glazed to make a smooth finish or has gravel embedded in the hot bitumen to create a rough surface. An increasing number of low-slope roofs are covered with a single-ply membrane of waterproof rubber or thermoplastic compounds. Roofers roll these sheets over the roof’s insulation and seal the seams. Adhesive, mechanical fasteners, or stone ballast hold the sheets in place. Roofers must make sure the building is strong enough to hold the stone ballast. A small but growing number of buildings now have “green” roofs that incorporate plants. A “green” roof begins with a sin­ gle or multi-ply waterproof layer. After it is proven to be leak free, roofers put a root barrier over it, and then layers of soil, in which trees and grass are planted. Roofers are usually respon­ sible for making sure the roof is watertight and can withstand the weight and water needs of the plants. Most residential steep-slope roofs are covered with shingles. To apply shingles, roofers first lay, cut, and tack 3-foot strips of roofing felt over the entire roof. Starting from the bottom edge, the roofer then staples or nails overlapping rows of shingles to the roof. Roofers measure and cut the felt and shingles to fit intersecting roof surfaces and to fit around vent pipes and chim­ neys. Wherever two roof surfaces intersect, or shingles reach a vent pipe or chimney, roofers cement or nail flashing-strips of metal or shingle over the joints to make them watertight. Fi­ nally, roofers cover exposed nailheads with roofing cement or caulking to prevent water leakage. Roofers who use tile, metal shingles, or shakes (rough wooden shingles) follow a similar process. Roofers also install equipment that requires cutting through roofs, such as ventilation ducts and attic fans. Some roofers are expert in waterproofing; some waterproof and dampproof masonry and concrete walls, floors, and foundations. To pre­ pare surfaces for waterproofing, they hammer and chisel away rough spots or remove them with a rubbing brick, before apply­ ing a coat of liquid waterproofing compound. They also may  paint or spray surfaces with a waterproofing material or attach waterproofing membrane to surfaces. Roofers usually spray a bitumen-based coating on interior or exterior surfaces when dampproofing. Work environment. Roofing work is strenuous. It involves heavy lifting, as well as climbing, bending, and kneeling. Roof­ ers work outdoors in all types of weather, particularly when making repairs. However, they rarely work when it rains or in very cold weather as ice can be dangerous. In northern States, roofing work is generally not performed during winter months. During the summer, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs quickly, especially before forecasted rainfall. Workers risk slips or falls from scaffolds, ladders, or roofs or bums from hot bitumen, but safety precautions, can prevent most accidents. In addition, roofs can become extremely hot during the summer, causing heat-related illnesses. In 2005, the rate of injuries for roofing contractors in construction was al­ most twice that of workers overall.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most roofers learn their skills informally by working as helpers for experienced roofers and by taking classes, including safety training, offered by their employers; some complete 3-year ap­ prenticeships. Education and training. A high school education, or its equivalent, is helpful and so are courses in mechanical drawing and basic mathematics. Although most workers learn roofing as helpers for experienced workers, some roofers train through 3-year apprenticeship programs administered by local unionmanagement committees representing roofing contractors and locals of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers. Apprenticeship programs usually include at least 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training each year, plus a minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction a year in tools and their use, arithmetic, safety, and other topics. On-the-job training for apprentices is similar to the training given to help­ ers, but an apprenticeship program is more structured and com­ prehensive. Apprentices, for example, learn to dampproof and waterproof walls. Trainees start by carrying equipment and material and erect­ ing scaffolds and hoists. Within 2 or 3 months, they are taught to measure, cut, and fit roofing materials and, later, to lay as­ phalt or fiberglass shingles. Because some roofing materials are used infrequently, it can take several years to get experience working on all types of roofing. Other qualifications. Good physical condition and good bal­ ance are essential for roofers. They cannot be afraid of heights. Experience with metal-working is helpful for workers who install metal roofing, Usually, apprentices must be at least 18 years old.  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Roofers...................................................................................................  SOC Code  47-2181  Employment,  2006 156,000  Projected employment,  2016 179,000  Change,  2006-16 Number  Percent  22,000  14  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction Trades and Related Workers 679  Advancement. Roofers may advance to become supervisors or estimators for a roofing contractor or become contractors themselves.  Employment  ,  Roofers held about 156,000 jobs in 2006. Almost all salaried roofers worked for roofing contractors. About 20 percent of roofers were self-employed. Many self-employed roofers spe­ cialized in residential work.  Related Occupations Roofers use shingles, bitumen and gravel, single-ply plastic or rubber sheets, or other materials to waterproof building surfac­ es. Workers in other occupations who cover surfaces with spe­ cial materials for protection and decoration include carpenters; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers; drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; plasterers and stucco masons; and sheet metal workers.  Job Outlook  Sources of Additional Information  Most job openings will arise from turnover, because the work is hot, strenuous, and dirty, causing many people to switch to jobs in other construction trades. Faster-than-average employment growth is expected. Employment change. Employment of roofers is expected to grow 14 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Roofs deteriorate faster than most other parts of buildings, and they need to be repaired or replaced more often. So as the number of buildings continues to increase, demand for roofers is expected to grow. In addition to repair work, the need to install roofs on new buildings is also expected to add to the demand for roofers. Job prospects. Job opportunities for roofers will arise pri­ marily because of the need to replace workers who leave the oc­ cupation. The proportion of roofers who leave the occupation each year is higher than in most construction trades—roofing work is hot, strenuous, and dirty, and a significant number of workers treat roofing as a temporary job until they find other work. Some roofers leave the occupation to go into other con­ struction trades. Jobs should be easiest to find during spring and summer. Employment of roofers who install new roofs, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience pe­ riods 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. Nev­ ertheless, roofing is more heavily concentrated on repair and replacement rather than new installation, making demand for roofers less susceptible to the business cycle than it is for some other construction trades.  For information about apprenticeships or job opportunities in roofing, contact local roofing contractors, a local chapter of the roofers union, a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of your State employment ser­ vice or apprenticeship agency. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeship system with links to State appren­ ticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For information about the work of roofers, contact: y National Roofing Contractors Association, 10255 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 600, Rosemont, IL 60018-5607. Internet: http://www.nrca.net y United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers, 1660 L St.NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.unionroofers.org Forgeneral information onapprenticeshipsandhowtogetthem, see the Occupational Outlook Q uarterly article “Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary roof­ ers were $15.51. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.12 and $20.79. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.81, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.79. The median hourly earnings of roofers in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry were $15.54. Earnings may be reduced on occasion when poor weather limits the time roofers can work. Apprentices usually start earning about 40 percent to 50 per­ cent of the rate paid to experienced roofers. They receive peri­ odic raises as they master the skills of the trade. Some roofers are members of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers. Hourly wages and fringe benefits are generally higher for union workers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sheet Metal Workers (0*NET 47-2211.00)  Significant Points  •  About 66 percent of sheet metal workers are found in the construction industry; around 21 percent are in manufacturing. • Workers learn through informal on-the-job training or formal apprenticeship programs. • Job opportunities in construction should be good, particularly for individuals who have apprenticeship training or who are certified welders; applicants for jobs in manufacturing may experience competition. Nature of the Work Sheet metal workers make, install, and maintain heating, ven­ tilation, and air-conditioning duct systems; roofs; siding; rain gutters; downspouts; skylights; restaurant equipment; outdoor signs; railroad cars; tailgates; customized precision equipment; and many other products made from metal sheets. They also  680 Occupational Outlook Handbook  may work with fiberglass and plastic materials. Although some workers specialize in fabrication, installation, or maintenance, most do all three jobs. Sheet metal workers do both construc­ tion-related work and mass production of sheet metal products in manufacturing. Sheet metal workers first study plans and specifications to determine the kind and quantity of materials they will need. They then measure, cut, bend, shape, and fasten pieces of sheet metal to make ductwork, countertops, and other custom prod­ ucts. In an increasing number of shops, sheet metal workers use computerized metalworking equipment. This enables them to perform their tasks more quickly and to experiment with differ­ ent layouts to find the one that wastes the least material. They cut, drill, and form parts with computer-controlled saws, lasers, shears, and presses. In shops without computerized equipment, and for products that cannot be made on such equipment, sheet metal workers make the required calculations and use tapes, rulers, and other measuring devices for layout work. They then cut or stamp the parts on machine tools. Before assembling pieces, sheet metal workers check each part for accuracy using measuring instruments such as calipers and micrometers and, if necessary, finish pieces using hand, rotary, or squaring shears and hacksaws. After inspecting the pieces, workers fasten seams and joints together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, specially formed sheet metal drive clips, or other connecting devices. They then take the parts to the construction site, where they further assemble the pieces as they install them. These workers install ducts, pipes, and tubes by joining them end to end and hanging them with metal hangers secured to a ceiling or a wall. They also use shears, hammers, punches, and drills to make parts at the worksite or to alter parts made in the shop. Some jobs are done completely at the jobsite. When install­ ing a metal roof, for example, sheet metal workers usually mea­ sure and cut the roofing panels on site. They secure the first panel in place and interlock and fasten the grooved edge of the next panel into the grooved edge of the first. Then, they nail or weld the free edge of the panel to the structure. This two-step process is repeated for each additional panel. Finally, the work­ ers fasten machine-made molding at joints, along comers, and around windows and doors for a neat, finished effect. In addition to installation, some sheet metal workers spe­ cialize in testing, balancing, adjusting, and servicing existing air-conditioning and ventilation systems to make sure they are functioning properly and to improve their energy efficiency. Properly installed duct systems are a key component to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems; sometimes duct installers are called HVAC technicians. A growing activity for sheet metal workers is building commissioning, which is a complete mechanical inspection of a building’s HVAC, water, and lighting systems. Sheet metal workers in manufacturing plants make sheet metal parts for products such as aircraft or industrial equip­ ment. Although some of the fabrication techniques used in large-scale manufacturing are similar to those used in smaller shops, the work may be highly automated and repetitive. Sheet metal workers doing such work may be responsible for repro https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sheet metal workers often take additional training, provided by the union or by their employer, to improve their skills. gramming the computer control systems of the equipment they operate. Work environment. Sheet metal workers usually work a 40hour week. Those who fabricate sheet metal products work in shops that are well-lighted and well-ventilated. However, they stand for long periods and lift heavy materials and finished piec­ es. Sheet metal workers must follow safety practices because working around high-speed machines can be dangerous. They also are subject to cuts from sharp metal, bums from soldering and welding, and falls from ladders and scaffolds. They are of­ ten required to wear safety glasses and must not wear jewelry or loose-fitting clothing that could easily be caught in a machine. They may work at a variety of different production stations to reduce the repetitiveness of the work. Those performing installation work do considerable bending, lifting, standing, climbing, and squatting, sometimes in close quarters or awkward positions. Although duct systems and kitchen equipment are installed indoors, the installation of sid­ ing, roofs, and gutters involves much outdoor work, exposing sheet metal workers to various kinds of weather.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Sheet metal workers learn their trade through both formal ap­ prenticeships and informal on-the-job training programs. For­ mal apprenticeships are more likely to be found in construc­ tion. Education and training. To become a skilled sheet metal construction worker usually takes between 4 and 5 years of both classroom and on-the-job training. While there are a number of different ways to obtain this training, generally the more formalized the training received by an individual, the more thoroughly skilled they become, and the more likely they are to be in demand by employers. For some, this training begins in a high school, where classes in English, algebra, geometry, physics, mechanical drawing and blueprint reading, and general shop are recommended. After high school, there are a number of different ways to train. One way is to get a job with a contractor who will pro­ vide training on the job. Entry-level workers generally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. Most begin by carrying metal and cleaning up debris in a metal shop while  Construction Trades and Related Workers 681  they learn about materials and tools and their uses. Later, they learn to operate machines that bend or cut metal. In time, help­ ers go out on the jobsite to learn installation. Employers may send the employee to courses at a trade or vocational school or community college to receive further formal training. Helpers may be promoted to the journey level if they show the requisite knowledge and skills. Most sheet metal workers in large-scale manufacturing receive on-the-job training, with additional class work or in-house training as necessary. The training needed to become proficient in manufacturing takes less time than the training in construction. Some employers, particularly large nonresidential construc­ tion contractors with union membership, offer formal appren­ ticeships. These programs combine paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Usually, apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years old and meet local require­ ments. The length of the program, usually 4 to 5 years, varies with the apprentice’s skill. Apprenticeship programs provide comprehensive instruction in both sheet metal fabrication and installation. They may be administered by local joint commit­ tees composed of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International As­ sociation and local chapters of the Sheet Metal and Air-Condi­ tioning Contractors National Association. Sheet metal workers can choose one of many specialties. Workers can specialize in commercial and residential HVAC in­ stallation and maintenance, industrial welding and fabrication, exterior or architectural sheet metal installation, sign fabrica­ tion, and testing and balancing of building systems. On the job, apprentices first receive safety training and then training in tasks that allow them to immediately begin work. They leant the basics of pattern layout and how to cut, bend, fabricate, and install sheet metal. They begin by learning to install and maintain basic ductwork and gradually advance to more difficult jobs, such as making more complex ducts, com­ mercial kitchens, and decorative pieces. They also use materi­ als such as fiberglass, plastics, and other nonmetallic materials. Workers often focus on a sheet metal specialty. In the class­ room, apprentices learn drafting, plan and specification reading, trigonometry and geometry applicable to layout work, welding, the use of computerized equipment, and the principles of heat­ ing, air-conditioning, and ventilation systems. In addition, ap­ prentices learn the relationship between sheet metal work and other construction work. Other qualifications. Sheet metal workers need to be in good physical condition and have mechanical and mathematical apti­ tude and good reading skills. Good eye-hand coordination, spa­ tial and form perception, and manual dexterity also are impor­ tant. Courses in algebra, trigonometry, geometry, mechanical drawing, and shop provide a helpful background for learning the trade, as does related work experience obtained in the U.S. Armed Services.  It is important for experienced sheet metal workers to keep abreast of new technological developments, such as the use of computerized layout and laser-cutting machines. Workers often take additional training, provided by the union or by their em­ ployer, to improve existing skills or to acquire new ones. Certification and advancement. Certifications in one of the specialties can be beneficial to workers. Certifications related to sheet metal specialties are offered by a wide variety of asso­ ciations, some of which are listed in the sources of more infor­ mation at the end of this statement. Those that complete reg­ istered apprenticeships are certified as journey workers, which can help to prove their skills to employers. Sheet metal workers in construction may advance to super­ visory jobs. Some of these workers take additional training in welding and do more specialized work. Workers who perform building and system testing are able to move into construction and building inspection. Others go into the contracting busi­ ness for themselves. Because a sheet metal contractor must have a shop with equipment to fabricate products, this type of contracting business is more expensive to start than other types of construction contracting. Sheet metal workers in manufacturing may advance to posi­ tions as supervisors or quality inspectors. Some of these work­ ers may move into other management positions.  Employment Sheet metal workers held about 189,000 jobs in 2006. About 66 percent of all sheet metal workers were in the construction industry, including 45 percent who worked for plumbing, heat­ ing, and air-conditioning contractors; most of the rest in con­ struction worked for roofing and sheet metal contractors. Some worked for other special trade contractors and for general con­ tractors engaged in residential and commercial building. About 21 percent of all sheet metal workers were in manufac­ turing industries, such as the fabricated metal products, machin­ ery, and aerospace products and parts industries. Some sheet metal workers work for the Federal Government. Compared with workers in most construction craft occupa­ tions, relatively few sheet metal workers are self-employed.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is projected. Job opportunities in construction should be good, particularly for individuals who have apprenticeship training or who are certified welders; appli­ cants for jobs in manufacturing may experience competition. Employment change. Employment of sheet metal workers is expected to increase 7 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This reflects growth in the number of industrial, commercial, and residential structures being built. The need to install energy-efficient air-condition­ ing, heating, and ventilation systems in older buildings and to  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Sheet metal workers................................................ ...........................  soc  Employment,  Code  2006  47-2211  189,000  Projected employment,  2016 201,000  Change,  2006-16 Number  Percent  13,000  7  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on  tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Occupational Informa­  682 Occupational Outlook Handbook  perform other types of renovation and maintenance work also should boost employment. In addition, the popularity of decora­ tive sheet metal products and increased architectural restoration are expected to add to the demand for sheet metal workers. Job prospects. Job opportunities are expected to be good for sheet metal workers in the construction industry, reflecting both employment growth and openings arising each year as experi­ enced sheet metal workers leave the occupation. Opportunities should be particularly good for individuals who have appren­ ticeship training or who are certified welders. Applicants for jobs in manufacturing may experience competition because a number of manufacturing plants that employ sheet metal work­ ers are moving to other countries and the plants that remain are becoming more productive. Sheet metal workers in construction may experience periods of unemployment, particularly when construction projects end and economic conditions dampen construction activity. Never­ theless, employment of sheet metal workers is less sensitive to declines in new construction than is the employment of some other construction workers, such as carpenters. Maintenance of existing equipment—which is less affected by economic fluc­ tuations than is new construction—makes up a large part of the work done by sheet metal workers. Installation of new air-con­ ditioning and heating systems in existing buildings continues during construction slumps, as individuals and businesses adopt more energy-efficient equipment to cut utility bills. In addition, a large proportion of sheet metal installation and maintenance is done indoors, so sheet metal workers usually lose less worktime due to bad weather than other construction workers.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary sheet metal workers were $17.96. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $13.30 and $24.89. The lowest 10 percent of all sheet metal workers earned less than $10.36, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $32.30. The median hourly earnings of the largest industries employing sheet metal workers were: Building finishing contractors............................................... $18.84 Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors..............18.60 Roofing contractors..................................................................17.27 Architectural and structural metals manufacturing................. 16.60 Apprentices normally start at about 40 to 50 percent of the rate paid to experienced workers. As apprentices acquire more skills, they receive periodic pay increases until their pay ap­ proaches that of experienced workers. In addition, union work­ ers in some areas receive supplemental wages from the union when they are on layoff or shortened workweeks.  Related Occupations To fabricate and install sheet metal products, sheet metal work­ ers combine metalworking skills and knowledge of construction materials and techniques. Other occupations in which workers lay out and fabricate metal products include assemblers and fabricators; machinists; machine setters, operators, and ten­ ders—metal and plastic; and tool and die makers. Construction occupations requiring similar skills and knowledge include gla­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ziers and heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.  Sources of Additional Information For more information about apprenticeships or other work op­ portunities, contact local sheet metal contractors or heating, refrigeration, and air-conditioning contractors; a local of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association; a local of the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors National Asso­ ciation; a local joint union-management apprenticeship com­ mittee; or the nearest office of your State employment service or apprenticeship agency. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeship system with links to State apprentice­ ship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: 1 (877) 872-5627. For general and training information about sheet metal work­ ers, contact: V International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air­ Conditioning Industry, 601N. Fairfax St., Suite 240, Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.sheetmetal-iti.org y National Center for Construction Education and Research, RO. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614. Internet: http://www.nccer.org V Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, 4201 Lafayette Center Dr., Chantilly, VA 20151. Internet: http://www.smacna.org y Sheet Metal Workers International Association, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.smwia.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see theOccupationalOutlookQuarterly article‘Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” on­ line at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.  Structural and Reinforcing Iron and Metal Workers (0*NET 47-2171.00, 47-2221.00)  Significant Points •  Workers must be in good physical condition and must not fear heights.  •  Most employers recommend completion of a formal 3-year or 4-year apprenticeship, but some workers learn on the job.  •  Earnings of structural iron and steel workers are among the highest of all construction trades.  •  In most areas, job opportunities should be excellent.  Nature of the Work Structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers place and in­ stall iron or steel girders, columns, and other construction ma­  Construction Trades and Related Workers 683  terials to form buildings, bridges, and other structures. They also position and secure steel bars or mesh in concrete forms in order to reinforce the concrete used in highways, buildings, bridges, tunnels, and other structures. In addition, they repair and renovate older buildings and structures. Even though the primary metal involved in this work is steel, these workers often are known as ironworkers or erectors. Some ironworkers make structural metal in fabricating shops, which are usually located away from the construction site. These workers are covered in the statement on assemblers and fabricators found elsewhere in the Handbook. Before construction can begin, ironworkers must erect steel frames and assemble the cranes and derricks that move struc­ tural steel, reinforcing bars, buckets of concrete, lumber, and other materials and equipment around the construction site. Once this job has been completed, workers begin to connect steel columns, beams, and girders according to blueprints and instructions from supervisors and superintendents. Structural steel, reinforcing rods, and ornamental iron generally come to the construction site ready for erection—cut to the proper size, with holes drilled for bolts and numbered for assembly. Ironworkers at the construction site unload and stack the pre­ fabricated steel so that it can be hoisted easily when needed. To hoist the steel, ironworkers attach cables (slings) to the steel and to the crane or derrick. One worker directs the hoist operator with hand signals while another worker holds a rope (tag line) attached to the steel to prevent it from swinging. The crane or derrick hoists steel into place in the framework, whereupon two ironworkers called connectors position the steel with connecting bars and spud wrenches—a long wrench with a pointed handle. Workers using driftpins or the handle of a spud wrench align the holes in the steel with the holes in the framework. Ironworkers check vertical and horizontal alignment with plumb bobs, laser equipment, transits, or levels; then they bolt or weld the piece permanently in place. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers, sometimes called rod busters, set reinforcing bars (often called rebar) in the forms that hold concrete, following blueprints showing the location, size, and number of bars. They then fasten the bars together by tying wire around them with pliers. When reinforcing floors, ironworkers place spacers under the rebar to hold the bars off the deck. Although these materials usually arrive ready to use, ironworkers occasionally must cut bars with metal shears or acetylene torches, bend them by hand or machine, or weld them with arc-welding equipment. Some concrete is reinforced with welded wire fabric that ironworkers put into position using hooked rods. Post-tensioning is another technique used to rein­ force concrete. In this technique, workers substitute cables for rebar. When the concrete is poured, the ends of the cables are left exposed. After the concrete cures, ironworkers tighten the cables with jacking equipment specially designed for the pur­ pose. Post-tensioning allows designers to create larger open ar­ eas in a building, because supports can be placed further apart. This technique is commonly employed in parking garages and arenas. Ornamental ironworkers install stairs, handrails, curtain walls (the nonstructural walls and window frames of many large buildings), and other miscellaneous metal after the struc­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ture of the building has been completed. As they hoist pieces into position, ornamental ironworkers make sure that the pieces are properly fitted and aligned before bolting or welding them for a secure fit. Work environment. Structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers usually work outside in all kinds of weather. However, those who work at great heights do not work during wet, icy, or extremely windy conditions. Because the danger of injuries from falls is great, ironworkers use safety devices such as safety harnesses, scaffolding, and nets to reduce risk.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many workers learn to be ironworkers through formal appren­ ticeships, but others learn on the job less formally. Certifica­ tions in welding and rigging can increase a worker’s usefulness on the job site. Education and training. Most employers recommend a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship consisting of paid on-the-job training and evening classroom instruction as the best way to learn this trade. Apprenticeship programs are administered by committees made up of representatives of local unions of the International Asso­ ciation of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers or the local chapters of contractors’ associations. In the classroom, apprentices study blueprint reading; math­ ematics, the basics of structural erecting, rigging, reinforcing, welding, assembling, and safety training. Apprentices also study the care and safe use of tools and materials. On the job, apprentices work in all aspects of the trade, such as unloading  nis I  .  ;  Earnings of structural iron and steel workers are among the highest of all construction trades.  684 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers............................ Reinforcing iron and rebar workers................................................. Structural iron and steel workers.....................................................  Projected Change, 2006-16 employment, 2016 Number Percent — 102,000 110,000 7,800 8 47-2171 30,000 34,000 3,500 12 47-222172,00076,0004,3006_ SOC Code  Employment, 2006  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  and storing materials at the job site, rigging materials for move­ ment by crane, connecting structural steel, and welding. Some ironworkers learn the trade informally on the job, with­ out completing an apprenticeship. These workers generally do not receive classroom training, although some large contractors have extensive training programs. On-the-job trainees usually begin by assisting experienced ironworkers on simple jobs, such as carrying various materials. With experience, trainees perform more difficult tasks, such as cutting and fitting different parts; however, learning through work experience alone may not provide training as complete as an apprenticeship program, and it usually takes longer. Other qualifications. Ironworkers must be at least 18 years old. A high school diploma is preferred by employers and lo­ cal apprenticeship committees. High school courses in general mathematics, mechanical drawing, English, and welding are considered helpful. Because materials used in iron working are heavy and bulky, ironworkers must be in good physical condi­ tion. They also need good agility, balance, eyesight, and depth perception to work safely at great heights on narrow beams and girders. Ironworkers should not be afraid of heights or suffer from dizziness. Certification and advancement. Ironworkers who complete apprenticeships are certified as journey workers, which often make them more competitive for jobs and promotions. Those who meet education and experience requirements can become welders certified by the American Welding Society. Appren­ ticeship programs often provide trainees the opportunity to become certified as part of their coursework because welding skills are useful for many ironworker tasks. Some experienced workers are promoted to supervisor. Oth­ ers may go into the contracting business for themselves. The ability to communicate in both English and Spanish will im­ prove opportunities for advancement.  Employment Ironworkers held about 102,000 jobs in 2006; structural iron and steel workers held about 72,000 jobs; and reinforcing iron and rebar workers held about 30,000 jobs. About 88 percent worked in construction, with 50 percent working for founda­ tion, structure, and building exterior contractors. Most of the remaining ironworkers worked for contractors specializing in the construction of homes; factories; commercial buildings; religious structures; schools; bridges and tunnels; and water, sewer, communications, and power lines. Structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers are em­ ployed in all parts of the country, but most work in metropolitan areas, where the bulk of commercial and industrial construction takes place.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Average job growth is projected, but in most areas of the coun­ try job opportunities should be excellent. Employment change. Employment of structural and rein­ forcing iron and metal workers is expected to grow 8 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all oc­ cupations. Nonresidential and heavy construction is expected to increase, creating jobs. The rehabilitation, maintenance, and replacement of a growing number of older buildings, powerplants, highways, and bridges also are expected to create em­ ployment opportunities. State and Federal legislatures continue to support and fund the building of roads, which will secure jobs for the near future. However, a lack of qualified applicants may restrain employment growth in some areas. Job prospects. In addition to new jobs from employment growth, many job openings will result from the need to replace experienced ironworkers who leave the occupation or retire. In most areas, job opportunities should be excellent, although the number ofjob openings can fluctuate from year to year with eco­ nomic conditions and the level of construction activity. Many workers prefer to enter other occupations with better working conditions, leading to opportunities for those who wish to be­ come structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers. Employment of structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers, like that of many other construction workers, is sensi­ tive 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. Similarly, job opportunities for ironwork­ ers may vary widely by geographic area. Population growth in the South and West should create more job opportunities than elsewhere as bridges, buildings, and roads are constructed. Job openings for ironworkers usually are more abundant during the spring and summer months, when the level of construction ac­ tivity increases. Workers who are willing to relocate are often able to find work in another area.  Earnings Earnings of structural iron and steel workers are among the highest of all construction trades. In May 2006, median earn­ ings of wage and salary structural iron and steel workers in all industries were $ 19.46 an hour. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.11 and $27.08. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.94, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.78. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary reinforcing iron and rebar workers in all industries were $18.38. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.15 and $27.03. The lowest 10 per­  Construction Trades and Related Workers 685  cent earned less than $10.25, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.15. Median hourly earnings of wage and salary structural iron and steel workers in foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors were $20.54 and in nonresidential building con­ struction, $16.76. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers earned median hourly earnings of $18.67 in foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors. About 31 percent of the workers in this trade are union members. According to International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, average hourly earnings, including benefits, for structural and reinforc­ ing metal workers who belonged to a union and worked full time were slightly higher than the hourly earnings of nonunion workers. Structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phil­ adelphia, and other large cities received the highest wages. Apprentices generally start at about 50 to 60 percent of the rate paid to experienced journey workers. Throughout the course of the apprenticeship program, as they acquire skills, they receive periodic increases until their pay approaches that of experienced workers. Earnings for ironworkers may be reduced on occasion be­ cause work can be limited by bad weather, the short-term nature of construction jobs, and economic downturns.  Related Occupations Structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers play an es­ sential role in erecting buildings, bridges, highways, power lines, and other structures. Others who work on these construc­ tion jobs include assemblers and fabricators; boilermakers; civil engineers; cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pav­ ers, and terrazzo workers; construction managers; and welding, soldering, and brazing workers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Sources of Additional Information For more information on apprenticeships or other work op­ portunities, contact local general contractors; a local of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union; a local ironworkers’ joint union-management apprenticeship committee; a local or State chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors or the As­ sociated General Contractors; or the nearest office of your 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 Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Ap­ prenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Depart­ ment of Labor’s toll free helpline: 1 (877) 872-5627. For apprenticeship information, contact >• International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Apprenticeship Department, 1750 New York Ave. NW., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http ://www.ironworkers.org For general information about ironworkers, contact either of the following sources: >• Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Department, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400., Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.agc.org For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article “Appren­ ticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket,” in print at many libraries and career centers and online at: http ://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers Computer, Automated Teller, and Office Machine Repairers (0*NET 49-2011.00, 49-9091.00)  Significant Points •  Workers qualify for these jobs by receiving training in electronics from associate degree programs, the mili­ tary, vocational schools, equipment manufacturers, or employers.  •  Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.  •  Job prospects will be best for applicants with knowl­ edge of electronics, and who have formal training and repair experience.  Nature of the Work Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers in­ stall, fix, and maintain many of the machines that are common to businesses and households. Some repairers travel to custom­ ers’ workplaces or other locations to make the necessary re­ pairs. These workers—known as field technicians—often have assigned areas in which they perform preventive maintenance on a regular basis. Bench technicians work in repair shops lo­ cated in stores, factories, or service centers. In small compa­ nies, repairers may work both in repair shops and at customer locations. Computer repairers, also known as computer service tech­ nicians or data processing equipment repairers, service main­ frame, server, and personal computers; printers; and auxiliary computer equipment. These workers primarily perform handson repair, maintenance, and installation of computers and re­ lated equipment. Workers who provide technical assistance, in person or by telephone, to computer system users are known as computer support specialists or computer support technicians. (See the section on computer support specialists and systems administrators elsewhere in the Handbook.) Computer repairers usually replace subsystems instead of repairing them. Replacement is common because subsystems are inexpensive and businesses are reluctant to shut down their computers for time-consuming repairs. Subsystems common­ ly replaced by computer repairers include video cards, which transmit signals from the computer to the monitor; hard drives,  686 https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  which store data; and network cards, which allow communi­ cation over the network. Defective modules may be given to bench technicians, who use software programs to diagnose the problem and who may repair the modules, if possible. Office machine and cash register servicers work on photo­ copiers, cash registers, mail-processing equipment, and fax ma­ chines. Newer models of office machinery include computer­ ized components that allow them to function more effectively than earlier models. Office machine repairers usually work on machinery at the customer’s workplace. However, if the machines are small enough, customers may bring them to a repair shop for mainte­ nance. Common malfunctions include paper misfeeds caused by worn or dirty parts, and poor-quality copy resulting from problems with lamps, lenses, or mirrors. These malfunctions usually can be resolved simply by cleaning the relevant com­ ponents. Breakdowns also may result from the failure of com­ monly used parts. For example, heavy use of a photocopier may wear down the printhead, which applies ink to the final copy. In such cases, the repairer usually replaces the part in­ stead of repairing it. Automated teller machine servicers install and repair auto­ mated teller machines (ATMs). These machines allow custom­ ers to carry out bank transactions without the assistance of a teller. ATMs also provide a growing variety of other services, including stamp, phone card, and ticket sales. When ATMs malfunction, computer networks recognize the problem and alert repairers. Common problems include worn magnetic heads on card readers, which prevent the equipment from recognizing customers’ bankcards, and “pick failures,” which prevent the equipment from dispensing the correct amount of cash. Field technicians travel to the locations of ATMs and usually repair equipment by removing and replacing defective components. Broken components are taken to a re­ pair shop, where bench technicians make the necessary repairs. Field technicians perform routine maintenance on a regular ba­ sis, replacing worn parts and running diagnostic tests to ensure that the equipment functions properly. To install large equipment, such as mainframe computers and ATMs, repairers connect the equipment to power sources and communication lines that allow the transmission of information over computer networks. For example, when an ATM dispenses cash, it transmits the withdrawal information to the customer’s bank. Workers also may install operating software and periph­ eral equipment, checking that all components are configured to function together correctly.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 687  Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers use a variety of tools for diagnostic tests and repair. To diagnose mal­ functions, they use multimeters to measure voltage, current, resis­ tance, and other electrical properties; signal generators to provide test signals; and oscilloscopes to monitor equipment signals. To diagnose computerized equipment, repairers use software pro­ grams. To repair or adjust equipment, workers use handtools, such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches. Work environment. Repairers usually work in clean, welllighted surroundings. Because computers and office machines are sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity, repair shops usually are air-conditioned and well ventilated. Field repairers must travel frequently to various locations to install, maintain, or repair customers’ equipment. ATM repairers may have to per­ form their jobs in small, confined spaces that house the equip­ ment. Because computers and ATMs are critical for many organiza­ tions to function efficiently, data processing equipment repairers and ATM field technicians often work around the clock. Their schedules may include evening, weekend, and holiday shifts, sometimes assigned on the basis of seniority. Office machine and cash register servicers usually work regular business hours because the equipment they repair is not as critical. Most repair­ ers work about 40 hours per week, but about 12 percent work more than 50 hours per week. Although their jobs are not strenuous, repairers must lift equip­ ment and work in a variety of postures. Repairers of computer monitors need to discharge voltage from the equipment to avoid electrocution. Workers may have to wear protective goggles.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Knowledge of electronics is required, and employers prefer workers with formal training. Office machine and ATM repair­ ers usually have an associate degree. Certification is available for entry-level workers, as well as experienced workers seeking advancement. Education and training. Knowledge of electronics is neces­ sary for employment as a computer, automated teller, or office machine repairer. Employers prefer workers who are certified or who have training in electronics from an associate degree pro­ gram, the military, a vocational school, or an equipment manu­ facturer. Employers generally provide some training to new re­ pairers on specific equipment; however, workers are expected to arrive on the job with a basic understanding of equipment repair. Employers may send experienced workers to training sessions to keep up with changes in technology and service procedures. Most office machine and ATM repairer positions require an associate degree in electronics. A basic understanding of me­ chanical equipment also is important because many of the parts that fail in office machines and ATMs, such as paper loaders, are mechanical. Entry-level employees at large companies normally receive on-the-job training lasting several months. Such train­ ing may include a week of classroom instruction, followed by a period of 2 weeks to several months assisting an experienced repairer. Certification and other qualifications. Various organizations offer certification. Certification demonstrates a level of compe­ tency, and can make an applicant more attractive to employers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Computer repairers perform hands-on repair, maintenance, and installation of computers and related equipment. Field technicians work closely with customers and must have good communications skills and a neat appearance. Employers may require that field technicians have a driver’s license. Certification and advancement. Newly hired computer repair­ ers may work on personal computers or peripheral equipment. With experience, they can advance to positions maintaining more sophisticated systems, such as networking equipment and serv­ ers. Field repairers of ATMs may advance to bench technician positions responsible for more complex repairs. Experienced workers may become specialists who help other repairers diag­ nose difficult problems or who work with engineers in designing equipment and developing maintenance procedures. Experienced workers also may move into management positions responsible for supervising other repairers. Because of their familiarity with equipment, experienced re­ pairers may move into customer service or sales positions. Some experienced workers open their own repair shops or become wholesalers or retailers of electronic equipment. Certification may also increase one’s opportunities for ad­ vancement. Certification is available for workers with varying levels of skills and experience. To obtain certification, workers generally must pass an examination corresponding to their skill level.  Employment Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers held about 175,000 jobs in 2006. Wholesale trade establishments employed about 31 percent of the workers in this occupation; most of these establishments were wholesalers of professional and commercial equipment and supplies. Many workers also were employed in computer and software stores and office sup­ ply stores. Others worked in electronic and precision equip­ ment repair shops and computer systems design firms. About 20 percent of computer, automated teller, and office machine  688 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers................  soc Code  Employment, 2006 175,000  49-2011  Projected employment, 2016 180,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 5,200 3  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. _____________________________________________ ________ __________________________  repairers were self-employed, compared to 7 percent for all in­ stallation, maintenance, and repair occupations.  Job Outlook Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations. Opportunities will be best for applicants with knowledge of electronics, formal training, and previous experience. Employment change. Employment of computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers is expected to grow by 3 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Limited job growth will be driven by the in­ creasing dependence of business and individuals on computers and other sophisticated office machines. The need to maintain this equipment will create new jobs for repairers. Although computer equipment continues to become less expensive and more reliable, malfunctions still occur and can cause severe problems for users, most of whom lack the knowl­ edge to make repairs. Computers are critical to most businesses today and will become even more so as companies increasingly engage in electronic commerce, and as individuals continue to bank, shop, and pay bills online. People also are becoming increasingly reliant on ATMs. Be­ sides offering bank and retail transactions, ATMs provide an increasing number of other services, such as employee informa­ tion processing and distribution of government payments. The relatively slow rate at which new ATMs are installed, however, and the fact that they are becoming easier to repair, will limit demand for ATM repairers. Conventional office machines, such as calculators, are inex­ pensive, and often are replaced instead of repaired. However, digital copiers and other, newer office machines are more costly and complex. This equipment often is computerized, designed to work on a network, and capable of performing multiple func­ tions. But because this equipment is becoming more reliable, job growth in office machine repairers will be limited as well. Job prospects. In addition to new job growth, a number of openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation. Job prospects will be best for appli­ cants with knowledge of electronics, formal training, and repair experience.  Computer systems design and related services.....................$19.41 Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers....................................... 19.09 Office supplies, stationery, and gift stores.............................. 16.64 Electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance.....................................................................15.82 Computer and software stores..................................................15.20 Electronics and appliance stores............................................. 14.71  Related Occupations Workers in other occupations who repair and maintain electron­ ic equipment include electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers; home appliance repairers; broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators; preci­ sion instrument and equipment repairers; electrical and elec­ tronics installers and repairers; electricians; radio and telecom­ munications equipment installers and repairers; coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers; industrial ma­ chinery mechanics and maintenance workers; and maintenance and repair workers, general.  Sources of Additional Information For information on careers and certification, contact: X ACES International, 5241 Princess Anne Rd., Suite 110, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. Internet: http://www.acesinternational.org y Electronics Technicians Association International, 5 Depot St., Greencastle, IN 46135. Internet: http://eta-i.org > International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, 3608 Pershing Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107-4527. Internet: http://www.iscet.org  Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers (0*NET 49-2092.00, 49-2093.00, 49-2094.00, 49-2095.00, 49-2096.00, 49-9031.00)  Significant Points •  Knowledge of electrical equipment and electronics is necessary for employment; employers often prefer applicants with an associate degree in electronics.  •  Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations.  •  Job opportunities will be best for applicants with an associate degree, certification, and related experi­  Earnings Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary computer, automat­ ed teller, and office machine repairers were $17.54 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.56 and $22.44. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.65, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.36. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of computer, auto­ mated teller, and office machine repairers in May 2006 were:   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ence.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 689  Nature of the Work Businesses and other organizations depend on complex elec­ tronic equipment for a variety of functions. Industrial controls automatically monitor and direct production processes on the factory floor. Transmitters and antennae provide communica­ tion links for many organizations. Electric power companies use electronic equipment to operate and control generating plants, substations, and monitoring equipment. The Federal Government uses radar and missile control systems to provide for the national defense and to direct commercial air traffic. These complex pieces of electronic equipment are installed, maintained, and repaired by electrical and electronics install­ ers and repairers. Installers and repairers, known as field technicians, often travel to factories or other locations to repair equipment. These workers usually have assigned areas in which they per­ form preventive maintenance on a regular basis. When equip­ ment breaks down, field technicians go to a customer’s site to repair the equipment. Bench technicians work in repair shops located in factories and service centers, fixing components that cannot be repaired on the factory floor. Electrical and electronic equipment are two distinct types of industrial equipment, although much equipment contains both electrical and electronic components. In general, electri­ cal portions provide the power for the equipment, while elec­ tronic components control the device, although many types of equipment still are controlled with electrical devices. Some industrial electronic equipment is self-monitoring and alerts repairers to malfunctions. When equipment breaks down, repairers will first check for common causes of trouble, such as loose connections or obviously defective components. If routine checks do not locate the trouble, repairers may re­ fer to schematics and manufacturers’ specifications that show connections and provide instructions on how to locate prob­ lems. Automated electronic control systems are becoming increasingly complex, making diagnosis more challenging. With these systems, repairers use software programs and test­ ing equipment to diagnose malfunctions. Among their diag­ nostic tools are multimeters, which measure voltage, current, and resistance, and advanced multimeters, which measure capacitance, inductance, and current gain of transistors. Re­ pairers also use signal generators, which provide test signals, and oscilloscopes, which display signals graphically. Finally, repairers use handtools such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches to replace faulty parts and adjust equip­ ment. Because repairing components is a complex activity and factories cannot allow production equipment to stand idle, repairers on the factory floor usually remove and replace de­ fective units, such as circuit boards, instead of fixing them. Defective units are discarded or returned to the manufacturer or a specialized shop for repair. Bench technicians at these locations have the training, tools, and parts needed to thor­ oughly diagnose and repair circuit boards or other complex components. These workers also locate and repair circuit de­ fects, such as poorly soldered joints, blown fuses, or malfunc­ tioning transistors.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Electrical and electronics installers often fit older manufac­ turing equipment with new automated control devices. Older manufacturing machines are frequently in good working order but are limited by inefficient control systems for which re­ placement parts are no longer available. Installers replace old electronic control units with new programming logic controls (PLCs). Setting up and installing a new PLC involves con­ necting it to different sensors and electrically powered devices (electric motors, switches, and pumps) and writing a computer program to operate the PLC. Electronics installers coordinate their efforts with those of other workers who are installing and maintaining equipment. (See the section on industrial ma­ chinery mechanics and maintenance workers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, transpor­ tation equipment install, adjust, or maintain mobile electronic communication equipment, including sound, sonar, security, navigation, and surveillance systems on trains, watercraft, or other vehicles. Electrical and electronics repairers, power­ house, substation, and relay inspect, test, maintain, or repair electrical equipment used in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays. These workers may be known as pow­ erhouse electricians, relay technicians, or power transformer repairers. Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers— such as armature winders, generator mechanics, and electric golf cart repairers—specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing electric motors, wiring, or switches. Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehi­ cles have a significantly different job. They install, diagnose, and repair communication, sound, security, and navigation equipment in motor vehicles. Most installation work involves either new alarm or sound systems. New sound systems vary significantly in cost and complexity of installation. Replacing a head unit (radio) with a new CD player is simple, requiring the removal of a few screws and the connection of a few wires. Installing a new sound system with a subwoofer, amplifier, and fuses is far more complicated. The installer builds a fi­ berglass or wood box designed to hold the subwoofer and to fit inside the unique dimensions of the automobile. Installing sound-deadening material, which often is necessary with more  m  Some repairers install, diagnose, and repair equipment in cars and other motor vehicles.  690 Occupational Outlook Handbook  powerful speakers, requires an installer to remove many parts of a car (for example, seats, carpeting, or interiors of doors), add sound-absorbing material in empty spaces, and reinstall the interior parts. The installer also runs new speaker and elec­ trical cables. The new system may require additional fuses, a new electrical line to be run from the battery through a newly drilled hole in the firewall into the interior of the vehicle, or an additional or more powerful alternator or battery. Motor ve­ hicle installers and repairers work with an increasingly complex range of electronic equipment, including DVD players, satellite navigation equipment, passive security systems, and active se­ curity systems. Work environment. Many electrical and electronics install­ ers and repairers work on factory floors, where they are subject to noise, dirt, vibration, and heat. Bench technicians primar­ ily work in repair shops, where the surroundings are relatively quiet, comfortable, and well lighted. Installers and repairers may have to do heavy lifting and work in a variety of positions. They must follow safety guidelines and often wear protective goggles and hardhats. When work­ ing on ladders or on elevated equipment, repairers must wear harnesses to avoid falls. Before repairing a piece of machin­ ery, these workers must follow procedures to ensure that oth­ ers cannot start the equipment during the repair process. They also must take precautions against electric shock by locking off power to the unit under repair. Motor vehicle electronic equipment installers and repairers normally work indoors in well-ventilated and well-lighted re­ pair shops. Minor cuts and bruises are common, but serious accidents usually are avoided when safety practices are ob­ served.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Applicants with an associate degree in electronics are preferred, and professional certification often is required. Education and training. Knowledge of electrical equipment and electronics is necessary for employment. Employers often prefer applicants with an associate degree from a community college or technical school, although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some jobs. Entry-level repairers may be­ gin by working with experienced technicians who provide tech­ nical guidance, and work independently only after developing the necessary skills. Certification and other qualifications. Many employers re­ quire applicants to be certified. Certification is available from various professional and education organizations, and usually requires applicants to pass an exam demonstrating their level of expertise. Installers and repairers should have good eyesight and color perception to work with the intricate components used in elec­ tronic equipment. Field technicians work closely with custom­ ers and should have good communication skills and a neat ap­ pearance. Employers also may require that field technicians have a driver’s license. Certification and advancement. Certification can also serve as a form of advancement. Workers who become certified in a specialty area may gain additional responsibilities and be awarded higher pay.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Experienced repairers with advanced training may become specialists or troubleshooters who help other repairers diagnose difficult problems. Workers with leadership ability may become supervisors of other repairers. Some experienced workers open their own repair shops.  Employment Electrical and electronics installers and repairers held about 169,000 jobs in 2006. The following tabulation breaks down their employment by occupational specialty: Electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment..................................................... 80,000 Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers..................25,000 Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay............................................................ 22,000 Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, transportation equipment.................................................... 21,000 Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles..................................................................... 20,000 Many repairers worked for utilities; building equipment con­ tractors; machinery and equipment repair shops; electrical and electronics wholesalers; electronics and appliance retailers; motor vehicle and parts dealers; manufacturers of electrical, electronic, and transportation equipment; and Federal, State, and local government.  Job Outlook Employment is expected to increase more slowly than the aver­ age through the year 2016. Job prospects should be best for applicants with an associate degree, certification, and related experience. Employment change. Overall employment of electrical and electronics installers and repairers is expected to grow by 3 per­ cent through the year 2016, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Growth rates will vary by occupational specialty. Employment of electrical and electronics installers and re­ pairers of commercial and industrial equipment is expected to grow by 7 percent, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This equipment will become more sophisticated and will be used more frequently as businesses strive to lower costs by increasing and improving automation. Companies will install electronic controls, robots, sensors, and other equipment to automate processes such as assembly and testing. In addi­ tion, as prices decline, this equipment will be used more fre­ quently throughout a number of industries, including services, utilities, and construction, as well as manufacturing. Improved reliability of equipment should not constrain employment growth, however: companies increasingly will rely on repair­ ers because malfunctions that idle commercial and industrial equipment will continue to be costly. Employment of motor vehicle electronic equipment installers and repairers is expected to grow by 5 percent, which is slower than the average for all occupations. As motor vehicle manu­ facturers install more and better sound, security, entertainment, and navigation systems in new vehicles, and as newer electronic systems require progressively less maintenance, employment  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 691  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Electrical and electronics installers and repairers.................... Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers................. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, transportation equipment................................................. Electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment................................................. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay......................................... Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles....  soc Code  Employment, 2006  Projected employment, 2016 174,000 24,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 5.200 3 -1,100 -4  49-2092  169,000 25,000  49-2093  21,000  22,000  900  4  49-2094  80,000  86,000  5,500  7  49-2095 49-2096  22,000 20,000  21,000 21,000  -1,000 900  -5 5  —  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  tion Included in the Handbook.  growth for aftermarket electronic equipment installers will be limited. Employment of electric motor, power tool, and related re­ pairers is expected to decline slowly, decreasing by 4 percent. Improvements in electrical and electronic equipment design, as well as the increased use of disposable tool parts should sup­ press job growth. Employment of electrical and electronic installers and re­ pairers of transportation equipment is expected to grow by 4 percent, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Declining employment in the rail transportation industry will dampen growth in this occupational specialty. Employment of electrical and electronics installers and re­ pairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay is expected to decline slowly, decreasing by 5 percent. Consolidation and privatiza­ tion in utilities industries should improve productivity, reduc­ ing employment. Newer equipment will be more reliable and easier to repair, further limiting employment. Job prospects. Job opportunities should be best for appli­ cants with an associate degree in electronics, certification, and related experience. In addition to employment growth, the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force will result in some openings.