Oregon Labor Market Information System
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New System Clarifies Education and Training Assignments for Occupations

Published Mar-6-2012

In December 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) introduced a new system to more clearly identify the education and training needed for 700 plus occupations. The recent assignments focus on the entry and on-the-job requirements for an occupation, whereas the former method emphasized the most significant source of education or training.

Covering the Basics
BLS developed the new system through input from data users, interviews with professional organizations, job postings, data on educational attainment, and a few other occupational resources.

The system assigns each occupation individually, based on three categories: entry level education, work experience in a related occupation, and on-the-job training. The categories describe the education or training pathway that individuals in that occupation typically take when entering the job market, and any training that may be needed in the workplace.

As shown in Table 1, the entry-level category lists one of eight levels of educational attainment; the work experience category has four potential durations of time; and the last category has six levels of on-the-job training.

The assignments, which are currently only available at the national level, were prepared in conjunction with the 2010-2020 national employment projections. Although the projections are scheduled for release in February 2012, the education and training assignments are now available on the BLS website, at www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_112.htm.

Table 1
New BLS Education and Training System Categories
Pre-Employment   During Employment
Typical Entry-Level Education   Previous Work Experience in a Related Occupation   Typical On-the-Job Training Needed to Attain Competency in the Occupation
1. Doctoral or professional degree   1. Less than 1 year    1. Apprenticeship
2. Master's degree       2. 1-5 years   2. Intership/residency
3. Bachelor's degree      3. More than 5 years   3. Short-term on-the-job training
4. Associate degree      4. None   4. Moderate-term on-the-job training
5. Postsecondary non-degree award         5. Long-term on-the-job training
6. Some college, no degree            6. None
7. High school diploma or equivalent               
8. Less than high school                 
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Applying the Data
Because the new system provides more detailed information, it will be a huge help to career counselors, school administrators, human resource professionals, students, job hunters, and of course, occupational researchers.

On a broader level, education and training information is also used to analyze the supply of qualified workers, and the need for capable workers in high-demand jobs. When paired with educational attainment data and Oregon's recently released 2010-2020 occupational employment projections, policymakers, researchers, and others can view a more complete picture of the existing and potential labor force.

Education and training data can also be used to help plan careers and prioritize training programs. The Oregon Employment Department's Workforce and Economic Research Division (the office of yours truly) produces a number of publications devoted to this subject, including Occupational Prioritization for Training, Oregon Careers, Occupations in Demand, High-Skill Occupations, and others, all available on the publications page of our website: www.QualityInfo.org.

Be sure to stay tuned to this site for our own Oregonized version of these education and training assignments, which will soon be customized to fit Oregon's unique workforce needs.