Occupational Information for the Career Advisor

So many people select their careers because of outside pressure, societal norms, peer expectations, or based on movies or TV characters. As career counselors, coaches, and facilitators we have an obligation to assist individuals in making a career decision based on accurate and current information.  The O*NET system provides that kind of information.  This course will show you various aspects of the O*NET systems that can help you help your clients.

Many of you know O*NET at some level, or you may have just heard of it. This self-paced course will give you a short overview of the database, and show you some ways that you can use O*NET Online in your work with job seekers and persons who are deciding what to do with their lives.

This course is designed for career coaches, career counselors, resume writers, school counselors, career facilitators, workforce development staff, career center directors, and classroom teachers.

What You Need:

  • MS Word to complete the worksheet
  • a computer that has high speed Internet access
  • a computer that has the ability to play YouTube Video/Audio
  • ability to read pdf and html documents
  • that’s it!

This course is a combination of written content, videos, exercises and a worksheet that needs to be completed for instructor review.

Completion of this program will give you 4 1/2 clock hours of professional development and a certificate of completion.

The skills you will learn include:

  • General Review of O*NET
  • Searching O*NET by Bright Outlook, Green Economy, and STEM
  • Using the O*NET Data Search
  • Finding Tools and Technology Used in Occupations
  • Seeing How People use O*NET Information
  • Staying on Top of O*NET Activities

You have 30 days to complete this course. It should not take you more than 4 hours.

My suggestions: Find the time to concentrate for 4.5 to 5 hours on this course in one sitting or in no more than two sessions, as you will be far more efficient in completing the tasks. Once you complete the work sheet, send it to me at Dr. Janet Wall.  When you complete the requirements, submit the completed worksheet, and complete this

After that is done, you will receive your official certificate of completion.

Please note that you need to record the amount of time you spend on completing the course requirements. You will be asked this information on the evaluation form. This is for record keeping purposes only.

Download the worksheet here.   

Please note that the course materials are copyrighted and produced for your learning only. Certainly use what you have learned with your students or clients, but the specific activities, videos, and slides are for you only and may not be reproduced or used by anyone else.

There are five sections/skills to this course. If you are ready, let’s start with the first section.

 Section 1Introduction to Occupational Information

This section of the course provides an overview of the O*NET system and highlights the type of information you are able to obtain from O*NET Online.

O*NET has an enormous amount of information that can be of value to you as you work with students, clients, and customers. The information in O*NET is obtained through information provided by persons working in the occupation. In addition, some information is provided by job analysts and some information is included from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. O*NET replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles which was rarely updated and was difficult to obtain and cumbersome to use. About 20% of occupations are updated every year with a full update occurring every 5 years. New information is added to O*NET periodically (such as green jobs, education level wages and outlook, etc.) as needed. Watch for new updates on the home page.

READ the information in this link to learn more about the various components of the O*NET Content Model. (650 words).

READ this article to see why it is important to think at the occupational level rather than just jobs. http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2014/spring/art02.pdf

COMPLETE Item #1 on your worksheet.

Section 2Searching for Bright Outlook, Green, and STEM Occupations


When working with students, customers, or clients, it is useful to know which occupations might be considered bright outlook, sometimes referred to as hot jobs, are part of the green economy and/or which will require background in the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). These occupations are likely to be good career fields that will have higher paying jobs and a good future.

Let’s take each of these areas in turn.

What are Bright Outlook Occupations?

The National Center for O*NET Development has identified “Bright Outlook” occupations, where new job opportunities are likely in the next several years. Bright Outlook occupations are expected to grow rapidly in the next several years, will need large numbers of new job openings, or are new and emerging occupations.According to the O*NET System, every Bright Outlook occupation matches at least one of the following criteria:

Projected to Grow Rapidly

These occupations are projected to grow much faster than average (employment increase of 14% or more) over the period 2014-2024. Projected growth represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The “much faster than average” designation comes from the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

READ the following to identify how the fastest growing jobs are identified. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/article/hot-jobs.htm (650 words)

COMPLETE Item #2 on your worksheet. This item refers to chart 1 in the previous link.

Projected to Have Large Numbers of Openings

These occupations are projected to have 100,000 or more job openings over the period 2014-2024. Projected job openings represent openings due to growth and replacement, as estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

READ the following to see where the most jobs are projected to be. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/data-on-display/industry-job-openings.htm. (300 words)

New and Emerging Occupations

New workforce requirements, including changes in technology, society, law or business practices, are leading to new and emerging (N&E) occupations in the United States. Such N&E occupations were identified within high growth industries, as described in the New and Emerging (N&E) Occupations Methodology Development report.

Bright Outlook occupations were initially identified in 2010, using the BLS 2008-2018 employment projections. The list was last revised in 2016, using 2014-2024 projections.

VIEW the video to see how you can find bright outlook occupations.

COMPLETE Item #3 on your worksheet. Use the ONET site to search for nursing assistant and then answer the question.


The National Center for O*NET Development, as part of its efforts to keep up with the changing world of work, investigated the impact of green economy activities and technologies on occupational requirements and the development of New and Emerging (N&E) occupations. Results of the research led to the identification of green economic sectors, green increased demand occupations, green enhanced skills occupations, and green new and emerging (N&E) occupations. These occupations are now reflected in the O*NET-SOC system.