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary electrical and elec­ tronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment were $21.72 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $17.18 and $26.59. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13.43, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.90. In May 2006, median hourly earnings were $23.49 in the Federal Government and $19.92 in building equipment contractors, the industries employing the largest numbers of electrical and elec­ tronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment. Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary electric motor, power tool, and related repairers were $15.80 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.56 and $20.24. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.97, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.37. In May 2006, median hourly earnings were $15.32 in commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance, the industry employing the largest number of electronic motor, power tool, and related repairers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay were $27.60 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $23.62 and $32.07. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19.42, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35.49. In May 2006, median hourly earnings were $28.30 in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution, the industry employing the largest number of these repairers. Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary electronics in­ stallers and repairers, motor vehicles were $ 13.57 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.78 and $17.41. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.13, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.45. Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary electrical and electronics repairers, transportation equipment were $20.72 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $16.79 and $25.10. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13.24, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.78.  Related Occupations Workers in other occupations who install and repair electronic equipment include broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators; computer, automated teller, and office ma­ chine repairers; electronic home entertainment equipment in­ stallers and repairers; radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers; electricians; elevator installers and re­ pairers; aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians; coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers; and maintenance and repair workers, general. Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers also install, maintain, and repair industrial machinery.  Sources of Additional Information For information on careers and certification, contact any of the following organizations: > ACES International, 5241 Princess Anne Rd., Suite 110, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. Internet: http://www.acesinternational.org y Electronics Technicians Association International, 5 Depot St., Greencastle, IN 46135. Internet: http://eta-i.org/ > International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, 3608 Pershing Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107- 4527. Internet: http://www.iscet.org  692 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Electronic Home Entertainment Equipment Installers and Repairers (0*NET 49-2097.00)  Significant Points  •  Employers prefer applicants who have basic knowl­ edge and skills in electronics; many applicants gain these skills at vocational training programs and com­ munity colleges.  •  Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations because it often is cheaper to replace equipment than to repair it.  •  Job opportunities will be best for applicants with knowledge of electronics, related hands-on experi­ ence, and good customer service skills.  Nature of the Work Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repair­ ers—also called service technicians—repair a variety of equip­ ment. They may specialize in one type of product, or may be trained in many different ones. The most common products include televisions and radios, stereo components, video and audio disc players, and video cameras. They also install and repair home security systems, intercom equipment, satellite television dishes, and home theater systems, which consist of large-screen televisions and sophisticated surround-sound au­ dio components. Customers usually bring small, portable equipment to repair shops for servicing. Repairers at these locations, known as bench technicians, are equipped with a full array of electronic tools and parts. When larger, less mobile equipment breaks down, customers may pay repairers to come to their homes. These repairers, known as field technicians, travel with a lim­ ited set of tools and parts, and attempt to complete the repair at the customer’s location. If the job is complex, technicians may bring defective components back to the shop for diagnosis and repair. When equipment breaks down, repairers check for common causes of trouble, such as dirty or defective components. Many repairs consist simply of cleaning and lubricating equipment. If routine checks do not locate the trouble, repairers may refer to schematics and manufacturers’ specifications that provide in­ structions on how to locate problems. Repairers use a variety of test equipment to diagnose and identify malfunctions. Mul­ timeters detect short circuits, failed capacitors, and blown fuses by measuring voltage, current, and resistance. Color-bar and dot generators provide onscreen test patterns, signal generators test signals, and oscilloscopes and digital storage scopes mea­ sure complex waveforms produced by electronic equipment. Repairs may involve removing and replacing a failed capaci­ tor, transistor, or fuse. Repairers use hand tools, such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches, to replace faulty parts. They also make adjustments to equipment, such as focus­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ing and converging the picture of a television set or balancing the audio on a surround-sound system. Improvements in technology have miniaturized and digitized many audio and video recording devices. Miniaturization has made repair work significantly more difficult because both the components and the acceptable tolerances are smaller. Also, components now are mounted on the surface of circuit boards, instead of plugged into slots, requiring more precise soldering when a new part is installed. Improved technologies have low­ ered the price of electronic home entertainment equipment to the point where customers often replace broken equipment instead of repairing it. Work environment. Most repairers work in well-lighted electri­ cal repair shops. Field technicians, however, spend much time trav­ eling in service vehicles and working in customers’ residences. Repairers may have to work in a variety of positions and carry heavy equipment. Although the work of repairers is compara­ tively safe, they must take precautions against minor bums and electric shock. Because television monitors carry high voltage even when they are turned off, repairers need to discharge the voltage before servicing such equipment.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Employers prefer applicants who have basic electronics skills, good problem-solving skills, and previous repair experience. Good customer service skills are essential for field technicians, as they spend a majority of their time working in customers’ homes. Education and training. Employers prefer applicants who have basic knowledge and skills in electronics as well as previous repair experience. Many applicants gain these skills at vocational training programs and community colleges. Training programs should include both hands-on experience and theoretical educa­ tion in digital consumer electronics. Entry-level repairers may work closely with more experienced technicians, who provide technical guidance. Other qualifications. Field technicians work closely with cus­ tomers and must have good communication skills and a neat ap­ pearance. Repairers also must have good problem solving skills, as their main duty is to diagnose and solve problems. Employers also may require that field technicians have a driver’s license.  1 iff.. ■  Most home entertianment equipment installers and repairers work in electronic stores.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 693  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title  soc Code  Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers  Projected employment, 2016 41,000  Employment, 2006  49-2097  40,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 1,200 3  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on  tion Included in the Handbook.  Certification and advancement. Various organizations offer certification for electronic home entertainment equipment install­ ers and repairers. Repairers may specialize in a variety of skill areas, including consumer electronics. To receive certification, re­ pairers must pass qualifying exams corresponding to their level of training and experience. Experienced repairers with advanced training may become specialists or troubleshooters, helping other repairers to diagnose difficult problems. Workers with leadership ability may become supervisors of other repairers. Some experienced workers open their own repair shops.  Employment Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers held about 40,000 jobs in 2006. Many repairers worked in elec­ tronics and appliance stores that sell and service electronic home entertainment products or in electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance shops. About 12 percent of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers were selfemployed, compared to 7 percent for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.  Job Outlook Employment is expected to increase more slowly than the average for all occupations. Job prospects will be best for applicants with knowledge of electronics, related experience, and good customer service skills. Employment change. Employment of electronic home enter­ tainment equipment installers and repairers is expected to grow by 3 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is slower than average for all occupations. Demand will be driven by the rising sales of home entertainment equipment. The need for repairers is expected to grow slowly, however, because home entertainment equipment is less expensive than in the past. As technological developments have lowered the price and improved the reliability of equipment, the demand for repair services has decreased. When a malfunction does occur, it often is cheaper for consumers to replace equipment than to pay for re­ pairs. Employment growth will be spurred somewhat by the introduc­ tion of sophisticated digital equipment, such as high-definition digital televisions and digital camcorders. So long as the price of such equipment remains high, purchasers will be willing to hire repairers when malfunctions occur. There also will be demand to install sophisticated home entertainment systems, such as home theaters. Job prospects. Job openings will come about because of em­ ployment growth and from the need to replace workers who retire or who leave the occupation. Opportunities will be best for appli­ cants with knowledge of electronics and who have related handson experience and good customer service skills.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Occupational Informa-  Earnings Median hourly earnings of wage-and-salary electronic home en­ tertainment equipment installers and repairers were $14.42 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.52 and $18.24. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.96, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.42. In May 2006, median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers were $14.46 in electronics and appliance stores and $13.18 in electronic and precision equipment repair and mainte­ nance.  Related Occupations Other workers who install, repair, and maintain electronic equip­ ment include computer, automated teller, and office machine re­ pairers; electrical and electronics installers and repairers; radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers; precision instrument and equipment repairers; home appliance repairers; coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers; maintenance and repair workers, general; and electricians.  Sources of Additional Information For information on careers and certification, contact: > ACES International, 5241 Princess Anne Rd., Suite 110, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. Internet: http://www.acesinternational.org y Electronics Technicians Association International, 5 Depot St., Greencastle, IN 46135. Internet: http://www.eta-i.org > International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, 3608 Pershing Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107-4527. Internet: http://www.iscet.org  Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers (0*NET 49-2021.00, 49-2022.00)  Significant Points  •  Little or no change in employment is projected.  •  Job opportunities vary by specialty; good opportuni­ ties are expected for central office installers and re­ pairers, but station installers and repairers can expect keen competition. Applicants with computer skills and postsecondary electronics training should have the best opportunities. Repairers may be on-call around the clock in case of emergencies—night, weekend, and holiday hours are common.  • •  694 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Nature of the Work Telephones, computers, and radios depend on a variety of equipment to transmit communications signals and connect to the Internet. From electronic and optical switches that route telephone calls and packets of data to their destinations to ra­ dio transmitters and receivers that relay signals from radios in airplanes, boats, and emergency vehicles, complex equipment is needed to keep us communicating. The workers who set up and maintain this sophisticated equipment are called radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers have a range of skills and abilities, which vary by the type of work they do and where it is performed. Most work indoors. (Equipment installers who work mainly outdoors are classified as telecommunications line installers and repairers—a separate occupation discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.) Central office installers and repairers—telecommunications equipment installers and repairers who work at switching hubs called central offices—do some of the most complex work. Switching hubs contain the switches and routers that direct packets of information to their destinations. Installers and re­ pairers set up those switches and routers as well as cables and other equipment. Although most telephone lines connecting houses to central offices and switching stations are still copper, the lines connect­ ing central hubs to each other are fiber optic. Fiber optic lines, along with newer packet switching equipment, have greatly increased the transmission capacity of each line, allowing an ever increasing amount of information to pass through the lines. Switches and routers are used to transmit, process, amplify, and direct a massive amount of information. Installing and main­ taining this equipment requires a high level of special technical knowledge. The increasing reliability of switches and routers has simpli­ fied maintenance, however. New self-monitoring telecommu­ nications switches alert central office repairers to malfunctions. Some switches allow repairers to diagnose and correct prob­ lems from remote locations. When faced with a malfunction, the repairer may refer to manufacturers’ manuals that provide maintenance instructions. As cable television and telecommunications technology converge, the equipment used in both technologies is becom­ ing more similar. The distribution centers for cable television companies, which are similar to central offices in the telecom­ munications sector, are called headends. Headend technicians perform essentially the same work as central office technicians, but they work in the cable industry. When problems with telecommunications equipment arise, telecommunications equipment repairers diagnose the source of the problem by testing each part of the equipment. This requires understanding how the software and hardware interact. Repair­ ers often use spectrum analyzers, network analyzers, or both to locate the problem. A network analyzer sends a signal through the equipment to detect any distortion in the signal. The nature of the signal distortion often directs the repairer to the source of the problem. To fix the equipment, repairers may use small hand tools, including pliers and screwdrivers, to remove and replace defective components such as circuit boards or wiring.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Newer equipment is easier to repair because whole boards and parts are designed to be quickly removed and replaced. Repair­ ers also may install updated software or programs that maintain existing software. Another type of telecommunications installer and repairer, PBX installers and repairers set up private branch exchange (PBX) switchboards, which relay incoming, outgoing, and in­ teroffice telephone calls within a single location or organiza­ tion. To install switches and switchboards, installers first con­ nect the equipment to power lines and communications cables and install frames and supports. They test the connections to ensure that adequate power is available and that the communi­ cation links work properly. They also install equipment such as power systems, alarms, and telephone sets. New switches and switchboards are computerized and workers often need to install software or program the equipment to provide specific features. Finally, the installer performs tests to verify that the newly in­ stalled equipment functions properly. If a problem arises, PBX repairers determine whether it is located within the PBX system or whether it originates in the telephone lines maintained by the local telephone company. Newer installations use voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) systems. VoIP systems operate like a PBX system, but they use a company’s computer wiring to run Internet access, network applications, and telephone com­ munications. Station installers and repairers, telephone—commonly known as home installers and repairers or telecommunications service technicians—install and repair telecommunications wiring and equipment in customers’ home or business prem­ ises. They install telephone, VoIP, Internet, and other com­ munications services by installing wiring inside the home or connecting existing wiring to outside service lines. Depending upon the service required, they may setup television capability or connect modems and install software on a customer’s com­ puter. To complete the connection to an outside service line, the installer may need to climb telephone poles or ladders and test the line. Later on, if a maintenance problem occurs, station repairers test the customer’s lines to determine if the problem is located in the customer’s premises or in the outside service lines and attempt to fix the problem if it is inside. If the prob­ lem is with the outside service lines, telecommunications line repairers are usually called to fix it. Radio mechanics install and maintain radio transmitting and receiving equipment, excluding cellular communications sys­ tems. This includes stationary equipment mounted on trans­ mission towers or tall buildings and mobile equipment, such as two-way radio communications systems in taxis, airplanes, ships, and emergency vehicles. Aviation and marine radio me­ chanics also may work on other electronic equipment, in addi­ tion to radios. Newer radio equipment is self-monitoring and may alert mechanics to potential malfunctions. When malfunc­ tions occur, these mechanics examine equipment for damaged components and either fix them, replace the part, or make a software modification. They may use electrical measuring instruments to monitor signal strength, transmission capacity, interference, and signal delay, as well as hand tools to replace defective components and parts and to adjust equipment so that it performs within required specifications.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 695  Work environment. Radio and telecommunications equip­ ment installers and repairers generally work in clean, welllighted, air-conditioned surroundings, such as a telecommu­ nications company’s central office, a customer’s location, or an electronic repair shop or service center. Traveling to the site of the installation or repair is common among station in­ stallers and repairers, PBX and VoIP installers and repairers, and radio mechanics. The installation may require access to rooftops, ladders, and telephone poles to complete the repair. Radio mechanics may need to work on transmissions towers, which may be located on top of tall buildings or mountains, as well as aboard airplanes and ships. These workers are subject to a variety of weather conditions while working outdoors. The work of most repairers involves lifting, reaching, stoop­ ing, crouching, and crawling. Adherence to safety precautions is important in order to guard against work hazards. These hazards include falls, minor bums, electrical shock, and con­ tact with hazardous materials. Nearly all radio and telecommunications equipment install­ ers and repairers work full time. Many work regular business hours to meet the demand for repair services during the work­ day. Schedules are more irregular at employers that provide repair services 24 hours a day, such as for police radio com­ munications operations or where installation and maintenance must take place after normal business hours. At these loca­ tions, mechanics work a variety of shifts, including weekend and holiday hours. Repairers may be on call around the clock, in case of emergencies, and may have to work overtime.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Postsecondary education in electronics and computer technol­ ogy is increasingly required for radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairer jobs, and a few employers even prefer people with a bachelor’s degree for some of the most complex types of work. About half of all radio and tele­ communications equipment installers and repairers have com­ pleted some college courses or an associate degree. Education and training. As telecommunications technol­ ogy becomes more complex, the education required for ra­ dio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairer jobs has increased. Most employers prefer applicants with postsecondary training in electronics and familiarity with computers. The education needed for these jobs may vary from a certification to work on certain equipment to a 2- or 4-year degree in electronics or a related subject. Sources of training include 2- and 4-year college programs in electronics or communications technology, military experience in radios and electronics, trade schools, and programs offered by equip­ ment and software manufacturers. Educational requirements are higher for central office installers and repairers and for those working in nonresidential settings. Many in the telecommunications industry work their way up into this occupation by gaining experience at less difficult jobs. Experience as a telecommunications line installer or sta­ tion installer is helpful before moving up to the job of central office installer and other more complex jobs, for example. Military experience with communications equipment is also   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Telecommunications equipment installers make adjustments in central offices. valued by many employers in both telecommunications and radio repair. Newly hired repairers usually receive some training from their employers. This may include formal classroom train­ ing in electronics, communications systems, or software and informal hands-on training assisting an experienced repairer. Large companies may send repairers to outside training ses­ sions to learn about new equipment and service procedures. As networks have become more sophisticated—often includ­ ing equipment from a variety of companies—the knowledge needed for installation and maintenance also has increased. Licensure. Aviation and marine radio mechanics are re­ quired to have a license from the Federal Communications Commission before they can work on these types of radios. This requires passing several exams on radio law, electronics fundamentals, and maintenance practices. Other qualifications. Familiarity with computers, being mechanically inclined, and being able to solve problems are traits that are highly regarded by employers. Repairers must also be able to distinguish colors, because wires are colorcoded. For positions that require climbing poles and towers, workers must be in good physical shape and not afraid of heights. Repairers who handle assignments alone at a custom­ er’s site must be able to work without close supervision. For workers who frequently contact customers, a pleasant person­ ality, neat appearance, and good communications skills also are important. Certification and advancement. This is an occupation where the technology is changing rapidly. Workers must keep abreast of the latest equipment available and know how to repair it. Telecommunications equipment installers and re­ pairers often need to be certified to perform certain tasks or to work on specific equipment. Certification often requires taking classes. Some of certifications are needed before enter­ ing an occupation; others are meant to improve one’s current abilities or to advance in the occupation. The Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers and the Telecommunications Industry Association offer vol­ untary certifications to workers in this field. Telecommunica-  696 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.. Radio mechanics................................................................................ Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers.................................................................................  soc Code  Employment, 2006  49-2020 49-2021  205,000 6,500  49-2022  198,000  Projected employment, 2016 209,000 6,300 203,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 4,800 2 -4 -300 5,000  3  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. ______________________________________ ________ __________________________________  tions equipment manufacturers also provide training on spe­ cific equipment. Experienced repairers with advanced training may become specialists or troubleshooters who help other repairers diag­ nose difficult problems, or may work with engineers in de­ signing equipment and developing maintenance procedures. Home installers may advance to wiring computer networks or working as a central office installer and repairer. Because of their familiarity with equipment, repairers are particularly well qualified to become manufacturers’ sales workers. Work­ ers with leadership ability also may become maintenance su­ pervisors or service managers. Some experienced workers open their own repair services or shops, or become wholesal­ ers or retailers of electronic equipment.  Employment Radio and telecommunications equipment installers and re­ pairers held about 205,000 jobs in 2006. About 198,000 were telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers. The remaining 6,500 were radio mechanics. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers work mostly in the telecommunications industry. Increas­ ingly, however, they can be found in the construction industry working as contractors to the telecommunications industry. Radio mechanics work in the electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance industry, the telecommu­ nications industry, electronics and appliance stores, govern­ ment, and other industries.  Job Outlook Little or no change in employment of radio and telecom­ munications equipment installers and repairers is projected. Job opportunities vary by specialty. Job prospects are best for those with computer skills and postsecondary training in electronics. Employment change. Employment of radio and telecom­ munications equipment installers and repairers is expected to increase 2 percent, reflecting little or no change, during the 2006-16 period. Over the next decade, telecommunications companies will provide faster Internet connections, provide video-on-demand, add hundreds of television stations, and many services that haven’t even been invented yet. Although building the new networks required to provide these servic­ es will create jobs, these gains will be offset by a decline in maintenance work. The new equipment requires much less maintenance work because it is newer, more reliable, easier to repair, and more resistant to damage from the elements.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The increased reliability of radio equipment and the use of self-monitoring systems also will continue to lessen the need for radio mechanics. However, technological changes are also creating new wireless applications that create jobs for radio mechanics. Job prospects. Applicants with computer skills and post­ secondary training in electronics should have the best oppor­ tunities for radio and telecommunications equipment installer and repairer jobs, but opportunities will vary by specialty. Good opportunities should be available for central office and PBX installers and repairers experienced in current technol­ ogy, as the growing popularity of VoIP, expanded multimedia offerings such as video on demand, and other telecommunica­ tions services continue to place additional demand on tele­ communications networks. These new services require high data transfer rates, which can be achieved only by installing new optical switching and routing equipment. Extending high-speed communications from central offices to customers also will require telecommunications equipment installers to put in place more advanced switching and routing equipment, but opportunities for repairers will be limited by the increased reliability and automation of the new switching equipment. Station installers and repairers can expect keen competition. Prewired buildings and the increasing reliability of telephone equipment will reduce the need for installation and mainte­ nance of customers’ telephones, as will the declining number of pay telephones in operation as use of cellular telephones grows. However, some of these losses should be offset by the need to upgrade internal lines in businesses and the wiring of new homes and businesses with fiber optic lines. Radio mechanics should find good opportunities if they have a strong background in electronics and an ability to work independently. Increasing competition from cellular services is limiting the growth of radio services, but employers report difficulty finding adequate numbers of qualified radio me­ chanics to perform repair work.  Earnings In May 2006, median hourly earnings of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers were $25.21. The middle 50 percent earned between $20.43 and $28.66. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $14.96, where­ as the top 10 percent earned more than $32.84. The median hourly earnings of these workers in the wired telecommunica­ tions carriers industry were $26.25 in May 2006. Median hourly earnings of radio mechanics in May 2006 were $18.12. The middle 50 percent earned between 14.04 and  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 697  $23.02. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $10.94, where­ as the top 10 percent earned more than $28.54. About 4 percent of radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers were self-employed. About 26 percent of radio and telecommunication equipment installers and re­ pairers are members of unions, such as the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW.) Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers em­ ployed by large telecommunications companies who also be­ long to unions often have very good benefits, including health, dental, vision, and life insurance. They also usually have good retirement and leave policies. Those working for small inde­ pendent companies and contractors may get fewer benefits. Radio mechanics tend to work for small electronics firms or government. Benefits vary widely depending upon the type of work and size of firm. Government jobs usually have good ben­ efits.  Related Occupations Related occupations that involve work with electronic equip­ ment include broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators; computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers; and electrical and electronics installers and repairers. Line installers and repairers also set up and install telecommu­  nications equipment. Engineering technicians also may repair electronic equipment as part of their duties.  Sources of Additional Information For information on career and training opportunities, contact: y International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Telecommunications Department, 900 7th St.NW., Washington, DC 20001. y Communications Workers of America, 501 3rd St.NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.cwa-union.org/jobs For information on training and professional certifications for those already employed by cable telecommunications firms, contact: y Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Certification Department, 140 Phillips Rd., Exton, PA 19341­ 1318. Internet: http://www.scte.org For information on training and licensing for aviation and marine radio mechanics, contact: y The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th St.SW., Washington, DC 20554. Internet: http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators For more information on employers, education, and training in marine electronics and radios, contact: y National Marine Electronics Association, 7 Riggs Ave., Sevema Park, MD 21164. Internet: http://www.nmea.org  Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians (Q*NET 49-2091.00, 49-3011.00)  Significant Points  •  Most workers learn their jobs in 1 of about 170 schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administra­ tion (FAA).  •  Job opportunities should be favorable for persons who have completed an aircraft mechanic training pro­ gram, but keen competition is likely for jobs at major airlines, which offer the best pay and benefits. Job opportunities are likely to continue to be best at small commuter and regional airlines, at FAA repair stations, and in general aviation.  •  Nature of the Work To keep aircraft in peak operating condition, aircraft and avi­ onics equipment mechanics and service technicians perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs, and complete inspec­ tions required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Many aircraft mechanics, also called airframe mechanics, power plant mechanics, and avionics technicians, specialize in preventive maintenance. They inspect aircraft engines, landing gear, instruments, pressurized sections, accessories—brakes, valves, pumps, and air-conditioning systems, for example—and other parts of the aircraft, and do the necessary maintenance and replacement of parts. They also keep records related to the maintenance performed on the aircraft. Mechanics and techni­ cians conduct inspections following a schedule based on the number of hours the aircraft has flown, calendar days since the last inspection, cycles of operation, or a combination of these factors. In large, sophisticated planes equipped with aircraft monitoring systems, mechanics can gather valuable diagnostic information from electronic boxes and consoles that monitor the aircraft’s basic operations. In planes of all sorts, aircraft mechanics examine engines by working through specially de­ signed openings while standing on ladders or scaffolds or by using hoists or lifts to remove the entire engine from the craft. After taking an engine apart, mechanics use precision instru­ ments to measure parts for wear and use x-ray and magnetic inspection equipment to check for invisible cracks. They re­ pair or replace worn or defective parts. Mechanics also may repair sheet metal or composite surfaces; measure the tension of control cables; and check for corrosion, distortion, and cracks  698 Occupational Outlook Handbook  in the fuselage, wings, and tail. After completing all repairs, they must test the equipment to ensure that it works properly. Other mechanics specialize in repair work rather than in­ spection. They find and fix problems that pilot’s describe. For example, during a preflight check, a pilot may discover that the aircraft’s fuel gauge does not work. To solve the problem, mechanics may troubleshoot the electrical system, using elec­ trical test equipment to make sure that no wires are broken or shorted out, and replace any defective electrical or electronic components. Mechanics work as fast as safety permits so that the aircraft can be put back into service quickly. Some mechanics work on one or many different types of aircraft, such as jets, propeller-driven airplanes, and helicop­ ters. Others specialize in one section of a particular type of aircraft, such as the engine, hydraulics, or electrical system. Airframe mechanics are authorized to work on any part of the aircraft except the instruments, power plants, and propellers. Powerplant mechanics are authorized to work on engines and do limited work on propellers. Combination airframe-andpowerplant mechanics—called A&P mechanics—work on all parts of the plane except the instruments. Most mechanics working on civilian aircraft today are A&P mechanics. In small, independent repair shops, mechanics usually inspect and repair many different types of aircraft. Avionics systems—components used for aircraft navigation and radio communications, weather radar systems, and other instruments and computers that control flight, engine, and other primary functions—are now an integral part of aircraft design and have vastly increased aircraft capability. Avionics technicians repair and maintain these systems. Their duties may require additional licenses, such as a radiotelephone li­ cense issued by the U.S. Federal Communications Commis­ sion (FCC). Because of the increasing use of technology, more time is spent repairing electronic systems, such as com­ puterized controls. Technicians also may be required to ana­ lyze and develop solutions to complex electronic problems. Work environment. Mechanics usually work in hangars or in other indoor areas. When hangars are full or when repairs must be made quickly, they may work outdoors, sometimes in unpleasant weather. Mechanics often work under time pres­ sure to maintain flight schedules or, in general aviation, to keep from inconveniencing customers. At the same time, me­ chanics have a tremendous responsibility to maintain safety standards, and this can cause the job to be stressful. Frequently, mechanics must lift or pull objects weighing more than 70 pounds. They often stand, lie, or kneel in awk­ ward positions and occasionally must work in precarious po­ sitions, such as on scaffolds or ladders. Noise and vibration are common when engines are being tested, so ear protection is necessary. Aircraft mechanics usually work 40 hours a week on 8-hour shifts around the clock. Overtime and weekend work is fre­ quent.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most workers learn their jobs in 1 of about 170 trade schools certified by the FAA. Most mechanics who work on civilian   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  aircraft are certified by the FAA as an “airframe mechanic” or a “powerplant mechanic.” Education and training. Although a few people become mechanics through on-the-job training, most learn their jobs in 1 of about the 170 schools certified by the FAA. About one-third of these schools award 2-year and 4-year degrees in avionics, aviation technology, or aviation maintenance man­ agement. FAA standards established by law require that certified me­ chanic schools offer students a minimum of 1,900 class hours. Coursework in schools normally lasts from 18 to 24 months and provides training with the tools and equipment used on the job. Aircraft trade schools are placing more emphasis on technologies such as turbine engines, composite materials— including graphite, fiberglass, and boron—and aviation elec­ tronics, which are increasingly being used in the construction of new aircraft. Courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, electronics, computer science, and mechanical drawing are helpful be­ cause they demonstrate many of the principles involved in the operation of aircraft, and knowledge of these principles is often necessary to make repairs. Recent technological ad­ vances in aircraft maintenance require mechanics to have an especially strong background in electronics to get or keep jobs in this field. Courses that develop writing skills also are important be­ cause mechanics are often required to submit reports. Me­ chanics must be able to read, write, and understand English. A few mechanics are trained on the job by experienced me­ chanics. They must be supervised by certified mechanics until they have FAA certificates. Licensure. The FAA requires at least 18 months of work experience for an airframe or powerplant certificate, although completion of a program at an FAA-certified mechanic school can be substituted for the work experience requirement. Me­ chanics and technicians also must pass an exam for certifica­ tion and take at least 16 hours of training every 24 months to keep their certificate current. Many mechanics take train1 *** . : iss3  ’Pfl.  [fv  .. . . . . . . i  Avionics technicians repair and maintain components used for aircraft navigation, radio communications, and weather radar systems, as well as instruments and computers that control flight, engine, and otherfunctions.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 699  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix SOC Code  Occupational Title Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians.................................................. Avionics technicians................................................... Aircraft mechanics and service technicians...............  .....  49-3011  Employment, 2006 138,000 16,000 122,000  Projected employment, 2016 152,000 17,000 135,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 14,000 1,300 13,000  10 8 11  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  ing courses offered by manufacturers or employers, usually through outside contractors. The FAA also offers a combined certificate that allows for certification as both an airframe and a powerplant mechanic, the A&P certificate. For a combined A&P certificate, mechan­ ics must acquire at least 30 months of experience working with both engines and airframes, or experience combined with the completion of an FAA-certified mechanic school program. FAA regulations also require current work experience to keep the A&P certificate valid. Applicants must have at least 1,000 hours of work experience in the previous 24 months or take a refresher course. Most airlines require that mechanics have a high school diploma and an A&P certificate. Applicants for all certificates must pass written and oral tests and demon­ strate that they can do the work authorized by the certificate. Avionics technicians need an FAA mechanics’ certificate. They also must be trained and qualified and have the proper tools to work on avionics equipment. Many have avionics re­ pair experience from the military or from working for avionics manufacturers. Other qualifications. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Some aircraft mechanics in the Armed Forces acquire enough general experience to satisfy the work experience re­ quirements for the FAA certificate. With additional study, they may pass the certifying exam. In general, however, jobs in the military services are too specialized to provide the broad ex­ perience required by the FAA. Most Armed Forces mechanics have to complete the entire FAA training program, although a few receive some credit for the material they learned in the service. In any case, military experience is a great advantage when seeking employment; employers consider applicants with formal training to be the most desirable applicants. Aircraft mechanics must do careful and thorough work that requires a high degree of mechanical aptitude. Employers seek applicants who are self-motivated, hard working, enthu­ siastic, and able to diagnose and solve complex mechanical problems. Additionally, employers prefer mechanics who can perform a variety of tasks. Agility is important for the reach­ ing and climbing necessary to do the job. Because they may work on the tops of wings and fuselages on large jet planes, aircraft mechanics must not be afraid of heights. Advances in computer technology, aircraft systems, and the materials used to manufacture airplanes have made mechan­ ics’ jobs more highly technical. Aircraft mechanics must pos­ sess the skills necessary to troubleshoot and diagnose com­ plex aircraft systems. They also must continually update their skills with and knowledge of new technology and advances in aircraft technology   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Advancement. As aircraft mechanics gain experience, they may advance to lead mechanic (or crew chief), inspector, lead inspector, or shop supervisor positions. Opportunities are best for those who have an aircraft inspector’s authorization. To obtain an inspector’s authorization, a mechanic must have held an A&P certificate for at least 3 years, with 24 months of hands-on experience. In the airlines, where promotion often is determined by examination, supervisors sometimes advance to executive positions. Those with broad experience in maintenance and overhaul might become inspectors with the FAA. With ad­ ditional business and management training, some open their own aircraft maintenance facilities. Mechanics with the nec­ essary pilot licenses and flying experience may take the FAA examination for the position of flight engineer, with opportu­ nities to become pilots. Mechanics and technicians learn many different skills in their training that can be applied to other jobs, and some trans­ fer to other skilled repairer occupations or electronics techni­ cian jobs. For example, some avionics technicians continue their education and become aviation engineers, electrical en­ gineers (specializing in circuit design and testing), or com­ munication engineers. Others become repair consultants, in­ house electronics designers, or join research groups that test and develop products.  Employment Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service tech­ nicians held about 138,000 jobs in 2006; about 5 in 6 of these workers was an aircraft mechanic and service technician. Employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians primarily is concentrated in a small number of industries. More than half of aircraft and avion­ ics equipment mechanics and service technicians worked in air transportation and support activities for air transportation. Around 18 percent worked in aerospace product and parts manufacturing and about 16 percent worked for the Federal Government. Most of the rest worked for companies that op­ erate their own planes to transport executives and cargo. Most airline mechanics and service technicians work at ma­ jor airports near large cities. Civilian mechanics employed by the U.S. Armed Forces work at military installations. Me­ chanics who work for aerospace manufacturing firms typically are located in California or in Washington State. Others work for the FAA, many at the facilities in Oklahoma City, Atlantic City, Wichita, or Washington, DC. Mechanics for independent repair shops work at airports in every part of the country.  700 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Job Outlook Job growth for these mechanics and technicians is expected to be about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job op­ portunities should be favorable for people who have completed an aircraft mechanic training program, but keen competition is likely for jobs at major airlines. Employment change. Employment is expected to increase by 10 percent during the 2006-16 period, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Passenger traffic is expected to increase as the result of an expanding economy and a grow­ ing population, and the need for aircraft mechanics and service technicians will grow accordingly. Job prospects. Most job openings for aircraft mechanics through the year 2016 will stem from the need to replace the many mechanics expected to retire over the next decade. In addition, some mechanics will leave to work in related fields, such as automobile repair, as their skills are largely transferable to other maintenance and repair occupations. Also contributing to favorable future job opportunities for mechanics is the long-term trend toward fewer students enter­ ing technical schools to learn skilled maintenance and repair trades. Many of the students who have the ability and apti­ tude to work on planes are choosing to go to college, work in computer-related fields, or go into other repair and maintenance occupations with better working conditions. If this trend con­ tinues, the supply of trained aviation mechanics may not keep up with the needs of the air transportation industry. Job opportunities will continue to be the best at small com­ muter and regional airlines, at FAA repair stations, and in gen­ eral aviation. Commuter and regional airlines is the fastest growing segment of the air transportation industry, but wages in these airlines tend to be lower than those in the major airlines, so they attract fewer job applicants. Also, some jobs will be­ come available as experienced mechanics leave for higher pay­ ing jobs with the major airlines or transfer to other occupations. At the same time, general aviation aircraft are becoming in­ creasingly sophisticated, boosting the demand for qualified me­ chanics. Mechanics will face more competition for jobs with large airlines because the high wages and travel benefits that these jobs offer generally attract more qualified applicants than there are openings. Also, there is an increasing trend for large airlines to outsource aircraft and avionics equipment mechanic jobs overseas; however, most airline companies prefer that air­ craft maintenance be performed in the U.S. because overseas contractors may not comply with more stringent U.S. safety regulations. In spite of these factors, job opportunities with the airlines are expected to be better than they have been in the past. But, in general, prospects will be best for applicants with experi­ ence. Mechanics who keep abreast of technological advances in electronics, composite materials, and other areas will be in greatest demand. Also, mechanics who are mobile and willing to relocate to smaller rural areas will have better job opportuni­ ties. The number of job openings for aircraft mechanics in the Federal Government should decline as the Government increas­ ingly contracts out service and repair functions to private repair companies.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Avionics technicians who do not have FAA certification, but who are prepared to master the intricacies of the aircraft while working with certified A&P mechanics, should have good op­ portunities. However, certified technicians who are trained to work with complex aircraft systems, performing some duties normally performed by certified A&P mechanics, should have the best job prospects. Additionally, technicians with licensing that enables them to work on the airplane, either removing or reinstalling equipment, are expected to be in especially high demand.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of aircraft mechanics and service tech­ nicians were about $22.95 in May 2006. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $18.96 and $28.12. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14.94, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.51. Median hourly earnings in the industries employ­ ing the largest numbers of aircraft mechanics and service tech­ nicians in May 2006 were: Scheduled air transportation................................................. $27.46 Nonscheduled air transportation............................................. 23.33 Federal Government................................................................ 23.19 Aerospace product and parts manufacturing...........................21.58 Support activities for air transportation.................................. 19.57 Median hourly earnings of avionics technicians were about $22.57 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $19.02 and $26.65. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15.65, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.33. Mechanics who work on jets for the major airlines generally earn more than those working on other aircraft. Those who graduate from an aviation maintenance technician school often earn higher starting salaries than individuals who receive train­ ing in the Armed Forces or on the job. Airline mechanics and their immediate families receive reduced-fare transportation on their own and most other airlines. About 3 in 10 aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians are members of unions or covered by union agreements. The principal unions are the International Associa­ tion of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Transport Workers Union of America. Some mechanics are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Related Occupations Workers in some other occupations that involve similar me­ chanical and electrical work are electricians, electrical and electronics installers and repairers, and elevator installers and repairers.  Sources of Additional Information Information about jobs with a particular airline can be obtained by writing to the personnel manager of the company. For general information about aircraft and avionics equip­ ment mechanics and service technicians, contact: y Professional Aviation Maintenance Association, 400 Commonwealth Dr., Warrendale, PA 15096. Internet: http://www.pama.org  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 701  For information on jobs in a particular area, contact employ­ ers at local airports or local offices of the State employment service. Information on obtaining positions as aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Manage­ ment 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 interac­ tive voice response telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or TDD (978) 461-8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result.  Automotive Body and Related Repairers (0*NET 49-3021.00, 49-3022.00)  Significant Points  •  •  •  To become a fully skilled automotive body repairer, formal training followed by on-the-job instruction is recommended because fixing newer automobiles re­ quires advanced skills. Excellent job opportunities are projected because of the large number of older workers who are expected to retire in the next 10 to 15 years. Repairers need good reading ability and basic math­ ematics and computer skills to use print and digital technical manuals.  Nature of the Work Most of the damage resulting from everyday vehicle collisions can be repaired, and vehicles can be refinished to look and drive like new. Automotive body repairers, often called collision re­ pair technicians, straighten bent bodies, remove dents, and re­ place crumpled parts that cannot be fixed. They repair all types of vehicles, and although some work on large trucks, buses, or tractor-trailers, most work on cars and small trucks. They can work alone, with only general direction from supervisors, or as specialists on a repair team. In some shops, helpers or appren­ tices assist experienced repairers. Each damaged vehicle presents different challenges for re­ pairers. Using their broad knowledge of automotive construc­ tion and repair techniques, automotive body repairers must de­ cide how to handle each job based on what the vehicle is made of and what needs to be fixed. They must first determine the extent of the damage and order any needed parts. If the car is heavily damaged, an automotive body repairer might start by realigning the frame of the vehicle. Repairers chain or clamp frames and sections to alignment machines that use hydraulic pressure to align damaged components. “Uni­ body” vehicles—designs built without frames—must be re­ stored to precise factory specifications for the vehicle to operate correctly. For these vehicles, repairers use benchmark systems   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  to accurately measure how much each section is out of align­ ment, and hydraulic machinery to return the vehicle to its origi­ nal shape. Once the frame is aligned, repairers can begin to fix or replace damaged body parts. If the vehicle or part is made of metal, body repairers will use a pneumatic metal-cutting gun or other tools to remove badly damaged sections of body panels and then weld in replacement sections. Less serious dents are pulled out with a hydraulic jack or hand prying bar or knocked out with handtools or pneumatic hammers. Small dents and creases in the metal are smoothed by holding a small anvil against one side of the damaged area while hammering the opposite side. Repairers also remove very small pits and dimples with pick hammers and punches in a process called metal finishing. Body repairers use plastic or solder to fill small dents that cannot be worked out of plastic or metal panels. On metal panels, they file or grind the hardened filler to the original shape and clean the surface with a media blaster—similar to a sand blaster—before repainting the damaged portion of the vehicle. Body repairers also repair or replace the plastic body parts that are increasingly used on new vehicles. They remove dam­ aged panels and identify the type and properties of the plastic used. With most types of plastic, repairers can apply heat from a hot-air welding gun or immerse the panel in hot water and press the softened section back into shape by hand. Repairers replace plastic parts that are badly damaged or very difficult to fix. A few body repairers specialize in fixing fiberglass car bodies. Some body repairers specialize in installing and repairing glass in automobiles and other vehicles. Automotive glass in­ stallers and repairers remove broken, cracked, or pitted wind­ shields and window glass. Glass installers apply a moisture­ proofing compound along the edges of the glass, place the glass in the vehicle, and install rubber strips around the sides of the windshield or window to make it secure and weatherproof. Many large shops make repairs using an assembly-line ap­ proach where vehicles are fixed by a team of repairers who each specialize in one type of repair. One worker might straighten frames while another repairs doors and fenders, for example. In most shops, automotive painters do the painting and refinishing, but in small shops, workers often do both body repairing and painting. (Automotive painters are discussed in the section on painting and coating workers, except construction and mainte­ nance elsewhere in the Handbook.) Work environment. Repairers work indoors in body shops that are noisy with the clatter of hammers against metal and the whine of power tools. Most shops are well ventilated to disperse dust and paint fumes. Body repairers often work in awkward or cramped positions, and much of their work is strenuous and dirty. Hazards include cuts from sharp metal edges, bums from torches and heated metal, injuries from power tools, and fumes from paint. However, serious accidents usually are avoided when the shop is kept clean and orderly and safety practices are observed. Automotive repair and maintenance shops averaged 4 cases of work-related injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in 2005, compared to 4.6 per 100 workers in all private industry.  702 Occupational Outlook Handbook  ■> h,.  I y | ijii  k-Jilijai  v  1  Automotive body repairers remove, repair, and replace car and truck parts that have been damaged. Most automotive body repairers work a standard 40-hour week. More than 40 hours a week may be required when there is a backlog of repair work to be completed. This may include working on weekends.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Automotive technology is rapidly becoming more sophisticat­ ed, and most employers prefer applicants who have completed a formal training program in automotive body repair or refinish­ ing. Most new repairers complete at least part of this training on the job. Many repairers, particularly in urban areas, need a national certification to advance past entry-level work. Education and training. A high school diploma or GED is of­ ten all that is required to enter this occupation, but more specific education and training is needed to learn how to repair newer automobiles. Collision repair programs may be offered in high school or in postsecondary vocational schools and community colleges. Courses in electronics, physics, chemistry, English, computers, and mathematics provide a good background for a career as an automotive body repairer. Most training programs combine classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Trade and technical school programs typically award certifi­ cates to graduates after 6 months to a year of collision repair study. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs in col­ lision repair. Many of these schools also offer certificates for individual courses, so that students are able to take classes in­ crementally or as needed. New repairers begin by assisting experienced body repairers in tasks such as removing damaged parts, sanding body panels, and installing repaired parts. Novices learn to remove small dents and make other minor repairs. They then progress to more difficult tasks, such as straightening body parts and re­ turning them to their correct alignment. Generally, it takes 3 to 4 years of hands-on training to become skilled in all aspects of body repair, some of which may be completed as part of a formal education program. Basic automotive glass installation and repair can be learned in as little as 6 months, but becoming fully qualified can take several years. Continuing education and training are needed throughout a career in automotive body repair. Automotive parts, body ma­ terials, and electronics continue to change and to become more complex. To keep up with these technological advances, repair­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ers must continue to gain new skills by reading technical manu­ als and furthering their education with classes and seminars. Many companies within the automotive body repair industry send employees to advanced training programs to brush up on skills or to learn new techniques. Other qualifications. Fully skilled automotive body repair­ ers must have good reading ability and basic mathematics and computer skills. Restoring unibody automobiles to their origi­ nal form requires repairers to follow instructions and diagrams in technical manuals and to make precise three-dimensional measurements of the position of one body section relative to another. In addition, repairers should enjoy working with their hands and be able to pay attention to detail while they work. Certification and advancement. Certification by the Na­ tional Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), al­ though voluntary, is the pervasive industry credential for non entry-level automotive body repairers. This is especially true in large, urban areas. Repairers may take up to four ASE Master Collision Repair and Refinish Exams. Repairers who pass at least one exam and have 2 years of hands-on work experience earn ASE certification. The completion of a postsecondary pro­ gram in automotive body repair may be substituted for 1 year of work experience. Those who pass all four exams become ASE Master Collision Repair and Refinish Technicians. Automo­ tive body repairers must retake the examination at least every 5 years to retain their certification. Many vehicle manufactur­ ers and paint manufacturers also have product certification pro­ grams that can advance a repairer’s career. As beginners increase their skills, learn new techniques, earn certifications, and complete work more rapidly, their pay in­ creases. An experienced automotive body repairer with mana­ gerial ability may advance to shop supervisor, and some work­ ers open their own body repair shops. Other repairers become automobile damage appraisers for insurance companies.  Employment Automotive body and related repairers held about 206,000 jobs in 2006; about 13 percent specialized in automotive glass in­ stallation and repair. Fifty-eight percent of repairers worked for automotive repair and maintenance shops in 2006, while 20 percent worked for automobile dealers. Others worked for organizations, such as trucking companies, that maintain their own motor vehicles. A small number of repairers worked for wholesalers of motor vehicles, parts, and supplies. More than 15 percent of automotive body repairers were self-employed, roughly double the number for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.  Job Outlook Employment of automotive body and related repairers is ex­ pected to grow about as fast as average through the year 2016, and job opportunities are projected to be excellent due to a growing number of retirements in this occupation. Employment change. Employment of automotive body re­ pairers is expected to grow 12 percent over the 2006-16 decade, as compared to 10 percent for all occupations. Demand for qualified body repairers will increase as the number of vehicles on the road continues to grow. With more motor vehicles in use, more vehicles will be damaged in accidents. In addition, new  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 703  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Automotive body and related repairers........................... Automotive body and related repairers...................................... Automotive glass installers and repairers................... ..............  soc Code 49-3021 49-3022  Employment, 2006 206,000 183,000 24,000  Projected employment, 2016 232,000 204,000 28,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 26,000 12 21,000 12 4,400 19  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  automotive designs of lighter weight are prone to greater colli­ sion damage than are older, heavier designs, so more repairs are needed. Employment growth will continue to be concentrated in automotive body, paint, interior, and glass repair shops, with little or no change in automotive dealerships. Despite the anticipated increase in the number of auto acci­ dents, the increasing demand for automotive body repairers will be tempered by improvements in the quality of vehicles. Also, technological innovations that enhance safety will reduce the likelihood of accidents. Demand for automotive body repair services will similarly be constrained as more vehicles are declared a total loss after accidents. In many such cases, the vehicles are not repaired because of the high cost of replacing the increasingly complex parts and electronic components and because of the extensive damage that results when airbags deploy. Also, higher insur­ ance premiums and deductibles mean that minor damage is more often going unrepaired. Larger shops are instituting pro­ ductivity enhancements, such as employing a team approach to repairs, which may limit employment growth by reducing the time it takes to make repairs. Job prospects. Employment growth will create some op­ portunities, but the need to replace experienced repairers who transfer to other occupations or who retire or stop working for other reasons will account for the majority of job openings over the next 10 years. Opportunities will be excellent for people with formal training in automotive body repair and refinishing. Those without any training or experience in automotive body refinishing or collision repair—before or after high school— will face competition for these jobs. Experienced body repairers are rarely laid off during a gen­ eral slowdown in the economy as the automotive repair busi­ ness is not very sensitive to changes in economic conditions. Although repair of minor dents and crumpled fenders is often put off when drivers have less money, major body damage must be repaired before a vehicle can be driven safely.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of automotive body and related repairers, including incentive pay, were $16.92 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.00 and $22.33 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.10, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.71 an hour. Median hourly earnings of automotive body and related repair­ ers were $17.85 in automobile dealers and $16.66 in automo­ tive repair and maintenance. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of automotive glass installers and repairers, including incentive pay, were $14.77. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.44 and $18.42 an   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.22 an hour. Median hourly earnings in automotive repair and maintenance shops, the industry employing most automotive glass installers and re­ pairers, were $14.80. The majority of body repairers employed by independent repair shops and automotive dealers are paid on an incentive basis. Under this system, body repairers are paid a set amount for various tasks, and earnings depend on both the amount of work assigned and how fast it is completed. Employers fre­ quently guarantee workers a minimum weekly salary. Body repairers who work for trucking companies, buslines, and other organizations that maintain their own vehicles usually receive an hourly wage. Helpers and trainees typically earn between 30 percent and 60 percent of the earnings of skilled workers. They are paid by the hour until they are skilled enough to be paid on an incentive basis. Employee benefits vary widely from business to business. However, industry sources report that benefits such as paid leave, health insurance, and retirement assistance are increas­ ingly common in the collision repair industry. Automotive dealerships are the most likely to offer such incentives.  