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Summary Report for:
45-2091.00 - Agricultural Equipment Operators

Drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. May perform tasks, such as crop baling or hay bucking. May operate stationary equipment to perform post-harvest tasks, such as husking, shelling, threshing, and ginning.

Sample of reported job titles: Baler Operator, Cutter Operator, Equipment Operator, Farm Hand, Farm Laborer, Hay Baler, Irrigation Worker, Rake Operator, Tractor Driver, Tractor Operator

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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

  • Adjust, repair, and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Irrigate soil, using portable pipes or ditch systems, and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate or tend equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Manipulate controls to set, activate, and adjust mechanisms on machinery. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Direct and monitor the activities of work crews engaged in planting, weeding, or harvesting activities. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Load hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate towed machines such as seed drills or manure spreaders to plant, fertilize, dust, and spray crops. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Drive trucks to haul crops, supplies, tools, or farm workers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Walk beside or ride on planting machines while inserting plants in planter mechanisms at specified intervals. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Weigh crop-filled containers, and record weights and other identifying information. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks, forklifts, or transfer augers. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Agricultural rollers — Field rollers; Land rollers; Roller packers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Agricultural tractors — Auger movers; Farm tractors; Subcompact tractors; Track tractors (see all 6 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Air dryers — Batch grain dryers; Peanut dryers; Seed dryers; Tower grain dryers (see all 6 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — All terrain vehicles ATV; Utility vehicles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Animal husbandry equipment — Silage baggers; Silage distributors; Silage wrappers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Backhoes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bucket conveyors — Bucket elevators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Cargo trucks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Chain conveyors — Hay bale conveyors; Hay bale elevators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Collection tanks — Manure storage tanks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Combine harvesters — Air reels; Grain combines; Soybean combine harvesters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Composter — Compost turners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Container trailers — Feed mixer wagons; Forage boxes; Seed bins; Silage wagons (see all 11 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Conveyor screw — Feed conveyors; Grain augers; Seed tenders; Transfer augers (see all 6 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Crop dividers — Crop lifters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Cultivators — Field cultivators; Rotary tillers; Row crop cultivators; Skid steer rotary tillers (see all 6 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Dewatering equipment — Manure separators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Disks — Chisel disks; Coulter disks; Offset disks; Tandem disks (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ditchers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Fans — Grain bin aeration fans See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Feed mixers — Horizontal feed mixers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Fertilizer spreaders or distributors — Granular applicators; Manure spreaders; Silo spreaders; Straw and chaff spreaders (see all 13 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Flatbed trailers — Hay bale trailers; Header carriers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Floor or platform scales — Seed scales See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Fog or mist generators — Mist blowers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Forestry saws — Skid steer tree cutters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Forklifts — Telehandlers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Garden forks — Hay bale forks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver — Novariant AutoFarm RTK AutoSteer; Tractor guidance systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Graders or land levelers — All terrain vehicle ATV rakes; Bed shapers; Bedding hippers; Land finishers (see all 7 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Grapples — Rock windrowers; Skid steer rock grapples See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Grinding mills — Feed grinders; Silage mills See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hammer mills — Hammermills See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hand sprayers — Portable sprayers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Harrows — All terrain vehicle ATV harrows; Coulter rippers; Disk rippers; Harrow baskets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Harvester parts or accessories — Combine cylinders; Combine draper headers; Combine header transports; Combine headers (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Harvesters — Forage harvesters; Garlic harvesters; Seed strippers; Tomato harvesters (see all 8 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Haymaking machinery — Hay balers; Haybines; Swath turners; V hay rakes (see all 16 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hoeing machines — Rotary hoes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hole diggers — All terrain vehicle ATV post hole diggers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Metallic bins — Silage feeders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mowers — Mower conditioners; Windrow inverters; Windrowers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Planters — Min-till planters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ploughs — All terrain vehicle ATV plows; Chisel plows; Plows See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Post hole digger — Post drivers; Post hole diggers; Skid steer post drivers; Skid steer post hole diggers (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power blowers — Forage blowers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power chippers — Crop shredders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power grinders — Stump grinders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pulled scrapers — Manure scrapers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Seed drills — Air carts; Coulter drills; Grass drills; Min-till drills (see all 7 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Seed treating equipment — Seed mixers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Seeder attachment — All terrain vehicle ATV seeders; Grass seeders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Shovels — Flat-ended shovels See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Skid steer loaders — Hay bale loaders; Hay bale movers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sludge shredders — Manure chopper pumps See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sprayers — 3-point sprayers; Flotation sprayers; Sprayer booms; Sprayer chassis (see all 8 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Storage tanks — Dry bulk storage tanks; Liquid storage tanks; Nurse tanks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Subsoilers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Threshing machines — Threshers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Vacuum pumps — Grain pumps; Grain vacuums; Seed vacuums See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wagons — Auger wagons See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Weeders — Weed wipes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wheel loaders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Winches — Power winches See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Data base user interface and query software — Martens Farms Farm Trac See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Farm Management Software Hay and Crop Manager See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Map creation software — Martens Farms Farm Site Mate See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems. 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.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools. 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.
  • 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.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The 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. 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.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects. 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.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness. 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.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears. 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.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance. 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.
  • Rate Control — The 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. 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.
  • Response Orientation — The 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. 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.

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Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles). 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.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things. 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.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials. 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.
  • 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.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Maintain forestry, hunting, or agricultural equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Record agricultural or forestry inventory data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Measure physical characteristics of forestry or agricultural products. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare materials or solutions for animal or plant use. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspect equipment or facilities to determine condition or maintenance needs. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate farming equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Apply chemical solutions to plants to protect against disease or insects or to enhance growth. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct activities of agricultural, forestry, or fishery employees. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Confer with managers to make operational decisions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Attach equipment extensions or accessories. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Load agricultural or forestry products for shipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Plant crops, trees, or other plants. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate irrigation systems. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 99% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather See more occupations related to this work context.
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment See more occupations related to this work context.
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 76% 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 — 57% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 62% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 57% responded “Contact with others most of the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Outdoors, Under Cover See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work Schedules — 60% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 58% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 38% responded “Limited responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 60% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 57% responded “High responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 22% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” 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 See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 60% responded “Important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 58% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 40% responded “Never.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 57% responded “About half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
Not available High school diploma or equivalent Help
Not available Less than high school diploma
Not available Post-secondary certificate Help

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: R

  • 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

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. 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.
  • 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.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. 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.
  • 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.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. 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.
  • 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) $12.94 hourly, $26,910 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 59,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 20,200
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.

  • Agricultural Workers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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