There are three categories of green occupations, increased demand, enhanced skills and new and emerging.  These are defined below.

Green Increased Demand Occupations

The impact of green economy activities and technologies is an increase in the employment demand for an existing occupation. However, this impact does not entail significant changes in the work and worker requirements of the occupation. The work context may change, but the tasks themselves do not.

Green Enhanced Skills Occupations

The impact of green economy activities and technologies results in a significant change to the work and worker requirements of an existing O*NET-SOC occupation. This impact may or may not result in an increase in employment demand for the occupation. The essential purposes of the occupation remain the same, but tasks, skills, knowledge, and external elements, such as credentials, have been altered.

Green New and Emerging (N&E) Occupations

The impact of green economy activities and technologies is sufficient to create the need for unique work and worker requirements, which results in the generation of a new occupation relative to the O*NET taxonomy. This new occupation could be entirely novel or “born” from an existing occupation.

Let see how O*NET Online helps us to identify green occupations and the reason they are considered to be green.

VIEW the video below to see how to search for and identify green occupations.

COMPLETE Item #4 on your worksheet. Use O*NET to find this occupation and answer the question.




STEM occupations are those that are related to subject areas in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  These occupations are critically important for the economic competitiveness of the US and tend to be those that require more education and training, but also higher wages.

READ the following document on STEM from the Department of Labor’s Career Outlook.  https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2014/spring/art01.pdf

VIEW the video below to see how to find STEM occupations in the O*NET system.

COMPLETE Item 5 on your worksheet after you have read the STEM article.

Using the O*NET Data Search

There are more than 900 occupations in the O*NET system, this changes periodically with the addition of new occupations or the deletion of others. It’s helpful to have a variety of ways to sort through all these occupations to find one or more that meets the needs of a person using a specific descriptor.

O*NET allows you to search for occupations using hundreds of data descriptors that have been collected on O*NET occupations. Some occupations have been completely updated and others are still in the data collection phase. Regardless, these data can be very helpful to you as you work with students and clients.


One typical search that is conducted is one by interests.  In the O*NET system, the Holland theory is used. That is, that the occupations are matched to one or more of the six interests codes as shown below.

Realistic Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

InvestigativeInvestigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

ArtisticArtistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

SocialSocial occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

EnterprisingEnterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

ConventionalConventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

VIEW the video below to see how to search occupations by interest category.

COMPLETE Item #6 on your worksheet. You will do a search for the occupations that are investigative as a primary interest area and then social as the second.


Another popular search is using abilities.  In the O*NET system several abilities are used.  They are listed and defined below. They are organized into four areas of cognitive, psychomotor, physical and sensory abilities.


Category FlexibilityThe ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Flexibility of ClosureThe ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.

Fluency of IdeasThe ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Inductive ReasoningThe ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Information OrderingThe ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Mathematical ReasoningThe ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

MemorizationThe ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.

Number FacilityThe ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.

Oral ComprehensionThe ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Oral ExpressionThe ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

OriginalityThe ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

Perceptual SpeedThe ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.

Problem SensitivityThe ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Selective AttentionThe ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Spatial OrientationThe ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.

Speed of ClosureThe ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.

Time SharingThe ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).

VisualizationThe ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Written ComprehensionThe ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Written ExpressionThe ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.


Dynamic Flexibility — The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Dynamic Strength The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.

Explosive Strength The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.

Extent FlexibilityThe ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Gross Body CoordinationThe ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.

Gross Body Equilibrium The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.

StaminaThe ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.

Static StrengthThe ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.

Trunk StrengthThe ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without ‘giving out’ or fatiguing.


Arm-Hand SteadinessThe ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

Control PrecisionThe ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

Finger DexterityThe ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.

Manual DexterityThe ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

Multilimb CoordinationThe ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.

Rate ControlThe ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.

Reaction Time The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.

Response OrientationThe ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.

Speed of Limb MovementThe ability to quickly move the arms and legs.

Wrist-Finger SpeedThe ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.


Auditory AttentionThe ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.

Depth PerceptionThe ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.

Far VisionThe ability to see details at a distance.

Glare SensitivityThe ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.

Hearing SensitivityThe ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.

Near VisionThe ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Night VisionThe ability to see under low light conditions.

Peripheral VisionThe ability to see objects or movement of objects to one’s side when the eyes are looking ahead.

Sound LocalizationThe ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.

Speech ClarityThe ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Speech RecognitionThe ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Visual Color DiscriminationThe ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.

 VIEW the video below to see how to search by abilities.

COMPLETE Item #7 on your worksheet after you search for occupations with the ability of night vision.


You may find the work styles section to be particularly useful to help your students and clients understand the important of these areas that some might call soft skills.  The work styles areas are listed and defined below.

Achievement/Effort Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Adaptability/FlexibilityJob requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Analytical ThinkingJob requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Attention to DetailJob requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Concern for OthersJob requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

CooperationJob requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

DependabilityJob requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Independence Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

InitiativeJob requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

InnovationJob requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

IntegrityJob requires being honest and ethical.