Related Occupations Repairing damaged motor vehicles often involves working on mechanical components, as well as vehicle bodies. Automotive body repairers often work closely with individuals in several related occupations, including automotive service technicians and mechanics, diesel service technicians and mechanics, auto damage appraisers, and painting and coating workers, except construction and maintenance. Automotive glass installers and repairers complete tasks very similar to those of glaziers.  Sources of Additional Information Additional details about work opportunities may be obtained from automotive body repair shops, automobile dealers, or lo­ cal offices of your State employment service. State employ­ ment service offices also are a source of information about training programs. For general information about automotive body repairer ca­ reers, contact any of the following sources: 'y AutomotiveCareersToday,8400WestparkDr.,MS#2,McLean, VA 22102. Internet: http://www.autocareerstoday.org y Automotive Service Association, P.O. Box 929, Bedford, Texas 76095. Internet: http://www.asashop.org y Inter-Industry Conference On Auto Collision Repair Education Foundation (I-CAR), 5125 Trillium Blvd., Hoffman Estates, IL 60192. Internet: http://www.coIlisioncareers.org  704 Occupational Outlook Handbook  V National Automobile Dealers Association, 8400 Westpark Dr., McLean, VA 22102. Internet: http://www.nada.org For general information about careers in automotive glass in­ stallation and repair, contact: y National Glass Association. 8200 Greensboro Dr., Suite 302, McLean, VA 22102. Internet: http://www.glass.org For information on how to become a certified automotive body repairer, write to: y National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), 101 Blue Seal Dr. SE., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.asecert.org For a directory of certified automotive body repairer pro­ grams, contact: y National Automotive Technician Education Foundation, 101 Blue Seal Dr., SE., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.natef.org For a directory of accredited private trade and technical schools that offer training programs in automotive body repair, contact: y Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, 2101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 302, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.accsct.org  Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics (0*NET 49-3023.00, 49-3023.01, 49-3023.02)  Significant Points  •  Automotive service technicians and mechanics must continually adapt to changing technology and repair techniques as vehicle components and systems be­ come increasingly sophisticated. • Formal automotive technician training is the best preparation for these challenging technology-based jobs. • Opportunities should be very good for automotive service technicians and mechanics with diagnostic and problem-solving skills, knowledge of electronics and mathematics, and mechanical aptitude. Nature of the Work Automotive service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks that run on gasoline, electricity, or alternative fuels such as ethanol. Automotive service techni­ cians’ and mechanics’ responsibilities have evolved from simple mechanical repairs to high-level technology-related work. The increasing sophistication of automobiles requires workers who can use computerized shop equipment and work with electronic components while maintaining their skills with traditional handtools. As a result, automotive service workers are now usually called technicians rather than mechanics. (Service technicians who work on diesel-powered tracks, buses, and equipment are discussed in the Handbook section on diesel service technicians and mechanics. Motorcycle technicians—who repair and ser­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  vice motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, and small all-terrain vehicles—are discussed in the Handbook section on small en­ gine mechanics.) Today, integrated electronic systems and complex comput­ ers regulate vehicles and their performance while on the road. Technicians must have an increasingly broad knowledge of how vehicles’ complex components work and interact. They also must be able to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and digital manuals and reference materials. When mechanical or electrical troubles occur, technicians first get a description of the problem from the owner or, in a large shop, from the repair service estimator or service advisor who wrote the repair order. To locate the problem, technicians use a diagnostic approach. First, they test to see whether com­ ponents and systems are secure and working properly. Then, they isolate the components or systems that might be the cause of the problem. For example, if an air-conditioner malfunc­ tions, the technician might check for a simple problem, such as a low coolant level, or a more complex issue, such as a bad drive-train connection that has shorted out the air conditioner. As part of their investigation, technicians may test drive the ve­ hicle or use a variety of testing equipment, including onboard and hand-held diagnostic computers or compression gauges. These tests may indicate whether a component is salvageable or whether a new one is required. During routine service inspections, technicians test and lubri­ cate engines and other major components. Sometimes techni­ cians repair or replace worn parts before they cause breakdowns or damage the vehicle. Technicians usually follow a checklist to ensure that they examine every critical part. Belts, hoses, plugs, brake and fuel systems, and other potentially trouble­ some items are watched closely. Service technicians use a variety of tools in their work. They use power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches to remove bolts quickly; machine tools like lathes and grinding machines to re­ build brakes; welding and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems, and jacks and hoists to lift cars and engines. They also use common handtools, such as screwdriv­ ers, pliers, and wrenches, to work on small parts and in hardto-reach places. Technicians usually provide their own handtools, and many experienced workers have thousands of dollars invested in them. Employers furnish expensive power tools, engine analyzers, and other diagnostic equipment. Computers are also commonplace in modem repair shops. Service technicians compare the readouts from computerized diagnostic testing devices with benchmarked standards given by the manufacturer. Deviations outside of acceptable levels tell the technician to investigate that part of the vehicle more closely. Through the Internet or from software packages, most shops receive automatic updates to technical manuals and ac­ cess to manufacturers’ service information, technical service bulletins, and other databases that allow technicians to keep up with common problems and leam new procedures. High technology tools are needed to fix the computer equip­ ment that operates everything from the engine to the radio in many cars. In fact, today most automotive systems, such as braking, transmission, and steering systems, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components. Addition­  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 705  ally, luxury vehicles often have integrated global positioning systems, Internet access, and other new features with which technicians will need to become familiar. Also, as more alter­ nate-fuel vehicles are purchased, more automotive service tech­ nicians will need to learn the science behind these automobiles and how to repair them. Automotive service technicians in large shops often special­ ize in certain types of repairs. For example, transmission tech­ nicians and rebuilders work on gear trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps, and other parts of transmissions. Extensive knowledge of computer controls, the ability to diagnose electrical and hy­ draulic problems, and other specialized skills are needed to work on these complex components, which employ some of the most sophisticated technology used in vehicles. Tuneup tech­ nicians adjust ignition timing and valves and adjust or replace spark plugs and other parts to ensure efficient engine perfor­ mance. They often use electronic testing equipment to isolate and adjust malfunctions in fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems. Automotive air-conditioning repairers install and repair airconditioners and service their components, such as compres­ sors, condensers, and controls. These workers require special training in Federal and State regulations governing the handling and disposal of refrigerants. Front-end mechanics align and '  :\ ' Afi  W%?‘  "  Or  Automotive service technicians use several types of diagnostic tools, including pressure gauges and electronic meters.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  balance wheels and repair steering mechanisms and suspension systems. They frequently use special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines. Brake repairers adjust brakes, re­ place brake linings and pads, and make other repairs on brake systems. Some technicians specialize in both brake and frontend work. Work environment. While most automotive service tech­ nicians worked a standard 40 hour week in 2006, 30 percent worked longer hours. Some may work evenings and weekends to satisfy customer service needs. Generally, service techni­ cians work indoors in well-ventilated and -lighted repair shops. However, some shops are drafty and noisy. Although many problems can be fixed with simple computerized adjustments, technicians frequently work with dirty and greasy parts, and in awkward positions. They often lift heavy parts and tools. Minor cuts, burns, and bruises are common, but technicians can usually avoid serious accidents if safe practices are observed.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Automotive technology is rapidly increasing in sophistication, and most training authorities strongly recommend that people seeking work in automotive service complete a formal training program in high school or in a postsecondary vocational school or community college. However, some service technicians still learn the trade solely by assisting and learning from experienced workers. Acquiring National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is important for those seeking work in large, urban areas. Education and training. Most employers regard the suc­ cessful completion of a vocational training program in auto­ motive service technology as the best preparation for trainee positions. High school programs, while an asset, vary greatly in scope. Graduates of these programs may need further training to become qualified. Some of the more extensive high school programs participate in Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES), a partnership between high school automotive repair programs, automotive manufacturers, and franchised automo­ tive dealers. All AYES high school programs are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Stu­ dents who complete these programs are well prepared to enter entry-level technician positions or to advance their technical education. Courses in automotive repair, electronics, physics, chemistry, English, computers, and mathematics provide a good educational background for a career as a service technician. Postsecondary automotive technician training programs usu­ ally provide intensive career preparation through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Schools update their curriculums frequently to reflect changing technology and equipment. Some trade and technical school programs provide concentrated training for 6 months to a year, depending on how many hours the student attends each week, and award a certifi­ cate. Community college programs usually award a certificate or an associate degree. Some students earn repair certificates in a particular skill and leave to begin their careers. Associate degree programs, however, usually take 2 years to complete and include classes in English, basic mathematics, computers, and other subjects, as well as automotive repair. Recently, some programs have added classes on customer service, stress man­  706 Occupational Outlook Handbook  agement, and other employability skills. Some formal training programs have alliances with tool manufacturers that help entrylevel technicians accumulate tools during their training period. Various automobile manufacturers and participating fran­ chised dealers also sponsor 2-year associate degree programs at postsecondary schools across the Nation. Students in these pro­ grams typically spend alternate 6- to 12-week periods attending classes full time and working full time in the service departments of sponsoring dealers. At these dealerships, students work with an experienced worker who provides hands-on instruction and timesaving tips. Those new to automotive service usually start as trainee tech­ nicians, technicians’ helpers, or lubrication workers, and gradu­ ally acquire and practice their skills by working with experienced mechanics and technicians. In many cases, on-the-job training may be a part of a formal education program. With a few months’ experience, beginners perform many routine service tasks and make simple repairs. While some graduates of postsecondary automotive training programs are often able to earn promotion to the journey level after only a few months on the job, it typi­ cally takes 2 to 5 years of experience to become a fully qualified service technician, who is expected to quickly perform the more difficult types of routine service and repairs. An additional 1 to 2 years of experience familiarizes technicians with all types of repairs. Complex specialties, such as transmission repair, require another year or two of training and experience. In contrast, brake specialists may learn their jobs in considerably less time because they do not need complete knowledge of automotive repair. Employers increasingly send experienced automotive service technicians to manufacturer training centers to learn to repair new models or to receive special training in the repair of compo­ nents, such as electronic fuel injection or air-conditioners. Motor vehicle dealers and other automotive service providers may send promising beginners or experienced technicians to manufacturersponsored technician training programs to upgrade or maintain employees’ skills. Factory representatives also visit many shops to conduct short training sessions. Other qualifications. The ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately requires good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. Many technicians consider diagnosing hard-to-find troubles one of their most chal­ lenging and satisfying duties. For trainee automotive service technician jobs, employers look for people with strong commu­ nication and analytical skills. Technicians need good reading, mathematics, and computer skills to study technical manuals. They must also read to keep up with new technology and learn new service and repair procedures and specifications. Training in electronics is vital because electrical components, or a series of related components, account for nearly all malfunc­ tions in modem vehicles. Trainees must possess mechanical aptitude and knowledge of how automobiles work. Experience working on motor vehicles in the Armed Forces or as a hobby can be very valuable. Certification and advancement. ASE certification has be­ come a standard credential for automotive service technicians. While not mandatory for work in automotive service, certifica­ tion is common for all non entry-level technicians in large, urban areas. Certification is available in 1 or more of 8 different areas   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  of automotive service, such as electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-con­ ditioning. For certification in each area, technicians must have at least 2 years of experience and pass the examination. Comple­ tion of an automotive training program in high school, vocational or trade school, or community or junior college may be substi­ tuted for 1 year of experience. For ASE certification as a Master Automobile Technician, technicians must be certified in all eight areas. By becoming skilled in multiple auto repair services, techni­ cians can increase their value to their employer and their pay. Experienced technicians who have administrative ability some­ times advance to shop supervisor or service manager. Those with sufficient funds many times open independent automotive repair shops. Technicians who work well with customers may become automotive repair service estimators. Employment Automotive service technicians and mechanics held about 773,000 jobs in 2006. Automotive repair and maintenance shops and automotive dealers employed the majority of these work­ ers—29 percent each. In addition, automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores employed 7 percent of automotive service techni­ cians. Others worked in gasoline stations; general merchandise stores; automotive equipment rental and leasing companies; Fed­ eral, State, and local governments; and other organizations. Al­ most 17 percent of service technicians were self-employed, more than twice the proportion for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.  Job Outlook The number of jobs for automotive service technicians and me­ chanics is projected to grow faster than average for all occupa­ tions over the next decade. Employment growth will create many new jobs, but total job openings will be significantly larger because many skilled technicians are expected to retire and will need to be replaced. Employment change. Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to increase 14 percent between 2006 and 2016, compared to 10 percent for all occupa­ tions. It will add a large number of new jobs, about 110,000, over the decade. Demand for technicians will grow as the number of vehicles in operation increases, reflecting continued growth in the driving age population and in the number of multi-car fami­ lies. Growth in demand will be offset somewhat by continuing improvements in the quality and durability of automobiles, which will require less frequent service. Employment growth will continue to be concentrated in au­ tomobile dealerships and independent automotive repair shops. Many new jobs also will be created in small retail operations that offer after-warranty repairs, such as oil changes, brake repair, airconditioner service, and other minor repairs generally taking less than 4 hours to complete. Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics in gasoline service stations will con­ tinue to decline, as fewer stations offer repair services. Job prospects. In addition to openings from growth, many job openings will be created by the need to replace a growing number of retiring technicians. Job opportunities in this occupation are expected to be very good for those who complete high school  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 707  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Automotive service technicians and mechanics................. ...........  soc  Code 49-3023  Projected employment, 2016 883,000  Employment, 2006 773,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 110,000 14  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  or postsecondary automotive training programs and who earn ASE certification. Some employers report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills. People with good diagnostic and problem-solving abilities, and training in basic electronics and computer courses are expected to have the best opportunities. Those without formal automotive training are likely to face competition for entry-level jobs. Most people who enter the occupation can expect steady work, even during downturns in the economy. Although car owners tend to postpone maintenance and repair on their ve­ hicles when their budgets are strained, employers usually cut back on hiring new workers during economic downturns in­ stead of letting experienced workers go.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of automotive service technicians and mechanics, including commission, were $16.24 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.96 and $21.56 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.17, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.22 per hour. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of service technicians were as follows: Local government, excluding schools...................................$19.07 Automobile dealers..................................................................18.85 Automotive repair and maintenance....................................... 14.55 Gasoline stations...................................................................... 14.51 Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores........................ 14.38 Many experienced technicians employed by automobile deal­ ers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this system, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned technicians a minimum weekly salary. Automotive service technicians who are members of labor unions, such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the International Union, United Automo­ bile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of Amer­ ica; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, may enjoy more benefits than non-union workers do.  ployment service. The State employment service also may have information about training programs. For general information about a career as an automotive ser­ vice technician, contact: y AutomotiveCareersToday,8400WestparkDr.,MS#2,McLean, VA 22102. Internet: http://www.autocareerstoday.org y Career Voyages, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. Internet: http://www.careervoyages.gov/automotive-main.cfm y National Automobile Dealers Association, 8400 Westpark Dr., McLean, VA 22102. Internet: http://www.nada.org A list of certified automotive service technician training pro­ grams can be obtained from: y National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, 101 Blue Seal Dr., SE., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.natef.org For a directory of accredited private trade and technical schools that offer programs in automotive service technician training, contact: y Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, 2101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 302, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.accsct.org Information on automobile manufacturer-sponsored pro­ grams in automotive service technology can be obtained from: y Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES), 100 W. Big Beaver, Suite 300, Troy, MI 48084. Internet: http://www.ayes.org Information on how to become a certified automotive service technician is available from: y National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), 101 Blue Seal Dr. SE., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.asecert.org  Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics (0*NET 49-3031.00)  Significant Points  Related Occupations  •  Other workers who repair and service motor vehicles include automotive body and related repairers, diesel service techni­ cians and mechanics, and small engine mechanics.  •  Sources of Additional Information  •  For more details about work opportunities, contact local auto­ mobile dealers and repair shops or local offices of the State em­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  A career in diesel engine repair can offer relatively high wages and the challenge of skilled repair work. Opportunities are expected to be very good for people who complete formal training programs. National certification is the recognized standard of achievement for diesel service technicians and me­ chanics.  708 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Nature of the Work Diesel-powered engines are more efficient and durable than their gasoline-burning counterparts. These powerful engines are standard in our Nation’s trucks, locomotives, and buses and are becoming more prevalent in light vehicles, including pas­ senger vehicles, pickups, and other work trucks. Diesel service technicians and mechanics, including bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, repair and maintain the diesel engines that power transportation equip­ ment. Some diesel technicians and mechanics also work on other heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldoz­ ers, cranes, road graders, farm tractors, and combines. Other technicians repair diesel-powered passenger automobiles, light trucks, or boats. (For information on technicians and mechan­ ics working primarily on gasoline-powered automobiles, heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, or boat engines, see the Hand­ book sections on automotive service technicians, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, and small engine mechanics.) Increasingly, diesel technicians must be versatile to adapt to customers’ needs and new technologies. It is common for tech­ nicians to handle all kinds of repairs, working on a vehicle’s electrical system one day and doing major engine repairs the next. Diesel maintenance is becoming increasingly complex, as more electronic components are used to control the operation of an engine. For example, microprocessors now regulate and manage fuel timing, increasing the engine’s efficiency. Also, new emissions standards require mechanics to retrofit engines with emissions control systems, such as emission filters and cat­ alysts, to comply with pollution regulations. In modem shops, diesel service technicians use hand-held or laptop computers to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions. Technicians who work for organizations that maintain their own vehicles spend most of their time doing preventive main­ tenance. During a routine maintenance check, technicians fol­ low a checklist that includes inspecting brake systems, steering mechanisms, wheel bearings, and other important parts. Fol­ lowing inspection, technicians repair or adjust parts that do not work properly or remove and replace parts that cannot be fixed. Diesel service technicians use a variety of tools in their work, including power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches that remove bolts quickly; machine tools, such as lathes and grinding ma­ chines to rebuild brakes; welding and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems; and jacks and hoists to lift and move large parts. Common handtools—screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches—are used to work on small parts and get at hard-to-reach places. Diesel service technicians and me­ chanics also use a variety of computerized testing equipment to pinpoint and analyze malfunctions in electrical systems and engines. Employers typically furnish expensive power tools, computerized engine analyzers, and other diagnostic equip­ ment, but workers usually accumulate their own hand tools over time. Work environment. Technicians normally work in welllighted and ventilated areas. However, some shops are drafty and noisy. Many employers provide lockers and shower facili­ ties. Diesel technicians usually work indoors, although they  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  occasionally repair vehicles on the road. Diesel technicians may lift heavy parts and tools, handle greasy and dirty parts, and stand or lie in awkward positions while making repairs. Minor cuts, bums, and bruises are common, although serious accidents can usually be avoided when safety procedures are followed. Technicians may work as a team or be assisted by an apprentice or helper when doing heavy work, such as removing engines and transmissions. Most service technicians work a standard 40-hour week, al­ though some work longer hours, particularly if they are selfemployed. A growing number of shops have expanded their hours to speed repairs and offer more convenience to customers. Technicians employed by truck and bus firms providing service around the clock may work evenings, nights, and weekends.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Employers prefer to hire graduates of formal training programs because those workers are able to advance quickly to the jour­ ney level of diesel service. Other workers who learn diesel engine repair through on-the-job training need 3 to 4 years of experience before becoming joumey-level technicians. Education and training. High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, English, mathematics, and physics provide a strong educational background for a career as a diesel service technician or mechanic. Many mechanics also have additional training after high school. A large number of community colleges and trade and voca­ tional schools offer programs in diesel engine repair. These programs usually last from 6 months to 2 years and may lead to a certificate of completion or an associate degree. Some offer about 30 hours per week of hands-on training with equipment; others offer more lab or classroom instruction. Formal train­ ing provides a foundation in the latest diesel technology and instruction in the service and repair of the equipment that tech­ nicians will encounter on the job. Training programs also teach technicians to interpret technical manuals and to communicate well with coworkers and customers. Increasingly, employers work closely with representatives of educational programs, providing instructors with the latest equipment, techniques, and tools and offering jobs to graduates.  Diesel service technicians repair and maintain diesel engines in tractor trailers, locomotives, and construction equipment.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 709  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists............. ......  soc Code 49-3031  Employment, 2006 275,000  Projected employment, 2016 306,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 32,000 11  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  Although formal training programs lead to the best prospects, some technicians and mechanics learn through on-the-job train­ ing. Unskilled beginners generally are assigned tasks such as cleaning parts, fueling and lubricating vehicles, and driving ve­ hicles into and out of the shop. Beginners are usually promoted to trainee positions as they gain experience and as vacancies become available. After a few months’ experience, most trainees can perform routine service tasks and make minor repairs. These workers advance to increasingly difficult jobs as they prove their abil­ ity and competence. After technicians master the repair and service of diesel engines, they learn to work on related com­ ponents, such as brakes, transmissions, and electrical systems. Generally, technicians with at least 3 to 4 years of on-the-job experience will qualify as journey-level diesel technicians. Employers often send experienced technicians and mechan­ ics to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors, in which workers learn about the latest technology and repair techniques. Other qualifications. Employers usually look for applicants who have mechanical aptitude and strong problem-solving skills and who are at least 18 years old and in good physical condi­ tion. Technicians need a State commercial driver’s license to test-drive trucks or buses on public roads. Many companies also require applicants to pass a drug test. Practical experi­ ence in automobile repair at an automotive service station, in the Armed Forces, or as a hobby is valuable as well. Certification and advancement. Experienced diesel service technicians and mechanics with leadership ability may advance to shop supervisor or service manager, and some open their own repair shops. Technicians and mechanics with sales ability sometimes become sales representatives. Although national certification is not required for employ­ ment, many diesel engine technicians and mechanics find that it increases their ability to advance. Certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the rec­ ognized industry credential for diesel and other automotive ser­ vice technicians and mechanics. Diesel service technicians may be certified as master medium/heavy truck technicians, master school bus technicians, or master truck equipment technicians. They may also be certified in specific areas of truck repair, such as drivetrains, brakes, suspension and steering, electrical and electronic systems, or preventive maintenance and inspection. For certification in each area, a technician must pass one or more of the ASE-administered exams and present proof of 2 years of relevant work experience. To remain certified, techni­ cians must be retested every 5 years.  Employment Diesel service technicians and mechanics held about 275,000 jobs in 2006. These workers were employed in almost every in­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  dustry, particularly those that use trucks, buses, and equipment to haul, deliver, and transport materials, goods, and people. The largest employer, the truck transportation industry, employed 1 out of 6 diesel service technicians and mechanics. Less than 1 out of 10 were employed by local governments, mainly to repair school buses, waste removal trucks, and road equip­ ment. A similar number were employed by automotive repair and maintenance facilities. The rest were employed throughout the economy, including construction, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, and automotive leasing. About 16,000, a rela­ tively small number, were self-employed. Nearly every area of the country employs diesel service technicians and mechanics, although most work is found in towns and cities where trucking companies, bus lines, and other fleet owners have large opera­ tions.  Job Outlook The number of jobs for diesel service technicians and mechan­ ics is projected to grow about as fast as average. Opportunities should be very good for people who complete formal training in diesel mechanics. Employment change. Employment of diesel service techni­ cians and mechanics is expected to grow 11 percent from 2006 to 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Ad­ ditional trucks—and truck repairers—will be needed to keep pace with the increasing volume of freight shipped nationwide. Moreover, the greater durability and economy of the diesel en­ gine relative to the gasoline engine is expected to increase the number of buses, trucks, and other vehicles powered by diesel engines. And because diesel engines are now cleaner burning and more efficient—to comply with emissions and environmental standards—they are expected to be used in more passenger ve­ hicles, which will create jobs for diesel service technicians and mechanics over the long run. In fact, auto industry executives are projecting more sales of diesel passenger vehicles as gaso­ line prices increase. In the short-run, many older diesel engines in trucks must be retrofitted to comply with the new emissions regulations, creating more jobs for diesel engine mechanics. Job prospects. People who enter diesel engine repair will find favorable opportunities, especially as the need to replace workers who retire increases over the next decade. Opportuni­ ties should be very good for people who complete formal train­ ing in diesel mechanics at community colleges or vocational and technical schools. Applicants without formal training will face stiffer competition for jobs. Most people entering this occupation can expect relatively steady work because changes in economic conditions have less of an effect on the diesel repair business than on other sectors of the economy. During a downturn in the economy, however, employers may be reluctant to hire new workers.  710 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Earnings Median hourly earnings of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, including incentive pay, were $18.11 in May 2006, more than the $17.65 median hourly earnings for all in­ stallation, maintenance, and repair occupations. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.48 and $22.07 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.71, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.50 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in May 2006 were as fol­ lows: Local government...................................................................$21.22 Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers......................................... 18.27 Automotive repair and maintenance......................................... 17.53 General freight trucking............................................................17.14 Specialized freight trucking......................................................16.15 Because many experienced technicians employed by truck fleet dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Beginners usually earn from 50 to 75 percent of the rate of skilled workers and receive increases as they become more skilled. About 23 percent of diesel service technicians and mechan­ ics are members of labor unions, including the International As­ sociation of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Amalgam­ ated Transit Union; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the Transport Workers Union of America; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Labor unions may provide additional benefits for their members.  Information on how to become a certified diesel technician of medium to heavy-duty vehicles or a certified bus technician is available from: y National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), 101 Blue Seal Dr. SE., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. y Internet: http://www.asecert.org For a directory of accredited private trade and technical schools with training programs for diesel service technicians and me­ chanics, contact: y Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, 2101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 302, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.accsct.org V National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, 101 Blue Seal Dr. SE., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.natef.org  Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians and Mechanics (0*NET 49-3041.00, 49-3042.00, 49-3043.00)  Significant Points •  Opportunities should be excellent for people with for­ mal postsecondary training in diesel or heavy equip­ ment mechanics; those without formal training will face keen competition.  •  This occupation offers relatively high wages and the challenge of skilled repair work.  •  Skill in using computerized diagnostic equipment is important in this occupation.  Nature of the Work Related Occupations Diesel service technicians and mechanics repair trucks, buses, and other diesel-powered equipment. Related technician and mechanic occupations include aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians, automotive service techni­ cians and mechanics, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment ser­ vice technicians and mechanics, and small engine mechanics.  Sources of Additional Information More details about work opportunities for diesel service techni­ cians and mechanics may be obtained from local employers such as trucking companies, truck dealers, or buslines; locals of the unions previously mentioned; and local offices of your State em­ ployment service. Local State employment service offices also may have information about training programs. State boards of postsecondary career schools have information on licensed schools with training programs for diesel service technicians and mechanics. For general information about a career as a diesel service tech­ nician or mechanic, write: V Association of Diesel Specialists, 10 Laboratory Dr., PO Box 13966, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Internet: http://www.diesel.org  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Heavy vehicles and mobile equipment are indispensable to many industrial activities from construction to railroads. Various types of equipment move materials, till land, lift beams, and dig earth to pave the way for development and production. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics repair and maintain engines and hydraulic, transmission, and electrical systems for this equipment. Farm machinery, cranes, bulldozers, and railcars are all examples of heavy vehicles that require such service. (For information on service technicians specializing in diesel engines, see the section on diesel service technicians and mechanics elsewhere in the Handbook.) Service technicians perform routine maintenance checks on agricultural, industrial, construction, and rail equipment. They service fuel, brake, and transmission systems to ensure peak performance, safety, and longevity of the equipment. Mainte­ nance checks and comments from equipment operators usually alert technicians to problems. After locating the problem, these technicians rely on their training and experience to use the best possible technique to solve the problem. With many types of modem heavy and mobile equipment, technicians can plug diagnostic computers into onboard comput­ ers to diagnose a component needing adjustment or repair. If necessary, they may partially dismantle affected components to  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 711  examine parts for damage or excessive wear. Then, using hand­ held tools, they repair, replace, clean, and lubricate parts as nec­ essary. In some cases, technicians re-calibrate systems by typing codes into the onboard computer. After reassembling the compo­ nent and testing it for safety, they put it back into the equipment and return the equipment to the field. Many types of heavy and mobile equipment use hydraulics to raise and lower movable parts. When hydraulic components mal­ function, technicians examine them for fluid leaks, ruptured hos­ es, or worn gaskets on fluid reservoirs. Occasionally, the equip­ ment requires extensive repairs, as when a defective hydraulic pump needs replacing. Service technicians diagnose electrical problems and adjust or replace defective components. They also disassemble and repair undercarriages and track assemblies. Occasionally, technicians weld broken equipment frames and structural parts, using electric or gas welders. Technicians use a variety of tools in their work: power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches to remove bolts quickly; machine tools, like lathes and grinding machines, to rebuild brakes; weld­ ing and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems; and jacks and hoists to lift and move large parts. Service technicians also use common hand tools—screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches—to work on small parts and to get at hard-to-reach places. They may use a variety of computerized testing equip­ ment to pinpoint and analyze malfunctions in electrical systems and other essential systems. Tachometers and dynamometers, for example, serve to locate engine malfunctions. Service techni­ cians also use ohmmeters, ammeters, and voltmeters when work­ ing on electrical systems. Employers typically furnish expensive power tools, computerized engine analyzers, and other diagnostic equipment, but hand tools are normally accumulated with experi­ ence, and many experienced technicians have thousands of dol­ lars invested in them. It is common for technicians in large shops to specialize in one or two types of repair. For example, a shop may have in­ dividual specialists in major engine repair, transmission work, electrical systems, and suspension or brake systems. Technicians in smaller shops, on the other hand, generally perform multiple functions. Technicians also specialize in types of equipment. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics and service technicians, for ex­ ample, keep construction and surface mining equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, graders, and excavators in working order. Typically, these workers are employed by equipment wholesale distribution and leasing firms, large construction and mining companies, local and Federal governments, and other organiza­ tions operating and maintaining heavy machinery and equipment fleets. Service technicians employed by the Federal Government may work on tanks and other armored equipment. Farm equipment mechanics service, maintain, and repair farm equipment, as well as smaller lawn and garden tractors sold to suburban homeowners. What once was a general repairer’s job around the farm has evolved into a specialized technical career. Farmers have increasingly turned to farm equipment dealers to service and repair their equipment because the machinery has grown in complexity. Modem equipment uses more computers, electronics, and hydraulics, making it difficult to perform repairs without specialized training and tools.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  -  ia  Heavy vehicle service technicians often make repairs at work sites rather than in repair shops. Railcar repairers specialize in servicing railroad locomotives and other rolling stock, streetcars and subway cars, or mine cars. Most railcar repairers work for railroads, public and private tran­ sit companies, and railcar manufacturers. Work environment. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment ser­ vice technicians usually work indoors. To repair vehicles and equipment, technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, handle greasy and dirty parts, and stand or lie in awkward positions. Mi­ nor cuts, bums, and bruises are common, but serious accidents normally are avoided when safety practices are observed. Al­ though some shops are drafty and noisy, technicians usually work in well-lighted and ventilated areas. Many employers provide uniforms, locker rooms, and shower facilities. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics and railcar repairers generally work a stan­ dard 40 hour week. When heavy or mobile equipment breaks down at a construc­ tion site, it may be too difficult or expensive to bring into a repair shop, so the shop will send a field service technician to the site to make repairs. Field service technicians work outdoors and spend much of their time away from the shop. Generally, the more experienced service technicians specialize in field service. They drive tracks specially equipped with replacement parts and tools. On occasion, they must travel many miles to reach dis­ abled machinery. The hours of work for farm equipment mechanics vary ac­ cording to the season of the year. During the busy planting and harvesting seasons, farm equipment mechanics often work 6 or 7 days a week, 10 to 12 hours daily. In slow winter months, how­ ever, mechanics may work fewer than 40 hours a week.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Although industry experts recommend that applicants complete a formal diesel or heavy equipment mechanic training program af­ ter graduating from high school, many people qualify for service technician jobs by training on the job. Employers seek people with mechanical aptitude who are knowledgeable about diesel engines, transmissions, electrical systems, computers, and hy­ draulics. Education and training. High school courses in automobile repair, physics, chemistry, and mathematics provide a strong foundation for a career as a service technician or mechanic. After high school, those interested in heavy vehicle repair can choose  712 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics.......................................................................................... . Farm equipment mechanics............................................................ . Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines.................. . Rail car repairers.............................................................................. .  SOC Code 49-3040 49-3041 49-3042 49-3043  Employment, 2006 188,000 31,000 131,000 27,000  Projected employment, 2016 206,000 31,000 147,000 28,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 18,000 400 16,000 1,300  10 1 12 5  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  to attend many community colleges and vocational schools that offer programs in diesel technology. Some of these schools tailor programs to heavy equipment mechanics. These programs teach the basics of analytical and diagnostic techniques, electronics, and hydraulics. The increased use of electronics and computers makes training in electronics essential for new heavy and mo­ bile equipment mechanics. Some 1- to 2-year programs lead to a certificate of completion, whereas others lead to an associate degree in diesel or heavy equipment mechanics. Formal training programs enable trainee technicians to advance to the journey, or experienced worker, level sooner than with informal ones. Entry-level workers with no formal background in heavy vehi­ cle repair begin to perform routine service tasks and make minor repairs after a few months of on-the-job training. As they prove their ability and competence, workers advance to harder jobs. After trainees master the repair and service of diesel engines, they learn to work on related components, such as brakes, trans­ missions, and electrical systems. Generally, a service technician with at least 3 to 4 years of on-the-job experience is accepted as fully qualified. Many employers send trainee technicians to training sessions conducted by heavy equipment manufacturers. The sessions, which typically last up to 1 week, provide intensive instruction in the repair of the manufacturer’s equipment. Some sessions focus on particular components found in the equipment, such as diesel engines, transmissions, axles, or electrical systems. Other sessions focus on particular types of equipment, such as crawl­ er-loaders and crawler-dozers. When appropriate, experienced technicians attend training sessions to gain familiarity with new technology or equipment. Other qualifications. Technicians must read and interpret ser­ vice manuals, so reading ability and communication skills are both important skills to have. The technology used in heavy equipment is becoming more sophisticated, and technicians should feel comfortable with computers and electronics because hand-held diagnostic computers are often used to make engine adjustments and diagnose problems. Experience in the Armed Forces working on diesel engines and heavy equipment provides valuable background for these positions. Certification and advancement. Industry certification often allows workers to advance faster. Voluntary certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is the rec­ ognized industry credential for heavy vehicle and mobile equip­ ment service technicians, who may be certified as master me­ dium/heavy truck technicians or in a specific area of heavy-duty equipment repair, such as brakes, electrical systems, or suspen­ sion and steering. For certification in each area, technicians must  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  pass a written examination and have at least 2 years of experi­ ence. High school, vocational or trade school, or community or junior college training in gasoline or diesel engine repair may substitute for up to 1 year of experience. To remain certified, technicians must be retested every 5 years. Experienced technicians may advance to field service jobs, where they have a greater opportunity to tackle problems inde­ pendently and earn additional pay. Field positions may require a commercial driver’s license and a clean driving record. Techni­ cians with administrative ability may become shop supervisors or service managers. Some technicians open their own repair shops or invest in a franchise.  Employment Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics held about 188,000 jobs in 2006. Approximately 131,000 were mobile heavy equipment mechanics, 31,000 were farm equipment mechanics, and 27,000 were railcar repairers. About 29 percent were employed by machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers. About 14 percent worked in construction, primarily for specialty trade contractors and highway, street, and bridge construction companies; another 13 percent were employed by Federal, State, and local govern­ ments. Other service technicians worked in agriculture; mining; rail transportation and support activities; and commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental, leasing, and repair. A small number repaired equipment for machinery and railroad rolling stock manufacturers or lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores. About 5 percent of service technicians were selfemployed. Nearly every area of the country employs heavy and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics, although most work in towns and cities where equipment dealers, equipment rental and leasing companies, and construction companies have repair facilities.  Job Outlook The number of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow about as fast as average. Those who have completed postsecondary training pro­ grams should find excellent opportunities, but those without a formal background in diesel engine or heavy vehicle repair will face keen competition. Employment change. Employment of heavy vehicle and mo­ bile equipment service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow by 10 percent through the year 2016, about as fast as the av­ erage for all occupations. Increasing numbers of heavy duty and mobile equipment service technicians will be required to support  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 713  growth in the construction and mining industries. Additionally, the agriculture and railroad industries are projected to see more demand over the decade, potentially generating new jobs for farm equipment and railcar repairers, although job opportunities for these repairers will not be as numerous. Finally, as this equip­ ment becomes more complex, repairs increasingly must be made by specially trained technicians. In large part, these service jobs will be with wholesale equipment dealers and rental and leas­ ing companies who do much of the repair work associated with heavy vehicles and mobile equipment. Job prospects. Opportunities for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics should be excel­ lent for those who have completed formal training programs in diesel or heavy equipment mechanics. People without formal training are expected to encounter growing difficulty entering these jobs. Most job openings for mobile, rail, and farm equipment tech­ nicians will arise from the need to replace experienced repairers who retire. Employers report difficulty finding candidates with formal postsecondary training to fill available service technician positions. This is often because young people with mechanic training and experience opt to take jobs as automotive service technicians or diesel service technicians—jobs that offer more openings and a wider variety of locations in which to work. Construction and mining operations, which use large numbers of heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, are particularly sen­ sitive to changes in the level of economic activity. While the increased use of such equipment increases the need for periodic service and repair, heavy and mobile equipment may be idle during downturns. Thus, opportunities for service technicians that work on construction and mining equipment may fluctuate with the Nation’s economic cycle. In addition, opportunities for farm equipment mechanics are seasonal and are best in warmer months.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of mobile heavy equipment mechanics were $ 19.44 in May 2006, as compared to $ 17.65 per hour for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.65 and $23.45. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $12.64, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.18. Median hourly earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of mobile heavy equipment mechan­ ics were as follows: Federal Government...............................................................$21.96 Local government.....................................................................20.33 Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers............................................................................. 19.15 Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing.................................................................... 18.73 Other specialty trade contractors...............................................18.63   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Median hourly earnings of farm equipment mechanics were $14.16 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.34 and $17.35. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.30, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.77. In machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers, the industry employing the largest number of farm equipment me­ chanics, median earnings were $14.37. Median hourly earnings of railcar repairers were $20.82 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $ 16.75 and $24.71. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.48, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.02. Median hourly earnings were $21.63 in rail transportation, the industry employing the largest number of railcar repairers. Field technicians normally earn a higher wage than their coun­ terparts because they are required to make on-the-spot decisions to serve their customers. About 23 percent of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment ser­ vice technicians and mechanics are members of unions, includ­ ing the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Members may en­ joy job benefits in addition to what employers provide.  Related Occupations Workers in related repair occupations include aircraft and avi­ onics equipment mechanics and service technicians; automotive service technicians and mechanics; diesel service technicians and mechanics; industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers; and small engine mechanics.  Sources of Additional Information More details about job openings for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics may be obtained from local heavy and mobile equipment dealers and distributors, construction contractors, and government agencies. Local of­ fices of the State employment service also may have information on job openings and training programs. For general information about a career as a heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician or mechanic, contact: y The AED Foundation (Associated Equipment Dealers affiliate), 615 W. 22nd St., Oak Brook, IL 60523. Internet: http://www.aedcareers.com A list of certified diesel service technician training programs can be obtained from: y National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF), 101 Blue Seal Dr., Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.natef.org Information on certification as a heavy-duty diesel service technician is available from: y National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), 101 Blue Seal Dr. SE, Suite 101, Leesburg, VA 20175. Internet: http://www.asecert.org  714 Occupational Outlook Handbook iiik  Small Engine Mechanics (0*NET 49-3051.00,49-3052.00, 49-3053.00)  Significant Points •  Job prospects should be excellent for people who complete formal training programs.  •  Most mechanics learn their skills on the job or while working in related occupations.  •  Use of motorcycles, motorboats, and outdoor power equipment is seasonal in many areas, so mechanics may service other types of equipment or work reduced hours in the winter.  Nature of the Work Small engine mechanics repair and service power equipment ranging from jet skis to chainsaws. Mechanics usually special­ ize in the service and repair of one type of equipment, although they may work on closely-related products. When a piece of equipment breaks down, mechanics use vari­ ous techniques to diagnose the source and extent of the prob­ lem. The mark of a skilled mechanic is the ability to diagnose mechanical, fuel, and electrical problems and to make repairs quickly. Quick and accurate diagnosis requires problem-solv­ ing ability and a thorough knowledge of the equipment’s opera­ tion. Some jobs require minor adjustments or the replacement of a single item, whereas a complete engine overhaul requires hours to disassemble the engine and replace worn valves, pis­ tons, bearings, and other internal parts. Some highly skilled mechanics use specialized components and the latest computer­ ized equipment to customize and tune motorcycles and motor­ boats for racing. Handtools are the most important work possessions of me­ chanics. Small engine mechanics use wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers on a regular basis. Mechanics usually provide their own tools, although employers will furnish expensive power tools, computerized engine analyzers, and other diag­ nostic equipment. Computerized engine analyzers, compres­ sion gauges, ammeters and voltmeters, and other testing de­ vices help mechanics locate faulty parts and tune engines. This equipment provides a systematic performance report of various components to compare against normal ratings. After pinpoint­ ing the problem, the mechanic makes the needed adjustments, repairs, or replacements. Small engines also require periodic service to minimize the chance of breakdowns and to keep them operating at peak per­ formance. During routine maintenance, mechanics follow a checklist that includes the inspection and cleaning of brakes, electrical systems, fuel injection systems, plugs, carburetors, and other parts. Following inspection, mechanics usually repair or adjust parts that do not work properly or replace unfixable parts. Motorcycle mechanics specialize in the repair and overhaul of motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, dirt bikes, and all-terrain   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  K * Im i,.. .  v .■ -V  WJ3  Small engine mechanics may work on motorcycles, motorboats, lawnmowers, or other outdoor power equipment. vehicles. Besides repairing engines, they may work on trans­ missions, brakes, and ignition systems and make minor body repairs. Mechanics often service just a few makes and models of motorcycles because most work for dealers that service only the products they sell. Motorboat mechanics, or marine equipment mechanics, repair and adjust the electrical and mechanical equipment of inboard and outboard boat engines. Most small boats have portable outboard engines that are removed and brought into the repair shop. Larger craft, such as cabin cruisers and com­ mercial fishing boats, are powered by diesel or gasoline inboard or inboard-outboard engines, which are removed only for ma­ jor overhauls. Most of these repairs, therefore, are performed at docks or marinas. Motorboat mechanics also may work on propellers, steering mechanisms, marine plumbing, and other boat equipment. Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics service and repair outdoor power equipment such as lawnmow­ ers, garden tractors, edge trimmers, and chain saws. They also may occasionally work on portable generators and go-carts. In addition, small engine mechanics in certain parts of the country may work on snowblowers and snowmobiles, but demand for this type of repair is both seasonal and regional. Work environment. Small engine mechanics usually work in repair shops that are well lighted and ventilated but are sometimes noisy when engines are tested. Motorboat mechan­ ics may work outdoors in poor weather conditions when mak­ ing repairs aboard boats. They may also work in cramped or awkward positions to reach a boat’s engine. Outdoor power equipment mechanics face similar conditions when they need to make on-site repairs. During the winter months in the northern United States, mechanics may work fewer than 40 hours a week because the amount of repair and service work declines when lawnmowers, motorboats, and motorcycles are not in use. Many mechanics work full-time only during the busy spring and summer sea­ sons. However, they often schedule time-consuming engine overhauls or work on snowmobiles and snowblowers during winter downtime. Mechanics may work considerably more than 40 hours a week when demand is strong.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 715  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Small engine mechanics................................................................ Motorboat mechanics................................................................ Motorcycle mechanics.............................................................. Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics....  soc Code 49-3050 49-3051 49-3052 49-3053  Employment, 2006 78,000 24,000 21,000 33,000  Projected employment, 2016 87,000 29,000 24,000 35,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 9,100 12 4,600 19 2,600 12 1,800 6  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Due to the increasing complexity of motorcycles and motor­ boats, employers prefer to hire mechanics who have graduated from formal training programs. However, because the number of these specialized postsecondary programs is limited, most mechanics still learn their skills on the job or while working in related occupations. Education and training. Employers prefer to hire high school graduates for trainee mechanic positions, but many will accept applicants with less education if they possess ad­ equate reading, writing, and math skills. Helpful high school courses include small engine repair, automobile mechanics, science, and business math. Many equipment dealers employ high school students part time and during the summer to help assemble new equipment and perform minor repairs. Once employed, trainees learn routine service tasks under the guidance of experienced mechanics by replacing ignition points and spark plugs or by taking apart, assembling, and test­ ing new equipment. As they gain experience and proficiency, trainees progress to more difficult tasks, such as advanced computerized diagnosis and engine overhauls. Anywhere from 3 to 5 years of on-the-job training may be necessary be­ fore a novice worker becomes competent in all aspects of the repair of motorcycle and motorboat engines. Repair of out­ door equipment, because of fewer moving parts, requires less on-the-job training. A growing number of motorcycle and marine equipment mechanics graduate from formal motorcycle and motorboat postsecondary programs. Employers prefer to hire these workers for their advanced knowledge of small engine repair. These workers also tend to advance quickly to more demand­ ing small engine repair jobs. Employers often send mechanics and trainees to courses con­ ducted by motorcycle, motorboat, and outdoor power equip­ ment manufacturers or distributors. These courses, which can last up to 2 weeks, upgrade workers’ skills and provide infor­ mation on repairing new models. Manufacturer classes are usually a prerequisite for any mechanic who performs war­ ranty work for manufacturers or insurance companies. Other qualifications. For trainee jobs, employers hire peo­ ple with mechanical aptitude who are knowledgeable about the fundamentals of small 2- and 4-stroke engines. Many trainees get their start by working on automobiles, motorcycles, mo­ torboats, or outdoor power equipment as a hobby. Knowledge of basic electronics is essential because many parts of small vehicles and engines are electric. Advancement. The skills needed for small engine repair can transfer to other occupations, such as automobile, diesel,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  or heavy vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics. Experi­ enced mechanics with leadership ability may advance to shop supervisor or service manager jobs. Mechanics with sales ability sometimes become sales representatives or open their own repair shops.  Employment Small engine mechanics held about 78,000 jobs in 2006. Mo­ torcycle mechanics held around 21,000 jobs. Motorboat me­ chanics held approximately 24,000 and outdoor power equip­ ment and other small engine mechanics about 33,000. Almost half, 47 percent, of small engine mechanics worked for either other motor vehicle dealers—an industry that includes retail dealers of motorcycles, boats, and miscellaneous vehicles—or for retail hardware, lawn, and garden stores. Most of the re­ mainder were employed by independent repair shops, marinas and boatyards, equipment rental companies, wholesale dis­ tributors, and landscaping services. About 23 percent were self-employed, compared to about 7 percent of workers in all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.  Job Outlook Average employment growth is projected for of small engine mechanics. Job prospects should be excellent for people who complete formal training programs. Employment change. Employment of small engine me­ chanics is expected to grow 12 percent between 2006 and 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. An increase in the population of retired people is expected to in­ crease the number of people who have leisure time and in­ come to spend on recreational equipment such as motorcycles and motorboats. Moreover, the increase in the population of coastal and lake regions should add to the popularity of mo­ torboats, and continued motorcycle use among 18- to 24-yearolds will contribute to rising motorcycle sales. The need for mechanics to maintain and repair motorcycles and motorboats is expected to increase with sales. Outdoor equipment mechanics will not experience the same level of growth. Although the construction of new single-fam­ ily houses will result in an increase in the sale of lawn and gar­ den machinery and the need for mechanics to repair it, growth will be strongly tempered by a trend toward smaller lawns and the contracting out of maintenance to landscaping firms that often repair their own equipment. Small engine mechan­ ics’ growth also will be tempered by the tendency of many consumers to replace relatively inexpensive items rather than have them repaired.  716 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Job prospects. Job prospects should be excellent for people who complete formal training programs. Employers prefer mechanics who have knowledge of both 2- and 4-stroke en­ gines and other emissions-reducing technology as the govern­ ment increases regulation of the emissions produced by small engines. Many of the job openings for small engine mechan­ ics will result from the need to replace the many experienced small engine mechanics who are expected to transfer to other occupations, retire, or stop working for other reasons. Work tends to be more available in summer months.  