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Occupational Outlook Handbook provides detailed info on careers

 Looking for a new industry? Do some research first.

The best source of information for people researching careers is now even better, with a more informative and easier-to-use website. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, online at www.bls.gov/ooh, provides detailed information on hundreds of careers. That includes a description of each job and its work environment.

Jennifer Flynn, the assistant director of career services at Philadelphia University, relies on the handbook to help students identify potential career paths. She's enthusiastic about the updates. "It looks great," she explains. "It's easier for explorers to pop in and look around, and the search function is much better."

You can now search by salaries, educational requirements, on-the-job training, projected number of new jobs and projected rate of growth -- either singly or in combination. So, for instance, if you search for jobs you can get with an associate's degree that pay $25,000 to $34,999, your results will turn up five jobs, two of them with solid growth rates (preschool teachers and veterinary technicians).

One of the new features Flynn especially likes is the "similar occupations" tab for each entry. For instance, the veterinary technician's description gives six other jobs working either with animals or in labs. "This will help people explore their options," she says, whether it's a college student picking a major or an adult looking to change careers.

Job security




According to the handbook, these fields are projecting the fastest rates of growth between 2010 and 2020:

Personal care aides:

70 percent



Home health aides:

69 percent



Biomedical engineers:

62 percent



Helpers, brick, stone, tile:


60 percent



Helpers, carpenters:

56 percent



Vet techs:

52 percent



Rebar workers:

49 percent



Physical therapist assistants:

46 percent



Helpers, plumbers and pipe-fitters:

45 percent