LeadershipJob requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Persistence Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Self ControlJob requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Social OrientationJob requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Stress ToleranceJob requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

VIEW the video below to see how to search by work styles.

COMPLETE Item # 8 on your worksheet after you search for occupations requiring the work style of persistence.


A fairly new addition to the O*NET database is the listing of the tools and technologies used by persons working in various occupations. At this time, not all occupations in O*NET have this information. The Department of Labor is focusing first on adding this information to the In-Demand occupations, and then later will continue to populate the database by including this information for other occupations.

Tools and technology are an important component of O*NET’s occupational information because people who develop some expertise with a tool or technology may wish to transfer to another job or occupation where that expertise would be used. Additionally, training and education institutions may wish to develop programs that teach the tool or technology to be sure that their students are equipped with expertise in the most desired tools/technologies.

LISTEN to this video on how the various tools and technologies are identified and used in occupational information.  http://www.onetacademy.org/view/3001024773017289472/info (45 minutes)

WATCH the video to see how to search by tools and technology.

COMPLETE Item #9 on Your Worksheet after you search for the tool/technology of Excel.

  How Some People Use O*NET Information

O*NET and its related occupational information is extremely valuable to a wide variety of individuals from career specialists, labor market staff, job seekers, educators, commercial career guidance system developers, and many others.

The O*NET database includes information on skills, abilities, knowledge, work activities, and interests associated with occupations. This information can be used to facilitate career exploration, vocational counseling, and a variety of human resources functions, such as developing job orders and position descriptions and aligning training with current workplace needs.

For Employers: O*NET can expand the pool of candidates for open positions, help develop job descriptions quickly, define job-specific success factors, refine recruitment and training goals, etc.

Employers Can Use O*NET to:

  • Expand the pool of quality candidates for open positions
  • Develop job descriptions quickly and easily
  • Define employee and job success factors
  • Align organizational development with workplace needs
  • Refine recruitment and training goals
  • Design competitive compensation systems

For Workforce Investment Board Members (WIBs): WIBs are in the position to ensure that useful, appropriate tools, such as O*NET, are disseminated throughout the local workforce development system.

O*NET can help WIBs follow the 7 principles of WIA by:

  • Providing tools that streamline services
  • Empowering individuals
  • Ensuring universal access
  • Offering local flexibility
  • Improving youth programs

For Career Counselors and Educators: O*NET can help assist teachers and career counselors with preparing adults or students for careers by providing tools to understand the knowledge and skills required for occupations.

O*NET can help Counselors and Educators by providing:

  • Occupational outlook data
  • Occupation & work characteristics/requirements
  • Labor market information
  • Data as resource for developing curriculum design
  • Resources for career counseling and career guidance

For Workforce Development Professionals: O*NET helps to quickly create resumes; explore options that capitalize on knowledge, skills, and abilities; create skills-match profiles; and improve partnerships by using a common language for occupational information.

Workforce Development Professionals can use O*NET to:

  • Develop job orders and resumes
  • Create skills-match profiles
  • Explore career options that capitalize on knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)
  • Target recruitment efforts for improved job matching
  • Improve partnerships by using a common language for occupational information.

For Job Seekers/Individuals: O*NET can help you refine your job search by describing the skills, experience, and worker characteristics.

Job Seekers/Individuals can use O*NET to:

  • Identify which jobs match interests, skills, and experience
  • Explore career growth profiles using the latest labor market data
  • Research requirements for a “dream” job
  • Maximize earning potential and job satisfaction
  • Know what it takes to be successful in a chosen field and related occupations

LISTEN to a podcast on how O*NET is being used in assisting people throughout their careers.

LISTEN to a podcast on using O*NET for resume writing. 

LISTEN to a podcast on Using O*NET for Welfare to Work Programs.

LISTEN to a podcast on Using O*NET with Persons with Disabilities.


LISTEN to a podcast on using O*NET with At-Risk Youth


LISTEN to a Podcast on O*NET and the Military.  See how two people use O*NET to help our transitioning military members.

READ this article on how job search sites could use O*NET occupational information to assist job seekers and make their job hunting more successful.  

SKIM the information in Products at Work to get an understanding of the breadth and depth of how O*NET occupational information is used by thousands of individuals, companies and organizations. ( 500 words)

COMPLETE Item #10 on Your Worksheet.

 The Details of Occupational Information

Literally hundreds of pieces of information are gathered on around 900 occupations in the O*NET system. Just as a reminder, the information comes from a variety of sources such as job incumbents, labor market information, employers, research studies, job descriptions, and many professional institutions.

It’s time to take a look at the details provided about O*NET occupations.

VIEW the video below.

COMPLETE the worksheet and the evaluation.

Indicate how you would use O*NET information for and with your students, clients, and customers.

HOORAY! You have completed the course!

Send your completed worksheet to Dr. Janet Wall in order to receive your certificate of completion.

Be sure to complete your evaluation. 



To stay updated on O*NET Activities go to O*NET Updates at http://www.onetcenter.org/news.html and sign up to receive them.