Earnings Median wage-and-salary earnings of motorcycle mechanics were $14.45 an hour in May 2006, as compared to $17.65 for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.31 and $18.41. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.96, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.31. Median hourly earnings in other motor vehicle dealers, the industry employing the larg­ est number of motorcycle mechanics, were $14.42. Median wage-and-salary earnings of motorboat mechanics were $15.96 an hour in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.66 and $20.01. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.94, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.40. Median hourly earnings in other motor vehicle dealers, the industry employing the largest number of motor­ boat mechanics, were $15.68.  Median wage-and-salary earnings of outdoor power equip­ ment and other small engine mechanics were $12.94 an hour in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.36 and $16.05. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.31, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.31. Median hourly earnings in lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores, the industry employing the largest number of outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics, were $12.74. Small engine mechanics in small shops usually receive few benefits, but those employed in larger shops often receive paid vacations, sick leave, and health insurance. Some employers also pay for work-related training, provide uniforms, and help mechanics purchase new tools.  Related Occupations Mechanics and repairers who work on durable equipment other than small engines include automotive service techni­ cians and mechanics, diesel service technicians and mechan­ ics, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics, and home appliance repairers.  Sources of Additional Information To learn about work opportunities, contact local motorcycle, motorboat, and lawn and garden equipment dealers, boatyards, and marinas. Local offices of the State employment service also may have information about employment and training op­ portunities.  Other Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations Coin, Vending, and Amusement Machine Servicers and Repairers (0*NET 49-9091.00)  Significant Points  •  Most workers in this occupation learn their skills on the job.  •  Opportunities should be especially good for people with some knowledge of electronics.  Nature of the Work Coin, vending, and amusement machines give out change, test our gaming skills, and dispense refreshments nearly everywhere we turn. Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers install, service, and stock such machines and keep them in good working order. Occupations in this industry are classified by the type of ma­ chine they work on and whether they specialize in servicing or repairing the machines. Vending machine servicers, often called route drivers, visit machines that dispense soft drinks, candy and snacks, and other items. They collect money from the coin and cash-operated machines, restock merchandise, and change labels   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  to indicate new selections. They also keep the machines clean and appealing. Vending machine repairers, often called mechanics or tech­ nicians, make sure that the machines operate correctly. On the relatively simple gravity-operated machines, repairers check the keypads, motors, and merchandise chutes. When checking com­ plicated electrical and electronic machines, such as beverage dis­ pensers, they check to see that the machines mix drinks properly and that the refrigeration and heating units work correctly. If the machines are not in good working order, the mechanics re­ pair them. When installing machines, vending machine repairers make the necessary water and electrical connections and check them for proper operation. Amusement machine servicers and repairers work on juke­ boxes, video games, pinball machines, and slot machines. They update selections, repair or replace malfunctioning parts, and re­ build existing equipment. Vending machine servicers and repairers employed by small companies may both fill and fix machines on a regular basis. These combination servicers-repairers stock machines, collect money, fill coin and currency changers, and repair machines when necessary. If a machine breaks down, vending and amusement machine repairers inspect it for obvious problems, such as loose electrical wires, malfunctions of the coin mechanism or bill validator, and leaks. When servicing electronic machines, repairers test them  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 717  Work environment. Repairers generally work a total of 40 hours a week. However, vending and amusement machines oper­ ate around the clock, so repairers may be on call to work at night and on weekends and holidays. Some vending and amusement machine repairers work primar­ ily in company repair shops that generally are quiet, well lighted, and have adequate workspace. Others many spend substantial time on the road, visiting machines wherever they have been placed. Repair work is relatively safe, although servicers and repairers must take care to avoid hazards such as electrical shocks and cuts from sharp tools and other metal objects.  nm  f  ill  lejk ~ 61 ,u--  Coin, vending, and amusement machine repairers may make repairs onsite or at their workshop. with hand-held diagnostic computers that determine the extent and location of any problem. Repairers may only have to replace a circuit board or other component to fix the problem. However, if the problem cannot be readily located, these workers refer to technical manuals and wiring diagrams and use testing devices, such as electrical circuit testers, to find defective parts. Repairers decide whether they must replace a part and whether they can fix the malfunction onsite or whether they have to send the machine to the repair shop. In the repair shop, vending and amusement machine repairers use power tools, such as grinding wheels, saws, and drills, as well as voltmeters, ohmmeters, oscilloscopes, and other testing equip­ ment. They also use ordinary repair tools, such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches. Preventive maintenance—avoiding trouble before it starts—is a major job of repairers. For example, they periodically clean refrigeration condensers, lubricate mechanical parts, and adjust machines so that they perform properly. Servicers and repair­ ers also do some paperwork, such as filing reports, preparing repair cost estimates, ordering parts, and keeping daily records of merchandise distributed and money collected. However, new machines with computerized inventory controls reduce the pa­ perwork that a servicer must complete.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most workers learn their skills on the job. Employers normally hire high school graduates, and give preference to those with high school or vocational school courses in electronics, refrigeration, and machine repair. Education and training. Electronics have become more preva­ lent in vending and amusement machines. While employers only require workers to have graduated high school, they give prefer­ ence to those who have completed programs in basic electronics at vocational high schools and junior colleges. Postsecondary programs in electronics can last 1 to 2 years. Once hired, new workers are trained informally on the job to fill and fix machines by observing, working with, and receiving instruction from experienced repairers. Beginners start training with simple jobs, such as cleaning or stocking machines. They then learn to rebuild machines by removing defective parts and repairing, adjusting, and testing the machines. Next, they accom­ pany an experienced repairer on service calls and, finally, make visits on their own. This learning process takes from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the individual’s abilities, previous educa­ tion, types of machines serviced, and quality of instruction. To learn about new machines, repairers and servicers some­ times attend training sessions sponsored by manufacturers and distributors. Both trainees and experienced workers sometimes take evening courses in basic electricity, electronics, microwave ovens, refrigeration, and other related subjects to learn about new techniques and equipment. Other qualifications. Employers usually require applicants to demonstrate mechanical ability, either through related work experience or by scoring well on mechanical-aptitude tests. Be­ cause coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and re­ pairers sometimes handle thousands of dollars in merchandise and cash, employers try to hire persons who are trustworthy and have no criminal record. Also, the ability to deal tactfully with people is important because servicers and repairers play a signifi­ cant role in relaying customers’ requests and concerns. A driver’s license and a good driving record are essential for most vending and amusement machine servicer and repairer jobs, and some employers require their servicers to be bonded. Certification and advancement. The National Automatic Merchandising Association has two self-study technician train­ ing programs, one for vending machine repairers and another for machine servicers. Self-study manuals give instruction in sub­ jects such as customer relations, safety, electronics, and reading schematics. Upon completion of the program, repairers must pass a written test to become certified as a technician or journey-  718 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers....  soc  Code  Projected employment, 2016 46,000  Employment, 2006 48,000  49-9091  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -1,400 -3  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. _______________________________________________  man. Certified and other skilled servicers and repairers may be promoted to supervisory jobs or go into business for themselves.  Employment Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers held about 48,000 jobs in 2006. Of these workers, 18 percent were self-employed. Twenty-four percent of these workers were employed by vending machine operators that sell food and other items through machines. Others worked for beverage manufac­ turing or wholesale companies that have their own machines and for amusement, gambling, and recreation establishments that own video games, jukeboxes, slot machines, and similar types of amusement equipment.  Job Outlook Employment of coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers is expected to decline moderately through the year 2016. Opportunities for these workers, however, should be good for those with the proper training or related experience. Employment change. Employment of coin, vending, and amusement machine services and repairers is expected to decrease by 3 percent between 2006. However, the number of vending machines available to the public is expected to increase. Estab­ lishments that are likely to install additional vending machines include industrial plants, hospitals, stores, schools and prisons in order to meet the public demand for inexpensive snacks and other food items. Growth of casino slot machines and coin-operated lottery ticket machines will increase the total number of amuse­ ment machines as well. Despite the expected increase in the number of vending and amusement machines in use, improved technology in newer ma­ chines will cause a moderate decline in employment because these machines require less maintenance and need restocking less often. Many will contain computers that record sales and inventory data, reducing the amount of time-consuming paperwork that otherwise would have to be filled out. In addition, some new machines use wireless data transmitters to signal the vending machine company when the machine needs restocking or repairing. This allows ser­ vicers and repairers to be dispatched only when needed, instead of having to check each machine on a regular schedule. Job prospects. Job opportunities should be good for those with training in a related electronic repair field, and who are willing to travel and work at times other than regular business hours. Oppor­ tunities will be limited for those with just a high school degree and no training in electronics repair. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace experienced repairers who transfer to other oc­ cupations or leave the labor force.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers were $13.80 in May 2006. The middle 50   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  percent earned between $10.84 and $17.23 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.77 an hour, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $21.35 an hour. Median hourly earnings were $12.94 in vending machine operators, the industry employ­ ing the largest number of coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers in May 2006. Typically, workers who service and repair slot machines in States with some form of legalized gaming have the highest wag­ es. Overtime work usually commands a premium on wages, and some union contracts stipulate higher pay for night work and for emergency repair jobs on weekends and holidays than for regular hours. Some of these workers are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters: 17 percent of vending machine repair­ ers and servicers belonged to a union in 2006, as compared with 12 percent for all occupations.  Related Occupations Other workers who repair equipment with electrical and elec­ tronic components include electrical and electronics installers and repairers; electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers; heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; and home appliance repairers.  Sources of Additional Information Information on job opportunities in this field can be obtained from local vending machine firms and local offices of your State em­ ployment service. For general information on vending machine servicing and re­ pair, contact: y National Automatic Merchandising Association, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Suite 3500, Chicago, IL 60606. Internet: http://www.vending.org y Vending Times, 1375 Broadway, New York, NY 10018.  Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (0*NET 49-9021.00, 49-9021.01, 49-9021.02)  Significant Points •  Employment is projected to grow as fast as the aver­ age.  •  Job prospects are expected to be excellent.  •  Employers prefer to hire those who have completed technical school training or a formal apprenticeship.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 719  Nature of the Work Heating and air-conditioning systems control the temperature, humidity, and the total air quality in residential, commercial, industrial, and other buildings. Refrigeration systems make it possible to store and transport food, medicine, and other per­ ishable items. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration me­ chanics and installers—also called technicians—install, main­ tain, and repair such systems. Because heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems often are referred to as HVACR systems, these workers also may be called HVACR technicians. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems consist of many mechanical, electrical, and electronic components, such as motors, compressors, pumps, fans, ducts, pipes, ther­ mostats, and switches. In central forced air heating systems, for example, a furnace heats air, which is then distributed via a system of metal or fiberglass ducts. Technicians must be able to maintain, diagnose, and correct problems throughout the en­ tire system. To do this, they adjust system controls to recom­ mended settings and test the performance of the system using special tools and test equipment. Technicians often specialize in either installation or mainte­ nance and repair, although they are trained to do both. They also may specialize in doing heating work or air-conditioning or refrigeration work. Some specialize in one type of equip­ ment—for example, hydronics (water-based heating systems), solar panels, or commercial refrigeration. Some technicians also sell service contracts to their clients. Service contracts provide for regular maintenance of the heating and cooling sys­ tems and they help to reduce the seasonal fluctuations of this type of work. Technicians follow blueprints or other specifications to in­ stall oil, gas, electric, solid-fuel, and multiple-fuel heating sys­ tems and air-conditioning systems. After putting the equipment in place, they install fuel and water supply lines, air ducts and vents, pumps, and other components. They may connect elec­ trical wiring and controls and check the unit for proper opera­ tion. To ensure the proper functioning of the system, furnace installers often use combustion test equipment, such as carbon dioxide testers, carbon monoxide testers, combustion analyz­ ers, and oxygen testers. These tests ensure that the system will operate safely and at peak efficiency. After a furnace or air-conditioning unit has been installed, technicians often perform routine maintenance and repair work to keep the systems operating efficiently. They may adjust burners and blowers and check for leaks. If the system is not operating properly, they check the thermostat, burner nozzles, controls or other parts to diagnose and correct the problem. Technicians also install and maintain heat pumps, which are similar to air conditioners but can be reversed so that they both heat and cool a home. Because of the added complexity and the fact that they run both in summer and winter, these systems often require more maintenance and need to be replaced more frequently than traditional furnaces and air conditioners. During the summer, when heating systems are not being used, heating equipment technicians do maintenance work, such as replacing filters, ducts, and other parts of the system that may accumulate dust and impurities during the operating   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  season. During the winter, air-conditioning mechanics inspect the systems and do required maintenance, such as overhauling compressors. Refrigeration mechanics install, service, and repair industrial and commercial refrigerating systems and a variety of refrigera­ tion equipment. They follow blueprints, design specifications, and manufacturers’ instructions to install motors, compressors, condensing units, evaporators, piping, and other components. They connect this equipment to the ductwork, refrigerant lines, and electrical power source. After making the connections, they charge the system with refrigerant, check it for proper operation and leaks, and program control systems. When air-conditioning and refrigeration technicians service equipment, they must use care to conserve, recover, and recycle the refrigerants used in air-conditioning and refrigeration sys­ tems. The release of these refrigerants can be harmful to the environment. Technicians conserve the refrigerant by making sure that there are no leaks in the system; they recover it by venting the refrigerant into proper cylinders; they recycle it for reuse with special filter-dryers; or they ensure that the refriger­ ant is properly disposed of. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are adept at using a variety of tools, including ham­ mers, wrenches, metal snips, electric drills, pipe cutters and  SSHMVff  Excellent job prospects are expectedfor heating, air-condition­ ing, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.  720 Occupational Outlook Handbook  benders, measurement gauges, and acetylene torches, to work with refrigerant lines and air ducts. They use voltmeters, ther­ mometers, pressure gauges, manometers, and other testing de­ vices to check airflow, refrigerant pressure, electrical circuits, burners, and other components. Other craft workers sometimes install or repair cooling and heating systems. For example, on a large air-conditioning in­ stallation job, especially where workers are covered by union contracts, ductwork might be done by sheet metal workers and duct installers; electrical work by electricians; and installation of piping, condensers, and other components by pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters. Home appliance repair­ ers usually service room air-conditioners and household refrig­ erators. (Additional information about each of these occupa­ tions appears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Work environment. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigera­ tion mechanics and installers work in homes, retail establish­ ments, hospitals, office buildings, and factories—anywhere there is climate-control equipment that needs to be installed, repaired, or serviced. They may be assigned to specific job sites at the beginning of each day or may be dispatched to a variety of locations if they are making service calls. Technicians may work outside in cold or hot weather or in buildings that are uncomfortable because the air-conditioning or heating equipment is broken. In addition, technicians might work in awkward or cramped positions and sometimes are re­ quired to work in high places. Hazards include electrical shock, bums, muscle strains, and other injuries from handling heavy equipment. Appropriate safety equipment is necessary when handling refrigerants because contact can cause skin damage, frostbite, or blindness. Inhalation of refrigerants when working in confined spaces also is a possible hazard. The majority of mechanics and installers work at least a 40hour week. During peak seasons, they often work overtime or irregular hours. Maintenance workers, including those who provide maintenance services under contract, often work eve­ ning or weekend shifts and are on call. Most employers try to provide a full workweek year-round by scheduling both in­ stallation and maintenance work, and many manufacturers and contractors now provide or even require year-round service con­ tracts. In most shops that service both heating and air-condi­ tioning equipment, employment is stable throughout the year.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Because of the increasing sophistication of heating, air-con­ ditioning, and refrigeration systems, employers prefer to hire those who have completed technical school training or a formal apprenticeship. Some mechanics and installers, however, still learn the trade informally on the job. Education and training. Many secondary and postsecond­ ary technical and trade schools, junior and community colleges, and the U.S. Armed Forces offer 6-month to 2-year programs in heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration. Students study theory of temperature control, equipment design and construc­ tion, and electronics. They also learn the basics of installation, maintenance, and repair. Three accrediting agencies have set academic standards for HVACR programs. These accrediting bodies are HVAC Excellence, the National Center for Con­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  struction Education and Research, and the Partnership for Air­ Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation. After completing these programs, new technicians generally need between an additional 6 months and 2 years of field experience before they are considered proficient. Many technicians train through apprenticeships. Apprentice­ ship programs frequently are run by joint committees repre­ senting local chapters of the Air-Conditioning Contractors of America, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Associa­ tion, and locals of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International As­ sociation or the United Association of Journeymen and Ap­ prentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada. Local chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Home Builders sponsor other apprenticeship programs. Formal apprenticeship programs normally last 3 to 5 years and combine paid on-thejob training with classroom instruction. Classes include sub­ jects such as the use and care of tools, safety practices, blue­ print reading, and the theory and design of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems. In addition to un­ derstanding how systems work, technicians must learn about refrigerant products and the legislation and regulations that govern their use. Applicants for apprenticeships must have a high school di­ ploma or equivalent. Math and reading skills are essential. Af­ ter completing an apprenticeship program, technicians are con­ sidered skilled trades workers and capable of working alone. These programs are also a pathway to certification and, in some cases, college credits. Those who acquire their skills on the job usually begin by assisting experienced technicians. They may begin by perform­ ing simple tasks such as carrying materials, insulating refriger­ ant lines, or cleaning furnaces. In time, they move on to more difficult tasks, such as cutting and soldering pipes and sheet metal and checking electrical and electronic circuits. Several organizations have begun to offer basic self-study, classroom, and Internet courses for individuals with limited ex­ perience. Licensure. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration me­ chanics and installers are required to be licensed by some States and localities. Requirements for licensure vary greatly, but all States or localities that require a license have a test that must be passed. The contents of these tests vary by State or locality, with some requiring extensive knowledge of electrical codes and others focusing more on HVACR-specific knowledge. Completion of an apprenticeship program or 2 to 5 years of experience are also common requirements. In addition, all technicians who purchase or work with refrig­ erants must be certified in their proper handling. To become certified to purchase and handle refrigerants, technicians must pass a written examination specific to the type of work in which they specialize. The three possible areas of certification are: Type I—servicing small appliances; Type II—high-pressure re­ frigerants; and Type III—low-pressure refrigerants. Exams are administered by organizations approved by the U.S. Environ­ mental Protection Agency, such as trade schools, unions, con­ tractor associations, or building groups.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 721  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title  soc Code  Employment, 2006  Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers..........................................  Projected employment, 2016  Change, 2006-16 Percent Number  49-9021 292,000 317.000 25,000 9 NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  tion Included in the Handbook.  Other qualifications. High school courses in shop math, me­ chanical drawing, applied physics and chemistry, electronics, blueprint reading, and computer applications provide a good background for those interested in entering this occupation. Some knowledge of plumbing or electrical work also is helpful. A basic understanding of electronics is becoming more impor­ tant because of the increasing use of electronics in equipment controls. Because technicians frequently deal directly with the public, they should be courteous and tactful, especially when dealing with an aggravated customer. They also should be in good physical condition because they sometimes have to lift and move heavy equipment. Certification and advancement. Throughout the learning pro­ cess, technicians may have to take a number of tests that measure their skills. For those with relevant coursework and less than 1 year of experience, the industry has developed a series of exams to test basic competency in residential heating and cooling, light commercial heating and cooling, and commercial refrigeration. These are referred to as “Entry-level” certification exams and are commonly conducted at both secondary and postsecondary technical and trade schools. HVACR technicians who have at least 1 year of experience performing installations and 2 years of experience performing maintenance and repair can take a num­ ber of different tests to certify their competency in working with specific types of equipment, such as oil-buming furnaces. These tests are offered through the Refrigeration Service Engineers So­ ciety, HVAC Excellence, Carbon Monoxide Safety Association, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Safety Coalition, and North American Technician Excellence, Inc., among others. Employ­ ers increasingly recommend taking and passing these tests and obtaining certification; doing so may increase advancement op­ portunities. Advancement usually takes the form of higher wages. Some technicians, however, may advance to positions as supervisor or service manager. Others may move into sales and marketing. Still others may become building superintendents, cost estima­ tors, system test and balance specialists, or, with the necessary certification, teachers. Those with sufficient money and manage­ rial skill can open their own contracting business.  Employment Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and in­ stallers held about 292,000jobs in 2006; about 55 percent worked for plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors. The rest were employed in a variety of industries throughout the country, reflecting a widespread dependence on climate-control systems. Some worked for fuel oil dealers, refrigeration and air-condition­ ing service and repair shops, schools, and stores that sell heating and air-conditioning systems. Local governments, the Federal Government, hospitals, office buildings, and other organizations   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  that operate large air-conditioning, refrigeration, or heating sys­ tems also employed these workers. About 13 percent of these workers were self-employed.  Job Outlook With average job growth and numerous expected retirements, heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and in­ stallers should have excellent employment opportunities. Employment change. Employment of heating, air-condition­ ing, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase 9 percent during the 2006-16 decade, as fast as the aver­ age for all occupations. As the population and stock of build­ ings grows, so does the demand for residential, commercial, and industrial climate-control systems. Residential HVACR systems generally need replacement after 10 to 15 years; the large number of homes built in recent years will enter this replacement time­ frame by 2016. The increased complexity of HVACR systems, which increases the possibility that equipment may malfunction, also will create opportunities for service technicians. A growing focus on improving indoor air quality and the increasing use of refrigerated equipment by a growing number of stores and gaso­ line stations that sell food should also create more jobs for heat­ ing, air-conditioning, and refrigeration technicians. Concern for the environment has prompted the development of new energy-saving heating and air-conditioning systems. An emphasis on better energy management should lead to the re­ placement of older systems and the installation of newer, more efficient systems in existing homes and buildings. Also, demand for maintenance and service work should increase as businesses and homeowners strive to keep increasingly complex systems op­ erating at peak efficiency. Regulations prohibiting the discharge and production of older types of refrigerants that pollute the at­ mosphere should continue to result in the need to replace many existing air conditioning systems or to modify them to use new environmentally safe refrigerants. The pace of replacement in the commercial and industrial sectors will quicken if Congress or individual States change tax rules designed to encourage compa­ nies to buy new HVACR equipment. Job prospects. Job prospects for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to be excel­ lent, particularly for those who have completed training from an accredited technical school or a formal apprenticeship. Job opportunities should be best in the fastest growing areas of the country. A growing number of retirements of highly skilled tech­ nicians are expected to generate many job openings. Many con­ tractors have reported problems finding enough workers to meet the demand for service and installation of HVACR systems. Technicians who specialize in installation work may experi­ ence periods of unemployment when the level of new construc­ tion activity declines, but maintenance and repair work usually  722 Occupational Outlook Handbook  remains relatively stable. People and businesses depend on their climate-control or refrigeration systems and must keep them in good working order, regardless of economic conditions.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of heating, air-condi­ tioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers were $18.11 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.12 and $23.32 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.38, and the top 10 percent earned more than $28.57. Medi­ an hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest num­ bers of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers were: Hardware, and plumbing and heating equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers..................................... $20.53 Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance.............. 19.95 Direct selling establishments...................................................19.12 Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors.............. 17.46 Electrical contractors...................................................................... 16.74  Apprentices usually begin at about 50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers. As they gain experience and improve their skills, they receive periodic increases until they reach the wage rate of experienced workers. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers enjoy a variety of employer-sponsored benefits. In addition to typical benefits such as health insurance and pen­ sion plans, some employers pay for work-related training and provide uniforms, company vans, and tools. About 14 percent of heating, air-conditioning, and refriger­ ation mechanics and installers are members of a union. The unions to which the greatest numbers of mechanics and install­ ers belong are the Sheet Metal Workers International Associa­ tion and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada.  Related Occupations Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and in­ stallers work with sheet metal and piping, and repair machin­ ery, such as electrical motors, compressors, and burners. Other workers who have similar skills include boilermakers; home appliance repairers; electricians; sheet metal workers; and pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.  Sources of Additional Information For more information about opportunities for training, certifica­ tion, and employment in this trade, contact local vocational and technical schools; local heating, air-conditioning, and refrigera­ tion contractors; a local of the unions or organizations previ­ ously mentioned; a local joint union-management apprentice­ ship committee; 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 ap­ prenticeship programs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship infor­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  mation is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627. For information on career opportunities, training, and techni­ cian certification, contact: > Air-Conditioning Contractors of America, 2800 Shirlington Rd., Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22206. Internet: http://www.acca.org y Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, 4100 North Fairfax Dr., Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.coolcareers.org and http://www.ari.org > Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Department, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y Carbon Monoxide Safety Association, P.O. Box 669, Eastlake, CO 80614. Internet: http://www.cosafety.org y Home Builders Institute, National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St.NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.hbi.org y HVAC Excellence, P.O. Box 491, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056. Internet: http://www.hvacexcellence.org y Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Mechanical Service Contractors of America, 1385 Piccard Dr., Rockville, MD 20850. Internet: http://www.mcaa.org and http://www.mcaa.org/msca > National Center for Construction Education and Research, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32601. Internet: http://www.nccer.org y National Occupational Competency Testing Institute. Internet: http://www.nocti.org y North American Technician Excellence, 4100 North Fairfax Dr., Suite 210, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.natex.org y Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors, 180 S. Washington, St., P.O. Box 6808, Falls Church, VA 22046. Internet: http://www.phccweb.org org y Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, 1666 Rand Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016. Internet: http://www.rses.org y Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors National Association, 4201 Lafayette Center Dr., Chantilly, VA 20151. Internet: http://www.smacna.org y United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.ua.org  Home Appliance Repairers (0*NET 49-9031.00)  Significant Points •  Little or no change in employment is projected; how­ ever, very good job opportunities are expected, par­ ticularly for those with formal training in appliance repair and electronics.  •  Workers leam on the job; good customer service skills and a driver’s license are essential.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 723  Nature of the Work Home appliance repairers, also known as in-home service pro­ fessionals, install and repair home appliances. Some repairers work on small appliances such as microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners. Others specialize in major appliances such as refrig­ erators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and window air con­ ditioning units. (Workers whose primary responsibility is the installation and repair of heating and central air conditioning units are covered in a separate Handbook statement on heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers—al­ though some worker responsibilities may overlap.) Home ap­ pliance repairers install household durable goods such as refrig­ erators, washing machines, and cooking products. They may have to install pipes in a customer’s home to connect the appli­ ances to a gas or water line. In these cases, once the lines are in place, they turn on the gas or water and check for leaks. Home appliance repairers also answer customers’ questions about the care and use of appliances. When problems with home appliances occur, home appliance repairers visually inspect the appliance and check for unusual noises, excessive vibration, leakage of fluid, or loose parts to determine the cause of the failure. Repairers disassemble the appliance to examine its internal parts for signs of wear or cor­ rosion. They follow service manuals and use testing devices such as ammeters, voltmeters, and wattmeters to check electri­ cal systems for shorts and faulty connections. After identifying problems, home appliance repairers replace or repair defective belts, motors, heating elements, switches, gears, or other items. They tighten, align, clean, and lubricate parts as necessary. Repairers use common handtools, including screwdrivers, wrenches, files, and pliers, as well as soldering guns and tools designed for specific appliances. When repair­ ing appliances with electronic parts, they may replace circuit boards or other electronic components. When repairing refrigerators and window air-conditioners, repairers must take care to conserve, recover, and recycle chlo­ rofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants used in the cooling systems, as is required by law. Federal regulations also require that home appliance repairers document the capture and disposal of refrigerants. Repairers write up estimates of the cost of repairs for custom­ ers, keep records of parts used and hours worked, prepare bills, and collect payments. If an appliance is still under warranty, self-employed repairers will talk with the original appliance manufacturer to recoup monetary claims for work performed. Work environment. Home appliance repairers who handle portable appliances usually work in quiet and adequately light­ ed and ventilated repair shops. Those who repair major appli­ ances may spend several hours a day driving to and from ap­ pointments and emergency calls. Repairers sometimes work in cramped and uncomfortable positions when they are replacing parts in hard-to-reach areas of appliances. Repairer jobs gener­ ally are not hazardous, but workers must exercise care and fol­ low safety precautions to avoid electrical shocks and gas leaks, and prevent injuries when lifting and moving large appliances. Home appliance repairers usually work with little or no direct supervision. Many home appliance repairers work a standard 40-hour week, but may work overtime and weekend hours in   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  the summer months, when they are in high demand to fix refrig­ erators and window mounted air-conditioners. Some repairers work early morning, evening, and weekend shifts and may re­ main on call in case of an emergency.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most entry-level workers in this profession enter without any specific training or experience and learn on the job, although employers prefer to hire those who have completed programs in electronics or appliance repair. A driver’s license and good customer service skills are essential to work on appliances in customer’s homes. Education and training. Most home appliance repairers en­ ter the occupation with a high school diploma or its equivalent and very little training in repairing appliances. Most learn their jobs while working with more experienced workers, which can last from several months to a few years. In businesses that fix portable appliances in a repair shop, trainees work on a single type of appliance, such as a vacuum cleaner, until they master its repair. Then they move on to others, until they can work on all appliances repaired by the shop. In companies that repair major appliances, beginners assist experienced repairers on ser­ vice visits. Up to 3 years of on-the-job training may be needed for a technician to become skilled in all aspects of repair.  Hi i  Home appliance repairers often make house calls to diagnose and fix stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, or other appliances.  724 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Home appliance repairers.....................................................................  soc  Employment,  Code  49-9031  2006 57,000  Projected employment,  2016 58,000  Change,  2006-16  Number  Percent  900  2  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. ___________________________________________________________ _  While on-the-job training is the most common method of training, employers prefer to hire students of appliance repair or electronics programs offered in high school vocational pro­ grams, postsecondary technical schools or community colleges. These programs can last 1 to 2 years and include courses in ba­ sic electricity and electronics as most home appliances contain electronic components. These programs can help reduce the amount of on-the-job training required for entry-level workers. Whether their basic skills are developed through formal train­ ing or on the job, trainees usually receive additional training from their employer and from manufacturers. Some appliance manufacturers and department store chains have formal training programs that include home study and shop classes, in which trainees work with demonstration appliances and other training equipment. Many repairers receive supplemental instruction through 2- or 3-week seminars conducted by appliance manu­ facturers. Repairers authorized for warranty work by manufac­ turers are required to attend periodic training sessions. Licensure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that all repairers who buy or work with refrigerants pass a written examination to become certified in their proper handling. Exams are administered by EPA-approved organizations, such as trade schools, unions, and em­ ployer associations. There also are EPA-approved take-home certification exams. Although no formal training is required for certification, many of these organizations offer training pro­ grams designed to prepare workers for the certification exami­ nation. A driver’s license is necessary in order to drive to customer’s homes. Certification and other qualifications. Mechanical and elec­ trical aptitudes are desirable, and those who work in customers’ homes must be courteous and tactful. Those who are self-em­ ployed need good business and financial skills to maintain a business. Home appliance repairers may exhibit their competence by passing one of several certification examinations offered by various organizations. Although voluntary, such certifications can be helpful when seeking employment. The National Appli­ ance Service Technician Certification (NASTeC), which is ad­ ministered by the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET), requires repairers to pass a comprehen­ sive examination that tests their competence in the diagnosis, repair, and maintenance of major home appliances. The Profes­ sional Service Association (PSA) administers a similar certifi­ cation program. Those who pass the PSA examination earn the Certified Appliance Professional (CAP) designation. Advancement. Repairers in large shops or service centers may be promoted to supervisor, assistant service manager, or service manager. Some repairers advance to managerial posi­ tions such as regional service manager or parts manager for ap­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  pliance or tool manufacturers. Experienced repairers who have sufficient funds and knowledge of small-business management may open their own repair shops.  Employment Many communities across the country employ home appliance repairers, but a high concentration of jobs can be found in more populated areas. Home appliance repairers held 57,000 jobs in 2006. About 36 percent of salaried repairers worked for retail trade establishments such as department stores and electronics and appliance stores. About 27 percent of repairers were selfemployed. Another 21 percent work in household goods repair and maintenance.  Job Outlook Little or no change in employment of home appliance repairers is projected. However, very good job opportunities are expect­ ed, particularly for individuals with formal training in appliance repair and electronics. Employment change. The number of home appliance re­ pairers will grow 2 percent between 2006 and 2016, reflecting little or no change. The number of home appliances in use is expected to increase with growth in the numbers of households. The decision to repair an appliance, however, often depends on the price to replace the appliance versus the cost to make the repairs. So while higher priced major appliances designed to have a long life are more likely to be repaired, small appliances are apt to be discarded rather than be repaired. With sales of high-end appliances growing, demand for major appliance re­ pairers should be strong into the future. Job prospects. In addition to new jobs created over the 2006­ 16 period, openings will arise as home appliance repairers retire or transfer to other occupations. Very good job opportunities are expected, with job openings continuing to outnumber job­ seekers. Individuals with formal training in appliance repair and electronics should have the best opportunities. Jobs are expected to be increasingly concentrated in larger companies as the number of smaller shops and family-owned businesses decline. Employment is relatively steady and work­ ers are rarely laid off because demand for major appliance re­ pair services is fairly constant.  Earnings Median hourly earnings, including commissions, of home ap­ pliance repairers were $16.28 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.37 and $20.79 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.37, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.84 a year. In May 2006, median hourly earnings of home appliance repairers in the largest employing industries were $15.18 in electronics and appliance stores and  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 725  $17.02 in personal and household goods repair and mainte­  Nature of the Work  nance. Earnings of home appliance repairers vary with the skill level required to fix equipment, the geographic location, and the type of equipment repaired. Many repairers receive a commission along with their salary, therefore earnings increase with the number of jobs a repairer can complete in a day. Many larger dealers, manufacturers, and service stores offer typical benefits such as health insurance coverage, sick leave, and retirement and pension programs. Some home appliance repairers belong to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  Imagine an automobile assembly line: a large conveyor system moves unfinished automobiles down the line, giant robotic weld­ ing arms bond the different body panels together, hydraulic lifts move the motor into the body of the car, and giant presses stamp body parts from flat sheets of steel. All of these machines—the hydraulic lifts, the robotic welders, the conveyor system, and the giant presses—sometimes break down. When the assembly line stops because a machine breaks down, it costs the company money. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery main­ tenance workers maintain and repair these very different, and often very expensive, machines. The most basic tasks are performed by machinery mainte­ nance workers. These employees are responsible for cleaning and lubricating machinery, performing basic diagnostic tests, checking performance, and testing damaged machine parts to determine whether major repairs are necessary. In carrying out these tasks, maintenance workers must follow machine speci­ fications and adhere to maintenance schedules. Maintenance workers may perform minor repairs, but major repairs are gen­ erally left to machinery mechanics. Industrial machinery mechanics, also called industrial ma­ chinery repairers or maintenance machinists, are highly skilled workers who maintain and repair machinery in a plant or fac­ tory. To do this effectively, they must be able to detect minor problems and correct them before they become major. Machin­ ery mechanics use technical manuals, their understanding of the equipment, and careful observation to discover the cause of the problem. For example, after hearing a vibration from a machine, the mechanic must decide whether it is due to worn belts, weak motor bearings, or some other problem. Mechanics need years of training and experience to diagnose problems, but computerized diagnostic systems and vibration analysis tech­ niques provide aid in determining the nature of the problem.  Related Occupations Other workers who repair electrical and electronic equipment include electrical and electronics installers and repairers; elec­ tronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers; small-engine mechanics; coin, vending, and amusement ma­ chine servicers and repairers; and heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.  Sources of Additional Information For general information on home appliance repairers, contact the following organizations: > National Appliance Service Association, P.O. Box 2514, Kokomo, IN 46904. y United Servicers Association, Inc., P.O. Box 31006, Albuquerque, NM 87190. Internet: http://www.unitedservicers.com For information on the National Appliance Service Techni­ cian Certification program, contact: > International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, 3608 Pershing Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107. Internet: http://www.nastec.org For information on the Certified Appliance Professional pro­ gram, contact: > Professional Service Association, 71 Columbia St., Cohoes, NY 12047. Internet: http://www.psaworld.com  Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Maintenance Workers (0*NET 49-9041.00, 49-9043.00)  Significant Points •  Most of these workers are employed in manufactur­ ing, but a growing number work for industrial equip­ ment dealers and repair shops.  •  Machinery maintenance workers learn on the job, while industrial machinery mechanics usually need some education after high school plus experience working on specific machines.  •  Applicants with broad skills in machine repair and maintenance should have favorable job prospects.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers re­ place worn drive belts.  726 Occupational Outlook Handbook  After diagnosing the problem, the industrial machinery me­ chanic disassembles the equipment to repair or replace the necessary parts. When repairing electronically controlled ma­ chinery, mechanics may work closely with electronic repairers or electricians who maintain the machine’s electronic parts. (Electrical and electronic installers and repairers, as well as electricians, appear elsewhere in the Handbook.) Increasingly, mechanics are expected to have the electrical, electronics, and computer programming skills to repair sophisticated equip­ ment on their own. Once a repair is made, mechanics perform tests to ensure that the machine is running smoothly. Primary responsibilities of industrial machinery mechanics also often include preventive maintenance and the installation of new machinery. For example, they adjust and calibrate au­ tomated manufacturing equipment, such as industrial robots. Part of setting up equipment is programming the program­ mable logic control (PLC), a frequently used type of com­ puter used as the control system for automated industrial ma­ chines. Situating and installing machinery has traditionally been the job of millwrights, but as plants retool and invest in new equipment, companies increasingly rely on mechanics to do this task for some machinery. (A section on millwrights appears elsewhere in the Handbook.) Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery mainte­ nance workers use a variety of tools to perform repairs and preventive maintenance. They may use handtools to adjust a motor or a chain hoist to lift a heavy printing press off the ground. When replacements for broken or defective parts are not readily available, or when a machine must be quickly re­ turned to production, mechanics may create a new part using lathes, grinders, or drill presses. Mechanics use catalogs to order replacement parts and often follow blueprints, technical manuals, and engineering specifications to maintain and fix equipment. By keeping complete and up-to-date records, me­ chanics try to anticipate trouble and service equipment before factory production is interrupted. Work environment. In production facilities, these workers are subject to common shop injuries such as cuts, bruises, and strains. They also may work in awkward positions, including on top of ladders or in cramped conditions under large ma­ chinery, which exposes them to additional hazards. They of­ ten use protective equipment such as hardhats, safety glasses, steel-tipped shoes, hearing protectors, and belts. Because factories and other facilities cannot afford to have industrial machinery out of service for long periods, mechan­ ics may be on call or assigned to work nights or on weekends. Overtime is common among full-time industrial machinery mechanics; about 30 percent work over 40 hours a week.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Machinery maintenance workers can usually get a job with little more than a high school diploma or its equivalent—most learn on the job. Industrial machinery mechanics, on the oth­ er hand, usually need some education after high school plus experience working on specific machines before they can be considered a mechanic. Education and training. Employers prefer to hire those who have taken courses in mechanical drawing, mathematics, blueprint reading, computer programming, or electronics. En­ try-level machinery maintenance worker positions generally require a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent. How­ ever, employers increasingly prefer to hire machinery main­ tenance workers with some training in industrial technology or an area of it, such as fluid power. Machinery maintenance workers typically receive on-the-job training lasting a few months to a year to perform routine tasks, such as setting up, cleaning, lubricating, and starting machinery. This training may be offered by experienced workers, professional trainers, or representatives of equipment manufacturers. Industrial machinery mechanics usually need a year or more of formal education and training after high school to learn the growing range of mechanical and technical skills that they need. While mechanics used to specialize in one area, such as hydraulics or electronics, many factories now require every mechanic to have knowledge of electricity, electronics, hy­ draulics, and computer programming. Workers can get this training in a number of different ways. Experience in the military repairing equipment, particularly ships, is highly valued by employers. Also, 2-year associate degree programs in industrial maintenance are good prepara­ tion. Some employers offer 4-year apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction with paid on-the-job-train­ ing. Apprenticeship programs usually are sponsored by a local trade union. Other mechanics may start as helpers or in other factory jobs and learn the skills of the trade informally and by taking courses offered through their employer. Classroom in­ struction focuses on subjects such as shop mathematics, blue­ print reading, welding, electronics, and computer training. In addition to classroom training, it is important that mechanics train on the specific machines they will repair. They can get this training on the job, through dealer or manufacturer’s rep­ resentatives or in a classroom. Other qualifications. Mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity are important for workers in this occupation. Good reading comprehension is also necessary to understand the technical manuals of a wide range of machines. And, good physical conditioning and agility are necessary because re-  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers Industrial machinery mechanics....................................... Maintenance workers, machinery.....................................  soc Code 49-9041 49-9043  Employment, 2006 345.000 261.000 84,000  Projected employment, 2016 368.000 284.000 83,000  Change, 2006-16 Number_____ Percent 23.000 7 24.000 9 -900__________-1  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. ____________________________________________________  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 727  pairers sometimes have to lift heavy objects or climb to reach equipment. Advancement. Opportunities for advancement vary by spe­ cialty. Machinery maintenance workers, if they take classes and gain additional skills, may advance to industrial machin­ ery mechanic or supervisor. Industrial machinery mechanics also advance by working with more complicated equipment and gaining additional repair skills. The most highly skilled repairers can be promoted to supervisor, master mechanic, or millwright.  Employment Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers held about 345,000 jobs in 2006. Of these, 261,000 were held by the more highly skilled industrial machinery mechanics, while machinery maintenance workers accounted for 84,000 jobs. The majority of both types of workers were employed in the manufacturing sector in industries such as food processing and chemical, fabricated metal product, machinery, and motor vehicle and parts manufacturing. Additionally, about 9 per­ cent work in wholesale trade, mostly for dealers of industrial equipment. Manufacturers often rely on these dealers to make complex repairs to specific machines. About 7 percent of me­ chanics work for the commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance industry, often making site visits to companies to repair equipment. Local govern­ ments employ a number of machinery maintenance workers, but few mechanics.  Job Outlook Employment of industrial machinery mechanics and mainte­ nance workers is projected to grow about as fast as average, and job prospects should be favorable for those with a variety of repair skills. Employment change. Employment of industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers is expected to grow 7 percent from 2006 to 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As factories become increasingly automated, these workers will be needed to maintain and repair the auto­ mated equipment. However, many new machines are more re­ liable and capable of self-diagnosis, making repairs easier and quicker and somewhat slowing the growth of repairer jobs. Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers are not as affected by changes in production levels as other manufacturing workers. During slack periods, when some plant workers are laid off, mechanics often are retained to do major overhaul jobs and to keep expensive machinery in working order. In addition, replacing highly skilled and ex­ perienced industrial maintenance workers is quite difficult, which discourages lay-offs. Job prospects. Applicants with broad skills in machine repair and maintenance should have favorable job prospects. Many mechanics are expected to retire in coming years, and employers have reported difficulty in recruiting young work­ ers with the necessary skills to be industrial machinery me­ chanics. In addition to openings from growth, most job open­ ings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  to other occupations or who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of industrial ma­ chinery mechanics were $19.74 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.87 and $24.46. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.84, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $29.85. Machinery maintenance workers earned somewhat less than the higher skilled industrial machinery mechanics. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of machinery maintenance workers were $16.61 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.91 and $21.53. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.29, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.46. Earnings vary by industry and geographic region. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of industrial machinery mechanics are: Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution...................................................................$26.02 Motor vehicle parts manufacturing...................................... 24.97 Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers............................................................................18.94 Plastics product manufacturing.............................................18.79 Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance........... 17.78 About 18 percent of industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers are union members. Labor unions that represent these workers include the United Steelworkers of America; the United Auto Workers; the International Associa­ tion of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the United Broth­ erhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; and the Interna­ tional Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers-Communications Workers of America.  Related Occupations Other occupations that involve repairing and maintaining in­ dustrial machinery include machinists; maintenance and re­ pair workers, general; millwrights; electrical and electronics installers and repairers; electricians; and pipelayers, plumb­ ers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.  Sources of Additional Information Information about employment and apprenticeship opportu­ nities may be obtained from local employers and from local offices of the State employment service. For further informa­ tion on apprenticeship programs, write to the Apprenticeship Council of your State’s labor department or local firms that employ machinery mechanics and repairers. You can also find information on registered apprenticeships, together with links to State apprenticeship programs, on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels__bat Appren­ ticeship information is also available from the U.S. Depart­ ment of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627.  728 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Line Installers and Repairers (0*NET 49-9051.00, 49-9052.00)  Significant Points •  Earnings are higher than in most other occupations that do not require postsecondary education.  •  A growing number of retirements should create very good job opportunities, especially for electrical pow­ er-line installers and repairers.  •  Line installers and repairers often work outdoors, and conditions can be hazardous.  •  Most line installers and repairers require several years of long-term on-the-job training.  Nature of the Work Line installers and repairers work on the vast networks of wires and cables that provide customers with electrical pow­ er and voice, video and data communications services. Elec­ trical power-line installers and repairers, also called line erectors, install and maintain the networks of powerlines that go from generating plants to the customer. Telecommu­ nications line installers and repairers install and repair the lines and cable that provide such services as cable television, telephone service, and the Internet to residential and com­ mercial customers. All line installers construct new lines by erecting utility poles and towers, or digging underground trenches, to carry the wires and cables. They may use a variety of construc­ tion equipment, including digger derricks, trenchers, cable plows, and borers. Digger derricks are trucks equipped with augers and cranes. Workers use augers to dig holes in the ground and use cranes to set utility poles in place. Trenchers and cable plows are used to cut openings in the earth for the laying of underground cables. Borers, which tunnel under the earth, are used to install tubes for the wire without open­ ing a trench in the soil. When construction is complete, line installers string ca­ ble along poles and towers or through tunnels and trenches. While working on poles and towers, installers use truckmounted buckets to elevate themselves to the top of the struc­ ture, but sometimes they have to physically climb the pole or tower. Next, they pull up cable from large reels mounted on trucks, set the line in place, and pull up the slack so that it has the correct amount of tension. Finally, line install­ ers attach the cable securely to the structure using hand and hydraulic tools. When working with electrical powerlines, installers bolt or clamp insulators onto the poles before at­ taching the cable. Underground cable is laid directly in a trench, pulled through a tunnel, or strung through a conduit running through a trench. Other installation duties include setting up service for cus­ tomers and installing network equipment. To set up service, line installers string cable between the customers’ premises and the nearest lines running on poles or towers or in trench­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  es. They connect wiring to houses and check the connection for proper voltage readings. Line installers also may install a variety of network equipment. When setting up telephone and cable television lines, they install amplifiers and repeat­ ers that maintain the strength of communications transmis­ sions. When running electrical powerlines, they install and replace transformers, circuitbreakers, switches, fuses, and other equipment to control and direct the electrical current. In addition to installation, line installers and repairers are responsible for maintenance of electrical, telecommunica­ tions, and cable television lines. Workers periodically travel in trucks, helicopters, and airplanes to visually inspect the wires and cables. Sensitive monitoring equipment can au­ tomatically detect malfunctions on the network, such as loss of current flow. When line repairers identify a problem, they travel to the location of the malfunction and repair or replace defective cables or equipment. Bad weather or natural disasters can cause extensive dam­ age to networks of lines. Line installers and repairers must respond quickly to these emergencies to restore critical util­ ity and communications services. This can often involve working outdoors in adverse weather conditions. Installation and repair work may require splicing, or join­ ing together, separate pieces of cable. Each cable contains numerous individual wires; splicing the cables together re­ quires that each wire in one piece of cable be joined to an­ other wire in the matching piece. Line installers join these wires and the surrounding cables using small hand tools, ep­ oxy (an especially strong glue), or mechanical equipment. At each splice, they place insulation over the conductor and seal the splice with moistureproof covering. At some companies, specialized cable splicing technicians perform splices on larger lines. Telecommunications networks are in the process of replac­ ing older conventional wire or metal cables with new fiber optic cables. Fiber optic cables are made of hair-thin strands of glass, which convey pulses of light. These cables carry much more information at higher speeds than conventional cables. Splicing fiber optic cable requires specialized equip­ ment that carefully slices, matches, and aligns individual  Line installers and repairers wear safety gear to protect them­ selves from electrical current.