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Summary Report for:
17-2041.00 - Chemical Engineers

Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

Sample of reported job titles: Chemical Engineer, Development Engineer, Engineer, Engineering Scientist, Process Control Engineer, Process Development Engineer, Process Engineer, Project Engineer, Refinery Process Engineer, Scientist

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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

  • Develop safety procedures to be employed by workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Troubleshoot problems with chemical manufacturing processes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Evaluate chemical equipment and processes to identify ways to optimize performance or to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Conduct research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Determine most effective arrangement of operations such as mixing, crushing, heat transfer, distillation, and drying. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform tests and monitor performance of processes throughout stages of production to determine degree of control over variables such as temperature, density, specific gravity, and pressure. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Design and plan layout of equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare estimate of production costs and production progress reports for management. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Design measurement and control systems for chemical plants based on data collected in laboratory experiments and in pilot plant operations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Develop processes to separate components of liquids or gases or generate electrical currents using controlled chemical processes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform laboratory studies of steps in manufacture of new product and test proposed process in small scale operation such as a pilot plant. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Direct activities of workers who operate or who are engaged in constructing and improving absorption, evaporation, or electromagnetic equipment. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Benchtop centrifuges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bi distillation units — Distillation systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Catalytic combustion analyzers — Catalytic reactors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Chemical absorption gas analyzers — Gas absorbers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Chromatographic scanners — Chromatographic scanning equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Dewatering equipment — Sludge dryers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Distillation pipings or columns or fittings — Distillation columns See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Freezedryers or lyophilzers — Lyophilizers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Goggles — Safety goggles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Heat exchangers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laboratory evaporators — Laboratory evaporaters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laboratory filtration hardware or accessories — Filtration systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laboratory mixers — Agitators; Benchtop mixers; Powder mixing equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mass spectrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Microcontrollers — Programmable logic controllers PLC See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal 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.
  • Processing tanks — Mixing tanks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Vial handling systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanning probe microscopes — Atomic force microscopes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Spectrometers — Surface analysis spectroscopes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ultrafiltration equipment — Plate filter presses See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Vacuum pumps See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wet scrubbers See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Analytical or scientific software — Chempute Software Engineer's Aide SINET; G&P Engineering Software EngVert; SoftLab PHEdesign; Thermal Analysis Systems The Energy Analyst (see all 24 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Computer aided design CAD software — CD-adapco STAR-CAD; SolidWorks CAD software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Chempute Software E-Notebook; G&P Engineering Software PhysProps; Microsoft Access; Relational database software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Desktop publishing software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Financial analysis software — Chempute Software EstPro See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Chempute Software ChemDraw See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Industrial control software — GE Fanuc Proficy Machine Edition See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Object or component oriented development software — C++; Microsoft Visual C# .NET See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Project management software — Microsoft Project See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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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.
  • Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods. 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.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models. 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.
  • 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.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems. 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.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • 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.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. 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.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • 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.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem. 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.
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. 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.
  • 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.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity). 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.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem. 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.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material. 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.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance. 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.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. 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.
  • 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.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. 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.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members. 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.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance. 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.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills. 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.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. 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.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Prepare operational reports. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluate characteristics of equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Develop technical methods or processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine causes of operational problems or failures. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Design industrial processing systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Research engineering aspects of biological or chemical processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine operational methods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor the productivity or efficiency of industrial operations. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Estimate operational costs. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct industrial production activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Conduct validation tests of equipment or processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Design control systems for mechanical or other equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Research industrial processes or operations. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 92% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 84% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 80% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 52% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 44% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 40% responded “High responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 56% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 52% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 56% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 36% responded “Contact with others most of the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 40% responded “Important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 36% responded “Extremely serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 56% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 56% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 44% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 48% responded “High responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 32% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 42% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 36% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
72   Bachelor's degree
16   Master's degree
8   Post-baccalaureate certificate Help

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

Chemistry — Chemical Engineering
Engineering — Chemical Engineering

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: IR

  • 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.
  • 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.

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Work Styles

  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • 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.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. 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.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Work Values

  • Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status. 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.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $46.60 hourly, $96,940 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 33,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 9,200
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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