By Mary Shumway
State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Utah State Office of Education
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released occupational projections for 2012-2022. (You can see the Overview of projections to 2022 in the Monthly Labor Review, December 2013.) The BLS publishes outlook data for a total of 818 occupations, and reports that four occupational groups will likely account for about one-third of the total employment growth. They are: Healthcare, Healthcare support, Construction, and Personal Care.
Occupational projections are just a part of the information developed by the BLS. BLS information of particular interest to students is the education level typically required in order to enter an occupation. BLS analysts assign an education level for each occupation, based on what is typically needed to get that first job – from “less than high school,” to “doctoral or professional degree.” However, the BLS complements the education level with information about work experience and on-the-job training. As most any experienced worker will tell you, being on the job is critical to achieving full competency in almost any occupation. Today’s emphasis on “stackablecredentials” and “lifelong learning” reflects that reality. “Credentials” refer to various forms of validation of skills and knowledge – such as diplomas, certificates and licenses – often pursued as workers come to understand ways of advancing in their careers. “Stackable” describes the way these credentials are often achieved – one stacked on top of another. Stackable credentials, education, experience, and training are all parts of lifelong learning, and your career success will depend on it!
The education level assignments made by BLS analysts are reflected in the most commonly-used career information systems, including UtahFutures. It helps you know what education you’ll need to start in an occupation of your choice, but lifelong learning ensures that’s not where your career ends.