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 729  glass fibers. The fibers are joined by either electrical fusion (welding) or a mechanical fixture and gel (glue). The work performed by electrical power-line installers and telecommunications line installers and is quite similar, but there are some differences. Working with powerlines requires specialized knowledge of transformers, electrical power distribution systems, and substations. In contrast, working with telecommunications lines requires specialized knowledge of fiber optics and telecommunications switches and routers. Work environment. Line installers and repairers must climb and maintain their balance while working on poles and towers. They lift equipment and work in a variety of positions, such as stooping or kneeling. Their work often requires that they drive utility vehicles, travel long distances, and work outdoors under a variety of weather conditions. Line installers and repairers encounter serious hazards on their jobs and must follow safety procedures to minimize potential danger. They wear safety equipment when enter­ ing utility holes and test for the presence of gas before go­ ing underground. Electric powerline workers have the more hazardous jobs. High-voltage powerlines can instantly elec­ trocute a worker who comes in contact with a live cable, so line installers and repairers must use electrically insulated protective devices and tools when working with such cables. Powerlines are typically higher than telephone and cable television lines, increasing the risk of severe injury due to falls. To prevent these injuries, line installers and repairers must use fall-protection equipment when working on poles or towers. Since line installers and repairers fix damage from storms, they may be asked to work long and irregular hours. They can expect frequently to be on-call and work overtime. When performing normal maintenance and constructing new lines, line installers work more normal hours.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Most line installers and repairers require several years of long-term on-the-job training and some classroom work to become proficient. Formal apprenticeships are common. Education and training. Line installers and repairers usu­ ally need at least a high school diploma. Employers look for people with basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry and good reading and writing skills. Some also prefer to hire people with technical knowledge of electricity or electronics obtained through vocational programs, community colleges, or the Armed Forces. Programs in telecommunications, electronics, or electric­ ity, many of which are operated with assistance from local employers and unions, are offered by many community or technical colleges. Some programs work with local compa­ nies to offer 1-year certificates that emphasize hands-on field work. More advanced 2-year associate degree programs pro­ vide students with a broader knowledge of the technology used in telecommunications and electrical utilities. They of­ fer courses in electricity, electronics, fiber optics, and micro­ wave transmission. Employers often prefer to hire graduates of these programs for line installer and repairer jobs.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Line installers and repairers receive most of their training on the job. Electrical line installers and repairers often must complete formal apprenticeships or other employer training programs. These programs, which can last up to 5 years, combine on-the-job training with formal classroom cours­ es and are sometimes administered jointly by the employer and the union representing the workers. Unions include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Com­ munications Workers of America, and the Utility Workers Union of America. Government safety regulations strictly define the training and education requirements for appren­ tice electrical line installers. Line installers and repairers working for telephone and ca­ ble television companies receive several years of on-the-job training. They also may attend training or take online cours­ es provided by equipment manufacturers, schools, unions, or industry training organizations. Other qualifications. Line installers and repairers must be able to read instructions, write reports, and solve prob­ lems. If they deal directly with customers, they also must have good customer service skills. They should also be me­ chanically inclined and like working with computers and new technology. Physical fitness is important because they must be able to climb, lift heavy objects (many employers require applicants to be able to lift at least 50 pounds), and do other physical ac­ tivity that requires stamina, strength, and coordination. Line installers and repairers often must work at a considerable height above the ground so they cannot be afraid of heights. Normal ability to distinguish colors is necessary because wires and cables may be color-coded. In addition, they of­ ten need a commercial driver’s licenses to operate companyowned vehicles, so a good driving record is important. Certification and advancement. Entry-level line install­ ers may be hired as ground workers, helpers, or tree trim­ mers, who clear branches from telephone and powerlines. These workers may advance to positions stringing cable and performing service installations. With experience, they may advance to more sophisticated maintenance and repair posi­ tions responsible for increasingly larger portions of the net­ work. Promotion to supervisory or training positions also is possible, but more advanced supervisory positions often require a college degree. Advancement for telecommunications line installers is also made easier by earning certifications—formal recogni­ tion by a respected organization of one’s knowledge of cur­ rent technology. The Society of Cable Television Engineers (SCTE), for example, offers certification programs for line installers and repairers employed in the cable television in­ dustry. Candidates for certification can attend training ses­ sions at local SCTE chapters.  Employment Line installers and repairers held about 275,000 jobs in 2006. Approximately 162,000 were telecommunications line installers and repairers; the remainder were electrical power-line installers and repairers. Nearly all line install­ ers and repairers worked for telecommunications companies,  730 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Line installers and repairers.................................................................. Electrical power-line installers and repairers................................ Telecommunications line installers and repairers..........................  Code  '^2™"  Projected  Change, 20°6-16  __________________________________________________________________ 49-9050 275,000 290,000 16,000 6 49-9051 112,000 120,000 8,100 7 49-9052162,000170,0007,5005_  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. ________________________________________ _  including both cable television distribution and telecommu­ nications companies; construction contractors; or electric power generation, transmission, and distribution companies. Approximately 6,100 line installers and repairers were self-employed. Many of these were contractors employed by the telecommunications companies to handle customer service problems and installations.  ers are expected to arise among contracting firms in the con­ struction industry. Job prospects. Very good job opportunities are expected, especially for electrical power-line installers and repairers. A growing number of retirements will create many job open­ ings.  Earnings Job Outlook Employment of line installers and repairers is projected to grow more slowly than average, but retirements are expected to create very good job opportunities for new workers, par­ ticularly for electrical power-line installers. Employment change. Overall employment of line in­ stallers and repairers will grow 6 percent between 2006 and 2016, slower than the average for all occupations. Growth will reflect an increasing demand for electricity and telecom­ munications services as the population grows. However, productivity gains—particularly in maintaining these net­ works—will keep employment growth slow. Employment of telecommunications line installers and re­ pairers will grow more slowly than the average for all occu­ pations. As the population expands, installers will be needed to lay the wiring for new developments and provide new tele­ communications and cable television services. Additionally, old copper wiring will need to be replaced with fiber optic cable, also requiring more installers. The fiber optic lines will allow companies to give customers high-speed access to data, video, and graphics. Fiber optic lines allow for greater amounts of data to be transmitted through the cables at a faster rate. Fiber optic lines are expected to be more reliable in the long run, however, so they will require fewer work­ ers. Growth of wireless communications will also slow job increases for line installers and repairers in the long run. More households are switching to wireless delivery of their communications, video, and data services. Although wire­ less networks use lines to connect cellular towers to central offices, they do not require as many line installers to main­ tain and expand their systems. Satellite television provid­ ers—another major portion of the wireless communications industry—will also reduce demand for wire-based phone, Internet, and cable TV. Employment of electrical power-line installers and repair­ ers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all oc­ cupations. Despite consistently rising demand for electric­ ity, power companies will cut costs by shifting more work to outside contractors and hire fewer installers and repairers. Most new jobs for electrical power-line installers and repair­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings for line installers and repairers are higher than those in most other occupations that do not require postsecondary education. Median hourly earnings for electrical power­ line installers and repairers were $24.41 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $18.73 and $28.90. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13.96, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.20. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of electrical power-line installers and repairers in May 2006 are shown below: Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution..........................................................................$25.90 Wired telecommunications carriers..................................... 24.82 Local government..................................................................23.06 Building equipment contractors ..........................................22.04 Utility system construction ..................................................19.29 Median hourly earnings for telecommunications line in­ stallers and repairers were $22.25 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.56 and $28.40. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.88, and the highest 10 per­ cent earned more than $32.80. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of telecommu­ nications line installers and repairers in May 2006 are shown below: Wired telecommunications carriers .................................. $27.61 Building equipment contractors .......................................... 17.89 Cable and other subscription programming.........................17.72 Cable and other program distribution.................................. 17.45 Utility system construction...................................................15.41 Many line installers and repairers belong to unions, prin­ cipally the Communications Workers of America, the Inter­ national Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Utility Workers Union of America. For these workers, union con­ tracts set wage rates, wage increases, and the time needed to advance from one job level to the next. Good health, education, and vacation benefits are common in the occupation.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 731  Related Occupations Other workers who install and repair electrical and electronic equipment include electricians; power plant operators, dis­ tributors, and dispatchers; and radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.  Sources of Additional Information For more details about employment opportunities, contact the telephone, cable television, or electrical power companies in your community. For general information and educational re­ sources on line installer and repairer jobs, contact: y Communications Workers of America, 501 3rd St.NW., Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.cwa-union.org/jobs y National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center (NJATC), 301 Prince Georges Blvd., Suite D, Upper Marlboro MD 20774. Internet: http://www.njatc.org For information on training and professional certifications for those already employed by cable telecommunications firms, contact: y Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Certification Department, 140 Phillips Rd., Exton, PA 19341­ 1318. Internet: http://www.scte.org  Maintenance and Repair Workers, General (0*NET 49-9042.00)  Significant Points •  General maintenance and repair workers are employed in almost every industry.  •  Many workers learn their skills informally on the job.  •  Job growth and turnover in this large occupation should result in excellent job opportunities, especially for people with experience in maintenance and related fields.  adjustments in building settings and monitor for problems from a central location. For example, they can remotely con­ trol light sensors that turn off lights automatically after a set amount of time or identify a broken ventilation fan that needs to be replaced. General maintenance and repair workers inspect and diag­ nose problems and determine the best way to correct them, frequently checking blueprints, repair manuals, and parts cat­ alogs. They obtain supplies and repair parts from distributors or storerooms. Using common hand and power tools such as screwdrivers, saws, drills, wrenches, and hammers, as well as specialized equipment and electronic testing devices, these workers replace or fix worn or broken parts, where necessary, or make adjustments to correct malfunctioning equipment and machines. General maintenance and repair workers also perform rou­ tine preventive maintenance and ensure that machines contin­ ue to run smoothly, building systems operate efficiently, and the physical condition of buildings does not deteriorate. Fol­ lowing a checklist, they may inspect drives, motors, and belts, check fluid levels, replace filters, and perform other mainte­ nance actions. Maintenance and repair workers keep records of their work. Employees in small establishments, where they are often the only maintenance worker, make all repairs, except for very large or difficult jobs. In larger establishments, duties may be limited to the maintenance of everything in a workshop or a particular area. Work environment. General maintenance and repair work­ ers often carry out several different tasks in a single day, at any number of locations. They may work inside a single building or in several different buildings. They may have to stand for long periods, lift heavy objects, and work in uncomfortably hot or cold environments, in awkward and cramped positions, or on ladders. Those employed in small establishments often work with only limited supervision. Those in larger establish­ ments frequently work under the direct supervision of an ex­ perienced worker. Some tasks put workers at risk of electrical shock, burns, falls, cuts, and bruises.  Nature of the Work Most craft workers specialize in one kind of work, such as plumbing or carpentry. General maintenance and repair work­ ers, however, have skills in many different crafts. They repair and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems. They build partitions, make plaster or drywall repairs, and fix or paint roofs, windows, doors, floors, woodwork, and other parts of building structures. They also maintain and repair specialized equipment and machinery found in cafeterias, laundries, hospitals, stores, offices, and factories. Typical duties include troubleshooting and fixing faulty electrical switches, repairing air-conditioning motors, and un­ clogging drains. New buildings sometimes have computercontrolled systems that allow maintenance workers to make   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  General maintenance and repair workers inspect, diagnose problems, and determine the best way to correct them.  732 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Maintenance and repair workers, general.....................................  soc  Code  49-9042  Employment,  2006 1,391,000  Projected employment,  2016 1,531,000  Change,  2006-16  Number  Percent  140,000  10  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  Most general maintenance workers work a 40-hour week. Some work evening, night, or weekend shifts or are on call for emergency repairs.  become craftworkers such as electricians, heating and air-conditioning mechanics, or plumbers. Within small organizations, promotion opportunities may be limited.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Employment  Many general maintenance and repair workers learn their skills informally on the job as helpers to other repairers or to carpen­ ters, electricians, and other construction workers. Education and training. General maintenance and repair workers often learn their skills informally on the job. They start as helpers, watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers. Helpers begin by doing simple jobs, such as fixing leaky faucets and replacing light bulbs, and progress to more difficult tasks, such as overhauling machinery or building walls. Some leam their skills by working as helpers to other types of repair or construction workers, including machinery repairers, carpenters, or electricians. Several months of on-the-job training are required to become fully qualified, depending on the skill level required. Some jobs require a year or more to become fully qualified. Because a growing number of new buildings rely on computers to control their systems, general maintenance and repair workers may need basic computer skills, such as how to log onto a central comput­ er system and navigate through a series of menus. Companies that install computer-controlled equipment usually provide on­ site training for general maintenance and repair workers. Many employers prefer to hire high school graduates. High school courses in mechanical drawing, electricity, woodwork­ ing, blueprint reading, science, mathematics, and computers are useful. Because of the wide variety of tasks performed by maintenance and repair workers, technical education is an im­ portant part of their training. Maintenance and repair workers often need to do work that involves electrical, plumbing, and heating and air- conditioning systems, or painting and roofing tasks. Although these basic tasks may not require a license to do the work, a good working knowledge of many repair and maintenance tasks is required. Many maintenance and repair workers leam some of these skills in high school shop classes and postsecondary trade or vocational schools or community colleges. Licensure. Licensing requirements vary by State and local­ ity. In some cases, workers may need to be licensed in a par­ ticular specialty such as electrical or plumbing work. Other qualifications. Mechanical aptitude, the ability to use shop mathematics, and manual dexterity are important. Good health is necessary because the job involves much walking, standing, reaching, and heavy lifting. Difficult jobs require problem-solving ability, and many positions require the ability to work without direct supervision. Advancement. Many general maintenance and repair work­ ers in large organizations advance to maintenance supervisor or  General maintenance and repair workers held 1.4 million jobs in 2006. They were employed in almost every industry. Around 19 percent worked in manufacturing industries, almost evenly distributed through all sectors, while about 10 percent worked for Federal, State, and local governments. Others worked for wholesale and retail firms and for real estate firms that operate office and apartment buildings.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job Outlook Average employment growth is expected. Job growth and the need to replace those who leave this large occupation should result in excellent job opportunities, especially for those with experience in maintenance and related fields. Employment change. Employment of general maintenance and repair workers is expected to grow 10 percent during the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment is related to the number of buildings—for exam­ ple, office and apartment buildings, stores, schools, hospitals, hotels, and factories—and the amount of equipment needing maintenance and repair. One factor limiting job growth is that computers allow buildings to be monitored more efficiently, partially reducing the need for workers. Job prospects. Job opportunities should be excellent, espe­ cially for those with experience in maintenance or related fields. General maintenance and repair is a large occupation, generat­ ing many job openings due to growth and the need to replace those who leave the occupation. Many job openings are ex­ pected to result from the retirement of experienced maintenance workers over the next decade.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of general maintenance and repair work­ ers were $15.34 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.66 and $19.90. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.20, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.44. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the larg­ est numbers of general maintenance and repair workers in May 2006 are shown in the following tabulation: Local government................................................................. $15.85 Elementary and secondary schools..........................................15.76 Activities related to real estate.................................................13.44 Lessors of real estate................................................................13.06 Traveler accommodation..........................................................11.76  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 733  Some general maintenance and repair workers are members of unions including the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the United Auto Workers.  Related Occupations Some duties of general maintenance and repair workers are similar to those of carpenters; pipelayers, plumbers, pipefit­ ters, and steamfitters; electricians; and heating, air-condition­ ing, and refrigeration mechanics. Other duties are similar to those of coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers; electrical and electronics installers and repairers; electronic home entertainment equipment installers and re­ pairers; and radio and telecommunications equipment install­ ers and repairers.  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities may be obtained from lo­ cal employers and local offices of the State. For information related to maintenance managers contact: y International Maintenance Institute, P.O. Box 751896, Houston, TX 77275-1896. Internet: http ://www.imionline.org  Millwrights (0*NET 49-9044.00)  Significant Points •  Millwrights usually train in 4-year to 5-year appren­ ticeships; some learn through community college programs coupled with informal paid on-the-job training.  •  Despite projected slower-than-average employment growth, well-qualified applicants should have excel­ lent job opportunities.  •  About 50 percent of millwrights belong to labor unions, one of the highest rates of membership in the economy.  tion. As a result, they must know how to read blueprints and to work with a variety of building materials. When the new machine arrives, millwrights unload, inspect, and move the equipment into position. To lift and move light machinery, millwrights use rigging and hoisting devices, such as pulleys and cables. With heavier equipment, they may use hydraulic-lift trucks or cranes. Lifting such heavy equipment requires millwrights to understand the load properties of ca­ bles, ropes, hoists, and cranes. Parts of power plant turbines and other machinery can weigh more than 100 tons and must be precisely positioned; even nuts and bolts can weigh a few hundred pounds each and require a crane to move. Next, millwrights assemble the machinery. They fit bear­ ings, align gears and wheels, attach motors, and connect belts, according to the manufacturer’s blueprints and drawings. Pre­ cision leveling and alignment are important in the assembly process, so millwrights measure angles, material thickness, and small distances with calipers, squares, micrometers, and other tools. When a high level of precision is required, they use devices such as lasers and ultrasonic measuring and align­ ment tools. Millwrights also work with hand and power tools, such as cutting torches, welding machines, hydraulic torque wrenches, hydraulic stud tensioners, soldering guns, and with metalworking equipment, including lathes and grinding ma­ chines. In addition to installing and dismantling machinery, many millwrights work with industrial mechanics and maintenance workers to repair and maintain equipment. This includes pre­ ventive maintenance, such as lubrication and fixing or replac­ ing worn parts. If a spare part is unavailable, a millwright may use a lathe or other machine tool to cut a new part. (For fur­ ther information on machinery maintenance, see the section on industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Increasingly sophisticated automation means more compli­ cated machines for millwrights to install and maintain, requir­ ing millwrights to specialize in certain machines or machine brands. For example, some millwrights specialize in install­ ing and maintaining turbines in power plants that can weigh hundreds of tons and contain thousands of parts. This ma­ chinery requires special care and knowledge, so millwrights  Nature of the Work Millwrights install, replace, dismantle, and repair machinery and heavy equipment used in power generation, including wind power, hydroelectric damns, and natural gas turbines, and in manufacturing plants, construction sites, and mining operations. The development of new technologies requires millwrights to work with new industry-specific and highly complex precision machines. Some of these machines have tolerances smaller than the width of a human hair. The millwright’s responsibilities begin before a new piece of machinery arrives at the jobsite. Millwrights consult with production managers, industrial engineers, and others to de­ termine the optimal placement of the machine in the plant. Some equipment, such as a metal forging press, is so heavy that it must be placed on a new foundation. Millwrights either prepare the foundation themselves or supervise its construc­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  rdsii  f  v  _ db i  lI 7 If  > Wfcrf  . i■■ • *  y  ■( • ' m  T  Millwrights repair complex industrial machinery.  734 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Millwrights........................................................ .....................................  soc Code 49-9044  Employment, 2006 55,000  Projected employment, 2016 58,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 3,200 6  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. _______________________________________________  receive additional training and are required to be certified by the turbine manufacturer. Work environment. Millwrights in manufacturing often work in a machine shop and use protective equipment, such as safety belts, protective glasses, and hardhats, to avoid in­ juries from falling objects or machinery. Those employed in construction may work outdoors in difficult weather condi­ tions. Millwrights at construction sites may travel long distances to worksites. For example, millwrights who specialize in turbine installation travel to wherever new power plants are being built. Advanced equipment, such as hydraulic wrenches and hy­ draulic stud tensioners, have made the work safer and elim­ inated the need for millwrights to use sledge hammers to pound bolts into position. Other equipment has reduced the strenuous tasks that caused injuries in the past. Millwrights work independently or as part of a team. Be­ cause disabled machinery costs time and money, many mill­ wrights work overtime and some work in shifts; about 39 percent of millwrights report working more than 40 hours during a typical week. During power outages or other emer­ gencies, millwrights often work overtime.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Millwrights usually train in 4-year to 5-year apprenticeships that combine paid on-the-job training with classroom in­ struction. Some learn through community college programs coupled with informal paid on-the-job training. Education and training. Employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent and some vocational training or experience. Courses in science, mathematics, mechanical drawing, computers, and machine shop practice are useful. Once hired, millwrights are trained through 4-year to 5-year apprenticeship programs that combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, or through community college programs coupled with informal on-the-job training. Apprenticeships include training in dismantling, moving, erecting, and repairing machinery. Trainees also might learn carpentry, welding, use of concrete, sheet-metal work, and other skills related to installation and repair. Millwright apprentices often attend about 1 week of classes every 3 months. Classroom instruction covers mathematics, blue­ print reading, hydraulics, vibration analysis, conveyor sys­ tems, electricity, computers, electronics, machining, and in­ struction in specific machinery. Millwrights are expected to keep their skills up-to-date and may need additional training on technological advances, such as laser shaft alignment.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Other qualifications. Because millwrights assemble and disassemble complicated machinery, mechanical aptitude is very important. Strength and agility also are necessary for lifting and climbing. Millwrights need good interpersonal and communication skills to work as part of a team and to effectively give detailed instructions to others. Advancement. Advancement for millwrights usually takes the form of higher wages. Some advance to the position of supervisor or superintendent; others may become self-em­ ployed contractors.  Employment Millwrights held about 55,000 jobs in 2006. About half work in manufacturing, primarily in industries such as transporta­ tion equipment manufacturing and primary metals manu­ facturing. About 40 percent of millwrights are employed in construction, where most work for contracting firms that as­ semble and maintain machinery and equipment for the man­ ufacturing and utility industries, among others. Although millwrights work in every State, employment is concentrated in heavily industrialized areas.  Job Outlook Employment of millwrights is projected to grow more slow­ ly than average. Opportunities for well-qualified applicants should be excellent, however, as many experienced mill­ wrights retire. Employment change. Employment of millwrights is pro­ jected to grow 6 percent during the 2006-16 decade, slower than the average for all occupations. To remain competitive in coming years, firms will continue to need millwrights to dismantle old equipment and install new high-technology machinery. Highly automated systems that are installed and maintained by millwrights often allow manufacturing com­ panies to remain competitive with producers in lower-wage countries. Warehouse and distribution companies also are deploying highly automated conveyor systems, which are as­ sembled and maintained by millwrights. In addition, growth in both power generation, including wind power and turbines for natural gas and coal plants, and oil and gas extraction and refining will help drive employment growth. Employment growth will be dampened somewhat by for­ eign competition in manufacturing. In addition, the demand for millwrights will be adversely affected as other workers, such as industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers, assume some installation and maintenance duties. Job prospects. The large number of expected retirements and the difficulty of recruiting new workers will create ex­ cellent job opportunities for well-qualified applicants. Job prospects should be especially good for those who have ex­ perience in machining, welding, or doing mechanical work.  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 735  Employment prospects for millwrights are better than for some other manufacturing workers because they work across a wide range of industries, including power generation, paper mills, mining, and motor vehicle parts manufacturing. When a downturn occurs in one industry, millwrights can more eas­ ily switch to another industry. There will always be a need to maintain and repair existing machinery, dismantle old ma­ chinery, and install new equipment.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of millwrights were $21.94 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $17.13 and $29.42. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13.84, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34.39. Earnings vary by industry and geographic location. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of millwrights were: Pulp, paper, and paperboard mills........................................$25.43 Iron and steel mills and ferroalloy manufacturing............... 20.91 Nonresidential building construction.................................... 20.34 Building equipment contractors............................................. 19.67 Sawmills and wood preservation........................................... 17.55 About 50 percent of millwrights belong to labor unions, one of the highest rates of membership in the economy.  Related Occupations Other workers who install and maintain manufacturing equip­ ment include industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers; tool and die makers; aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and service technicians; structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers; boilermakers; and assemblers and fabricators. Millwrights also machine parts and operate com­ puter-controlled machine tools as do machinists and computer control programmers and operators. Millwrights often use welding and soldering to assemble and repair machines as do welding, soldering, and brazing workers.  Sources of Additional Information For further information on apprenticeship programs, write to the Apprenticeship Council of your State’s labor department, local offices of your State employment service, or local firms that employ millwrights. You can also find information on the registered apprenticeships, together with links to State apprenticeship programs, on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s tollfree helpline: (877) 872-5627. In addition, you may contact: Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Dept., 4250 N. Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Internet: http://www.trytools.org y United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 6801 Placid St., Las Vegas, NV 89119. Internet: http://www.ubcmillwrights.org   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Precision Instrument and Equipment Repairers (0*NET 49-9061.00, 49-9062.00, 49-9063.00,49-9064.00, 49-9069.99)  Significant Points  •  •  •  Training requirements include a high school diploma and, in most cases, postsecondary education, coupled with significant on-the-job training. Overall employment is expected to grow about as fast as average, and good opportunities are expected for most types of jobs. About 1 out of 6 are self-employed.  Nature of the Work Repairing and maintaining watches, cameras, musical instru­ ments, medical equipment, and other precision instruments re­ quires a high level of skill and attention to detail. Some devices contain tiny gears that must be manufactured to within one onehundredth of a millimeter of design specifications, and other devices contain sophisticated electronic controls. Job descrip­ tions vary greatly, depending on the type of instrument being repaired. Camera and photographic equipment repairers fix broken cameras and other optical devices. The repairer must first de­ termine whether a repair should be attempted, because many inexpensive cameras cost more to repair than to replace. The most complicated or expensive repairs are usually referred back to the manufacturer or to a large repair center. If the repairer decides to proceed with the job, the problem must be diagnosed, often by disassembling numerous small parts in order to reach the source. The defective parts are then replaced or repaired. Many problems are caused by the electronic circuits used in cameras, and fixing these circuits requires an understanding of electronics. Camera repairers also maintain cameras by remov­ ing and replacing broken or worn parts and cleaning and lu­ bricating gears and springs. Because many of the components involved are extremely small, repairers must have a great deal of manual dexterity. Frequently, older camera parts are no lon­ ger available, requiring repairers to build replacement parts or to strip junked cameras. When machining new parts, workers often use a small lathe, a grinding wheel, and other metalwork­ ing tools. Repairs on digital cameras are similar to those on conven­ tional cameras, but because digital cameras have no film to wind, they have fewer moving parts. Digital cameras rely on software, so any repair to the lens requires that it be calibrated with the use of software and by connecting the camera to a per­ sonal computer. Because digital cameras are generally more expensive and more widely used than film cameras, they are quickly becoming the most important source of business for camera repairers. Watch and clock repairers work almost exclusively on expen­ sive and antique timepieces, because moderately priced time-  736 Occupational Outlook Handbook  ;■ m '. Si  ssMm. m  bjjjljgjg Watch repairers must work with very small, sensitive parts. pieces are cheaper to replace than to repair. Electrically pow­ ered clocks and quartz watches and clocks function with almost no moving parts, limiting necessary maintenance to replacing the battery. Many expensive timepieces still employ old-style mechanical movements and a manual or automatic winding mechanism. This type of timepiece must be regularly adjusted and maintained. Repair and maintenance work on a mechanical timepiece requires using hand tools to disassemble many fine gears and components. Each part is inspected for signs of wear. Some gears or springs may need to be replaced or machined. Exterior portions of the watch may require polishing and buff­ ing. Specialized machines are used to clean all of the parts with ultrasonic waves and a series of baths in cleaning agents. Reas­ sembling a watch often requires lubricating key parts. As with older cameras, replacement parts are frequently un­ available for antique watches or clocks. In such cases, watch repairers must machine their own parts. They employ small lathes and other machines in creating tiny parts. Musical instrument repairers and tuners combine their love of music with a highly skilled craft. These artisans, often re­ ferred to as technicians, work in four specialties: Band instru­ ments, pianos and organs, orchestral string instruments, and guitars. (Repairers and tuners who work on electronic organs are discussed in the Handbook statement on electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers.) Band instrument repairers, brass and wind instrument repair­ ers, and percussion instrument repairers focus on woodwind, brass, reed, and percussion instruments damaged through de­ terioration or by accident. In most cases, the problem with the instrument will be clear, but in some cases the repairers must diagnose the issue. They may unscrew and remove rod pins, keys, worn cork pads, and pistons and remove soldered parts by means of gas torches. Using filling techniques or a mallet, they repair dents in metal and wood. They also use gas torches,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  grinding wheels, lathes, shears, mallets, and small hand tools and, are skilled in metalworking and woodworking. Violin and guitar repairers adjust and repair stringed instru­ ments. Some repairers work on both stringed and band instru­ ments. Initially, repairers play and inspect the instrument to find any defects. They replace or repair cracked or broken sec­ tions and damaged parts. They also restring the instruments and repair damage to their finish. Because the specifications of all types of instruments vary greatly, custom parts machining is considered an essential skill. Piano tuners and repairers use different techniques, skills, and tools. Most workers in this group are tuners; only a few workers in this occupation specialize in refurbishing older pia­ nos. Tuning involves tightening and loosening different strings to achieve the proper tone or pitch. Pitch matching is usually done by ear—an experienced tuner can compare the sound of a pitch with a tuning fork, and then with other pitches on the pi­ ano to make sure it is tuned properly. Tuners must make house calls, as piano tuning is sensitive to movement and most pianos cannot be transported easily. Some repairers specialize in re­ storing older pianos. Restoration is complicated work, often involving replacing many of the parts, which number more than 12,000 in some pianos. With proper maintenance and restora­ tion, pianos often survive more than 100 years. Pipe organ repairers do work similar to that of piano repair­ ers, but with organ pipes rather than piano strings. Tuning pipe organs is very complicated, as most organs have thousands of pipes, and different pipes are tuned in different ways. Addi­ tionally, many repairers assemble new organs or expand organs with new ranks of pipes. Even with repairers working in teams or with assistants, organ maintenance can take several weeks or even months, depending upon the size of the organ. Medical equipment repairers, also known as biomedical equipment technicians, maintain, adjust, calibrate, and repair electronic, electromechanical, and hydraulic equipment used in hospitals and other medical environments. They use various tools, including multimeters, specialized software, and comput­ ers designed to communicate with specific pieces of hardware. These repairers use hand tools, soldering irons, and other elec­ tronic tools to repair and adjust equipment. Among the tools they use is equipment designed to simulate water or air pressure. Faulty circuit boards and other parts are normally removed and replaced. Medical equipment repairers must maintain careful, detailed logs of all maintenance and repair that they perform on each piece of equipment. Medical equipment repairers work on medical equipment such as defibrillators, heart monitors, medical imaging equip­ ment (x-rays, CAT scanners, and ultrasound equipment), voicecontrolled operating tables, and electric wheelchairs. Because most equipment repairs take place within a hospital, medical equipment repairers must be comfortable working around pa­ tients. In some cases, repairs may take place while equipment is being used. When this is the case, the repairer must take great care to make sure that repairs do not disturb the patient. Other precision instrument and equipment repairers service, repair, and replace a wide range of equipment associated with automated or instrument-controlled manufacturing processes. For most of these repairers, the emphasis is on determining  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 737  the problem and how to best approach the solution. In many cases, replacement is preferable to repair, since precision parts are often very sensitive and may cost more to repair than re­ place. Replacement parts are not always available, so repair­ ers sometimes machine or fabricate new parts. Repairers may also be responsible for preventive maintenance and calibration, which involves regular lubrication, cleaning, and adjustment of many measuring devices. Increasingly, it also involves solving computer software problems as more control devices, such as valves, are controlled by software. To adjust a control device, a technician may need to connect a laptop computer to the control device’s computer and make adjustments through changes to the software commands. Work environment. Camera, watch, and musical instrument repairers work under fairly similar solitary, low-stress condi­ tions with minimal supervision. A quiet, well-lit workshop or repair shop is typical. Piano and organ tuners must travel to the instruments being repaired. Often, these workers can adjust their schedules, allowing for second jobs as needed. Musical instrument repairer jobs are attractive to many professional mu­ sicians and retirees because the flexible hours common to repair work allow these individuals time for other pursuits. Medical equipment and other precision instrument and equipment repairers normally work daytime hours, but are of­ ten expected to be on call. Still, like other hospital and fac­ tory employees, some repairers work irregular hours. Medical equipment repairers must work in a patient environment, which has the potential to expose them to diseases and other health risks, but occupational injuries are relatively uncommon. Precision instrument repairers work under a wide array of conditions, from hot, dirty, noisy factories, to air-conditioned workshops, to the outdoors on fieldwork. Attention to safety is essential, as the work sometimes involves dangerous machin­ ery, toxic chemicals, or radiation. Due to the individualized nature of the work, supervision is fairly minimal.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement For most precision equipment repairers, the most significant source of postsecondary education is on-the-job training. Even in positions where an associate or bachelor’s degree is required, an internship or apprenticeship is generally required before a technician is fully qualified. In some cases, learning these trades can take as many as seven years. Education and training. Most employers require at least a high school diploma for beginning precision instrument and equipment repairers. Many employers prefer applicants with some postsecondary education. The educational background required for camera and pho­ tographic equipment repairers varies, but some knowledge of electronics is necessary. Some workers complete postsecond­ ary training, such as an associate degree, in electronics. The job requires the ability to read electronic schematic diagrams and comprehend other technical information, in addition to manual dexterity. New employees are trained on the job in two stages over about a year. First, they learn to repair a single product over a couple of weeks. Then, they learn to repair other prod­ ucts and refine their skills for 6 to 12 months while working under the close supervision of an experienced repairer. Finally,   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  repairers continually teach themselves through studying manu­ als and attending manufacturer-sponsored seminars on the spe­ cifics of new models. Training also varies for watch and clock repairers. Several associations, including the American Watchmakers-CIockmakers Institute and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, offer certifications. Some certifications can be completed in a few months; others require simply passing an examination; the most demanding certifications require 3,000 hours, taken over 2 years, of classroom time in technical insti­ tutes or colleges. Those who have earned the most demanding certifications are usually the most sought-after by employers. Clock repairers generally require less training than do watch re­ pairers, because watches have smaller components and require greater precision. Some repairers opt to learn through assisting a master watch repairer. Nevertheless, developing proficiency in watch or clock repair requires several years of education and experience. For musical instrument repairers and tuners, employers prefer individuals with post-high school training in music repair tech­ nology. According to a Piano Technicians Guild membership survey, the overwhelming majority of respondents had at least some college education; most had a bachelor’s or higher degree, although not always in music repair technology. Almost all re­ pairers have a strong musical background; many are musicians themselves. Also, a basic ability to play the instruments being repaired is normally required. Courses in instrument repair are offered only at a few technical schools and colleges. Corre­ spondence courses are common for piano tuners. Graduates of these programs normally receive additional training on the job, working with an experienced repairer. Many musical in­ strument repairers and tuners begin learning their trade on the job as assistants or apprentices. Trainees perform a variety of tasks around the shop. Full qualification usually requires 2 to 5 years of training and practice. Musical instrument repair and tuning requires good manual dexterity, a strong sense of pitch, and good hand-eye coordination. Medical equipment repairers’ training includes on-the-job training, manufacturer training classes, and associate degree programs. While an associate degree in electronics or medi­ cal technology is normally required, training varies by spe­ cialty. For those with a background in electronics, on-the-job training is more common for workers repairing less electroni­ cally sophisticated equipment, such as hospital beds or electric wheelchairs. An associate or even a bachelor’s degree, often in medical technology or engineering, and a passing grade on a certification exam is likely to be required of persons repairing more complicated equipment, such as CAT scanners and defi­ brillators. Many repairers are trained in the military. New re­ pairers begin by observing and assisting an experienced worker over a period of 3 to 6 months, learning a single piece of equip­ ment at a time. Gradually, they begin working independently, while still under close supervision. Biomedical equipment re­ pairers are constantly learning new technologies and equipment through seminars, self-study, and certification exams. Educational requirements for other precision instrument and equipment repair jobs also vary, but include a high school diplo­ ma, with a focus on mathematics and science courses. Because  738 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Precision instrument and equipment repairers............................... .... Camera and photographic equipment repairers............................. Medical equipment repairers........................................................ .... Musical instrument repairers and tuners......................................... Watch repairers............................................................................. .... Precision instrument and equipment repairers, all other........... ....  soc  Code 49-9060 49-9061 49-9062 49-9063 49-9064 49-9069  Employment, 2006 68,000 4,400 38,000 6,000 3,800 16,000  Projected employment, 2016 77,000 4,300 46,000 6,200 3,600 17,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 8,700 13 -100 -2 8,200 22 200 3 -200 -5 700 4  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.  repairers need to understand blueprints, electrical schematic diagrams, and electrical, hydraulic, and electromechanical systems, most employers require an associate or sometimes a bachelor’s degree in instrumentation and control, electronics, or a related engineering field. In addition to formal education, a year or two of on-the-job training is required before a repairer is considered fully qualified. Many instrument and equipment repairers begin by working in a factory in another capacity, such as repairing electrical equipment. As companies seek to im­ prove efficiency, other types of repair workers are trained to repair precision measuring equipment. Certification and other qualifications. Much training takes place on the job. The ability to read and understand techni­ cal manuals is important. Necessary physical qualities include good fine-motor skills and acute vision. Those working with musical instruments must also have good hearing. Also, pre­ cision equipment repairers must be able to pay close atten­ tion to details, enjoy problem solving, and have the desire to disassemble machines to see how they work. Most precision equipment repairers must be able to work alone with minimal supervision. Because many precision instrument and equipment repair­ ers are self-employed, they must also have business skills. Al­ though business most often comes from word-of-mouth adver­ tising, repairers must nevertheless work to establish themselves in the industry. Further, they must manage their business op­ erations, which may mean purchasing insurance and managing their own accounting. Although most of the positions in this field do not require certification, it may be helpful in finding a job or demonstrating competency to prospective clients. There are several certifica­ tions possible in this diverse group of repairers. Information on various certifications is available from the sources of additional information at the end of the statement. Advancement. Advancement opportunities vary greatly among precision instrument and equipment repairers. For self-employed repairers, advancement may mean the ability to charge more for their services. For workers who are employed by firms, supervisory opportunities are available. In both cases, an experienced worker may become a mentor to someone who is new to the field. Employment Precision instrument and equipment repairers held 68,000 jobs in 2006. Employment was distributed among the detailed oc­ cupations as follows:  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Medical equipment repairers................................................. 38,000 Musical instrument repairers and tuners.................................6,000 Camera and photographic equipment repairers......................4,400 Watch repairers........................................................................3,800 Precision instrument and equipment repairers, all other...... 16,000 Medical equipment repairers often work for hospitals or wholesale equipment suppliers, while those in the occupation titled “all other precision instrument repairers” frequently work for manufacturing companies and wholesalers of durable goods. About 1 out of 6 precision instrument and equipment repairers was self-employed—most are proprietors of jewelry, camera, medical equipment, or music repair services.  Job Outlook Good opportunities are expected for most types of precision instrument and equipment repairer jobs. Overall employment growth is projected to be about as fast as the average for all oc­ cupations over the 2006-16 period; however, projected growth varies by detailed occupation. Employment change. Projected employment growth for precision instrument and equipment repairers varies greatly by specialty. Employment of camera and photographic equipment repair­ ers is projected to decline by about 2 percent between 2006 and 2016, and employment of watch repairers is projected to decline 5 percent over the same period. These occupations are in decline primarily because the products they service are often less expensive to replace than to repair. Most of the workers who remain in this industry will specialize in repair of expen­ sive watches and cameras, as well as antiques. Over the same time period, the employment of musical in­ strument repairers and tuners is projected to increase 3 percent, which is slower than average. Band and orchestra programs in high schools continue to provide most of the business for these workers, and they have been declining for several years. With fewer new musicians, there will be a slump in instrument rent­ als, purchases, and repairs. In the meantime, however, there continues to be a demand for these services, and new opportuni­ ties should continue to arise as the population grows. The medical equipment repairer occupation is projected to in­ crease 22 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations, as a result of increased demand for medical services and increasing complexity of the equipment used in hospitals and clinics. Opportunities should be increasingly good for those who have a strong understanding  Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 739  of software and electronics, as many new medical devices are increasingly reliant on computers. Over the same time period, employment of other precision instrument and equipment repairers is projected to increase 4 percent, more slowly than average, as most of them work in de­ clining manufacturing industries. Nevertheless, these workers can expect to play an increasingly large role in those industries, as automation continues to dominate modern manufacturing. Job prospects. Despite varying levels of growth in the vari­ ous occupations, almost all workers in these fields can expect good job prospects over the next decade. As the baby boomer generation nears retirement, many skilled workers in these oc­ cupations are expected to leave the workforce. Additionally, many technical schools and other programs offering courses in these occupations have closed, leading to a shortage of qualified workers. Individuals with strong apprenticeships or internships should have the best prospects as instrumentation continues to become more complex and requires ever greater skill to repair.  Earnings The following tabulation shows median annual earnings for various precision instrument and equipment repairers in May 2006: Medical equipment repairers............................................... $40,580 Camera and photographic equipment repairers....................34,850 Watch repairers......................................................................30,900 Musical instrument repairers and tuners...............................29,200 Precision instrument and equipment repairers, all other...... 46,250 Earnings ranged from less than $16,230 for the lowest 10 per­ cent of musical instrument repairers and tuners to more than $69,280 for the highest 10 percent in the occupation all other precision instrument and equipment repairers in May 2006. Earnings within the different occupations vary significant­ ly, depending upon skill levels. For example, a lesser skilled watch and clock repairer may simply change batteries and re­ place worn wrist straps, while a highly skilled watch and clock repairer with years of training and experience may rebuild and replace worn parts.  Related Occupations Many precision instrument and equipment repairers work with precision mechanical and electronic equipment. Other work­ ers who repair precision mechanical and electronic equipment   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  include computer, automated teller, and office machine repair­ ers and coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers. Other workers who make precision items include medical, dental, and ophthalmic laboratory technicians. Some precision instrument and equipment repairers work with a wide array of industrial equipment. Their work environment and re­ sponsibilities are similar to those of industrial machinery me­ chanics and maintenance workers. Much of the work of watch repairers is similar to that of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers. Camera repairers’ work is similar to that of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repair­ ers; both occupations work with consumer electronics that are based around a circuit board, but that also involve numerous moving mechanical parts.  Sources of Additional Information For information on musical instrument repair, including schools offering training, contact: y National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT), P.O. Box 51, Normal, IL 61761. Internet: http://www.napbirt.org For additional information on piano tuning and repair work, contact: y Piano Technicians Guild, 4444 Forest Ave., Kansas City, KS 66106. Internet: http://www.ptg.org For information about training, mentoring programs, em­ ployers, and schools with programs in precision instrumenta­ tion, automation, and control, contact: y ISA-The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society, 67 Alexander Dr, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Internet: http://www.isa.org For information about watch and clock repair and a list of schools with related programs of study, contact: y American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWI), 701 Enterprise Dr., Harrison, OH 45030-1696. Internet: http://www.awi-net.org y National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, 514 Poplar St., Columbia, PA 17512-2130. Internet: http://www.nawcc.org For information about medical equipment technicians and a list of schools with related programs of study, contact: y Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), 1110 North Glebe Rd., Suite 220, Arlington, VA 22201-4795. Internet: http://www.aami.org  Production Occupations Assemblers and Fabricators (0*NET 51-2011.00, 51-2021.00, 51-2022.00, 51-2023.00, 51-2031.00, 51-2041.00, 51-2091.00, 51-2092.00, 51-2093.00, 51-2099.99) Significant Points •  Most assemblers work on teams, making good com­ munication skills and the ability to get along with oth­ ers important.  •  A high school diploma is sufficient for most jobs, but experience and extra training is needed for more ad­ vanced assembly work.  •  Employment is projected to decline slowly.  •  Job opportunities are expected to be good for qualified applicants in the manufacturing sector, particularly in jobs needing more training.  Nature of the Work Assemblers and fabricators play an important role in the manu­ facturing process. They assemble both finished products and the pieces that go into them. The products they assemble using tools, machines, and their hands range from entire airplanes to intricate timing devices. They fabricate and assemble household appli­ ances, automobiles and automobile engines and parts, comput­ ers, electronic devices, and more. Changes in technology have transformed the manufacturing and assembly process. Automated manufacturing systems now use robots, computers, programmable motion control devices, and various sensing technologies. These systems change the way in which goods are made and affect the jobs of those who make them. The more advanced assemblers must be able to work with these new technologies and use them to produce goods. The job of an assembler or fabricator ranges from very easy to very complicated, requiring a range of knowledge and skills. Skilled assemblers putting together complex machines, for ex­ ample, begin by reading detailed schematics or blueprints that show how to assemble the machine. After determining how parts should connect, they use hand or power tools to trim, shim, cut, and make other adjustments to fit components together and align properly. Once the parts are properly aligned, they connect them with bolts and screws or by welding or soldering pieces togeth­ er. Careful quality control is important throughout the assembly process, so assemblers look for faulty components and mistakes in the assembly process. They help to fix problems before more defective products are produced. Manufacturing techniques are evolving away from traditional assembly line systems toward “lean” manufacturing systems, which are causing the nature of assemblers’ work to change. 740   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Lean manufacturing uses teams of workers to produce entire products or components. Team assemblers may still work on an assembly line, but they rotate through different tasks, rather than specializing in a single task. The team also may decide how the work is assigned and how different tasks are performed. This worker flexibility helps companies cover for absent workers, im­ proves productivity, and increases companies’ ability to respond to changes in demand by shifting labor from one product line to another. For example, if demand for a product drops, companies may reduce the total number of workers producing it, asking the remaining workers to perform more stages of the assembly pro­ cess. Some aspects of lean production, such as rotating tasks and seeking worker input on improving the assembly process, are common to all assembly and fabrication occupations. Although more than half of all assemblers and fabricators are classified as “team assemblers,” others specialize in producing one type of product or perform the same or similar functions throughout the assembly process. These workers are classified according to the products they assemble or produce. Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, for example, build prod­ ucts such as electric motors, computers, electronic control devic­ es, and sensing equipment. Automated systems have eliminated much of the mass production work in electronic assembly, so a growing amount of the work of electrical and electronic assem­ blers is manual assembly during the small-scale production of electronic devices used in avionic systems, military systems, and medical equipment. Electromechanical equipment assemblers assemble and modify electromechanical devices such as household appliances, dyna­ mometers, actuators, or vending machines. Coil winders, tapers, and finishers wind wire coil used in resistors, transformers, gen­ erators, and electric motors. Engine and other machine assem­ blers construct, assemble, or rebuild engines and turbines, and machines used in agriculture, construction, mining, and almost all manufacturing industries, including rolling mills, textiles, pa­ per, and food processing. Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, including tails and wings, landing gear, and heating and ventilation systems. Structural metal fabricators and fitters cut, align, and fit together structural metal parts prior to welding or riveting. Fiberglass laminators and fabricators create products made of fiberglass, mainly boat decks and hulls and automobile body parts. Timing device assem­ blers, adjusters, and calibrators perform precision assembling or adjusting of timing devices within very narrow tolerances. It has become more common to involve assemblers and fabri­ cators in product development. Designers and engineers consult manufacturing workers during the design stage to improve prod­ uct reliability and manufacturing efficiency. For example, an as­ sembler may tell a designer that the dash of a new car design will  Production Occupations 741  be too difficult to install quickly and consistently. The designer could then redesign the dash to make it easier to install. Some experienced assemblers work with designers and engi­ neers to build prototypes or test products. These assemblers must be able to read and interpret complex engineering specifications from text, drawings, and computer-aided drafting systems. They also may need to use a variety of tools and precision measuring instruments. Work environment. The working environment for assemblers and fabricators is improving, but varies by plant and by indus­ try. Many physically difficult tasks have been made much easier through the use of hydraulic and electromechanical equipment, such as manually tightening massive bolts or moving heavy parts into position. Assembly work, however, may still involve long periods of standing or sitting. Most factories today are generally clean, well-lit, and well-ven­ tilated, and depending on what type of work is being performed, they may also need to be dirt and dust-free. Electronic and elec­ tromechanical assemblers particularly must work in environ­ ments free of dust that could affect the operation of the products they build. Some assemblers may also come into contact with potentially harmful chemicals or fumes, but ventilation systems and other safety precautions normally minimize any harmful ef­ fects. Other assemblers may come in contact with oil and grease, and their working areas may be quite noisy. Most full-time assemblers work a 40-hour week, although overtime and shift work is common in some industries. Work schedules of assemblers may vary at plants with more than one shift.  TJSfl  S. A":,:  mm re '^4,  ■th'V.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement The education level and qualifications needed to enter these jobs vary depending on the industry and employer. While a high school diploma or GED is sufficient for most jobs, experience and extra training is needed for more advanced assembly work. Education and training. Most applicants for assembler posi­ tions need only a high school diploma or GED. However, some employers may require specialized training or an associate degree for the most skilled assembly jobs. For example, jobs with elec­ trical, electronic, and aircraft and motor vehicle products manu­ facturers typically require more education and experience. Other positions may require only brief on-the-job training, sometimes including employer-sponsored classroom instruction. Other qualifications. Assembly workers must be able to fol­ low instructions carefully, which may require some basic reading skills and the ability to follow diagrams and pictures. Manual dexterity and the ability to carry out complex, repetitive tasks quickly and methodically also are important. For some positions, the ability to lift heavy objects may be needed. Team assemblers also need good interpersonal and communication skills to be able to work well with their teammates. Good eyesight is necessary for assemblers and fabricators who work with small parts. Plants that make electrical and electronic products may test applicants for color vision because their products often contain many differ­ ently colored wires. Advancement. As assemblers and fabricators become more experienced, they may progress to jobs that require greater skill and may be given more responsibility. Experienced assemblers  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  _________  Electrical and electronics assemblers solder electronic parts together. may become product repairers if they have learned the many as­ sembly operations and understand the construction of a product. These workers fix assembled pieces that operators or inspectors have identified as defective. Assemblers also can advance to quality control jobs or be promoted to supervisor. Experienced assemblers and fabricators also may become members of re­ search and development teams, working with engineers and other project designers to design, develop, and build prototypes, and test new product models. In some companies, assemblers can become trainees for one of the skilled trades, such as machinist. Those with a background in math, science, and computers may advance to become programmers or operators of more highly au­ tomated production equipment.  