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Summary Report for:
15-1151.00 - Computer User Support Specialists

Provide technical assistance to computer users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, or via telephone or electronically. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems.

Sample of reported job titles: Computer Specialist, Computer Support Specialist, Computer Technician, Electronic Data Processing Auditor (EDP Auditor), Help Desk Analyst, Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist), Network Support Specialist, Network Technician, Support Specialist, Technical Support Specialist

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Oversee the daily performance of computer systems. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Answer user inquiries regarding computer software or hardware operation to resolve problems. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Enter commands and observe system functioning to verify correct operations and detect errors. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Set up equipment for employee use, performing or ensuring proper installation of cables, operating systems, or appropriate software. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Install and perform minor repairs to hardware, software, or peripheral equipment, following design or installation specifications. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Maintain records of daily data communication transactions, problems and remedial actions taken, or installation activities. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Read technical manuals, confer with users, or conduct computer diagnostics to investigate and resolve problems or to provide technical assistance and support. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Refer major hardware or software problems or defective products to vendors or technicians for service. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Develop training materials and procedures, or train users in the proper use of hardware or software. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Confer with staff, users, and management to establish requirements for new systems or modifications. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare evaluations of software or hardware, and recommend improvements or upgrades. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Read trade magazines and technical manuals, or attend conferences and seminars to maintain knowledge of hardware and software. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Hire, supervise, and direct workers engaged in special project work, problem solving, monitoring, and installing data communication equipment and software. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inspect equipment and read order sheets to prepare for delivery to users. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Modify and customize commercial programs for internal needs. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Conduct office automation feasibility studies, including workflow analysis, space design, or cost comparison analysis. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Computer tool kits See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Desktop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Floppy disks — MS-DOS-bootable disks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hard disk arrays — Redundant array of independent disks RAID systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mainframe computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Network analyzers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Notebook computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power meters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Punches or nail sets or drifts — Punchdown tools See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Reflectometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Screwdrivers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tape arrays — Digital tapes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wire lug crimping tool — Wire crimpers See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Access software — Mac HelpMate See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Administration software — Element management software; SolarWinds software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Authentication server software — Password management software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Backup or archival software — Backup and archival software; Disaster recovery software; Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service; Symantec LiveState See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Calendar and scheduling software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Configuration management software — Automated installation software; Deployment software; Patch management software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base management system software — Database management system software; Microsoft SQL Server See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Database software; IPro software; Lucid IQ; Software asset management SAM software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Desktop communications software — CrossTec NetOp Remote Control; Remote control software; Stac Software ReachOut; Symantec pcAnywhere See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Distiller See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — Email software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Filesystem software — Desktop partitioning software; Symantec Norton Utilities See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Helpdesk or call center software — Call center software; Help desk software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Information retrieval or search software — Information systems integration software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet directory services software — Active directory software; Domain name system DNS software; Network directory services software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • License management software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Network conferencing software — Microsoft Sharepoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Network monitoring software — Dartware InterMapper See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Network operation system software — Remote install server software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Operating system software — Event log monitor software; Microsoft Windows Pre-installation Environment; Operating system monitoring software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Platform interconnectivity software — Migration software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Program testing software — Defect tracking software; Personal computer diagnostic software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Storage networking software — Media storage management software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Transaction security and virus protection software — Encryption software; Virus scanning software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Web platform development software — Hypertext markup language HTML See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The 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). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Perceptual Speed — The 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. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Evaluate utility of software or hardware technologies. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Document operational activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor computer system performance to ensure proper operation. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Modify software programs to improve performance. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Provide technical support for software maintenance or use. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Test software performance. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Install computer hardware. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Resolve computer software problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Supervise information technology personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Install computer software. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain computer hardware. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Collaborate with others to determine design specifications or details. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Conduct research to gain information about products or processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Recommend changes to improve computer or information systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Read documents to gather technical information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Teach others to use computer equipment or hardware. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Train others in computer interface or software use. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Provide recommendations to others about computer hardware. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Test computer hardware performance. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Participate in staffing decisions. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 81% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 72% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 57% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 61% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 62% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 58% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 69% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 47% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 57% responded “Important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 43% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 36% responded “Less than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 50% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 51% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 32% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Moderate responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
29   Bachelor's degree
22   Some college, no degree
18   Associate's degree

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Computer Science — Accounting and Computer Science; Computer Hardware Technology/Technician; Computer Software Technology/Technician; Medical Office Computer Specialist/Assistant

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: RIC

  • 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. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Investigative — Investigative 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. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Conventional — Conventional 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. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $22.89 hourly, $47,610 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 548,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Faster than average (15% to 21%) Faster than average (15% to 21%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 196,900
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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