Employment Assemblers and fabricators held nearly 2.1 million jobs in 2006. They worked in almost every industry, but 3 out of 4 worked in manufacturing. Within the manufacturing sector, assembly of transportation equipment, such as aircraft, autos, trucks, and bus­ es, accounted for 19 percent of all jobs. Assembly of computers and electronic products accounted for another 11 percent of all jobs. Other industries that employ many assemblers and fabrica­ tors are machinery manufacturing: heating and air-conditioning equipment; agriculture, construction, and mining machinery; and  742 Occupational Outlook Handbook  engine, turbine, and power transmission equipment; electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing: light­ ing, household appliances, and electrical equipment; and fab­ ricated metal products. The following tabulation shows the employment of assem­ blers and fabricators in the manufacturing industries that em­ ployed the most workers in 2006: Motor vehicle parts manufacturing.................................... 145,000 Motor vehicle manufacturing..............................................106,000 Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing..................................................................... 88,000 Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing................................................ 76,000 Architectural and structural metals manufacturing............ 74,000 Assemblers and fabricators also work in many other non­ manufacturing industries. Twelve percent were employed by employment services firms, mostly as temporary workers; most of these temporary workers were likely assigned to man­ ufacturing plants. Wholesale and retail trade firms employed the next highest number of assemblers and fabricators. Many of these assemblers perform the final assembly of goods be­ fore the item is delivered to the customer. For example, most imported furniture is shipped in pieces and assemblers for fur­ niture wholesalers and retailers put together the furniture prior to delivery. Team assemblers, the largest specialty, accounted for 61 percent of assembler and fabricator jobs. The distribution of employment among the various types of assemblers was as follows in 2006: Team assemblers.............................................................. 1,274,000 Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers...............213,000 Structural metal fabricators and fitters...............................103,000 Electromechanical equipment assemblers.......................... 60,000 Engine and other machine assemblers................................ 45,000 Fiberglass laminators and fabricators..................................33,000 Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers.......................................................................... 28,000 Coil winders, tapers, and finishers.......................................23,000 Timing device assemblers, adjusters, and calibrators.......... 2,500 Assemblers and fabricators, all other.................................292,000  Job Outlook Employment of assemblers and fabricators is projected to decline slowly, primarily reflecting productivity growth and strong foreign competition in manufacturing. Job opportuni­ ties are expected to be good for qualified applicants in the manufacturing sector, particularly in jobs needing more train­ ing. Employment change. Employment of assemblers and fab­ ricators is expected to decline slowly by 4 percent between 2006 and 2016. Within the manufacturing sector, employ­ ment of assemblers and fabricators will be determined largely by the growth or decline in the production of certain manufac­ tured goods. In general, despite projected growth in the out­ put of manufactured goods, employment overall is expected  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  to decline as the whole sector becomes more automated and is able to produce more with fewer workers. However, some individual industries are projected to have more jobs than oth­ ers. The aircraft products and parts industry is projected to gain jobs over the decade as demand for new commercial and military planes grows significantly. Thus, the need for air­ craft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers is expected to grow. In addition, because much of the assembly in the aerospace industry is done in hard-to-reach locations— inside airplane fuselages or gear boxes, for example—which are unsuited to robots, aircraft assemblers will not be as easily replaced by automated processes. In most other manufacturing industries, employment of assemblers and fabricators will be negatively affected by in­ creasing automation, improving productivity, and the shift of assembly to countries with lower labor costs. The effects of automation, though, will be felt more among some types of as­ semblers and fabricators than among others. Automation will replace workers in operations with a large volume of repetitive work. Automation will have less effect on the assembly of parts that are irregular in size or location. The use of team production techniques has been one factor in the continuing success of the manufacturing sector, boost­ ing productivity and improving the quality of goods. Thus, while the number of assemblers overall is expected to decline in manufacturing, the number of team assemblers will grow or remain stable as more manufacturing plants convert to using team production techniques. Other manufacturers have sent their assembly functions to countries where labor costs are lower. Decisions by U.S. corporations to move assembly to other nations should limit employment growth for assemblers in some industries, but a free trade environment also may lead to growth in the export of goods assembled in the United States. The largest increase in the number of assemblers and fabri­ cators is projected to be in the employment services industry, which supplies temporary workers to various industries. Tem­ porary workers are gaining in importance in the manufactur­ ing sector and elsewhere as companies strive for a more flex­ ible workforce to meet the fluctuations in the market. There will also be more jobs for assemblers and fabricators in the wholesale and retail sectors of the economy. As more goods come unassembled from foreign countries to save on shipping costs, wholesalers and retailers are increasingly assembling products before selling them to their customers. Job prospects. Job opportunities for assemblers are expect­ ed to be good for qualified applicants in the manufacturing sector, particularly in jobs needing more training. Some em­ ployers report difficulty finding qualified applicants looking for manufacturing employment. The best opportunities should be with smaller manufacturers as large, high-profile compa­ nies tend to attract more applicants. In addition to new jobs stemming from growth in this occupation, many job openings will result from the need to replace workers leaving or retir­ ing from this large occupational group. For example, foreign automobile manufacturers who built plants in the 1980s are expecting a large number of retirements in the next decade and a surge in demand for team assemblers.  Production Occupations 743  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Assemblers and fabricators........................................................... Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers..... Electrical, electronics, and electromechanical assemblers......... Coil winders, tapers, and finishers......................................... Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers..................... Electromechanical equipment assemblers.............................. Engine and other machine assemblers....................................... Structural metal fabricators and fitters....................................... Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators................................. Fiberglass laminators and fabricators.................................... Team assemblers................................................................... Timing device assemblers, adjusters, and calibrators............. Assemblers and fabricators, all other.....................................  soc Code  Employment, 2006  51-2000 51-2011 51-2020 51-2021 51-2022 51-2023 51-2031 51-2041 51-2090 51-2091 51-2092 51-2093 51-2099  2,075,000 28,000 297,000 23,000 213,000 60,000 45,000 103,000 1,602,000 33,000 1,274,000 2,500 292,000  Projected employment, 2016 1,982,000 32,000 227,000 16,000 156,000 55,000 41,000 103,000 1,579,000 35,000 1,275,000 2,300 266,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -93,000 -4 3,600 13 -70,000 -23 -7,000 -30 -57,000 -27 -5,500 -9 -3,900 -9 -200 0 -1 -23,000 2,100 6 700 0 -200 -8 -25,000 -9  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  lion Included in the Handbook. Earnings  Earnings vary by industry, geographic region, skill, educational level, and complexity of the machinery operated. Median hour­ ly wage-and-salary earnings of team assemblers were $11.63 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.22 and $14.93. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.69, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.14. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the manufacturing industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of team assemblers were as fol­ lows: Motor vehicle manufacturing................................................ $21.60 Motor vehicle parts manufacturing......................................... 13.06 Other wood products manufacturing....................................... 11.11 Plastics products manufacturing............................................. 10.64 Employment services................................................................ 9.20 Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of electrical and electronic equipment assemblers were $12.29 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.84 and $15.80. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.25, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.81. Median hourly wage-andsalary earnings in the manufacturing industries employing the largest numbers of electrical and electronic equipment assem­ blers were as follows: Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing.................................................. $13.42 Electrical equipment manufacturing....................................... 13.05 Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing.............. 12.80 Communications equipment manufacturing........................... 11.96 Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing........................................................................11.45   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  In May 2006, other assemblers and fabricators had the fol­ lowing median hourly wage-and-salary earnings: Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers........................................................................... $21.83 Engine and other machine assemblers....................................15.99 Structural metal fabricators and fitters....................................14.56 Timing device assemblers, adjusters, and calibrators.............13.86 Electromechanical equipment assemblers..............................13.25 Coil winders, tapers, and finishers..........................................12.64 Fiberglass laminators and fabricators.....................................12.49 Assemblers and fabricators, all other......................................12.85 Many assemblers and fabricators are members of labor unions. These unions include the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and the United Steelworkers of America.  Related Occupations Other occupations that involve operating machines and tools and assembling products include welding, soldering, and braz­ ing workers and machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic. Also, both millwrights and tool and die makers assemble complex manufacturing equipment. Assemblers and fabricators also are responsible for some quality control and product testing, as are inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers.  Sources of Additional Information Information about employment opportunities for assemblers is available from local offices of the State employment service and from locals of the unions mentioned earlier.  744 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Food Processing Occupations (0*NET ,51-3011.00, 51-3021.00, 51-3022.00, 51-3023.00, 51-3091.00, 51-3092.00, 51-3093.00, 35-1011.00) Significant Points  •  Most workers in manual food processing jobs require little or no training prior to being hired.  •  As more jobs involving cutting and processing meat shift from retail stores to food processing plants, job growth will be concentrated among lesser skilled workers, who are employed primarily in manufactur­ ing.  •  Highly skilled bakers should be in demand.  Nature of the Work Food processing occupations include many different types of workers who process raw food products into the finished goods sold by grocers, wholesalers, restaurants, or institutional food services. These workers perform a variety of tasks and are re­ sponsible for producing many of the food products found in every household. Some of these workers are bakers, others pro­ cess meat, and still others operate food processing equipment. Bakers mix and bake ingredients according to recipes to pro­ duce varying quantities of breads, pastries, and other baked goods. Bakers commonly are employed in grocery stores and specialty shops and produce small quantities of breads, pastries, and other baked goods for consumption on premises or for sale as specialty baked goods. While the quantities are often small, the varieties of bread usually are not. Specialty handcrafted— or artisan—bread, comes with seeds, nuts, fruits, olives, and cheese, which can be included in a crusty loaf, round loaf, flat or even focaccia bread. Bakers can also add a variety of flavors, too, such as rosemary, pecan, fig, garlic, red pepper, sesame, and anise. In manufacturing, bakers produce goods in large quantities, using high-volume mixing machines, ovens, and other equip­ ment. Goods produced in large quantities usually are available for sale through distributors, grocery stores, supermarkets, or manufacturers’ outlets. Other food processing workers convert animal carcasses into manageable pieces of meat, known as boxed meat or case-ready meat, suitable for sale to wholesalers and retailers. The nature of their jobs varies significantly depending on the stage of the process in which they are involved. Butchers and meat cutters, for example, work primarily in groceries and wholesale estab­ lishments that provide meat to restaurants and other retailers; whereas, meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers common­ ly work in animal slaughtering and processing plants. In animal slaughtering and processing plants, slaughterers and meat packers slaughter cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep, and cut the carcasses into large wholesale cuts, such as rounds, loins, ribs, tenders, and chucks, to facilitate the handling, distribution,  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  marketing, and sale of meat. In most plants, some slaughterers and meat packers further process the large parts into cuts that are ready for retail stores. Retailers and grocers increasingly prefer such prepackaged meat products because a butcher isn’t needed to display and sell them. Slaughterers and meat packers also produce hamburger meat and meat trimmings, preparing sausages, luncheon meats, and other fabricated meat products. They usually work on assembly lines, with each individual re­ sponsible for only a few of the many cuts needed to process a carcass. Depending on the type of cut, these workers use knives; cleavers; meat saws; bandsaws; or other potentially dangerous equipment. Poultry cutters and trimmers slaughter and cut up chickens, turkeys, and other types of poultry. Although the poultry pro­ cessing industry is becoming increasingly automated, many jobs, such as trimming, packing, and deboning, are still done manually. Most poultry cutters and trimmers perform routine cuts on poultry as it moves along production lines. Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers also prepare ready-to-heat foods, usually at processing plants. This prepara­ tion often entails filleting meat, poultry, or fish; cutting it into bite-sized pieces or tenders; preparing and adding vegetables; and applying sauces and flavorings, marinades, or breading. These case-ready products are gaining in popularity as they of­ fer quick and easy preparation for consumers while, in many cases, also offering a healthier option. Manufacturing and retail establishments are likely to em­ ploy fish cutters and trimmers, also called fish cleaners. These workers primarily scale, cut, and dress fish by removing the head, scales, and other inedible portions and cutting the fish into steaks or fillets. In retail markets, these workers may also wait on customers and clean fish to order. Butchers and meat cutters process meat at later stages of pro­ duction. Those who work for large grocery stores, wholesale establishments that supply meat to restaurants, or institutional food service facilities separate wholesale cuts of meat into retail cuts or smaller pieces, known as primals. These butchers cut meat into steaks and chops, shape and tie roasts, and grind beef for sale as chopped meat. Boneless cuts are prepared using knives, slicers, or power cutters, while bandsaws and cleavers are required to cut bone-in pieces of meat. Butchers and meat cutters in retail food stores also may weigh, wrap, and label the cuts of meat; arrange them in refrigerated cases for display; and prepare special cuts to fill unique orders by customers. Others in food processing occupations include food batchmakers, who set up and operate equipment that mixes, blends, or cooks ingredients used in the manufacture of food products according to formulas or recipes\food cooking machine opera­ tors and tenders, who operate or tend cooking equipment, such as steam-cooking vats, deep-fry cookers, pressure cookers, ket­ tles, and boilers to prepare food products, such as meat, sugar, cheese, and grain; and food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders, who use equipment to reduce the moisture content of food or tobacco products or to  Production Occupations 745  prepare food for canning. The machines they use include hearth ovens, kiln driers, roasters, char kilns, steam ovens, and vacuum drying equipment. Work environment. Working conditions vary by type and size of establishment. Most traditional bakers work in bakeries, cake shops, hot-bread shops, hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, and in the bakery departments of supermarkets. Bakers may work under hot and noisy conditions. They typically work under strict order deadlines and critical time-sensitive baking require­ ments, both of which can induce stress. Although many bakers often work as part of a team, they also may work alone when baking particular items. These work­ ers may supervise assistants and teach apprentices and trainees. Bakers in retail establishments may be required to serve cus­ tomers. Bakers usually work odd hours in shifts and may work early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. In animal slaughtering and processing plants and in large retail food establishments, butchers and meat cutters work in large meat cutting rooms equipped with power machines and conveyors. In small retail markets, the butcher or fish cleaner may work in a cramped space behind the meat or fish counter. To prevent viral and bacterial infections, work areas are kept clean and sanitary. Butchers and meat cutters, poultry and fish cutters and trim­ mers, and slaughterers and meatpackers often work in cold, damp rooms. Refrigerated work areas prevent meat from spoil­ ing; they are damp because meat cutting generates large amounts of blood, condensation, and fat. Cool, damp floors increase the likelihood of slips and falls. In addition, cool temperatures, long periods of standing, and repetitious physical tasks make the work tiring. As a result, butchers as well as meat, poul­ try, and fish cutters and trimmers are more susceptible to injury than are most other workers. Injuries include cuts and occasional amputations, which oc­ cur when knives, cleavers, or power tools are used improperly. Also, repetitive slicing and lifting often lead to cumulative trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. To reduce the incidence of cumulative trauma injuries, some employers have reduced employee workloads, added prescribed rest periods, redesigned jobs and tools, and promoted increased awareness of early warning signs as steps to prevent further injury. Nev­ ertheless, workers in the occupation still face the serious threat of disabling injuries. Workers who operate food processing machinery typically work in production areas that are specially designed for food preservation or processing. Food batchmakers, in particular, work in kitchen-type, assembly-line production facilities. Be­ cause this work involves food, work areas must meet govern­ mental sanitary regulations. The ovens, as well as the motors of blenders, mixers, and other equipment, often make work areas very warm and noisy. There are some hazards, such as burns, created by the equipment that these workers use. Food batchmakers; food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators; and food cooking machine operators and tenders spend a great deal of time on their feet and gener­ ally work a regular 40-hour week that may include evening and night shifts.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Training varies widely among food processing occupations. However, most manual food processing workers require little or no training before being hired. Education and training. Bakers often start as apprentices or trainees. Apprentice bakers usually start in craft bakeries, while trainees usually begin in store bakeries, such as those in super­ markets. Bakers need to become skilled in baking, icing, and decorating. Knowledge of bakery products and ingredients, as well as mechanical mixing and baking equipment, is also im­ portant. Many apprentice bakers participate in correspondence study and may work towards a certificate in baking. Working as a baker’s assistant or at other activities that involve handling food is also a useful way to train. The skills needed to be a baker are often underestimated. Bakers need to know about ingredients and nutrition, govern­ ment health and sanitation regulations, business concepts, ap­ plied chemistry—including how ingredients combine and how they are affected by heat, and production processes, including how to operate and maintain machinery. Computers often oper­ ate high-speed automated equipment typically found in modern food plants. Most butchers as well as poultry and fish cutters and trimmers acquire their skills through on-the-job training programs. The length of training varies significantly. Simple cutting opera­ tions require a few days to learn, while more complicated tasks, such as eviscerating slaughtered animals, generally require sev­ eral months of training. The training period for highly skilled butchers at the retail level may be 1 or 2 years. Generally, trainees begin by doing less difficult jobs, such as making simple cuts or removing bones. Under the guidance of experienced workers, trainees learn the proper use and care of tools and equipment, while also learning how to prepare various cuts of meat. After demonstrating skill with various meat cut­ ting tools, trainees learn to divide carcasses into wholesale cuts and wholesale cuts into retail and individual portions. Trainees also may learn to roll and tie roasts, prepare sausage, and cure meat. Those employed in retail food establishments often are taught operations, such as inventory control, meat buying, and  ypgiiH  In large grocery stores, butchers and meat cutters separate wholesale cuts of meat into retail cuts or individually sized servings.  746 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Food processing occupations................................................................ Bakers................................................................................................ Butchers and other meat, poultry, and fish processing workers.... Butchers and meat cutters............................................................ Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers.............................. Slaughterers and meat packers..................................................... Miscellaneous food processing workers......................................... Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders................................................................ Food batchmakers......................................................................... Food cooking machine operators and tenders............................  soc Code  Employment, 2006  51-3000 51-3011 51-3020 51-3021 51-3022 51-3023 51-3090  705,000 149,000 398,000 131,000 144,000 122,000 158,000  51-3091 51-3092 51-3093  19,000 95,000 44,000  Projected employment, 2016 764,000 164,000 431,000 134,000 160,000 138,000 169,000 21,000 105,000 42,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 59,000 8 15,000 10 34,000 8 2,500 2 16,000 11 16,000 13 10,000 7 2,000 10,000 -2,100  11 11 -5  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  tion Included in the Handbook.  recordkeeping. In addition, growing concern about food-borne pathogens in meats has led employers to offer numerous safety seminars and extensive training in food safety to employees. On-the-job training is common among food machine opera­ tors and tenders. They learn to run the different types of equip­ ment by watching and helping other workers. Training can last anywhere from a month to a year, depending on the complexity of the tasks and the number of products involved. A degree in an appropriate area—dairy processing for those working in dairy product operations, for example—is helpful for advancement to a lead worker or a supervisory role. Most food batchmakers par­ ticipate in on-the-job training, usually from about a month to a year. Some food batchmakers learn their trade through an ap­ proved apprenticeship program. Other qualifications. Bakers need to be able to follow instruc­ tions, have an eye for detail, and communicate well with others. Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers need manual dex­ terity, good depth perception, color discrimination, and good hand-eye coordination. They also need physical strength to lift and move heavy pieces of meat. Butchers and fish cleaners who wait on customers should have a pleasant personality, a neat ap­ pearance, and the ability to communicate clearly. In some States, a health certificate is required for employment. Certification and advancement. Bakers have the option of obtaining certification through the Retails Bakers of America. While not mandatory, obtaining certification assures the public and prospective employers that the baker has sufficient skills and knowledge to work at a retail baking establishment. The Retail Bakers of America offer certification for four lev­ els of competence with a focus on several broad areas, including baking sanitation, management, retail sales, and staff training. Those who wish to become certified must satisfy a combination of education and experience requirements prior to taking an ex­ amination. The education and experience requirements vary by the level of certification desired. For example, a certified journey baker requires no formal education but a minimum of 1 year of work experience. On the other hand, a certified master baker must have earned the certified baker designation, and must have completed 30 hours of sanitation coursework approved by a culi­ nary school or government agency, 30 hours of professional de­ velopment courses or workshops, and a minimum of 8 years of commercial or retail baking experience.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Food processing workers in retail or wholesale establishments may progress to supervisory jobs, such as department managers or team leaders in supermarkets. A few of these workers may be­ come buyers for wholesalers or supermarket chains. Some food processing workers go on to open their own markets or bakeries. In processing plants, workers may advance to supervisory posi­ tions or become team leaders.  Employment Food processing workers held 705,000 jobs in 2006. Employ­ ment among the various types of food processing occupations was distributed as follows: Bakers...................................................................................149,000 Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers........................ 144,000 Butchers and meat cutters.....................................................131,000 Slaughterers and meat packers..............................................122,000 Food batchmakers...................................................................95,000 Food cooking machine operators and tenders........................44,000 Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders..............................................19,000 Thirty-four percent of all food processing workers were em­ ployed in animal slaughtering and processing plants. Grocery stores employed another 24 percent. Most of the remainder worked in other food manufacturing industries. Butchers, meat cutters, and bakers are employed in almost every city and town in the Nation, while most other food processing jobs are concen­ trated in communities with food processing plants.  Job Outlook Job opportunities should be available in all food processing specialties due to the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Overall employment is expected to increase about as fast as average. Employment change. Overall employment in the food pro­ cessing occupations is projected to increase 8 percent during the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Increasingly, cheaper meat imports from abroad will have a nega­ tive effect on domestic employment in many food processing oc­ cupations. As more jobs involving cutting and processing meat shift from retail stores to food processing plants, job growth will  Production Occupations 747  be concentrated among lesser skilled workers, who are employed primarily in manufacturing. As the Nation’s population grows, the demand for meat, poul­ try, and seafood should continue to increase. Successful mar­ keting by the poultry industry is likely to increase demand for chicken and ready-to-heat products. Similarly, the development of prepared food products that are lower in fat and more nutri­ tious promises to stimulate the consumption of red meat. The trend toward preparing case-ready meat at the processing level also should contribute to demand for animal slaughterers and meat packers, especially as those products become available at lower prices. Lesser skilled meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers— who work primarily in animal slaughtering and processing plants—should experience 11 percent growth, about as fast as the average for all occupations, and employment of slaughters and meat packers is expected to increase 13 percent, also about as fast as the average. With the growing popularity of labor-inten­ sive, ready-to-heat poultry products, demand for poultry work­ ers should rise steadily. Potentially offsetting growth will be increased automation and plant efficiency, although some techno­ logical breakthroughs may be years away. Fish cutters also will be in demand, as the task of preparing ready-to-heat fish goods gradually shifts from retail stores to processing plants. Advances in fish fanning, or “aquaculture,” should also help meet the grow­ ing demand for fish and produce job growth for fish cutters. Employment of more highly skilled butchers and meat cutters, who work primarily in large supermarkets, is expected to grow 2 percent, which is considered little or no change in employment. The proliferation of case-ready meat products and automation in the animal slaughtering and processing industries are enabling employers to transfer employment from higher paid butchers to lower wage slaughterers and meat packers in meat packing plants. At present, most red meat arrives at grocery stores par­ tially cut up, but a growing share of meat is being delivered pre­ packaged with additional fat removed to wholesalers and retail­ ers. This trend is resulting in less work and, thus, fewer jobs for retail butchers. While high-volume production equipment limits the demand for lesser skilled bakers in manufacturing, overall employment of bakers, particularly highly skilled bakers, should increase 10 percent, about as fast as the average for all occupations, due to growing numbers of bakers in stores, specialty shops, and tradi­ tional bakeries. In addition to the growing numbers of cookie, muffin, and cinnamon roll bakeries, the numbers of specialty bread and bagel shops have been growing, spurring demand for artisan bread and pastry bakers. Employment of food batchmakers and food and tobacco cook­ ing and roasting machine operators and tenders, are expected to grow 11 percent each, about as fast as the average for all occupa­ tions. However, as more of this work is being done at the manu­ facturing level rather than at the retail level, potential employ­ ment gains may be offset by productivity gains from automated blending and roasting equipment. Employment of food cooking machine operators and tenders is expected to decline moderately, about 5 percent, as cooking equipment such as steam vats, deep fryers, kettles, and broilers is increasingly automated.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Job prospects. Jobs should be available in all food process­ ing specialties because of the need to replace experienced work­ ers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Highly skilled bakers should be especially in demand because of growing demand for specialty products and because of the time it takes to learn to make them. Earnings Earnings vary by industry, skill, geographic region, and educa­ tional level. Median annual earnings of bakers were $22,030 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,720 and $28,190. The highest 10 percent earned more than $35,380, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,180. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of bak­ ers in May 2006 are given in the following tabulation: Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing..................................... $22,580 Grocery stores........................................................................ 22,170 Specialty food stores............................................................. 21,900 Full-service restaurants...........................................................20,770 Limited-service eating places................................................. 19,990 Median annual earnings of butchers and meat cutters were $26,930 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,630 and $35,240. The highest 10 percent earned more than $43,260 annually, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,520. Butchers and meat cutters employed at the retail level typically earn more than those in manufacturing. Median an­ nual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of butchers and meat cutters in May 2006 were: Other general merchandise stores........................................ $34,190 Grocery stores........................................................................ 27,830 Grocery and related product wholesalers............................... 25,690 Specialty food stores............................................................. 23,180 Animal slaughtering and processing...................................... 23,080 Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers typically earn less than butchers and meat cutters. In May 2006, median an­ nual earnings for these lower skilled workers were $20,370. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,100 and $24,120. The highest 10 percent earned more than $29,070, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,960. The following tabulation shows median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers in May 2006: Other general merchandise stores........................................ $25,150 Grocery stores........................................................................ 20,680 Animal slaughtering and processing...................................... 20,530 Specialty food stores..............................................................19,990 Seafood product preparation and packaging...........................18,180 Median annual earnings of food batchmakers were $23,100 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,730 and $30,120. The highest 10 percent earned more than $37,930, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,060. The following  748 Occupational Outlook Handbook  tabulation presents median annual earnings in the industries em­ ploying the largest numbers of food batchmakers in May 2006: Dairy product manufacturing.............................................. $28,570 Fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing..................................................................... 25,100 Other food manufacturing..................................................... 23,550 Sugar and confectionery product manufacturing..................22,370 Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing...................................... 21,720 In May 2006, median annual earnings for slaughterers and meat packers were $21,690. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $18,290 and $25,440. The highest 10 percent earned more than $28,570, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,950. Median annual earnings in animal slaughtering and processing, the industry employing the largest number of slaughterers and meat packers, were $21,730 in May 2006. Median annual earnings for food cooking machine operators and tenders were $21,280 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,160 and $27,140. The highest 10 percent earned more than $34,350, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,600. Median annual earnings in grocery stores, the industry employing the largest number of food cooking ma­ chine operators and tenders, were $19,400 in May 2006. In May 2006, median annual earnings for food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders  were $23,510. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,820 and $31,540. The highest 10 percent earned more than $38,740, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,910. Food processing workers generally received typical ben­ efits, including pension plans for union members or those employed by grocery stores. However, poultry workers rarely earned substantial benefits. In 2006, 21 percent of all food processing workers were union members or were covered by a union contract. Many food processing workers are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.  Related Occupations Food processing workers must be skilled at both hand and ma­ chine work and must have some knowledge of processes and techniques that are involved in handling and preparing food. Other occupations that require similar skills and knowledge in­ clude chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers.  Sources of Additional Information For information on various levels of certification as a baker, contact: V Retail Bakers of America, 8201 Greensboro Dr., Suite 300, McLean, VA, 22102 State employment service offices can provide information about job openings for food processing occupations.  Metal Workers and Plastic Workers Computer Control Programmers and Operators (0*NET 51-4011.00, 51-4012.00)  Significant Points  •  Manufacturing industries employ almost all of these workers. • Workers learn in apprenticeship programs, informal­ ly on the job, and in secondary, vocational, or post­ secondary schools; many entrants have previously worked as machinists or machine setters, operators, and tenders. • Despite the projected slow decline in employment, job opportunities should be excellent, as employers are expected to continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers. Nature of the Work Computer control programmers and operators use computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines to cut and shape preci­ sion products, such as automobile, aviation, and machine parts. CNC machines operate by reading the code included in a com­ puter-controlled module, which drives the machine tool and   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  performs the functions of forming and shaping a part formerly done by machine operators. CNC machines include machining tools such as lathes, multi-axis spindles, milling machines, laser cutting machines, and wire electrical discharge machines. CNC machines cut away material from a solid block of metal or plas­ tic—known as a workpiece—to form a finished part. Computer control programmers and operators normally produce large quantities of one part, although they may produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. They use their knowledge of the work­ ing properties of metals and their skill with CNC programming to design and carry out the operations needed to make machined products that meet precise specifications. CNC programmers—also referred to as numerical tool and process control programmers—develop the programs that run the machine tools. They review three-dimensional computer aided/automated design (CAD) blueprints of the part and de­ termine the sequence of events that will be needed to make the part. This may involve calculating where to cut or bore into the workpiece, how fast to feed the metal into the machine, and how much metal to remove. Next, CNC programmers turn the planned machining opera­ tions into a set of instructions. These instructions are translated into a computer aided/automated manufacturing (CAM) pro­ gram containing a set of commands for the machine to follow. These commands normally are a series of numbers (hence, nu­ merical control) that describes where cuts should occur, what type of cut should be used, and the speed of the cut. After the  Production Occupations 749  program is developed, CNC programmers and operators check the programs to ensure that the machinery will function prop­ erly and that the output will meet specifications. Because a problem with the program could damage costly machinery and cutting tools or simply waste valuable time and materials, com­ puter simulations may be used to check the program before a trial run. If errors are found, the program must be changed and retested until the problem is resolved. In addition, growing con­ nectivity between CAD/CAM software and CNC machine tools is raising productivity by automatically translating designs into instructions for the computer controller on the machine tool. These new CAM technologies enable programs to be easily modified for use on other jobs with similar specifications. After the programming work is completed, CNC setup opera­ tors—also referred to as computer-controlled machine tool op­ erators, metal and plastic—set up the machine for the job. They download the program into the machine, load the proper cutting tools into the tool holder, position the workpiece (piece of metal or plastic that is being shaped) on the CNC machine tool—spin­ dle, lathe, milling machine, or other machine—and then start the machine. During the test run of a new program, the setup operator, who may also have some programming skills, or the CNC programmer closely monitors the machine for signs of problems, such as a vibrating work piece, the breakage of cut­ ting tools, or an out-of-specification final product. If a problem is detected, a setup operator or CNC programmer will modify the program using the control module to eliminate the problems or to improve the speed and accuracy of the program. Once a program is completed, the operation of the CNC ma­ chine may move from the more experienced setup operator to a less-skilled machine operator. Operators load workpieces and cutting tools into a machine, press the start button, monitor the machine for problems, and measure the parts produced to check that they match specifications. If they encounter a problem that requires modification to the cutting program, they shut down the machine and wait for a more experienced CNC setup op­ erator to fix the problem. Many CNC operators start at this basic level and gradually perform more setup tasks as they gain experience. Regardless of skill level, all CNC operators detect some prob­ lems by listening for specific sounds—for example, a dull cut­ ting tool that needs changing or excessive vibration. Machine tools rotate at high speeds, which can create problems with har­ monic vibrations in the workpiece. Vibrations cause the ma­ chine tools to make minor cutting errors, hurting the quality of the product. Operators listen for vibrations and then adjust the cutting speed to compensate. CNC operators also ensure that the workpiece is being properly lubricated and cooled, because the machining of metal products generates a significant amount of heat. Since CNC machines can operate with limited input from the operator, a single operator may monitor several machines simul­ taneously. Typically, an operator might monitor two machines cutting relatively simple parts from softer materials, while de­ voting most of his or her attention to a third machine cutting a much more difficult part from hard metal, such as stainless steel. Operators are often expected to carefully schedule their work so that all of the machines are always operating.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Work environment. Most machine shops are clean, well lit, and ventilated. Most modern CNC machines are partially or totally enclosed, minimizing the exposure of workers to noise, debris, and the lubricants used to cool workpieces during ma­ chining. Nevertheless, working around machine tools can be noisy and presents certain dangers, and workers must follow safety precautions. Computer-controlled machine tool op­ erators, metal and plastic, wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses to shield against bits of flying metal and earplugs to dampen machinery noise. They also must exercise caution when handling hazardous coolants and lubricants. The job re­ quires stamina because operators stand most of the day and, at times, may need to lift moderately heavy workpieces. Numerical tool and process control programmers work on desktop computers in offices that typically are near, but sepa­ rate from, the shop floor. These work areas usually are clean, well lit, and free of machine noise. Numerical tool and process control programmers occasionally need to enter the shop floor to monitor CNC machining operations. On the shop floor, CNC programmers encounter the same hazards and exercise the same safety precautions as do CNC operators. Many computer control programmers and operators work a 40-hour week. CNC operators increasingly work evening and weekend shifts as companies justify investments in more ex­ pensive machinery by extending hours of operation. Overtime is common during peak production periods.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Computer control programmers and operators train in various ways—in apprenticeship programs, informally on the job, and in secondary, vocational, or postsecondary schools. In general, the more skills needed for the job, the more education and training are needed to qualify. Many entrants have previously worked as machinists or machine setters, operators, and tenders. Education and training. The amount and type of education and training needed depends on the type of job. Entry-level CNC machine operators may need only a couple of weeks of on-the-job training to reach proficiency. Setup operators and programmers, however, may need years of experience or for­ mal training to write or modify programs. Programmers and operators can receive their training in various ways—in ap-  mwsmmm mamo  / gggSm » * ; - —; Computer control operators reprogram computer numerically controlled machines.  750 Occupational Outlook Handbook  prenticeship programs, informally on the job, and in second­ ary, vocational, or postsecondary schools. A growing number of computer control programmers and more skilled operators receive their formal training from community or technical col­ leges. For some specialized types of programming, such as that needed to produce complex parts for the aerospace or shipbuild­ ing industries, employers may prefer individuals with a degree in engineering. For those interested in becoming computer control program­ mers or operators, high school or vocational school courses in mathematics (trigonometry and algebra), blueprint reading, computer programming, metalworking, and drafting are rec­ ommended. Apprenticeship programs consist of shop training and related classroom instruction. In shop training, apprentices learn filing, handtapping, and dowel fitting, as well as the oper­ ation of various machine tools. Classroom instruction includes math, physics, programming, blueprint reading, CAD software, safety, and shop practices. Skilled computer control program­ mers and operators need an understanding of the machining process, including the complex physics that occur at the cutting point. Thus, most training programs teach CNC operators and programmers to perform operations on manual machines prior to operating CNC machines. As new automation is introduced, computer control pro­ grammers and operators normally receive additional training to update their skills. This training usually is provided by a representative of the equipment manufacturer or a local techni­ cal school. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement for job-related courses. Certification and other qualifications. Employers prefer to hire workers who have a basic knowledge of computers and electronics and experience with machine tools. In fact, many entrants to these occupations have previously worked as ma­ chinists or machine setters, operators, and tenders. Persons interested in becoming computer control programmers or op­ erators should be mechanically inclined and able to work inde­ pendently and do highly accurate work. To boost the skill level of all metalworkers and to create a more uniform standard of competency, a number of training facilities and colleges have recently begun implementing curriculums by incorporating national skills standards developed by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS). Af­ ter completing such a curriculum and passing a performance requirement and written exam, trainees are granted an NIMS credential that provides formal recognition of competency in a metalworking field. Completion of a formal certification pro­ gram provides expanded career opportunities. Advancement. Computer control programmers and opera­ tors can advance in several ways. Experienced CNC operators  may become CNC programmers, and some are promoted to su­ pervisory or administrative positions in their firms. A few open their own shops.  Employment Computer control programmers and operators held about 158,000 jobs in 2006. About 89 percent were computer-con­ trolled machine tool operators, metal and plastic, and about 11 percent were numerical tool and process control programmers. Manufacturing employs almost all of these workers. Employ­ ment was concentrated in fabricated metal products manufac­ turing, machinery manufacturing, plastics products manufac­ turing, and transportation equipment manufacturing making mostly aerospace and automobile parts. Although computer control programmers and operators work in all parts of the country, jobs are most plentiful in the areas where manufactur­ ing is concentrated.  Job Outlook Despite the projected slow decline in employment of computer control programmers and operators, job opportunities should be excellent, as employers are expected to continue to have dif­ ficulty finding qualified workers. Employment change. Employment of computer control pro­ grammers and operators is expected to decline slowly by 4 per­ cent through 2016. While CNC machine tools will be increas­ ingly used, advances in CNC machine tools and manufacturing technology will further automate the production process, boost­ ing CNC operator productivity and limiting employment. The demand for computer control programmers also will be nega­ tively affected by the increasing use of software (CAD/CAM) that automatically translates part and product designs into CNC machine tool instructions. Job prospects. Computer control programmers and operators should have excellent job opportunities despite the projected slow decline in employment. Due to the limited number of people entering training programs, employers are expected to continue to have difficulty finding workers with the necessary skills and knowledge.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic, were $15.23 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.10 and $18.84. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.91, whereas the top 10 percent earned more than $22.45. Median hourly earnings in the manufacturing industries employing the largest numbers of computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic, in May 2006 were:  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Computer control programmers and operators.................................. Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic .. Numerical tool and process control programmers.........................  soc Code 51-4010 51-4011 51-4012  Employment, 2006 158.000 141.000 18,000  Projected employment, 2016 153.000 136.000 16,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -5,700 -4 -4,200 -3 -1,500 -8  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Information Included in the Handbook.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Production Occupations 751  Metalworking machinery manufacturing.............................$17.45 Other fabricated metal product manufacturing ...................... 15.34 Machine shops; turned product; and screw, nut, and bolt manufacturing..........................................................14.85 Motor vehicle parts manufacturing........................................ 14.12 Plastics product manufacturing.............................................. 12.32 Median hourly earnings of numerical tool and process con­ trol programmers were $20.42 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $16.14 and $25.61. The lowest lOpercent earned less than $13.11, while the top 10 percent earned more than $31.85. Many employers, especially those with formal apprenticeship programs, offer tuition assistance for training classes.  Related Occupations Occupations most closely related to computer control pro­ grammers and operators are other metal and plastic working occupations, which include machinists; tool and die makers; machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic; and welding, soldering, and brazing workers. Numerical tool and process control programmers apply their knowledge of machining operations, metals, blueprints, and machine pro­ gramming to write programs that run machine tools. Comput­ er programmers also write detailed programs to meet precise specifications.  Sources of Additional Information For general information about computer control programmers and operators, contact: y Precision Machine Products Association, 6700 West Snowville Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141-3292. Internet: http ://www.pmpa.org/industry-careers/ For a list of training centers and apprenticeship programs, contact: y National Tooling and Metalworking Association, 9300 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744. For more information on credential standards and apprentice­ ship, contact: y The National Institute for Metalworking Skills, 10565 Fairfax Blvd., Suite 203, Fairfax, VA 22030. Internet: http://www.nims-skills.org/home/index.htm  Machinists (0*NET 51-4041.00)  Significant Points  •  • •  Machinists learn in apprenticeship programs, infor­ mally on the job, in vocational high schools, and in community or technical colleges. Many entrants previously have worked as machine setters, operators, or tenders. Although employment is projected to decline, job op­ portunities are expected to be good.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and machining centers, to produce precision metal parts. Al­ though they may produce large quantities of one part, precision machinists often produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. They use their knowledge of the working properties of metals and their skill with machine tools to plan and carry out the op­ erations needed to make machined products that meet precise specifications. Machinists first review electronic or written blueprints or specifications for a job before they machine a part. Next, they calculate where to cut or bore into the workpiece—the piece of steel, aluminum, titanium, plastic, silicon or any other material that is being shaped. They determine how fast to feed the work­ piece into the machine and how much material to remove. They then select tools and materials for the job, plan the sequence of cutting and finishing operations, and mark the workpiece to show where cuts should be made. After this layout work is completed, machinists perform the necessary machining operations. They position the workpiece on the machine tool—drill press, lathe, milling machine, or other type of machine—set the controls, and make the cuts. During the machining process, they must constantly monitor the feed rate and speed of the machine. Machinists also ensure that the workpiece is properly lubricated and cooled because the machining of metal products generates a significant amount of heat. The temperature of the workpiece is a key concern be­ cause most metals expand when heated; machinists must adjust the size of their cuts relative to the temperature. During the cutting process, machinists detect problems by listening for specific sounds—for example, that of a dull cut­ ting tool or excessive vibration. Dull cutting tools are removed and replaced. Cutting speeds are adjusted to compensate for harmonic vibrations, which can decrease the accuracy of cuts, particularly on newer high-speed spindles and lathes. After the work is completed, machinists use both simple and highly so­ phisticated measuring tools to check the accuracy of their work against blueprints. Some machinists, often called production machinists, may produce large quantities of one part, especially parts requiring the use of complex operations and great precision. Many mod­ em machine tools are computer numerically controlled (CNC). CNC machines, following a computer program, control the cut­ ting tool speed, change dull tools, and perform all of the neces­ sary cuts to create a part. Frequently, machinists work with computer control programmers to determine how the automated equipment will cut a part. (See the section on computer control programmers and operators elsewhere in the Handbook.) The machinist determines the cutting path, speed of the cut and the feed rate, and the programmer converts path, speed, and feed in­ formation into a set of instructions for the CNC machine tool. Because most machinists train in CNC programming, they may write basic programs themselves and often modify pro­ grams in response to problems encountered during test runs. Modifications, called offsets, not only fix problems, but they also improve efficiency by reducing manufacturing time and tool wear. After the production process is designed, computer  752 Occupational Outlook Handbook  control operators implement it by performing relatively simple and repetitive operations. Some manufacturing techniques employ automated parts loaders, automatic tool changers, and computer controls, al­ lowing machines to operate without anyone present. One production machinist, working 8 hours a day, might monitor equipment, replace worn cutting tools, check the accuracy of parts being produced, adjust offsets, and perform other tasks on several CNC machines that operate 24 hours a day. In the off-hours, during what is known as “lights-out manufacturing,” a factory may need only a few machinists to monitor the entire factory. Maintenance machinists repair or make new parts for ex­ isting machinery. After an industrial machinery mechanic or maintenance worker discovers the broken part of a machine, they give the broken part to the machinist. (See the section on industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers elsewhere in the Handbook.) To replace broken parts, main­ tenance machinists refer to blueprints and perform the same machining operations that were needed to create the original part. While production machinists are concentrated in a few industries, maintenance machinists work in many manufactur­ ing industries. Because the technology of machining is changing rapidly, machinists must learn to operate a wide range of machines. Some newer machines use lasers, water jets, or electrified wires to cut the workpiece. While some of the computer controls are similar to other machine tools, machinists must understand the unique cutting properties of these different machines. As en­ gineers create new types of machine tools and new materials to machine, machinists must constantly learn new machining properties and techniques. Work environment. Today, most machine shops are rela­ tively clean, well lit, and ventilated. Many computer-controlled machines are partially or totally enclosed, minimizing the expo­ sure of workers to noise, debris, and the lubricants used to cool workpieces during machining. Nevertheless, working around machine tools presents certain dangers, and workers must fol­ low safety precautions. Machinists wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses to shield against bits of flying metal and earplugs to dampen machinery noise. They also must exercise caution when handling hazardous coolants and lubricants, al­ though many common water-based lubricants present little haz­ ard. The job requires stamina because machinists stand most of the day and, at times, may need to lift moderately heavy work­ pieces. Modem factories use autoloaders and overhead cranes to reduce heavy lifting. Many machinists work a 40-hour week. Evening and week­ end shifts are becoming more common as companies extend hours of operation to make better use of expensive machines. However, this trend is somewhat offset by lights-out manufac­ turing that uses fewer machinists and the use of machine opera­ tors for less desirable shifts. Overtime is common during peak production periods.  Many entrants previously have worked as machine setters, op­ erators, or tenders. Education and training. There are many different ways to become a skilled machinist. Many entrants previously have worked as machine setters, operators, or tenders. In high school, students should take math courses, especially trigonometry, and, if available, courses in blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting. After high school, some machinists learn entirely on the job, but most acquire their skills in a mix of classroom and on-the-job training. Formal apprenticeship programs, typi­ cally sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to learn the job of machinist, but are often hard to get into. Apprentices usually must have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent, and most have taken algebra and trigonometry classes. Apprenticeship programs consist of paid shop training and related classroom instruction lasting up to 4 years. In shop training, apprentices work almost full time and are supervised by an experienced machinist while learning to operate various machine tools. Classroom instruction includes math, physics, materials science, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, and quality and safety practices. In addition, as machine shops have increased their use of computer-controlled equipment, training in the operation and programming of CNC machine tools has become essential. Apprenticeship classes are often taught in cooperation with local community colleges or vocational-tech­ nical schools. A growing number of machinists are learning the trade through 2-year associate degree programs at community or technical colleges. Graduates of these programs still need significant on-the-job experience before they are fully quali­ fied. Certification and other qualifications. People interested in becoming machinists should be mechanically inclined, have good problem-solving abilities, be able to work independently, and be able to do highly accurate work (tolerances may reach 50/1,000,OOOths of an inch) that requires concentration and physical effort. Experience working with machine tools is helpful. In fact, many entrants have worked as machine setters, operators, or tenders.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Machinists train in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, or community or technical colleges, or informally on the job.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Machinsts change worn cutting tools on computer-controlled machines.  Production Occupations 753  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title  SOC Code  Employment, 2006  Machinists......................................................  397,000  Projected employment, 2016 384,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -12,000 -3  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa■  tion Included in the Handbook.  To boost the skill level of machinists and to create a more uniform standard of competency, a number of training facilities, State apprenticeship boards, and colleges are implementing curriculums that incorporate national skills standards developed by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS). After completing such a curriculum and passing practical and writ­ ten exams, trainees are granted a NIMS credential. Completing a recognized certification program provides a machinist with better career opportunities and helps employers better judge the abilities of new hires. Journeyworker certification can be obtained from State apprenticeship boards after completing an apprenticeship. As new automation is introduced, machinists normally re­ ceive additional training to update their skills. This training usually is provided by a representative of the equipment manu­ facturer or a local technical school. Some employers offer tu­ ition reimbursement for job-related courses. Advancement. Machinists can advance in several ways. Ex­ perienced machinists may become CNC programmers, tool and die makers, or mold makers, or be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions in their firms. A few open their own machine shops.  Employment Machinists held about 397,000 jobs in 2006. About 78 percent of machinists work in manufacturing industries, such as ma­ chine shops and machinery, motor vehicle and parts, aerospace products and parts, and other transportation equipment manu­ facturing. Maintenance machinists work in most industries that use production machinery.  Job Outlook Although employment of machinists is projected to decline slowly, job prospects are expected to be good. Employment change. Employment of machinists is pro­ jected to decline slowly by 3 percent over the 2006-16 decade because of rising productivity among these workers and strong foreign competition in the manufacture of goods. Machinists will become more efficient as a result of the expanded use of and improvements in technologies such as CNC machine tools, autoloaders, and high-speed machining. This allows fewer ma­ chinists to accomplish the same amount of work. Technology is not expected to affect the employment of machinists as sig­ nificantly as that of some other production workers, however, because machinists monitor and maintain many automated sys­ tems. Due to modern production techniques, employers prefer workers, such as machinists, who have a wide range of skills and are capable of performing almost any task in a machine shop. Job prospects. Despite the projected decline in employment, job opportunities for machinists should continue to be good   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  as employers value the wide-ranging skills of these workers. Also, many young people with the necessary educational and personal qualifications needed to become machinists prefer to attend college or may not wish to enter production occupations. Therefore, the number of workers learning to be machinists is expected to be less than the number of job openings arising each year from the need to replace experienced machinists who retire or transfer to other occupations. Employment levels in this occupation are influenced by eco­ nomic cycles—as the demand for machined goods falls, ma­ chinists involved in production may be laid off or forced to work fewer hours. Employment of machinists involved in plant maintenance, however, often is more stable because proper maintenance and repair of costly equipment remains critical to manufacturing operations, even when production levels fall.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of machinists were $16.71 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.14 and $20.82. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.29, while the top 10 percent earned more than $25.31. Me­ dian hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the manufacturing in­ dustries employing the largest number of machinists were: Aerospace product and parts manufacturing....................... $18.46 Motor vehicle parts manufacturing .............................................18.27  Metalworking machinery manufacturing...............................17.36 Machine shops; turned product; and screw, nut, and bolt  manufacturing........................................................................16.24 Employment services ............................................................ 11.98 Apprentices earn much less than experienced machinists, but earnings increase quickly as they improve their skills. Also most employers pay for apprentices’ training classes.  Related Occupations Occupations most closely related to that of machinist are other machining occupations, which include tool and die makers; machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic; and computer control programmers and operators. Maintenance machinists work closely with industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers.  Sources of Additional Information For general information about a career in machining, contact: > PrecisionMachine Products Association, 6700WestSnowville Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141. Internet: http://www.pmpa.org For a list of training centers and apprenticeship programs, contact: y National Tooling and Machining Association, 9300 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744.  754 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Nature of the Work  tire production process, setters usually have more training and are more highly skilled than those who simply operate or tend machinery. As new automation simplifies the setup process, however, less skilled workers also are increasingly able to set up machines for operation. Setters, operators, and tenders usually are identified by the type of machine with which they work. Some examples of spe­ cific titles are drilling- and boring-machine toolsetters, millingand planing-machine tenders, and lathe- and turning-machine tool operators. Job duties usually vary with the size of the firm and the type of machine being operated. Although some work­ ers specialize in one or two types of machinery, many are trained to set up or operate a variety of machines. Increasing automa­ tion allows machine setters to operate multiple machines simul­ taneously. In addition, newer production techniques, such as team-oriented “lean” manufacturing, require machine operators to rotate between different machines. Rotating assignments re­ sults in more varied work, but also requires workers to have a wider range of skills. Machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal set up and tend machines that cut and form all types of metal parts. Setup workers plan and set up the sequence of operations accord­ ing to blueprints, layouts, or other instructions. Often this in­ volves loading a computer program with instructions into the machine’s computer controls. On all machines, including those with computer controls, setup workers respond to problems during operation by adjusting the speed, feed and other vari­ ables. They also choose the proper coolants and lubricants and select the instruments or tools for each operation. Using mi­ crometers, gauges, and other precision measuring instruments, setup workers compare the completed work within the required tolerances. Although there are many different types of metalworking machine tools that require specific knowledge and skills, most operators perform similar tasks. Whether tending grinding ma­ chines that remove excess material from the surface of solid piece of metal or presses that extrude molten metal through a die to form wire, operators usually perform simple, repetitive operations that can be learned quickly. Typically, these workers place metal stock in a machine on which the operating speci­ fications have already been set. They watch one or more ma-  Consider the parts of a toaster, such as the metal or plastic hous­ ing or the lever that lowers the toast. These parts, and many other metal and plastic products, are produced by machine set­ ters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic. In fact, ma­ chine operators in the metalworking and plastics industries play a major role in producing most of the consumer products on which we rely daily. In general, these workers can be separated into two groups— those who set up machines for operation and those who oper­ ate the machines during production. Setup workers prepare the machines prior to production, perform initial test runs produc­ ing a part, and may adjust and make minor repairs to the ma­ chinery during its operation. Operators and tenders primarily monitor the machinery during its operation; sometimes they load or unload the machine or make minor adjustments to the controls. Many workers both set up and operate equipment. Because the setup process requires an understanding of the en­  Machine setters, operators, and tenders operate a wide range of machine tools.  For more information on credential standards and apprentice­ ship, contact: >• The National Institute for Metalworking Skills, 10565 Fairfax Blvd., Suite 203, Fairfax, VA 22030. Internet: http://www.nims-skills.org/home/index.htm Information on the registered apprenticeship sys­ tem with links to State apprenticeship programs may also be found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627.  Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders—Metal and Plastic (0*NET 51-4021.00, 51-4022.00, 51-4023.00, 51-4031.00, 51-4032.00, 51-4033.00, 51-4034.00, 51-4035.00, 51-4051.00, 51-4052.00, 51-4061.00, 51-4062.00, 51-4071.00, 51-4072.00, 51-4081.00, 51-4191.00, 51-4192.00, 51-4193.00, 51-4194.00, 51-4199.99)  Significant Points  •  Manufacturing industries employ more than 90 per­ cent of workers.  •  A few weeks of on-the-job training is sufficient for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but a year or more is required to become a highly skilled operator or setter. • Overall employment of machine setters, operators, and tenders is projected to decline rapidly over the 2006-16 period as a result of productivity improve­ ments and competition for jobs from abroad. •  Those who can operate multiple machines will have the best opportunities for advancement and for gain­ ing jobs with more long-term potential.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Production Occupations 755  chines and make adjustments to the machines based on either reading from computers and gauges or measuring the result­ ing product. Regardless of the type of machine they operate, machine operators usually depend on more skilled and experi­ enced setup workers for major adjustments when the machines are not functioning properly. Machine setters, operators, and tenders—plastic set up and tend machines that transform plastic compounds—chemicalbased products that can be produced in powder, pellet, or syrup form—into a wide variety of consumer goods such as toys, tub­ ing, and auto parts. These products are manufactured by vari­ ous methods, of which injection molding is the most common. The injection-molding machine heats and liquefies a plastic compound and forces it into a mold. After the part has cooled and hardened, the mold opens and the part is released. Many common kitchen products are produced with this method. To produce long parts, such as pipes or window frames, an extrud­ ing machine usually is used. These machines force a plastic compound through a die that contains an opening with the de­ sired shape of the final product. Blow molding is another com­ mon plasticsworking technique. Blow-molding machines force hot air into a mold that contains a plastic tube. As the air moves into the mold, the tube is inflated to the shape of the mold, and a plastic container is formed. The familiar 2-liter soft-drink bottles are produced by this method. Work environment. Most machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic work in areas that are clean, well lit, and well ventilated. Nevertheless, many operators require stamina, because they are on their feet much of the day and may do moderately heavy lifting. Also, these workers operate pow­ erful, high-speed machines that can be dangerous if strict safety rules are not observed. Most operators wear protective equip­ ment, such as safety glasses and earplugs, to protect against flying particles of metal or plastic and against noise from the machines. However, many modem machines are enclosed, minimizing the exposure of workers to noise, dust, and lubri­ cants used during machining. Other required safety equipment varies by work setting and machine. For example, those in the plastics industry who work near materials that emit dangerous fumes or dust must wear face masks or self-contained breathing apparatus. Overtime is common during periods of increased production for most machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic, but they usually work a 40-hour week. Because many metalworking and plastics working shops operate more than one shift daily, some operators work nights and weekends.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A few weeks of on-the-job training is sufficient for most work­ ers to learn basic machine operations, but a year or more is re­ quired to become a highly skilled operator or setter. Education and training. Employers generally prefer work­ ers who have a high school diploma or equivalent for jobs as machine setters, operators, and tenders. Being able to read, write, and speak English is important. Those interested in this occupation can improve their employment opportunities by completing high school courses in shop and blueprint reading and by gaining a working knowledge of the properties of met­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  als and plastics. A solid math background, including courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics, also is useful, along with experience working with computers. Trainees begin by observing and assisting experienced work­ ers, sometimes in formal training programs or apprenticeships. Under supervision, they may start as tenders, supplying mate­ rials, starting and stopping the machine, or removing finished products from it. Then they advance to the more difficult tasks performed by operators, such as adjusting feed speeds, chang­ ing cutting tools, or inspecting a finished product for defects. Eventually, they develop the skills and experience to setup ma­ chines and assist newer operators. The complexity of the equipment largely determines the time required to become an operator. Most operators learn the basic machine operations and functions in a few weeks, but a year or more may be needed to become skilled operators or to advance to the more highly skilled job of setter. Although many opera­ tors learn on the job, some community colleges and other edu­ cational institutions offer courses and certifications in operating metal and plastics machines. In addition to providing on-thejob training, some employers send promising machine tenders to classes. Other employers prefer to hire workers who have completed, or currently are enrolled in, a training program. Setters or technicians often plan the sequence of work, make the first production run, and determine which adjustments need to be made. As a result, these workers need a thorough knowl­ edge of the machinery and of the products being manufactured. Strong analytical abilities are particularly important for this job. Some companies have formal training programs for operators and setters, which often combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training. For some positions, such as grinders and rolling or pressing setup workers, formal apprenticeships are available. These programs require 300-600 hours of classroom training, and 2000-4000 hours of on-the-job experience. Work­ ers complete these programs in about 2 to 4 years, depending upon the program. Other qualifications. As the machinery in manufacturing plants becomes more complex and with changes to shop-floor organization that require more teamwork among employees, employers increasingly look for persons with good commu­ nication and interpersonal skills. Mechanical aptitude, man­ ual dexterity, and experience working with machinery also are helpful. Certification and advancement. Job opportunities and ad­ vancement can be enhanced by becoming certified in a particu­ lar machining skill. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills has developed standards for machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal. After taking an approved course and pass­ ing a written exam and performance requirement, the worker is issued a credential that signifies competence in a specific ma­ chining operation. The Society of Plastics Industry, the nation­ al trade association representing plastics manufacturers, also certifies workers in that industry. Certifications vary greatly depending upon the skill level involved. Both organizations of­ fer multiple levels of operator and setter certifications. Certi­ fications allow operators and setters to switch jobs more easily because they can prove their skills to a potential employer.  756 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic............. Forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic............................................................................................. Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic....................................................................... Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic......................................................................................... Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic......................................................................................... Machine tool cutting setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic ............................................................................................. Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic......................................................... Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic....................................................................... Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic............................... Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic....................................................................... Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic....................................................................... Metal furnace and kiln operators and tenders................................ Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders............................ Pourers and casters, metal............................................................ Model makers and patternmakers, metal and plastic..................... Model makers, metal and plastic................................................. Patternmakers, metal and plastic.................................................. Molders and molding machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic........................................................................... Foundry mold and coremakers..................................................... Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.................................................. Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic............................................................................................. Miscellaneous metalworkers and plastic workers.......................... Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.................................................................................. Lay-out workers, metal and plastic............................................. Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic....................................................................... Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners........................................... Metal workers and plastic workers, all other.............................  soc Code  Employment, 2006  —  1,141,000  Projected employment, 2016 975,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -15 -166,000  51-4020  161,000  140,000  -20,000  -13  51-4021  94,000  87,000  -6,700  -7  51-4022  31,000  22,000  -9,400  -30  51-4023  36,000  32,000  -4,200  -12  51-4030  513,000  425,000  -88,000  -17  51-4031  272,000  231,000  -40,000  -15  51-4032  43,000  33,000  -9,500  -22  51-4033  101,000  85,000  -16,000  -16  51-4034  68,000  52,000  -16,000  -23  51-4035 51-4050 51-4051 51-4052 51-4060 51-4061 51-4062  29,000 33,000 18,000 15,000 16,000 8,800 7,400  23,000 27,000 15,000 12,000 15,000 8,200 7,000  -6,100 -6,100 -3,500 -2,600 -1,000 -600 -400  -21 -18 -19 -17 -6 -6  51-4070 51-4071  171,000 15,000  148,000 11,000  -23,000 -3,300  -14 -23  51-4072  157,000  137,000  -20,000  -13  51-4081 51-4190  97,000 150,000  97,000 122,000  300 -28,000  -18  51-4191 51-4192  27,000  10,000  23,000 8,100  -4,000 -2,000  -15 -20  51-4193 51-4194 51-4199  42,000 22,000 49,000  37,000 18,000 36,000  -5,100 -4,200 -12,000  -12 -19 -25  -5  0  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook. ______________  Advancement for operators usually takes the form of higher pay and a wider range of responsibilities, eventually than can advance to be setup workers. With experience and training they can become multiple-machine operators, or trainees for more highly skilled positions, such as, machinists, tool and die mak­ ers, or computer-control programmers. (See the statements on machinists, computer control programmers and operators, and tool and die makers elsewhere in the Handbook.) Some setup workers may advance to supervisory positions. Employment Machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic held about 1.1 million jobs in 2006. More than 90 percent of jobs   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  were found in manufacturing, primarily in fabricated metal product manufacturing, plastics and rubber products manufac­ turing, primary metal manufacturing, machinery manufactur­ ing, and motor vehicle parts manufacturing. Job Outlook Overall employment in the various machine setter, operator, and tender occupations is expected to decline rapidly during the projection period. Those who can operate multiple machines will have the best opportunities for advancement and for gain­ ing jobs with more long-term potential. Employment change. Overall employment in the various machine setter, operator, and tender occupations is expected to  Production Occupations 757  decline rapidly by 15 percent from 2006 to 2016. In general, employment growth of these workers will be affected by techno­ logical advances, changing demand for the goods they produce, foreign competition, and the reorganization of production pro­ cesses. One of the most important factors influencing employment change in this occupation is the implementation of labor-saving machinery. Many firms are adopting new technologies, such as computer-controlled machine tools and robots in order to im­ prove quality, lower production costs, and remain competitive. Computer-controlled equipment allows operators to tend a great­ er number of machines simultaneously and often makes setup easier, thereby reducing the amount of time setup workers spend on each machine. Robots are being used to load and unload parts from machines. The lower-skilled manual machine tool opera­ tors and tenders jobs are more likely to be eliminated by these new technologies, because the functions they perform are more easily automated. The demand for machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic largely mirrors the demand for the parts they produce. The consumption of plastic products has grown as they have been substituted for metal goods in many products in recent years. The process is likely to continue and should result in stronger demand for machine operators in plastics than in metal. Both the plastics and metal industries, however, face stiff for­ eign competition that is limiting the demand for domestically produced parts. One way in which larger U.S. producers have responded to this competition is by moving production opera­ tions to other countries where labor costs are lower. These moves are likely to continue and will further reduce employment growth for machine operators, setters, and tenders—metal and plastic in the United States. Another way domestic manufacturers compete with low-wage foreign competition is by increasing their use of automated systems, which can make manufacturing establish­ ments more competitive by improving their productivity. How­ ever, increased automation also limits employment growth. Job prospects. Despite the overall rapid employment decline, a large number of machine setter, operator, and tender jobs will become available because of an expected surge in retirements, primarily baby boomers, by the end of the decade. Workers with a thorough background in machine operations, certifications from industry associations, exposure to a variety of machines, and a good working knowledge of the properties of metals and plastics will be better able to adjust to the changing environment. In addition, new shop-floor arrangements will reward workers with good basic mathematics and reading skills, good commu­ nication skills, and the ability and willingness to learn new tasks. As workers adapt to team-oriented production methods, those who can operate multiple machines will have the best opportuni­ ties for advancement and for gaining jobs with more long-term potential.  Earnings Earnings for machine operators can vary by size of the company, union status, industry, and skill level and experience of the opera­ tor. Also, temporary employees, who are being hired in greater numbers, usually get paid less than permanently employed work­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ers. The median hourly earnings in May 2006 for a variety of machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic were: Model makers, metal and plastic............................................$20.22 Patternmakers, metal and plastic.............................................. 17.01 Lay-out workers, metal and plastic......................................... 16.15 Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders..........................15.69 Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic............................................... 15.46 Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic............................................... 15.18 Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.....................................................................14.93 Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.....................................................................14.83 Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners........................................ 14.73 Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.....................................................................14.68 Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic................................................ 14.36 Pourers and casters, metal........................................................ 14.22 Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.....................................................................13.94 Foundry mold and coremakers................................................. 13.82 Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic................................13.58 Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic............ 13.50 Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic................................................ 13.21 Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic................................12.66 Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic................................12.29 Metal workers and plastic workers, all other...........................16.69  Related Occupations Workers in occupations closely related to machine setters, op­ erators, and tenders—metal and plastic include machinists; tool and die makers; assemblers and fabricators; computer control programmers and operators; painting and coating workers, ex­ cept construction and maintenance; and welding, soldering, and brazing workers. Often, machine operators are responsible for checking the quality of parts being produced, work similar to that of inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers.  Sources of Additional Information For general information about careers and companies employing metal machine setters, operators, and tenders, contact: > National Tooling and Machining Association, 9300 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744. Internet: http://www.ntma.org y Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation, 6363 Oak Tree Blvd., Independence, OH 44131. Internet: http://www.pmaef.org y Precision Machine Products Association, 6700 West Snowville Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141-3292. Internet: http://www.pmpa.org  758 Occupational Outlook Handbook  For information on schools and employers with training pro­ grams in plastics, contact: y Society of Plastics Industry, 1667 K St.NW., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.plasticsindustry.org/outreach/careers.htm  Tool and Die Makers (0*NET 51-4111.00)  Significant Points  •  Most tool and die makers need 4 or 5 years of class­ room instruction and on-the-job training to become fully qualified.  •  Employment is projected to decline because of strong foreign competition and advancements in automa­ tion. Despite the decline in employment, excellent job op­ portunities are expected.  •  Nature of the Work Tool and die makers are among the most highly skilled workers in manufacturing. These workers produce and repair tools, dies, and special guiding and holding devices that enable machines to manufacture a variety of products we use daily—from cloth­ ing and furniture to heavy equipment and parts for aircraft. Toolmakers craft precision tools and machines that are used to cut, shape, and form metal and other materials. They also produce jigs and fixtures—devices that hold metal while it is bored, stamped, or drilled—and gauges and other measuring devices. Die makers construct metal forms, called dies, that are used to shape metal in stamping and forging operations. They also make metal molds for diecasting and for molding plastics, ceramics, and composite materials. Some tool and die makers craft prototypes of parts, and then, working with engineers and designers, determine how best to manufacture the part. In ad­ dition to developing, designing, and producing new tools and dies, these workers also may repair worn or damaged tools, dies, gauges, jigs, and fixtures. To perform these functions, tool and die makers employ many types of machine tools and precision measuring instruments. They also must be familiar with the machining properties, such as hardness and heat tolerance, of a wide variety of common metals, alloys, plastics, ceramics, and other composite materi­ als. Tool and die makers are knowledgeable in machining oper­ ations, mathematics, and blueprint reading. In fact, tool and die makers often are considered highly specialized machinists. The main difference between tool and die makers and machinists is that machinists normally make a single part during the produc­ tion process, while tool and die makers make many parts and assemble and adjust machines used in the production process. (See the section on machinists elsewhere in the Handbook.) While many tools and dies are designed by engineers or tool designers, tool and die makers are also trained to design tools   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  and often do. They may travel to a customer’s plant to observe the operation and suggest ways in which a new tool could im­ prove the manufacturing process. Once a tool or die is designed, tool and die makers, working from blueprints, plan the sequence of operations necessary to manufacture the tool or die. They measure and mark the pieces of metal that will be cut to form parts of the final product. At this point, tool and die makers cut, drill, or bore the part as re­ quired, checking to ensure that the final product meets specifi­ cations. Finally, these workers assemble the parts and perform finishing jobs such as filing, grinding, and polishing surfaces. While manual machining has declined, it is still used for unique or low-quantity parts that are often required in building tools and dies. Tool and die makers use computer-aided design (CAD) to de­ velop products and parts. Specifications entered into computer programs can be used to electronically develop blueprints for the required tools and dies. Numerical tool and process control programmers use computer-aided design or computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) programs to convert electronic drawings into CAM-based computer programs that contain in­ structions for a sequence of cutting tool operations. (See the section on computer control programmers and operators else­ where in the Handbook.) Once these programs are developed, computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines follow the set of instructions contained in the program to produce the part. Computer-controlled machine tool operators or machinists normally operate CNC machines, but tool and die makers are trained in both operating CNC machines and writing CNC pro­ grams, and they may perform either task. CNC programs are stored electronically for future use, saving time and increasing worker productivity. After machining the parts, tool and die makers carefully check the accuracy of the parts using many tools, including coordinate measuring machines, which use sensor arms and software to compare the dimensions of the part to electronic blueprints. Next, they assemble the different parts into a functioning ma­ chine. They file, grind, shim, and adjust the different parts to properly fit them together. Finally, tool and die makers set up a test run using the tools or dies they have made to make sure that the manufactured parts meet specifications. If problems occur, they compensate by adjusting the tools or dies. Work environment. Tool and die makers usually work in toolrooms that are normally quieter than typical manufacturing production floors because there are fewer machines running at once. Toolrooms also are generally kept clean and cool to mini­ mize heat-related expansion of metal workpieces. To minimize the exposure of workers to moving parts, machines have guards and shields. Most computer-controlled machines are totally enclosed, minimizing workers’ exposure to noise, dust, and the lubricants used to cool workpieces during machining. Tool and die makers also must follow safety rules and wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses to shield against bits of flying metal, earplugs to protect against noise, and gloves and masks to reduce exposure to hazardous lubricants and cleaners. These workers also need stamina because they often spend much of the day on their feet and may do moderately heavy lifting. Companies employing tool and die makers have traditionally  Production Occupations 759  Wj  J  Tool and die makers use manual lathes to make custom parts or small batches ofparts. operated only one shift per day. Overtime and weekend work are common, especially during peak production periods.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement It usually takes 4 or 5 years of classroom and paid on-the-job training to become a fully trained tool and die maker. Good math, problem-solving, and computer skills are important re­ quirements for these workers. Education and training. Most tool and die makers learn their trade through 4 or 5 years of education and training in formal apprenticeships or in other postsecondary programs offered at local community colleges or technical schools. These programs often include a mix of classroom instruction and paid hands-on experience. According to most employers, apprenticeship pro­ grams are the best way to learn all aspects of tool and die mak­ ing. Most apprentices must have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, and high school mathematics and shop classes make it easier to get into an apprenticeship program. Traditional apprenticeships usually require that the appren­ tice complete a specific number of work and classroom hours to complete the program, which typically takes 4 or 5 years. Some companies and State apprenticeship programs, however, are now shifting from time-based programs to competency-based programs. Under competency-based programs, apprentices can move ahead more quickly by passing a series of exams and demonstrating competency in a particular job skill. While formal apprenticeship programs may be the best way to learn the job, many tool and die makers receive most of their formal classroom training from community and technical colleges while working for a company that often supports the employee’s training goals and provides the needed on-the-job training less formally. These trainees often begin as machine operators and gradually take on more difficult assignments. Many machinists become tool and die makers. During their training, tool and die maker trainees learn to operate milling machines, lathes, grinders, laser and water cut­ ting machines, wire electrical discharge machines, and other machine tools. They also leam to use handtools for fitting and assembling gauges and other mechanical and metal-forming equipment. In addition, they study metalworking processes, such as heat treating and plating. Classroom training usually   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  consists of tool designing, tool programming, blueprint read­ ing, and, if needed, mathematics courses, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics. Tool and die mak­ ers must have good computer skills to work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools, and computerized measuring machines. Even after completing a formal training program, tool and die makers still need years of experience to become highly skilled. Most specialize in making certain types of tools, molds, or dies. Certification and other qualifications. State apprenticeship boards certify tool and die makers as journey workers after they have completed a licensed program. While a State certification is not necessary to work as a tool and die maker, it gives work­ ers more flexibility in employment and is required by some employers. Apprentices usually must be at least 18 years old, in addition to having a high school education and high school mathematics classes. Because tools and dies must meet strict specifications—pre­ cision to one ten-thousandth of an inch is common—the work of tool and die makers requires skill with precision measuring devices and a high degree of patience and attention to detail. Good eyesight is essential. People entering this occupation also should be mechanically inclined, able to work and solve problems independently, have strong mathematical skills, and be capable of doing work that requires concentration and physi­ cal effort. Tool and die makers who visit customers’ plants need good interpersonal and sales skills. Employers generally look for someone with a strong educa­ tional background as an indication that the person can more easily adapt to change, which is a constant in this occupation. As automation continues to change the way tools and dies are made, workers regularly need to update their skills to leam how to operate new equipment. Also, as materials such as alloys, ceramics, polymers, and plastics are increasingly used, tool and die makers need to leam new machining techniques to deal with the new materials. Advancement. There are several ways for skilled workers to advance. Some move into supervisory and administrative positions in their firms or they may start their own shop. Others may take computer courses and become computer-controlled machine tool programmers. With a college degree, a tool and die maker can go into engineering or tool design.  Employment Tool and die makers held about 101,000 jobs in 2006. Most worked in industries that manufacture metalworking machin­ ery, transportation equipment such as motor vehicle parts, fab­ ricated metal products, and plastics products. Although they are found throughout the country, jobs are most plentiful in the Midwest and the Northeast, where many of metalworking com­ panies are located.  Job Outlook Employment of tool and die makers is projected to decline rapidly. However, excellent job opportunities are expected as many employers report difficulty finding qualified applicants. Employment change. Employment of tool and die makers is projected to decline rapidly by 10 percent over the 2006-16  760 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Tool and die makers................................................ .............................  soc  Code 51-4111  Employment,  2006 101,000  Change,  Projected employment,  2016 91,000  2006-16  Number  Percent  -9,700  -10  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook. decade because of strong foreign competition in manufacturing and advances in automation, including CNC machine tools and computer-aided design, that should improve worker productiv­ ity. On the other hand, tool and die makers play a key role in building and maintaining advanced automated manufactur­ ing equipment, which makes them less susceptible to lay-offs than other less-skilled production workers. As firms invest in new equipment, modify production techniques, and implement product design changes more rapidly, they will continue to rely heavily on skilled tool and die makers for retooling. Job prospects. Despite declining employment, excellent job opportunities are expected. Employers in certain parts of the country report difficulty attracting skilled workers and appren­ ticeship candidates with the necessary abilities to replace retir­ ing workers and fill other openings. The number of workers receiving training in this occupation is expected to continue to be fewer than the number of openings created each year by tool and die makers who retire or transfer to other occupations. A major factor limiting the number of people entering the occupa­ tion is that many young people who have the educational and personal qualifications necessary to learn tool and die making usually prefer to attend college or do not wish to enter produc­ tion occupations.  Earnings Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of tool and die mak­ ers were $21.29 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $17.29 and $26.77. The lowest 10 percent had earn­ ings of less than $13.85, while the top 10 percent earned more than $32.41. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the manufacturing industries employing the largest numbers of tool and die makers were as follows: Motor vehicle parts manufacturing...................................... $26.45 Plastics product manufacturing.............................................. 20.79 Forging and stamping............................................................. 20.24 Metalworking machinery manufacturing............................... 20.08 Machine shops; turned product; and screw, nut, and bolt manufacturing..........................................................19.41 The pay of apprentices is tied to their skill level. As they gain more skills and reach specific levels of performance and experience, their pay increases.  Like tool and die makers, assemblers and fabricators assem­ ble and repair complex machinery. Millwrights and industrial machinery mechanics also repair and assemble manufacturing equipment. When measuring parts, tool and die makers use some of the same tools and equipment that inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers use in their jobs.  Sources of Additional Information For career information and to have inquiries on training and employment referred to member companies, contact: y PrecisionMachineProductsAssociation,6700WestSnowville Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141. Internet: http://www.pmpa.org For lists of schools and employers with tool and die appren­ ticeship and training programs, contact: y National Tooling and Machining Association, 9300 Livingston Rd., Ft. Washington, MD 20744. Internet: http://www.ntma.org For information on careers, education and training, earnings, and apprenticeship opportunities in metalworking, contact: y Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation, 6363 Oak Tree Blvd., Independence, OH 44131. Internet: http://www.pmaef.org y The National Institute for Metalworking Skills, 10565 Fairfax Boulevard, Suite 203, Fairfax, VA 22030. Internet: http ://www.nims-skilIs.org Information on the registered apprenticeship system with links to State apprenticeship programs can be found on the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/atels_bat Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. De­ partment of Labor’s toll free helpline: (877) 872-5627.  Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Workers (Q*NET 51-4121.00, 51-4121.06, 51-4121.07, 51-4122.00)  Significant Points  •  About 2 out of 3 jobs are in manufacturing indus­ tries.  •  Training ranges from a few weeks of school or on-thejob training to several years of combined school and on-the-job training.  •  Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average. Job prospects should be excellent as employers report difficulty finding enough qualified people.  Related Occupations The occupations most closely related to the work of tool and die makers are other machining occupations. These include machinists; computer control programmers and operators; and machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic. An­ other occupation that requires precision and skill in working with metal is welding, soldering, and brazing workers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  •  Production Occupations 761  Nature of the Work Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thou­ sands of other manufacturing activities. Welding also is used to join beams when constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries. There are over 80 different welding processes that a welder can employ. Some are performed manually, and the work is entirely controlled by the welder. Others are semiautomatic, and the welder uses machinery, such as a wire feeder, to per­ form welding tasks. One of the most common types of welding is arc welding. Standard arc welding involves two large metal alligator clips that carry a strong electrical current. One clip is attached to any part of the piece being welded. The second clip is con­ nected to a thin welding rod. When the rod touches the piece, a powerful electrical circuit is created. The massive heat cre­ ated by the electrical current causes both the piece and the steel core of the rod to melt together, cooling quickly to form a solid bond. The speed with which the welder works can affect the strength of the weld. Two common and advanced types of arc welding are Tung­ sten Inert Gas (TIG) and Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. TIG welding often is used with stainless steel or aluminum. The welder holds the welding rod in one hand and an electric torch in the other hand. The torch is used to simultaneously melt the rod and the piece. MIG uses a spool of continuously fed wire instead of a rod, which allows the welder to join lon­ ger stretches of metal without stopping to replace a rod. The welder holds the wire feeder, which functions like the alliga­ tor clip in arc welding. Like arc welders, soldering and brazing workers use molten metal to join two pieces of metal. However, the metal added during the soldering and brazing process has a melting point lower than that of the piece, so only the added metal is melted, not the piece. Soldering uses metals with a melting point be­ low 800 degrees Fahrenheit; brazing uses metals with a higher melting point. Because soldering and brazing do not melt the piece, these processes normally do not create the distortions or weaknesses in the piece that can occur with welding. Solder­ ing commonly is used to join electrical, electronic, and other small metal parts. Brazing produces a stronger joint than does soldering and often is used to join metals other than steel, such as brass. Brazing can also be used to apply coatings to parts to reduce wear and protect against corrosion. Skilled welding, soldering, and brazing workers gener­ ally plan work from drawings or specifications and use their knowledge of welding processes and base metals to determine how best to join the parts. The difficulty of the weld is deter­ mined by its position—horizontal, vertical, overhead, or 6G (circular, such as in large pipes)—and by the type of metals to be fused. Highly skilled welders often are trained to work with a wide variety of materials, such as titanium, aluminum, or plastics, in addition to steel. Welders then select and set up   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  welding equipment, execute the planned welds, and examine welds to ensure that they meet standards or specifications. By observing problems during the welding process, welders can compensate by adjusting the speed, voltage, amperage, or feed of the rod. Some welders have more limited duties, however. They perform routine jobs that already have been planned and laid out and do not require extensive knowledge of welding techniques. Automated welding is used in an increasing number of pro­ duction processes. In these instances, a machine or robot per­ forms the welding tasks while being monitored by a welding machine operator. Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders follow specified layouts, work orders, or blueprints. Operators must load parts correctly and constantly monitor the machine to ensure that it produces the desired bond. The work of arc, plasma, and oxy-gas cutters is closely re­ lated to that of welders. However, instead of joining metals, cutters use the heat from an electric arc, a stream of ionized gas called plasma, or burning gases to cut and trim metal ob­ jects to specific dimensions. Cutters also dismantle large ob­ jects, such as ships, railroad cars, automobiles, buildings, or aircraft. Some operate and monitor cutting machines similar to those used by welding machine operators. Plasma cutting has been increasing in popularity because, unlike other meth­ ods, it can cut a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. Work environment. Welding, soldering, and brazing work­ ers often are exposed to a number of hazards, including very hot materials and the intense light created by the arc. They wear safety shoes, goggles, hoods with protective lenses, and other devices designed to prevent burns and eye injuries and to protect them from falling objects. They normally work in well-ventilated areas to limit their exposure to fumes. Auto­ mated welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators are not exposed to as many dangers, and a face shield or goggles usually provide adequate protection for these workers. Welders and cutters may work outdoors, often in inclement weather, or indoors, sometimes in a confined area designed to contain sparks and glare. Outdoors, they may work on a scaffold or platform high off the ground. In addition, they may be required to lift heavy objects and work in a variety of awkward positions, while bending, stooping, or standing to perform work overhead. Although about 50 percent of welders, solderers, and brazers work a 40-hour week, overtime is common, and nearly 1 out of 5 welders work 50 hours per week or more. Welders also may work in shifts as long as 12 hours. Some welders, solderers, brazers, and machine operators work in factories that operate around the clock, necessitating shift work.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Training for welding, soldering, and brazing workers can range from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs. Education and training. Formal training is available in high schools and postsecondary institutions, such as vocation-  762 Occupational Outlook Handbook  tion, welders increasingly must be willing to receive training and perform tasks in other production jobs. Advancement. Welders can advance to more skilled weld­ ing jobs with additional training and experience. For exam­ ple, they may become welding technicians, supervisors, in­ spectors, or instructors. Some experienced welders open their own repair shops. Other welders, especially those who obtain a bachelor’s degree, become welding engineers.  Employment Welding, soldering, and brazing workers held about 462,000 jobs in 2006. About 2 of every 3 welding jobs were found in manufacturing. Jobs were concentrated in fabricated metal product manufacturing, transportation equipment manufac­ turing, machinery manufacturing, architectural and structural metals manufacturing, and construction.  Job Outlook  Trrj-  Welders inspect their work to ensure a strong bond. al-technical institutes, community colleges, and private weld­ ing schools. The U.S. Armed Forces operate welding schools as well. Although some employers provide training, they prefer to hire workers who already have experience or for­ mal training. Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful. An understanding of electricity also is very helpful, and knowledge of computers is gaining importance, especially for welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators, who are becoming more responsible for the programming of robots and other computer-controlled machines. Since understand­ ing the welding process and inspecting welds is important for both welders and welding machine operators, companies hir­ ing machine operators prefer workers with a background in welding. Certification and other qualifications. Some welding posi­ tions require general certifications in welding or certifications in specific skills such as inspection or robotic welding. The American Welding Society certification courses are offered at many welding schools. Some employers have developed their own internal certification tests. Welding, soldering, and brazing workers need good eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and manual dexterity. They should be able to concentrate on detailed work for long periods and be able to bend, stoop, and work in awkward positions. In addi­   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment of welding, soldering, and brazing workers is expected to grow more slowly than average. They will have excellent job opportunities as some welding employers report difficulty finding trained welders. Employment change. Employment of welding, soldering, and brazing workers is expected to grow about 5 percent over the 2006-16 decade, slower than the average for all occupa­ tions. Welding has grown significantly over the long term be­ cause of advances that have allowed it to replace other joining technologies in many applications. Thus, demand for welders is increasing in the construction, manufacturing, and utilities industries. Despite overall employment declines in the manu­ facturing industry, the outlook for welders in manufacturing is far stronger than for other occupations. The basic skills of welding are the same across industries, so welders can easily shift from one industry to another depending on where they are needed most. For example, welders laid off in the auto industry have been able to find work in the booming oil and gas industry, although the shift may require relocating. Automation is less of a threat to welders and welding ma­ chine operators than to other manufacturing occupations. Welding machines must still be operated by someone who is knowledgeable about welding and can inspect the weld and make adjustments. In custom applications, much of the work is difficult or impossible to automate. This includes manufac­ turing small batches of items, construction work, and making repairs in factories. Job prospects. Retirements and job growth in the oil and gas and other industries are expected to create excellent op­ portunities for welders. Welding schools report that graduates have little difficulty finding work, and some welding employ­ ers report difficulty finding trained welders.  Earnings Median wage-and-salary earnings of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were $15.10 an hour in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.30 and $18.47. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $10.08, and the top 10 percent earned over $22.50. The range of earnings of welders reflects the wide range of skill levels. Median hourly  Production Occupations 763  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix soc Code  Occupational Title Welding, soldering, and brazing workers................................. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers............................... Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders.......................................  Employment, 2006  51-4120 51-4121  462,000 409,000  51-4122  53,000  Projected employment, 2016 484,000 430,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 22,000 5 21,000 5  54,000  1,600  3  NOTE. Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.  wage-and-salary earnings of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in the industries employing the largest numbers of them were: Other general purpose machinery manufacturing..............$15.43 Agriculture, construction, and mining machinery manufacturing........................................................................14.90 Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance........... 14.59 Architectural and structural metals manufacturing...............14.39 Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing...................... 13.68 Median wage-and-salary earnings of welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders were $14.90 an hour in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.02 and $18.90. The lowest 10 percent had earn­ ings of less than $9.95, and the top 10 percent earned over $25.44. Their median wage-and-salary earnings in motor vehicle parts manufacturing, the industry employing them in the largest numbers, were $17.75 an hour in May 2006. Many welders belong to unions. Among these are the In­ ternational Association of Machinists and Aerospace Work­ ers; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; the Inter­ national Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricul­  tural Implement Workers of America; the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sprinkler Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada; and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America.  Related Occupations Welding, soldering, and brazing workers are skilled metal workers. Other skilled metal workers include machinists; machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic; computer control programmers and operators; tool and die makers; sheet metal workers; and boilermakers. Assemblers and fabricators of electrical and electronic equipment often assemble parts using soldering. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefit­ ters, and steamfitters also need welding skills.  Sources of Additional Information For information on training opportunities and jobs for weld­ ing, soldering, and brazing workers, contact local employers, the local office of the State employment service, or schools providing welding, soldering, or brazing training. Information on careers, certifications, and educational op­ portunities in welding is available from: > American Welding Society, 550 N.W. Lejeune Rd., Miami, FL 33126. Internet: http://www.aws.org  Printing Occupations Bookbinders and Bindery Workers (0*NET 51-5011.00, 51-5012.00)  Significant Points  •  Employment is expected to decline rapidly, reflecting the use of more productive machinery and the growth of imports of bound printed material.  •  Opportunities for hand bookbinders are limited be­ cause only a small number of establishments do this highly specialized work.  •  Most bookbinders and bindery workers train on the job.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Nature of the Work The process of combining printed sheets into finished products such as books, magazines, catalogs, folders, and directories is known as “binding.” When a publication or advertising supple­ ment has been printed, it must then be folded, glued, stitched, stapled, or otherwise turned into the finished product that will be seen by the public. Bindery workers set up, operate, and maintain the machines that perform these various tasks, while bookbinders perform highly skilled hand finishing operations. Job duties depend on the material being bound. Some types of binding and finishing jobs consist of only one step. Pre­ paring leaflets or newspaper inserts, for example, requires only folding. Binding of books and magazines, on the other hand, requires a number of steps. Bindery workers first assemble the books and magazines from large, flat, printed sheets of paper. They then operate machines that first fold printed sheets into “signatures,” which are groups of pages arranged sequentially.  764 Occupational Outlook Handbook  19 RING  PWSTiC BINDINGS  Bookbinders pay careful attention to detail to avoid binding pages incorrectly. They then assemble the signatures in sequence and join them by means of a saddle-stitch process or perfect binding (where no stitches are used). In firms that do “edition binding”, workers bind books produced in large numbers, or “runs.” In libraries where repair work on rare books is needed, book­ binders sew, stitch, or glue the assembled printed sheets, shape the book bodies with presses and trimming machines, and re­ inforce them with glued fabric strips. Covers are created sepa­ rately and glued, pasted, or stitched onto the book bodies. The books then undergo a variety of finishing operations, often in­ cluding wrapping in paper jackets. In establishments that print new books, this work is done mechanically. A small number of bookbinders work in hand binderies. These highly skilled workers design original or special bindings for limited editions, or restore and rebind rare books. Some binders repair books and provide other specialized binding ser­ vices to libraries. Bookbinders and bindery workers in small shops may per­ form many binding tasks, while those in large shops tend to specialize. Tasks may include performing perfect binding or operating laminating machinery. Others specialize as folder operators or cutter operators, and may perform adjustments and minor repairs to equipment as needed. Work environment. Binderies often are noisy and jobs can be strenuous, requiring considerable lifting, standing, and car­ rying. Binding often resembles an assembly line on which workers perform repetitive tasks. The jobs also may require stooping, kneeling, and crouching, but equipment that mini­ mizes such activity is now widely available. Bookbinders and bindery workers normally work 40 hours per week, although weekend and holiday hours may be nec­ essary if production on a job is behind schedule. Many large printers operate around the clock, so some bindery workers may work on shifts. Part-time workers made up 11 percent of this occupation in 2006.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement On-the-job training remains the most common form of training for entry level bindery workers, but new technology will require workers to obtain more formal training. Attention to detail and mechanical aptitude are important for these jobs.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Education and training. High school students interested in bindery careers should take shop courses or attend a vocationaltechnical high school. Occupational skill centers also provide an introduction to bindery work and bookbinding. For entrylevel positions, most employers look for high school graduates or those with associate degrees. Training in graphic communications also can be an asset. Vo­ cational-technical institutes offer postsecondary programs in the graphic arts, as do some skill-updating or retraining programs and community colleges. Other programs are made available by unions to their members. Four-year colleges also offer pro­ grams related to printing and publishing, but their emphasis is on preparing people for careers as graphic artists, educators, or managers in the graphic arts field. While postsecondary education is available, most bookbind­ ers and bindery workers learn the craft through on-the-job train­ ing. Inexperienced workers usually are assigned simple tasks such as moving paper from cutting machines to folding ma­ chines. They learn basic binding skills, including the character­ istics of paper and how to cut large sheets of paper into different sizes with the least amount of waste. Usually, it takes one to three months to learn to operate the simpler machines but it can take up to one year to become completely familiar with more complex equipment, such as computerized binding machines. As workers gain experience, they learn to operate more types of equipment. To keep pace with changing technology, retraining is increasingly important for bindery workers. Formal apprenticeships are not as common as they used to be, but still are offered by some employers. Apprenticeships allow beginners to acquire skills by working alongside skilled work­ ers while also taking classes. The more structured program pro­ vided by an apprenticeship enables workers to acquire the high levels of specialization and skill needed for some bindery and bookbinding jobs. Other qualifications. Bindery work requires careful atten­ tion to detail. Accuracy, patience, neatness, and good eyesight are all important. Mechanical aptitude is necessary to operate the newer, more automated equipment, and workers with com­ puter skills will increasingly be in demand. Manual dexterity is needed in order to count, insert, and fold. In addition, creativity and artistic ability are necessary for hand bookbinding. Certification and advancement. With experience, binders can expect increased salaries and more responsibility. Comple­ tion of a formal certification program can further advancement opportunities. Without additional training, advancement oppor­ tunities outside of bindery work are limited. In large binderies, experienced bookbinders or bindery workers may advance to supervisory positions.  Employment In 2006, bookbinders and bindery workers held about 72,000 jobs, including 7,200 as skilled bookbinders and 65,000 as bindery workers. More than 3 out of 4 bookbinding and bind­ ery jobs are in printing and related support activities. Tradi­ tionally, the largest employers of bindery workers were bindery trade shops, which are companies that specialize in providing binding services for printers without binderies or whose print­ ing production exceeds their binding capabilities. However,  Production Occupations 765  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Bookbinders and bindery workers........................... ..................... Bindery workers................................................ Bookbinders......................................  soc Code 51-5010  Employment, 2006 72.000 65.000 7.200  Projected employment, 2016 57.000 51.000 6.000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -21 -15,000 -14,000 -22 -1,200 -17  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  tion Included in the Handbook.  this type of binding is now being done increasingly in-house, and is now called “in-line finishing.” The publishing industry employed less than 1 in 10 bindery workers. Other bindery workers were found in the employ­ ment services industry, which supplies temporary workers to companies that require their services.  Job Outlook Employment of bookbinders and bindery workers is projected to decline rapidly between 2006 and 2016, but opportunities should be good because many job openings are created by bindery workers who transfer to other occupations. Employment change. Overall employment of bookbind­ ers and bindery workers is expected to decline rapidly by 21 percent between 2006 and 2016. Over this period, demand for domestic bindery workers will slow as productivity in print­ ing and bindery operations increases. Computers have caused binding to become increasingly automated, and coupled with other technological advances, have reduced labor require­ ments. Consequently, more printing companies are expected to perform bindery services in-house rather than send the work to specialized binding shops. Also, some bindery jobs will be lost because of outsourcing of work to firms in foreign coun­ tries where books and other materials that take a long time to make can be produced more cheaply. More efficient binding machinery will slow growth in de­ mand for specialized bindery workers who assist skilled book­ binders. The number of establishments that do hand book­ binding is small, also limiting growth. Job prospects. Bindery workers generally face favorable job opportunities because many workers leave these jobs and there is a recurring need to replace them. However, improve­ ments in binding machinery mean fewer will be replaced than leave. Additionally, many skilled bookbinders are older and will likely retire in the next decade. Experienced workers will continue to have the best opportunities for these skilled jobs. Prospects for all bindery jobs will be best for workers who have completed training or certification programs, internships, or who have experience in a related production occupation.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of bookbinders were $14.55 in May 2006, compared to $13.16 per hour for all production occu­ pations. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.48 and $19.34 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.30, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.69. Median hourly earnings of bindery workers were $12.29 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.67 and   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  $16.02 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.93, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.14.  Related Occupations Other workers who set up and operate production machinery include prepress technicians and workers; printing machine operators; machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic; and various other precision machine operators.  Sources of Additional Information Information about apprenticeships and other training oppor­ tunities may be obtained from local printing industry associa­ tions, local bookbinding shops, local offices of the Graphic Communications Conference or local offices of the State em­ ployment service. Apprenticeship information is also avail­ able from the U.S. Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline: (877) 282-5627. For general information on bindery occupations, write to: y Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1900 L St.NW., Washington, DC 20036-5007. For information on careers and training programs in print­ ing and the graphic arts, contact: >• Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-5468. Internet: http://www.makeyourmark.org > Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, 200 Deer Run Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143. y NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing Publishing, and Converting Technologies, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-4367. Internet: http ://www.npes.org/education/index.html  Prepress Technicians and Workers (0*NET 51-5021.00, 51-5022.00)  Significant Points  •  Most prepress technician jobs now require formal postsecondary graphic communications training in the various types of computer software used in digital imaging.  •  Employment is projected to decline rapidly as the in­ creased use of computers in typesetting and page lay­ out requires fewer prepress technicians.  766 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Nature of the Work The printing process has three stages: prepress, press, and binding or finishing. While workers in small print shops are usually responsible for all three stages, in most printing firms, formatting print jobs and correcting layout errors before the job goes to print is the responsibility of a specialized group of workers. Prepress technicians and workers are responsible for this prepress work. They perform a variety of tasks to help transform text and pictures into finished pages and prepare the pages for print. Prepress technicians receive images from in-house graphic designers or directly from customers and see the job through the process of preparing print-ready pages to create a finished printing plate. Printing plates are thin sheets of metal that car­ ry the final image to be printed. Printing presses use this plate to copy the image to the printed products we see every day. Once a printing plate has been created, prepress technicians collaborate with printing machine operators to check for any potential printing problems. Several plates may be needed if a job requires color, but advanced printing technology does not require plates. For a long time, prepress workers used a photographic pro­ cess to make printing plates. This is a complex process in­ volving ultraviolet light and chemical exposure through which the text and images of a print job harden on a metal plate and become water repellent. These hard, water repellent portions of the metal plate are in the form of the text and images that will be printed on paper. More recently, the printing industry has largely moved to technology known as “direct-to-plate”, by which the prepress technicians send the data directly to a plating system, by-passing the need for the photographic technique. The direct-to-plate technique is just one example of digital imaging technology that has largely replaced cold type print technology. Prepress technicians known as “preflight techni­ cians” or production coordinators are using digital imaging technology to complete more and more print jobs. Using this technology, technicians take electronic files received from cus­ tomers and check them for completeness. They then format the jobs using electronic page layout software in order to fit  the pages to dimensions of the paper stock to be used. When color printing is required, the technicians produce an electron­ ic image of the printed pages and then print a copy, or “proof,” of the pages as they will appear when printed. The technician then has the proofs delivered or mailed to the customer for a final check. Once the customer approves the proofs, techni­ cians use laser “imagesetters” to expose digital images of the pages directly onto the thin metal printing plates. Advances in computer software and printing technolo­ gy continue to change prepress work. Today, customers of print shops often use their own computers to do much of the typesetting and page layout work formerly done by prepress technicians. This process, called “desktop publishing,” pro­ vides printers with pages of material that look like the de­ sired finished product. This work is usually done by desktop publishers or graphic designers with knowledge of publish­ ing software. (Sections on desktop publishers and graphic designers appear elsewhere in the Handbook.) As a result, prepress workers often receive files from customers on a com­ puter disk or via e-mail that contain typeset material already laid out in pages. Other more advanced technologies now al­ low prepress technicians to send printing files directly to the printer and skip the plate-making process altogether. Despite the shortcuts that technological advancements allow, workers still need to understand the basic processes behind prepress, press, and finishing operations. Some workers, known as job printers, perform prepress and print operations. Job printers often are found in small establishments where work combines several job skills. Work environment. Prepress technicians and workers usu­ ally work in clean, air-conditioned areas with little noise. Some workers may develop eyestrain from working in front of a video display terminal or other minor problems, such as backaches. Those platemakers who still work with toxic chemicals face the hazard of skin irritations. Workers are of­ ten subject to stress and the pressures of deadlines and tight work schedules. Prepress employees usually work an 8-hour day. Some workers—particularly those employed by newspapers—work night shifts. Weekend and holiday work may be required, particularly when a print job is behind schedule. Part-time prepress technicians made up 12 percent of this occupation in 2006.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Prepress technicians and workers increasingly use direct-toplate technologies that eliminate direct contact with ink and chemicals.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employers prefer workers with formal training in printing or publishing. Familiarity with the printing process, including the technology used, and attention to detail are the qualities that employers will seek most in job applicants. Education and training. Many employers consider the best candidates for prepress jobs to be individuals with a combination of work experience in the printing industry and formal training in the new digital technology. The experience of these applicants provides them with an understanding of how printing plants operate and demonstrates their interest in advancing within the industry. Traditionally, prepress technicians and workers started as helpers and were trained on the job. Some of these jobs re-  Production Occupations 767  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Prepress technicians and workers............................. ................... Job printers........................................................... .................... Prepress technicians and workers......................... ....................  soc  Code  ...  51-5021 51-5022  Employment, 2006 119,000 48,000 71,000  Projected employment, 2016  100,000 44,000 56,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -19,000 -16 -4,500 -9 -15,000 -21  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.  quired years of experience performing detailed manual work to become skillful enough to perform the most difficult tasks. Today, however, employers expect workers to have some for­ mal postsecondary graphic communications training in the various types of computer software used in digital imaging and will train workers on the job as needed. For beginners, 2-year associate degree programs offered by community colleges, junior colleges, and technical schools teach the latest prepress skills and allow students to prac­ tice applying them. There are also 4-year bachelor’s degree programs in graphic design aimed primarily at students who plan to move into management positions in printing or design. For workers who do not wish to enroll in a degree program, prepress-related courses are offered at many community col­ leges, junior colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, vo­ cational-technical institutes, and private trade and technical schools. Workers with experience in other printing jobs can take a few college-level graphic communications courses to upgrade their skills and qualify for prepress jobs. Other qualifications. Employers prefer workers with good communication skills, both oral and written. When prepress problems arise, prepress technicians and workers should be able to deal courteously with customers to resolve them. Also, in small shops, they may take customer orders. Persons inter­ ested in working for firms using advanced printing technology need to be comfortable with electronics and computers. At times, prepress personnel may have to perform computations in order to estimate job costs or operate many of the electron­ ics used to run modem equipment. Prepress technicians and workers need manual dexterity and accurate eyesight. Good color vision helps workers find mistakes and locate potential problems. It is essential for pre­ press workers to be able to pay attention to detail and work independently. Artistic ability is often a plus. Employers also seek persons who are comfortable with the pressures of meet­ ing deadlines, using new software, and operating new equip­ ment. Advancement. Employers may send experienced techni­ cians to industry-sponsored update and retraining programs to develop new skills or hone current ones. This kind of prepress training is sometimes offered in-house or through unions in the printing industry.  Employment Prepress technicians and workers overall held about 119,000 jobs in 2006. Most prepress jobs are found in the printing in­ dustry, while newspaper publishing employs the second larg­ est number of prepress technicians and workers.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  The printing and publishing industries are two of the most geographically dispersed in the United States. While prepress jobs are found throughout the country, large numbers are concentrated in large printing centers such as Chicago, Los Angeles-Long Beach, New York City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC.  Job Outlook Employment of prepress technicians and workers is projected to decline rapidly through 2016, because of improvements in printing technology that require fewer of these workers. De­ spite this, job prospects are good for prepress technicians with good computer and customer service skills. Employment change. Overall employment of prepress tech­ nicians and workers is expected to decline by 16 percent over the 2006-2016 period. Demand for printed material should continue to grow, spurred by rising levels of personal income, increasing school enrollments, higher levels of educational at­ tainment, and expanding markets. But the use of computers and publishing software—often by the clients of the printing company—will result in rising productivity of prepress tech­ nicians, and thus halting the creation of new jobs. Computer software now allows office workers at a desk­ top computer terminal to specify text typeface and style and to format pages. This development shifts traditional pre­ press functions away from printing plants into advertising and public relations agencies, graphic design firms, and large corporations. As page layout and graphic design capabilities of computer software have become less expensive and more user-friendly, many companies are turning to in-house desk­ top publishing. Some firms also are finding it less costly to prepare their own newsletters and other reports. At news­ papers, writers and editors also are doing more composition using publishing software. This rapid growth in the use of desktop publishing software has eliminated most prepress typesetting and composition technician jobs associated with the older printing technologies. In addition, new technology is increasing the amount of automation that printing compa­ nies can employ, which leaves less work for prepress workers. The duties of prepress workers will likely begin to merge with those of other printing industry workers—such as those of customer service representatives—which will also curb pre­ press job growth. Job prospects. Despite a decline in the number of new pre­ press positions, opportunities will be favorable for workers with strong computer and customer service skills, such as pre­ flight technicians who electronically check materials prepared by clients and adapt them for printing.  768 Occupational Outlook Handbook  In order to compete in the desktop publishing environment, commercial printing companies are adding desktop publish­ ing and electronic prepress work to the list of services they provide. Electronic prepress technicians, digital proofers, platemakers, and graphic designers are using new equipment and ever-improving software to design and lay out publica­ tions and complete their printing more quickly. The increas­ ing range of services offered by printing companies using new digital technologies mean that opportunities in prepress work will be best for those with computer backgrounds who have completed postsecondary programs in printing technology or graphic communications. Workers with this background will be better able to adapt to the continuing evolution of publish­ ing and printing technology.  Earnings While wage rates for prepress technicians and workers depend on basic factors such as employer, education, and location, the median hourly earnings of prepress technicians and work­ ers were $16.01 in May 2006, compared to $13.16 per hour for all production occupations. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.98 and $20.69 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.37, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.71 an hour. Median hourly earnings in printing and related support activities, the industry employing the largest number of prepress technicians and workers, were $16.44 in May 2006, while workers in the newspaper, periodical, and book publishing industry earned $15.17 an hour. For job printers, median hourly earnings were $15.58 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.15 and $19.83 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.56, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.70 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of job printers May 2006 were $16.19 in the newspaper, periodical, and book publishing industry and $15.76 in printing and related support activities.  Related Occupations Prepress technicians and workers use artistic skills in their work. These skills also are essential for artists and related workers, graphic designers, and desktop publishers. More­ over, many of the skills used in Web site design also are em­ ployed in prepress technology. Prepress technicians’ work also is tied in closely with that of printing machine operators.  Sources of Additional Information Details about training programs may be obtained from local employers such as newspapers and printing shops, or from lo­ cal offices of the State employment service. For information on careers and training in printing and the graphic arts, write to: y Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-5468. Internet: http://www.makeyourmark.org y Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1900 L St.NW., Washington, DC 20036-5007. y Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, 200 Deer Run Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143-2324.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Printing Machine Operators (0*NET 51-5023.00)  Significant Points •  Most printing machine operators are trained on the job.  •  Retirements of older press operators are expected to create openings for skilled workers.  •  Rising demand for customized print jobs will mean those skilled in digital printing operations will have the best job opportunities.  Nature of the Work Printing machine operators, also known as press operators, pre­ pare, operate, and maintain printing presses. Duties of printing machine operators vary according to the type of press they op­ erate. Traditional printing methods, such as offset lithography, gravure, flexography, and letterpress, use a plate or roller that carries the final image that is to be printed and copies the im­ age to paper. In addition to the traditional printing processes, plateless or nonimpact processes are coming into general use. Plateless processes—including digital, electrostatic, and ink­ jet printing—are used for copying, duplicating, and document and specialty printing. Plateless processes usually are done by quick printing shops and smaller in-house printing shops, but increasingly are being used by commercial printers for shortrun or customized printing jobs. Machine operators’ jobs differ from one shop to another be­ cause of differences in the types and sizes of presses. Small commercial shops can be operated by one person and tend to have relatively small presses, which print only one or two col­ ors at a time. Large newspaper, magazine, and book printers use giant “in-line web” presses that require a crew of several press operators and press assistants. After working with prepress technicians (who are covered in the Handbook statement on prepress technicians and work­ ers) to identify and resolve any potential problems with a job, printing machine operators prepare machines for printing. To prepare presses, operators install the printing plate with the im­ ages to be printed and adjust the pressure at which the machine prints. Then they ink the presses, load paper, and adjust the press to the paper size. Operators ensure that paper and ink meet specifications, and adjust the flow of ink to the inking roll­ ers accordingly. They then feed paper through the press cylin­ ders and adjust feed and tension controls. New digital technol­ ogy, in contrast, is able to automate much of this work. While printing presses are running, printing machine opera­ tors monitor their operation and keep the paper feeders well stocked. They make adjustments to manage ink distribution, speed, and temperature in the drying chamber, if the press has one. If paper tears or jams and the press stops, which can hap­ pen with some offset presses, operators quickly correct the problem to minimize downtime. Similarly, operators working with other high-speed presses constantly look for problems,  Production Occupations 769  and when necessary make quick corrections to avoid expensive losses of paper and ink. Throughout the run, operators must regularly pull sheets to check for any printing imperfections. Most printers have, or will soon have, presses with computers and sophisticated instruments to control press operations, mak­ ing it possible to complete printing jobs in less time. With this equipment, printing machine operators set up, monitor, and ad­ just the printing process on a control panel or computer moni­ tor, which allows them to control the press electronically. In most shops, machine operators also perform preventive maintenance. They oil and clean the presses and make minor repairs. Work environment. Operating a press can be physically and mentally demanding, and sometimes tedious. Printing machine operators are on their feet most of the time. Often, operators work under pressure to meet deadlines. Most printing presses are capable of high printing speeds, and adjustments must be made quickly to avoid waste. Pressrooms are noisy, and work­ ers in certain areas wear ear protection. Working with press machinery can be hazardous, but the threat of accidents has de­ creased with newer computerized presses that allow operators to make most adjustments from a control panel. Many printing machine operators, particularly those who work for newspapers, work weekends, nights, and holidays as many presses operate continually. They also may work over­ time to meet deadlines. The average operator worked 40 hours per week in 2006.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Although employers prefer that beginners complete a formal apprenticeship or a postsecondary program in printing equip­ ment operation, most printing machine operators are trained on the job. Attention to detail and familiarity with electronics and computers are essential for operators. Education and training. Beginning printing machine opera­ tors load, unload, and clean presses. With time and training, they may become fully qualified to operate that type of press. Operators can gain experience on more than one kind of print­ ing press during the course of their career. Experienced operators will periodically receive retraining and skill updating. For example, printing plants that change  from sheet-fed offset presses to digital presses have to retrain the entire press crew because skill requirements for the two types of presses are different. Apprenticeships for printing machine operators, once the dominant method for preparing for this occupation, are becom­ ing less prevalent. When they are offered by the employer, they include on-the-job instruction and some related classroom training or correspondence school courses. Formal postsecondary programs in printing equipment opera­ tion offered by technical and trade schools, community colleg­ es, and universities are growing in importance. Postsecondary courses in printing provide the theoretical and technical knowl­ edge needed to operate advanced equipment that employers look for in an entry-level worker. Some postsecondary school programs require two years of study and award an associate degree. Because of technical developments in the printing industry, courses in chemistry, electronics, color theory, and physics are helpful in secondary or postsecondary programs. Other qualifications. Persons who wish to become printing machine operators need mechanical aptitude to make press ad­ justments and repairs. Workers need good vision and atten­ tion to detail to locate and fix problems with print jobs. Oral and written communication skills also are required. Operators should possess the mathematical skills necessary to compute percentages, weights, and measures, and to calculate the amount of ink and paper needed to do a job. Operators now also need basic computer skills to work with newer printing machines. Certification and advancement. As printing machine opera­ tors gain experience, they may advance in pay and responsibil­ ity by working on a more complex printing press. For example, operators who have demonstrated their ability to work with a one-color sheet-fed press may be trained to operate a four-color sheet-fed press. Voluntarily earning a formal certification may also help advance a career in printing. An operator also may advance to pressroom supervisor and become responsible for an entire press crew. In addition, printing machine operators can draw on their knowledge of press operations to become cost estimators, providing estimates of printing jobs to potential cus­ tomers.  Employment Printing machine operators held about 198,000 jobs in 2006. Half of all operator jobs were in printing and related support activities. Paper manufacturers and newspaper publishers also were large employers. Additional jobs were in advertising agencies, employment services firms, and colleges and univer­ sities that do their own printing. The printing and newspaper publishing industries are two of the most geographically dispersed in the United States. While printing machine operators can find jobs throughout the country, large numbers of jobs are concentrated in large printing centers such as Chicago, Los Angeles-Long Beach, New York, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC.  Job Outlook Printing machine operators execute production orders through an increasingly automated process.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Employment of printing machine operators is projected to de­ cline moderately through 2016, as newer printing presses re­ quire fewer operators. Despite this, job opportunities are ex-  770 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Printing machine operators..................................... ..........................  soc  Employment,  Code  2006  51-5023  Change,  Projected employment,  198,000  2016 186,000  2006-16 Number  Percent  -11,000  -6  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa-  lion Included in the Handbook.  pected to be favorable because a large number of these workers are expected to retire over the next decade. The best opportuni­ ties will be available to skilled operators. Employment change. Employment of printing machine op­ erators is expected to decline moderately by six percent over the 2006-16 decade even as the output of printed materials is expected to increase. Employment will fall because of increas­ ing automation in the printing industry and because of the out­ sourcing of some production to foreign countries. Book and magazine circulation will increase as school enroll­ ments rise and niche publications continue to enjoy success. Additional growth will also come from the increasing ability of the printing industry to profitably print smaller quantities, which should widen the market for printed materials as produc­ tion costs decline. Commercial printing will continue to be driven by increased expenditures for print advertising materials. New marketing techniques are leading advertisers to increase spending on mes­ sages targeted to specific audiences, and should continue to require the printing of a wide variety of catalogs, direct mail enclosures, newspaper inserts, and other kinds of print advertis­ ing. However, employment will not grow at the same pace as out­ put because increased use of new computerized printing equip­ ment will require fewer operators. This will especially be true with the increasing automation of the large printing presses used in the newspaper industry. In addition, some companies are lowering their printing costs by having their work printed out of the country when it does not need to be completed quickly. New business practices within the publishing industry, such as printing-on-demand and electronic publishing, will reduce the size of print runs, further moderating output. Job prospects. Opportunities for employment in printing machine operation should be favorable. Retirements of older printing machine operators and the need for workers trained on increasingly computerized printing equipment will create many job openings over the next decade. For example, small printing jobs will increasingly be run on sophisticated high-speed digi­ tal printing equipment that requires a complex set of operator skills, such as knowledge of database management software. Those who complete postsecondary training programs in print­ ing and who are comfortable with computers will have the best employment opportunities.  Earnings Median hourly earnings of printing machine operators were $14.90 in May 2006, as compared to $13.16 per hour for all   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  production occupations. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.11 and $19.49 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.84, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.23 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of printing machine operators in May 2006 were: Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers....... $17.27 Converted paper product manufacturing................................. 16.37 Printing and related support activities..................................... 15.55 Plastics product manufacturing................................................13.81 Advertising and related services..............................................11.95 The basic wage rate for a printing machine operator depends on the geographic area in which the work is located and on the size and complexity of the printing press being operated.  Related Occupations Other workers who set up and operate production machinery include machine setters, operators, and tenders—metal and plastic; bookbinders and bindery workers; and various preci­ sion machine operators.  Sources of Additional Information Details about apprenticeships and other training opportunities may be obtained from local employers, such as newspapers and printing shops, local offices of the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, lo­ cal affiliates of Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, or local offices of the State employment service. For general information about printing machine operators, contact: y Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1900 L St.NW., Washington, DC 20036-5007. For information on careers and training in printing and the graphic arts contact: y NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing Publishing, and Converting Technologies, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-4367. Internet: http://www.npes.org/education/index.html y Printing Industry of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, 200 Deer Run Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143. y Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 20191-5468. Internet: http://www.makeyourmark.org  Production Occupations 771  Textile, Apparel, and Furnishings Occupations (0*NET 51-6011.00, 51-6021.00, 51-6031.00, 51-6041.00, 51-6042.00, 51-6051.00, 51-6052.00, 51-6061.00, 51-6062.00, 51-6063.00, 51-6064.00, 51-6091.00, 51-6092.00, 51-6093.00, 51-6099.99)  Significant Points  •  Most workers learn through on-the-job training.  •  This group ranks among the rapidly declining occu­ pations because of increases in imports, offshore as­ sembly, productivity gains from automation, and new fabrics that do not need as much processing.  •  Earnings of most workers are low.  Nature of the Work Textile, apparel, and furnishings workers produce fibers, cloth, and upholstery, and fashion them into a wide range of products that we use in our daily lives. Textiles are the basis of towels, bed linens, hosiery and socks, and nearly all clothing, but they also are a key ingredient in products ranging from roofing to tires. Jobs range from those that involve programming com­ puters to those in which the worker operates large industrial machinery and to those that require substantial handwork. Textile machine setters, operators, and tenders run machines that make textile products from fibers. The first step in manu­ facturing textiles is preparing the natural or synthetic fibers. Extruding and forming machine operators, synthetic and glass fibers, set up and operate machines that extrude or force liquid synthetic material such as rayon, fiberglass, or liquid polymers through small holes and draw out filaments. Other operators put natural fibers such as cotton, wool, flax, or hemp through carding and combing machines that clean and align them into short lengths collectively called “sliver.” In making sliver, oper­ ators may combine different types of natural fibers and synthet­ ics filaments to give the product a desired texture, durability, or other characteristic. Textile winding, twisting, and drawing-out machine operators take the sliver and draw out, twist, and wind it to produce yam, taking care to repair any breaks. Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators control ma­ chines that wash, bleach, or dye either yam or finished fabrics and other products. Textile knitting and weaving machine op­ erators put the yam on machines that weave, knit, loop, or tuft it into a product. Woven fabrics are used to make apparel and other goods, whereas some knitted products (such as hosiery) and tufted products (such as carpeting) emerge in near-finished form. Different types of machines are used for these processes, but operators perform similar tasks, repairing breaks in the yam and monitoring the yarn supply while tending many machines at once. Textile cutting machine operators trim the fabric into various widths and lengths, depending on its intended use.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Apparel workers cut fabric and other materials and sew it into clothing and related products. Workers in a variety of occupa­ tions fall under the heading of apparel workers. Tailors, dress­ makers, and sewers make custom clothing and alter and repair garments for individuals. However, workers in most apparel occupations are found in manufacturing, performing special­ ized tasks in the production of large numbers of garments that are shipped to retail establishments for sale. Fabric and apparel patternmakers convert a clothing design­ er’s original model of a garment into a pattern of separate parts that can be laid out on a length of fabric. After discussing the item with the designer, these skilled workers usually use a com­ puter to outline the parts and draw in details to indicate the po­ sitions of pleats, buttonholes, and other features. (In the past, patternmakers laid out the parts on paper, using pencils and drafting instruments such as rulers.) Patternmakers then alter the size of the pieces in the pattern to produce garments of vari­ ous sizes, and they may mark the fabric to show the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material. Once an item’s pattern has been made and marked, mass production of the garment begins. Cutters and trimmers take the patterns and cut out material, paying close attention to their work because mistakes are costly. Following the outline of the pattern, they place multiple layers of material on the cut­ ting table and use an electric knife or other tools to cut out the various pieces of the garment; delicate materials may be cut by hand. In some companies, computer-controlled machines do the cutting. ■Sewing machine operators join the parts of a garment togeth­ er, reinforce seams, and attach buttons, hooks, zippers, and ac­ cessories to produce clothing. After the product is sewn, other workers remove lint and loose threads and inspect and package the garments. Shoe and leather workers are employed either in manufactur­ ing or in personal services. In shoe manufacturing, shoe ma­ chine operators and tenders operate a variety of specialized ma­ chines that perform cutting, joining, and finishing functions. In personal services, shoe and leather workers and repairers per­ form a variety of repairs and custom leatherwork for the general public. They construct, decorate, or repair shoes, belts, purses, saddles, luggage, and other leather products. They also may repair some products made of canvas or plastic. When making custom shoes or modifying existing footwear for people with foot problems or special needs, shoe and leather workers and repairers cut pieces of leather, shape them over a form shaped like a foot, and sew them together. They then attach soles and heels, using sewing machines or cement and nails. They also dye and polish the items, using a buffing wheel to produce a smooth surface and lustrous shine. When making luggage, they fasten leather to a frame and attach handles and other hardware. They also cut and secure linings inside the frames and sew or stamp designs onto the exterior of the luggage. In addition to performing all of the preceding steps, saddle makers often ap­  772 Occupational Outlook Handbook  ply leather dyes and liquid topcoats to produce a glossy finish on a saddle. They also may decorate the surface of the saddle by hand stitching or by stamping the leather with decorative patterns and designs. Shoe and leather workers and repairers who own their own shops keep records and supervise other workers. Upholsterers make, fix, and restore furniture that is covered with fabric. Using hammers and tack pullers, upholsterers who restore furniture remove old fabric and stuffing to get down to the springs and wooden frame. Then they reglue loose sections of the frame and refinish exposed wood. The springs sit on a cloth mat, called webbing, that is attached to the frame. Uphol­ sterers replace tom webbing, examine the springs, and replace broken or bent ones. Upholsterers who make new furniture start with a bare wood­ en frame. First, they install webbing, tacking it to one side of the frame, stretching it tight, and tacking it to the other side. Then, they tie each spring to the webbing and to its neighbor­ ing springs. Next, they cover the springs with filler, such as foam, a polyester batt, or similar fibrous batting material, to form a smooth, rounded surface. Then they measure and cut fabric for the arms, backs, seats, sides, and other surfaces, leav­ ing as little waste as possible. Finally, sewing the fabric pieces together and attaching them to the frame with tacks, staples, or glue, they affix any ornaments, such as fringes, buttons, or rivets. Sometimes, upholsterers provide pickup and delivery of the furniture they work on. They also help customers select new coverings by providing samples of fabrics and pictures of finished pieces. Laundry and drycleaning workers clean cloth garments, lin­ ens, draperies, blankets, and other articles. They also may clean leather, suede, furs, and rags. When necessary, they treat spots and stains on articles before laundering or drycleaning. They tend machines during cleaning and ensure that items are not lost or misplaced with those of another customer. Pressers, tex­ tile, garment, and related materials, shape and remove wrinkles from items after steam pressing them or ironing them by hand. Workers then assemble each customer’s items, box or bag them, and prepare an itemized bill for the customer. Work environment. Most people in textile, apparel, and furnishings occupations work a standard 5-day, 35- to 40-hour week. Working on evenings and weekends is common for shoe and leather workers, laundry and drycleaning workers, and tai­ lors, dressmakers, and sewers employed in retail stores. Many textile and fiber mills often use rotating schedules of shifts so that employees do not continuously work nights or days. But these rotating shifts sometimes cause workers to have sleep dis­ orders and stress-related problems. Although much of the work in apparel manufacturing still is based on a piecework system that allows for little interper­ sonal contact, some apparel firms are placing more emphasis on teamwork and cooperation. Under this new system, individuals work closely with one another, and each team or module often governs itself, increasing the overall responsibility of each op­ erator. Working conditions vary by establishment and by occupation. In manufacturing, machinery in textile mills is often noisy, as are areas in which sewing and pressing are performed in apparel  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Textile machine setters, operators, and tenders tend machines that weave yarn into apparel. factories; pattemmaking and spreading areas tend to be much quieter. Many older factories are cluttered, hot, and poorly lit and ventilated, but more modern facilities usually have more workspace and are well lit and ventilated. Textile machinery operators use protective glasses and masks that cover their noses and mouths to protect against airborne particles. Many machines operate at high speeds, and textile machinery work­ ers must be careful not to wear clothing or jewelry that could get caught in moving parts. In addition, extruding and form­ ing machine operators wear protective shoes and clothing when working with certain chemical compounds. Work in apparel production can be physically demanding. Some workers sit for long periods, and others spend many hours on their feet, leaning over tables and operating machinery. Operators must be attentive while running sewing machines, pressers, automated cutters, and the like. A few workers wear protective devices such as gloves. In some instances, new ma­ chinery and production techniques have decreased the physical demands on workers. For example, newer pressing machines are controlled by foot pedals or by computer and do not require much strength to operate. Laundries and drycleaning establishments are often hot and noisy. Employees also may be exposed to harsh solvents, but newer environmentally-friendly and less toxic cleaning solvents are improving the work environment in these establishments. Areas in which shoe and leather workers make or repair shoes and other leather items can be noisy, and odors from leather dyes and stains frequently are present. Workers need to pay close attention when working with machines, to avoid punc­ tures, lacerations, and abrasions. Upholstery work is not dangerous, but upholsterers usually wear protective gloves and clothing when using sharp tools and lifting and handling furniture or springs. During most of the workday, upholsterers stand and may do a lot of bending and heavy lifting. They also may work in awkward positions for short periods.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement A high school diploma is sufficient for most jobs in textile, ap­ parel, and furnishings occupations. Most people learn their jobs by working alongside more experienced workers.  Production Occupations 773  Education and training. Most workers in these jobs have a high school diploma or less education. However, applicants with postsecondary vocational training or previous work expe­ rience may have a better chance of getting a more skilled job and advancing to a supervisory position. Machine operators usually are trained on the job by more experienced employees or by machinery manufacturers’ repre­ sentatives. Operators begin with simple tasks and are assigned more difficult operations as they gain experience. Precision shoe and leather workers and repairers generally also learn their skills on the job. Manual dexterity and the me­ chanical aptitude to work with handtools and machines are im­ portant in shoe repair and leatherworking. Shoe and leather workers who produce custom goods should have artistic ability as well. Beginners start as helpers for experienced workers, but, in manufacturing, they may attend more formal in-house training programs. Beginners gradually take on more tasks un­ til they are fully qualified workers, a process that takes about 2 years in an apprenticeship program or as a helper in a shop. Other workers spend 6 months to a year in a vocational train­ ing program. Learning to make saddles takes longer. Shoe repairers need to keep their skills up to date to work with the rapidly changing footwear styles and materials. Some attend trade shows or specialized training seminars and workshops in custom shoemaking, shoe repair, and other leatherwork spon­ sored by associations. Custom tailors, dressmakers, and sewers often have previous experience in apparel production, design, or alteration. Knowl­ edge of fabrics, design, and construction is very important. Custom tailors sometimes learn these skills through courses in high school or a community college. Some experienced cus­ tom tailors open their own tailoring shop. Custom tailoring is a highly competitive field, however, and training in small-busi­ ness operations can mean the difference between success and failure. Laundry and dry cleaning workers usually learn on the job also. Although laundries and drycleaners prefer entrants with previous work experience, they routinely hire inexperienced workers. Most upholsterers learn their skills on the job, but a few do so through apprenticeships. Inexperienced persons also may take training in basic upholstery in vocational schools and some community colleges. The length of training may vary from 6 weeks to 3 years. Upholsterers who work on custom-made pieces may train for 8 to 10 years. Other qualifications. In manufacturing, textile and apparel workers need good hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, physical stamina, and the ability to perform repetitive tasks for long periods. As machinery in the industry continues to be­ come more complex, knowledge of the basics of computers and electronics will increasingly be an asset. In addition, the trends toward cross-training of operators and working in teams will in­ crease the time needed to become fully trained on all machines and require interpersonal skills to work effectively with others. Upholsterers should have manual dexterity, good coordina­ tion, and the strength needed to lift heavy furniture. An eye for detail, a flair for color, and the ability to use fabrics creatively also are helpful.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Advancement. Some production workers may become firstline supervisors, but most can advance only to more skilled operator jobs. Some in the shoemaking and leatherworking occupations begin as workers or repairers and advance to sala­ ried supervisory and managerial positions. Some open their own shop. They are more likely to succeed if they understand business practices and management and offer good customer service in addition to their technical skills. Upholsterers, too, can open their own shops. The upholstery business is highly competitive, however, so operating a shop successfully is difficult. Some experienced or highly skilled upholsterers may become supervisors or sample makers in large shops and factories.  Employment Textile, apparel, and furnishings workers held 873,000 jobs in 2006. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up this group was distributed as follows: Laundry and dry-cleaning workers.................................... 239,000 Sewing machine operators..................................................233,000 Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials.................. 77,000 Upholsterers.......................................................................... 55,000 Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers............................. 54,000 Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders............................................ 43,000 Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders..........................................................................40,000 Sewers, hand......................................................................... 23,000 Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders.......................................................................... 19,000 Textile cutting machine setters, operators,and tenders........ 19,000 Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers................................18,000 Shoe and leather workers and repairers................................16,000 Fabric and apparel patternmakers.......................................... 9,200 Shoe machine operators and tenders...................................... 4,100 All other textile, apparel, and furnishings workers...............24,000 Manufacturing jobs are concentrated in California, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Texas, and South Carolina. Jobs in reupholstery, shoe repair and custom leatherwork, and laun­ dry and drycleaning establishments are found in cities and towns throughout the Nation. Overall, about 12 percent of all workers in textile, apparel, and furnishings occupations were self-employed; however, about half of all tailors, dressmakers, and sewers and about a quarter of all upholsterers were selfemployed.  Job Outlook Overall employment of textile, apparel, and furnishings work­ ers is expected to decline rapidly through 2016, but some open­ ings will be created by the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Employment change. Employment in textile, apparel, and furnishing occupations is expected to decline by 11 percent between 2006 and 2016. Apparel workers have been among the most rapidly declining occupational groups in the economy. Increasing imports, the use of offshore assembly, and greater  774 Occupational Outlook Handbook  productivity through automation will contribute to additional job losses. Also, many new textiles require less production and processing. Domestic production of apparel and textiles will continue to move abroad, and imports to the U.S. market are expected to increase. Fierce competition in the market for apparel will keep domestic apparel and textile firms under intense pressure to cut costs and produce more with fewer workers. Although the textile industry already is highly automated, it will con­ tinue to seek to increase worker productivity through the in­ troduction of labor-saving machinery and the invention of new fibers and fabrics that reduce production costs. Technological developments, such as computer-aided marking and grading, computer-controlled cutters, semiautomatic sewing and press­ ing machines, and automated material-handling systems have increased output while reducing the need for some workers in larger firms. Despite advances in technology, the apparel industry has had difficulty employing automated equipment for many as­ sembly tasks because of the delicate properties of many tex­ tiles. Also, the industry produces a wide variety of apparel items that change frequently with changes in style and season. Even so, increasing numbers of sewing machine operator jobs are expected to be lost to low-wage workers abroad. Outside of the manufacturing sector, tailors, dressmakers, and sewers—the most skilled apparel workers—are expect­ ed to experience little to no change in employment. Most of these workers are self-employed or work in clothing stores. The demand for custom home furnishings and tailored clothes is diminishing in general, but remains steady in upscale stores  and by certain clients. Designer apparel and other handmade goods also appeal to people looking for one-of-a-kind items. Employment of shoe and leather workers is expected to decline rapidly through 2016 as a result of growing imports of less expensive shoes and leather goods and of increasing productivity of U.S. manufacturers. Also, buying new shoes often is cheaper than repairing worn or damaged ones. How­ ever, declines might be offset somewhat as the population con­ tinues to age and more people need custom shoes for health reasons. Employment of upholsterers is expected to decline mod­ erately through 2016 as new furniture and automotive seats use more durable coverings and as manufacturing firms con­ tinue to become more automated and efficient. Demand for the reupholstery of furniture also is expected to decline as the increasing manufacture of new, relatively inexpensive uphol­ stered furniture causes many consumers simply to replace old, worn furniture. However, demand will continue to be steady for upholsterers who restore very valuable furniture. Most re­ upholstery work is labor intensive and not easily automated. Job prospects. Even though the overall number of jobs in this occupation is decreasing, job openings do arise each year from the need to replace some of the many workers who trans­ fer to other occupations, retire, or leave the occupation for other reasons.  Earnings Earnings of textile, apparel, and furnishings workers vary by occupation. Because many production workers in apparel manufacturing are paid according to the number of accept­ able pieces they produce, their total earnings depend on skill,  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Textile, apparel, and furnishings occupations................................. Laundry and dry-cleaning workers............................................ Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials......................... Sewing machine operators......................................................... Shoe and leather workers........................................................... Shoe and leather workers and repairers.................................. Shoe machine operators and tenders....................................... Tailors, dressmakers, and sewers............................................... Sewers, hand......................................................................... Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers................................ Textile machine setters, operators, and tenders........................... Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders... Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders.......... Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders............................................................................... Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders........................................................ Miscellaneous textile, apparel, and furnishings workers............ Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers................................................... Fabric and apparel patternmakers.......................................... Upholsterers.......................................................................... Textile, apparel, and furnishings workers, all other................  soc Code  Employment, 2006  Projected employment, 2016 777,000 262,000 74,000 170,000 17,000 14,000 2,600 76,000 21,000 55,000 88,000 14,000 14,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent -97,000 -11 23,000 10 -3,400 -4 -63,000 -27 -3,100 -16 -1,600 -10 -1,500 -36 -1,800 -2 -2,900 -12 1,000 2 -34,000 -28 -5,900 -30 -5,100 -27  51-6000 51-6011 51-6021 51-6031 51-6040 51-6041 51-6042 51-6050 51-6051 51-6052 51-6060 51-6061 51-6062  873,000 239,000 77,000 233,000 20,000 16,000 4,100 77,000 23,000 54,000 122,000 19,000 19,000  51-6063  40,000  28,000  -12,000  -31  51-6064 51-6090  43,000 106,000  33,000 92,000  -11,000 -14,000  -24 -13  51-6091 51-6092 51-6093 51-6099  18,000 9,200 55,000 24,000  15,000 6,600 50,000 21,000  -3,100 -2,600 -4,900 -3,600  -18 -29 -9 -15  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­ tion Included in the Handbook.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Production Occupations 775  speed, and accuracy. Workers covered by union contracts tend to have higher earnings. Median hourly earnings by occupa­ tion in May 2006 were as follows: Fabric and apparel patternmakers.........................................$15.74 Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers................................. 13.78 Upholsterers............................................................................. 13.09 Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders...........................................................11.68 Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders.............................................................11.20 Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders................................................11.08 All other textile, apparel, and furnishings workers................. 11.03 Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers................................ 11.01 Shoe machine operators and tenders....................................... 10.54 Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders..........10.39 Shoe and leather workers and repairers....................................9.83 Sewers, hand..............................................................................9.79 Sewing machine operators........................................................ 9.04 Laundry and dry-cleaning workers........................................... 8.58 Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials.......................8.56  Benefits vary by size of company and work that is done. Large employers typically offer all usual benefits. Apparel workers in retail trade also may receive a discount on their pur­ chases from the company for which they work. In addition, some of the larger manufacturers operate company stores from which employees can purchase apparel products at significant discounts. Some small firms and drycleaning establishments, however, offer only limited benefits. Self-employed workers generally have to purchase their own insurance.  Related Occupations Textile, apparel, and furnishings workers apply their knowl­ edge of textiles and leathers to fashion products with the use of handtools and machinery. Others who produce products using handtools, machines, and their knowledge of the materials with which they work include assemblers and fabricators; food-pro­ cessing workers; jewelers and precious stone and metal work­ ers; and woodworkers.  Sources of Additional Information Information about job opportunities in textile, apparel, and fur­ nishings occupations is available from local employers and lo­ cal offices of State employment services.  Woodworkers (0*NET 51-7011.00, 51-7021.00, 51-7031.00, 51-7032.00, 51-7041.00, 51-7042.00, 51-7099.99)  Significant Points  •  Most woodworkers are trained on the job; basic ma­ chine operations may be learned in a few months, but becoming a skilled woodworker often requires several years of experience.  •  Job prospects will be best for highly skilled wood­ workers who produce customized work, which is less susceptible to automation and import competition, and for those who can operate computerized numeri­ cal control machines.  •  Employment is highly sensitive to economic cycles; during economic downturns, workers are subject to layoffs or reductions in hours.  Nature of the Work Despite the abundance of plastics and other materials, wood products continue to be useful and popular. Woodworkers help to meet the demand for wood products by creating fin­ ished products from lumber. Many of these products are mass produced, such as many types of furniture, kitchen cabinets, and musical instruments. Other products are crafted in small shops that make architectural woodwork, handmade furniture, and other specialty items.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Although the term woodworker often evokes images of a craftsman who builds ornate furniture using hand tools, the modem wood industry is highly technical. Some woodwork­ ers still build by hand, but more often, handtools have been replaced by power tools, and much of the work has been auto­ mated. Work is usually done on an assembly line, meaning that most individuals learn to perform a single part of a complex process. Different types of woodworkers are employed in every stage of the building process, from sawmill to finished product. Their activities vary greatly. Many woodworkers use computerized numerical control (CNC) machines to operate factory tools. Using these ma­ chines, woodworkers can create complex designs with fewer human steps. This technology has raised worker productivity by allowing one operator to simultaneously tend a greater num­ ber of machines. The integration of computers with equipment has improved production speed and capability, simplified setup and maintenance requirements, and increased the demand for workers with computer skills. Production woodworkers set up, operate, and tend all types of woodworking machines. In sawmills, sawing machine opera­ tors and tenders set up, operate, or tend wood-sawing machines that cut logs into planks, timbers, or boards. In manufacturing plants, woodworkers first determine the best method of shap­ ing and assembling parts, working from blueprints, supervisors’ instructions, or shop drawings that woodworkers themselves produce. Before cutting, they often must measure and mark the materials. They verify dimensions and may trim parts us­ ing handtools such as planes, chisels, wood files, or sanders to ensure a tight fit.  776 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Woodworking machine operators and tenders set up, operate, or tend specific woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood-nailing ma­ chines. New operators may simply press a switch on a wood­ working machine and monitor the automatic operation, but more highly skilled operators set up the equipment, cut and shape wooden parts, and verify dimensions using a template, caliper, or rule. After wood parts are made, woodworkers add fasteners and adhesives and connect the pieces to form a complete unit. The product is then finish-sanded; stained, and, if necessary, coated with a sealer, such as lacquer or varnish. Woodworkers may perform this work in teams or be assisted by helpers. Precision or custom woodworkers, such as cabinetmakers and  bench carpenters, modelmakers and patternmakers, and furni­ ture finishers, often build one-of-a-kind items. These highly skilled precision woodworkers usually perform a complete cycle of tasks—cutting, shaping, and preparing surfaces and assembling complex wood components into a finished wood product. Precision workers normally need substantial training and an ability to work from detailed instructions and specifica­ tions. In addition, they often are required to exercise indepen­ dent judgment when undertaking an assignment. They may still use heavy machinery and power tools in their everyday work. As CNC machines have become less expensive, many smaller firms have started using them. Work environment. Working conditions vary by industry and specific job duties. In logging and sawmills, for example, work­ ers handle heavy, bulky material and often encounter excessive noise, dust, and other air pollutants. However, the use of earplugs and respirators may alleviate these problems. Safety precautions and computer-controlled equipment minimize risk of injury from rough wood stock, sharp tools, and power equipment. In furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing, employees who operate machinery also must wear ear and eye protection. They follow operating safety instructions and use safety shields or guards to prevent accidents. Those who work in areas where wood is cut or finishings applied often must wear an appropri­ ate dust or vapor mask or a complete protective safety suit. Pro­ longed standing, lifting, and fitting of heavy objects are com­ mon characteristics of the job.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Many woodworkers are highly skilled and require significant on-the-job training. Mathematics skills, especially geometry, are essential and computer skills are increasingly important, Education and training. Employers seek applicants with a high school diploma or the equivalent because of the grow­ ing sophistication of machinery and the constant need for re­ training. People seeking woodworking jobs can enhance their employment and advancement prospects by completing high school and receiving training in mathematics, science, and computer applications. Woodworkers increasingly acquire skills through higher edu­ cation. For many workers, this means earning a degree from a vocational or trade school. Others may attend colleges or uni­ versities that offer training in wood technology, furniture man­ ufacturing, wood engineering, and production management.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  —  ■  ____ Woodworkers use sophisticated equipment to make wood into furniture. These programs prepare students for positions in production, supervision, engineering, and management and are increasingly important as woodworking technology advances. Most woodworkers are trained on the job, however, pick­ ing up skills informally from experienced workers. They can learn basic machine operations and job tasks in a few months, but becoming a skilled woodworker often requires 2 or more years. Beginners usually observe and help experienced machine operators. They may supply material to, or remove fabricated products from, machines. Trainees also do simple machine op­ erating jobs while closely supervised by experienced workers. As beginners gain experience, they perform more complex jobs with less supervision. Some may learn to read blueprints, set up machines, and plan the sequence of the work. Other qualifications. In addition to training, woodworkers need mechanical ability, manual dexterity, and the ability to pay attention to detail and safety. As the industry becomes more sophisticated, skill with computers and computer-controlled machinery is becoming more important. Advancement. Advancement opportunities are often limited and depend on education and training, seniority, and a worker’s skills and initiative. Sometimes experienced woodworkers be­ come inspectors or supervisors responsible for the work of a group of woodworkers. Production workers can advance into these positions by assuming additional responsibilities and at­ tending workshops, seminars, or college programs. Those who are highly skilled may set up their own woodworking shops.  Employment Woodworkers held about 370,000 jobs in 2006. Self-employed woodworkers, mostly cabinetmakers and furniture finishers, ac­ counted for 12 percent of these jobs. Three out of 4 woodworkers were employed in manufactur­ ing. About 2 out of 5 worked in establishments manufacturing household and office furniture and fixtures, and 1 in 3 worked in wood product manufacturing, producing a variety of raw, in­ termediate, and finished woodstock. Wholesale and retail lum­ ber dealers, furniture stores, reupholstery and furniture repair shops, and construction firms also employ woodworkers.  Production Occupations 111  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Woodworkers................................................................................ Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters......................................... Furniture finishers..................................................................... Model makers and patternmakers, wood................................... Model makers, wood............................................................. Patternmakers, wood............................................................. Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders............... Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood........... Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing............................................................................... Woodworkers, all other.............................................................  SOC Code  Employment, 2006  51-7000 51-7011 51-7021 51-7030 51-7031 51-7032 51-7040 51-7041  370,000 149,000 31,000 4,200 1,900 2,300 165,000 65,000  51-7042 51-7099  100,000 20,000  Projected employment, 2016 380,000 153,000 30,000 2,500 1,100 1,400 173,000 68,000 106,000 21,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 11,000 3 4,100 3 -1,000 -3 -1,700 -40 -800 -41 -900 -40 5 8,800 2,500 4 6,400 300  6 2  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.  Woodworking jobs are found throughout the country. How­ ever, lumber and wood products-related production jobs are con­ centrated in the Southeast, Midwest, and Northwest, close to the supply of wood. Furniture-making jobs are more prevalent in the Southeast. Custom shops can be found everywhere, but gener­ ally are concentrated in or near highly populated areas.  Job Outlook Overall employment of woodworkers is expected to grow slower than average. Opportunities should be good for skilled appli­ cants. Employment change. Overall employment of woodworkers is expected to grow by 3 percent during the 2006-16 decade, which is slower than the average of all occupations. This slow growth will be a result of increased automation in the wood products manufacturing industry. Technology is becoming increasingly important to this industry, and automation has greatly reduced the number of people required to produce a finished product. Furthermore, international competition—especially from Chi­ na—has led to a significant decline in domestic employment of these workers. Employment of sawing and woodworking machine setters, op­ erators, and tenders is expected to grow more slowly than the av­ erage through 2016. Import growth will lead to job losses in the U.S. industry. To remain competitive, some domestic firms are expected to move their production processes to foreign countries, further reducing employment. Firms that stay are increasingly using advanced technology, such as robots and CNC machinery. These developments will prevent employment from rising with the demand for wood products, particularly in the mills and man­ ufacturing plants where many processes can be automated. Employment of furniture finishers is expected to decline slow­ ly. Since furniture is largely mass-produced, it is highly suscep­ tible to import competition; the percentage of imported furniture sold in the United States has steadily increased over the years, a trend that is expected to continue. Labor is significantly less ex­ pensive in developing countries, so these forces will likely affect the industry for quite some time. Employment of bench carpenters and cabinetmakers is expect­ ed to grow more slowly than average, while modelmakers and patternmakers are expected to decline rapidly. Other specialized woodworking occupations will experience little or now change in  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  growth. Demand for these workers will stem from increases in population, personal income, and business expenditures and from the continuing need for repair and renovation of residential and commercial properties. Therefore, opportunities should be avail­ able for workers who specialize in items such as moldings, cabi­ nets, stairs, and windows. Firms that focus on custom woodwork will be best able to compete against imports without transferring jobs offshore. Job prospects. Despite slower than average employment growth, prospects should be good for qualified workers. Many experienced woodworkers will soon reach retirement age, and this will create a need for new workers. In general, opportuni­ ties for more highly skilled woodworkers will be better than for woodworkers in specialties susceptible to automation and com­ petition from imported wood products. The need for woodwork­ ers with technical skills to operate their increasingly advanced computerized machinery will be especially great. Custom work­ ers and modelmakers and patternmakers who know how to create and execute designs on a computer may have the best opportuni­ ties. These jobs require an understanding of wood and a strong understanding of computers—a combination that can be some­ what difficult to find. The number of new workers entering these occupations has de­ clined greatly in recent years, as training programs become less available or popular. Competition for jobs is expected to be mild, and opportunities should be best for woodworkers who, through vocational education or experience, develop highly specialized woodworking skills or knowledge of CNC machine tool opera­ tion. Employment in all woodworking specialties is highly sensitive to economic cycles. During economic downturns, workers are subject to layoffs or reductions in hours. Earnings Median annual wage-and-salary earnings of cabinetmakers and bench carpenters were $27,010 in May 2006. The middle 50 per­ cent earned between $21,350 and $34,290. The lowest 10 per­ cent earned less than $17,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,060. Median annual wage-and-salary earnings of sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood were $24,280. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,620 and $29,930. The lowest  778 Occupational Outlook Handbook  10 percent earned less than $16,290, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $36,220. Median annual wage-and-salary earnings of woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing were $23,940. The middle 50 percent earned between $19,460 and $29,480. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $35,950. Median annual wage-and-salary earnings were $25,010 for furniture finishers and $22,580 for all other woodworkers.  Related Occupations Like woodworkers, carpenters also work with wood. In addi­ tion, many woodworkers follow blueprints and drawings and  use machines to shape and form raw wood into a final product. Workers who perform similar functions working with other ma­ terials include sheet metal workers; structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers; computer control programmers and operators; machinists; textile, apparel, and furnishings occupa­ tions; and tool and die makers.  Sources of Additional Information For information about careers and education and training pro­ grams in woodworking, contact: >WoodLINKS USA, P.O. Box 1153, Point Roberts, WA 98281. Internet: http://www.woodlinks.com/USA/home.html  Plant and System Operators Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers (0*NET 51-8011.00, 51-8012.00, 51-8013.00)  Significant Points  • •  •  Job prospects are expected to be good as many work­ ers retire and new plants are built. Most entry-level workers start as helpers or laborers, and several years of training and experience are re­ quired to become fully qualified. Familiarity with computers and a basic understanding of science and math is helpful for those entering the field.  Nature of the Work Electricity is vital for most everyday activities. From the mo­ ment you flip the first switch each morning, you are connect­ ing to a huge network of people, electric lines, and generating equipment. Power plant operators control the machinery that generates electricity. Power plant distributors and dispatchers control the flow of electricity from the power plant, over a network of transmission lines, to industrial plants and substa­ tions, and, finally, over distribution lines to residential users. Power plant operators control and monitor boilers, tur­ bines, generators, and auxiliary equipment in power-gen­ erating plants. Operators distribute power demands among generators, combine the current from several generators, and monitor instruments to maintain voltage and regulate electric­ ity flows from the plant. When power requirements change, these workers start or stop generators and connect or discon­ nect them from circuits. They often use computers to keep records of switching operations and loads on generators, lines, and transformers. Operators also may use computers to pre­ pare reports of unusual incidents, malfunctioning equipment, or maintenance performed during their shift.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Operators in plants with automated control systems work mainly in a central control room and usually are called con­ trol room operators or control room operator trainees or as­ sistants. In older plants, the controls for the equipment are not centralized; switchboard operators control the flow of electricity from a central point, while auxiliary equipment op­ erators work throughout the plant, operating and monitoring valves, switches, and gauges. In nuclear power plants, most operators start working as equipment operators or auxiliary operators. They help the more senior workers with equipment maintenance and opera­ tion while learning the basics of plant operation. With ex­ perience and training they may be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as reactor operators and authorized to control equipment that affects the power of the reactor in a nuclear power plant. Senior reactor operators supervise the operation of all controls in the control room. At least one senior operator must be on duty during each shift to act as the plant supervisor. Power distributors and dispatchers, also called load dis­ patchers or systems operators, control the flow of electricity through transmission lines to industrial plants and substations that supply residential needs for electricity. They monitor and  ■  _____ Power plant operators spent most of their time monitoring sys­ tems for problems.  Production Occupations 779  Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational Title Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers.............. ........ Nuclear power reactor operators....................................... ........ Power distributors and dispatchers.................................... ........ Power plant operators........................................................ ........  SOC Code 51-8010 51-8011 51-8012 51-8013  Employment, 2006 47,000 3,800 8,600 35,000  Projected employment, 2016 48,000 4,200 8,200 36,000  Change, 2006-16 Number Percent 900 2 400 11 -400 -5 900 3  NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Informa­  tion Included in the Handbook.  operate current converters, voltage transformers, and circuit breakers. Dispatchers also monitor other distribution equip­ ment and record readings at a pilot board—a map of the trans­ mission grid system showing the status of transmission cir­ cuits and connections with substations and industrial plants. Dispatchers also anticipate power needs, such as those caused by changes in the weather. They call control room operators to start or stop boilers and generators, in order to bring production into balance with needs. Dispatchers handle emergencies such as transformer or transmission line failures and route current around affected areas. In substations, they also operate and monitor equipment that increases or decreas­ es voltage, and they operate switchboard levers to control the flow of electricity in and out of the substations. Work environment. Operators, distributors, and dispatch­ ers who work in control rooms generally sit or stand at a con­ trol station. This work is not physically strenuous, but it does require constant attention. Operators who work outside the control room may be exposed to danger from electric